Snapshots of Rome, Italy: A day in the Eternal City.

Men "working" outside the Coliseum

Men “working” outside the Coliseum



A mural from the Vatican Museums

A mural from the Vatican Museums

It would take an eternity to truly understand Rome, to explore its cobblestone alleyways, to get lost in the nooks and crannies of every park, boulevard and museum. History seeps into the stones that build the city, each step superimposed atop another’s. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have eternity to spend in the Eternal City, but we can enjoy its heavy-hitters and daily scenes all the same. 

1. Via Appia Antica

Just chillin on the first ever highway

Just chillin on the first ever highway

The Appian Way was one of the most important Roman roads of the ancient republic and perhaps even the world’s first highway! Connecting Rome to the South of Italy, a large part of the via Appia Antica still exists today. The road carves through fields surrounding Rome, past ancient churches, villas and catacombs. Read more about the Appian Way in my article for Walks of Italy or learn more about what happened on it in this amazing post by Revealed Rome.

2. Santissima Trinità dei Monti Church

Santissima Trinità dei Monti

Santissima Trinità dei Monti

The French church serves as an impressive backdrop to the tourists sitting on the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna. The steps are a symbol of peace between France and Spain, connecting the Spanish square to the French church. Even today one of the clocks on the church’s facade shows Rome time, the other Paris time.

3. St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica

Actually located in the Vatican City, it’s the world’s largest Christian basilica and probably its most popular too. I suggest going early on Sunday morning to attend mass in the Basilica – a moving experience no matter what your religion!

Entrance is free if you follow the dress code, times vary depending on the month. Click here for more detailed information.

4. Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums contains over 10 museums as well as the Vatican palaces and gardens. Here you can find the Sistine Chapel, an entire room of frescoes done by Raphael and work by Caravaggio, among hundreds of other famous Renaissance painters.

Open Monday to Saturday, tickets cost 16 euro full price. The Ticket Office is open from 9 am to 4 pm. The Museums close at 6 pm. Order your tickets in advance or else be willing to pay double to “skip” the line.

5. Roman Pantheon

Go inside the Pantheon to fully appreciate the architecture and history

Go inside the Pantheon to fully appreciate the architecture and history

One of the most well-preserved buildings of ancient Rome, the Pantheon is a temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. In Greek it’s Pan (all) + Theon (gods).

Entrance is free.
8.30 a.m. – 7.30 p.m. Monday – Saturday
9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sundays

6. The Trevi Fountain

Though you'll be among a crowd, the Trevi Fountain is worth it

Though you’ll be among a crowd, the Trevi Fountain is worth it

The fountain is at the junction of three roads and serves as the starting point of a major aqueduct that supplied water to Ancient Rome. Today it is considered one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions and is perpetually crowded. Even so, its charm is palpable day or night. 

7. Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona

The Fountain of Four Rivers represents four rivers in four continents where papal authority had spread. The Nile in Africa, the Danube in Europe, the Ganges in Asia and the Río de la Plata in the Americas.

8. The Coliseum

We were lucky that we organized our night tour ahead of time!

We were lucky that we organized our night tour ahead of time!

The Flavian Amphitheater is perhaps one of the most dramatized and romanticized constructions in Rome – and for good reason! If you do some research, you might be able to plan a night tour including underground visit of the enormous arena. I used this site to find a night tour.


9. Castel Sant’Angelo


Only some of the major attractions in Rome, they’re ones that nevertheless are popular for a reason and deserve a look. My best suggestion for Rome is to research and plan ahead. Actually, that’s always my best suggestion, for Rome and beyond. By booking tickets ahead of time you can save some money and a lot of time! 

Then you can use your time instead to dig even deeper to the city’s millennia of secrets and stories.


Snapshots is a series to offer a glimpse into the life or sites of each location. Far from a complete guide, it’s a photo-heavy look at the beauty, history or fun each destination has to offer.

Written by ginamussio

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