From the romantic city of Venice to the global fashion hub that is Milan, Italy is home to so many worthy destinations for intrepid travellers to explore. But for first-time visitors, where better to start than the capital city of Rome?
Home to some of the most iconic tourist spots in the world, Rome has plenty to offer. And if you’re planning to see its best attractions over the course of a weekend, let this article be your guide.
Why not start your weekend journey in the Vatican City, as it is a city within a city. The best places to visit include the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica and Square, and the Sistine Chapel. It is also considered the world’s smallest country, and according to CNN, has a population of just over 1,000.
While here, you can attend the Papal talk, which begins at 10:30 am. It’s also worth noting, that it is best to arrive early in order to get the best seats.
Just a few minutes away from Vatican City is the Castel Sant’Angelo, a mausoleum originally built for Emperor Hadrian and his family. It was then transformed into a Papal Fortress, before becoming the museum that it is today. It has beautiful views of Rome as seen from the mausoleum’s roof. From there, you will be able to see nearly all of the city’s other famous landmarks.
The last admission to Castel Sant’Angelo is at 6 pm, so this could be your last stop after spending the whole day exploring Vatican City.
Past the Piazza Navona and a few blocks away from Castel Sant’Angelo stands the Pantheon, a temple completed in 126 AD to honour the Roman gods. It is one of the most well preserved structures in all of Ancient Rome, and aside from being a tourist attraction; it also functions as a church. The temple’s most fascinating feature is its gigantic dome, whose diameter is at an impressive 43.5 metres.
In front of the Pantheon is the Piazza della Rotonda and a handful of bars worth checking out. There is also a popular ice cream shop called the Della Palma, which offers over 150 gelato flavours.
A weekend in Rome would not be complete without a visit to one of the city’s most iconic structures. The Colosseum, which can hold over 55,000 spectators, was the largest elliptical amphitheatre built during the entire Roman period. Despite suffering some damage throughout the years, the structure is still an impressive sight, earning itself a place among the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
The lines to enter the Colosseum can be ridiculously long. So, it’s best to come early or purchase a ticket in advance online.
Pyramid of Cestius
Why not end your trip with something a little different? The Pyramid of Cestius, a tomb constructed for Gaius Cestius, isn’t as popular as the rest of the iconic landmarks on this list, but it is just as breathtaking. Located near the Porta San Paolo, the Pyramid is one of Rome’s best-kept ancient structures, even though pyramids are not exactly what Rome is known for.
In truth, the pyramid was built around 18-12 BC, a period during which the Roman Empire was fascinated with Egypt. Thus, the pyramid served to honour the ancient civilisation conquered by Rome. The pyramids are such a unique sight that you’d be forgiven for associating with them with Egypt, no matter where they are built, or who built them. It’s the same in entertainment industry, where pyramids are often featured heavily because of the mystique that surrounds them. If you look at the pyramid featured in the science fiction film Stargate, you will notice the Egyptian influence. Egypt-inspired titles like 3 Elements and Temple of Iris feature the pyramid heavily in their cover images. This all just goes to show that the Ancient Romans aren’t the only ones obsessed with Egyptian culture and architecture — even to this day. Overall, this curious, off-the-beaten-track sight is a great way to end your weekend tour in the fascinating city of Rome.
Now that these destinations are laid out, all that’s left to do is to book your flight to Rome! If you have any other suggestions, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section.