Top 5 Things to Do in Rome, Italy
When in Rome
Rome is an amazing city with so much history. You have to visit Rome on a trip to Italy! I got the chance to spend a three day weekend in Rome with my best friend Elle. We took a train from Florence, Italy and stayed at the Hostel Alessandro Downtown. The following is a list of my top five must see places in Rome, although there are of course many more.
Visit the Colosseum
This amazing structure has survived almost 2,000 years! You must go inside, it’s definitely worth the wait. We bought our tickets online, which I highly suggest doing. Although we didn’t pay for a guided tour, I would definitely consider it if you are in a time crunch. Otherwise the wait is about an hour or two. Side note: for about 12 euros you can actually visit the catacombs below in a guided tour. So cool! You can buy a ticket here.
Explore the Vatican
The largest and most magnificent church in the world, the Vatican is where the Pope sits on his holy chair. Entrance into St. Peter’s Basilica is free, but you will have to pass through security and stand in what can be a very long line. It’s best to go early in the morning or later in the evening.
To pass through security, you will need to dress modestly. Your chest, shoulders, and knees must be covered up. I brought a cardigan with me to thrown on before entering. I would highly recommend climbing to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica to see the most incredible view of Rome and the Vatican. Tickets are about 5 euros; you can purchase them here.
While at the Vatican, you must explore the Vatican museum, home to one of the most spectacular art collections in the world. Tickets are about 16 euros and also grant you access into the Sistine Chapel. You can purchase your tickets in advance here. In the Sistine Chapel, you will see beautiful frescos painted by the greats; Michelangelo, Botticelli and other famous painters from the Renaissance era. The most famous fresco in the Sistine Chapel of course being The Creation of Adam. I’m warning you, the crowds are crazy! Be prepared for some elbow to elbow action.
Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
The Roman Forum was the heart of ancient Rome; a marketplace and center of public life. What is left standing, which isn’t much, is none the less impressive! Tickets into the Colosseum will also get you into the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, where the Roman Emperors built their expansive palaces.
You will be doing a lot of walking in the forum so make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes. Rome is known for spontaneous weather; we visited in July and found ourselves stuck in a rain and lightening storm. Our clothes were completely drenched and we had to duck for cover under an ancient ruin! They were selling umbrellas and ponchos in stands throughout the forum.
Visit the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II
Only a couple of hundred meters away from the Roman Forum is the Il Vittoriano. Believe it or not, it is actually one gigantic gravestone! It’s the resting place of the king who unified Italy in 1861 after over 1,000 years of war. In comparison to the Roman Forum and the Vatican, the monument is actually very new. I didn’t know this at the time, but you can actually climb to the top for a great view!
Climb the Spanish Steps
The Spanish steps (or the Scalinate di Trinita dei Monti) is the most famous staircase in the world. It was completely crowded with tourists when we visited during the late afternoon but well worth the visit. We sat at the bottom of the steps to rest our feet. Many had the same idea in mind. There are water fountains at the bottom of the steps where you can fill you water bottles. There are separate water spouts, no one is allowed to go in or touch the water. We were lucky to have gone in the summer when flowers blossom along the steps.
Other cool things to see:
The Trevi Fountain: It was under construction when I was there 🙁
The Pantheon: A 2,000 year old temple from the medieval times that was transformed into a church.
Stroll around the Piazzas: Rome has many!
Campo de’ Fioro Food Market: Knab some authentic roman food.