Rome is magnificent and brutal at the same time. It's a showcase of Western civilization, with astonishingly ancient sights and a modern vibrancy. While Paris is an urban garden, Rome is a magnificent tangled forest. This city of beautiful chaos is Italy's political capital, the capital of Catholicism, and the center of its ancient empire, littered with evocative remains. As you peel through its fascinating and jumbled layers, you'll find Rome's buildings, cats, laundry, traffic, and 3.4 million people endlessly entertaining. Visit St. Peter's, the greatest church on earth, learn something about eternity by touring the huge Vatican Museum, do the "Caesar Shuffle" through ancient Rome's Forum and Colosseum, savor the Borghese Gallery, and take an early evening stroll with Rome's beautiful people.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Colosseum Huge stadium where gladiators fought.
▲▲▲ Roman Forum Ancient Rome's main square, with ruins and grand arches.
▲▲▲ Pantheon The defining domed temple.
▲▲▲ St. Peter's Basilica Most impressive church on earth, with Michelangelo's Pietà and dome.
▲▲▲ Vatican Museum Four miles of the finest art of Western civilization, culminating in Michelangelo's glorious Sistine Chapel.
▲▲▲ Borghese Gallery Bernini sculptures and paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian in a Baroque palazzo. Reservations mandatory.
▲▲▲ National Museum of Rome Greatest collection of Roman sculpture anywhere.
▲▲▲ Capitoline Museums Ancient statues, mosaics, and expansive view of Forum.
▲▲ Palatine Hill Ruins of emperors' palaces, Circus Maximus view, and museum.
▲▲ Trajan's Column, Market, and Forum Tall column with narrative relief, forum ruins, and museum with entry to Trajan's Market.
▲▲ Museo dell'Ara Pacis Shrine marking the beginning of Rome's Golden Age.
▲▲ Dolce Vita Stroll Evening passeggiata, where Romans strut their stuff.
▲▲ Catacombs Underground tombs, mainly Christian, some outside the city.
▲ Arch of Constantine Honors the emperor who legalized Christianity.
▲ St. Peter-in-Chains Church with Michelangelo's Moses.
▲ Piazza del Campidoglio Square atop Capitoline Hill, designed by Michelangelo, with a museum, grand stairway, and Forum overlooks.
▲ Victor Emmanuel Monument Gigantic edifice celebrating Italian unity, with Rome from the Sky elevator ride up to 360-degree city view.
▲ Trevi Fountain Baroque hot spot into which tourists throw coins to ensure a return trip to Rome.
▲ Castel Sant'Angelo Hadrian's Tomb turned castle, prison, papal refuge, now museum.
▲ Capuchin Crypt Decorated with the bones of 4,000 Franciscan friars.
▲ Baths of Diocletian Once ancient Rome's immense public baths, now a Michelangelo church.
▲ Santa Maria della Vittoria Church with Bernini's swooning St. Teresa in Ecstasy.