Rome is nicknamed the “Eternal City” and the “City of Seven Hills”. It is easily Italy’s most fascinating city because of the millennia of history tied to this ancient place. Rome was once the political and administrative center of the glorious Roman Empire, which governed lands stretching from the Mesopotamia to Great Britain. Even after the fall of the Roman Empire, Rome was at the forefront of the 15th Century Renaissance revival that saw a rebirth in papal patronage and the permanent establishment of the Papacy in Rome. Today, Rome remains the capital of Italy and attracts visitors through the allure of its history and culture.
Visiting Rome is all about connecting with the ruins of Ancient Rome. Roma Antica or Ancient Rome is thus a must-see in this respect. The landmark ruins in Ancient Rome include the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Baths of Caracalla, and various pagan temples, triumphal arches, and broken marbles. The Palatine Hill is also right next to the Roman Forum and is the site of the ruins of many villas that used to belong to wealthy Roman families. Across the Palatine in a city park, the contours of the ancient Circus Maximus stadium are still visible. Other Roman structures include the Pantheon, which is an ancient temple dedicated to all the gods and erected during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (AD 125-128).
Other points of interest include the Trevi Fountain, the largest and most spectacular of the Baroque fountains in Rome, the Spanish Steps, which is the longest and widest set of stairs in all of Europe, and the Piazza del Popolo, which is a large public square in Rome that used to be the gateway to Northern Italy and the first view of Rome that travelers from the north got in ancient times.
The Vatican City is also a must-visit, even for those who are not Catholic. It is a walled enclave within Rome where the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church resides and governs. The Vatican is home to a few architectural marvels, including the St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church building in the world. It is well-known for its dome, the drum set upon which the dome rests having been designed by Michelangelo.
Besides ruins and architecture, tourists can visit museums like the Capitoline Museum, home of an impressive collection of Rome’s finest ancient paintings and sculptures. The Capitoline piazza, which is sandwiched between the Capitoline Museum buildings, was actually designed by Michelangelo.
When all the sightseeing of landmarks and museums are said and done, it might be a good idea to take a break at one of the many restaurants and cafes. Some of the best restaurants in Rome are located in the Trastavere district. You’ll find many restaurants that serve a variety of pastas in sauces you never knew existed. Artichokes, veal, fish, and spaghetti seem to be popular ingredients in many of Rome’s specialties such as the Carciofi alla romana, Bucatini alla Amatriciana, the Scaloppine alla romana, and pasta with baccalà.