Rome is one of the most popular and ancient cities in Europe. It has a long history and the oldest river bridge still stands there since Ponte Fabricio was built in 62 BC. Besides, it holds remains of various civilizations that came into existence and later disappeared under layers of time. Rome is also famous for its religious buildings and architecture, such as the Pantheon or Colosseum.
But those who come to Rome do not only want to see ancient structures. They want to discover the city and its history. This is why in Rome there are many places that show how it has evolved and what has influenced its culture.
Here we present 10 top sights to see in Rome:
1. The Pantheon – Piazza Della Rotonda (the square with round temple)
This is one of the best-preserved buildings of Ancient Rome. It is believed that the name was given to this building by the king, Agrippa. More facts about it include the fact that the Pantheon was built in 27 BC by Marcus Agrippa (the son of Augustus), and it served as a temple to all the Roman gods. When you are inside it, keep in mind that there are no pillars supporting the roof structure, which is unique to this building among all the others that were built by the Ancient Romans.
2. Basilica di San Clemente
One of the most important religious sights in Rome is Basilica di San Clemente. The cathedral has been built over a 4th-century church. In other words, it was built on several successive layers that contain history since that time. From the 12th to 14th centuries, Gothic changes were introduced and Renaissance elements have been added to this building. If you are to visit the cathedral, keep in mind that there is a 12th-century crypt where St.Germaine has been buried – she was French so, being Parisian by birth, she died here because of the ex-communication of her father.
3. Piazza Navona
Built-in 1st century AD as a stadium for Emperor Domitian, Piazza Navona is now one of the most visited squares in Rome. It was restored in the 17th century. Since then it has been used as a market square and an entertainment stage for Street Theatre, puppets shows, and so on. It hosts more than 30 antique fountains of which most are over 300 years old.
4. The Colosseum
This is perhaps the most famous attraction in Rome when it comes to ancient architecture. It has been built for more than 100 years (between 70 and 80 AD) by order of Emperor Vespasian, who was inspired by the Amphitheatres he saw during his time in Syria. After its heyday between the 1st century AD and 6th century AD, this building has served as a fishing spot, a shelter for strollers at night, a stone quarry, and even a brothel. Thanks to the efforts of several Italian kings, today visitors can enjoy perfectly preserved corridors around the arena. If you would like a direct tour you could visit here.
5. Trevi Fountain
Constructed in 1762 according to the designs of architect Nicola Salvi, Trevi Fountain is located in central Rome. Its name was given after the most frequently used water source in Rome. It added to the beauty of Piazza di Trevi, which hosted many festivities – including Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. After being restored several times, today it provides visitors with a shady spot for rest and refreshment during warm summer days.
6. Pinturicchio’s frescoes in the Borgia Apartment
These paintings were made by Bernardino Pinturicchio in 1492 when Pope Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia, lived here. These frescoes represent the most important works of art from Pinturicchio’s school and they provide a unique insight into the golden days of Rome during the Renaissance period.
7. Arch of Constantine
A Roman triumphal arch that is located in between Colosseo and Palatino hills was constructed by Emperor Constantine I (306-337 AD). The reason for its construction lies in the victory he had over Maxentius (his rival) that took place near this area. This historic point has become one of the symbols that stand to remind people about Christianization in Rome after it happened on this site several centuries earlier.
8. Castel Sant’Angelo
Formerly known as Hadrian’s Mausoleum (and still called like that by locals), this building was turned into a fortress after His Holiness Pope Alexander VI asked to make it a prison. It was transformed into a papal residence as well as a burial ground for several popes (there is the tomb of Pope Alexander VI himself). What many people do not actually know is that this castle has also served as a shelter for several famous people such as Michelangelo, who spend some time here in 1527 after being forced to flee from Florence.
9. Santa Maria in Trastevere
This basilica was built by Pope Paschal I in the early 11th century when he decided that another monumental church should be erected on the site where it stands today. It has been called ‘Giardino Degli Aranci’ (Garden of the Oranges) because there were many orange trees growing here at that time. Today, visitors can enjoy its unique architecture and works of art inside (such as 12th-century mosaics).
10. Fontana dell’Acqua Paola
Located near Castel Sant’Angelo, this Baroque fountain was built by architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the early 17th century and it was meant to celebrate the completion of an aqueduct that brought water from Lake Bracciano. The octagonal shape of this fountain is a symbol of papal power as well as an homage to Trinita Dei Monti Church now located at the top of Spanish Steps.
This list shows that there are many incredible, wonderful and amazing historical landmarks in Rome, which should be visited. The reason for this is the fact that these places have been around since ancient times and they show what people were able to achieve even centuries ago. These tourists attractions are definitely worth a visit! Make sure to take a tour and visit them all!