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roman holiday: 7 ancient wonders & modern marvels you can't miss!

With the ancient grandeur of the Colosseum and the charm of the Trevi Fountain, Rome truly offers a great deal of history and cultural sightseeing for tourists. Well, as the old saying goes: Rome was not built in a day In fact, Rome has over 2000 years of history and culture behind it and one day would not be enough to embrace it all. But here are 7 top sights you absolutely should not miss on your Roman holiday.

The Colosseum – A visit to Rome can no longer be considered as complete without setting foot on its most famous historical site. Standing at over 190 meters long and 156 meters wide, this colossal amphitheater was designed during the period of 70-80 AD to contain more than fifty thousand blood-lusting Romans for gladiator duels, wild animal slaughters, executions, and naval battles which were staged within. Even today, the majority of it has been destroyed; however, there is still something to contemplate what kind of amusements took place in it and how people cheered for the violent spectacle. Do not overlook the hypogeum tunnels which usually housed gladiators and wild animals.

The Pantheon – this is an ancient building that was erected during the reign of Hadrian in approximately 126 AD, which makes it the only ancient structure that has remained intact even to this date. Its domed rotunda was the world’s largest for more than 1,300 years and has significant religious, historical, and architectural importance. The only natural light is the oculus, a hole in the roof of the dome that lights the temple. Make sure you try to visit inside to see Raphael’s tomb. The Pantheon serves as a working church in the present time, further emphasizing how these early architectural masterpieces are assimilated into the Roman way of life.

The Roman Forum – A lively center and empire of ancient Rome, visiting the Roman Forum one can almost picture the speeches and achievements, battles and trials, commerce and debates. However, do not fail to visit the Curia, where the Roman Senate convened; the Temples of Saturn and Vesta; the Arch of Septimius Severus and other great surviving ancient structures more or less in ruins today.

Trevi Fountain – One cannot leave the city of Rome without throwing a coin into its most renowned and greatest Baroque fountain, created by the artist Nicola Salvi in 1732. In order to fulfill the legendary prophecy, one should throw one coin and you shall return to Rome one day; throw two and you shall fall in love with an Italian. Don’t forget to take the standard picture, in which one is standing next to the fountain. Pro tip: It is better to go at night because the area is well-illuminated, and the crowd is not many as compared to the day.

The Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel - One of the most remarkable art displays in the world is found here, and this walled city-state of Popes contains over 7 km of displays. It’s also rich in Egyptian and highly Renaissance pieces so one could easily spend an entire day walking through its lengthy corridor and many branches. Do not continue directly towards the main attraction – frescoes painted by Michelangelo at the top of the chapel’s dome that is considered one of the world’s significant masterpieces.

The Holy See – Vatican City - A city-state enclosed within the city of Rome, Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and it took 120 years to build St. Peter’s Basilica over St. Peter’s tomb. It is recommended to see sculptures by Bernini and Michelangelo, for instance, the impressive structure over the altar of the pope. Ascend to the top of the dome in order to get stunning views of St. Peter’s Square and the remainder of Rome in general. It will be even better if you can capture a picture of the Pope himself while celebrating the mass!

Built above Emperor Domitian's stadium in the first century AD is another well-known pavement, Piazza Navona. Along with a plethora of cafes and restaurants that are visited by both locals and tourists, this large, oval-shaped square now hosts musical and theatrical acts. An Egyptian obelisk personifies the fourth river in Bernini's whimsical Fountain of the Four Rivers. On one of the outside terraces, enjoy a cappuccino as you begin your day while taking in views of the city.

In addition to these 7 best timeless wonders and contemporary icons, Rome offers many more fantastic attractions to discover on a plate of pasta, a glass of wine, and a scoop of ice cream. It’s also time to discover such small known but great places as Villa Borghese Gardens, Capitoline Museums, or a fairy-tale Trastevere district. Just make sure that you’re wearing comfortable footwear, that some businesses might be closed for a few hours in the middle of the day because of the siesta, and that the saying “all roads lead to Rome” is not just an expression, but can become your reality one day.