Of all the European cities, Rome is one that appears on most people’s bucket lists. There is possibly no other city quite like Rome, where a modern vibrant capital lives its daily life surrounded by and interspersed with so much history, not only in its stunning museums but also in the symbolic remains of the Roman Empire which are found almost round every street corner.
Fortunately, Rome doesn’t have to be an expensive place to visit – as long as you do your research on accommodation and flights. There are numerous cheap flights to the eternal city from all over Europe. For example, Jet2.com flies to Rome from a number of different regional airports in the UK, and there are always bargains to be had if you’re willing to do a few internet searches.
When you get to Rome, there are certain sights you shouldn’t miss, but it’s a good idea not to cram your itinerary too much, otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy just soaking up the atmosphere of this buzzing city that has, for the main part, a very welcoming feel.
Things not to miss include:
This is the most-visited ancient site in Rome, and it’s easy to see why. The Colosseum is a magnificent piece of architecture that was built in only eight years in the first century AD. Now, almost 2,000 years later, it’s very easy to appreciate the structure but difficult to really imagine just how amazing it would have been to Roman eyes, when it was brand new and covered in marble. Doing a guided tour is the best way to really understand how the Colosseum worked and you’ll also get to special access places like the underground section and the third level.
The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
Some people go to the Vatican Museums purely to see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, and it is a truly amazing, awe-inspiring sight. However there is so much more to see in these museums, with a wealth of artefacts from all around the world. The Rafael rooms are a particular highlight as is the Egyptian section. Again, it’s best to take a guided tour as there is simply too much to take in otherwise, and the guides have some great anecdotes to tell along the way.
St Peter’s Basilica
Although some tours take you through from the Sistine Chapel into St Peter’s Basilica, this is really worth visiting on a separate day; otherwise it’s all a bit much to take in! This is the largest church in the world and has a truly magnificent interior. Climbing to the top of the Cupola is worth every one of the 400 or so steps as you will see some stunning views of Rome from the top. There’s a half-way point where you can walk across the rooftops and visit a café and souvenir shop. One of the iconic sights of Rome is just outside – St Peter’s Square. This is a beautiful setting between two curved pillared sections, on top of which are 140 statues of saints. This is also where you can come to see the Pope give his Sunday blessing from the balcony.
Right in the heart of Rome’s city centre, you’ll find one of the most well-preserved pieces of architecture from Roman times. The Pantheon was originally built as a temple to xx and was later consecrated as a church. Today it’s still a church, but everyone is free to enter and marvel at the amazing technology employed in Roman times to construct the magnificent dome with the hole in its centre, which allows daylight to flood in – and rain as well!
The Palatine and Roman Forum
Last but not at all least on this list of things to see in Rome is the Roman Forum and Palatine. The Palatine was where the richest Romans had their villas and you can see from the remains just how immense these palaces were. Below the Palatine are the remains of the Forum – the very heart of the Roman Empire, where you’ll find remains of shops and temples along the Via Sacra. You can really imagine what Roman life was like here, simply standing among the ruins. However, yet again, a guided tour will really bring the place to life.
It’s easy to appreciate the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ when you spend some time in this magnificent city. However long your trip there is, it won’t be long enough to see all the amazing sights this city contains. A return trip is a must!