We’ve all heard of the Colosseum, the Vatican and maybe the Roman Forum, but if you’re visiting Rome as a newbie with only a few days up your sleeve – what are the things that you absolutely must do to have a proper Roman Holiday?
We asked the experts at Contiki to take us to their 10 must-do most popular sights while visiting Italy’s ancient capital city.
1. Throw some coins into Trevi Fountain
Hey now, you can’t visit Rome without visiting the world-known Trevi Fountain, the largest baroque fountain in the city, completed in 1762.
A popular tourist destination, many people flock here because the fountain has been so beautifully depicted in many famous films, like the iconic “Roman Holiday”.
You simply must throw in a coin and make a wish – legend has it that the number of coins used can bring you a different wish. One being to return to Rome some day - two to find love - and three to find marriage.
2. Look through the Pantheon oculus
A former Roman temple, and now a church, the Pantheon is one of the most recognised buildings in Rome.
A circular building with towering columns, the building is covered by a concrete dome with a central opening - the oculus.
Despite being open to nature’s elements, it’s one of the best-preserved buildings from Ancient Rome.
3. Take in some history at the Colosseum
One of the seven wonders of the world, the Colosseum is the perfect place to learn all about the Roman Empire.
The largest amphitheatre ever built, it opened in 80AD and is made of concrete and sand.
Today it still stands, however worn and torn by age and weather. It was once used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.
Contiki offer two experiences at the Colosseum on their tours, on the night of arrival you are able to dine on delicious Italian pizza while sitting in viewing distance of the monolithic attraction, and the following day you can take a guided tour of the Colosseum as well as the Roman Forum.
4. Dine on some pizza or pasta pretty much anywhere
There’s nothing quite like eating something so universally well-known in the place where it was invented.
When strolling around Rome, you can find pizza and pasta anywhere, and there’s no where that you could go that won’t top the tastes you’ve had at home.
5. Take a look through the Aventine Keyhole
The Aventine Keyhole is literally a keyhole view of The Vatican, and Contiki were able to lead us to this little-known viewpoint.
Perfectly capturing the Vatican in the distance through a line of perfectly manicured gardens, it’s a semi-secret viewpoint that’s worth seeing.
6. Walk the Spanish Steps
Located in the heart of this ancient city, the Spanish Steps climb a steep slope, with the Trinita dei Monti church towering at the top.
Many like to walk the 138 steps, or simply gather within the curves and terraces connecting Piazza di Spagna and upper Piazza Trinita dei Monti.
It’s the steps’ unique design and elegance that has made this attraction so popular – and it has also featured in several Hollywood films.
7. Stroll through the Roman Forum
Located nearby the Colosseum, the Roman Forum was for centuries the centre of Roman public life. It’s now a rectangular plaza surrounded by the the ruins of several important ancient buildings.
The main features of the forum include the Arch of Titus, the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vesta and the church of San Luca e Martina.
8. Take a look at Vittoriano (Monument to Victor Emmanuel II)
This is probably the first thing you’ll spot when arriving at Rome, as the Contiki bus stops here for picture-perfect group photo.
A huge white monument, its terraces offer some of the best views over the city.
Locally referred to as the “Wedding Cake”, the monument looks notably newer than the surrounding architecture. Built between 1885 and 1911, it was dedicated to the first King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II.
9. Step into the smallest country in the world, The Vatican
Never has stepping into a country become so easy. On Contiki’s European Inspiration tour you are able to take part on a guided tour through this historical city.
Located just north of the city of Rome, it’s well worth taking the time to see the Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica, an Italian Renaissance Church recognised worldwide as one of the holiest Catholic shrines, and the burial site of the first pope.
10. See Michelangelo's Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel, The Vatican
Possibly the most famous mural of them all, this fresco painting by Michelangelo, forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling illustrating, a biblical narrative in which God breathes life into Adam, the first man.
One of the most replicated religious paintings of all time, it’s incredible to stand beneath imagining how Michelangelo created the masterpiece from 1508-1512 - and all while standing upright!