you.theworld.wandering’s guide to seeing Rome’s best monuments.
It’s true that Rome wasn’t built in a day. The sheer size of the place, the number of monuments and ancient ruins that reside in this special city truly make it a pilgrimage worthwhile for the millions of tourists that flock here every European summer.
Rome, just like a fine wine, is a place that needs to be given time if you truly want to experience the magic of this once ancient city. As I wound my way through the cobble stone laneways, I found myself at each corner wide-eyed and dazzled at the fact that there was yet another iconic monument staring at me. You read about these places, you learn about them in school, but when it’s you standing face to face with a building that’s so old that you can only try to comprehend what the ground beneath you has seen in it’s lifetime, it’s a fairly awe striking moment of how insignificant your own time on this earth is in this little thing called life.
The number of must-sees in Rome is almost overwhelming, especially if you only have a short amount of time to jam pack everything in. I spent 48 hours in Rome; two ten hour days of walking. If you have even more time to spend in this city, you will be thankful when you leave with no regrets. My travelling was made easy as I travelled to and from Rome with a company called Busabout. These guys take the getting lost factor out of travel. Each bus picks you up and drops you off straight to the accommodation point at the next destination.
When In Rome…9 Rome Must Sees:
1. Colosseum, Arco Di Constantino and Palestine Hill –
A ticket for €12 will guarantee you entry to the Colosseum and to Palestine Hill. You can view the Arco Di Constantino outside of the Colosseum for free. The best times to visit the Colosseum are early morning, lunch time – around 1:30 or 4:30 onwards in the afternoon. Visiting in the middle of the day means you need to brave the intense heat and crowds. And it’s handy to know that you can also refill your water bottles at the fountains inside too.
2. The Vatician / Sistine Chapel, Basillica S. Pietro –
GO EARLY or book in for a walking tour. People seriously come to Rome just to see the Vatican. There can even be a solid line up at 8 am. I find booking a walking tour in advance is best. Also note it is important to dress respectfully. This means wearing pants and having shoulders covered. I also wouldn’t recommend taking a backpack.
3. Trevi Fountain –
The Trevi Fountain is currently under massive construction. Since summertime last year (2014) it has been covered in scaffolding, although this is slowly diminishing. Be warned, no coin tossing will occur; there is no fountain at present. The whole thing is a completly dry marble and scaffolded structure with perspex fencing surrounding. Sorry to disappoint! Although, stand in the right spot and you can still manage to get instagram worthy pics ;)
4. The Pantheon –
My favourite building in Rome. Set on cobble stone streets, with ancient buildings and modern day Italian restaurants surrounding it, this is a place to soak in. Step inside and you will be blown away by the amazing ceiling.
5. Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele –
My second favourite building in Rome and one that is absolutely beautiful.
6. Colonna Triana and Mercati Traianei –
Right across from the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele, this part of Rome is saturated with monuments and offers great insight into ancient day Rome. Also a nice place to rest and even eat lunch on the go.
7. P.zza Navona –
One of the most beautiful squares in all of Rome and certainly a nice place to visit in the afternoon. Relax in one of the nearby cafes’, take photos of the fountain or wander through the square checking out local artists at work as you go.
Other Attractions Worth Your Time:
- Piazza del Popolo
- Spanish Steps
- Spend sunset at Pincio
- Castel Sant’ Angelo
My 5 Best Tips for Rome:
1. If you can, spend at least 3 full days exploring Rome. This way you will feel like you have had enough time to truly explore everything properly and you will leave with no regrets.
2. Do walking tours and you will gain so much more out of the experience. My picks: The Colosseum and The Vatican tours.
3. Use the free fountains to fill up your water bottle. The water is fine to drink all over Rome.
4. Money Changers: most places in Rome charge a commission for money changing.
5. Have small change on you for purchasing train tickets at ticket machines.
If you want to find out more about Rome or some of these sites, this website is a good starting place: Italy Guides.