Famously known as The Eternal City, or the Urbs Sacra (the Sacred City), Rome is a much coveted destination for history lovers, architecture enthusiasts and culture vultures.
Pizzas, Pastas, Vespas: three elements of Italy beloved by almost everyone around the world . However, Italy does have more to offer, with its distinguished history dating back to thousands of years of civilisation, beautiful architecture both modern and ancient, as well as glorious awe- inspiring culture and traditions.
Rome, the capital of the country also known as Bel Paese, will be a good choice for any adventurers to start their exploration in Italy. Start practicing your hand gestures and dip your toes in the dazzling beauty of the City of Love with our 5 recommended destinations when in Rome.
"One of the seven wonders of the world, and one of the most intriguing places for first time visits in Rome, as the Colosseum will bring you through Rome’s extraordinary history of its gladiators."
Roman’s biggest amphitheatre, Amphitheatrum Flavium or the Colosseum
One of the seven wonders of the world, and one of the most intriguing places for first time visits in Rome, as the Colosseum will bring you through Rome’s extraordinary history of its gladiators. Also widely known as Amphitheatrum Flavium, the Colosseum was the Romans biggest amphitheatre, built in the year 72 CE and took around 8 years of construction.
A series of earthquakes had seen most of the colossal amphitheatre crumble. However, along the ruins of the Colosseum still lies spectacular ancient experiences for all visitors: the multi-storey stands that housed Roman high-ranking personnel and spectators; the arena which had seen thousands of gladiators and animal battle each other; as well as the spacious underground spaces that boasts several trapdoors.
The magnificent Trevi Fountain
Rome possesses the world’s most famous, and probably the most elegant, fountain in the form of the Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain, a beautifully decorated ‘wishing’ fountain at Piazzi di Trevi. An initiative by architect Nicola Salvi had the initial design by 16th-century architect and sculptor Bernini realized 50 years after the latter’s blueprint was drawn up. The construction of this baroque fountain lasted 30 years from 1732 to 1762, ensuring a well-built wonder of architecture in Rome.
The backdrop of the Palazzo Poli furnishes an exclusive display to the fountain, harmonising with the central statue of Neptune under the arches and the two statues of Abundance and Health. Don’t forget to dive into the time-treasured tradition of making your wishes at the fountain. Legend has it that one coin throw will take you to Rome again one fine day. If that does not happen, your coin will still be a welcomed contribution to the society, as the municipality of Rome will commence the weekly cleaning of the fountain and a large portion of the coins will be donated to charity.
Pantheon: Operating as a Catholic church in the modern days
Rome’s well-preserved and best maintained building, the Pantheon, is one of the most prominent features in the city centre. In your visit to this beautifully built monument, you will get to know the magisterial features of one of the few buildings from ancient Rome that had remained completely intact until the modern era. The Pantheon is now a Catholic church, and its original purpose of construction is still a mystery for all.
The Pantheon will tell the tales of ancient Rome from its unique monuments: from the large open dome flickering the area, the facade of ‘M.AGRIPPA.L.F.COS.TERTIUM.FECIT’, to the funerary features of altars and grave monuments of several Italian kings and the famous painter, Raphael.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Statue of Mary holding Jesus’s body St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
The Basilica di San Pietro or what we know as the St. Peter’s Basilica may widely be known as the residence of the pope in the independent state of Vatican City. The enormous Basilica acts as the spiritual centre of Catholic Church, located next to St Peter's Square and was believed to be built on the grave of Peter.
The building is a testament to Rome’s finest artistry, adorned as it is with intricate details in its architecture. The main attraction is La Pieta, the only signed artwork by Michelangelo, being the statue of Mary holding the body of Jesus. Other attractions are Bernini’s baldachin, the tomb of Alexander VII Chigi, as well as the 148 catacombs of the popes. A 550-step climb of the Basilica’s dome will lead you to a prestigious view of Rome and the Vatican City, surely a mesmerizing panorama for all.
The Vatican Museums
La Galleria della carte geograficheTrojan priest and his two sons
The glorious Michelangelo’s ceiling murals
Feast your curious eyes by exploring the wonderful presentation of the Catholic tradition in Rome by visiting the mother of it all: the Vatican Museums. Visiting this set of 26 different museums will fulfil your wildest dreams of immersing yourself in the world of Roman artefacts, religious relics, as well as beautiful ancient and modern arts.
The highlight of your visit will be at the Sistine Chapel, an impressive large papal chapel that is mostly known for Michelangelo’s ceiling murals; depicting the tales of creation, great floods, as well as the Nine scenes from the Book of Genesis, among others. Other attractions at the Vatican Museums are Stanza della Segnatura, a room displaying the works of Raphael Santi; the Laocoon group, a magnificent set of marble statues depicting a Trojan priest and his two sons; and La Galleria della carte geografiche, a gallery of maps depicted on its 40 illustrious wall panels.
Piazza Campo de’ Fiori
The cafes and eateries at Piazza Campo de’ Fiori(L); Giordano Bruno’s statue in Campo de’ Fiori
Experience what Rome might have been like in the 1800s at the Campo de’ Fiori, which experts said have remained basically unchanged since then. The only difference, of course, is the influx of visitors, and with it the relatively “new” cafes, pizzerias and gelatarias, so there is an abundance of spots for people-watching while enjoying Italy’s most popular snacks. Come here in the morning to experience the bustle of the market, with stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables. Meanwhile, it is also a veritable nightlife spot for those looking for some excitement after sundown.
The Piazza de Spagna
Piazza de Spagna: Vibrant and brilliant
While the centre of fashion in Italy may be Milan, you’ll still be spoilt for choice in Rome with coveted Italian brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Valentino, Fendi, Gucci and Armani going for lower prices since they’re in their country of origin. Head to the Spanish Steps, or the Piazza de Spagna, where the streets these boutiques are located on – Via Condotti, Via Borgognona, Via del Babuino and Via Frattina, fan out from the piazza.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more unique finds as a memento of your visit, you might want to visit some indie and lesser-know boutiques that are the go-to outlets for those in the know. Artisanal Cornucopia near the Piazza de Popolo stocks designer creations, while a stroll along the L’Archivio de Monserrato might show you some fantastic finds you can’t find anywhere else.
Travel Tips When in Rome
1) Skip the line at Vatican museum by buying your tickets online.
The Vatican Museum is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Rome, so skip the long que and get your tickets online. This saves you time so that you can spend more time exploring the museum.
2) Buy bus tickets before riding the bus
If you are used to buying tickets upon hopping onto a bus, you can’t do the same in Rome. Remember to purchase your tickets at any tabaccheria – mini convenience stores with a large “T” sign prior to your bus ride. You can skip the bustle and save some money by purchasing a 24-hour, 48-hour or even weekly tickets for a discounted price. Get your tickets in advance and enjoy a smooth journey!
3) Free Museum Entrance on the First Sundays
The first Sunday of each month in Rome is always exciting! Why? The entrance to Rome’s state-owned museums is free so don’t miss the opportunity to dive into the beauty of arts and history without having to spend your cash. You’ll also be interested to know that the entrance to galleries, archaeological sites, parks and gardens is also free on the first Sunday so be sure to start your day early.
Getting to Rome
The average flight time to Rome from KLIA is about15 hours, where you will need to transit at the carrier’s base. Airlines that fly to Rome from KLIA include Emirates, Qatar Airways, Thai Airways, KLM and Singapore Airlines, mostly flying into Rome Fiumicino Airport.