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Rome is a destination that attracts visitors all year round, with April to June being the most popular months. It has been one of the most popular cities for tourists in the world because of its unique attractions. Whether you enjoy history, culture, or just want to participate in interesting festivals with locals, the attractions in Rome will give you all that and more. Here are some attractions to include in your itinerary when visiting the Italian capital.
Attractions in Rome
The Colosseum attracts approximately six million tourists each year and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is a symbolic building in Rome and has been in existence for over two thousand years, making it a “must-visit” when in the capital. A visit to the imposing building is the best way to go back in time to the ancient Roman Empire and learn more about their lifestyle.
The Roman amphitheater has a lot to offer in the interior as well as the exterior. On the outside, only a third of the structure stands after looting and damaging earthquakes. Nevertheless, it’s a marvel that takes up at least three floors that are worth exploring. From the inside, visitors get to look up at the ceilings that have been restored over time and then switch their attention to the large arena. The arena was where the gladiators showed their prowess to the shouting crowds. On the upper floor is a viewing platform that reveals the Arch of Constantine, which stands tall for all to see.
National Roman Museum
Soaking in Roman history, culture and heritage is an excellent way to learn about the capital city and the country as well. The National Roman Museum is one of the best places to visit to get all the information you need about the city from the medieval ages to the 20th century. One of the unique things about the museum is that its collection is housed at different locations across Rome. The four locations that make up the museum are the Palazzo Altemps, the Baths of Diocletian, the Palazzo Massimo, and the Crypta Balbi.
The collections comprise of antiques from the 5th Century BC to the 3rd Century AD and include artifacts and jewellery used in earlier times. Find large art collections, sculptures, mosaics, and paintings at Palazzo Massimo; thermal baths at Diocletian, and exquisite Renaissance architecture at Palazzo Altemps.
An architectural masterpiece right in the middle of the capital is the best way to describe the Pantheon of Agrippa. The building is well preserved and still retains its original look since its establishment in 126AD. Built as a temple to honor Roman gods, the temple has been part of the Catholic Church from the seventh century. The exterior of the Pantheon stands Corinthian columns made from granite and they extend across the building with others going all the way to the back.
The interior is also amazing and is filled with numerous tombs and artworks that are worth exploring. A majority of the tombs belong to Italian kings and other noble people like Renaissance painter and architect Raphael. Normally, both the interior and exterior of the Pantheon are filled with tourists taking photos or watching shows by local street artists.
The Borghese Gardens
If you are looking for a good place to relax when in Rome, you can make your way to the Borghese Gardens. The gardens are one of the largest in the city with the most conspicuous museum being the Villa Borghese. In earlier times, the park belonged to the Borghese family and was purchased by the state and later opened to outsiders in 1903. It plays host to fountains, sculptures, and mountains among other architectural elements. Another interesting area is Villa Giulia, which hosts the Etruscan Museum and a residence that was built for Pope Julius III.
Walking down the paths of the garden filled with ponds gives visitors a chance to relax and interact with nature. For a fun afternoon, tourists can rowboats on the pond or rent bikes to better explore the English-style lawn. Children will also enjoy their visit to the gardens as it has several attractions such as a zoo, playground, and random puppet shows.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Catholics consider visiting St. Peter’s Basilica a pilgrimage that one must take at least one in their lives. The church is considered one of the most popular tourist sites in Rome and stands majestic at 400 feet. Having been built from 1506 to 1615, the basilica has a lot to offer those that step inside the massive church. Its interior design was a collaboration between several artists with some of the popular ones being Michelangelo and Bernini, who worked on St. Peter’s Square.
Inside the church are several art pieces that are quite impressive and a joy to look at, alongside the beautifully designed interior. Some of the notable pieces are the St Peter’s Statue, Michelangelo sculpture, St Peter’s bronze baldachin, and the Pieta among others. The dome is also a striking part of the church and was designed by the talented Michelangelo, then Giacomo Della Porta, and finally completed by Carlo Maderno. Since its completion in 1614, the basilica has been an inspiration to other artists building cathedrals and similar buildings around the world.
Catacombs of Rome
Visiting tombs may not be an ideal attraction when in Rome, but the catacombs in the Italian capital are one of a kind. The over sixty catacombs are home to thousands of graves with underground passageways that cover many kilometers. The burial grounds were mostly used by Jews as well as Christians between the second and fifth centuries. In those times, the Roman government cremated bodies which was not acceptable to these two religious groups, resulting in the adoption of underground tombs.
Although the sixty tombs still exist, only five can be accessed by the public and they include Catacombs of San Sebastiano, Catacombs of San Callisto, Catacombs of Priscilla, Catacombs of Domitilla and Catacombs of Sant’Agnese. Exploring the catacombs is fascinating with most of the passageways being damp and dark. Some of the graves still have the names of the people that occupied them. If part of a tour, you will have a knowledgeable guide that shares interesting facts on the catacombs plus the period in which they were used.
Ultimately, a trip to Rome for a weekend will let you see some of the top attractions in the city.