There is an important rule for popular tourist destinations like Rome. Book your tickets in advance. This rule – advice is applicable especially for the major touristic highlights in the case of Rome you should pre-book for visiting the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, and the Roman Forum.
We booked our tickets with a tour guide and we didn’t regret it at all. The price was not much higher than a single ticket and the most important? We made our visit to value. Rome has so much history and you will get almost nothing if you go only for the photos. Let alone that the entire historic center has been characterized as UNESCO World Heritage!
We use for our bookings the GetYourGuide platform and we advise you to do the same!
1. Flavian Amphitheatre – Colosseum
While we had booked our tickets for Colosseum, the first thing our guide told us is that we were not going to visit the Colosseum that day. Everybody looked at each other and she that moment she told us that we are going to visit Flavian Amphitheatre which is known as Colosseum.
The name Colosseum comes from Colossus of Nero a 30 meters statue which was located just next to the famous arena. An arena that could accommodate 50.000 to 80.000 spectators. The Colosseum became widely known because of the bloody spectacles organized by the Roman court while the Pope is visiting the place every Big Friday of the year in the memory of the Christians who martyred there.
2. Arch of Constantine I
Located just next to Colosseum the Arch of Constantine is the biggest Roman Triumphal Arch. It was built after a decision of Roman’s Senate to honor the emperor Constantine the Great for the victory in the battle of Milvia bridge after his vision.
Constantine and “his” battles became a key milestone of history. On his times the crimes against Christians ended and a new era started after the transfer of the Empire’s capital from Rome to Constantinople.
3. Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums are located inside the Vatican. They were built with the order of Pope Julius II and today they are accounted as some of the most important museums worldwide with over 4.6 million tourists visiting them annually.
You will discover a great art piece collection from the ancient years, the Catholic church, and Renaissance. Some of the most known exhibits are the copy of“Laocoön and His Sons”, which actually was the first exhibit of the Vatican Museum and the Capella Sistina.
Do not even think about going without a tour guide either personal either as part of a group. The stories that you are going to listen to are amazingly interesting. Compared with Louvre the annual visitors are the half but the exhibition areas are the 1/5 of the Parisian museum.
4. The Roman Forum or Forum Romanum
The Roman Forum is a simplex of what has left from many ancient government buildings during centuries. During the 8th century, many of them turned into churches, after they were totally abandoned and despite the fact that the place was still called Roman Forum, it was turned into dumping ground. This is one of the reasons that the level of the city has been raised by many meters.
Why you should visit it? Because in a relatively short distance history of more than 2000 will be revealed justifying the Rome’s title Eternal City. You will need more or less 4 to 6 hours guided tour if you are really interested in the subject but do not think to invest less then 3 hours.
5. Castel Sant’Angelo
The Mausoleum of Hadrian known as Castel Sant’Angelo was build in order to serve as a tomb of the Roman emperor Hadrian and his family. In the following years, many emperors were placed here until 217 A.D.
The name is after the legend according to, Saint Angelo who appeared to the mausoleum with his sword as a sign of the end of the plague on 590 A.D. There is an impressive bridge, known in the past as Saint Peter’s bridge, driving to the Castel Sant’Angelo decorated with the statues of Sant’Angelo and definitely the scenery is instagrammable!
After serving also as a prison and fortress defending the city from Goths, it came the time to serve in Renaissance and today is working as a museum with exhibits from its enormous history!
6. Saint Peter’s Basilica
You will find the Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. A cathedral church built over the burial site of Apostle St. Peter. It can fit 60.000 people and if we take into account the entire architecture simplex then we may say that it is the biggest church in the world.
It took more than 4 centuries to complete, a lot of money while the arguments for the final shape of the temple lasted until the end. One of the last directors was Michelangelo who played a vital role in the completion of the Basilica. He studied all the ideas of the prior architects and engineers and he designed a temple based on the Greek cross which was followed and completed in 1626.
7. Visit the Pantheon
Pantheon is located in the Piazza della Rotonda. It has been constructed during the 1st century BC and its name means in Greek, Temple to all Gods as it was dedicated to all the Gods of the time. After almost 2000 years is in a perfect structural condition, the best among all the ancient structures in Rome, mainly because of the continuous use.
It was the temple with the biggest dome during the ancient years while still is the biggest dome made from béton armé with a diameter of 43.3 meters. The entire temple doesn’t have any windows and the light is coming from only one skylight in the center of the dome.
Today is a catholic church dedicated to Santa Maria. The entrance is free and you may see a huge queue line. You will not have to wait a lot though as it is moving fast.
8. Walkthrough Rome’s Piazzas
In Rome, you will find in almost every corner one Piazza. Most of them are inspired by religion either the Christian either from the pagan – 12 God’s religion and mythology. Every each one has its thematology and architecture
We prepared a post and a map with all the Rome’s Piazzas that are “a must” to visit, photo-shoot, or just drink a coffee around.
9. Photoshoot the Aventine Keyhole
The Keyhole in Aventine hill is one of our favorite highlights in Rome. Imagine that you can see through a keyhole of a door and what you can see is perfectly aligned with the St. Peter’s Basilica in the middle of wonderful gardens.
Nobody knows how this happened or at least nobody is saying . We liked it that much that we create a detailed post of How to Photoshoot through Aventine Keyhole in Rome either using your phone or a professional camera!
10. Fontana di Trevi
Did you like all the above and Rome in general? Would you like to come back? If yes, you should walk towards the magnificent Fontana di Trevi and throw a coin! The tradition says that like this you will visit again the Eternal City! Our beloved fountain is one of the most famous attractions worldwide and we will not question why!
By the way, the income from this single fountain from coin throwing is 3.000€ per day!!!