View of St. Peters in Rome

Things to do in Rome

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Sites of Ancient Rome, the early Christian saints, and medieval churches are intertwined in modern Rome.

The Capuchin Crypt containing chapels decorated entirely by human bones, Domitilla Catacombs, an ancient Christian burial ground, and the church of San Clemente which was built over an ancient 4th-century church, which in turn was built over an older Roman house containing Christian artifacts and a pagan temple are just a few of the wonders awaiting you in Rome.

The Castel Sant’Angelo was Emperor Hadrian’s mausoleum, then a fortress, then a palace, and since 1925, it has been a museum. The complex maze of rooms and corridors now house beautiful furnishings, paintings, sculptures, archaeological finds and historic weapons.

The Colosseum was built so members of the general public in Roman times could enjoy the violent spectaculars. Entry was free, although you were seated according to your social rank and wealth. Gladiatorial games were banned in 438 AD; the wild beast hunting continued until 523. The Colosseum is amazing for its complex and advanced architecture and building technique. Despite being used as a quarry for building materials at various points in history, it is still largely intact. You can see the tiered seating, corridors and the underground rooms where the animals and gladiators awaited their fate. You can compare the colosseum with modern stadiums.

The Renaissance brought beauty to the Vatican and to Rome. Raphael's Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello) are four interconnected rooms in the Vatican which have frescoes painted by the renowned Renaissance artist Raphael (1483 - 1520). These late Renaissance frescoes are the second-most famous in the Vatican's collection, only behind the fresco adorning the roof of the Sistine Chapel. Raphael's themes for his frescoes were religion and politics; he often swapped portraits of the incumbent pope for the faces of important figures. Originally commissioned by Pope Julius II in the early 1500s, the frescoes were patronized by Pope Leo X after Julius died in 1513. When Raphael also died in 1520, artists from his studio finished the paintings.

St Peter's Basilica is on the site of the tomb of St. Peter; his relics were finally found and authenticated in the middle of the 20th century. Before the current grand basilica, a 4th-century church built by Emperor Constantine stood here. This is a church like no other. It is huge and full of significant artworks and tombs, including that of Pope John Paul II. One of the most beautiful pieces is the marble Pieta by Michelangelo just inside the door on the right. It is now behind bullet proof glass after being attacked by an art-hating lunatic in 1972.

You can tour Rome from the Tiber River, taking a hop-on hop-off cruise or do a romantic dinner cruise.

To come again, toss a coin. The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous and most beloved sights in Rome. The fountain is a huge Baroque flurry (85 by 65 feet) where water spills from rocks under the feet of Neptune, Triton and sea-horses into a large pool.

Advance "Skip the Line" Tickets can save a lot of time after you arrive in Rome. The lines for popular places can be hours long. With these tickets you can do more things in one day and plan a better schedule before leaving home.

Shore excursions and transfers for cruise ship passengers from Civitavecchia to and from Rome are available.

Additional ideas for entertainment in Rome are available from the link in the upper right corner. One of the tours available is a five day motorcoach trip from Rome to Pisa, Florence and Venice.