When you think of Italy, you think of delicious food! But what’s the next Italian thing you think of? For many, the sites of historic Rome — the capital of Italy and the fourth most-populous city in Europe — top the list.
Rome is truly a global city. It’s the 14th most-visited city in the world, the third most visited city in the European Union, and Italy’s most popular tourist attraction in Italy. Rome’s monuments and museums are among the world’s most visited tourist destinations, but the city is also the headquarters for many international businesses, and it’s an important fashion and design center.
Known as the “Eternal City,” Rome celebrates a long history with beautiful monuments chapels and restored ruins offering a glimpse into the past of the great Roman Empire. In today’s blog post, we offer “Part One” of some essential attractions to visit the next time you find yourself in Rome. (And if you missed it, go back to our post with suggestions for the must-see churches in Rome.)
When construction of the Roman Colosseum was completed in 80 A.D., it could hold about 50,000 spectators. It’s an engineering wonder and a true testament to the architectural skills of the ancient Roman people, with a circumference of 573 yards in a location that was originally a marshland. However, critics say it was an animal- and human-rights atrocity. The Colosseum was built in a culture that celebrated the gladiator games as entertainment arena, with the first bloody fight between men and beasts taking place in A.D. 82.
Recent visitors to the Colosseum recommend getting a tour guide, as it offers more context and a richer experience overall, rather than simply viewing the structure. Also, night tours are a great way to beat the long lines and crowds.
Arch of Constantine
Known in Italian as Arco di Costantino, the largest triumphal arch in Rome is also a great photo opportunity! It’s is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected and dedicated in the year 315 by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312.
In ancient times, the Roman Forum was the center of city life, hosting festivals, celebrations, funerals and rituals. It eventually fell to waste around the 8th century and remained that way until early 20th century excavations. Guided or audio tours are recommended for information about Ancient Rome’s most important structures. The Forum includes shrines, government houses and monuments, including the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Titus and the House of the Vestal Virgins. At the end of your tour, climb to the top of Palatine Hill for sweeping views of the city.