Rome’s Best Bits - What you Must See
It was at the centre of the world’s most famous Empire, and Italy’s stunning capital is still every bit as grand and fascinating as it once was. Boasting myriad basilicas, monuments and statues from throughout its millennium-long history, Rome combines cosmopolitan glamour with a rich cultural heritage, making it the ideal destination for a city break. We’ve put together a quick list of absolute must-see attractions and given readers a quick introduction to these fabulous, iconic sights. Check out our guide to the best of the Eternal City.
It’s one of Rome’s most visited tourist attractions, and one glimpse of the Colosseum in person will show you that it’s entirely justified. Once the largest amphitheatre in the world, The Colosseum was built in the first century AD by the Emperor Vespasian and is still the most iconic symbol of the might of the Roman Empire.
Though it might not be able to hold the 50,000 spectators it could in its glory days, the interior is still every bit as impressive as the exterior. It’s well worth braving the crowds to see where the gladiators did battle with the lions.
The Spanish Steps
Not an attraction as such, but no visit to Rome would be complete without seeing The Spanish Steps. Comprising of 135 steps, the steps were built with French funds between 1721-1725 and are always packed with tourists soaking up the buzzing atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind after shopping in the nearby boutiques or visiting the Keats-Shelley Museum at the foot of the steps. Come at sunset for one of the best views.
The Trevi Fountain
We’re the first people to admit that the Trevi Fountain does become unbearably crowded, but it’s something you just have to see on your first visit to Rome. Designed by Nicola Salvi, this famous Baroque fountain was completed in 1762 and is renowned for its sculpture of Neptune, God of the Sea, flanked by two tritons. Since it featured in the iconic film Dolce Vita, the fountain has become one of the most popular sites in the city. You’ll probably never find a quiet moment to visit, but if you come in the evening the fountain will be lit up, and it will be a lot easier to get close and toss a coin in. According to legend, those who throw a coin in the fountain will return to Rome someday.
Founded by Pope Julius II in the 6th century, the Vatican Museums are amongst the best in the world and boast some of the most fascinating artefacts and artworks. You won’t be able to cover it all in one visit, but one truly unmissable highlight is the Sistine Chapel, which boasts a ceiling painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. If you’re here for a weekend away, visit on the last Sunday of the month and admission to the museum is free. Just be prepared to queue!
The Pantheon is one of the city’s best preserved buildings, and it was built in 126AD to be used as a temple for the Roman Gods. Since the 7th century it has served as a Roman Catholic Church, and inside is every bit as grand as you might imagine. One of the highlights has to be the light beaming down through the oculus, creating a distinctly celestial feel.
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