HomeLifestyleTravelTravel Guides

Unveiling the Majesty of Rome: A Guide to the Top 10 Experiences

Unveiling the Majesty of Rome: A Guide to the Top 10 Experiences
Welcome to Rome, a city that stands as a testament to the intertwining of great food, awe-inspiring history, and the warm embrace of its people. Over two thousand years ago, Rome's dominion extended across one-third of the world, resulting in the creation of what many consider the best city in the world for history enthusiasts, although it also caters for those who love food, wine - and shopping.   
Often cited as one of the top destinations in Europe , no matter how many times you visit the ‘Eternal City', there’s always something new to find that you’ll love, be that delicious cuisine, stylish shops, or stunning architecture…so read on for what to see and enjoy in this fabulous city. 

1. The Colosseum 

Image of the sun shining on the Colosseum amphitheatre in Rome
A trip to Rome isn’t complete without seeing one of the most famous landmarks in Italy. The construction of the Colosseum, which is the largest amphitheatre in the world, was started by Vespasian in 72 AD, in the grounds of Nero's private Domus Aurea. The 50,000-seat arena was used to stage spectacular gladiatorial games in front of bloodthirsty spectators. The name Colosseum refers to the Colosso di Nerone, a giant statue of Nero that stood nearby.

2. Trevi Fountain

Image of a lady stood admiring The Trevi Fountain in Rome
Located in the heart of Rome's historic centre in Trevi Square near the Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona is the magnificent Fontana di Trevi. The Trevi Fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi, but he died before it was completed in 1762. Featured in films like ‘Roman Holiday’ and ‘La Dolce Vita’, the Trevi Fountain is possibly one of the most famous fountains in the world. It's considered good luck to throw a coin over your left shoulder, as this will ensure a visit back to Rome! The Trevi Fountain attracts thousands of visitors and an estimated €3000 is thrown into it every day. The best time to visit is after dinner when the crowds have subsided and the fountain is beautifully lit. Take a stroll down to the Trevi Fountain after dinner and buy a gelato on the way. The Italians love their ice-cream. There are ice-cream parlours everywhere in Rome; the ones with the longest queues are always the best.

3. Spanish Steps

Image of the Spanish Steps in Rome covered in pink flowers
If you love taking photos and people-watching, we recommend a visit to the Spanish Steps. It is always buzzing with people, both day and night, partially thanks to the shopping which features some of the most upmarket brands in the world. Hotel Eden is located on top of the steps; one of the leading hotels in the world and a perfect place to stop for a cold drink. There’s also an excellent restaurant situated right beside the Spanish Steps; it's called Alla Rampa and has the best tiramisu in the world!

4. Trastevere

Image of a street with yellow buildings along Trastevere in Rome
Trastevere is a great area to go at night. There are so many restaurants to choose from, lots of quirky boutiques and numerous bars. The atmosphere is always bustling. It is only a short taxi ride over the River Tiber, costing a few euros. Every Sunday, there is a huge flea market at Porta Portese, with traders selling everything from handbags and leather goods to religious relics. It starts early, usually about 6am and finishes around lunch time; don't miss it if you like bargain hunting.

5. The Pantheon

Image of the outside of the building at the Pantheon in Rome
One of the best preserved monuments of Ancient Rome that has remained practically intact, the Pantheon was commissioned by Agrippa between 25 and 27 BC. Originally it was a temple dedicated to the pagan gods, but since 609 AD it’s been a Catholic Church. It’s famous for its dome, which is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. At the centre of the dome is a 25-foot wide opening, the oculus, which means eye in Latin, which is the only source of natural light to come through the Pantheon.

6. Piazza della Rotonda

Image of a statue and water fountain in Piazza Delle Rotonda in Rome
A fantastic place to watch the world go by and enjoy some delicious antipasti, is in the Piazza in front of the Pantheon. Try to get a table when the sun is setting and the buildings surrounding the Pantheon come awash with beautiful terracotta colours. The main shopping area is located along Via del Corso, where all the high street labels can be found. A lovely street in Rome is Via Margutta, only a short walk from the Spanish steps. It is a really pretty street and home to trendy art galleries and boutiques.

7. Roman Forum

Image of The Roman Forum in Ancient Rome
Once the centre of day to day life in Ancient Rome, the Roman Forum was a public square which held processions, speeches, trials and gladiatorial matches. Although it is now a site of ruins, it’s still a fascinating area to explore and you can still see remnants of the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Titus, The House of the Vestal Virgins and the Temple of Julias Caesar, the site of his cremation.

8. St. Peter's Basilica

Image of St Peter's Square in Rome
This is the largest church in Christianity and the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. From the monumental colonnade by Bernini to Michelangelo’s Dome and his remarkable Pietà, St. Peter’s is one of Rome’s most memorable sights. In our opinion, the best views of Rome and its many hills are seen from the Cupola (top of the tower) in St. Peter's Basilica. The views are astonishing from the top. You can see the top of the Pantheon, the Colosseum and beautiful Villa Borghese. It is a tough climb, but completely worth it. Take plenty of water, especially if you visit between May and September.

9. Vatican Museum

Image of some statues inside the Vatican Museum in Rome
The Vatican Museum houses 54 galleries, which contains ancient and Renaissance art collected by previous Popes throughout the centuries. It’s recommended to arrive early - the doors open at 9am so aim to be there from about 7.30am. It sounds early, but this way you’ll get in quickly and won’t spend time trying to negotiate around other visitors. Plan what you want to see in advance. You will receive a map and guide when you enter, and can also opt for a handy audio guide, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the incredible works of art. Ensure that you are dressed appropriately; legs and shoulders must be covered, and hats are not permitted in certain areas. Check out the Vatican Museum website to make sure they will definitely be open on the day you plan to visit. 

10. Sistine Chapel

Image of the ceiling inside the Sistine Chapel in Rome
Within the Vatican is the Sistine Chapel, which was named after Pope Sixtus IV, who commissioned the construction, and the chapel was built between 1477 and 1480. The Sistine Chapel ceiling was painted in fresco by Michelangelo and it is considered to be his most famous masterpiece. Completed in 1512, it took the artist 4 years to paint various scenes from the Book of Genesis, including ‘The Creation of Adam. Michelangelo also painted the altar wall in fresco depicting the Last Judgement. This breath-taking renaissance artwork has to be seen in person and you could easily spend hours admiring Michelangelo’s incredible creation. 

Enjoy a Roman Adventure

It’s no wonder the Eternal city is one of the top places in the world to visit, with so many things to do and see. A holiday to Rome is a must for anyone looking to combine culture, style and architecture against a vibrant and beautiful backdrop - explore more of this amazing place on your next adventure! 
Image of a promotion for discounted travel
Travel Department is a trusted Reader’s Digest partner, who offers readers exclusive discounts across any new 2024 holidays. Click here to reveal the current money-off offers, or simply call 0203 966 0527 and mention Reader’s Digest to learn more about the savings available. 
Offers are non-transferable, subject to availability, cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and have no cash value. All deposits are non-refundable.
To keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter
This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.