My second favorite European city is Rome, and to be honest, I constantly battle back and forth between Barcelona and Rome for my choice. Rome is a city that is designed for all age groups to enjoy. If you enjoy history like me, then you know that this is a historical buff’s version of Heaven on Earth. If you are not into history, but you want a city that is walkable and has beautiful views, then look no further. There are a ton of monuments, sites, and restaurants to visit while in Rome, and this list could be endless, but I have narrowed it down to my top 5.
I would be lying if I said that the Colosseum isn’t number one. It’s one of the seven wonders of the world and a clear choice for the number one spot. If you want to beat the crowds, then I suggest getting there early in the morning and purchasing your tickets online ahead of time. If you choose to wait until you get there because you don’t want to be on a set schedule, then be prepared to wait in a long queue for hours. It is a famous culture/historical monument so the line wrapping around it is expected and I promise that it is worth the wait! What makes the Colosseum so unique besides being a wonder of the world? It is an amphitheater where Roman gladiators fought to the death in front of thousands of spectators. It is the historical version of MMA but far more blood, violence, and even animals. If blood, guts, and glory aren’t your thing, then you might enjoy knowing that it was also used as a theatre. The Colosseum hasn’t only been a battleground but over the year’s different emperors and rulers of Rome have used it as a cemetery, workshop and housing quarters. The Colosseum is rich in history, and visiting it makes you admire the engineering that went into such an enormous monument. If all of the reasons mentioned above on why you should visit bore you, then may I add that it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Also, it makes for great instagrammable photos.I would be lying if I said that the Colosseum isn’t number one. It’s one of the seven wonders of the world and a clear choice for the number one spot. If you want to beat the crowds, then I suggest getting there early in the morning and purchasing your tickets online ahead of time.
Purchase your Colosseum tickets below. I recommend getting the package that includes the Forum and Palatine Hill. Don’t forget to buy them before your trip! It will save you hours of wait time and you will thank me later.
2. The Vatican
Vatican City technically isn’t in Rome because it is a country of its own. And no, I’m not joking. The Vatican is a country of its own. The Pope and everyone who resides in Vatican City has an official Vatican passport. Vatican City is an enclave of Rome, and it is easily accessible. The last time I was in Rome, where I stayed was an easy ten-minute walk from Vatican City. Some people may be hesitant to visit Vatican City because they aren’t Catholic or religious. The truth is that many visitors don’t go for religious reasons, they go for the art. The Vatican is a living, breathing, art museum. Many of the world’s best paintings, sculptures, and books find a residence in the Vatican. It is no secret that the Catholic Church has been an art hoarder for thousands of years. One of the world’s most famous fresco paintings is inside the Sistine Chapel; Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. You don’t have to be religious or even know much about art to enjoy the beauty of Michaelangelo’s paintings. You aren’t allowed to take photos inside of the Sistine Chapel, and there are guards around the entire room looking for anyone trying to sneak a selfie while inside. Instead of trying to get a sneaky photo, I suggest taking a moment to take in the art and awe in its beauty.
Get your Vatican tickets here. I recommend purchasing tickets that include the skip the line option. Also, entry is free every last Sunday of the month. http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/visita-i-musei/tariffe-e-biglietti.html
3. Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)
It is considered to be one of the most famous fountains in the world, and it has been featured in many films. It is just as magnificent in person as it is in photos. The fountain draws a big crowd daily. The best times to visit are early in the morning around 6:00-7:00 a.m. or late in the evening around 9:00 p.m. I suggest seeing it both during the day and at night. Rome is a city that is just as gorgeous at night as it is during the day, and the Fontana di Trevi is no exception. A favorite memory of mine at Fontana di Trevi is when my sister, a friend and I enjoyed a bottle of wine one night while sitting on the steps surrounding it. Don’t forget to toss a coin over your shoulder and into the fountain. Legend has it that if you toss a coin into Fontana di Trevi, then you will return to Rome one day. Besides being used to make wishes come true, the coins are collected at the end of each day and are used for charity to help the needy in Rome. Not only are you making a wish, but you are also helping someone else at the same time.
There are no tickets required to visit the Fontana di Trevi and it is free to see since it is in an open public space.
4. Foro Romano (Roman Forum)
A quick walk from the Colosseo will bring you to my next choice, the Roman Forum. It is an archeological site that consists of ruins and fragments of Roman history. It was a marketplace and the epicenter of many of Rome’s government buildings. The most famous Roman, Julius Caeser, was cremated there. It may not look like much in photos, but there are thousands of years’ worth of history right below your feet. When buying your Coliseum ticket, you can include the Roman Forum entrance as well, which makes it a more convenient option.
Purchase your tickets here. https://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm
5. The Spanish Steps
The famous staircase that leads from Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Square) to Trinità dei Monti, the French church at the top. The stairs were commissioned by the French to connect the church to the Spanish Square. Today they are used as a gathering place for hundreds of Romans and tourists each day. At the bottom of the steps, you can find the fountain Fontana Della Barcaccia (Fountain of the longboat) which is another stunning fountain amongst many in Rome. I suggest hanging out on the steps and soaking in the busy world around you. You can do tons of people watching, or you can just admire the beauty. There are tons of small shops around the piazza below so if you are in the mood for gelato (who isn’t?) or want to check out some local artists, then take a stroll around.
There are no tickets required to visit the Spanish Steps and it is free to see since it is in an open public space.
As I mentioned before, Rome is a stunning city. It is just as beautiful at night as it is during the day. It’s easily accessible, and most sites are within walking distance from each other. I suggest walking Rome because it allows you to really immerse yourself in the culture and you never know what you may see on the streets of Rome. Anywhere you go to eat; you will not be disappointed. Pasta, pizza, bread, and gelato. All the carbs! Do I need to say more? I didn’t think so. Another awesome thing about the city is that all of the water from the fountains is drinkable and if you like to travel, you know that’s a plus. Take a reusable bottle around the city, and you won’t have to pay a single euro for water. Just don’t take any water from the Fontana di Trevi unless you want to spend your night getting to know the Roman jails. 😉 I have also included a few more photos of Rome down below for some more inspiration.