It’s truly impossible to see all of the landmarks in Rome, that’s just how vast and rich the city is. But, the beautiful thing is that strolling through the streets of Rome is one of the best ways to see it all, and you’ll definitely want to stop at all of these landmarks. Some of my absolute favorite spots in the eternal city are on this list, and almost all are free of charge to stare and wonder at!
1. Trevi Fountain
Don’t forget to throw a coin in. I did forget my first time…I was too busy holding a cone of gelato! True story. Honestly I was super worried I would never make it back, since throwing a coin in the fountain ensures a return trip to Rome. But alas I did, and I’ve thrown many coins in the Trevi Fountain since then. I especially love this fountain at night, when the crowds have died down and there’s time to marvel at Bernini’s work properly and without rush. You’ll hear it before you see it.
2. Spanish Steps
These steps are really pretty at sunset! They are located near all the major designer stores off of Via del Corso, and if you climb up the steps and go left, you’ll end up in Borghese Park with some of the best views over the rooftops of Rome. Though they’ve made a new rule that you cannot sit on the Spanish Steps, they’re still magnificent. Just walk up them slowly and don’t forget to turn around and take in the view of the city as you go up.
The Pantheon is one of my favorite landmarks in the city. It’s pretty amazing how you can walk through these small, narrow streets and then all of a sudden be in front of this ancient building! It’s beautiful to gaze at during the day (when you can go inside for free), and at night it’s beautiful to look at from the piazza. Rumor has it the best gelato in Rome can be found right outside this magnificent architectural landmark, but I’ll leave that discovery up to you.
4. Castel Sant’Angelo
This landmark is hard to miss when you’re walking along the banks of the Tiber River, which you will surely do on your visit to Rome. Castel Sant’Angelo is a large, circular building that was initially commissioned as a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his family. It was later used as a fortress and castle by popes, and is now a museum. I’ve heard the view from the top of this Roman landmark is incomparable.
5. St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica
You must see St. Peter’s Basilica when in Rome. Technically I guess it’s at the Vatican, but it won’t feel like you’ve left Rome when you’re there. Set up a tour through the Vatican Museum to get the most out of it, and get access to the Sistine Chapel. The lines are famously long, so it’s best to have a scheduled ticket. If you’d rather just see the Basilica, then go early in the morning when the line is short and you’ll be in in no time. It is nothing short of magnificent, and I feel so blessed I’ve been inside a few times.
The colosseum is an obvious must see in Rome. The lines get very long here too, so I would recommended booking tickets or a tour in advance. You can always just view the Colosseum from the outside, too. Next to the Roman Forum, just down the road from the Vittoriano, it’s one of the most magical spots in Rome.
7. Roman Forum
I did a four hour tour through the Roman Forum, which was definitely not necessary unless you’re super interested! It is hard to envision what the forum used to be on your own, though, so if you forgo a tour make sure you do a little research before going. Either way, it is a beautiful place in Rome, and some spots offer breathtaking views of the colosseum and the city. I think it’s one of the most important landmarks because Rome was once the center of the world, and this is where life happened. The history is just amazing and will have you in absolute awe.
8. Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona has to be one of my favorite places in Rome. It’s the first place I go when I land in the eternal city. It’s full of beautiful sculptures and history, and like everywhere in Rome it has an interesting past. Check out Al Sogno, a famous toy store on the square. Take in the Fountain of the Four Rivers in the center of the piazza, it has to be one of my favorite works by Bernini. I could stare at this fountain for hours! If architecture is more your thing, then pop into Chiesa di Sant’Agnese, where you can actually find the skull of St. Agnes. This is my favorite square to stay near because it’s so central to everything else.
9. Villa Borghese
Known as the Central Park of Rome, Villa Borghese is a beautiful spot to just walk around in or rent bikes (which is so much fun, and a nice break from tourist activities to just breathe). Galleria Borghese, located in the park, has amazing art. The beautiful museum is a former cardinal’s villa with many famous works of art. Some of the world’s most famous marble sculptures live there. My favorite thing about Villa Borghese, besides offering a respite from the busyness of the city, is that it is shaped in a heart when you view it on a map or from above.
Also known as the Typewriter, the wedding cake, and the Altar of the Fatherland. It’s impossible to miss this landmark in Rome. Located in between the bustling Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill, the Victor Emmanuel II National Monument is a towering white beauty built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy. It’s significance is therefore quite important to all of Italy, but it’s one of the most well-known landmarks in all of Rome.
Have you visited all of these monuments in Rome? Send this article to your friends who love Italy too!
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Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.