The city of Rome, nestled in the Lazio region of Italy, serves as the country’s capital and is also its largest city. The great thing about Rome, especially for tourists, is how the city is divided. There are a number of sections and each has its own attractions. The Modern Centre is located in the heart of the city and is home to the majority of Rome’s hotels and restaurants. Along with the multitude of restaurants, you can find plenty of shopping along the famous shopping street known as Via Veneto, it’s the Rome equivalent of London’s Bond street. Other attractions in this part of the city include the Trevi fountain and Castro Pretorio.
Old Rome is just east of the Modern Centre and contains the structures built during medieval times and during the Renaissance. There are a number of plazas to view as well as some beautiful cathedrals and a few restaurants sprinkled throughout this section. Perhaps its best known feature is the Pantheon, built originally in 27 B.C. by Marcus Agrippa. It has been rebuilt a couple of times in centuries past and has been remarkably well preserved since it was last reconstructed around 202 A.D. This beautiful structure is definitely a must-see.
Of course, what tour of Rome would be complete without a stop in the Vatican City? This section of Rome is actually a separate city state and features a myriad of sights to see as well as museums full of interesting relics and other items. South of the Vatican is the section known as Trastevere. This is a relatively simple section of the city with cobblestone streets and beautiful plazas. This is widely considered to be the artistic centre of Rome.
The North, the largest of Rome’s sections, features elegant neighbourhoods with gorgeous houses. The best known of these are Solario and Parioli. Also located here are the Spanish Steps. Adjacent to the North Center is the section called Nomentaro. This section is mostly neighbourhoods, but its standout feature is the amazing night life you’ll find in its San Lorenzo district.
Colosseo is another of the most famous sections of Rome. As its name suggests, this section is home to the Colosseum. This is quite possibly the most awe-inspiring structure in the entire city and is an absolute must-see. Along with the Colosseum, this section features many other structures from ancient Rome. The Capitoline is located here along with its museums. The Roman Forum, the Markets of Trajan, and the Forum of Augustus are also in this section and should not be missed.
Aventino-Testaccio and Esquilino-San Giovanni are the two remaining sections of the city. The first is the part of the city that you might overlook as it is mostly neighbourhoods, but there are a number of surprising things to see and some great cuisine as well. The second features an indoor market and the beautiful Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, the largest piazza in Rome. Also in the Esquilino section is the Basilica of St John Lateran. It is the oldest Basilica in Rome and is a grand structure that you’ll definitely want to see.
Top attractions in Rome
Here are some of the top attractions to visit in Rome:
- Colosseum: A magnificent amphitheater built in the 1st century AD, the Colosseum is an iconic symbol of ancient Rome and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Vatican City: Explore the Vatican Museums, home to breathtaking masterpieces like the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world.
- Roman Forum: The Roman Forum was the centre of political, social, and commercial life in ancient Rome. It’s a sprawling archaeological site with ruins of ancient temples, basilicas, and government buildings.
- Pantheon: This well-preserved ancient Roman temple is dedicated to all the gods. Its impressive dome and interior design make it a must-see attraction.
- Trevi Fountain: One of Rome’s most famous landmarks, the Trevi Fountain is a Baroque masterpiece. Be sure to throw a coin into the fountain, as legend says it ensures your return to Rome.
- Spanish Steps: Located in the heart of Rome, the Spanish Steps is a monumental staircase with 135 steps that lead up to the Trinità dei Monti church. It’s a popular gathering spot with a charming atmosphere.
- Piazza Navona: This lively square features stunning Baroque architecture and three magnificent fountains, including the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Enjoy the street performers, cafes, and vibrant atmosphere.
- Villa Borghese: Rome’s largest public park, Villa Borghese offers beautiful gardens, a lake, museums, and galleries. You can rent bicycles or take a leisurely stroll to enjoy the serene surroundings.
- Castel Sant’Angelo: Originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, Castel Sant’Angelo later became a fortress and papal residence. The castle offers panoramic views of the city and houses a museum.
- Trastevere: Cross the Tiber River to discover the bohemian neighbourhood of Trastevere. Wander through its narrow streets, enjoy the local trattorias, and soak up the lively, artistic atmosphere.
Remember, Rome has countless other attractions, including museums, churches, and archaeological sites. Exploring the city on foot will lead you to hidden gems and allow you to experience the unique charm of the Eternal City.