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The Best Things to Do in Rome

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Whether you take Rome on through a guided tour or decide to wander the cobbled streets at your own pace, you'll find more to do than one trip can satisfy. Don't fret. Set some must-sees aside for your next trip. But do get in some of those experiences you've heard about forever, from the treasures at the Vatican Museums to Santa Maria in Trastevere, the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and, my oh my, so much more. If you're up for people watching after putting in some miles around the Eternal City, find a spot to rest (gelato in hand) in Piazza Navona and take it all in.
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00184 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
No matter how many postcards you've seen of Rome's iconic Colosseum, you just don't get it until you pass beneath its crumbling arches. Built by Emperor Vespasian in 72 C.E., the huge amphitheater held 50,000 spectators and marked its...
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Largo della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
The Roman Forum is where ancient Rome began. The sprawling archaeological park gives us just a hint of what the Roman Empire once was—a dominant and diverse society. The Forum itself was the political, social, religious, and commercial focal...
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Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Fontana di Trevi is, as it should be, one of the most visited landmarks in Rome. Seeing it is worth the blind stumble through narrow stone streets and alleyways. But do so at night (and in the rain, if possible) to be rewarded with...
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Largo di Villa Peretti, 2, 00185 Roma RM, Italy
If one single space encapsulates the Roman Empire, it would be Palazzo Massimo, Rome’s multilevel museum housing one of Italy’s richest collections of antiquities. The entire history of Rome, from the rise of the Republic to its...
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Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
For 120 years, Italy’s national gallery of modern and contemporary art, La Galleria Nazionale, maintained a relatively low profile in its gorgeous neoclassical palace on the edge of Villa Borghese—but no longer. The 2016 renovations...
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Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Many believe the Basilica di Santa Maria was the first church built in Rome. While archaeologists can't definitively corroborate this claim, this landmark remains of supreme importance to locals who come to worship beneath its gilded ceiling. The...
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Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma RM
There is a staggering amount of artwork on display here. It is said that if you stood at each piece for just one minute, it would take you four years to see everything. Created by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, the museums have expanded...
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Via Garibaldi, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
The ancient Romans used aqueducts to carry water from distant springs into central Rome. As the empire decayed, so too did these ambitious public works. When Rome experienced a renaissance—not to mention a population boom—in the modern...
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Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
In 2010, street artist Davide Diavù rebooted Rome’s sleepy Quadraro neighborhood by launching MURo, an outdoor urban art museum where artists from around the world come to adorn large structures with even larger murals. The result is...
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Piazza del Campidoglio, 1, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
The Capitoline Museums house a collection of ancient sculptures in a pair of buildings designed by Michelangelo in the mid-16th century. The architecture on its own is stunning, but add to that brilliant frescoes and museum halls decked out with...
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Via Catalana, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
In 1555, Pope Paul IV ordered the establishment of Rome's Jewish Ghetto, confining the city's Jewish population to a micro-neighborhood near Campo de’ Fiori for over three centuries. The medieval townhouses of the ghetto—once a walled...
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Piazzale Napoleone I, 00197 Roma RM, Italy
Encompassing early 200 acres of rolling parkland, Villa Borghese is Rome's verdant heart and everyone's favorite place for an afternoon walk. The vast gardens are criss-crossed with picturesque paths, where visitors can meander past ancient...
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Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Even with Segway tours rolling through and street performers loudly competing for audiences, the 15th-century Piazza Navona somehow retains a shred of grace and elegance in modern Rome. Calm Renaissance palazzi face the piazza’s centerpiece,...
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Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Often called the Spanish Steps, Rome's famous scalinata (monumental staircase) is the centerpiece of Piazza di Spagna. Built in the early 1700s, the steps connect the piazza (now a busy shopping area) with the Trinità dei Monti church...
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00120 Città del Vaticano, Roma RM
As tourists gaze up at Michelangelo’s dome in St. Peter’s Basilica, many have no idea that one of Vatican City's most compelling historic sites is directly beneath their feet: the Vatican Necropolis, also known as the scavi...