In a city so filled with landmarks and Christian faith, it can be hard to decide where to go first. Your interests will govern your choices, but certain choices are almost obligatory landmarks. We faced the same dilemma with my roof replacement colleagues, in deciding where to visit and where not to, in our limited 24-hour stay in Rome.
In this guide, I shall try to give you my honest opinion and preferences, based on the most frequented places in Rome, Italy, from a historical context.
The Vatican is the smallest independent state in the world with an area of less than half a square kilometer. Most of the city is enclosed by the Vatican walls. Inside the Vatican, there are palaces and gardens, including St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Peter’s Square. The city is ruled by the pope, who is the supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church. Inside St. Peter’s Basilica you will find Michelangelo’s masterpiece, Pieta and alters by Bernini and others, a must-see attraction.
The Pantheon is without a doubt the best-preserved monument of Roman antiquity. It has remained intact for 2000 years. It was rebuilt after damage by fire in AD 80 and features extraordinary high technical mastery of Roman builders. It is a 43-meter dome and represents the supreme achievement of Roman interior architecture.
National Roman Museum
If you want to soak yourself in as much as Rome’s history, heritage, and culture, then you have to visit the National Roman Museum. This museum doesn’t house its entire collection in one spot. Instead, its exhibits can be found in multiple locations across the city. Roman artifacts and jewelry can be found within the incredible Palazzo Massimo ale Terme. Should you want to admire the incredible choice of marble and inspiring sculptures, then you visit Palazzo Altemps. Take a closer look at Roman baths found at the restored historical spot of the Baths of Diocletian.
The Palatine Hill is one of the seven Hills of Rome and has links to Roman mythology. Allegedly, it was where a wolf found the twin boys Romulus and Remus and took care of them until a shepherd rescued them. Palatine Hill is the place where Rome was founded. Today, you will find ruins, but during the Imperial era, the hill was completely built up with large palaces.
Spanish steps represent a truly monumental stairway of 135 steps. They were built with French funding between 1721 and 1725 with the aim of linking the Bourbon Spanish embassy to the Holy See with French church, Trinita dei Monti. The steps are usually very crowded and attract tourists as well as locals who use them as a gathering place. May of each year, they are decorated with pink azaleas. At the foot of the Spanish Steps you will find the Piazza di Spagna – Spanish Square, and the Fontana della Barcaccia – which is a sober fountain designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
There are many other historical attractions including; Trevi Fountain, Vatican Museums, Roman Forum, Piazza Navona, and many others.