Rome is the most visited city in Italy, with around 10 million tourists heading to the "Eternal City" each year. There are countless restaurants, historic buildings, and museums to see in the city. It can be overwhelming to try and narrow down your list to the places that you want to visit to get a true taste of Italy and Rome's history.
We've gathered together a list of the top seven Rome monuments you need to see on your next trip. From modern locations to ones that have been around thousands of years, you don't want to miss any of these picturesque and monumental locations on the list.
1. The Colosseum
Visiting the Colosseum is a must on any trip to Rome. It's the largest instruction in the city from ancient Roman times.
The construction of the building starts in A.D. 72 by Vespasian. His son Titus made it even larger by having a fourth story installed. In A.D. 80, Titus officially opened the Colosseum, but at that time, it was known as the Flavian Amphitheater.
For near four centuries, the Colosseum was used for a variety of games and events. Until the 1700s, the structure was used to store building materials. A majority of the structure has broken down over time, but it still remains an iconic symbol of the city.
Head over to the Colosseum and purchase a ticket to tour the facility. Your ticket will also include access to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. Book your ticket in advance online as time slots fill up fast.
2. The Pantheon
If you want to see the most-preserved monument from ancient Roman times, take a tour of the Pantheon. The structure is in incredible condition for being over 2,000 years old.
The building was rebuilt after it suffered fire damage in A.D. 80. You can see firsthand the mastery of ancient Roman builders by the brickwork that got laid after that fire. It has a 43-meter dome that illustrates the superiority of Roman architects.
Visiting the Pantheon won't have an effect on your Rome vacation budget as the structure is free of charge to visit and open to the public. The only exception is on some holidays and during mass. There are no train stations nearby, so you'll have to make the trek on foot.
3. Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain was constructed in the 17th century and has appeared in countless movies. A popular tradition is to toss a coin into the fountain, guaranteeing that you'll visit Rome again someday.
The water that feeds a fountain comes from an aqueduct that was originally made by Agrippa. Agrippa was a famed art patron from the first century BC. He constructed the aqueduct to supply water for his paths.
The Trevi Fountain was made by Nicolo Salvi for Pope Clement XII between 1732-1751. The fountain illustrates the sea god with tritons, shells, and horses. In the large basin underneath you'll find countless amounts of coins.
4. Piazza Navona
Rome has lots of Baroque squares and the Piazza Navona is one of the most picturesque. The square still shows the outline of the stadium that got built by Emperor Domitian. In the Middle Ages, it was used for horse races and festivals.
Even though he designed the facades of the buildings and the square, a rival architect by the name of Bernini designed the centerpiece. In the middle of the square sits the Fontana dei Fiumi, a gorgeous fountain. It represents the four rivers that were believed to be the largest at the time:
- The Nile
- The Danube
- The Ganges
- Rio de la Plata
In addition to several other fountains, the square has plenty of cafes, markets, souvenir kiosks, and street artists.
5. The Spanish Steps and Centro Storico
The Centro Storico is known as Rome's historic center. It's filled with squares, palaces, and beautiful churches. You could center your vacation around this area and never run out of things to do or see.
This area is home to some of the places we've talked about, such as the Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Navona. You can also stop in the Santa Maria del Popolo, a lesser-known church that has works by Caravaggio and Bernini.
The Spanish Steps are a flight of irregular landings and steps that lead to the Trinita dei Monti, a French church. Grab a gelato and hang out on the steps as you watch the people go by. There's also a fountain shaped like a boat at the bottom of the steps called the Baracaccia.
6. Baths of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla were Rome's second-largest thermae or public bathhouse. The baths are thought to have been constructed between A.D. 212 and 217 during the reigns of Caracalla and Septimus Severus. People frequently used them until the 530s and then they fell into ruin and issues.
The Baths of Caracalla have been an inspiration for other notable structures, such as the Basilica of Maxentius. You have to purchase tickets to see this monument, but there are a few times a year when you can go for free. Free tours are available during the following times:
- World Water Day
- Rome's birthday
- During Io Vado al Museo
Like with a lot of the attractions in Rome, it's recommended to purchase tickets ahead of time.
7. Palatine Hill
If you want to see some of Rome's first settlements, head over to Palatine Hill. There are rock cuttings in front of the Temple of Cybele that illustrate the presence of humans as early as 900 B.C. This site was also used by aristocratic families and emperors for their palaces.
Palatine Hill is also home to the Farnese Gardens. They got planted in the 1500s for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. It includes pavilions, flowerbeds, fountains, and trees.
Plan Your Trip With These Must-See Rome Monuments
There are so many Rome monuments to add to your travel itinerary. The city is home to some of the most ancient structures and architecture in the world. You don't want to miss any of it when you visit the city.