Rome is a city filled with icons of antiquity and it celebrates its long history with monuments, churches and restored ruins that offer a glimpse into life during the days of the great Roman Empire. It's hard to know where to go first.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
In AD 72 on orders from Bespasian they started to construct the complex. It was inaugurated in the year AD 80 with a series of games after his son Titus enlarged it by adding the fourth story. It is the largest structure left to us by Roman antiquity, today the Colosseum still provides the model for sports arenas - present day football stadium design is clearly based on this oval Roman plan. It was large enough for theatrical performances, festivals, circuses and games.
The fountain was finished in the mid-1700s and is situated amongst a high concentration of hotels, shopping and nightlife. It is a powerful example of a baroque design with a distinctly mythological character. The god of the sea, Neptune, emerges from the pool, flanked by his trusty Tritons. This mythological site is best viewed at night when lights illuminate the fountain.
The Pantheon is the best preserved monument of Roman antiquity and is remarkably intact for its 2000 years. It was rebuilt in AD 80 after damaged by a fire. The resulting brickwork shows the extraordinarily high technical mastery of Roman builders. The first Christian emperors forbade using this pagan temple for worship but in 609 Pope Boniface IV dedicated it to the Virgin and all the Christian martyrs, and since then, it has become the burial place of Italian kings and other famous Italians, including the painter Raphael.
It is not a popular as the Colosseum but some say it is more interesting. Much of the Ancient Rome's most important structures is comprises here, from shrines to government houses to monuments. Highlights not to miss are the Temple of Antoninus Pius, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Curia, the Temple of Vesta, and the Arch of Titus.
5.THE CATACOMBS AND VIA APPIA ANTICA
The Catacombs of San Callisto and San Sebastiano, both underground burial places are extensive. San Callista with intricate multi-layered networks of passages and chambers carved into the soft tufa. St. Calixtus tombs has six sacramental chapels, constructed between 290 and 310, with both pagan and early Christian wall paintings. Tomb chambers are on several levels with fine paintings, stucco decoration, and inscriptions dating to the first century AD.
The monument to Victor Emmanuel II was built between 1885 and 1911 to celebrate the success of the Risorgimento and achievement of Italian unity in 1870. Highlights are the Altare della Patriaand the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Museo Centrale del Risorgimento, an interesting museum of the Italian independence movement is housed on the east part of the monument.
7.BATHS OF CARACALLA
The public baths was completed in 216. Inside was hot and cold baths, a swimming pool, dry and steam saunas, gymnastics and sports facilities, social rooms, gardens, libraries, hairdressers, and shops. The floors and walls were covered with marbles, mosaics, and frescoes; even in ruin their splendor is still evident.
8.BASILICA OF ST. JOHN LATERAN
The episcopal church of the Pope, St. John Lateran is one of Rome's most impressive churches. The faÃ§ade is purely baroque embellishment and a fine example of that period. Highlights is the beautiful 16th century wooden ceiling and the octagonal baptistery, San Giovanni in Fonte - the world's oldest Christian baptistery.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
The most convenient and economic way of getting around Rome is by far the Public Transit Bus service and Metro Rail. Buses run 24 hours a day and cover the entire city.
The best time to visit Rome is from October to April. Although you'll need a warm coat, weather this time of year hardly ever dips below freezing.