Very few cities in the world have as much history and cultural significance as the city of Rome, Italy. Located in the central-western section of the Italian Peninsula, Rome's history dates back 2,500 years. It served as the capital of the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire during that time. It is home to more than 2.7 million people and approximately 10 million visitors take a Rome vacation each year, making Rome the most visited city in all of Italy. Rome tourist attractions such as the Vatican Museums and Coliseum are in the top 50 most visited attractions across the world. Here are the top five tourist attractions not to miss in Rome.
St. Peter's Basilica
Also known as the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter, this basilica is a Late Renaissance church located in the Vatican City. St. Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any other Christian church across the globe and is considered one of the holiest Catholic sites. While sight-seeing in Rome, visitors can tour the beautiful basilica and its architecture as it is considered the greatest building of its age. Like many other attractions in Rome, the Basilica has been around for thousands of years. Construction began in 1506 and was not completed until 1626.
This chapel is one of the most famous Rome tourist attractions and is located in the Apostolic Palace, which is the official resident of the Pope. Artists such as Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli and Pinturicchio created murals throughout the chapel, making the architecture and interior world-famous. While on a Rome vacation, tourists can view the beautiful murals, including Michelangelo's, The Last Judgment, which is located on the chapel's ceiling. The chapel has always been used for papal activity, and today it is the site of the Papal conclave, when a new Pope is selected.
The Vatican Museums is one of the most popular attractions in Rome. More than four million people visit this attraction each year, making it also one of the world's most popular destinations. Sight-seeing in Rome is not complete without a visit to this destination which displays artwork collected by the Roman Catholic Church throughout numerous centuries. Along with the museums, tourists can also visit the Sistine Chapel and Stanze della Sengnatura, which are along the visitor route.
Located in the heart of Rome, the Colosseum was the largest structure built during the Roman Empire and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. The Colosseum is an elliptical amphitheatre that was used for gladiatorial contests and public shows and could seat more than 50,000 people. While visiting the various attractions in Rome, tourists can walk through what is remaining of the Colosseum, as it was partially ruined during an earthquake. This structure is one of the oldest of all the Rome tourist attractions with construction completed in 80 AD.
Besides museums and chapels, Rome is also known for its city square, Piazza Navona. While sight-seeing in Rome through the city square, visitors will get a view of two fountains, Roman architecture, famous palaces, and various monuments. The Piazza Navona was created in first century AD on the site of the Stadium of Domitian. It has been host to many theatrical events and festivals that lucky tourists on a Rome vacation can take part in.