Explore Rome: Discover Its Iconic History & Art with 10 Must-See Places

Explore Rome: Discover Its Iconic History & Art with 10 Must-See Places

Welcome to Rome, one of the most fascinating cities in the world! As someone who has enjoyed exploring Rome, I can attest that it’s a city that truly has something for everyone. If you’re planning a trip to Italy, this is a city you won’t want to miss.

As soon as you arrive in Rome, you’ll be transported to a world of history, art, and incredible cuisine. The city is full of life and energy, with bustling streets that will capture your heart. From the iconic Colosseum to the charming piazzas and gelaterias, Rome is a city that will leave you in awe.

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In this article, I’ll share my top 10 places to visit in Rome. These are the places that I loved the most during my travels, and I’m excited to share them with you. From ancient ruins to trendy neighborhoods, I’ve got you covered.

Top 10 Places

1. Colosseum


    Imagine standing where gladiators once fought. The Colosseum, Rome’s famous amphitheater, was built in 70-80 AD. It could hold up to 50,000 people, who gathered to watch brutal battles and spectacular shows.

    Walking through the ancient ruins, you’ll feel the incredible history. Plus, the views from the upper levels are breathtaking! Audio guides and tours are available to help you learn more.

    Cost: €12-16 for adults, free for children under 18 

    Opening times: 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM (last entry at 6:00 PM) 

    Fun Fact: The Colosseum has a secret underground area called the hypogeum, where animals and fighters were kept before the battles.

    2. Trevi Fountain

    Trevi Fountain
    Trevi Fountain

    A visit to Rome isn’t complete without stopping by the stunning Trevi Fountain. This Baroque masterpiece, finished in 1762, is a sight to behold. Don’t forget to toss a coin over your shoulder to ensure a return trip to Rome!

    The sound of water, combined with the beautiful sculptures, creates a magical atmosphere. Plus, it’s a fantastic spot for photos!

    Cost: Free 

    Opening times: Always open

    Fun Fact: The coins thrown into the fountain are collected daily and donated to charity, amounting to around 3,000 euros!

    3. Spanish Steps

    Spanish Steps
    Spanish Steps

    The Spanish Steps, a set of 135 steps, is a popular gathering spot for both tourists and locals. Climb the steps for a great view of the city or relax at the lovely Piazza di Spagna below.

    Nearby, you’ll find designer shops, cafes, and gelaterias, perfect for a little break. The steps are especially beautiful in the spring, when azalea flowers bloom.

    Cost: Free 

    Opening times: Always open 

    Fun Fact: The steps got their name because of the nearby Spanish Embassy.

    4. Pantheon


    Built in 125 AD, the Pantheon is an awe-inspiring architectural wonder. It was originally a Roman temple, but it’s now a church. The massive dome, still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome, is truly a sight to see.

    Inside, you’ll find stunning artwork, tombs of famous Italians, and an open oculus that allows natural light to stream in.

    Cost: Free 

    Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 8:30 AM – 7:30 PM; Sunday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM 

    Fun Fact: The Pantheon’s dome has a hole (oculus) that’s 30 feet wide!

    5. Vatican City

    Vatican City
    Vatican City

    Home to the Pope and a treasure trove of art, Vatican City is a must-visit destination. The world’s smallest independent state, it’s packed with stunning sights, including the Vatican Museums and the famous Sistine Chapel, adorned with Michelangelo’s breathtaking frescoes.

    Wandering through the vast museum halls, you’ll encounter centuries of art and history. Don’t miss the chance to see the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica and its impressive square.

    Cost: €17 for adults; €8 for children aged 6-18 

    Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (last entry at 4:00 PM); closed on Sundays 

    Fun Fact: Vatican City has its own postal service, and letters mailed from here are considered collector’s items.

    If you’re planning to explore other European cities as well, be sure to check out this guide to London, featuring must-see spots and tips for a perfect trip.

    6. Piazza Navona

    Piazza Navona
    Piazza Navona

    Piazza Navona, once a Roman stadium, is now a lively square filled with stunning Baroque architecture. Grab a gelato or a coffee from one of the many cafes and admire the beautiful fountains, including Bernini’s famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi.

    Street artists, performers, and markets make this square an exciting place to visit. You can also find unique souvenirs or gifts at the nearby shops.

    Cost: Free 

    Opening times: Always open 

    Fun Fact: Piazza Navona was built on the site of the ancient Stadium of Domitian, which once hosted athletic games and competitions.

    7. St. Peter’s Basilica

    St Peters Basilica

    Standing tall in Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica is an awe-inspiring masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. Designed by famous architects like Bramante, Michelangelo, and Bernini, it’s the largest church in the world and a must-see during your visit.

    Admire the incredible artwork, including Michelangelo’s Pieta, and climb the dome for an amazing view of Rome. Make sure to also explore the beautiful Vatican Grottoes, where many popes are buried.

    Cost: Free to enter the basilica; €8-10 to climb the dome 

    Opening times: April – September: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM; October – March: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM 

    Fun Fact: The basilica is said to be built above the tomb of St. Peter, one of Jesus’ apostles.

    8. Castel Sant’Angelo

    Castel SantAngelo

    The Castel Sant’Angelo, originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, has served various purposes throughout history, including a fortress, a prison, and a papal residence. Today, it’s a fascinating museum offering insights into Rome’s past.

    Explore the castle’s history, admire the stunning artwork, and enjoy the panoramic views of Rome from the terrace. Don’t miss the secret passageway, Passetto di Borgo, which connects the castle to Vatican City.

    Cost: €14 for adults; €7 for EU citizens aged 18-25; free for children under 18 

    Opening times: 9:00 AM – 7:30 PM (last entry at 6:30 PM) 

    Fun Fact: Castel Sant’Angelo has appeared in several movies, including “Angels & Demons” and “La Dolce Vita.”

    9. Palatine Hill

    Palatine Hill
    Palatine Hill

    Palatine Hill, one of Rome’s Seven Hills, is steeped in mythology and history. According to legend, it’s where Romulus and Remus, Rome’s founders, were raised by a she-wolf. It later became the home of Rome’s emperors and aristocracy.

    Wander through the ancient ruins, including palaces and gardens, and soak up the incredible views of the Roman Forum and the city.

    Cost: €12-16 for adults, free for children under 18 (includes entry to the Roman Forum and Colosseum)

    Opening times: 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM (last entry at 6:00 PM) 

    Fun Fact: Augustus, Rome’s first emperor, was born on Palatine Hill in 63 BC.

    10. Roman Forum

    The Roman Forum, located in the heart of ancient Rome, was once a bustling center of daily life. Politics, commerce, and social events all took place within its grounds. Today, it’s a sprawling complex of ruins, showcasing temples, arches, and monuments from different eras.

    Take a walk through history and marvel at the incredible structures, such as the Temple of Saturn, Arch of Titus, and the Curia Julia. Guided tours are available to help you understand the significance of each site.

    Cost: €12-16 for adults, free for children under 18 

    Opening times: 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM (last entry at 6:00 PM) 

    Fun Fact: Julius Caesar’s funeral took place in the Roman Forum, and the spot where his body was cremated can still be seen today.

    Roman Forum
    Roman Forum

    Rome Attractions Map

    This map shows the location of different attractions in Rome.

    Good to Know: Essential Rome Tips

    Before setting off on your Roman adventure, here’s some useful information to help you plan your trip and make the most of your time in the Eternal City.

    ServicePhone Number
    Emergency (Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade)112
    Tourist Police06 6769 7680
    Rome Tourist Board+39 06 0608
    Rome Fiumicino Airport Information+39 06 65951
    Rome Ciampino Airport Information+39 06 794941
    Public Transportation (ATAC) Information+39 06 57003
    Taxi Services+39 06 3570 / +39 06 4994 / +39 06 8822 / +39 06 5551
    Please note that these phone numbers may change over time, so it’s always a good idea to double-check before your trip.

    Average Costs

    • Accommodation: Budget options start from €30-40 per night, mid-range hotels from €60-120, and luxury options from €150 and up.
    • Meals: A simple meal at a local trattoria can cost around €10-15, while a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant may range from €25-45.
    • Attractions: Many of Rome’s attractions are free or have modest entry fees, ranging from €6 to €20. You can also consider the Roma Pass, which offers discounts and fast-track entry to many sites.


    The currency used in Rome is the euro (€). It’s a good idea to have some cash on hand, especially for smaller purchases. Credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and shops.


    Rome has a variety of public transport options, including buses, trams, and metro lines. A single ticket costs €1.50 and is valid for 100 minutes. You can also purchase 24-hour, 48-hour, and 72-hour passes, costing €7, €12.50, and €18 respectively.

    Taxis are available, but be sure to use an official, licensed taxi to avoid being overcharged. Uber operates in Rome, offering a convenient alternative.

    Walking and biking are also great ways to explore the city, especially in the historic center, where many attractions are close together.


    Italian is the official language in Rome. However, you’ll find that many locals, particularly those in the tourism industry, speak English. It’s always appreciated if you learn a few basic Italian phrases, like “grazie” (thank you) and “buongiorno” (good morning).

    With this information, you’re ready to embark on a memorable journey through Rome, experiencing its history, culture, and charm! Buon viaggio!