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Things to do in Rome

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Edited by: Rekha Rajan
Fact checked by: Jamshed V Rajan


Rome is an ancient city with a glorious heritage.

After all, it was from Rome that the Roman Empire once spread throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Rome isn’t just about history. It is also about art, Christianity, and much more.

Visitors to Rome also visit the Vatican, the seat of the Catholic Church.

There is so much to see in Rome that first-time visitors can quickly get confused and overwhelmed.

This is why the smart tourists toss a coin into the Triveni Fountain. Legend has it that those who do return to Rome again – perhaps to see the rest of the tourist attractions.

Discover the top tourist attractions in this historic city with our list of the things to do in Rome.

Pompeii Ruins

Pompeii ruins
Dbvirago / Getty Images

Thousands of years ago, Pompeii was a summer holiday destination for the rich and famous of the Roman Empire.

However, a deadly volcanic eruption in 79 AD converted Pompeii into a heart-breaking historical showpiece.

In less than 24 hours, Mount Vesuvius volcano reduced Pompeii to ashes but preserved it for eternity.

And like all Shakespearean tragedies, the Pompeii ruins are sad yet beautiful.

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# Masturbating man of Pompeii

Roman Colosseum

Colosseum in Rome
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The Colosseum is an oval-shaped amphitheater that depicts Roman history’s beauty and tragedy.

Every year, more than seven million tourists visit this 2000-year-old attraction, used for gladiatorial contests and other spectator sports.

Tourists usually visit the Colosseum along with the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

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# Colosseum facts# Lego Colosseum

Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums entrance
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The Vatican Museum in Rome contains paintings, sculptures and other artworks collected by the Popes through the centuries.

The Vatican Museum has 70,000 artifacts, out of which 20,000 are on display in 54 different galleries, with Sistine Chapel being the last gallery.

That’s why to visit the Sistine Chapel one needs to go through the Museums.

Must read: Highlights of Vatican Museum

Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel
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If you are holidaying in Rome, a visit to Sistine Chapel is a must.

The Sistine Chapel, earlier known as Cappella Magna, was restored by Pope Sixtus IV between 1477 and 1480 and is currently named after him.

Sistine Chapel is at the end of Vatican Museums, and visitors always see them together. 

St Peters Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica
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St Peter’s Basilica sits on top of St Peter’s grave, the first Pope of Christianity.

It is almost always seen with Vatican Museums and Sistine chapel because they are all next to each other.

Together, they get more than 5 million tourists every year.

Must Read: Facts about St Peters Basilica

Roman Forum

Roman Forum
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Roman Forum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome.

Roman Forum is the stratification of the remains of the buildings and monuments of ancient Rome.

In ancient Rome, it must have been the city’s central plaza where citizens of every social strata met to exchange opinions, do business, buy in the markets, and spend time with their family and friends.

Since one ticket gets you access to Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, tourists almost always see them together. 

These three attractions get more than 7 million tourists every year.

Capitoline Museum

Capitoline Museum entry
MichalLudwiczak / Getty Images

Capitoline Museum is a collection of many Art and Archaeological Museums, in Rome, Italy.

Capitoline Museums have been around since 1471 in some form or the other and hence are also the World’s oldest National museums.

The Romans also refer to it as Musei Capitolini.

Castel Sant Angelo

Castel Sant Angelo in Rome
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Castel Sant’Angelo is a fortress located on the right bank of the river Tiber, just outside of the Vatican City.

Built between 135 – 139 AD, Castel Sant’Angelo is also known as Hadrian’s Tomb and the Angel’s Castle.

This historic Mausoleum in Rome was meant to be a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family.

Over the years, it has taken on many purposes, including Papal residence, military building, a prison, etc.

Borghese Gallery
Image: DanFLCreativo

If you love art, you will love Borghese Gallery in Rome.

Once a private collection of a wealthy cardinal, today Borghese is one of the most famous art galleries in the World.

Borghese Gallery is such a premium attraction that only 360 visitors are admitted inside at a time for a two-hour visit.

This highly-rated attraction gets more than half a million tourists every year.

Catacombs of Rome

Catacombs of Rome
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Catacombs are underground passageways used as a place of burial by Pagans, Christians, and Jews.

These Catacombs also had relics of martyrs and saints, because of which the early Christians used these underground sites for worship as well. 

The Catacombs of Rome were in use from the second century to the fifth century.

Catacomb comes from Greek kata (near) and kymbas (cavity), meaning ‘next to a cavity.’ 

No wonder then that the earliest Catacombs were in the outskirts of Rome, next to quarries.

 Catacombs of San Sebastiano and ​​Callixtus Catacombs are most popular with tourists. 

Pantheon Rome

Pantheon Rome
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The Pantheon in Rome is almost 2000 years old, making it the oldest building in the world still in use today. 

Pantheon is derived from the ancient Greek words ‘Pan’ (all) and Theos (God) and was used to worship all Gods. 

Since the 7th century, it has been a Roman Catholic church.

More than seven million people visit the Pantheon each year.

Mamertine Prison

Mamertine Prison
Riccardo Cuppini / cc by-nc-nd 2.0

Built in the 7th century BC, Mamertine Prison is Rome’s oldest prison. 

Known as the Tullianum during ancient times, it is also referred to as the Tullianum Carcer.

It is a small, dark, and cramped place that held enemies of Rome such as captured Kings, conspirators, and even Saints Peter and Paul before the State executed them.

According to legend, a spring of water flowed in Tullianum Carcer so that St Peter could baptize visitors (and two prison guards).

After the site stopped being a prison, it became a holy destination because it had held some of the Bible’s most hallowed saints.

Da Vinci Experience

Leonardo Da Vinci Experience in Rome
Image: Tiqets

Leonardo da Vinci is one of Italy’s most ingenious minds, and there are many museums dedicated to the painter, sculptor, engineer, and scientist. 

However, the Leonardo Da Vinci Experience in Rome offers the best experience.

It is the only Leonardo Da Vinci museum with 50 plus certified inventions and approved reproductions of his stunning paintings.

Gladiator School Rome

Gladiator School in Rome
Slavazyryanov / Getty Images

The Gladiator School in Rome is a modern reproduction of the Castrum (Roman military defense camp) and has a Gladiator Training Camp and a Gladiator Museum. 

At the Gladiator School, managed by Gruppo Storico Romano (Historic Roman Group), visitors can get the hang of Imperial Rome’s gladiator games and understand its history.

The two-decade-old school is popular with both adults and kids.  

Aquafelix Waterpark

Aquafelix water park near Rome
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Aquafelix waterpark is one of the best water parks in Italy and is just an hour’s drive from Rome.

The water park offers every family member the right mix of pools, water slides, water rides, music, and sun, making it popular with locals, tourists, and cruise passengers.

This water theme park in Civitavecchia is massive and is open only during the summer months every year. 

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