Rome is one of the first cities that comes to mind when thinking of a European vacation. The Eternal City is filled with history, architecture, and must-see attractions that can be found nowhere else on Earth. Many of Rome’s attractions are mandatory such as the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Pantheon. There are also travel destinations off the beaten path. The Appian Way, Catacombs, and local spas are just as intriguing and shouldn’t be missed if time permits.
Petrolheads will find plenty of great reasons to visit the Italian capital. The Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi offers a one of a kind driving experience. The Museo delle Auto della Polizia di Stato is another can’t miss venue for car enthusiasts.
All roads lead to Rome and travelers should jump at the chance to see the Eternal City at least once during their lifetime.
Local Favorite: CarbonaraCarbonara is a traditional Roman pasta dish that is said to be misunderstood by people from outside of Italy. Traditional Roman carbonara is made with a sauce featuring cured pork cheeks known as guanciale, something you might not get in your dish outside of Italy. Tangy pecorino cheese and eggs are also added to make the sauce. Unlike non-Italian carbonara, no cream is used and never should be. The sauce is then served on pasta. If you try authentic Roman carbonara, it will be completely different from any you have previously eaten. The origins of carbonara are unclear, but one story suggests it was first made in Abruzzo by woodcutters in the Apennine Mountains.
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St. Peter's Basilica
Top Tourist Attractions
The Colosseum is Rome. No venue, attraction, or landmark defines the city like the Colosseum. No image or photograph does the Colosseum justice. It is massive and is everything tourists expect it to be. Lines to get inside can be long, but tourists can buy a Rome Pass which allows them to bypass queues to get inside many of the sites. While the outside of the Colosseum is impressive, nothing tops the inside of the arena. Visitors will see where thousands of Romans used to view bloody sporting events. The Colosseum influenced all modern sports stadiums. So, travelers shouldn’t miss the chance to experience the original.
Museo delle Auto della Polizia di Stato
The Museo delle Auto della Polizia di Stato, State Police Car Museum, is a small gallery that showcases police cars and motorcycles from Italy’s past. Car nuts and history buffs alike will revel in the automobiles on display. The museum is well off Rome’s beaten path. Tourists looking for something entirely different and something with cool cars will love a browse of the State Police Car Museum.
The Pantheon is the best-preserved historic building in Rome. It is more than 2000-years old, and along with the Colosseum, tells the story of Rome’s history better than any other landmark. The Pantheon’s interior is more spectacular than the exterior. Visitors are put into a trance-like state when entering the Pantheon. Its beauty and serene feel are overwhelming. The ornate images and statues are unmistakable. A visit to the Pantheon can last as long as travelers wish as they can get lost in the art.
No matter what a tourist’s religious affiliation is, Vatican City is one of the most memorable stops on a Roman holiday. Less than one-third of a square mile, Vatican City is the world’s smallest sovereign state. Despite its size, it provides a wealth of things to see and do. Visitors will be able to peruse the fantastic little shops that sell Pope inspired merchandise as they explore the area. St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Peter’s Square are both found in Vatican City and are well worth seeing. The lines can be long, so travelers should get there early. Art lovers will find Michelangelo’s famous Pieta inside St. Peter’s Basilica, but the real highlight is Michaelangelo’s frescoed masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Tourists will find an assortment of other great museums inside the tiny state.
Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi
Located twenty six miles outside of Rome is the Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi. Petrolheads will find the Puresport Driving Experience at the racetrack, and all their Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Formula One driving dreams will come true. Visitors can speed around one of Italy’s premier racing venues which has been recently renovated. Drivers will test their mettle on the 2.5-mile track with 15 turns taken at high speeds. Qualified race instructors teach new skills, and help improve on existing driving abilities. No matter which supercar drivers choose, the Puresport Driving Experience will satisfy their need for speed.
The Appian Way is another off the beaten path tourist attraction. It was one of the most important roads built by the Romans, and it connected the city with southeast Italy. Today, it offers a picturesque walk that gets travelers away from the hustle and bustle of Rome. Walkers will find an assortment of attractions along the way including the Catacombs of San Callisto and Catacombs of San Sebastiano. There are also various basilicas and tombs to explore. Sporty travelers can rent bicycles and traverse the Appian Way via two wheels.
Gelateria Della Palma
With over 150 different flavors to choose from, this gelato (ice cream/frozen dessert) shop is a must for any food lover with its traditional and unique tastes. Whether you prefer to stick to what you know and love or choose to branch out, there is something for you. The shop is close to plenty of the city's sights and makes a great stop when you need to take a break.
Located in the center of Rome, this iconic square contains four magnificent fountains with lots of open space between them. Surrounding the square are dozens of small shops, cafes, and restaurants, giving you everything you need in a small area. As you walk into Piazza Navona, the hum of the city seems to subside a bit, allowing you to take in the artistry of the fountains in relative peace.
National Gallery of Contemporary and Modern Art
One of the most important museums of modern art in Italy, the vast collections on display are not to be missed. Art is a huge part of Italian culture, and one of the best ways to immerse yourself in it is right here in Rome. The galleries are home to beautiful paintings and sculptures, presenting a real treat for the eyes of every history buff.
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (Vittoriano)
The Altar of the Fatherland is in the Piazza Venezia in Rome. The stunning white monument was built to honor Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy. The altar is also home to the grave of the Unknown Soldier. The Vittoriano also has an elevator that allows you to head to the top and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Rome is one of the few cities in the world that everyone should see. It combines history with modern living seamlessly. You could argue that the city does this better than anywhere else on the planet, and if you’re really into history, you’ll appreciate what this city has to offer.