Rome, Italy

Map of routes and landmarks in Rome

Rome's must-sees

I.    Colosseum
ii.   Vatican
iii. Circus Maximus
iv.  Fontana di Trevi
v.   Pantheon
vi.  Piazza Spagna

Italian flag and Rome's Coat of Arms

Useful information

Route 1. Express Tour of Rome

If you’ve got only a few hours due to a layover, take the express route. Begin at Rome’s most reputable structure: the Colosseum. From there, pass the Forum of Caesar ruins and head towards Piazza Venezia (Venice Square), where you’ll see the imposing Altare della Patria (“Altar of the Fatherland”), a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II. The next stop is the Fontana di Trevi, the famed fountain built in the 1700s that recently underwent renovations and now sports new nighttime illumination.

Then on to the Tempio di Adriano (Temple of Hadrian) and the Pantheon, the well-known and well-preserved Roman temple built around 100 AD. Continue to the Piazza Navona and its recognizable Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) bearing an Egyptian obelisk. From there, go to Umberto Bridge, cross the Tiber River, pass the Castel Sant’Angelo and head to the route’s final destination: the Vatican. As you walk in, directly in front of you will stand the impressive St. Peter’s Basilica.

Congratulations! In express time, you’ve seen what can’t be missed in Rome. If you have more time or decide to come back, check out the other three detailed routes to discover even more of Rome’s treasures. Have a great trip!

Route 2. Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna and the Vatican

This route starts at the Terrazza del Pincio, which has one of the best views of Rome. When you head down the stairs to leave, you’ll arrive at the Piazza del Popolo (“People’s Square”), the entrance to the Old City’s three main avenues and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo, which exhibits artwork from well-known painters. From there, follow the Via del Babuino towards the Piazza di Spagna, one of Rome’s most recognizable squares for its “Spanish Steps” that lead up to the Church of Trinità dei Monti.

Continue the route and pass Sant'Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso (Church of Saints Ambrose and Charles Borromeo) to reach the Mausoleum of Augustus, who was the first emperor of Rome. Head down to Palazzo Borghese, now the Spanish Embassy, and cross the Tiber River towards Castel de Sant'Angelo. This peculiar cylindrical castle was commissioned to be a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, was converted into a fortress and is now a museum.

From the castle, the Vatican is visible, where the largest church in the world – St. Peter’s Basilica – awaits you. If you climb up to the Basilica’s dome, you’ll get the best view of Rome (especially at dusk). Inside the Apostolic Palace is the magical Sistine Chapel, painted in fresco by Renaissance giants including Michelangelo, who was entrusted by Pope Julius II to paint depictions of the Book of Genesis on the chapel ceiling and The Last Judgement on the altar wall.

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Rome: ~2.9 million

Metropolitan area: ~4.3 million

Nearby Towns

Ciampino (27 km / 17 mi)

Fiumicino (32 km / 20 mi)

Latina (72 km / 45 mi)

Grosseto (189 km / 117 mi)

Naples (226 km / 140 mi)

Siena (232 km / 144 mi)

Florence (270 km / 168 mi)


Rome has two nearby international airports: Ciampino and Fiumicino (also known as Leonardo da Vinci). Both are located in the city's outskirts.

Several companies offer transport between the airports and the city center: Cotral, Sit Bus Shuttle, T.A.M., Terravision and Atral-Schiafini.

The shuttle buses take from a half an hour to about an hour to get to Rome's centre.

Rome's bus, tram and metro fees are 1.50€ for a one-way ticket. The city's public transportation website is ATAC.


Imagine a colossal museum exhibiting millenniums of history merged together with a vibrant, modern European city – now you've got an idea of what Rome is like. Following its founding over 2,700 years ago, the “eternal city” was the torch that illuminated the West. Rome’s motto, Senatus Populus Que Romanus (SPQR), references the two social classes of ancient Rome – the patricians (ruling upper class) and the plebeians (commoners) – that lived within the Seven Hills of Rome.

The city’s most legendary monument is without a doubt the Colosseum – one of the seven wonders of the world, which, in its day, became the largest amphitheater with the greatest capacity in the Roman Empire. Officially the “Flavian Amphitheater”, the Colosseum was built with travertine stone in the 1st century. Many spectacles were held here, including gladiator and animal fights and even naval battles, which turned the center space into an aquatic arena. Thanks to its enormous size (nearly 200 meters long and 50 meters high), its stands could hold up to 70,000 people. Even in all its magnificence, however, the Colosseum was not the largest arena in Ancient Rome. This title belonged to the Circus Maximus (600 meters in length and 140 in width), which was built in phases and later rebuilt after numerous fires. At its peak, the arena packed in nearly 300,000 spectators, who cheered to chariot races alongside Julius Cesar, who watched from his private box.

Rome isn’t just filled with ancient monuments. It even holds the smallest country in the world and the headquarters of the Catholic Church – the Vatican. Besides housing the extraordinary Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo, this city-state is home to the largest cathedral in the world – St. Peter’s Basilica. Its 137-meter-high dome (448 feet) offers exceptional views of Rome.

Apart from being the likely origin of pasta, Ancient Rome is also where the precursor of modern pizza was invented. With a similar shape and cut, this “pre-pizza” was oven-baked with olive oil and spices. After visiting the Fontana di Trevi and the Piazzas Navona and Spagna (see routes above), end your day with a modern version of this in the traditional Trastevere barrio, where you can taste for yourself how these culinary creations have evolved. Locals claim that Rome’s pizza, pasta and calzones are unbeatable (unless you ask someone from Naples).

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