The 3 Sights You Absolutely Have to Check Out When in Rome

Rome, Italy

Theres a reason why Rome is one of the most celebrated and visited cities in the world. Its a beautiful city filled with historic sights and delicious foods. There are hundreds of buildings, museums, and restaurants that you might not get to see during your stay in Rome. No matter how much time you have to spend during Rome city breaks, these are the three sights you need to see when visiting Rome.

The Colosseum

The colosseum is one of Romes most iconic attractions. The crumbling stadium sits in the heart of Rome and houses more than two thousand years of history. Millions of people visit the colosseum each year. In fact, officials were forced to create a visitor cap, allowing no more than 3,000 visitors at one time. This limitation was created just this year.

The stadium was built around 70 AD, during the height of the Roman Empire. It was created to house gladiator-style fights for the public to watch. Men fought each other to death for the publics amusement. While the colosseum is known for these brutal acts, the stadium also hosted dramas, re-enactments, and even some executions. Despite the violence, the colosseum was a beloved attraction for millions throughout Rome.

The colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world. When it was unveiled, the stadium could hold up to 80,000 visitors. Each event would average around 65,000 visitors. Those who attended events inside the colosseum ranged from poor residents, to generals, and even the emperor himself.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, a wealthy family took ownership of the colosseum and lived inside it. An earthquake caused serious damage to the building several hundred years later and it wasnt immediately repaired. Efforts were made by the government in the 18th century to preserve the stadium as a living piece of history.

Because of the venues popularity, you will want to purchase a ticket ahead of time and book a time slot. Doing this will guarantee your visit to the ancient ruins. The venue does allow free visits on select days and you can find a schedule with those free dates online. You can also tour the outside of the colosseum for free. Plan to spend at least 90 minutes touring the colosseum. The stadium is divided into different segments for tours, making it easier to manage your time inside.

Mouth of Truth

Bocca della Verita, also known as the Mouth of Truth, is a marble sculpture that stands near the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church in Rome. It was created to resemble the face of Oceanus, god of the sea.

Historians disagree about what the sculptures original purpose was. Some believe it could have been used as a drain cover in a nearby temple. This explains the purpose of the open mouth. Others say the sculpture could have been used for sacrifices to Hercules. The Mouth of Truth weighs nearly 3,000 pounds and is cut from a slab of beautiful calacatta marble. It has been moved to several locations across Rome throughout history.

Fans of classic films might be quick to recognize this sculpture. The sculpture became famous in the 1953 drama Roman Holiday. Visitors are encouraged to place their hands inside the sculptures mouth, even though legend states that the sculpture will bite off the hands of liars. While you wont lose a hand for a picture opportunity, it is a fun sight to see on your tour of Rome.

If you cant fit the Mouth of Truth into your itinerary, there are several replicas around the world. One has been placed in the Alta Vista Gardens in Vista, California. The ancient art has also inspired other artists to create similar works in several different mediums.

The Pantheon

This is another must-see attraction in Rome. The Pantheon was built around 115 AD. Historians believe the building was created as a temple to the Roman gods. The Pantheons entrance features columns of granite underneath a pediment crafted with marble. A round concrete dome features a central opening that points to the sky and the gods. The front of the building has been featured in books, films, and television shows over time.

Because the Pantheon has been used throughout history, it is one of the best-preserved historical sites in the city. Throughout the years, churches and politicians have replaced columns, sheets of marble, and paneling. These renovations do not match the original color of the natural stone and materials but the style reflects the first architecture plans.

When the building was first created, statues of gods and then political figures were housed inside. The Pantheon was later used for political appearances. The emperor could meet with commoners while giving off a “divine appearance.” The Roman Senate also met regularly inside the Pantheon. The Pantheon is also home to several tombs of the Roman royal family. The Pantheon is currently used as a church, offering services several times a week.

The Pantheon is open seven days a week and is free to visit. There is usually not a waiting period to get inside. Some people spend about 20 minutes inside, another person will spend two hours. It depends on what you want to see and how long you plan to immerse yourself in the art and architecture. There are no personal guides but you can purchase an audio guide during your visit.

While there are hundreds of attractions that you wont want to miss in Rome, skipping these three sights would really leave you feeling empty on your flight home. Its important to properly plan out your trip to Rome and even meet with a local guide to make sure you are covering all of the important attractions, restaurants, and museums while youre in the city. You can make reservations online or in person to make it even easier to plan out your excursions. Rome is an important hub for art lovers. You wont want to miss the sculptures, paintings, buildings, and sights to tour inside this historic haven.

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