After leaving Sorrento and Capri, DDC21 will bring you to port in Civitavecchia, which translates to “ancient town,” a coastal town that borders Rome to the northwest. From there, you can make your way into the Eternal City in all its historical and architectural glory.
The sheer number of landmarks you can visit on this stop leaves you spoiled for choice: between the Sistine Chapel, the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, Aventine Hill, Circus Maximus and more, you have some decisions to make. In this post, we have provided nine incredible sights to see while you explore the streets of Rome.
Nine Beautiful Landmarks to Make Time for in Rome
- St. Peter’s Basilica – When in Rome, you can actually walk to an entirely different country — the Vatican, with an area less than half a square kilometer, is the smallest independent country in the world. Its borders are mostly enclosed by its walls which house its palace, gardens, and the Pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church who rules from St. Peter’s Square. St. Peter’s Basilica is a central church in the Vatican which is famous for housing the Sistine Chapel. This is where you will find an awe-inspiring frescoed ceiling painted by Michelangelo — you have doubtless seen pictures of it before. Another famous Michelangelo work, Pieta, resides in the Basilica, along with the Vatican Library and Raphael Rooms, featuring paintings by the famous artist of the same name.
- The Trevi Fountain – This popular Roman landmark has been in so many films that there is slim chance you will not recognize its wonderfully sculpted scene of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, amidst seashells and horses. Tradition holds that throwing a coin into the fountain guarantees your return to Rome.
- The Coliseum – This enormous amphitheater from the Flavian dynasty (A.D. 69 – 96) is as synonymous with Rome as the Brooklyn Bridge is with New York City. It is the largest structure remaining from the Roman empire. This architectural achievement still lends its structure to modern-day sporting arenas, and in its ancient heyday, it held theatrical performances, festivals, circuses, and games.
- The Arch of Constantine – Sitting just behind the Coliseum, the magnificent Arch of Constantine was erected by the Roman Senate to honor the triumphant victory of the emperor Constantine the Great in the battle of Milvian Bridge in A.D. 312.
- The Pantheon – If the Coliseum is the largest remnant of the Roman Empire, the Pantheon is its most well-preserved, remaining intact for 2000 years. Even after it was stripped of its bronze roofing by two Popes and damaged by a fire in A.D. 80, this Pantheon still stands, its 43-meter dome representing the genius of Roman architecture.
- The Roman Forum – The forum now stands in the middle of the bustling modern city, but stepping inside still sends you back in time almost two millennia to the center of ancient Rome. While the surviving portion of the Roman Forum is only a fraction of what once stood there, the standing columns, arches, and walls are still jaw-dropping — especially when you remember that you are standing in what was once the center of the western world.
- Aventine Hill – This southern hill is one of the legendary Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built. Aventine holds great significance in Roman mythology, including holding the cave which was said to house Cacus, a fire-breathing giant killed by Hercules in Virgil’s Aeneid. See if you can find the cave in question, or simply climb to see a great view of Rome below.
- Circus Maximus – In between the Aventine and Palatine hills, the Circus Maximus was the first and largest stadium in the Roman Empire. It was made famous by the chariot scene in 1959’s Oscar-winning film Ben-Hur. The site is now a public park where you can go and gaze at the massive scale of a place that once housed 150,000 spectators.
- The Spanish Steps – This flight of ancient stairs and landings has long been a favorite place to rest for tourists. Here, you can sit down for a moment with gelato and peer out over the Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, and many other famous Roman sites.
You probably cannot fit all nine of these amazing sites in the twelve hours the Splendor is docked in Rome, so follow what sounds interesting to you and plan your day around it. Or, you can find your own path and visit many places not mentioned here. Try to give yourself some variety, though — too many churches in a row can make them all feel the same. Take a break with some pasta or a glass of wine whenever you need it.
Next Stop: Portofino
Once you have seen all you can of the Eternal City, make your way back to the port at Civitavecchia where the Splendor will be waiting with hot food and a warm bed. Our next stop lies in a beautiful cove, famous for its picturesque setting and wonderful climate — rest up and get ready to stop in the wonderful Portofino, Italy.