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Top 5 things to do in Rome

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Colosseum
#1
Colosseum
The Colosseum is a massive ancient amphitheater in the center of Rome. Picked apart by scavengers and ravaged by earthquakes and time, the Colosseum still stands as an impressive symbol of life in Ancient Rome. It showcases the power of past emperors and the durability of the Eternal City. This huge, marble and limestone structure was built to hold more than 50,000 spectators, all there to revel in the various forms of (mostly violent) entertainment, such as hunts, gladiator battles, and executions.
Vatican Museums
#2
Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums are full of artistic and historical treasures by some of the world's greatest artists. Inside you’ll find epoch-defining masterpieces from Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Caravaggio (to name a few). The collection, housed in 54 galleries, includes the statue of Laocoön, the Apollo del Belvedere, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Maps, and of course, the Sistine Chapel, with Michelangelo's renowned frescoes. The artwork here changed the course of Western art.
St. Peter's Basilica
#3
St. Peter's Basilica
The Renaissance-era St Peter's Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world (and the home-church of the Pope). Highlights include the dome (the biggest in the world), Bernini's Baldacchino (the centerpiece of the church), and Michelangelo's Pietà (the only artwork he ever signed). For both the pious and the casual visitor, a trip to St. Peter's is an awe-inspiring trip into the heart of Vatican City.
Leonardo Express
#4
Leonardo Express
The Leonardo Express is the easiest way to travel from Rome Fiumicino Airport to the center of the city. Book your airport shuttle ticket in advance and make the high-speed journey from Felice Santini station (attached to the airport) to Roma Termini Station. The Leonardo Express trains leave every 15 minutes, so you'll find your way to your Rome accommodation in rapid time!
Castel Sant'Angelo
#5
Castel Sant'Angelo
The towering cylinder of Castel Sant'Angelo, and its statue of Archangel Michael, is an instantly recognizable silhouette on the banks of the Tiber. Initially built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family, its purpose has changed many times over the years, from a fortress, a residence, a prison, and now a museum.

Reasons to visit Rome

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Rome Tourist Card

  1. Colosseum & Roman Forum
  2. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
  3. St. Peter's Basilica

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The Vatican City Pass

  1. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
  2. St. Peter's Basilica
  3. Rome City Audio Guide
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Built between 1609 and 1613, this opulent structure - fountains, gardens, pink marble walls, frescoed ceilings - seems ideally suited to house one of the world's best collections of art. And that was exactly what it was built for. Architect Flaminio Ponzio designed it for the cardinal and art collector Scipione Borghese, who wanted a party villa on the edge of town where he could house his enormous collection of priceless art. In 1901, the collection (and the gallery, and the park that surrounds it) was acquired by the Italian government, and opened to the public. As a museum, Galleria Borghese punches well above its weight with an impressive hit rate of masterpieces. Sculptures by Bernini and Canova, paintings, by Caravaggio, Raphael and Titian... the list goes on.
4.7 / 5 (2140)
From $26.39
up to —43%
Civitavecchia

Aquafelix

Aquafelix is one of the top water parks in Italy. Opened in 1995, the park is located close to the port town of Civitavecchia and is popular with visitors disembarking from cruise ships, as well as those journeying from Rome. The Italian capital is just over an hour's drive away.
4.5 / 5 (207)
From $12.67
Pomezia

Zoomarine

Zoomarine is a watery playground for aquatic animals and people. This amusement park/aquarium is located just outside of Rome, on the Italian coast. With its many shows and attractions, it's one of the best things to do during the hot summer months. In fact, it's frequently voted one of the best amusement parks for families. There are dolphin and sea lion shows, a sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation center, and waterslides, rollercoasters, and more.
4.6 / 5 (166)
From $22.17
Bioparco di Roma is an open-air zoological garden and biopark located on the original Villa Borghese estate in Rome. There are 1,114 animals of 222 species, spread across 17 hectares of gardens and enclosures.
4.6 / 5 (643)
From $17.95
The Vatican Gardens are private urban gardens in the Vatican, covering an area of approximately 23 hectares (more than half of the country!). Established during the Renaissance and Baroque era, the gardens are decorated with typically ornate fountains and sculptures from these times. It is claimed that the foundation site of the Vatican Gardens was spread with sacred soil brought from Mount Calvary. Visiting the gardens requires booking a private tour, as no general public access is allowed.
4.6 / 5 (568)
From $48.56
The Catacombs of Saint Callixtus are some of the many smaller catacombs scattered around the Eternal City. Located on the Appian Way, the catacombs are famous for containing the Crypt of the Popes, which, as the name suggests, once contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries.
4.6 / 5 (235)
From $11.61
Once a pantheon to the gods of Ancient Rome, this stunning structure in the heart of Italy's capital has been a church since the 7th century. Among its many spectacular features, its perfect dome (designed and created in 120 AD) is to this day the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world.
4.6 / 5 (145)
From $8.97
waterslides up to —12%
Hydromania is Rome's only waterpark. Inside, you'll find plenty of attractions to keep the whole family entertained. If you're looking for summer fun and a way to beat the Roman sun, look no further.
From $23.22
Consisting of four grand and historic palazzos, this complex of museums was designed by Michelangelo. Its large collection is devoted largely to the history of Rome itself, and it features many many artifacts that date back to antiquity. It's also considered to be the world's original museum. Pope Clementine XII opened it up to the Roman public in 1734.
4.6 / 5 (180)
From $30.61
up to —18%
Villa d'Este is one of the most magnificent villas in Italy. The Renaissance-era villa's gardens are resplendent with the sound of water features and birdsong, and make for a great retreat on hot and sunny days!
4.7 / 5 (166)
From $16.89
The Trevi Fountain is one of Rome's most iconic landmarks, dating back to 1762. Located in the Trevi district of Rome, it stands at an impressive 26 meters high and stretches 49 meters wide.
4.2 / 5 (45)
From $12.67
The Pontifical Villas, commissioned by Pope Urban VIII in the 17th century as a papal country residence, are located 25 km south of Rome in the fairy-tale town of Castel Gandolfo. The property was first opened to the public in 2014 and spans 55 hectares, including the palace and the massive gardens built into the 2,000 year old ruins of Emperor Domitian's residence.
4.7 / 5 (66)
From $25.33

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Visit one or two of Rome's top attractions and enjoy access to public transport
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Planning your Rome visit

Language

Italian

Currency

Euro (€)

Dialing code

+39

Time zone

Central European Time (CET)

Public Transport

Rome's metro is laid out in a north-south, east-west cross, and they intersect at Termini Station. They're quite handy if you're staying near a stop, but if not... well, get to know the buses.

The system can seem complex at first, but routes are laid out in an easy-to-understand manner at stops. Buses are frequent, but subject to the low-level chaos that is Roman traffic!

Transit tickets are valid across all modes of public transport and readily available at vending machines at metro stations, major bus stops and at some bars and tobacconists. Don't forget to validate them after boarding the bus!

Weather

Rome has a Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and dry. Don't forget to pack sunscreen and hats too. If you happen to have a hand fan, throw that in too. Winters are cool, and it can even get a little cold - though it is still a Mediterranean climate. The mid-seasons of spring and fall tend to be pleasant and balmy, and are perfect times for al fresco dining in short-sleeved shirts.

Rome doesn't tend to get a lot of rain, but when it does it can be torrential. Check the weather report in the morning, just to be safe. Also, note that the plentiful fountains around town are fed by the aqueducts. Bring a water bottle and fill it up with the free, spring-fed cool water.

La Dolce Vita

This phrase (literally: "the sweet life") entered English parlance when the classic film of the same name debuted in 1960, and fans of Federico Fellini's film took to using it. But even before then, it’s been a part of Italian lingo. It refers not just to an enjoyment of life, but to actively savoring the lived experience. It's worth using your time in the Eternal City to really get to understand the concept. Make like a local and go for a passeggiata (stroll) in the evening air after your meal. Sip a morning cappuccino with friends at a table on the sidewalk. Get an extra scoop of gelato at the gelateria. Open a second bottle of Chianti. And of course: throw a coin in the Trevi to ensure your return to the Eternal City.

What to do in Rome for 3 days

The Colosseum

Life in Ancient Rome was pretty tough. And when the ancients needed entertainment, they got it in epic proportions at the Colosseum. Finished in 80 AD, it's the largest amphitheater ever built - it could hold up to 80,000 cheering spectators. They came to watch animal hunts, the recreation of famous battles and, of course, gladiators battling lions (and each other).

Today the Colosseum is a magnificent ruin. To quote Lord Byron, it is, "A ruin,—yet what ruin!" Enter and you can explore its vast interior, gaze up at the raked seating where the Roman masses sat, and look down on the floor area where the famous battles and hunts took place. Underneath the floor, there was a complicated system of hoists, ramps and trapdoors, allowing for beasts, men, and scenery to be raised into the arena.

Modern Rome

Rome is rightly famous for its compelling history, but you’ll also find it to be a vibrant, dynamic European capital. Many of the ancient areas have become modern meccas for the young and hip. Creative cuisine, designer cocktails, and beautiful, smartly dressed people abound. Take some time to experience some of that famed dolce vita. Rione Monti, Trastevere, Testaccio and Pigneto are all great places to rub elbows with the capital's creative class.

If the ruins seem too ruined for your tastes, there's some incredible modern architecture. Highlights include MAXXI, a new museum that looks like a bent collection of oblong tubes, designed by the wonderful and recently deceased Zaha Hadid. And Renzo Piano's Auditorium Music Park, that resembles a futuristic space beetle on the move, is a sight to behold.

Squares and Fountains

Rome is famous for its charming squares. From the pleasantly self-contained Piazza della Rotonda in front of the ancient Pantheon, to the clamor of Piazza Navona, from the unrivaled people-watching of the Spanish Steps, to the fresh food and flowers on offer in Campo de Fiori, meandering from square to square is a great way to spend an atmospheric afternoon.

And as for fountains: you may find yourself turning corners and stumbling upon some of the most exquisite marbles waterworks you've ever seen. Piazza Navona's Fontana de Quattro Fiumi is awe-inspiring, and the Spanish Steps has its Barcaccia. But the hands-down favorite is the Fontana de Trevi – tossing a coin towards Neptune is said to ensure your return to the Eternal City. That's why an estimated €3,000 is launched into its waters every day (!)

Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel

The art collection in the Vatican is truly unique because it defines not just an era or a region, but an entire civilization. Amassed over two millennia by the Popes, it's a truly historic (and unrivaled) collection of riches. It features artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and Caravaggio, as well as the Collection of Modern Religious Art and works by more obscure, earlier painters.

The collection is laid out over 54 sale or galleries, in a one-way route. The final stop is the Sistine Chapel. Look above you and witness the fresco in the ceiling. Michelangelo changed the course of Western art when he worked on these from 1508-12. Unbelievably, he'd never worked in the medium before. Look behind you and you'll see his The Last Judgement on the wall above the altar, which he completed many years later.

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