Historic Landmarks in Rome

Rome, the capital city of Italy, is a cosmopolitan travel destination that is adored by people throughout Europe and around the world. It has some of the world’s best restaurants, some of the most luxurious five star hotels and some of the most interesting new buildings that you’ll find throughout Italy. However, there remains an aura of ancient ambiance in the air here. Rome is built upon hundreds of years of history; you can see it in the city’s architecture and you can feel it in the city’s mood. Rome has moved into modern times but it has taken with it the memories that have made it an outstanding city to live in and visit throughout time.

In order to really understand Rome, you need to look beyond the surface exterior of its modern dress to the history where its heart really beats. And, of course, the best way to do that is to make sure to see as many of the wonderful historic landmarks that this city contains as is humanly possible during your stay. Here are some of the major historic landmarks (and a few of the minor ones) that you will want to make sure you make your way to if you want to really get to know Italy’s capital.

Historic landmarks from Ancient Rome
Many of the historic landmarks that are important in Rome date back to the time when Rome ruled the world, when the gladiators walked the Earth there and the emperors ran the show. Some of the historic landmarks from this time period are:

Appian Way. This historic road was built for the Roman army to travel back in the 4th century BC and played an important role in allowing Rome to remain under control over the years. There are several specific sites to see along the route including the Temple of Hercules, the gate of the Aurelian walls and multiple mausoleums.

Trajan’s Market. Ancient Rome was not all about fighting and building astounding amphitheaters. It was also a place where people lived out their normal, everyday lives. One of the major aspects of the every day life is shopping; the ancient Romans had to get themselves to the market each day just like anyone else. This set of ruins has preserved what the market looked like when these people were doing their shopping way back in the second century when it was built. It provides an interesting and intimate look at the lives of the people who populated the Roman Empire.

Roman Coliseum-David Paul Ohmer414Creative Commons License Photo credit: David Paul Ohmer

Roman Coliseum

Colosseum. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, this is the setting where the gladiators took the stage and engaged in their battles for the spectators of ancient Rome to see. What remains of the amphitheater today stands as an awe-inspiring monument to the astounding architectural skills of the ancient Romans. Travelers come from around the world to see this place in hopes of gaining insight into the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.

Pantheon. The name of this building literally translates to “Temple of All the Gods” which sums up the original reason that this ancient landmark was built. What’s interesting is that this place has played different roles throughout the history of Rome, serving as a place of worship in its early days and then as a place of entombment for famous artists during the Renaissance period of Rome. Today it is a church where visitors can go to experience a modern religious ceremony that has hints of the past lingering amidst it. It is also a major tourist attraction for those people interested in the architectural history of the city.

Castel Sant’Angelo. Speaking of mausoleums, there are some great historic ones in Rome including this one which is The Mausoleum of Hadrian. It has served as a castle, a fortress and a museum over the years and continues to draw visitors today not only because of its history but also because of the amazing beauty that it reveals.

Fontana di trevi-RaSeLaSeD - Il Pinguino979Creative Commons License Photo credit: RaSeLaSeD – Il Pinguino

Fontana di trevi

Historic Landmarks from Renaissance Rome

Another highly important period in the history of Rome was the Renaissance which ran from the 14th-17th centuries. Some of the world’s greatest works of art came out of Italy during this time period and some of the buildings created then still stand as impressive landmarks today.

Palazzo Farnese. Once called ‘the most imposing Italian palace of the sixteenth century”, this building represents the beautiful architecture that was displayed throughout Renaissance Rome. There are several museums and exhibitions in the palace today so you can learn about the history of the area including viewing ancient Roma weapons and checking out Renaissance-era paintings that hang in the palace today.
Santa Maria della Pace. This is one of the best examples of a church that stands from the Renaissance era. The exterior reveals the architecture that was important during this era (and which was added to throughout the Renaissance as styles changed and became more elaborate). The interior reveals paintings from several well-known artists of the Renaissance.
Trevi Fountain. There are numerous old fountains dotting the cityscape of Rome but this one is of particular interest because of its massive size. It was built in the seventeenth century, neglected over the years and then restored to its original glory at the end of the twentieth century.

Historic Landmarks in Vatican City

Vatican City is its own walled-off city within the boundaries of Rome which most travelers make it a point to visit. In addition to the general religious history of the Vatican, there are several important historic Rome landmarks that people may see here.

St. Peter’s Basilica. If you’re going to visit historic landmarks in Vatican City then you probably have at least a moderate interested in the religious history of Rome. This is considered to be one of the holiest churches in the world, the place where St. Peter was said to be buried, and it is a place that many people come to visit each day to show their faith and experience some of the city’s past. Be aware that a dress code is imposed upon those interested in entering the church and remember to act appropriately!
St. Peter’s Square. Make sure to also stop at the plaza located just outside of the basilica. There are several historic sites to see here including the Vatican Obelisk, an obelisk brought from ancient Egypt to Rome and which stands there today to commemorate the past of both countries.
Sistine Chapel. Anyone with an interest in art history (and even the average person who just wants to be wowed) will want to stop at the Apostolic Palace to see the Sistine Chapel. With the ceiling painted by Michaelangelo, it is one of the most well-known works of art in Rome to this day.

A trip through Historic Rome

A trip to Rome is not complete if you fail to focus on the history of the area. Despite its modernity, this city is founded on a rich history that must be explored and understood if you are truly to make sense of Rome as a visitor in the area today. You can plan your trip around a specific time period in the history of Rome (such as medieval Rome or Renaissance Rome). You can plan your trip around a certain aspect of Roman history (such as the religious history of Rome or the art history of Rome). Or you can simply select a smattering of the most famous Rome landmarks. Just make sure not to miss out on this aspect of your trip.

Creative Commons License Photo credit: iessi