Rome Beyond the Vatican: Other Must-See Historical Sites

Rome Beyond the Vatican

Rome Beyond the Vatican: Other Must-See Historical Sites

Rome, the Eternal City, is a place steeped in history and filled with countless historical treasures. While the Vatican City is often the focal point for visitors, Rome boasts a plethora of other must-see historical sites. These lesser-known gems offer a chance to explore the rich history of Rome beyond St. Peter's Basilica. Here's a curated list of some of the most fascinating historical sites in Rome.

The Colosseum

One of the most iconic landmarks in Rome is the Colosseum. This ancient amphitheater, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is a symbol of Roman engineering and entertainment. It hosted gladiator battles, animal hunts, and other spectacles. A visit to the Colosseum allows you to step back in time and imagine the roar of the crowd during these grand events.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is another essential stop for history enthusiasts. It was the heart of ancient Rome, where politics, commerce, and social activities thrived. Walking through the ruins of the Forum, you can explore the remnants of important temples, government buildings, and monuments, including the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimius Severus, and the Curia Julia.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is a marvel of ancient Roman architecture. Originally built as a temple to honor all gods, it features a remarkable domed roof with an oculus at its center, allowing sunlight to stream into the building. The Pantheon is a testament to the ingenuity of Roman engineering and remains a functioning church to this day.

The Palatine Hill

The Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome and is considered the birthplace of the city. It is steeped in legend, as it's where the mythical founders Romulus and Remus were said to be raised by a she-wolf. Visitors can explore the ruins of the grand palaces of emperors, providing insight into the opulence of ancient Rome.

The Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla are a testament to the grandeur of Roman public bathing. This vast complex, constructed during the 3rd century, featured hot and cold baths, gymnasiums, gardens, and libraries. Today, it stands as an impressive archaeological site where visitors can marvel at the size and sophistication of Roman public amenities.

The Capitoline Hill

The Capitoline Hill, one of Rome's seven hills, has been a hub of political and religious life for centuries. It houses the Capitoline Museums, which are home to a collection of art and artifacts, including the iconic statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback. The piazza on the hill offers panoramic views of the Roman Forum and the city beyond.

The Catacombs of Rome

Beneath the bustling streets of Rome lie a network of ancient catacombs. These underground burial sites were used by early Christians to escape persecution and lay their dead to rest. The Catacombs of Rome, such as those at San Callisto and San Sebastiano, provide a unique glimpse into the early Christian history of the city.

The Appian Way

The Appian Way, also known as the Queen of Roads, is one of the most famous ancient Roman roads. It stretches from Rome to the southern regions of Italy, and today, you can explore its well-preserved ruins, including ancient tombs, villas, and the Church of Domine Quo Vadis. A walk along the Appian Way is like stepping back in time.

The Baths of Diocletian

The Baths of Diocletian were the largest public baths in ancient Rome. Today, the site houses the National Roman Museum, showcasing an impressive collection of Roman art and artifacts. The central hall of the baths, now a church, is a grand example of adaptive reuse over the centuries.

Rome is a city where history comes alive at every corner. While the Vatican City is undoubtedly a highlight, these other historical sites offer a different perspective on the city's rich past. Whether you're interested in ancient architecture, Roman mythology, or early Christian history, Rome's historical sites provide a captivating journey through time.

So, the next time you visit the Eternal City, venture beyond the Vatican and explore the hidden historical treasures that Rome has to offer. You'll be rewarded with a deeper understanding of this extraordinary city's remarkable history.

Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Official Guided Tour

Experience the awe-inspiring art and design of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with this official guided tour. Skip the ticket line and gain fast access to both iconic buildings. Your enthusiastic guide will lead you through the Vatican Museums, where you'll explore the Pio Clementino Museum and marvel at classical Roman and Greek sculptures. Admire the majestic marble structures in the Gallery of the Candelabras and the hanging renaissance artworks at the Gallery of the Tapestries. Discover the intriguing story behind the 40 maps frescoed on the walls of the Gallery of the Geographical Maps and explore the four Raphael Rooms. The highlight of the tour is undoubtedly Michelangelo's masterpiece, "The Creation of Adam," in the Sistine Chapel.

During the tour, ensure you adhere to the Vatican's dress code, covering your shoulders and knees. Children under 6 years old enter free of charge. Please note that late arrivals cannot be accommodated, and all visitors must pass through airport-style security, which might have wait times during peak seasons.

Meeting Point

Enter the Vatican Museums by showing your voucher at the outside entrance. Once inside, follow the sign “GUIDED TOUR DESK” to where your guide will be waiting for you.

Important Information

Remember to bring your passport or ID card, including for children. Shorts are not allowed. St Peter’s Basilica and the Square may be closed on Wednesday mornings due to Papal Audience. The tour has special health and safety measures in place due to Covid-19. Please check your activity voucher for full details.

Customer Reviews

Rated 4.4/5 based on 5930 reviews, this tour has received high praise from travelers. Visitors appreciated the informative and passionate guides, especially highlighting the extensive knowledge and love for art. Many recommend visiting during less busy hours (such as early mornings or late afternoons) to fully enjoy the experience without the crowds. Don't miss the opportunity to explore the paintings just before the Sistine Chapel, where incredible works of art by great artists await.

The Colosseum’s Lesser Known Rivals in Rome

Rome, the Eternal City, is famous for its iconic landmarks, and the Colosseum stands tall as one of the most recognizable symbols of ancient Roman engineering and entertainment. However, while the Colosseum is undoubtedly magnificent, it was not the only amphitheater of its kind in Rome. In this article, we will explore some of the lesser-known rivals of the Colosseum, which played crucial roles in the city's history.

The Capuan Amphitheater

Located in the town of Capua, just south of Rome, the Capuan Amphitheater is often considered one of the predecessors to the Colosseum. Built in the 1st century BC, it could accommodate over 60,000 spectators, making it a massive structure for its time. The amphitheater was used for gladiatorial combat, animal hunts, and other public spectacles, much like the Colosseum. While it may not be as well-preserved as its more famous counterpart, the Capuan Amphitheater is a testament to the grandeur of Roman engineering.

The Amphitheatrum Castrense

The Amphitheatrum Castrense, also known as the "Amphitheater of the Castra Peregrina," is another hidden gem in Rome. Situated between the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano and the Aurelian Walls, this amphitheater was primarily used for training and competitions among the Roman army. It was much smaller in scale compared to the Colosseum, but its historical significance is undeniable. The Amphitheatrum Castrense served as a venue for military exercises and mock battles, contributing to the training and discipline of the Roman legions.

The Amphitheatrum Statilium

In the heart of the Roman Forum lies the remains of the Amphitheatrum Statilium, also known as the Statilian Amphitheater. Dating back to the 1st century AD, this amphitheater was smaller in size than the Colosseum, with a capacity of around 20,000 spectators. It was primarily used for gladiatorial contests and other public events. What sets the Statilian Amphitheater apart is its location, as it was right in the heart of the city, providing easy access to the Roman citizens who wished to attend these spectacles.

The Amphitheater of Statilius Taurus

Another amphitheater with the "Statilius" name, the Amphitheater of Statilius Taurus, was built by the Roman consul Publius Statilius Taurus in 29 BC. It was one of the earliest examples of such structures in Rome and could host a large crowd for various events. Unfortunately, little remains of this amphitheater today, but its historical importance cannot be understated. It served as an inspiration for the larger amphitheaters that followed, including the Colosseum.

The Conclusion

While the Colosseum undoubtedly takes center stage as one of Rome's most iconic monuments, these lesser-known rivals played their roles in shaping the culture and history of the city. They provided entertainment, military training, and a sense of community for the residents of ancient Rome. Exploring these lesser-known amphitheaters offers a deeper understanding of the rich tapestry of Rome's past and the significance of these structures in the life of the Eternal City.

Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Line Tour

Experience the awe-inspiring Vatican Museums and the iconic Sistine Chapel with our skip-the-line tour. Delve into the rich history and artistry of these world-renowned landmarks guided by a local expert. Marvel at masterpieces by Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and more.



Bypass the ticket line and embark on an enlightening journey through the Vatican Museums. Your knowledgeable guide will curate a selection of the most captivating and significant artworks, spanning from Ancient Roman and Greek sculptures to Renaissance masterpieces by Raphael and Caravaggio. The collection even features modern pieces by Chagall and Picasso.

Next, step into the illustrious Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo's breathtaking frescoes adorn the ceiling. Your guide will provide insights into the monumental achievement represented by these incredible artworks.

Meeting Point

Check-in at the local partner's shop. Open in Google Maps.

Important Information

Prohibited items include weapons or sharp objects, as well as large bags or luggage.

Price: From lei 397.23 per person (Save up to 35% from lei 611.11)


Overall rating: 4.1 / 5 based on 160 reviews

Value for money: 3.7/5

Customer Reviews:

We purchased a Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel tour. The meeting location was easy to find, walked over to the museums and skipped the line. Once inside, the tour company person introduced us to the Vatican Museum tour guide, Valeria. We received our ear radios and were able to hear the guide the entire time, even in very crowded areas and with other guides speaking loudly. Valeria was very knowledgeable and pleasant. Highly recommend this tour.

July 23, 2023 - MMarlene, United States

I didn't think I would have enjoyed myself as much as I did. The tour guide was excellent. Her charm and details made it like a lesson from a favorite professor. The art itself was mind blowing. As the guide tossed in all kinds of bits and pieces that brought the beauty of the art even more.

July 20, 2023 - LLeonard, Germany

It was a little pricy for what it was… I would definitely recommend going with a guide because actually learning all the history is so important and really changes the whole experience (and we walked right past the line of like 10,000 people). However, for the price, I wish our guide would have shown us around St. Peters Basilica as well. Overall, we were happy with our tour. Prepare for your feet to hurt though, it’s long!

July 3, 2023 - LLyddia, United States

Exploring the Catacombs: A Journey Underground in Rome

Rome, the eternal city, is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. While most tourists flock to iconic landmarks like the Colosseum and the Vatican, there's a hidden world beneath the bustling streets that often goes unnoticed—the catacombs.

The Catacombs of Rome are an intricate network of underground burial sites that provide a unique glimpse into the past. These subterranean labyrinths are not just a fascinating attraction but also a testament to the city's history and religious practices.

History and Origins

The catacombs of Rome date back to the 2nd century AD and have a mysterious and intriguing history. They were initially created as burial grounds for early Christians, who faced persecution in the Roman Empire. The vast network of tunnels, chambers, and passageways was carved out of soft volcanic rock beneath the city, providing a hidden sanctuary for the deceased and a place for Christian gatherings away from prying eyes.

Architecture and Layout

Exploring the catacombs is like stepping into an underground city. The passages are lined with narrow shelves, or loculi, where the deceased were laid to rest. Some of these chambers are elaborately decorated with frescoes, while others are simple and unadorned. There are even more spacious rooms known as cubicula, often used for more elaborate burials or communal gatherings.

Religious Significance

For Christians, the catacombs are sacred, as they represent both a place of burial and a refuge during times of persecution. Many early Christian martyrs were buried here, and their tombs have become places of veneration and pilgrimage for the faithful. The catacombs are a tangible link to the roots of Christianity in Rome.

Types of Catacombs

Rome has several catacombs, with some of the most famous being the Catacombs of San Callisto, the Catacombs of Domitilla, and the Catacombs of Priscilla. Each has its unique features and history, making it worthwhile to explore several if you have the opportunity.

Visiting the Catacombs

If you're planning to explore the catacombs, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be prepared for the unique experience of going underground. The tunnels can be narrow and dimly lit, so comfortable shoes and a sense of adventure are essential. It's also a good idea to book a guided tour to gain a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the catacombs.


Exploring the catacombs is a journey back in time, a chance to connect with the early Christians who sought refuge beneath the city. It's a reminder of the rich history of Rome and its enduring religious significance. So, when you visit the eternal city, don't forget to venture below the surface and explore the catacombs—a hidden gem that adds depth to your Roman experience.

Book now

Rome Beyond the Vatican: Other Must-See Historical Sites

Renaissance Art Exploration at the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Skip the Line at the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel to delve into the world of Renaissance art. See the famous works of Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Raphael.

75.96 $
Rome Beyond the Vatican: Other Must-See Historical Sites

Unravel the Secrets of the Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Tour

Explore the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with our skip-the-line tour. Gain insights from a knowledgeable local guide and admire masterpieces by artists like Michelangelo and Caravaggio.

86.7 $
Rome Beyond the Vatican: Other Must-See Historical Sites

Discover the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Explore the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel effortlessly with a skip-the-line ticket. Marvel at masterpieces like Belvedere Torso, the Gallery of Maps, and works by renowned artists such as Michelangelo, and more.

39 €
Rome Beyond the Vatican: Other Must-See Historical Sites

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Tour

Immerse yourself in some of the world's most historic artworks on a guided tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Explore the Gallery of the Maps, marvel at the frescoes adorning the Sistine Chapel, and more.

41.91 $
Rome Beyond the Vatican: Other Must-See Historical Sites
75.06 USD