Whether exploring ancient architectural wonders, gorging on world-famous pizza and pasta, or appreciating the artistic treasures of the Vatican City, expats are bound to enjoy the many things to see and do in Rome. Of course, Rome is also the perfect base for weekend getaways if expats wish to explore the rest of Italy and Europe.
Known as the Eternal City, Rome was once the capital of one of the world’s mightiest empires and, for many, a capital of civilisation itself. While it no longer occupies this position, the monuments, memorials, museums and countless reminders of the city's prominent history exist around every corner and in every alleyway.
Attractions in Rome
Capitoline Hill is a reminder of Roman civilisation at its strongest and is still the seat of the city's government today. Several ground-level ruins are scattered about the area, but the major attraction is the stunning piazza surrounded by three palaces – the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the twin structures of the Palazzo dei Senatori and Palazzo Nuovo, which house the Musei Capitolini (the Capitoline Museums).
Within the Musei Capitolini, expats will find one of the largest collections of classical statues in the world, including famous statues such as the Satyr, the Dying Gaul and the Capitoline Wolf with Romulus and Remus. After getting their fill of immaculate sculptures, expats can take one of the paths that climb the side of the hill for panoramic views of the ancient sites of the Forum and Colosseum.
This enduring symbol is considered one of the most magnificent feats of ancient Rome and one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of human civilisation. The massive amphitheatre used to hold over 50,000 spectators and was mainly used for public spectacles and gladiatorial contests. Its architecture boasts an impressive array of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns and an underground network of cells, corridors, ramps and elevators that were used to transport animals from their cages to the arena. Years of erosion, pillaging and damage from earthquakes mean the structure is a shell of its former state, but nonetheless remains an impressive sight.
For centuries, the Roman Forum was the nucleus of the city's public life. The open rectangular area was the site of ancient Rome's commercial, political and religious wranglings. Some of the most notable monuments surrounding the square include the impressive Arch of Septimus Severus – designed to celebrate Roman victory over the Parthians – and the former atrium of the House of the Vestal Virgins and Temple of Vesta. Archaeological excavation continues, along with various restoration and preservation efforts.
This medieval neighbourhood is made up of narrow cobblestone streets accented with colourful flower boxes and washing soaking up the sun. Cafes, quaint restaurants and quirky boutiques abound, and the area has long been home to artists, expats and many of Rome's most famous residents.
The Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums
Michelangelo's iconic painted ceiling is the Vatican Museums’ most famous attraction. Expats should take time to explore the illustrious wings and walls of the museums which house one of the world's greatest collections of art. Works by Raphael, Botticelli, Rosselli and Ghirlandaio grace the building as well as an impressive assembly of classical statues. The museum is located within Vatican City, the residence of the Catholic Pope.
The Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna
Built in 1725, the Spanish Steps are a famous staircase which elegantly curves its way from the Piazza di Spagna to the Church of Santa Trinità dei Monti, a pastel-tinted neoclassical building. Bernini's boat-shaped Barcaccia fountain can be found at the bottom of the steps, along with the comparatively unassuming Keats-Shelley Memorial House.