A Perfect Day in Rome
The precise formula for a perfect day in Rome is highly personal, but visitors hoping to make the most of a single day in the Italian capital should start with an early morning visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, followed by a peek inside the Pantheon on the way to the Forum and Colosseum. Rome is stunningly gorgeous at night, so use your last bit of energy to chase panoramic views and to soak in the atmosphere of the historical center's piazzas and fountains.

Map icon place
Post display cropped open uri20130616 25255 mxk2mk?1383815726

St. Peter's Square, the Vatican, and St. Peter's Basilica

Large arrow left

One of my most memorable stops in Rome was of course the Piazza San Pietro and with it, the Basilica, and Vatican City.

This huge square was laid in 1657 and holds the 400,000 worshippers and visitors who crowd this vast area in times of celebration.

There is a colonnade with columns and 140 statues of saints on each side of the piazza. They seem to frame the square.

At the center and head of the square is the Basilica. St. Peter's Basilica is an immense space that holds 60,000 people. It is open daily. This magnificent building holds many works of art in the church proper and in the treasury. Michelangelo's "Pieta" is to the right of the entrance in the Basilica.

Don't miss a visit to the crypt underneath the church where you will see the simple tomb of Pope John Paul II. But most tourists will visit the tomb of St. Peter, the first Pope.

You can take the elevator and walk around inside the dome. You'll find a coffee shop on the roof.

Visit Vatican City. It is the smallest state in the world. I went to the book shop and Vatican Post Office and mailed postcards from their own post office.

Vatican City is the papal residence. The Sistine Chapel was a must-visit for me, as I wanted to see the ceiling in person. Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" was magnificent.

I also went to a general papal audience, which was very rewarding as I had a seat about 8 rows up toward the front.

Make sure you go with a guide or bring a guidebook, as you don't want to miss anything.

Large arrow right
read moreread less>
I've been here
2 have been here
Does this place need a closer look by our editors? Let us know.