What are the 10 things to do in Rome that you can’t miss in 2023? We have selected the best sights in the capital for you.
Getting lost in the streets of the historic center of Rome is a unique experience: every corner is an open book on millennia of history, that is just waiting to be read.
Whether just walking through the streets of the old town or in the avenues of the parks, admire the view from the Pincio Hill or drink a coffee sitting at the table of an outdoor bar, every moment gives unique emotions that only a city so culturally lively can offer.
In this article you will discover what are the must-do things to do in Rome, for a 360-degree travel experience in one of the most fascinating capitals of the world.
Things to do in Rome, Italy: the 10 best things you shouldn't miss
Rome, the Eternal City: a city with a thousand faces, rich in history and culture, charm and contradictions, one of the most iconic capitals in the world.
Among monuments, palaces, churches, archaeological remains, gardens and beautiful landscapes it is difficult to choose what to see, especially if you have not so much days available.
We have selected 10 things to do in Rome that you can’t miss in 2023: read on if you want to know the best attractions and must-see places in the capital of Italy.
10. A journey through the history of art and nature on the Pincio
Borghese Gallery is located in the homonymous seventeenth century villa that stands on Colle Pincio and is surrounded by a huge park from which you can enjoy an incomparable view of Rome. Inside there is a rich collection consisting of sculptures, bas-reliefs, ancient mosaics, paintings and sculptures and works of great value of the major Italian artists: among all we remember Raffaello, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Correggio, Antonello da Messina and splendid sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Canova.
9. Between history and legend: the secrets of the oldest prison in Rome
The Mamertino Prison is the oldest prison in Rome: it dates back to the VIII-VII century BC and is located in the Roman Forum, at the foot of the Capitol and currently under the more recent church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami. A non-random location in a place that was the center of public life, a real warning of the fate that awaited the Empire's enemies. In this prison were imprisoned illustrious people, sentenced to death by strangulation or beheading: Giugurta, king of Numidia, Vercingetorix king of the Gauls, the conspirators of Catilina and according to tradition also the Apostles Peter and Paul who spent their last days here before being martyred.
8. From mausoleum to museum: the monument that tells the story of two thousand years of Rome
Castel Sant'Angelo was built around 123 A.D. as a tomb for Emperor Adriano and his family. Preserved until today after a series of transformations is an incredible open book on which you can read the whole history of Rome through the various layers of eras and styles: from funeral monument to armed stronghold in defense of the capital, from a prison for the enemies of the papacy a splendid Renaissance residence, from barracks to museum. It rises on the right bank of the Tevere, not far from the Vatican, and they are connected by the fortified corridor of the "Passetto".
7. From pagan monument to christian basilica: the temple of all the gods that defies the centuries
The Pantheon was a temple originally dedicated to all past, present and future gods and was built in 27 B.C. In 80 and 110 A.D. two fires damaged the previous building: it was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian around 112/124 A.D. At the beginning of the seventh century the Pantheon was donated by the Emperor to Pope Boniface IV and later was converted into a Christian Basilica, status that has allowed the building to arrive almost intact to the present day. In addition to stunning architecture, there are many tombs of famous people: here we find in fact Raffaello Sanzio, Annibale Carracci, Arcangelo Corelli, as well as the burials of Vittorio Emanuele II first King of Italy, his son Umberto I and Margherita di Savoia.
6. The life of the emperors in ancient Rome: sacred and profane in the eternal city
The Palatine is one of the seven hills of Rome: it is one of the oldest areas of the city and preserves archaeological remains dating back to the Iron Age, the oldest evidence of the original settlement that gave life to the city of Rome. Since the second and first centuries B.C. it became the residential district of the Roman aristocracy: here the most sumptuous villas were built, richly decorated with paintings and mosaics. Later on this hill were built the imperial palaces: the Domus Tiberiana, the Domus Transitoria, the Domus Aurea, and the Domus Flavia. Also in the Renaissance the noble class built houses, gardens and vineyards on the Palatine. Some of the most interesting archaeological finds from the excavations of this site are now preserved in the Palatine Museum.
5. The centre of public life: where the democracy of ancient Rome was born
The Roman Forum is an archaeological park located near the Colosseum. From the end of the 7th century BC it was the real centre of the capital public life: built on the reclamation of a swampy area, it initially housed institutional buildings where the main political, religious and commercial activities took place, and later in the second century B.C. the civil basilicas that housed the judicial activities and the commemorative monuments: the Temple of Vespasiano and Tito, the Temple of Antonino Pio and Faustina, the Arch of Settimio Severo, up to the Temple of Romolo, the Basilica on the Velia and the Column in honor of the Byzantine emperor Foca. Subsequently the area underwent a progressive burial and the first archaeological excavation sites will begin only after the unification of Italy.
4. Between gladiators and wild beasts: the theatre of blood and fun
The monument symbol of Rome, the Colosseum needs no introduction: as the Vatican is the most visited tourist attraction. Used for gladiator performances, re-enactments of historical battles, fights between exotic animals or simply for theatral performances, it could hold 50 thousand seated spectators and up to about 80 thousand standing. It remained in operation for more than 500 years, until the sixth century, from here on the Colosseum was the victim of looting, earthquakes and during the Second World War bombing. Transformed over the centuries and according to needs in fortress, church, warehouse and cemetery is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the 7 New Wonders of the World.
3. The city of water: the secret of the most beautiful fountain in Rome
Not many people know that under the Trevi Fountain, one of the favorite destinations for tourists visiting Rome, there is a network of underground tunnels and an ancient aqueduct whose tank still feeds the fountain. To visit this archaeological wonder you have to go down to about 9 meters deep: the "Vicus caprarius - the city of water" is not only an aqueduct, but also an archaeological testimony of the ancient city. During the visit, in fact, you can admire not only the ancient Castellum Aquae, large reservoir of the Virgin Aqueduct, but also a residential complex dating back to the time of the emperor Nerone. In the small museum of the archaeological area there are also exhibits found during the renovation of Cinema Trevi.
2. The largest museum complex in the world: sacred and secular art at the service of the papacy
The Vatican Museums are among the most important art collections in the world and visiting them is a must. Currently they are visited by about 6 million tourists every year, and develop with four 4 different routes that end all in the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums are not only a real casket of art that collects more than twenty centuries of history and priceless works, but also contain some of the most significant places from the artistic point of view, such as the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo Buonarroti spent almost ten years of his life to complete his paintings, the Raphael Rooms, the Bramante Staircase, the Galleries of Candelabra, Tapestries and Maps.
1. The heart of Christianity: beauty and power of the papacy
The Saint Peter’s Basilica is the largest of the papal basilicas, representative seat of the Catholic Church and at the same time home of the Pope. The present Basilica was built on a nucleus dating back to the 329 century A.D. built by the emperor Constantine in the place where the apostle Peter was buried. The Renaissance Popes using the work of great artists such as Bramante, Raphael, Michelangelo, Bernini and Maderno built the new Basilica: from 1506, over a period of more than a century, was transformed with the succession of artists and architects to take on the appearance that we can admire today. Among its naves and inside the chapels you can find not only numerous works of art of inestimable value such as the Pietà by Michelangelo but also the tombs of Saint Peter and his successors popes.