Top things to do in Rome

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Few cities evoke the sheer wonder and amazement of Rome. Ancient history, outstanding art and religious icons are around every corner and when it all gets too much you can just join the locals in sipping espresso in one of the city's many squares.  With so much to see and do, the real test will be trying to fit it all in. To give you a hand we've put together this list of the absolute essentials.

Colosseum

Colosseum by tellamfamColosseum by tellamfam. CC SA 2.0

A monument to raw, merciless power, the Colosseum (Colosseo) is the most thrilling of Rome's ancient sights. It's not just the amazing completeness of the place, or its size, but the sense of violent history that resonates: it was here that gladiators met in mortal combat and condemned prisoners fought off wild beasts in front of baying, bloodthirsty crowds. Two thousand years later it's Italy's top tourist attraction, pulling in between 16,000 and 19,000 people on an average day.
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Palatine Hill

Palentine Hill by schizoform20100730 palatine hill by schizoform. CC SA 2.0

Sandwiched between the Roman Forum and the Circo Massimo, the Palatino (Palatine Hill) is an atmospheric area of towering pine trees, majestic ruins and memorable views. According to legend, this is where Romulus killed his twin and founded Rome in 753 BC. Archaeological evidence cannot prove the legend, but it has dated human habitation here to the 8th century BC.
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Pantheon

The Pantheon in Rome by My Past CC SA 2.0Pantheon by My Past. CC SA 2.0

Along with the Colosseum, the Pantheon is one of Rome's iconic sights. A striking 2000-year-old temple (now a church), it is the city's best-preserved ancient monument and one of the most influential buildings in the Western world. The greying, pock-marked exterior might look its age, but inside it's a different story and it's an exhilarating experience to pass through its towering bronze doors and have your vision directed upwards to the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.
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Roman Forum (Foro Romano)

The Roman Forum in Rome at sunset by Robert LoweRoman Forum and Colosseum by Robert Lowe. CC SA 2.0

Today an impressive, if rather confusing, sprawl of ruins, the Roman Forum was once a gleaming complex of marble-clad temples, proud basilicas and vibrant public spaces: the gleaming heart of an ancient city.
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Skip the Line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour
The colosseum Leave the crowds behind and head straight inside the Colosseum with your skip-the-line entrance ticket! In a group of no more than 25 people, explore the first and second tiers of this A-list attraction with a guide, learning about the gladiators who competed in the Colosseum’s gory gladiatorial games. Finish with a tour of the Roman Forum in Ancient Rome and admire incredible ruins, like the Temple of Julius Caesar.
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Vatican Museums

Vatican Museum stairs by Chris Wee CC SA 2.0Vatican Museum stairs by Chris Wee. CC SA 2.0

Visiting the Vatican Museums is an unforgettable experience that requires strength, stamina and patience. You’ll need to be on top of your game to endure the inevitable queues – if not for a ticket then for the security checks – and enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the world’s great museum complexes.
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St Peter’s Basilica

St Peter's Basilica by Dom Crossley CC SA 2.0DSC_5976_20091115 by Dom Crossley. CC SA 2.0

In Vatican City, a city of astounding churches, St Peter’s Basilica outdazzles them all. Awe-inspiringly huge, rich and spectacular, it’s a monument to centuries of artistic genius. On a busy day, around 20,000 visitors pass through here. If you want to be one of them, remember to dress appropriately – no shorts, miniskirts or bare shoulders.
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Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Walking Tour including Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms and St Peter's Basilica

St Peter's basilica

Visit the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica on this must-do Vatican walking tour, in a group of no more than 20 people! With some 12,000 rooms spanning nearly 4,000 years of history, the Vatican’s magnificent museum complex can be overwhelming, so let an expert guide introduce you to its defining highlights on this 3-hour tour.
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Museo e Galleria Borghese

Villa Borghese by Son of Groucho CC SA 2.0Villa Borghese by Son of Groucho. CC SA 2.0

If you only have time (or inclination) for one art gallery in Rome, make it this one. Not only is it exquisite, but it provides the perfect introduction to Renaissance and baroque art without being overwhelming. To limit numbers, visitors are admitted at two-hourly intervals, so you'll need to call to pre-book, and enter at an allotted entry time – but trust us, it's worth it.
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Capitoline Museums

Statue of Marcus Aurelius at Capitoline Museum in RomeMarcus Aurelius by david__jones. CC SA 2.0

The world's oldest national museums were founded in 1471 when Pope Sixtus IV donated a few bronze sculptures to the city, forming the nucleus of what is now one of Italy's finest collections of classical art.
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Ostia Antica

Ostia Antica by dalbera CC SA 2.0Horrea (Ostia Antica) by dalbera. CC SA 2.0

With preservation in places matching that of Pompeii, the ancient Roman port of Ostia Antica is an extraordinary site, where you can wander through complete Roman streets, gape at Roman toilets and see a Roman menu in situ.
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Piazza di Spagna & the Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps in Rome by Abir Anwar CC SA 2.0Spanish Steps 3 by Abir Anwar. CC SA 2.0

The Spanish Steps (Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti) provide a perfect auditorium for people-watching, and have been a magnet for visitors since the 18th century. The Piazza di Spagna was named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, and consequently the steps were so-named, although they were designed by the Italian Francesco de Sanctis and built in 1725 with a legacy from the French.
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Local Living Italy: Rome

Photographer taking photo of the Colosseum

Rome has been a world capital for millennia—give yourself the time needed to get acquainted. Our Local Living option situates you in a comfortable apartment—kitchen, wi-fi, dining area—within walking distance to St Peter's Basilica and Vatican City.
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Best Of Italy 
Best of Italy tour map La dolce vita - the good life - is exactly what the Best of Italy trip is all about. Starting in the 'Eternal City' of Rome and ending by the canals of Venice, uncover the best of northern Italy. Experience classic Italian food, wine, history and style - all the things this wonderful country is famous for - and discover immense natural beauty while travelling through this spectacular corner of Europe.
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