Sightseeing Rome

Sightseeing Rome

Whether you take your city break only for a weekend, or maybe even for a week, there is always enough to see. In any case, you can’t do without a visit to the Coliseum and the Vatican, but there are many more sights to see. Experience Italy’s magic in its wonderful squares as Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Navona. Throw your coin in the Trevi fountain to ensure your return to Rome and enjoy the view from the Altare della Patria or the Villa Borghese park. In case you want the work to be done for you, a sightseeing tour might be a good option. Many of the hop on hop off tours reach landmarks as the Coliseum and the Vatican. For free walking tours (on tip basis) to the Coliseum, the Vatican or the centre, all starting at the Piazza di Spagna, see

Vatican City

Rome is not only a big city, but also houses the mini-state of the Vatican, the last territory where the pope is in power. This small piece of land contains the Saint Peter’s Basilica and square, the Vatican museum, and the offices and personal spaces of the pope. The church is the biggest in the world and offers space for 60,000 churchgoers. It originates from the 16th century when Rome was on the rise. Pope Julius II in 1505 took the initiative to substitute the old and neglected church where Saint Peter’s grave was located by a much greater religious site. The square with its characteristic columns was designed by the great architect Bernini, whilst the famous dome and the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, visible in the Vatican museums, bear the signature of Michelangelo. Nowadays you’ll have to queue a while at the security before you can enter and amaze the great art works inside the church. Examples are the famous Pietà by Michelangelo at the entrance and Bernini’s baldachin.
San Pietro in Vaticano, Piazzale di San Paolo, metro stop Cipro (line A).

Parks and panoramas

Although not noted as a green city, Rome has some nice parks to offer. The best known is the big heart-shaped Villa Borghese, with its pond, palms, and golf carts rental. Along the green alleys also find the Modern Art Gallery and the Villa Borghese museum. From the side of Flaminio, you have a nice view over the central and Western parts of the city. To see the city from a bigger height, take the walk (or the bus) up to piazzale Garibaldi. This square forms the top of the Janiculum hill on the other side of the city, to the south of the popular neighbourhood Trastevere. The spot is dedicated to Italian unification fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi. Sitting on a horseback, his statue is pointing towards the Vatican, which he defeated. Another lovely panorama place is the Garden of Oranges at the Aventine hill – one of Rome seven hills. It is in walking distance from Coliseum and the Roman Forum. This little park with orange trees is a favourite spot for wedding photos for couples getting married in the nearby Santa Sabina or San Anselmo churches. A great location for a sunset pic with St. Peter’s in the background! Finally, to have a view over the centre, you might want to climb the Altare della Patria on Piazza Venezia. The monument to king Vittorio Emanuele also functions as a museum on Italy’s arising in the 19th century, an exhibition centre, and a panorama point.
Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo. Metro stop Flaminio (line A)
Piazzale Giuseppe Garibaldi, bus 870.
Giardino delle Arance (Garden of oranges), Via di Santa Sabina, metro stop Circo Massimo (line B).
Altare della Patria, Piazza Venezia.

Trevi Fountain

Yet another iconic Roman image: in Federico’s Fellini Oscar winning movie La Dolce Vita, the Swedish diva Anita Ekberg took a nightly bath in this huge fountain. Nowadays, the baroque fountain attracts a lot of tourists. They take in mind the common assertion that those who throw a coin in the fountain, with the right arm over the left shoulder, are sure to return to the eternal city. The carved statue has lots of ornaments and displays the Roman god of the sea, Neptune. The area is filled with ice cream stores and elegant souvenir shops.
Piazza di Trevi, metro stop Barberini (A)

Experience life on squares

If there is one amazing thing about the Mediterranean that we are lacking in Northern European countries, it is the ability to live life outside, go to a square, and just be there. In every village in Italy, the central square is a natural meeting point for inhabitans of all generations, and though a first class tourist destination, Rome is no exception. The major squares of Rome are Piazza di Spagna, where you’ll find yet another magnificent fountain. The Spanish steps, in some seasons full of flowers, not only make a nice picture, but also are a great place to sit down for a moment. The Piazza Navona, the former stadium of emperor Domitian, is now decorated by three fountains. The central fountain is Bernini\\\'s masterpiece. This fountain of the four streams includes four rivers for the continents known at the the time when it was built (1651).
With a bit of fantasy, looking at the objects near the four male figures, you might be able to recognise the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube, and the Rio de la Plata. A third square that can’t be missed is the Campo dei Fiori – enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of this small space during the market day or for an aperitivo in the early evening or a cocktail at night.
Piazza di Spagna, metro stop Spagna (A)
Piazza Navona
Campo dei Fiori, Piazza Campo de’ Fiori

More of classic Rome

Obviously, in a city with such a history as Rome, there are more ancient buildings to admire than the Coliseum and the Roman Forum (see the section Attractions). Located in the plain centre, there is the Ara Pacis, or Peace Altar. This classic work of Roman art dedicated to peace is build under emperor Augustus. It is currently displayed in a hypermodern museum of glass and white concrete. The controversial design is seen as an intruder between the classic atmosphere of the city. Another piece of interest from ancient Rome is the Bocca della Verità or Mouth of Truth. This giant image of human head on marble probably displays a river god. Since the Middle Ages, it is known as a lie detector. Many visitors challenge the legend that your hand will be bitten off if you tell a lie when putting your hand in its mouth. There is still much intact of the Theatre of Marcellus, which predates the Coliseum by a century. It was started by Julius Caesar, but only finished by his successor Augustus. The ancient high arches were loved by rich Roman families who ensured that the building, now used for apartments, survived years of history.
Ara Pacis, Lungotevere in Augusta
Bocca della Verità, Piazza della Bocca della Verità
Teatro di Marcello, Via del Teatro Marcello, 10

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