The 20 best places to visit in Rome

 

Built in the 17th century in the heart of the city is the Church Of Saint Ignatius Of Loyola. From the outside it is a huge imposing building with decorative Baroque facade, though it's on the inside where it sets itself apart. Filled with coloured marble and animated stucco figured reliefs, rich ornamental altars with gilded and bold paintings that cover almost the entirety of the interior, it's outstanding piece of art work is undoubtedly 'The Trompe l'œil Ceiling'. The grand painted fresco stretches across the nave ceiling, which although completely flat has been painted to appear curved, given a perspective projection making the observer see a huge cupola open to the sky. A marble disk in the middle of the floor marks the ideal spot for visitors to fully experience the illusion of this painted masterpiece.

20. Chiesa Di Sant'Ignazio Di Loyola

 

In the north of the city is an English landscape styled garden known as the Villa Borghese Gardens, the third largest public park in Rome. As well as holding the National Gallery Of Modern Art, a replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the lakeside Temple Of Aesculapius along with various monuments and statues, the parks heightened vantage point also offers visitors one of the finest views over the domes and towers of the city. 

19. Villa Borghese Gardens

 

Completed in 440 AD, the Basilica Of Saint Mary Major was one of the first churches built in honour of the Virgin Mary. Constructed in a traditional Roman style and later updated with Baroque influences this beautiful building with interiors covered from floor to ceiling in decorative mosaics and frescoes, lined with giant columns is another of Rome's finest churches. This huge historic building, with the tallest bell tower in the city at 75 metres (246 ft) high is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

18. Basilica Papale Di Santa Maria Maggiore

 

At the top of Capitoline Hill at the centre of the Capitoline Complex is another of Rome's finest city squares, the Piazza Del Campidoglio. Designed by the world renowned artist and sculptor, Michelangelo, the entire complex of Medieval and Renaissance Palace buildings around the geometric Piazza is considered a work of art in regards to urban planning.

Pictured is the Palazzo Senatorio behind the replica of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius.

17. Piazza Del Campidoglio

 

Built in 13 BC in the closing years of the Roman Republic is the ancient open air Theatre Of Marcellus, at the time of it's construction the largest and most important theatre of ancient Rome. Having fallen out of use in the 4th century the structure had faced around 1,600 years of neglect before being turned into flats, only the edifice of this ancient site having survived.

16. Teatro Di Marcello

 

Just inside the northern end of the Aurelian Walls that once encircled the Seven Hills of Rome is the large urban square of the Piazza Del Popolo. Constructed in a Neoclassical style in 1822 it was for a long time the first sight of Rome for any visiting travellers, at it's centre the Egyptian Obelisk of Ramesses III of Heliopolis, standing at 36 metres (118 ft) high. Today as a pedestrianised area, surrounded by historical buildings, statues and the hill of the Villa Borghese it's one of the prettiest open spaces in the city.

Pictured from the Terrazza Del Pincio Observation Deck.

15. Piazza Del Popolo

 

Built on the site of the Stadium Of Domition and used as a public square since the 15th century is the Piazza Novona, considered a highly significant example of Baroque Roman architecture and art design. Important structures that surround the square include the palace of Palazzo Pamphilj, the Fountain of The Four Rivers topped by the Obelisk of Domitian and the superb Baroque facade of the Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone. Lined with exquisite architecture, little shops and coffee houses the Piazza Novona is seen by many as the prettiest and most tranquil square in Rome.

14. Piazza Navona

 

Completed in 1925 after 40 years of construction, between the Piazza Venezia and Capitoline Hill is the Altar Of The Fatherland, also known as the 'National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II' in honour of the first king of a unified Italy. At 135 metres (443 ft) wide and 81 metres (266ft) to it's highest point it is the single biggest monument in Rome, incorporating huge stairways, Corinthian columns, fountains, an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel and two statues of the goddess Victoria riding Quadrigas. It's vast size has led many to call it pompous, too large a structure without towers or domes, built in glaring white marble surrounded by aging and more colourful structures, it has led locals to consider the monument out of place in their city. Despite this, it's sheer size has made it an attraction, with many visitors accessing the roof for some of the finest views over the centre of Rome.

13. Altare Della Patria

 

Built in 12 BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a magistrate of one of the four great religious groups, standing at a rather impressive 37 metres (121 ft) high is the Pyramid Of Cestius, probably the most unexpected sight in the Italian capital. Situated at a fork between two ancient roads and having been incorporated into the cities fortifications it has remained one of the best preserved ancient monuments in Rome. Beside it is the Porta San Paolo Gatehouse, built in the 3rd century it was one of the southern gates of the Aurelian Wall that surrounded the city.

Pictured is the Pyramid Of Cestius beside the Porta San Paolo Gatehouse.

12. Piramide Cestia

 

Slightly east of the centre of the city is the cathedral church of Rome, one of the finest church buildings in the country, The Archbasilica Of St. John Lateran, it's official name too long to be written here. Consecrated in 324 AD it is the oldest church in Rome and the highest ranked on the planet, ranking superior to even St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, it alone holding the title of, 'Archbasilica'. Adorned with statues and decorative detailing inside and out this hugely decorative and historically important building has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the square across from the Basilica is the Lateran Obelisk, the largest standing Ancient Egyptian Obelisk in the world. Despite having collapsed and subsequently been re-erected shorter than it originally stood, it still stands at 45.7 metres (150 ft) high and weighs an incredible 330 tons.

11. Arcibasilica Di St. John Lateran

 

Completed in 139 AD is the Castle Of The Holy Angel, sometimes known as the 'Mausoleum Of Hadrian', as it was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to be the burial chamber for him and his family. Throughout the centuries the building has been used by the Pope as a fortress, a castle, a prison and today a museum. At the time of it's construction it was the tallest building in Rome, and from it's peak 48 metres (157 ft) above ground level still offers fantastic views over the city. This towering cylindrical building along with the Ponte Sant'Angelo Bridge and the statues that adorn it make for a wonderful sight in the centre of Rome.

10. Castel Sant'Angelo

 

Completed in 1725 to link the Spanish Embassy in the Piazza Di Spagna up to the Church Of The Santissima Trinità Dei Monti are the Spanish Steps, possibly the most famous 135 steps anywhere in the world. Having long been a favourite destination for visitors, I suspect the location in the beautiful Piazza Di Spagna holds the key to the steps popularity.

9. Scalinata Di Trinità Dei Monti

 

To the south of Vatican City is the Janiculum, the second tallest hill in Rome. Despite it's prominence it doesn't figure among the seven hills of Rome having been west of the Tiber River and outside the walls of the ancient city. From it's location and vantage point it offers visitors one of the best natural viewing platforms to see most of the cities major landmarks.

8. Gianicolo

 

Completed in 1762, standing 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49 metres (161 ft) wide, the huge and ornate Trevi Fountain is easily one of the most famous fountains in the world. For visitors who would like to make a wish, the coins are supposedly meant to be thrown over the left shoulder using your right hand, because that's how wishes work. It's been estimated that over €3,000 are thrown into the fountain everyday.

7. Fontana Di Trevi

 

Located on Aventine Hill is the grand estate of the Villa Of The Priory Of Malta, undoubtedly best known for the Knights Of Malta Keyhole. Looking through the keyhole of this unassuming green door visitors will notice the perfect framing of the Dome Of Saint Peter's Basilica, which is then again wonderfully framed by an archway of clipped Cyprus trees.

6. Buco Della Serratura Di Cavalieri Dei Malta

 

Built in 315 AD in prime position between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill is the 21 metre (69 ft) mammoth Arch Of Constantine, the largest and last remaining Triumphal arch of ancient Rome. Having inspired famous arches around the world, notably the Arc De Triomphe in Paris and Marble Arch in London, this famous trendsetter remains in surprisingly good condition.

5. Arco Di Costantino

 

Completed in 125 AD under the watch of the Emperor Hadrian is one of the best preserved buildings of ancient Rome, the Pantheon, meaning 'Temple Of Every God'. This former temple is today a church sitting in the Piazza Della Rotonda, and even after nearly 2,000 years since it's construction the dome is still the largest un-reinforced concrete dome in the world. From the inside visitors can see some exquisite marble decor in what is a unique piece of ancient Roman architecture.

4. The Pantheon

 

Located in a small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills is a rectangular forum that holds the remains of the oldest and most important structures of ancient Rome, simply known as the Roman Forum. For centuries it operated as the centre of the city, the venue for public speeches, triumphal processions, gladiatorial matches, elections and executions, today it is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations. An area of incredible value, it has been described as the most celebrated meeting place in the world, in all of history.

3. Foro Romano

 

The smallest state in the world, unique as the only country within a city, is the sovereign State Of Vatican City.

From the great St. Peter's Square visitors can stand in front of the Renaissance church of St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church building in the world, with the tallest architectural dome on Earth. Home of the Pope, headquarters of the Roman Catholic church, between St. Peter's Basilica, The Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums they hold some of the worlds most famous and valuable sculptures and artworks, the jewel of which is undoubtedly Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Heaped in history, iconic throughout the world, the entire State Of Vatican City has been inscribed a UNESCO World Heritage Site of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance.

2. Città Del Vaticano

 

Constructed around 80 AD by the emperors of the Flavian Dynasty, even named in Latin as the Flavian Amphitheatre, it is better known throughout the world simply as the Colosseum. It is the largest amphitheatre ever built, the most popular attraction in the city, and though partially ruined by earthquakes and stone robbers it remains the iconic symbol of Imperial Rome and the country of Italy as a whole. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site of insurmountable historical importance, The Colosseum of Rome has also been recognised as one of the New 7 Wonders Of The World.

1. The Colosseum

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