The Ancient Romans believed that the City of Rome would always stand no matter how many empires rose and fell, gaining its nickname the Eternal City. Just as they perhaps prophesied, the Roman Empire is long gone but relics of its past still endure today, with each significant era adding its stamp to the city. These famous landmarks of Rome entice history buffs like me to visit this city – not once but over and over again.
The famous Roman landmarks are indeed some of the best in the world. The sheer volume of historical sites in Rome is immense – and archaeologists are still discovering more of these historic and cultural artifacts. From an Ancient Wonder of the World to the birthplace of a legend, I have put together a list of the most famous landmarks in Rome Italy that just should not be missed.
Along with the key highlights of Rome and its landmarks, I have included useful tips on the entrances, tours and timings. These will be very handy when you finally plan your Rome itinerary.
Quick links to help you with your trip to Rome
- There are tons of hotels, B&Bs and luxury stays in Rome that are listed on Booking.com. You can browse and choose one here.
- GetYourGuide is a great place to book Rome tours, skip-the-line tickets and even transfers. Here are five of the highly rated activities booked on the site which I think you might find useful.
- Viator.com is another website that offers great tours and tickets online. You can check what they offer in Rome through this link.
- For any of your travel needs or general shopping, consider using Amazon through this link.
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you for supporting me with this.
- 1 A brief history of Rome
- 2 Best and famous landmarks of Rome, Italy
- 2.1 1. The Colosseum – the most famous Roman landmarks
- 2.2 2. Roman Forum – one of the ancient Rome attractions
- 2.3 3. Palatine Hill – another one of those landmarks in ancient Rome
- 2.4 4. Trevi Fountain
- 2.5 5. Spanish Steps
- 2.6 6. Castel Sant’Angelo
- 2.7 7. Piazza Navona – one of the must see places in Rome
- 2.8 8. Monument to Victor Emmanuel II – one of the famous landmarks in Rome
- 2.9 9. Borghese Gallery and Museum
- 2.10 10. Piazza del Popolo
- 2.11 11. The Pantheon – one of the most important places in Rome
- 2.12 12. Vatican Museum
- 2.13 13. St Peter’s Basilica – one of the best landmarks in Rome.
- 2.14 14. Catacombs of Rome
- 2.15 15. Capuchin Crypt – another hidden Roman landmark
- 2.16 16. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
- 2.17 17. Domus Aurea – one of the buried famous landmarks of Rome
- 2.18 18. Baths of Caracalla
- 2.19 19. Circus Maximus
- 2.20 20. Largo di Torre Argentina – the latest among the famous landmarks of Rome
- 2.21 21. Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
- 3 Final thoughts on Rome’s famous landmarks
A brief history of Rome
According to a legend, Rome was founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus – who were two brothers raised by a she-wolf. From there, it became a republic that was ruled by the Senate and the Roman people. The kingdom was quite significant and covered almost all of Italy and parts of France, Spain, Turkey, North Africa, and Greece. If I may say, the Romans were like the ancient version of the Avengers – except that they had swords instead of superhero powers.
In 27 BCE, the republic came to an end and the Roman Empire with Julius Caesar as its first dictator took over. The empire continued to expand and become one of the most powerful empires in history. This is the period when many of the historical places in Rome came into existence like the Colosseum. This was where the legendary gladiator games took place.
Over the centuries, Rome went through various ups and downs, from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the rise of the Catholic Church. It became the focal point of the Papal States – which was basically a region ruled by the Pope. The popes of Rome were not just spiritual leaders but also political leaders, that had considerable power and influence throughout Europe. Even today, you will sense this charisma of the Popes when you visit Vatican City – one of the famous landmarks in Rome, Italy.
In the 14th century, Rome was hit hard by the Black Death that caused the city’s population to decline sharply. Around the same time, Rome was got attacked by several other kingdoms including the Normans, the Saracens, and the Holy Roman Empire.
During the Renaissance, Rome got its share of artistic and cultural achievements with artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci. This is when some of the most popular artistic works were created.
Napolean briefly took over Rome in the 1790s and made it a part of his French empire. Later with Mussolini at its seat, Rome became an integral part of World War II. Rome was heavily bombed, causing significant damage to many of its historic buildings and monuments. However, post the war, the city recovered and grew to become one of the most vibrant cultural and heritage centers of the world.
Best and famous landmarks of Rome, Italy
With that kind of history, you know that you are in for a treat. These famous places in Rome range from ancient ruins to gorgeous churches and monuments. Depending on the time that you plan to spend in Rome, you can cover all or at least some of these attractions. Note that most of these Roman landmarks are closed on 25th December, 1st January and 1st May. Most of the places restrict entry at least one hour prior to closure.
I highly recommend buying one of these Rome City cards for your tour of the city. It gives you access to transport across the city as well as discounts to a lot of attractions. You might be able to save a lot. The Hop-on-Hop-off bus is another great way to get around these ancient Rome landmarks. With that, let’s go and check out these landmarks and the most beautiful places in Rome.
1. The Colosseum – the most famous Roman landmarks
Let’s start with the most famous landmarks in Rome. One of the Ancient Wonders of the World, the Colosseum is an enormous Roman amphitheater that opened to the public in 80 CE. In its heyday, it could seat up to 50,000 spectators with a busy entertainment schedule of fearsome gladiator contests, exotic animal hunts, dramas and public executions.
The Colosseum fell into disrepair after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. It served as a fortress during the 12th century and became a quarry in the late 15th century. Some much-needed state-funded restoration was finally granted in the 1990s and the project is still ongoing. Even so, the scale of this gigantic amphitheater had me in awe.
You need to book tickets to go inside and see what remains of the Colosseum. There are special tours that take you through the labyrinths and maze that lie below the main Colosseum dias. It’s still an events space but for obvious reasons, the entertainment is much more tame, tending to be music concerts.
Don’t miss the view from the top of the Colosseum. You get some awesome panoramic views of Rome. The Colosseum is one of the most famous places to visit in Rome and there is just no omitting this from your itinerary. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
- Colosseum tours and tickets: A combined ticket to the Colosseum with the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill costs € 22. There are several other options including special access to the Arena floor and a guided tour. Here are two of the most highly-rated online bookings that you can consider
- Colosseum timings: Between March to September, the Colosseum is open from 9 am to 7 pm. During October, the closing time is reduced by half an hour to 6:30 pm. For the rest of the year, the timings are from 9 am to 4:30 pm.
2. Roman Forum – one of the ancient Rome attractions
Despite its rubble appearance, the Roman Forum is arguably one of the most important historical landmarks in Rome. The collection of ruins once made up the beating heart of the Roman Empire. It was the epicenter of politics, commerce and religion. Here, public meetings were held and laws were passed in government buildings.
There were shops and an open-air marketplace. Some of the most imposing religious temples in the city were also found here. Sadly, not a huge amount remains of such an important part of Roman civilization, but remnants of buildings do still stand today.
You can still see the Arch of Titus, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Curia and the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina which was converted into a Catholic church in the 17th century. One of the unmissable ancient Rome landmarks here is the Arch of Septimius Severus. This is a victory arch is one of the perfect examples of Roman craftsmanship.
Another impressive thing to see at the Roman Forum is the Via Sacra. This was the main road that ran through the Forum, and it’s where all the important processions and ceremonies took place. Make sure you walk along this ancient road. It is almost as if you are stepping back in time.
- Roman Forum tours and tickets: This is a combined ticket available with the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Experience tour is one of the highly-rated tours that you can book online.
- Roman Forum timings: The Roman Forum is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm on all days.
3. Palatine Hill – another one of those landmarks in ancient Rome
Above the Roman Forum is Palatine Hill, the cradle of the Roman Empire. It was here that the city was founded and archaeological remains range from prehistoric to imperial palaces.
The Palatine serves as the site of the legend of Romulus and Remus, twin brothers who were raised by a wolf in a cave. It became a fashionable district for the Roman aristocracy and emperors built their palaces here.
Many of the Roman homes fell into disrepair after the fall of the empire but the site saw a resurgence in interest during the Italian Renaissance. Palatine Hill now has a mix of Renaissance and Roman architecture.
Head over to the Farnese Gardens for some stunning views of the city. The House of Augustus is one of those historical monuments in Rome that will take you back to the royal life of the Romans. This ancient palace belonged to the Roman Emperor Augustus and you can see the remains of what might have been its frescoed interiors.
Talking of excavations, you should definitely make some time for the Palatine Museum. This museum is home to some of the most important artifacts and exhibits from the hill, including ancient statues, frescoes, and mosaics.
There is so much to see in this historic landmark of Rome. You need at least an hour to cover it all.
- Palatine tours and tickets: There are various types of tickets available for Palatine hill – that includes walks, guided tours and just entrance tickets. Here are the two most popular options that many travelers opt for.
- Palatine Hill timings: This attraction in Rome is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm on all days.
4. Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain is one of the most popular Rome landmarks – at least on social media. Found in a square down winding cobblestone streets, the fountain is on the site of one of the oldest water sources in Rome. Water was collected here from as early as 19 BCE.
The fountain you see today was designed by architect Nicola Salvi in 1730 and construction was completed in 1762 by Giuseppe Pannini. The architecture of the fountain is in the late Baroque style with a nod to Ancient Rome depicted in its statues. The most prominent central figure is Oceanus, god of the sea (and waterways depending on who you ask!), pulled by horses in a chariot shaped like a shell.
The fountain represents abundance and health and the water here was once the favorite among Romans but sadly, it’s now non-potable. For the best time to visit Trevi Fountain, read my Rome itinerary.
Trevi Fountain is one of those tourist sites in Rome that is almost always crowded. It is hard to find an empty frame to capture this fountain. You will always find people tossing coins into the water. Reason being a legend that says if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, you’ll be guaranteed a return trip to Rome. And yes, just for fun I did it too! Still waiting to return to Rome and add more to this list of famous landmarks in Rome.
- Trevi fountain tickets: There are no entrance fees for this Roman landmark. Visiting it is one of the free things to do in Rome
- Trevi Fountain timings: It is open throughout the day.
5. Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps are another 18th-century Baroque masterpiece in Rome. They were originally built to make it easier to climb the steep hill and reach the church perched on top. They were commissioned by the French who owned the church at the time. Next door to it was the Bourbon Spanish Embassy.
A competition was held to design a set of steps and it was won by architect Francesco de Sanctis. The steps were officially opened in 1725 and represented a symbol of peace between France and Spain.
Much like many of Rome’s antiquities, the Spanish Steps were neglected until a restoration project in 2016 restored them to their former glory. There are 135 steps in total and once you reach the top, you’re rewarded with views across Rome. You might even spot the dome of St Peter’s Basilica in the distance. These steps are one of those famous sights in Rome that you might have seen in popular movies like The Roman Holiday.
- Spanish steps tickets: You can climb the Spanish steps for free
- Spanish steps timings: It is open throughout the day.
6. Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo is a striking cylindrical building that sits on the banks of the River Tiber. It is one of the famous Rome landmarks that you are bound to see when you head to Vatican City. It was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to be a mausoleum for himself and his family in 123-139 CE.
The tall, imposing tower was used as a fortress and castle due to its proximity to the Vatican and Ponte Sant-Angelo, one of Rome’s most important bridges. Popes were able to access it via a secret passage and even an emperor or two sought refuge during times of trouble.
It was eventually used as military barracks and prison until 1901 when restoration began. It’s now a museum that documents its history as a Roman mausoleum, papal apartments and military base. While you are here, you should try and book a guided tour of these labyrinths. This is perfect to help you discover the secrets that lie within the walls of one of the most intriguing Rome historical sites.
- Castel Sant’Angelo tickets: Here are the recommended combinations that you can book online
- Castel Sant’Angelo timings: This monument cum museum is open from 9 am to 7:30 pm everyday.
Featured in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, this is one of the most famous squares in the center of Rome. Piazza Navona is a Baroque open public space that was built where the Stadium of Domitian once stood. Its oval shape gives away its past as an Ancient Roman stadium that hosted chariot races and athletics in 86 CE.
In true Baroque fashion, the square is home to a collection of beautiful fountains. The biggest one is ‘La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi’ built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Each of its stone characters represents Donau, Ganges, Nile and Rio de la Plata rivers. On top of it sits a 16-meter-high Egyptian obelisk. There are several shops, caricature artists and street performers in the square.
You can visit the Museo di Roma and the ruins of Stadio di Domiziano located in the square. Both these attractions of Piazza Navona are ticketed and have set timings.
- Piazza Navona tickets: There are no tickets to visit the square by itself. However, you will need to buy tickets to visit the Stadio di Domiziano and the museum. The Rome City card includes access to this museum
- Piazza Navona timings: The square is open through the day and you can get here to browse the various shops around the place. Stadio di Domiziano as well as Museo di Roma is open from 10 am to 7 pm.
8. Monument to Victor Emmanuel II – one of the famous landmarks in Rome
Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (sometimes referred to as the Altar of the Fatherland), is an imposing landmark built between 1885 and 1935 to commemorate the first king of a unified Italy.
The white marble monument has a neoclassical style and at seventy meters tall, it dominates the skyline. An enormous bronze statue of Victor Emmanual II takes pride of place in the centre while two chariots are on either side of the portico. It wasn’t appreciated by everyone though and some of its less flattering nicknames include ‘the typewriter’ and the ‘wedding cake.’
The monument houses a museum, a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a viewing terrace from which you can admire the views of the city. It’s positioned close to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, creating a bridge between the city’s ancient and modern past.
- Monument to Victor Emmanuel II tour: The viewing terrace is a ticketed entry. You can buy one here with an audio guide.
- Walks City Tour: Piazza Navona, Pantheon & Trevi Fountain
- Monument to Victor Emmanuel II timings: This is open from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm
9. Borghese Gallery and Museum
If you’re an art lover, Borghese Gallery and Museum is a must-visit. The gallery building is a landmark in itself, housed inside the former Villa Borghese Pinciana, an estate for Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 17th century.
It was later turned into a gallery to show off the cardinal’s extensive art collection. He had a penchant for Caravaggio and Bernini. Much of his collection remains in the gallery today, alongside works by Rafael, Bassano and Titian.
The Borghese Gallery is set within a garden which once saw lavish parties hosted by the cardinal. The Villa Borghese Gardens are the third-largest public park in Rome. They have sculptures, a fountain, a lake, and museums, plus they’re free to enter.
- Borghese Gallery and Museum: There is no entrance fee
- Borghese Gallery and Museum timings: This is open from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm
10. Piazza del Popolo
Another famous square in Rome, Piazza del Popolo is one of the largest in Rome. Many of its elements span a period of 300 years to serve as an entrance to visitors entering Rome from the north. The layout you can see today was designed between 1811 and 1822.
The name, meaning, ‘people’s square’ in Italian, was actually inspired by the poplar trees that populated the vicinity. This is one of the best sites to see in Rome where you’ll find a 16th-century reconstruction of the medieval gate within the Aurelian Walls. Called the Porta del Popolo, the Italian sculptor Bernini decorated the inside of the gate for the arrival of Queen Christina of Sweden.
The other ancient Rome sites in this square include an Egyptian obelisk from the 13th century BCE which was brought to Ancient Rome by Emperor Augustus. You will also, love the various fountains here like the Fontana della dea di Roma which have the statues of baby Remus and Romulus suckling their mother.
- Piazza del Popolo tickets – There is no entrance fee
- Piazza del Popolo tickets timings – The place is open from 9 am to 9 pm
11. The Pantheon – one of the most important places in Rome
The Pantheon is an Ancient Roman temple that was dedicated to all the gods of the time. Since 609 CE, it’s been a Catholic church which is most likely why it’s so well-preserved for an ancient relic. It is one of the most recognized ancient Roman landmarks
Located in Piazza della Rotunda, the Pantheon is famous for its portico of large granite columns and for having the largest unsupported dome in the world.
Side note, if all these landmarks have got you feeling peckish, I recommend popping over to Antica Salumeria. This is an old-fashioned delicatessen next door to the Pantheon. It sells snacks and Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region.
- Pantheon tickets – Check these tickets and audio guides that you can book online
- Pantheon timings: You can visit this Roman attraction from 9 am to 6:30 pm
12. Vatican Museum
While exactly in Rome, the Vatican is an unmistakable landmark within the city. Technically an autonomous city-state, Vatican City is of huge cultural significance to the Italian capital as it’s the seat of the Catholic church and home of the pope.
The city-state has a collection of important cultural landmarks including the Vatican Museums where the Sistine Chapel is located. The chapel is most famous for its ceiling frescoes which were painted by Michelangelo over a period of four years. They’re widely regarded as some of his greatest masterpieces. The museum also has a collection of rare carpets – one with a picture of Jesus whose eyes follow you as you walk past it. There is a lovely section of Etruscan artifacts that take you back to the early history of Rome.
I honestly felt the time wasn’t enough when I visited the Vatican Museum. It is truly a treasure trove for history buffs.
- Vatican Museum tickets – Check these tickets and audio guides that you can book online
- Vatican Museum timings – This museum is open from 9 am to 6 pm from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, except for the special festival days, you can visit from 9 am to 2 pm . Entry is free on Sundays.
13. St Peter’s Basilica – one of the best landmarks in Rome.
As I mentioned, Vatican City is a separate country/ state. However, when in Rome, missing out on visiting this is like not ticking off your master list of places to see in Rome.
St Peter’s Square and St Peter’s Basilica, an important pilgrimage site and one of the Catholic church’s holiest temples. The sheer scale of the place is in itself one of the most remarkable things about it. Besides that, the place is home to Michelangelo’s famous Pieta and Bernini’s incredible baldachin. You can even visit the various tombs and crypts that are located beneath the church. From the resting places of various popes to the incredible ancient mosaics, there’s plenty to explore at one of the most famous Roman landmarks.
It is one of my favorite historical places in Rome – more so after the thrilling Dan Brown books.
- St Peter’s Basilica tickets – Check these tickets and audio guides that you can book online
- St. Peter’s Basilica timings – The Basilica will be open from 7 am to 7 pm. During winters (from October to March), the closing time is reduced by 30 mins.
14. Catacombs of Rome
The Catacombs of Rome is one of those mysterious places in ancient Rome. They are an underground network of tunnels and chambers that were used for burials and religious ceremonies in ancient times. These are spread throughout Rome, however, only five of them are open to the public. These include Catacombs of San Callisto, the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, Catacombs of Domitilla , Catacombs of Priscilla and Catacombs of Sant’Agnese.
The dreary atmosphere of these underground tunnels is offset by the intricate frescoes and mosaics that adorn its walls. Each of these catacombs has its own unique history. I highly recommend a guided tour of these catacombs to make the best of your visit to these underground landmarks of Rome.
- Catacombs tickets – Here are two highly rated tours of the Roman Catacombs
- Roman Catacombs timings – These catacombs are open between 9 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm. However, each of these catacombs operates only on specific days of the week.
- Catacombs of Sant’Agnese – open from Tuesday to Saturday
- Catacombs of San Callisto – open from Thursday to Tuesday
- Catacombs of Priscilla – open from Tuesday to Sunday
- Catacombs of San Sebastiano – Monday to Saturday
- Catacombs of Domitilla – Open from Wednesday to Monday
Located beneath the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, the Capuchin Crypt in Rome is a unique and fascinating attraction of the world. Some might even find it dreary and disturbing for the place is decorated with the bones of over 4,000 Capuchin friars. Yikes!
Nonetheless this 17th century crypt owes its origin to the Capuchin friars who had just moved to Rome. They decorated the crypt with the bones of their deceased brothers. You will see that these bones cover the walls and ceilings of the crypt.
There are five different chapels – each one with a unique unique design and theme. In fact, they are even named after the bones that are used to decorate them – such as the Crypt of the Skulls, the Crypt of the Pelvises, and the Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thigh Bones.
- Capuchin Crypt tickets – Some of the recommended tours and entry tickets include –
- Capuchin Crypt timings – This is open from 9 am to 7 pm on all days
16. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Another must-see Rome Italy landmarks is this legendary Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. The place is filled with stories – including one related to its construction. As the story goes, a wealthy Roman couple named John and his wife were visited by the Virgin Mary in a dream. She told them to build a church in her honor on the site where it would snow the next day. The couple was skeptical, as it was the middle of summer and snow was unlikely, but the next day it did snow miraculously on the Esquiline Hill.
John and his wife visited Pope Liberius who had a similar dream. Following this, the Pope began the construction of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore on that very hill. To date, people shower white petals on 5th August – the day when the couple had their dream.
Legend aside, the Basilica by itself is a work of art. It features a mix of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque. You will be stunned with the mosaic and fresco work within the church. It is believed that the golden ceiling inside is made with the first Gold that Columbus got from America. There are also, other stories of the wood from Jesus’ crib being used for the altar.
The stunning Basilica is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Rome and deserves to be on your list of Roman attractions.
- Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore tickets: There are no entrance tickets. However, given that this place is fraught with stories, you should consider a guided tour.
- Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore timings: This is open from 7 am to 6:45 pm every day.
17. Domus Aurea – one of the buried famous landmarks of Rome
Domus Aurea, or the “Golden House,” is an opulent palace built by the notorious Emperor Nero after the great fire of 64 AD. The devastating fire destroyed a large part of the city and that is when Nero used the calamity as an opportunity to create a grand palace that would be the envy of the world. There are rumors that the evil man possibly created the fire himself just to achieve his dream.
This palace was spread around 50 hectares and included 300 rooms, grand gardens, an artificial lake, and even a rotating dining room. It is believed that palace was decorated with the finest marble and had elaborate wall-paintings as well as gilded colonnades. After Nero’s death, the palace was abandoned and eventually buried by the emperor Trajan, who built the Baths of Trajan on the site. It was only in the 15th century that the palace was rediscovered.
Domus Aurea is one of those famous landmarks of Rome that has got buried under the sands of time. However, slowly a lot has been excavated and you can visit the ruins of what is left of its incredible artwork through an exclusive tour. There are limited capacities and hence, it is better to book one early.
- Domus Aurea tours: Consider one of these guided tours that have been rated high
- Domus Aurea timings: Tours are available from 9 am to 5 pm on all days
18. Baths of Caracalla
Roman baths was not just a place for bathing. It was more of a place where people could socialize. Every Roman bath complex included a variety of different activities, such as theater performances, sports competitions, and even political meetings. These baths are important Roman historical places and among them, I would recommend visiting the Baths of Caracalla.
The Baths of Caracalla were one of the largest public bath complexes of ancient Rome. Built between 212 and 216 AD during the reigns of emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla, these were designed to accommodate up to 1600 bathers. The vast complex was spread over 30 acres and included facilities, such as hot and cold baths, saunas, exercise rooms, and even a library. Covered with beautiful mosaics, sculptures, and frescoes, they were a sight to behold.
For me, the most impressive feature of the Baths of Caracalla was the heating system that involved a series of underground furnaces to heat water and air. These were in turn circulated through the baths to provide warmth and steam. This ancient technology was so effective that it was used as a model for other bath complexes throughout the Roman Empire.
A lot of these structures have been destroyed but there is enough remaining for you to visit and imagine what life in ancient Rome might have been. This is definitely one of the most fascinating ancient Rome places that you should add to your Rome itinerary.
- Baths of Caracalla tickets: You can prebook your tickets through this link.
- Baths of Caracalla timings: You can visit these Baths from 9 am to 6:30 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays. On Mondays, this is open only from 9 am to 2 pm.
19. Circus Maximus
One of the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome and its later Empire, Circus Maximus used to be a Roman chariot-racing stadium. It was built in the 6th century BCE and had seating for over 150,000 spectators.
The races were held in the central arena of the stadium and were incredibly dangerous, with drivers often crashing and being thrown from their chariots.
Not much is left of this famous landmark of Rome. A lot of it was destroyed by Mussolini and today, you can only see small remains of its stands and contours when you visit the Circus Maximus. It is best to combine this with a visit to Palatine Hill. To me, though small, it showcased the scale of grandeur that might have been back then – after all, it was bigger than the Colosseum.
- Circus Maximus tickets: You can enter the place for free
- Circus Maximus timings – There are no timings for this Rome attraction
20. Largo di Torre Argentina – the latest among the famous landmarks of Rome
Up until recently, Largo di Torre Argentina was a square in Rome known for its unique cat sanctuary. The home to over 300 cats, this square has now become a major historical site in Rome.
The square is home to the remains of four Roman Republican temples and Pompey’s Theatre, which was built in 55 BC. The temples were dedicated to various gods and goddesses, including Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. In addition to that, you have a new attraction to visit – the Area Sacra.
Area Sacra is a sunken area in the square that is believed to be the site of Julius Caesar’s assassination. According to legend, Caesar was killed in the area by his political rivals on March 15, 44 BC.
When you visit Largo di Torre Argentina, you will be able to see the remains of the ancient temples and walk on the same ground where Caesar met his untimely end.
- Largo di Torre Argentina tickets: You can enter the place for free
- Largo di Torre Argentina timings: You can visit here between 9 am to 7:30 pm
Largo di Torre Argentina tickets:
21. Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
Most of you know of Emperor Constantine. The Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano is special because it was built by him in the 4th century. Also, known as the Basilica of St. John Lateran, this Roman monument is considered the mother church of all churches in the Catholic faith.
The church is known for its stunning architecture and artwork, including its impressive façade, its ornate interior, and its impressive collection of art and relics. The frescoes on the ceiling were designed by Michaelangelo but actually built by his apprentice. It is believed that the green doors of church were originally a part of the senate building of Rome. There are several other interesting things within the church like the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, and the tomb of Pope Martin V.
While here, you should hop over to the Scala Santa, or Holy Stairs. This is a bonus attraction that I am sharing, which is right across the church. These legendary stairs are believed to be the same ones that Jesus climbed when he was brought before Pontius Pilate.
- Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano tickets: There is free admission to the church. However, for the museum, you will need to buy tickets.
- Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Lateran timings: You can visit here between 9 am to 6:30 pm
Final thoughts on Rome’s famous landmarks
Rome’s enduring historic landmarks make this city a must-visit for culture, history, religion and art. They’re some of Europe’s most culturally significant.
Catch a glimpse of an ancient city that became an empire, follow in the footsteps of emperors and discover where artists created their masterpieces. It’s all here in the famous landmarks of Rome – the Eternal City.
Before you go, pin this
This post has been contributed by my guest author – Francesca Brooking. She is a freelance writer and founder of Little Lost Travel, a sustainable travel blog. On her blog, she writes about eco-friendly packing tips, destination guides for nature lovers and ethical wildlife attractions. Francesca believes that sustainable travel can have a profound positive impact both on the traveler and the destinations they visit. She’s passionate about small businesses and projects that use tourism to give back to the local community. You can get in touch with her on Instagram.
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