The 9 Best Historic Places in Rome You Must See

The past is still alive in these 9 historic places scattered across Rome.

Last updated: September 8, 2023

Pantheon, Free things to do in Rome, Roads and Destinations,
The best historic places in Rome, Italy

History of Rome Unveils in these Ancient Sites

Rome is a city where the old meets new in the most organic way. It’s a city where a combination of ancient and modern has become an essential part of the Roman culture. Where else than not in Rome can you see some of the world-known historic sites peacefully co-existing with “representatives” of the modern world?

Strolling the streets of Rome is like reading a history book. Every corner of this remarkable city is a witness of the bygone eras. From ancient ruins to renovated piazzas and churches, the capital of Italy keeps its history alive.

While you might not have time to explore Rome through and through and learn about all of its famous attractions, make sure to check out these 9 historic places. They will take you back in time and show Rome beyond its modern facade.


The Best Historic Places in Rome: Ancient Ruins


The Colosseum tops the list of the must-see historic sites in Rome. As one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, the Colosseum is also the most popular attraction in Italy. The history of the great structure goes back to 70 AD, the time when emperors and gladiators frequented this section of the ancient city.

It took ten years to build the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. Upon the completion, is was one of the largest amphitheaters in the Roman Empire. It could fit up to 55,000 people and was popular for gladiator and animal fights that often took place on its arena.

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The Colosseum | The best historic places to see in Rome

Arch of Constantine

You find the Arch of Constantine, one of the most recognizable historic places in Rome, right behind the Colosseum. Similar to the latter, this famous attraction never suffers from the lack of visitors. The city’s largest triumphal arch was build in 315 AD to commemorate Constantine I for his outstanding victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

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Arch of Constantine | Top 9 historic places in Rome

Imperial Forums

Unlike the previous two historic sites, the Imperial Forums or Imperial Fora include a series of squares. The construction of these public squares along with their magnificent buildings took place between 46 BC and 113 AD. Several emperors built their own forums here to immortalize their names and legacies.

The Imperial Forums – now just ruins – served as the center of the city life where influential people discussed economy and politics.

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The Imperial Forums | The best historic places in Rome

Roman Forum

The Imperial Forums are often confused with the Roman Forum or the Forum Romanum, one of the oldest places in Rome.

The Roman Forum is much older than the Imperial Forums. Its history goes back to the Etruscan dynasty that ruled over Rome until 509 BC and built numerous buildings and arches. Eventually, the Roman Forum became the political center of the city.

Unfortunately, not much of the historic site has survived. Yet if you look closely, you can still recognize remains of the ancient temples and arches.

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The Roman Forum | Top 9 historic places in Rome

Top 9 Historic Places in Rome: Renovated and Reconstructed


The Pantheon is one of the most preserved historic places in Rome. The ancient structure lives side by side with younger buildings of the city. You’d never guess that a prominent historic place exists in a modern area unless you know its exact location.

The Pantheon of Rome as we see it today, however, is a rebuilt copy of the ancient temple. Originally, Marcus Agrippa built the structure in 25 BC and dedicated it to one of the Roman gods. A terrible fire burnt the temple to the ground in 80 AD. About 45 years later, by decrees of Emperor Hadrian, the Pantheon came back to life. Today, it’s a church in the not particularly historic center of Rome.

The Pantheon | Rebuilt and renovated historic places in Rome

Castel Sant’Angelo

Located within a short walk from the Vatican City, the Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the historic places in Rome with the most interesting stories.

Initially, Emperor Hadrian built it as mausoleum for himself and his family. As time passed, the building served as a part of the city wall and fortress. Later, the popes used it as their residence until it became a barracks and military prison. Today, the Castel Sant’Angelo is a national museum and one of the most famous historic monuments in Rome.

Historic places in Rome - Roads and Destinations
Castel Sant’Angelo | Historic places in Rome

Piazza Novano

Similar to the Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Novano completely changed its original functions. Build in 86 AD, one of the most famous historic sites of Rome was know as Domitian’s Stadium. Thanks to its large area and oval shape, it hosted festivals and sporting events.

In the 15th century, however, the life of the stadium came to an end. The place embarked on a new journey and became Piazza Navano, arguably the most beautiful historic square in Rome.

The Top 9 Historic Places in Rome
Piazza Novano | Historic places in Rome

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is another beautiful historic place in Rome that had many adjustments done to its original version. In 19 BC Agrippa, the son-in-law of Emperor Augustus constructed a big aqueduct that still brings water from the Salone Springs (about 14 miles from Rome).

In the 15th century, only a small fountain was added to the aqueduct. In 1732, however, pope Clement XII commissioned Nicola Salvi to replace the small fountain with a bigger one. It took years of hard work before the new fountain was finally inaugurated in 1762.

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Trevi Fountain | The most beautiful historic places in Rome

St.Peter’s Basilica – Historic Places in Rome and Vatican

Only the location of the St. Peter’s Basilica – in the center of Rome – is as ancient as most of the above-mentioned historic places. The original church was built between 326 and 349 AD. The location of the site was rather symbolic. It’s believed Saint Peter, the chief apostle, was buried here in 64 AD.

By middle of the 15th century, the St. Peter’s Basilica was falling into ruin. Pope Nicolas V ordered to restore the church. His plan, however, never came to life.

Half a century later, pope Julius II decided to build a completely new church on this place. It was a very long endeavor that took over 100 years. Only in 1626 pope Urban VIII reconsecrated the new church. The St. Peter’s Basilica has been a center of the Christianity and one of the main historic attraction in Rome and the Vatican City ever since.

Historic places in Rome.
St. Peter’s Basilica


  1. September 6, 2019 / 7:34 am

    I like the idea of having an old building like the pantheon restored so you could see what it was like. I feel like that would be the best way to see what the people would have seen back in the day. I think it would be cool to look for something like that that was restored a bit closer to home for me so that I could learn more about history.

    • Zhanna
      September 10, 2019 / 12:02 pm

      Having these old structures so close to you is absolutely incredible. It makes appreciate more what you have right now because in a few hundred years somebody will be looking at your house and thinking how ancient and interesting is it.

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