As much as its great monuments – the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon – what's great about Rome are its details: the cobbled lanes and hidden corners, the vivid colours and the aroma of freshly ground coffee wafting out of its cafes. Rome's streets and piazzas are an endless source of entertainment and if you're a history buff, you'll get a real kick when you think of all the legendary events that have taken place here.
1. Explore The Vatican City & Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel are widely regarded as the finest artwork ever created. And that's not all; the Vatican Museums is full of artworks amassed by the popes over centuries; paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and more.
The Vatican City may be a tiny country (44 hectares), but it punches well above its weight in all categories. Most of all: culture. There's so much art here that this institution is called the Vatican Museums, plural. These extraordinary attractions are located in the heart of Rome, near St. Peter’s Square.
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A visit to the Vatican Museums will expose you to some of the finest art in the world. On your way to the Sistine Chapel (the undeniable highlight), you’ll pass through the Raphael Rooms, the Gallery of the Maps, and Bramante’s Fountain of the Pine Cone.
2. Get Lost In The Colosseum
Behold the mighty Colosseum! A building that looms large not just in Rome but in the minds of people everywhere. It’s truly one of history’s most iconic buildings.
Let’s begin at the beginning. Emperors Vespasian and Titus built it from 72-80 C.E. Of course, they didn’t physically build it themselves, they just ordered thousands of slaves to do so. The Colosseum functioned primarily as an amphitheater where Romans of all classes could come and be entertained by games of a rather bloody nature.
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Instantly recognizable, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world. Step inside these ancient wonders and feel like an emperor as you survey this monumental hunk of history.
3. Check Out St. Peter's Basilica
See Michelangelo's Pietá, Bernini's Baldacchino, and more priceless works. Find out about the history of the area, the modern-day Vatican, and the architecture of this epic church as you wander through it, with your jaw hanging open.
The Renaissance-style St Peter's Basilica is one of largest churches in the world. Over its 120-year-long construction many top architects (including Michelangelo and Raphael) added personal flourishes. Michelangelo, for instance, added the dome - to this day the biggest in the world!
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Highlights of a visit here include Bernini's Baldacchino (the centerpiece of the church), Michelangelo's Pietà (the only artwork he ever signed), and the aforementioned dome. And of course: seeing St. Peter's Square and the city of Rome from the front steps is a view you'll never forget.
4. Feel Like A Royal At The Borghese Gallery
The art collection of the wealthy, noble Borghese family soon became too big for a single home. It moved into the Galleria Borghese - a separate building in the famous Villa Borghese park. In 1901, the collection passed into the hands of the Italian government and ever since, tourists travel from all over the world to see this beautiful museum!
This small museum punches well above its weight, thanks to the lush surroundings (pink marble walls, frescoed ceilings, etc.) and the hit rate of masterpieces.
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Artistic highlights include Bernini's sculpture of David which captures the biblical hero coiled in a state of readiness, and The Rape of Proserpina - done when Bernini was just 23. Other highlights include Caravaggio's Boy with Fruit Basket and Raphael's extraordinary Deposition of Christ and Lady with a Unicorn.
Tue - Sun: 08:30 - 19:30
Best time to visit
Early morning or after lunch
5. Do It All With The Roma Pass
When you're crafty and clever, Italians applaud your furbizia. And with this pass you’ll definitely feel like a sly insider. It gives you full access to Rome’s public transport system, free entry to one or two of Rome’s key attractions (depending on which option you pick) and discounts for further museum visits.
Navigating the chaos of Rome can be frustrating: you can't always buy tickets on the bus, for example. But with the Roma Pass Card you’ll cut out the stress and hassle of buying separate tickets for individual journeys and have free reign of the entire public transport system.
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The card can be used at the following museums:
For the active visitor, the pass can save you a lot of money. On the 48 Hour ticket, a tourist who visits five sites will save about €30, and an eager beaver on the 72 Hour ticket who visits ten sites will save an average of €70.
What's The Weather Like In Rome?
Rome has a Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and dry. Don't forget to pack sunscreen and hats too. If you happen to have a hand fan, throw that in too.
Winters are cool, and it can even get a little cold - though it is still a Mediterranean climate. The mid-seasons of spring and fall tend to be pleasant and balmy, and are perfect times for al fresco dining in short-sleeved shirts.
Rome doesn't tend to get a lot of rain, but when it does it can be torrential.
Check the weather report in the morning, just to be safe. Also, note that the plentiful fountains around town are fed by the aqueducts. Bring a water bottle and fill it up with the free, spring-fed cool water.
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