Roma is definitely a must see when touring through Europe, not only because it’s the capital of Italy, but also because it used to be the capital of an immense empire. Empire that managed to dominate half of the world. Different civilizations came together under the Roman empire with their unique cultures, traditions and histories. Certainly, Rome is a city that marked the destiny of many others by dominating them for centuries. Such was the importance of the city that its fall marked the end of the ancient history. That’s how important Rome was, the eternal city!
Without a doubt, Rome is one of those cities that should be in the top 10 places to travel. It is a city that could be considered an open-air museum. In every corner of Rome you will find places to see with great history and beauty. Churches, palaces, monuments, squares, fountains and more Rome has to offer. And not only that, many activities are free, the food is delicious and the city is quite affordable.
There are so many things to do and places to see in Rome that in this article I have focused only on the essentials of Rome, not including the Vatican State. So, to help you organize your trip to Rome and so you can relax and enjoy the city, especially if it is your first time in Rome, at following are the best 15 things to do.
1. What to see in Rome: The Roman Coliseum.
If there is an image for which the city of Rome is recognized worldwide that is the Colosseum. This huge amphitheater is one of the first places to see in Rome. In 1980 the amphitheater was declared a World Heritage Site and in 2007 it was also chosen as one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
The real name of the Roman Colosseum, or in Italian Il Colosseo, is Flavian Amphitheater. Flavian in reference to the Dynasty of emperors who promoted its construction. However, the amphitheater is mostly known as Colosseum due to a large statue located very close to the building, the Colossus of Nero.
The Colosseum began its construction in AD 71 by decision of Emperor Vespasian after the fire of an ancient amphitheater in that place. However, it was Emperor Titus who inaugurated it in AD 80 with 100 days of festivities. Still, it was the Emperor Domitian who managed to finish it in AD 82 after adding the last level.
The Amphitheater was used for almost 500 years for different shows. From animal hunting and famous battles representations to public executions. However, what the people most enjoyed were the gladiator fights.
The last gladiator fight was recorded around 435. However, animal hunting continued at least until the year 523.
The building was no longer used for entertainment in the High Middle Ages. After being used as an amphitheater, the coliseum had multiples uses. It served as a refuge for people, as factory, markets or even as a fortress. However, after four earthquakes, it became the quarry for the construction of other buildings.
The transformation of the colosseum into a sanctuary with a church and chapels stopped its disarmament and helped to its preservation. Otherwise, today there would be nothing left of the enormous building.
If you want to know more, you can also read the article “Roman Colosseum: 10 interesting facts about the Italian icon”.
The coliseum is oval in shape and measures 189 meters long by 156 wide, and reaches 57 meters high. In particular, the arena where gladiators fought is 75 meters long by 44 meters wide.
Regarding its height, the coliseum has four levels that can be accessed through stairs and galleries. Inside, the stands were differentiated according to different social levels.
The coliseum had a retractable roof where a series of pulley-operated drop-down fabrics covered the building, protecting both spectators and gladiators from the sun and rain.
So, it can be said that the Roman Colosseum was a first building model for the great modern stadiums of today. With a capacity of more than 50,000 spectators, “Il Colosseo” was the largest amphitheater built during the Roman Empire
Visit the Roman Colosseum.
To visit the Roman Colosseum, it is better to buy the ticket in advance as it is always one of the most visited and congested attractions in Rome.
First Travel tip: To avoid endless queues and waiting for hours to enter, it is better to buy the Colosseum tickets online in advance. Try to choose tickets for the coliseum the opening hour.
Second Travel tip: In case you buy tickets in person, I recommend buying the ticket at the Palatine. This way there are usually fewer people and the ticket is combined for both monuments.
Another option is buying the Roma Pass card. A discount card that offers skip-the-line entry to the Colosseum.
Anyway, the best option to visit the Roman Colosseum is hiring a tour. Not only will it include the entrance to the Colosseum, but also it will give you priority access. This way you avoid long queues and make the most of your experience since a guide will explain you everything.
2. What to see in Rome: The Trevi Fountain.
Although throughout the entire city of Rome you will find a lot of fountains, the Trevi Fountain is the most monumental, emblematic and beautiful fountain in the city. Some people even call it the most beautiful fountain in the world.
The name Trevi comes from the italian words “Tre Vie” which means three ways. Precisely because the fountain was located at the meeting of three streets.
Despite its location in the heart of the city, the Trevi Fountain is almost imperceptible on arrival. Unexpectedly surprises more than one tourist, even being a few meters from Trevi square where it is located. However, once in front of it, you can see its beauty and monumental size.
It was an ancient Roman custom to build beautiful fountains at the end of the long aqueducts. In particular, the aqueduct Aqua Virgo ending point was located at the intersection of three streets. However at first, there was just a small and bland fountain.
In 1730, the Pope Clement XII organized a contest to build a more dignified fountain. Regardless losing the contest, the architect Nicola Salvi was designated to build the new fountain.
The construction work began in 1732 although different wars, lack of budget and deaths, made the construction last 30 years. Finally, in 1762 the Trevi Fountain was completed. Long after the death of Pope Clement XII, and even after the death of Nicola Salvi himself in 1751. The architect Giovanni Pannini completed the construction .
Details of the Trevi Fountain.
The Trevi Fountain is 20 meters wide by 26 meters high and it has several details to appreciate.
The first one is the great statue of Neptune flanked by the statues of Abundance and the Health. Also, above the statues there are represented two moments of the construction of the aqueduct. On the right side you can see the Virgin of the water pointing out to a group of soldiers where the water comes from. On the left side is General Agripa giving instructions to his subordinates to build the aqueduct.
Also, the fountain has two sculptures of newts guide winged horses that drag the shell on which Neptune travels. Each one represents a moment of the ocean, one calm and the other turbulent.
In addition, at the top of the fountain you can see four sculpted figures representing the seasons of the year.
Tradition and legend of the Trevi Fountain.
There is a well-known legend of the Trevi Fountain. Supposedly, if you thrown a coin with your back to the fountain, the wish to return to Rome is fulfilled. Even if a second coin is tossed, you will found love and marriage. But also, if a third coin is thrown, the wish for divorce is fulfilled.
Some say there is an appropriate way to flip the coin to the source. You must throw the coin with the right hand and must pass over the left shoulder.
Trevi Fountain Location.
The Trevi Fountain is located in the Trevi Square, the intersection of Via di S. Vincenzo, Vía Poli and Via Delle Muratte. In case you want to take the metro the closest station is Barberini Fontana di Trevi, line A.
Trivia was a Roman Goddess who protected the streets of Trevi. In fact, his statue can be seen at the intersection of the streets.
La Fontana is always full of tourists trying to take a photograph or throwing the coin into the water. So, be patient.
3. What to see in Rome: The Pantheon of Agrippa.
The Pantheon of Agrippa, or Pantheon of Rome, is an ancient Roman temple that was transformed into a church. Furthermore, people says that it is the best preserved building in ancient Rome.
History of the Pantheon.
The Pantheon was built between 123 and 126 AD, in the times of the Emperor Hadrian. This new building replaced the old pantheon that existed there but had been destroyed by fire.
The building was originally dedicated to the worship of all Roman gods, as its name indicates Pantheon, or in Latin, Pan (All) Theos (god).
In this case, the name Pantheon of Agripa is due to the old building had been built by General Marco Agripa in 27 B.C. Even at the top of the building facade read M. AGRIPPA. l. F. COS. TERTIVM. FECIT, which means ‘Marco Agripa, son of Lucio, consul for the third time, (he) did it’.
In 608 the Byzantine emperor Focas offered it the building of the pantheon to Pope Boniface IV. That’s how the ancient pagan temple became the Basilica of Saint Mary and the Martyrs. Nowadays it continues to be a cult church and as a royal pantheon.
The pantheon is a building with a huge dome, presided over by a hall in the best Greek style.
The front of the building has eight columns on the facade, followed by two rows of 4 columns each. The 16 columns are 13 meter high Corinthian style in gray and pink granite.
Once inside, after passing through a door that does not go unnoticed, the marble floor, together with the impressive dome with the oculus in the center, leave more than one tourist speechless.
The part of the cylinder has a height equal to the hemisphere. So the total height of the building is equal to the diameter forming a complete sphere in the interior space.
Also, inside the Pantheon you can see the seven niches followed by pairs of columns. In the building are the tombs of the artists Raphael and Annibale Caracci. In addition, there are the tombs of the kings of Italy, King Humberto and Queen Margarita; and Vittorio Emanuel II.
The Pantheon, located in the Piazza della Rotonda, is for sure one of the most beautiful and striking monuments in Rome. In addition, the admission is free.
If you plan visiting Rome, the post “How to use public transport in Rome. Learn how to get around in Rome by bus and metro.” will be very useful for you.
4. What to see in Rome: Piazza Navona.
Navona square, or Piazza Navona in Italian, is one of the most beautiful and important squares to see in Rome.
The square is located where the Roman Domitian stadium formerly existed. An old arena with 270 meters long and 55 meters wide built around 86 AD that could accommodate up to 33,000 people. The stadium served as a space for Greek athletic games.
The firsts palaces were built when the old stadium began to fall into ruins. However, it was not until the 17th century that Pope Innocent X, a member of the Pamphili family, sent to build the fountains and the church of Santa Inés in Agona that gave the square the baroque style.
What to see in Piazza Navona in Rome.
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi: “Fountain of the Four Rivers” is the one in the center of Piazza Navona built by Bernini in 1651. The four statues of the fountain represent the four most important rivers at that time: the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges and the Río de la Plata. In the center stands a 16-meter-high obelisk that belonged to the Cirque de Maxentius.
Fontana del Moro: It is the fountain located in the southern part of the square. Created by Giacomo della Porta but Bernini was who added the statue of the Moor. The original statues were actually transferred to the Borghese Gallery and replaced with copies.
Fontana del Nettuno: Like the Moro Fountain, it was designed by Giacomo della Porta. The central statue represents the God Neptune fighting against sea creatures.
Church Santa Ines di Agona: The construction of the church began in 1652 at the initiative of Pope Innocent X, whose Pamphili family palace was right next to the church. At first it was thought as family chapel attached to his residence. Furthermore, the church has a private door so that the family could participate in the religious services from their palace.
Definitely, the dimensions of Piazza Navona, its three beautiful fountains, the palaces that surround it and the atmosphere make this square a must-see.
5. What to see in Rome: Sant´Angelo Castle.
The Castle of Sant’Angelo, or in Italian Castel Sant’Angelo, is an icon of the city of Rome. It is located on the banks of the Tiber River in short distance from the Vatican City.
The Castle has five floors that are accessed through a spiral ramp. Along the different levels you will find the chamber of ashes, cells of the old pressure and different rooms that functioned as a Papal residence. On the upper floor there is a large terrace from which you can see the city of Rome from above.
History of the Sant’Angelo Castle.
Castel Sant’Angelo was built in 123 A.D. initially as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian and his family. However, Hadrian died in AD 138 before the castle was finished. In 403 it lost its original function and became a military stronghold attached to the Aurelian wall to defend Rome.
Around 1277 Il Passetto, also known as the Borgo Corridor, was built by Pope Nicholas III. He was the first pope to move the residence from the poorly protected Lateran Palace to the Vatican. Il Passetto was a 800 meters long corridor that established a fast and secure connection between the vatican and Sant’Angelo Castle.
Centuries later, in the XIV, after several changes of owners, the Sant’Angelo Castle was at the disposal of the popes.
In the 19th century, the Sant’Angelo Castle became the property of the Italian state in 1870 as a military barracks and prison. Finally, in 1925, it became the Castel Sant’Angelo National Museum.
The mausoleum changed its name to Castillo de Sant’Angelo in A.D. 590. In that year, Rome suffered a terrible plague epidemic. To drive it away, a procession was organized in which Pope Gregory I also participated. When the procession passed through Hadrian’s mausoleum, the Pope had a vision of Archangel Michael sheathing his sword.
Shortly after, the plague ended and that vision was interpreted as a sign of the end of the epidemic. So, since then, the Romans called the mausoleum as Castel Sant’Angelo. At the top of the Castle you can see the image of an angel in the act of sheathing his sword.
Visit the Castel Sant’Angelo.
The ticket price is approximately € 15, and € 7.5 from Thursday to Sunday entering from 7:30 p.m. Entry to Castel Sant’Angelo is free on the first Sunday of each month.
6. What to see was Rome: Trastevere.
Trastevere is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and characteristic neighborhoods in all of Rome. Along its cobbled streets, with its colorful houses, you can enjoy a bohemian and calm atmosphere. Full of Roman trattoria, bars, souvenir shops, artisan workshops the Trastevere enjoys a highly vibrant and lively atmosphere.
The name Trastevere comes from Latin and means Trans Tiberis, “After the Tiber”. In ancient times, the Trastevere neighborhood used to be disregard because it was populated by the poorest people of Rome. Nowadays, things are different and the neighborhood is one of the most visited places in the city. Not only for its nightlife and vibrant atmosphere but also because it contains lot of cultural places.
What to see in the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome.
Much of Trastevere life is concentrated around Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere where its Basilica is located. In the center of this square, you can see one of the oldest fountains in Rome.
One of the most vibrant squares in Trastevere is the Piazza Trilussa located at the height of the Ponte Sisto. This square, is always full of tourists and locals enjoying differents bands of music or artists performing their shows.
Another corner full of movement and life is Piazza di Sant’Egidio, headquarters of the Museum of Rome in Trastevere. Also in the Trastevere, you can see the Church of Santa Maria della Scala and the Piazza San Calisto with its shops and restaurants.
Definitely, the Trastevere is ideal for having an “aperitivi” with a snack on one of its outdoor tables. Even more, you can try the best Italian cuisine in one of its many typical restaurants.
7. What to see in Rome: Campo dei Fiori.
Campo dei Fiori is one of the main squares in Rome where you will always find movement. During the day with its traditional market and at night with its bars and terraces filled with tourists and locals.
History of Campo dei Fiori.
The name of the Square comes from the fifteenth century when this place was a field of flowers. In the year 1456, Pope Callistus III arranged the entire neighborhood and transformed the entire area to stone. Since then, many palaces were built in its surroundings among which is the Orsini palazzo.
Eventually, the square increased its prosperity and the area became center of various activities, both commercial and cultural. In this way, Campo dei Fiori became increasingly a crossing point and an important meeting point for the city.
Since 1869, every morning, except Sunday, one of the oldest traditional markets in Rome has been installed in the square. Walking through its colorful stalls you can see all kinds of gastronomic products, fruit, vegetables, pasta, fish, and obviously flowers.
Giordano Bruno Monument.
The Campo dei Fiori square also witnessed events not as happy as punishments and capital executions. The great statue in the center of the square represents the events that occurred on February 17, 1600. On that day the philosopher the Dominican friar Giordano Bruno was condemned to death and burned alive. The Church accused him of heresy for his revolutionary theories of the universe.
Then during the day you can enjoy in Campo dei Fiori the most traditional side of Rome, touring its market and its history. In addition, at night you can return to the square to enjoy the Roman nightlife in one of the many bars, restaurants or outdoor cafes.
8. What to see in Rome: The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
The Roman Forum was a huge space where all the civic life in ancient Rome developed. It was the nucleus of Roman civilization, politics, commerce, justice, religion and social life passed through these streets.
Above the Forum valley rises the Palatine Hill. In this place lays the ruins of the imperial residence. It began with Augustus but highly developed by his successors.
So if you wonder how the life in Rome was like, you must visit the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. It is generally included with the visit to the Roman Coliseum.
History of the Roman Forum.
At first, the forum was simply a market located at the entrance of the city. It was not very important because it was considered outside the city limits. Although since the 8th century BC the forum increased its relevance, it was definitively integrated into the activity of the city when the sewers were built.
Before the Forum became the center of life for the Roman Empire, the entire area was a swampy sector. It was in the 6th century B.C. the entire area was drained through the Maximum Sewer, one of the first sewage systems in the world. This fact allowed the entire area to become the center of public life in Rome.
Little by little huge temples, incredible palaces, vast markets, great arches, and carved columns were built. That’s how all this important buildings gave the Roman Forum its incredible architecture.
After several centuries, the increase of the population made that the emperors had to build towards the north and the forum lost its importance. In addition, since the 3rd century, the forum was badly damaged by fires, earthquakes and finally by barbaric invasions.
Already in the Middle Ages, many of the buildings were transformed into churches and others into fortresses of the Roman barons. Even more the land begins to be used for grazing livestock and the buildings as a quarry for construction stones.
What to see in the Roman Forum.
The Forum is large and you can spend several hours touring everything. At following I listed the most important places to see in the Roman forum:
Via Sacra: It was the main street of ancient Rome and had direct communication with the Plaza del Campidoglio and with the Colosseum.
Arch of Titus: It is the arch of triumph that commemorates the victory of Rome over Jerusalem. It was built after the death of Emperor Titus.
Arch of Severus Seventh: It is an arch built in 203 AD. to commemorate the third anniversary of Severus Seventh as emperor.
Temple of Antoninus and Faustina: Built in the 2nd century, the temple of Antoninus and Faustina. It is the best preserved temple in the Roman Forum.
Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine: The noticeable size of the high ceilings makes it one of the most impressive places to see the Forum in Rome. In addition, it gives reason to think that it was one of the most important buildings in the Roman Forum.
The Curia: It was the building where the Senate met to make most of the decisions of the Roman Empire.
Foca Column: It was one of the last original buildings of the Forum as well as being one of the few that have remained standing since it was erected. Built in 608 A.D. in honor of the emperor of Byzantium.
Visit the Roman and Palatine Forum.
The entrance ticket is the same for the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine, and is valid for two days. The ticket allows to visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum with the Palatine and can be used in one or two days in a row. The ticket for the Roman Forum can be bought at any of the monuments (those of the Roman Forum and the Palatine are recommended to avoid the queues of the Colosseum). Also it is possible to buy the ticket online.
Another possibility is to enter the forum and Coliseum with the Roma Pass OMNIA card.
It is highly recommended to visit the Roman forum with a guide since it is the best way to enjoy and learn about what you see. Also with tours you can avoid long queues and waiting for access.
9. What to see in Rome: Piazza Venezia and Vittorio Emanuele II Monument.
Piazza Venezia is one of the most important squares to see in Rome. Surrounded by stunning buildings full of history, this square is almost the center of the city. Its central square where five of the most important streets of the city converge is one of the busiest places in Rome.
The square gets the name of Venice after the Venetian Cardinal and Pope, Pietro Barbo, sent to build his Palace. Palace that at some point would take the function of Embassy of the Republic of Venice.
What to see in Piazza Venezia.
In the square you can see the Palazzo Venezia on the west side. Building that was used several times as a papal residence and also as an embassy of the Republic of Venice. At the time of the Second World War, Mussolini used it as its headquarters. Today there is the Venezia Palace Museum and the National Art Museum. In addition, next to the Venezia Palace is also the “Palazzetto Venezia”, rebuilt in 1882 where today you can see samples of contemporary art.
On the opposite side of the square is the Assicurazioni Generali building which has the same external image as Palazzo Venecia. The building was built between 1906 and 1911, at the time of the restructuring of the plaza. On the right side of the building there is a commemorative plaque that indicates where the house Miguel Angel lived and died used to be.
On the north side of the square you can see the Palazzo Bonaparte with its characteristic closed balcony on the first floor. The name of the palace comes from the fact that mother Napoleon Bonaparte lived and died in this building.
On the south side of Piazza Venezia is the huge National Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II or Vittoriano. It is a monument inaugurated in 1911 in honor of the first king that unified Italy. Furthermore, in the huge building you can see the tomb of the unknown soldier with an eternal flame constantly protected by two soldiers on guard duty.
The Vittoriano can be accessed and climbed up to one of its terraces for free. However, paying € 7 you can use an elevator located at the back.
10. What to see in Rome: Trajan’s Market.
Trajan’s Market was the first covered shopping center in history. The Trajan’s Forum was actually an entire architectural complex that included a basilica, a library and a large semi-circular building for the market, known as Trajan’s Markets.
The market consisted of six levels: the lower three were intended for stores that sold oil products, wine, fish, fruits, vegetables, and other foods. The upper levels of the market were occupied by offices and a library. The set reached 150 stores.
During the Middle Ages the complex underwent major transformations, adding various floors and defensive elements, such as the Militia Tower, built in 1200. Later a convent was added, although it was demolished in the early 20th century.
Today the Trajan’s Market is unified with the Museum of Imperial Forums. The museums reconstruct how it was the market and the forum in the classical period and during the Middle Ages. They also allow you to explore the labyrinth of rooms which preserve the original cobblestones and the rooms of shops and taverns from Roman times. The ticket price is € 9.5.
11. What to see in Rome: The Piazza di Spagna.
The Piazza di Spagna is one of the most famous and well-known squares in Rome. Its name Piazza Spagna is due to the location of the Spanish embassy of the Holy See in that square. What stands out most in the Piazza di Spagna is its majestic 135-step staircase that connects the Fontana della Barcaccia with the Churches of Trinità dei monti at the top.
What to see in the Piazza di Spagna.
The staircase: It was designed by the architects Alessandro Specchi and Francesco de Sanctis and inaugurated in a Jubilee year, 1725. The idea was to connect the palace of the Spanish embassy and the church of Trinità dei Monti itself.
The fountain: At the bottom of the square is the Fontana della Barcaccia, A design of Bernini’s father that emulates a shipwreck.
The church: At the top of the stairs is the Trinità dei Monti la Monte Pinicio church, which was originally French. In fact, the staircase of Piazza di Spagna was built with contributions from the French crown as a gift of peace between France and Spain. However, what stands out the most from the top are the views of the staircase with the city of Rome in the background.
In addition, Piazza di Spagna connects very well with other areas of the city. Via del Babuino, the street that leads to Piazza del Popolo, runs through the bottom of the steps. Also, starting from the Fontana della Barcaccio you can walk along Via dei Condotti, famous for its luxurious fashion stores.
From the top of the stairs you can reach the Villa Medici and visit its gardens or enjoy one of its exhibitions. Also, walking a little more we reach the beautiful park of Villa Borghese.
12. What to see in Rome: Villa Borghese.
Villa Borghese is a large park in the center of Rome that can be reached very easily on foot from the top of Piazza di Spagna.
The park is divided into different gardens with different details and styles. The Giardino del lago, the Giardino Piazzale Scipione Borghese, Giardini Segreti, il Parco dei Daini and the Valle dei Platani.
In addition to its beautiful gardens where you can see many sculptures, monuments, fountains and large lakes, the park also contains other points of interest. Among the most important are the Borghese Gallery, with works by great artists such as Raphael, Titian or Caravaggio, the National Gallery of Modern Art, the Silvano Toti Globe Theater (copy of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London), the Rome Zoo or the Water Clock, which has been running since the 19th century.
The park was originally a vineyard. Its transformation into a park started in 1605 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese. He wanted to create a villa with the largest gardens in Rome. At the end of the 18th century, a lake was created with an island that houses a temple dedicated to the god of healing. In the 19th century, the city of Rome bought the garden from the Borghese family and turned it into a public park in 1906.
Villa Borghese is a very good option to relax, enjoy nature and perhaps picnic or have a coffee in one of its hidden cafes hidden.
The park has many entrances but the most famous and most beautiful are those in Piazza del Popolo, with a beautiful view from the top of the Inicio, or the Flaminio entrance that connects with the famous and elegant Via Veneto.
13. What to see in Rome: Via Appia, Catacombs of San Calixto and San Sebastián.
This ancient route is called Via Appia because it was built by Appius Claudius Caecus in 312 B.C. With more than 530 kilometers it allowed to connect Rome with Brindisi becoming in the first example of the modern routes. That’s how the Via Appia was one of key factors that allowed the Romans to dominate the southern Empire and connect with the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Along the Via Appia there are several important places to see in Rome full of history. For example, the Church of the Quo Vadis, place where Jesus appeared to Saint Peter and made him return to face his sentence. Jesus is said to have left his footprints there. Also, you can visit the Catacombs of San Calixto and the Catacombs of Basilica of San Sebastián.
Basilica of Saint Sebastian of the Catacombs.
The Basilica was dedicated to Saint Sebastian, a 3rd century Roman martyr revered for not renouncing his Christian faith at the cost of being executed. The church is also called ad catacombs (of the Catacombs) for the catacombs of San Sebastián on which it was built.
The catacombs of 12 kilometers in length on 4 levels. In the catacombs you can see different sarcophagi, some complete, others broken by the passage of time until finally descending until reaching the Crypt of San Sebastián.
In addition to visiting the catacombs, in the Basilica you can also see other relics such as a stone that has the imprint of the feet of Jesus, one of the arrows that killed Saint Sebastian as well as part of the column to which he was tied during the torture.
Catacombs of San Calixto.
The Catacombs have existed since the middle of the 2nd century and are named after Pope Callistus I who was the administrator of this place. With a network of galleries of more than 20 kilometers in length and a depth of almost 20 meters, the catacombs of San Callisto were the burial place of 16 pontiffs and dozens of Christian martyrs.
The catacombs of San Calixto can be visited from Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., except on Wednesdays.
14. What to see in Rome: Baths of Caracalla.
The Baths of Caracalla are one of the largest thermal complexes of Antiquity. Fully clad in marble and decorated with magnificent works of art, the Baths of Caracalla were the most sumptuous that were built in the past.
Because back then the Roman people did not have private showers, so they went to these places to wash. But not only that, the baths for the Romans were a place dedicated to caring for the body and the mind. In the hot springs they were not only used for bathing, they also practiced sports, did gymnastics and it was even a place for walking, socializing and studying.
The Baths of Caracalla were capable of accommodating between 1,500 and 1,600 people and there was no distinction between social classes or status. There was a charge for entry and women paid double.
Today in the hot springs you can see the remains of the immense vaults with their enormous structures of more than 30 meters high that allow us to imagine their original splendor. In addition, the floor of the building is preserved intact and the beautiful mosaics can be appreciated.
History of the Baths of Caracalla.
Emperor Caracalla built the hot springs in Little Aventine, in an area adjacent to the initial part of Via Appia in AD 212. To ensure that the water arrived and in abundance, a branch of the Acqua Marcia aqueduct was built. This branch became the third aqueduct of Ancient Rome with the name of Acqua Antoniana (name of the emperor).
Unfortunately, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the war against the barbarians, the operation of the aqueducts was cut off. Therefore, from A.D. 537 the Baths of Caracalla stopped working.
After the thermal baths were closed, they were abandoned for a long time. In this way they were forgotten and an earthquake in 847 ended up destroying part of it. Some time later, the thermal baths became a quarry of materials destined to construct other buildings.
Visit the Baths of Caracalla.
The hot springs can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 9 am. The entrance fee to the hot springs is € 8. EU citizens between 18 and 24 years pay half entry.
There is also the possibility of visiting the Baths of Caracalla through a virtual reality that makes a comparison between reality and a reconstructed vision of its splendor in the s. III.
15. What to see in Rome: The Cathedral of Rome San Juan de Letrán.
Although many confuse St. Paul’s Basilica at the Vatican as the cathedral of Rome, it is actually the Holy See, the Cathedral of Rome is the Archibasilica of St. John Lateran.
Not only is it the city’s Cathedral, it also has the title of “Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput”, mother and head of all the churches of the city of Rome and of the whole earth. And if that is not enough, it was the first church that was built in Rome.
With such a title, the Cathedral of Rome does not disappoint. This immense Church dazzles with its architectural beauty, the enormous statues, its golden details, the shining marble floors and with all its history in tow. Even the Lateran Palace, attached to the basilica, was a Papal residence before its transfer to Avignon, before being destroyed by a fire in 1308.
The temple plan consists of five naves, but of all that is seen when entering, what first draws attention are the immense statues of the different apostles. These are found all along the 130-meter-long central nave. However, that is not the only striking thing, the huge bronze doors of the entrance are formerly part of the Senate of the Roman Forum. Another thing that dazzles the view is the shiny marble floor with its different geometric shapes and all the golden detail on the ceiling.
Outside the basilica we can see the Lateran obelisk, the highest in Rome. Its height is 31 meters, 45 if the base is added and it was transported here from the Circus Maximus by Pope Sixtus V.
Visit the Basilica of San Juan de Letrán.
The Basilica is known by several names: the Papal Archibasilica of the Most Holy Savior of the World, and of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in Lateran, also Saint John Lateran or in Italian San Giovanni in Laterano.
Visiting the Basilica is a free activity in Rome. You only pay € 2 entry if you want to enter the Cloister. You can also buy the audio guide in different languages for € 5.
The basilica can be reached by metro line A at the San Giovanni station. It can also be reached with bus lines 16, 81, 85, 87, 186, 650, 810 and 850.
The Scala Santa and the Sancta Sanctorum.
In front of the basilica is the Holy Staircase, through which Jesus Christ went up to be judged on Good Friday. The staircase was brought from Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem in 326. Today this staircase is made up of 28 steps that can only be walked on one knee.
At the top of the Holy Staircase, you can see through a window protected by very thick glass and through a grate the interior of Sancta Sanctorum. It is the private Chapel of the Popes, considered one of the most sacred places in the world.