Rome monuments are known throughout the world by all and visited by many, every single day. I would even be so bold as to say that at least one rome monument is definitely on most people’s “bucket lists.” There are plenty of monuments in Rome to check out.
How many days should you spend in Rome? If you give yourself enough time you just might be able to see everything you want: all the monuments (it’ll be worth it). Together we will find answers to all the questions you might have, questions like, “How far is the Pantheon from the Trevi Fountain?”
Below we have listed the famous monuments in Rome, Italy to browse. Remember, most of the monuments and sites do not require an entrance ticket, however, they get crowded, so to get the best version of these monuments, it’s best to go early in the morning or late at night.
Things you must do when in Rome
What must you do in Rome?
You can’t say you’ve been to Rome unless…
- If you haven’t visited the Colosseum.
- If you haven’t thrown a coin in Trevi Fountain.
- If you haven’t climbed the steps of Trinità dei Monti. The Spanish Steps of Trinità dei Monti, built between 1723 and 1726 according to a project by the Roman architect Francesco De Sanctis (1693-1740), is the scenic connection between the slopes of the Pincio, dominated by the church of the Holy Trinity and the Spanish Steps below.
- If you haven’t visited Castle Saint Angelo, also known as Hadrian’s Mausoleum, is a monument of Rome, located on the right bank of Tiber in front of the pons Aelius (now Ponte Sant’Angelo), not far from the Vatican, between the district of Borgo and Prati; it is connected to the Vatican State through the fortified corridor of the “passetto”.
Rome in one day (24 hours)
“Without having seen the Sistine Chapel one can form no appreciable idea of what one man is capable of achieving”, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The Sistine Chapel is one of the most important treasures of the Vatican, Rome and the world. It is famous for its frescoes but also because it is where the Popes are elected.
Vatican Museums are the museum hub of the Vatican City, in Rome. Founded by Pope Julius II in the 16th century, they occupy a large part of the vast courtyard of the Belvedere and are one of the largest art collections in the world, since they display the enormous collection of works of art accumulated over the centuries by the popes.
St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, officially the major papal basilica of St. Peter’s in the Vatican, is a Catholic basilica in Vatican City; symbol of the Vatican State. Nearby there is the monumental St. Peter’s Square.
Built around 123 A.D. as a tomb for the Emperor Hadrian and his family, Castel Sant’Angelo has an unusual fortune in the historical-artistic perspective of Rome. While all the other monuments of the Roman era are submerged, reduced to ruins to be converted into new, modern buildings, the Castle accompanies the fate and history of Rome for almost two thousand years.
Piazza Navona is one of the most famous monumental squares in Rome, built in monumental style by the Pamphili family at the behest of Pope Innocent X with the typical shape of an ancient stadium.
Pantheon is the monument of Roman age that has reached us in the best conditions: it was saved from the destruction following the collapse of the Roman Empire because the Byzantine Emperor Foca in 608 AD gave it to Pope Boniface IV, who transformed it into a Christian church. Initially erected to honor the gods protectors of the gens Julia (Mars, Venus and Julius Caesar himself divinized), later became a symbol of all the gods for which it took the Greek name of Pantheon (from the Greek: παν, pan, “all” and θεόν, theon, “gods”).
Trevi Fountain is the largest and one of the most famous fountains in Rome. It was built on the facade of Palazzo Poli, by Nicola Salvi.
Colosseum is a place to visit at least once in a lifetime. It is part of the list of New Wonders of the World, evaluated by a group of experts led by the former Director General of UNESCO: we’re talking about the most important Roman amphitheatre.
9. Roman Forum
Roman Forum has represented for centuries the reference point of the forensic, religious and social life of ancient Rome. Also called Forum Magnum or simply Forum, it was located in the valley between Palatine and Campidoglio.
Rome in two days (48 hours)
- First day
Colosseum – an oval amphitheatre – is the symbol of Rome in the world. I mean, back in the days it was the representation of power and majesty of the emperor, Rome and Roman society. It was usually used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles, now Colosseum still represents the symbol of Rome’s greatness in the collective imagination, it has become immortal.
Imperial Fora extend along the street of the same name, between Piazza Venezia and Colosseum. At the end of the Republic, the Romans realized that the Roman Forum – centre of Roman life – was no longer sufficient, so they began to work on urban renewal and expansion of the area located on the north-eastern side of the old Roman Forum: at the beginning was Caesar with the Forum of Caesar, followed by the Emperor Augustus with the Forum of Augustus, the Forum of Nerva and finally the most imposing and grandiose Forum of Trajan.They are called Imperial Fora because they are made up of all these archaeological areas built over the centuries by the emperors of Rome.
Just a short walk from the area of Imperial Fora there is Piazza Venezia: the beating heart of Rome.
Piazza Venezia branches out in via del Corso, via dei Fori Imperiali, via C.Battisti-via Nazionale, via del Plebiscito-corso Vittorio, via del Teatro di Marcello.
Trevi Fountain is one of the most iconic scenarios of Rome, its imaginative composition made it famous and you’ve probably heard of the “legend of the coin” : if you throw a coin standing with your backs to the fountain, keeping your eyes closed and with your right hand on your left shoulder, you will be guaranteed to return to the Eternal City.
The square is one of the most famous in the world with its spectacular scenery at all times of the year. The three elements that characterize it, the fountain, the staircase and the Church of Trinità dei Monti give the square a unique appearance.
The Pantheon is one of the most famous monuments in Rome. Among the ancient buildings of Rome is the best preserved, unique of its kind and a true masterpiece of ancient engineering.
One of the most characteristic squares of Rome thanks to the three beautiful fountains: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini), Fontana del Moro and Fontana del Nettuno.
Campo de’ Fiori, once a field of flowers, is now, since 1456, is one of the most famous squares in the city, a transit point for thousands of tourists every day and a meeting place for the lively nightlife of the capital.
Since 1869, a market of food, flowers and other products has been held every morning from Monday to Saturday.
- Second Day
St. Peter’s Square is the masterpiece of Bernini who created it from 1656 to 1667, with the aim of giving a worthy frame, a solemn access to the greatest temple of Christianity, and thus exalting the values of Catholicism. The space St. Peter’s square is made up of two parts: the first one has an inverted trapezoid form, the second one has an oval-shaped form (there is the Vatican obelisk in the centre). The two spaces are unified by an architraved colonnade.
St. Peter is the Mother of all Churches: has an impressive number of monuments and works of all kinds created by the greatest artists of all time: from Michelangelo to Canova, from Bramante to Bernini.
Vatican Museums are considered one of the most important museums in the world: inside the museums you can admire the collections accumulated by the Popes, as well as the great masterpieces of all time that have become valuable evidence of an era.
The Sistine Chapel represents one of the greatest treasures in the Vatican museums. It is known all over the world for the great works of the painter Michelangelo Buonarroti on the Last Judgement, but also for being the place where the conclave and other official meetings of the Papacy take place.
Castel Sant’Angelo is also called Hadrian’s mausoleum because it was built by the Emperor Hadrian to house his body and that of his successors. Castel Sant’Angelo was a funerary monument until 211 but in 400 A.D. it changed its name and was called Castellum. Around the tenth century it became a real fortress, then it was used as a residence of princes and popes and finally as a prison and barracks.
Piazza del Popolo, back in the Empire days, was the entrance of Rome. Then it has undergone many changes over time and what we see today is the result of the work of various Popes who have followed one another. The square has an elliptical and in the middle of it you can find the Flaminio Obelisk, one of the oldest and the tallest obelisks in Rome. Three churches overlook Piazza del Popolo: Santa Maria del Popolo that features two beautiful Caravaggio’s canvases, Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto. It’s a “must-see”, don’t forget it.
Although with the name “Pincio” it would be correct to indicate the hill of the same name that stands out from north to south between Piazza del Popolo and Villa Borghese, the Romans usually indicate the northern part of the hill on which stands today one of the most beautiful monumental parks in Rome.
It offers a wonderful view of Rome and the endless number of statues and busts that are all concentrated along the main streets of the promenade.
Santa Maria in Trastevere is considered the most important church in the Trastevere district, it was probably the first official place of Christian worship built in Rome and certainly the first one dedicated to the cult of the Virgin. The church was founded in the third century by Pope Callistus I: according to the chronicles of the time, in 38 B.C. in that very place the earth began to erupt oil, an event that was considered a miraculous annunciation of the birth of Christ.
Rome in three days
- First day
Colosseum, the greatest arena in the ancient world, is now one of the buildings still standing that testify the intelligence of Roman architecture.
Palatine, the most central of the seven hills of Rome, is one of the oldest areas of the city, it is thought to have been inhabited since 1000 BC. .
3. Roman Forum
Roman Forum develops at the foot of Palatine Hill: this area, originally occupied by a large swamp, became towards the end of the 7th century B.C. the nerve centre of city life, after having been reclaimed with drainage works and with the construction of a canal, the Cloaca Maxima, directed to the Tiber.
The Pantheon is one of the most iconic and unmissable monuments of Rome: the original building was created between 27 and 25 B.C. at the behest of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa in honour of Augustus and then dedicated to the main deities of the Julius Claudia family.
Its present form date back to the first years of Hadrian’s reign (118-125). An enormous cylindrical wall (“Rotonda”) over 6 metres thick supports the monumental dome, the largest vault made of masonry, with a diameter of 43.30 metres and the same height.
Piazza Navona is certainly one of the most spectacular and characteristic squares in Rome. Surrounded by buildings built on the remains of Domitian’s Stadium it is enhanced by wonderful architectural and sculptural elements such as Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone by Francesco Borromini and Girolamo Rainaldi.
Vatican Museums are definitely a must see (better to book online your tickets).
They are located in Viale Vaticano in Rome, within the Vatican City State, they are regarded as one of the most significant museum poles in the world representing an extraordinary collection of timeless masterpieces exhibited in the fabulous Vatican palaces.
This huge collection of works of art has been accumulated over the centuries by the Popes, the museums welcome every year more than four million visitors from all over the world and extend for about 7 kilometers of galleries.
St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is a church in Vatican City, within the territory of Rome; it is the largest of the papal basilicas in the world and the center of Catholicism.
Castel Sant’Angelo built in 135 AD was intended to be the mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian and his family. From the terrace on the top floor you can enjoy a magnificent view over the whole city.
- Second day
Galleria Borghese, one of the most fascinating museums in Rome, houses many masterpieces such as the works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Agnolo Bronzino, Antonio Canova, Caravaggio, Raffaello, Perugino, Lorenzo Lotto, Antonello da Messina, Cranach, Annibale Carracci, Pieter Paul Rubens, Bellini, Titian. It can be considered unique in the world in terms of the number and importance of Bernini’s sculptures and Caravaggio’s paintings.
Villa Borghese is a large city park in the city of Rome that includes different types of green accommodation, from the Italian garden to the large English style areas, buildings, small buildings, fountains and lakes.
Convento dei Frati Cappuccini built near Palazzo Barberini by Pope Urban VIII, in honour of his brother Antonio Barberini who was part of the Capuchin order.
There is a crypt-ossary decorated with the bones of about 4000 Capuchin friars, collected between 1528 and 1870 from the old cemetery of the Capuchin order. The crypt is divided into five small chapels, where there are also some entire bodies of mummified friars.
You can also see paintings by Guido Reni, Domenichino.
Among the undisputed symbols of the Eternal City and an obligatory stop during your stay in Rome, the Trevi Fountain is the most spectacular and beautiful of the Roman fountains.
It’s an extraordinary work of art, much more than a sculpture: it can be considered as the triumph of Baroque aesthetics.
It is dedicated to the first King of Italy Victor Emmanuel II, better known as the Altar of the Fatherland, an imposing monument that is part of the Victorian Complex in Rome and symbolizes the unity of Italian Nation. At the center of this monumental structure, composed of four parts, stands proudly the equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel II.
Trajan’s Column is a monument erected in Rome to celebrate the conquest of Dacia by the Emperor Trajan: it commemorates all the salient moments of that territorial expansion.
Trajan’s Market consists of an extensive complex of buildings from Roman times in the city of Rome, on the slopes of the Quirinal Hill. Since 2007 they have hosted the “Museum of the Imperial Forums”.
Between Trajan’s Market and Forum of Nerva there is Forum of Augustus, built to celebrate Augustus’ victory over Brutus and Cassius (Julius Caesar’s assassins) in 42 BC.
In the centre the Temple of Mars Ultor, with the three surviving columns and the great white staircase.Half of the forum is still buried under Via dei Fori Imperiali.
The forum can be seen quietly (and free of charge) from the street.
- Third day
The catacombs of Callixtus are part of the so-called Callistian complex, an area of about 30 hectares between Via Appia Antica, Via Ardeatina and Via delle Sette Chiese, in Rome, which houses several funerary and catacombal areas.
The thermal baths of Caracalla are one of the greatest examples of imperial baths in Rome, still preserved for most of their structure and free from modern buildings.
The Circus Maximus is an ancient Roman circus, dedicated to horse racing, built in Rome. Located in the valley between the Palatine and the Aventine, it is remembered as a venue for games since the beginning of the city’s history.
4. Tiber Island
Tiber Island is a river island and the only urban island of the Tiber, in the centre of Rome.
In the Forma Urbis of the Severan age is reported with the definition of “inter duos pontes”: it is in fact connected to the two banks of the Tiber by Pons Cestius and Pons Fabricius.
Walking through Trastevere, passing through an arcade and a large eighteenth-century courtyard, we can find one of the most famous churches in Rome, rich in history and masterpieces of every era: Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. Today’s basilica stands, according to legend, on what was the home of the saint who, around 220, converted with her husband and brother-in-law to Christianity thanks to Pope Urban I, were punished and sentenced to death.
Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is located in the heart of “rione Trastevere” in Rome and its origins date back to 217 BC. It was Pope Callistus I who started the construction then finished by Julius I. It is located in Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of the most characteristic of the district.
What can you do in Rome for free?: Top 5 Sights in town
There are many free things to do in Rome…
Villa Borghese Gardens: Villa Borghese is the third largest public park in Rome.
It covers about 80 hectares and occupies most of the Pinciano district and a small part of the Campo Marzio district. The access to gardens is free of charge.
Pantheon: Pantheon (in ancient Greek: Πάνθεον [ἱερόν], Pántheon [hierón], “[temple] of all gods”), in classical Latin Pantheum, is a building of ancient Rome located in the Pigna district in the historic center, built as a temple dedicated to all past, present and future gods. The access is free of charge.
By the way Pantheon is also close to Trevi Fountain, just seven minutes walk away.
Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola at Campus Martius: The church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola, overlooking the square dedicated to the saint, between Via del Corso and Piazza del Pantheon, houses a jewel: the magnificent fresco of the Glory of St. Ignatius with its incredible play of perspective. The access is free of charge.
San Pietro in Vincoli: one of the most venerated minor basilicas in the capital. It has a very ancient origin but its present appearance dates back to the last years of the 15th century. You can admire Michelangelo’s Moses, a work of art of incomparable expressiveness and beauty. The access is free of charge.
Sant’Agostino: It is one of the first Roman churches built in the Renaissance and houses the Madonna di Loreto, also known as Madonna del Pellegrini, one of the most famous masterpieces of Caravaggio who donated the work to the church as thanks for the kindergarten granted. The access is free of charge.
What should I do on my last day in Rome?
On your last day in Rome don’t forget to…
- go to Gianicolo. From Gianicolo, a hill behind Trastevere, thanks to its strategic position overlooking the river, you can admire a breathtaking view of the entire city.
- see “Bocca della Verità”, ancient marble mask, walled in the pronaos wall of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome since 1632. The mask represents a bearded male face; eyes, nose and mouth are perforated and hollow. It was the film “Roman Holiday” that made it immortal in 1953: a sequence of the film with the two unforgettable protagonists Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck takes place right in front of “Bocca della Verità” (the mouth of truth).
Anyway, Studentsville’s Staff has selected the best monuments to visit in Rome. Don’t miss them.
Monuments in Rome to visit:
The Sistine Chapel – The chapel of the Apostolic Palace that was restored from 1477 and 1480 and renamed after the Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere. Most famous for “The Last Judgement” created by Michelangelo, among the other 9 main panels displaying the Stories of Genesis.
Where is the Sistine Chapel located at today? In what city is the Sistine Chapel?
The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City.
It is known throughout the world both for being the place where the conclave and other official ceremonies of the Pope are held (in the past also some papal coronations), and for being decorated with one of the most famous and celebrated works of art of Western artistic civilization, the frescoes by Michelangelo Buonarroti, which cover the vault (1508-1512 ca.) and the back wall (of the Last Judgement) above the altar (1535-1541 ca.).
How do you get to the Sistine Chapel?
– From Termini Station: Metro line A, direction Battistini, the stations: Ottaviano-S. Pietro-Musei Vaticani; Cipro (from both stations 10 minutes walk).
– From Leonardo da Vinci Airport (Fiumicino): Take the Leonardo Express train to Termini Station and from there follow the Metro directions.
– From Ciampino Airport: Take the Terravision bus to Termini Station and from there follow the Metro directions. The taxi ride from both airports takes about 40 minutes.
– Metro: Metro Line A, the stations: Ottaviano – San Pietro-Musei Vaticani; Cipro (from both stations 10 minutes walk).
– By bus:
– 49, stop in front of the museum entrance.
– 32, 81, 982, Piazza del Risorgimento, end of the line (5 minutes walk).
– 492, 990, Via Leone IV / Via degli Scipioni (5 minutes walk).
– Tram: 19, Piazza del Risorgimento (5 minutes walk).
– Taxi Station: Viale Vaticano, in front of the museum entrance.
– Car: Payment parks in Viale Vaticano and in the neighborhood.
Colosseum – The largest amphitheater ever constructed during the years 72AD-80AD; used for gladiatorial contests and other public spectacles. Partially ruined by an earthquake, this still remains one of the focal points of Rome and is one of the most popular tourist destinations. The entrance ticket to the Colosseum, which also includes the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, costs 12 euros for the whole ticket and 7.50 euros the reduced price reserved for European citizens aged between 18 and 25 years. Remember, Colosseum is near Trevi Fountain, the distance between Colosseum and Trevi Fountain is 1 km.
Roman Forum – It is an archaeological area of Rome enclosed between the Palatine Hill, the Capitol, Via dei Fori Imperiali and the Colosseum (one minute walk), consisting of the stratification of the remains of those buildings and monuments of heterogeneous eras that for much of the ancient history of Rome represented the heart of the city of Rome, as well as the nerve center of the entire Roman civilization.
Pantheon – “Of, relating to, or common among all the gods” A temple to the Gods of Ancient Rome. Currently a Roman Catholic Church that still remains the world’s largest unreinforced dome made of concrete and one of the best preserved buildings in Rome. Burial site of painter Raphael and architect, Peruzzi, among others.
Trevi Fountain – One of the most famous fountains in the world at the center point of three roads (Tre vie) in Rome. Built at the end of an aqueduct, this fountain is one of the oldest water sources in the city.
But what is the Trevi fountain famous for?
Trevi Fountain is famous for the “legend of the coin”: if you throw a coin into the fountain by placing your right hand on your left shoulder, your return to Rome is guaranteed.
Theatre of Marcellus – ancient open air theatre showing nights of drama and song, that was started by Caesar and completed in 13BC by Augustus whom dedicated it to his nephew Marcus Claudius Marcellus. At the time it was the largest theater in Rome and used for more than 400 years.
The Victorian – or Altare della Patria – erected on Capitoline Hill as a symbol of the city’s greatness. Built to commemorate the unification of Italy as one nation. Walk up (do not sit on!) the 196 steps to reach the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Trajan’s Column – A Roman triumphal column commemorating emperor Trajan’s victory in the Dacian wars that was completed in AD 113. Located to the left of The Victorian (see above) you will encounter this 98 ft. tall column that is part of Trajan’s Forum that displays the war between the Romans and the Dacians spiraling up to the top.
Castel Sant’Angelo – built originally as a mausoleum but instead used as a fortress and castle by popes. Pope Nicholas the III connected this fortress to the St. Peters Basilica in order to have easy access. Visit inside to view the many rooms, beautiful frescoes and even a torture chamber.
Arco di Costantino – largest triumphal arch commemorating Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the battle of Milvian Bridge that can be found right next to the Colosseum. Built in 315 AD, is the largest of the 3 triumphal arches that exist in Rome today.
Basilica di San Pietro – Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City and the papal enclave. The second largest church in the world and runs the length of two American football fields!! Inside you will find Michelangelo’s famous sculpture “La Pietà.” You can also climb to the top of the dome if you are willing to do 491 steps!
Imperial Forums – monumental public squares built over a period of 1.5 centuries that were the center of the Roman Empire and the Roman Republic. Right near the Roman Forums, these were the center of Roman politics, economics and religion.
Basilica di Massenzio – Constructed in the early 4th century AD, was the largest building of the Roman forum. Most likely used for a number of things such as council chamber, a court house and a meeting hall. Later revealed through examination, the architecture of this Basilica was influential and featured many new aspects for the time.
Piazza Navona – Built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian where Romans would come to watch games and competitions. Equipped with three fountains and a church, it is thought to be one of Rome’s most beautiful piazzas and has even been featured in a number of movies.
Piazza di Spagna – One of the most famous piazzas in Rome located at the bottom of the Spanish Steps (135 to be exact)! In the middle of the piazza you will find the “Fountain of the Ugly Boat.” Given its name because the Spanish Embassy used to be just nearby.
Other honorable mentions:
Basilica di Porta Maggiore – This underground basilica, that was discovered by chance, was just recently opened to the public in very small and limited times. The restoration work is still taking place currently. It has a complex structure and is absolutely impressive in the architectural world.
Temple of Bramante – considered among the first great buildings of the high renaissance and was completed in 1508. Located in the courtyard of the Church of St. Peter in Montorio, you will find this tiny temple created by the architect Bramante.
Mausoleum of Augustus – was completed in 28 BCE and at the time, was the biggest tomb in Rome. Contains the remains go Augustus, his sons and other roman emperors.
Ara Pacis – The Altar of the Augustan Peace of Rome and considered a masterpiece of sculpture. Commissioned by Emperor Augustus to commemorate his victories of Gaul and Hispanic (France and Spain).
Happy Rome-ing !