One of the most historically rich cities on the planet, Rome is a magnetic draw for visitors. Literally hundreds of famous landmarks provide tourists with a full calendar. If you’re planning a flight to Rome anytime soon, here are the five most popular attractions that you’ll need to see.
1) The Colosseum
The largest and most famous amphitheatre of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum is the top tourist attraction in the city. Built in the first century A.D. under the supervision of the Emperor Vespasian, it was home to some of the most exciting and brutal exhibitions of its time. Gladiators fought amongst themselves, and Christians were thrown to the lions as spectators watched in awe. Today, visitors can tour the underground hallways and corridors where the unfortunates waited and pondered their likely death. From the upper levels, magnificent views of the nearby Roman Forum and the cityscape await those who make the climb. The on-site museum is a must stop.
2) St. Peter’s Basilica
No visit to Rome is complete without a stop at this famous landmark. The magnificent domed church is an architectural marvel, built on the site of the Circus of Nero, where it is believed the apostle Peter was crucified. Emperor Constantine ordered the construction of the first Basilica in 324 A.D., and the current structure was built during the fifteenth century. Visitors will marvel at the wealth of artifacts located throughout the interior of the main building, most of which are from the Renaissance period. The Basilica is also the burial site of several popes, the tombs of which are available for viewing. The equally famous St. Peter’s Square is located directly in front of the Basilica.
3) The Pantheon
One of the most preserved ancient buildings in the world, the Pantheon represents the finest in architectural integrity. Built around 25 B.C., the structure is most famous for its incredibly beautiful interior dome ceiling. The circular opening at the peak of the dome is amazing to look at, and those who see it will find it very difficult to believe that this building is as old as it is.
4) The Trevi Fountain
Perhaps the most famous fountain in the world, and the one where coin tossing began, the Trevi Fountain is encircled by murals and sculptures that are themselves incredible works of art. Completed in 1762, the fountain contains magnificent frescoes and mural depictions of ancient mythical creatures. According to myth, those who toss money into the fountain are destined to return to Rome in the future.
5) The Spanish Steps
Everyone who visits Rome takes the time and effort to climb up and down the Spanish Steps. The 138 stone steps lead down to the Piazza de Spagna, a popular spot for photographers. The steps are named after the Spanish Embassy that was located on the site during the time of construction in the early 18th century. Today, the steps are always crowded with international visitors, pigeons, and street vendors, and the most famous upmarket shopping area is right next door.