Rome’s food and snapshot-ready scenery make it memorable, but it’s sites make it unforgettable. Let’s take a tour of my 3 must-see sites in Rome!

First stop on our tour: The Colosseum! 

029 

Able to seat 50,000 fans, the Colosseum was built in A.D. 80 to host gladiator contests and public events. 

042

Like I said in my previous post, Rome has literally built itself up around the ancient ruins scattered throughout the city and the Colosseum is no different.

135

One minute you’re walking down the street, cars & mopeds whizzing by, then all the sudden you see it. You’re like, “Oh. OH! That’s the Colosseum!”

051 

You walk in under endless, cold, stone archways, 

049 

pass through shadowy, ominous hallways,

092

and finally enter the biggest open amphitheater you’ve ever seen. This. place. is. HUGE! 

056 

Originally there would have been a wooden floor stretching over the entire base (shown by the partial concrete section they’ve added.)

061

The wood would be covered with sand to mop up the blood, sweat and tears of the men and animals killed for sport here. 

067 

Said men and animals were kept in dungeon-esque rooms below the floor, until it was showtime.

108 

Can you even imagine how terrifying that would be??

075

Men battled each other and animals at the Colosseum. Lions, tigers, bears, elephants, crocodiles and hippos, to name a few!

082 

During it’s inauguration, lasting 100 days, fans lined the plaster bleachers and watched a total of 2,000 men and 9,000 animals killed. Workers would go around spraying perfume to quench the smell. 

063 

BRUTAL, right??

120 

You can kind of feel the panic in the air as you wander around almost in a daze.

116

It’s hard to wrap your head around what you’re walking around in and how old it is. It was one of the most surreal, yet exciting, experiences of our trip!

131 

Let’s wander a little west, shall we? Stop number two: The Trevi Fountain!

103 

Built in 1762, the Trevi Fountain was requested by the Pope to celebrate the re-opening of Rome’s aqueducts, that still power the flow today, and is built on the backside of a palace.

100 

You can hear the fountain before you see it, as water pours from 24 different spots.

102 

Just like everything else in Rome, you literally cannot believe how BIG it is! At least 6 stories tall and 50 yards wide.

119

Easily one of the most popular sites in Rome, it was packed at all hours of the day.

136 

We would know…we went back like 15 times…that place has a magnetic pull! It’s SO COOL! 

147

The thing to do at the fountain, after you pick your jaw up, is to toss in a coin wishing for whatever it is your heart desires. Can’t tell you what mine was! ;)

110  

The coins are collected at some point every week or so to help feed the hungry in Rome. I heard a story about a homeless guy who used to sneak in during the middle of the night to snatch a few – reportedly getting close to $1,000 each time he went it. A constant police presence has since put the kabosh on that!

146 

Finally we arrive at the final must see site in Rome – the Vatican Museum & St. Peter’s Basilica!

009 

The Vatican museum is decorated by the likes of Raphael and Michelangelo, and is the gateway to perhaps the most famous ceiling in the world atop the Sistine Chapel.

011 

Tip: DON’T go on a Monday, and DO make a reservation!!!! We did and didn’t – and waited in line for almost 2 hours!

012  

Ben isn’t much of a touristy kind of guy – but this leg of the trip was what he was MOST looking forward to. Giddy!

017 

The museum is filled with picturesque peeks into courtyards,

031 

and views of St. Peter’s Basilica.

062 

Something that surprised me, were the inclusion of exhibits on items like ancient Egypt!

038 

037 

045 

I used to be obsessed with Egypt (and still am, to be honest) so I was especially pleased to wander through the mummies, artifacts and ancient tombs.

048 054 

The Vatican museum has no shortage of jaw dropping statues, impossibly – impeccably – carved from the hardest of materials.  

085 

Oh I have to show you – most of the statues were carved, ahem, true to life, only to be censored by shy church officials later on. Come on!

083 

Ok, the weren’t ALL censored – like this sculpture of Apollo – once considered to be the most perfect scuplture on earth.

091

Or this sculpture of Laocoon, the high preist of Troy.

088 

087 

Good ol’ Hercules was though! What a gorgeous statue!

104 114 

116 

Throughout the tour, Rick Steves guided the way. The thing about Rome is that there are no explanations or plaques interfering with the ruins or museums. You don’t really know what it is you’re looking at unless you have a guide!

133 

Other can’t miss attractions at the museum included the elaborate ceilings,

123 

and impossibly tall arched walkways.

077 

The hallway of tapestries including one with the resurrection of Jesus whos eyes followed you wherever you went.

142 

Crazy!

143

144 

The beautiful corridors,

145 

151 

150 

and Raphael’s paintings that covered the walls in some parts of the museum.

179 

170 

171 

Including the one where he painted in Michelangelo, who was just down the hall working on the Sistine Chapel!

175 

176 

The biggest draw to the museum, of course, IS the Sistine Chapel. Painted over four years by Michaelangelo, it is the personal chapel to the Pope and one of the most incredible, amazing, stunning, unforgettable things I’ve ever seen.

180 

Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures or videos of it – so you’ll have to come to Rome to see it for yourself!!! :)

159 

After gawking at the ceiling, and rubbing your sore neck, you spill out onto St. Peter’s square .

254 

The centerpiece is St. Peter’s Basilica which is over 6 acres in size. No words needed. This place is too beautiful for words.

203 

206 

208 

213 

236 

226 

245 

And that concludes our tour of the 3 must-see sites in Rome! What’dya think?!

273

If you’ve been to Rome before, what was your favorite part?

If you haven’t been, what would you be most excited to see?