Rome is a city with a rich history and there are many famous landmarks and monuments in Rome that attest to this fact. The Italian capital is often called the “Eternal City” and it is easy to see why. This is one of the reasons why Rome is a top travel destination.
From the Colosseum to the Vatican, there are countless monuments and landmarks in Rome that are worth visiting. Each of these sites is a window of opportunity to look into Rome’s incredible history.
Here are just a few of the most famous Roman monuments and landmarks.
Most Famous Roman Landmark in Rome
The Colosseum is a large amphitheater that was built during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, between 70 and 80 AD. The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial games and public spectacles.
The elliptical amphitheater in the center of Rome is the largest amphitheater ever built. It is often considered one of the wonders of the world. That said, the Colosseum is undeniably the most famous landmark in Rome.
Unsurprisingly, it is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome. You should definitely consider booking your fast track ticket in advance to cut down on waiting time. There are also limited night tours in the Colosseum which gives off a different vibe of the ancient monument.
Religious Landmarks in Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica
Probably the most popular religious landmark in Rome, St. Peter’s Basilica is a Catholic church that was built in the 16th century. The basilica is actually located in Vatican City (which is within Rome) and is the largest church in the world.
The basilic was designed by several famous architects, including Michelangelo. The interior of the church is very ornate and includes a number of works of art by Michelangelo.
The basilica is one of the most famous monuments in Rome and is a must-see for any traveler to the city.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is a Catholic Marian church in Rome. The church was built in 432 AD and is one of the four papal basilicas in Rome.
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is situated on the summit of Esquiline Hill, which makes it one of the highest churches in Rome. The church is built in the Byzantine style, with a nave and four aisles.
The facade of the church is made of pink marble, while the interior is decorated with mosaics. The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore also has a large collection of relics, which include the Holy Crib and the Veil of Veronica.
Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran
The Cathedral of Saint John Lateran is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rome. The church was built in the early 4th century and is one of the oldest churches in Rome.
The Cathedral of Saint John Lateran is the highest-ranked out of the four papal basilicas. The church is built in the Romanesque style, with a nave and two aisles.
The interior of the Cathedral of Saint John Lateran is decorated with marble, mosaics, and stained glass windows. The cathedral is also near the Holy Stairs, which are believed to have been brought from Jerusalem by Saint Helena.
Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano
The Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano is a church in Rome that dates back to the 12th century. The church was built on the site of previous churches, including one that was destroyed during the Norman Sack of Rome.
This stacking of layers of old ruins is actually what makes this church interesting as if witnessing the evolution of Rome and Christianity throughout time.
The interior of the church is decorated with frescoes, which were painted by artists such as Masolino da Panicale and Pietro Cavallini.
Catacombs of Rome
The Catacombs of Rome are a network of underground burial chambers that date back to the early Christian era. The catacombs were used as a burial place for Christians who were persecuted by the Roman Empire.
The Catacombs of Rome are situated outside the city walls, in the suburbs of Rome. The catacombs are made up of a network of tunnels and chambers, which are arranged in a spiral shape. There are several catacombs in Rome and you can visit some of them, including the Capuchin Crypt.
The Capuchin crypt is located beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. The crypt contains the remains of more than 4000 Capuchin monks, who were entombed here between 1528 and 1870.
Capuchin crypt is divided into five chapels, each containing skeletal remains that are arranged in a decorative fashion. It also contains the remains of a pope and two kings, which are placed in separate tombs.
The crypt is a popular tourist destination, and it is one of the most famous monuments in Rome. That said, it is not for the faint of heart as it can be quite gruesome.
Landmarks in Rome – Museums and Galleries
The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is another popular tourist destination in Rome. This ancient Roman forum was the center of public life in Rome and dates back to the early days of the Roman Republic. The forum was used for political, religious, and commercial activities.
The Roman Forum was originally built with a series of temples and monuments. Over time, the forum evolved into a marketplace and then became the center of the Roman Empire. The Roman Forum is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome.
The common way to get tickets and tours for the Roman Forum is in combination with the Colosseum. It can be quite crowded so it’s best to visit early in the morning or later in the evening.
The Domus Aurea is another popular tourist destination in Rome. This ancient Roman complex was built by Emperor Nero in the first century AD. The villa was designed as a luxurious residence with a series of gardens, baths, and monuments.
The Domus Aurea was later abandoned after the death of Nero. The site was rediscovered in the 15th century and was restored by Raphael. The Domus Aurea is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the historic landmarks in Rome. You can explore this Roman ruins with a guided tour.
Galleria & Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese is a large park that in the center of Rome. The park covers an area of over 80 hectares, making it one of the largest parks in Rome.
The park is home to a number of monuments, including the Galleria Borghese, the Villa Medici, and the Temple of Diana.
The Galleria Borghese is an art museum built in the early 17th century and it houses a collection of sculptures, paintings, and antiquities. The Galleria Borghese is one of the most important museums in Rome. It is home to some of the most famous sculptures, such as the Apollo Belvedere and the Laocoon. You can explore it yourself or with a guided tour.
Another famous Roman landmark is the Castel Sant’Angelo. This imposing fortress was originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian in 139 AD. The castle was later used as a military fortress, a papal residence, and even a prison.
The Castel Sant’Angelo is now a museum that you can explore. There are different floors and rooms to learn about its long history. The castle also has a terrace with sweeping views of Rome, which is definitely worth a visit.
Trajan’s Market is another popular tourist destination in Rome. This ancient Roman market dates back to the early second century AD and was built by Emperor Trajan. The market was designed as a multi-level complex with a central courtyard, shops, and apartments.
Trajan’s Market was built with a series of arches and vaults that supported the upper levels. The market was home to 150 shops, which sold everything from food to clothes. It also had a library, a temple, and a series of monuments.
Another popular tourist destination in Rome is Hadrian’s Villa. This Roman villa was built by Emperor Hadrian in the early second century AD. The villa covers an area of over 100 hectares and contains more than 30 buildings.
The complex includes a library, baths, courtyards, and gardens. It is believed that Hadrian’s Villa was used as a retreat for the emperor and his guests. The villa was abandoned after Hadrian’s death in 138 AD, and it wasn’t rediscovered until the 16th century.
Hadrian’s Villa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited archaeological sites in Italy. If you’re interested in Roman history, this is definitely a place you should add to your itinerary. Together with Villa D’Este, it is a popular day tour destination from Rome.
Palazzo Colonna and Colonna Gallery
The Palazzo Colonna is one of the oldest private palaces in Rome. This palace was built in the 15th century and has been owned by the Colonna family for centuries.
It has a less striking Renaissance exterior but features a lavish Baroque style interior. The Colonna Gallery is inside the palace but is generally only open to the public on Saturdays, so be sure to check the opening timing. It houses a collection of art and paintings by famous Italian artists like Tintoretto, Carracci, and Pinturicchio.
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
The Palazzo Doria Pamphilj is a private palace built in the 16th century by the Doria Pamphilj family. It is home to the Galleria Doria Pamphilj which features one of the largest private collections of artworks in Rome.
This is often considered one of the hidden gems in Rome, as the exterior of the palace doesn’t catch any attention. There is a free audio guide that brings you through the artworks of famous artists such Titian, Berini and Velazquez. You can also find a cafe here to relax after exploring the gallery.
Landmarks in Rome – Squares
Piazza Navona is a public square in Rome that was built on the site of a stadium. The square is rectangular and is lined with three fountains.
The Fountain of the Rivers is the most famous fountain in Piazza Navona. It was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and completed in 1651. The fountain depicts four rivers, which represent the four major continents.
The Fountain of the Moor is another famous fountain in Piazza Navona. It was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and completed in 1653. The fountain depicts a moor fighting with a dolphin, which represents the fight between good, and evil.
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo was built in the 15th century. This Rome landmark is home to two churches, Santa Maria del Popolo and Sant’Agnese in Agone.
The Obelisk of Ramses II is also located in Piazza del Popolo. The obelisk was brought to Rome from Egypt in the 16th century.
Piazza del Popolo is a popular tourist destination, and it is one of the most famous squares in Rome. The square is often filled with people, and there are many restaurants and cafes to enjoy.
Piazza Venezia is a public square in Rome that was built in the 19th century. The square is home to the Monument of Victor Emmanuel II, which is the largest monument in Rome.
The monument is made up of a base, a statue of Victor Emmanuel II, and an internal structure. The base of the monument is made up of four lions, which represent the four major Italian cities.
The statue of Victor Emmanuel II is located on the top of the monument. The statue is made of bronze and is 12 meters high.
Piazza del Campidoglio
Piazza del Campidoglio is a public square in Rome that was designed by Michelangelo. The square is home to the Capitoline Museum, which is one of the most important museums in Rome.
Piazza del Campidoglio is located on Capitoline Hill, which was the center of Ancient Rome. The square is surrounded by important government buildings, such as the Palazzo Senatorio and the Palazzo dei Conservatori.
Piazza del Campidoglio is an important Rome landmark, and it is one of the most beautiful squares in Rome.
Other Famous Landmarks in Rome
The Spanish Steps are a set of stairs located in Rome. These steps were built in 1723 to connect the Trinita dei Monti Church with the Spanish Square below. The staircase is made of white marble and consists of 138 steps.
The Spanish Steps are one of the most prominent meeting points and landmarks in Rome, as they offer a great view of the city. Visitors often flock to the steps to take photos, relax and enjoy the view.
Trastevere is a neighborhood located on the west bank of the Tiber River and is known for its medieval architecture and cobbled streets. The district is also home to several churches, including Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Trastevere is a great place to wander and explore for a local vibe. There are many bars and restaurants, as well as shops selling local goods. The neighborhood also has some nice parks and gardens.
Via Appian or Ancient Appian Way is one of the oldest and most important roads in Rome. The road was built in 312 BC and runs for over 500 miles from Rome to Brindisi.
The Appian Way was used by Roman armies to transport troops and supplies. It was also used by Roman citizens to travel between cities.
Today, the Appian Way is a popular tourist destination, as it is one of the best-preserved Roman roads. Visitors can walk or ride a bike along the road. There are many monuments and landmarks to see along the way, and many catacombs are in this area.
This ancient Roman circus was the largest stadium in ancient Rome and could hold up to 150,000 spectators. The circus was used for horse and chariot races, as well as public spectacles.
The first Circus Maximus was built in the 6th century BC but was renovated multiple times between then and the 4th century. Today it is mainly a large plot of land serving as a public park.
Baths of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla are the largest public baths in Rome. The baths were built in 212 AD and could accommodate up to 1600 people at a time.
The Baths were built using concrete and brick, and they were decorated with marble and mosaics. They were used for public bathing, as well as for exercise and entertainment.
The Baths of Caracalla were a popular destination for Romans, as they provided a place to relax and escape the heat of the day. However, the baths fell into disrepair after the fall of the Roman Empire and were eventually abandoned.
Famous Roman Monuments in Rome
The Pantheon is a Roman temple that was built in 126 AD. Ii is the best-preserved building from ancient Rome and is one of the most impressive roman monuments from this period.
The Pantheon was originally built as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome. However, it was later converted into a church, which is why it has been well preserved. The Pantheon is made of concrete and brick, and it has a large dome that is 43 meters in diameter.
The interior of the Pantheon is very simple, with a single room that contains an altar. However, the simplicity of the design belies its grandeur, as the Pantheon is one of the most iconic buildings in Rome.
Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus
The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus was one of the most important temples in Rome. It was dedicated to the chief Roman god, Jupiter.
The temple was built in the sixth century BC and was the largest temple in Rome at that time. The temple was destroyed by fire in 82 BC and was later rebuilt.
While it may not be as grandiose as the Colosseum, the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus is definitely one of the most famous Roman monuments.
The Trevi Fountain is a beautiful fountain that was built in the 18th century first designed by Nicola Salvi. You can find this attractive monument in the Trevi district. Measuring 86ft high and 161.3 wide, this baroque-style fountain is often crowded with people.
One of the most popular activities here is the tossing of coins into the fountain. It is said that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will be guaranteed a return trip to Rome. The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous monuments in Rome.
Mausoleum of Augustus
This ancient Roman mausoleum was built by Roman Emperor, Augustus in 28BC. The mausoleum was originally built with a series of statues and monuments.
The first of the Roman Emperors to be buried in this grandiose tomb was Augustus himself. His ashes were placed here in a golden urn in AD 14. After the death of Hadrian, his ashes were also placed here.
Today, only a fragment of the frieze which once decorated the exterior of the mausoleum survives, and much of the interior is in ruins.
Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II
The Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II is a Roman monument that was built to honor the first king of Italy. The monument was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi and completed in 1911.
It is made up of a base, a statue of Victor Emmanuel II, and an internal structure. The base of the monument consists of four lions, which represent the four major Italian cities. The statue of Victor Emmanuel II sits on the top of the structure.
The statue is made of bronze and is 12 meters high. The Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the most famous monuments in Rome.
The Column of Marcus Aurelius
The Column of Marcus Aurelius is a Roman victory column that was built in the early 2nd century. The 21-meter-high structure is made of marble and is one of the most distinctive monuments in Rome because of the intricate cravings.
The column is decorated with reliefs that depict the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his military campaign against the Germanic tribes. It was originally located in the Forum Romanum, but it was later moved to its current location in the Piazza Colonna.
La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is a monumental fountain that was built in the Piazza Navona in 1651. This Rome monument is made of marble and is the work of the Italian sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
The fountain depicts four rivers that represent the four major continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. Sitting in a bustling square, this is one of the most famous monuments in Rome.
The Ara Pacis is a Roman altar that was built in the early 13th century. The altar is made of marble and is decorated with reliefs that depict scenes from the life of Augustus.
The Ara Pacis is one of the most important monuments in Rome because it represents the Pax Romana or the Roman Peace. The altar was originally located in the Forum of Augustus, but it was later moved to its current location in the Museo di Ara Pacis.
Arch of Titus
The Arch of Titus is a Roman triumphal arch that was built in 81 AD. It is located on the Via Sacra, which is the main road that leads into the Roman Forum.
The arch was built to commemorate the victory of Titus over the Jews in the Siege of Jerusalem. It is decorated with reliefs that depict scenes from the siege, including the capture of the city and the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.
The Arch of Titus is one of the glorious monuments in Rome which is impressive to look at.
Giuseppe Garibaldi Monument
This monument is a statue of the Italian patriot and general, Giuseppe Garibaldi. The monument sits on the highest point of Janiculum Hill, which is one of the seven hills of Rome. The statue was built in 1895 by Emilio Gallori and stands almost 30 feet tall. The location of this monument in Rome also offers some spectacular views of the city.
The Ponte Sant’Angelo is a travertine marble bridge that was built in 134 AD. The bridge spans the Tiber River. It was commissioned by Roman Emperor Hadrian to connect the city center to his mausoleum. The bridge is one of the most famous monuments in Rome as it is beautifully decorated with twelves statues of angels. It also features 5 stone arches and makes for a great photo with Castel Sant’Angelo.
Monument to Bersagliere
The Monument to Bersagliere is a war memorial that was built in the early 20th century in dedication to the Bersaglieri. This meaningful Rome monument is near Piazzale di Porta Pia. It is made of bronze and depicts a bersagliere, or a member of the Italian Army’s light infantry, in action.
Discovering Famous Landmarks and Monuments in Rome
These are just some of the famous landmarks and monuments in Rome. There are many more to explore, each with its own unique history and architecture. So whether you’re a history buff or just looking to take some amazing photos, Rome has some amazing sites to be discovered.
Visiting Rome – Useful City Pass
As one of the top travel destinations, Rome has some passes which can be a good time and cost savers depending on your itinerary. Here are some thing to check out and see if they fit your plans.
- Rome Pass: 48 or 72 hours pass for some of the main attractions in Rome and city transport.
- Omnia Vatican and Rome Pass: 3 day pass to some of the key attractions in both Rome and Vatican City, as well as city transport.
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus: Similar concept to hop-on-hop-off buses in other touristic cities. 24, 48 or 72 hour tickets that help you get to different popular attractions and sights in Rome.
- Private Airport Transfer: If you are coming in or leaving by flight, the most convenient option to travel between Ciampino or Fiumicino Airport and city center.
- Airport Shuttle Buses: There are also more budget options of shuttle buses that run between Ciampino Airport or Fiumicino Airport and Rome city center.