Among the coolest things to do in Rome, one of my favorites certainly is to explore its main landmarks. From the most famous ones such as the Colosseum and Saint Peter’s Square to the lesser-known such as Centrale Montemartini and Villa Torlonia, I take you to all the fascinating landmarks in Rome I think you shouldn’t miss.
Since Rome has so many landmarks, I’m perfectly aware that you can’t possibly visit them all in one trip, unless that trip lasts for at least a year. This list wants to be a handy tool to keep in mind and bookmark for when you are in Rome and are not sure about what to visit.
For this purpose, I noted the neighborhoods where all the mentioned Rome monuments are in to help you decide which ones are easier to include in your itinerary.
Table of Contents
- 1 Colosseum
- 2 Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- 3 Fori Imperiali
- 4 Baths of Caracalla
- 5 Circo Massimo
- 6 Domus Aurea
- 7 Castel Sant’Angelo
- 8 Ponte Sant’Angelo Bridge
- 9 Piazza Navona
- 10 Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna
- 11 Saint Peter’s Square
- 12 Saint Peter’s Basilica
- 13 Vatican Museums
- 14 Sistine Chapel
- 15 Janiculum Hill
- 16 Piazza del Popolo (Centro Storico)
- 17 Villa Borghese
- 18 Campo de’ Fiori (Centro Storico)
- 19 Largo Argentina (Centro Storico)
- 20 Pons Fabricius Bridge (Tiber Island)
- 21 Tiber Island
- 22 Rome’s Synagogue (Jewish Quarter)
- 23 Vittoriano – Altar of Fatherland (Piazza Venezia)
- 24 Trevi Fountain (Trevi)
- 25 Trajan’s Markets (Trevi/Piazza Venezia)
- 26 Palazzo Barberini (Barberini/Via Veneto)
- 27 Musei Capitolini (Piazza Venezia)
- 28 San Giovanni in Laterano Basilica
- 29 Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica (Esquilino)
- 30 Centrale Montemartini (Ostiense)
- 31 Basilica of San Paolo Fuori Le Mura (Garbatella)
- 32 Sant’Agnese Outside the Walls Complex (Nomentano)
- 33 Villa Torlonia (Nomentano)
- 34 Villa Pamphilj (Monteverde)
- 35 Parco degli Acquedotti (Appian Way)
- 36 Appian Way
- 37 Ostia Antica
Part of the main archaeological park in Rome, the Colosseum is probably the first place you will visit in the eternal city. If you are exploring Rome in a day and want to see as much as you can, you are likely to include the Colosseum from outside and take a walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali for more ruins of the ancient city.
However, if you are staying at least two days in Rome and it’s your first time in the city, I definitely recommend entering and visiting the Colosseum inside, too.
Funded with the spoils of the war in Judea, the works to build the Colosseum began around 72 AD under Titus Flavius Vespasianus. After 8 years, under the reign of his son Titus, it was inaugurated even though it was fully completed in 81 AD with the addition of the undergrounds (still visible today) and the dwellings for the gladiators.
Its capacity reached 75.000 spectators, even though it’s believed that the audience has reached 80.000 more than once. Finely decorated with statues and stucco work, in its heyday, the Colosseum was an architectural wonder and one of Rome’s most famous engineering feats. Its history and artistic value make it one of the most important landmarks in Italy.
Check out what are the best Colosseum tours to make the most out of your visit!
Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
I have gathered these two landmarks in Rome under the same title because even though occupying different areas next to each other, they can be visited together with the same ticket and have the same entrance.
The Roman Forum was the pulsing heart of ancient Rome’s public life and so it remained for over a thousand years. Over the centuries were built several buildings used for political, commercial, and religious activities, and from the 2nd century BC, the civil basilicas for judiciary activities started to rise.
Around the end of republican times, the ancient Roman Forum started to be not enough anymore to represent the city as its main administrative and representative center. From now on, the emperors would build here only monuments for their reputation and visibility such as temples and arches.
Today, we can still see the majestic ruins of important buildings and temples such as the Arch of Settimio Severo, the Basilica of Maxentius, and the Temple of Vespasiano and Tito.
The Imperial Fora extend across the pedestrian Via dei Fori Imperial that goes from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia.
One of the most famous sights in Rome, the Imperial Fora is an architectural complex like no other in the world made of several monumental squares and buildings erected over the span of around 150 years. When Rome became the capital of a large empire from Gallia to Asia and the Roman Forum started to be too small to represent the city, the Imperial Fora became the heart of political life.
This is one of the largest archaeological sites in Rome and you can either enter or see the ruins from the pedestrian street above. There are the remains of four imperial fora. The one of Julius Caesar was the first to be built in 46 BC, followed by the one of Augustus, Nerva, and of Trajan.
Baths of Caracalla
It might sound trivial, but if you visit the Baths of Caracalla, you will gain knowledge about a very important aspect of ancient Roman society. Frequenting a public bath meant more than just pampering themselves. Important wellness centers like the Baths of Caracalla included different halls such as calidarium and tepidarium with different water temperatures, but also a gym and a library.
Baths and thermal centers in ancient Rome were more than a place where citizens would go to remain clean, they were holistic centers where citizens enjoyed wellness treatments, exercised, consulted books, and socialized.
One of the best-kept public baths from ancient times, the Baths of Caracalla is one of the most important landmarks in Rome to include in your sightseeing.
- Where: Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
The Circus Maximus lies between Aventine Hill and the Thermal Baths of Maxentius in the Roman Forum. In its heyday, it was the largest building used for entertainment in the ancient world and one of the largest of all times where chariot racing and competitions took place.
Of very ancient origins, the area where the Circus Maximus is is linked to the foundation of Rome itself because it’s here that the abduction of the Sabine women, one of the most important events of local mythology, happened.
The first adaptation of the Murcia valley between the Palatine and Aventine Hills for entertaining purposes took place under the Tarquin kings but the brick wall structure was built under Julius Caesar.
Today, the Circus Maximus is where Romans go for jogging, relaxing, and attending important events like concerts and New Year’s Eve.
This is the villa of emperor Nero, but of his huge house, today remains a much smaller part because it was mostly destroyed and built upon. The same Colosseum was built where were the magnificent gardens of the Domus Aurea.
The original royal complex was made of several palaces, gardens, woods, vineyards, and even an artificial lake. The villa was famous for being arguably the most luxurious ever made. The main palaces were located on the Palatine and Oppian Hills and were decorated with stucco work, polychrome marbles, paintings, and coating in gold and precious stones.
The royal complex included also large baths with normal and sulfurous water, several dining halls among which was the coenatio rotunda, famous for rotating on itself, and a large vestibule with a monumental statue of Nero dressed as the Sun god.
The ruins we can visit today after years of renovation are located behind the Colosseum and beyond Via Labicana on Oppian Hill. These were probably halls used for parties and remained buried until the Renaissance.
- Where: Via della Domus Aurea.
In my modest opinion, Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the most outstanding monuments in Rome. Built as the funerary mausoleum of emperor Hadrian (in fact, it’s also known as the Hadrian Mausoleum), Castel Sant’Angelo has covered several purposes over the centuries.
Apart from being an imperial tomb, it has served as a defensive stronghold, residential castle, and even prison. Under the papal rule, an elevated passageway connected Castel Sant’Angelo directly to the Vatican and was used by the pope when threatened by foreign invasions.
Today, it’s a fascinating landmark to visit in Rome comprising private papal apartments, a museum, and a terrace with a great view of Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Ponte Sant’Angelo Bridge
Ponte Sant’Angelo is one of the most beautiful among the Roman bridges. Wanted by the same emperor Hadrian to connect his tomb with the center of Rome, the Ponte Sant’Angelo bridge has undergone many renovation works throughout the centuries.
The last version of the bridge, the one we can see today, is a masterpiece by the great Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini that sees ten angels flanking both sides. Connecting the Vatican area with Rome’s Centro Storico, you are likely to step over this scenic Roman landmark more than once during your trip.
Piazza Navona is one of the most popular landmarks in Rome and one that you will end up visiting often whether it’s your first, second, or fifth trip. Elliptical in shape because of its very structure built on top of the ancient Domitian Stadium, Piazza Navona is a gorgeous square packed with artwork.
In the middle, stands tall the unmistakable Four Rivers Fountain surrounding an Egyptian obelisk, another Roman masterpiece by Bernini, while on the northern and southern edges are two smaller fountains by Giacomo della Porta. Facing the Four Rivers Fountain is the gorgeous Baroque Sant’Agnese in Agone church, one of the works of Borromini in Rome.
Locals and tourists enjoy Piazza Navona all year long for its artwork, the museums surrounding it, and during celebrations such as Rome’s Carnival and Christmas because it’s the location of a historic Christmas market.
Read everything about Piazza Navona in our dedicated guide.
Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna
Known in Italian as “Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti”, the Spanish Steps is the monumental staircase that connects the francophone church of Trinità dei Monti on the Pincio hill with Piazza di Spagna on the bottom. Built on what was before a muddy slope, the Spanish Steps are the stunning connection between an area of the city where was a strong French presence with the Spanish colony.
Today, the Spanish Steps is one of the most well-known and photographed sights in Rome. Even though sitting on the stairs has been banned, it’s possible to climb them up and down and enjoy the beautiful square and Via dei Condotti famous shopping street from above. This is particularly scenographic around Christmas because of the festive lights covering the neighborhoods.
Read everything about the Spanish Steps in our dedicated guide.
Saint Peter’s Square
This is probably the most famous and spectacular among the works of Bernini in Rome. When Bernini built Saint Peter’s Square, there was no Via della Conciliazione. Instead, in front of the Vatican Basilica, was a maze of narrow winding alleys forming a neighborhood known as Spina di Borgo. What Bernini had in mind was to create a wonderful perspective that would open up in front of the visitor’s eyes once he came out of a small alley.
The building of Via della Conciliazione in the 1930s under Mussolini added a majestic touch to the area but Bernini’s idea of creating such a powerful optical illusion was lost forever.
Nevertheless, Saint Peter’s Square deservingly remains one of the most spectacular and famous piazzas in Rome. Framed by Bernini’s colonnade topped by sculptures, the square has two almost identical fountains, one by Bernini and one by Carlo Maderno, and the statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul to welcome visitors to the Basilica.
This gorgeous square is best admired from the top of Saint Peter’s dome. You can book the climb to the dome directly from the Vatican’s official website or by booking a Vatican private tour.
Saint Peter’s Basilica
One of the most famous churches in Rome, Saint Peter’s Basilica is a gorgeous example of Renaissance religious architecture. Standing on the site of an ancient Roman graveyard and the 4th-century basilica built by emperor Constantine the Great, inside it’s packed with artwork.
From the world-famous sculpture of La Pietà by Michelangelo to Saint Peter’s Baldachin by Bernini to the red porphyry ring at the entrance where Charlemagne kneeled in 800 at his coronation, this stunning basilica is steeped in history and a must during your trip to Rome. As a plus, it’s free to enter!
Read everything about Saint Peter’s Basilica in our dedicated guide.
- Where: Piazza San Pietro.
The most visited landmark in the Vatican, the Vatican Museums is a rich gallery displaying artwork collected over five centuries by the popes through commissions and donations from foreign and Italian leaders.
From the most famous attractions such as the Gallery of the Maps and Raphael’s Rooms to the lesser-known but no less interesting sections such as the hall of the carriages, the Vatican Museums is a must for any art and history lover.
The Vatican Museums is one of those Rome sights that are never empty. Apart from some quiet months like January and February, you are always likely to find crowds at the entrance. So, booking your skip-the-line ticket online or a private tour is usually your best bet.
- Where: Viale Vaticano.
Check out our guide to visiting the Vatican.
The Sistine Chapel is probably the most famous landmark inside the Vatican Museums, even though far from being the only one worth visiting. The chapel takes its name after pope Sixtus IV della Rovere who commissioned the renovation of the same between 1477 and 1480. The 15th-century decoration was the work of artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Cosimo Rosselli.
In 1508, pope Julius II della Rovere commissioned Michelangelo to decorate the vault where the artist painted the Genesis, while in 1533 pope Clemens VII de’ Medici asked again Michelangelo to decorate the altar wall where he painted the famous Last Judgement, which is probably the main reason people visit the Sistine Chapel.
This is more of a natural landmark because it’s a hill and not man-made. You can easily reach Janiculum Hill on foot from Trastevere. From here, you will see a fantastic view of the city and the dome of Saint Peter. Romantic and steeped in history, the Janiculum offers a great promenade.
Enjoy the view from its belvedere panoramic point, see the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, one of Rome’s most scenic fountains, visit the Mausoleum Ossuary of the Fallen for Rome’s liberation, the shrine known as Bramante’s Temple, a beautiful example of Renaissance architecture.
Piazza del Popolo (Centro Storico)
Piazza del Popolo is a spectacular piazza at the foot of the Pincio Mount. Steeped in history and packed with artwork, there are several masterpieces to visit in the single square. Even though its first construction dates back to the 16th century, the current look we can see today is the work of the famous 18th-century architect Giuseppe Valadier.
After stepping over the majestic Porta del Popolo gate, duck into Santa Maria del Popolo Basilica on the left side to see the works of Caravaggio, Pinturicchio, and Raphael. If you are a fan of the discoveries of Leonardo Da Vinci, right beside the church there is a lovely museum devoted to his genius all around.
Carry on and pay a visit to the three gorgeous fountains of Piazza del Popolo, see the carvings of the central obelisk, the first ever brought to Rome from Egypt, and visit the twin churches before making your way to Via del Corso long shopping street towards the landmarks of the Centro Storico.
Read everything about Piazza del Popolo in our dedicated guide.
The construction of the sumptuous noble villa that today we know as Villa Borghese began in the early 17th century when Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese, nephew of the then Pope Paul V Borghese decided to build his family residence. At its highest splendor, Villa Borghese was dotted with majestic gates, lush gardens, and luxurious palaces protected by tree-lined fences.
Whether you are looking for romance, art, or having fun with your kids, Villa Borghese delivers it all. Don’t miss a visit to the important Galleria Borghese museum, rent a boat to row in the park’s lake for a romantic date, discover the many beautiful fountains, and enjoy a beautiful view of Piazza del Popolo and the rooftop of the Centro Storico from the Pincio terrace. If you are traveling with kids, you can visit Bioparco, Rome’s zoo, to see animals from all over the world.
Read everything about Villa Borghese in our dedicated guide.
Campo de’ Fiori (Centro Storico)
Standing for “land of flowers”, Campo de’ Fiori owes its name to the wildflowers it used to be decorated with. Since 1869, every morning from Monday to Saturday, here you can walk around the stalls of its famous local market selling food, flowers, clothes, kitchen tools, and more.
Today, during the morning it still hosts the same market, particularly popular with tourists, while at night, it’s a hangout place for both locals and tourists.
Read everything about Campo de’ Fiori in our dedicated guide.
Largo Argentina (Centro Storico)
Located at the end of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Largo Argentina is known to be a very busy bus and tram hub and home to one of Rome’s most famous cat colonies. The cats live in a large archaeological site that for many years has been left neglected and quite unknown.
An ancient sacred site, what’s known today as Largo Argentina is where the prominent Roman statesman Julius Caesar was murdered. This important archaeological complex was discovered by chance between 1926 and 1929 during the works to erect new buildings in the area.
A large square with four temples started to come to light and the new works in the area were halted. In 1929, Benito Mussolini inaugurated the new archaeological discovery and the site has remained pretty much untouched.
The ancient temples were built between the 4th and the 2nd centuries BC and the whole area was renovated during the rule of emperor Domitian after a devastating fire caused heavy damage in 80 AD.
As of now, I have seen that there are works going on and passageways are being installed. Maison Bvlgari is sponsoring the current renovation and enhancement of the site to make it accessible to visitors.
Pons Fabricius Bridge (Tiber Island)
The oldest Roman bridge still standing in its original structure, Pons Fabricius connects the Tiber Island with Rome’s “mainland”. Specifically, the Fabricio bridge connects Tiber Island with the Jewish quarter and Ponte Cestio with Trastevere.
Measuring 57.30 meters (188 feet) in length and 5.60 meters (18 feet) in width, Pons Fabricius takes its name from Lucio Fabricius, the person in charge of taking care of the roads, who first commissioned it in 62 BC.
Even though originated from volcanic rocks and river debris at the point where the river is larger making the water less deep and the flow slower, we can consider Tiber Island one of the landmarks in Rome because of the heavy building and remodeling carried out since ancient times by the Romans.
Ancient Romans, famous for their obsession for aesthetics, capitalising on the location and form, decorated it and gave it the shape of a ship with the main mast. The water, especially on the days when it was rough, gave fantastic special effects and looked like it was actually sailing.
Connected to the city through two bridges, Pons Fabricius and Ponte Cestio, Tiber Island is linked to several myths and has also played an important role in the local history. Hosting several historical buildings including the hospital Fatebenefratelli that after the plague of the 17th century was devoted to treat the sick citizens, and San Bartolomeo church.
Today, it’s a cool place where Romans hangout and enjoy a meal or a drink.
Rome’s Synagogue (Jewish Quarter)
The heart of the Jewish Ghetto can be placed in the towering Synagogue of Rome, also known as Tempio Maggiore. It was built between 1901 and 1904 and all around the facade you can see the main symbols of the Jewish religion such as the Star of David, the menorah, a seven-lamp candelabrum, and the Torah.
In the same building, you can also access the Jewish Museum (Museo Ebraico di Roma), a permanent exhibition of the history and culture of Rome’s Jewish community.
- Where: Lungotevere de’ Cenci.
Vittoriano – Altar of Fatherland (Piazza Venezia)
Officially inaugurated in 1911, the Vittoriano is the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the unified Kingdom of Italy.
The complex is also known as Altare della Patria (Altar of Fatherland). Visitors can enter to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the museum of the Italian Risorgimento, the series of battles that led to the unification of Italy.
From the terrace on the upper floor, you can enjoy a fantastic view of Rome’s rooftops.
- Where: Piazza Venezia.
Trevi Fountain (Trevi)
Without a doubt one of the most spectacular fountains in Rome, Fontana di Trevi is the last show of the ancient Aqua Virgo aqueduct, to which its origins are strictly linked since the 1st century BC. This is when the Roman politician and architect Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa diverted the pipeline to feed his private thermal baths.
Fast forward to the 18th century, Pope Clement XII commissioned Nicola Salvi to build the fountain. The works started in 1735 and continued through the pontificate of the other two popes. Salvi died before the work ended and the fountain, completed by Giuseppe Pannini, was inaugurated in May 1762.
- Where: Piazza di Trevi.
Don’t miss our article on the most stunning fountains in Rome.
Trajan’s Markets (Trevi/Piazza Venezia)
The Trajan’s Markets is a fantastic and well-preserved archaeological complex a stone’s throw Piazza Venezia and the imperial fora, to which it’s strictly linked.
The site was built at the beginning of the 2nd century to hide and support the cut on the slopes of the Quirinale hill that was made to build Trajan’s Forum. Even though known as a “market”, it never served as a selling place for goods, veggies, and livestock.
It was instead the administrative center of the nearby Forum of the emperor Trajan, one of the four imperial fora. Today, visitors can see the ancient structure of Trajan’s markets and also access the forum of Trajan.
- Where: Via Quattro Novembre 94.
Palazzo Barberini (Barberini/Via Veneto)
The notable palace known as Palazzo Barberini is a great example of the Italian Baroque architectural style and the collaboration of three of the main architects of the 17th century, Carlo Maderno, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Francesco Borromini.
In 1953, the palace became one of the venues of the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica together with Galleria Corsini in Trastevere (Via della Lungara 10). Today, Palazzo Barberini displays masterpieces dating between the 13th and 18th centuries from artists of the likes of Raphael, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Bronzino, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Guido Reni, Guercino, and Pietro da Cortona.
Read everything about Palazzo Barberini in our dedicated guide.
- Where: Via delle Quattro Fontane 13.
Musei Capitolini (Piazza Venezia)
Located in Capitoline Hill next to the mayor’s offices, the Capitoline Museums are no doubt to be listed among Rome’s most important museums and also some of the oldest. Its opening, in fact, is to be dated on 1471 when pope Sixtus IV gifted the Roman people a group of bronze statues that had a high symbolic value for the local history. These included also the She-wolf nursing the twins who founded the city.
All the collections you can see visiting this big museum bear a strong link to the city of Rome, and in fact, most of the works, masterpieces, and objects have been sourced right here, in Rome or its surroundings.
The collections include paintings, sculptures, as well as ancient objects found during archaeological excavations. Wandering the different halls will make you travel through Rome’s history from Etruscan times to the myths linked to its foundation, to the more modern masterpieces created during the papal rule.
- Where: Piazza del Campidoglio 1.
San Giovanni in Laterano Basilica
The Basilica of Saint John in Lateran is one of the most important churches in Rome. Its foundation is to be traced back to the 4th century when emperor Constantine the Great donated the land on the southern slope of Mount Celio to Pope Melchiade.
The different artistic and architectural styles visible in this important basilica are due to the events that dot its history made of fires, earthquakes, and several episodes of looting. This is why we can see the touch of illustrious artists such as Francesco Borromini, Giacomo della Porta, Domenico Fontana, and Alessandro Galilei.
The Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano is the official ecclesiastic seat of the Roman Diocese, while the Lateran Palace has been the official residence of the Pope until the 15th century. This is where in 1929 the Lateran Treaty between the Italian Kingdom and the Catholic Church was signed.
- Where: Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano.
Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica (Esquilino)
If you are exploring the charming and lively Esquilino neighborhood, don’t miss Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, the only one of the four Papal Basilicas where early-Christian structures and features are preserved and visible.
The undergrounds of the basilica, open to visitors, show important archaeological relics such as the remains of Roman walls and a 2nd-century calendar. However, no traces of the first, original church are left.
The bell tower shows a Renaissance architectural style and was commissioned by Pope Gregory XI after he returned to Rome from Avignon definitely moving back to the eternal city. Measuring 75 meters, it is Rome’s tallest bell tower.
- Where: Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore.
Centrale Montemartini (Ostiense)
Centrale Montemartini is a charming museum in the Ostiense neighborhood set in Rome’s former main power plant. Displaying the giant turbines, furnaces, and machines next to classic Roman and Greek sculptures, statues, sarcophagi, and even mosaics makes it an interesting place to visit whether you are an enthusiast of ancient and contemporary history.
This museum is a great find if you are delving deeper into the local modern history and discovering the vestiges of Rome’s industrial archaeology including also the former general warehouse, the city’s wholesale markets, and the gasometers.
The exhibition is accompanied by informative panels to help visitors understand how the power plant worked and how electricity was produced and distributed.
Read everything about Centrale Montemartini in our dedicated guide.
- Where: Via Ostiense 106.
Basilica of San Paolo Fuori Le Mura (Garbatella)
Saint Paul Outside the Walls Basilica is located in the Garbatella district south of Rome and is one of the four Papal Basilicas. Probably due to its position far from the city center, the Basilica of San Paolo Fuori Le Mura is almost never included in a classic tour, especially on a one-day Rome trip.
This magnificent church was built by Constantine the Great and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980 together with Rome’s Centro Storico and the Vatican. Under the main altar are kept the remains of Saint Paul and the Basilica has been a pilgrimage destination since 1300.
I deem a visit to this church very important, especially if you are a history fan. Apart from the holy relics, in its interior, you can see stunning mosaics and a beautiful 13th-century cloister. Archaeology buffs can’t miss going underground to discover the ancient site of a portico that connected to the Aurelian Walls, parts of an ancient neighborhood, and the remains of an old monastery.
- Where: Piazzale San Paolo.
Read everything about Saint Paul Outside the Walls Basilica in our dedicated guide.
Sant’Agnese Outside the Walls Complex (Nomentano)
North of the historic center is one of my favorite neighborhoods of Rome, the Nomentano Quarter. Elegant and rich in great restaurants and coffee shops, here there are also plenty of landmarks to visit. One of these is the complex of Sant’Agnese Fuori Le Mura.
From the basilica built by pope Honorius I in the 7th century and renovated several times over the centuries, to the catacombs, to the ruins of the 4th-century Constantinian Basilica, which was a covered cemetery.
Along with the catacombs, a big highlight of this religious complex is the Mausoleum of Costanza, the daughter of emperor Constantine the Great. Costanza was very devout towards Sant’Agnese and this is why she built the Constantinian Basilica next to the saint’s burial place and ordered that her own funerary mausoleum be erected in the same area. You don’t want to miss this small mausoleum because its ceiling is fully coated with wonderful mosaics.
- Where: Via Nomentana 349.
Villa Torlonia (Nomentano)
Another fantastic sight in the Nomentano quarter is Villa Torlonia, a smaller park compared to Villa Borghese and Villa Ada, but not less fascinating. The former residence of the Torlonia family who bought it in 1797, this park is home to several landmarks.
If you are staying a few more days or a week in Rome, I always recommend including Villa Torlonia on your bucket list. Some of the places you shouldn’t miss visiting inside this park include the wonderful Casino Nobile, the Roman residence of Benito Mussolini, Casina delle Civette (the Owls’ Lodge), and the Serra Moresca (Moorish Greenhouse).
Read everything about Villa Torlonia in our dedicated guide.
- Where: Via Nomentana 70
Villa Pamphilj (Monteverde)
Villa Pamphilj is one of our favorite parks in Rome. Easy to reach by bus and by car (it’s not in the ZTL), Villa Pamphilj is a fantastic green oasis to take your kids, walk your dog, or enjoy a run.
This was the country residence of the powerful Pamphilj clan and even though far from looking like during its highest splendor days, we can still appreciate the luxury it was built with. Children will love to join their peers in the local playground, but make sure you don’t miss a walk around the park as there is plenty to see.
Families, couples, and groups of friends will enjoy a stroll towards the white Casino del Bel Respiro palace, which is not open to visitors because a seat of the Italian government, the fountains, including Fontana della Cascata, and the lake where you can see the local wildlife such as fish, ducks, turtles, and swans.
Check out our full guide to driving in Rome.
Parco degli Acquedotti (Appian Way)
The Park of the Aqueducts is a huge park south of Rome where leisure truly meets history. Here you can wander through the large green expanse, your kids can play in the open-air and covered playgrounds, and history buffs can enjoy observing, discovering, and photographing the ruins of several ancient aqueducts.
These include 3rd-century BC Anio Vetus, Anio Novus, Aqua Marcia, Aqua Tepula, Aqua Iulia, Aqua Claudia, and the more modern Aqua Felix, commissioned in 1585 by Pope Sixtus V Felice Peretti and still operative.
This wonderful green area is part of Parco dell’Appia Antica and can be explored also by bike. There are in fact several bike tours organized here, like this one and this one.
Often referred to as the queen of all roads (Regina Viarium), along the ancient Appian Way there are several Rome monuments and landmarks to visit. Many are tombs because in ancient times it was forbidden for Roman citizens to bury their dead inside the city walls but outside, they were free to do pretty much whatever they wanted. That’s why many, including many noble people, built there their graves.
Some of the notable mausoleums are the Tomb of Caecilia Metella, the grand burial place of a Roman noblewoman, built between 30 and 10 BC, the tomb of the Curiatii, and the tomb of Caius Licinius.
With over 2000 years under its collective belt, Via Appia Antica is an important testimony to Rome’s past thanks to the several landmarks placed all along this majestic road that from the capital leads to Brindisi in the Puglia region.
It’s here that, apart from funerary monuments, we can see buildings linked to episodes from Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance all the way to the 19th century. Part of Parco dell’Appia Antica are also areas like Tor Fiscale, where several aqueducts meet, Parco della Caffarella, and Tormarancia, a suburban neighborhood that became famous for its colorful street art.
Ostia Antica is a large archaeological site and one of the most important in the area located next to the modern town of Ostia. This is where was the harbor city of ancient Rome at the mouth of the Tiber River, a pivotal trading hub.
This is one of the best and easiest day trips from Rome and one I truly suggest taking if you have the time. It’s very easy to reach by train and will give you a fantastic glimpse into the ancient way of living and commercial activity.
There are the ruins of ancient basilicas, civic buildings used for judiciary purposes, houses and insulae (today’s blocks of flats), public baths, and ancient mosaics.