These pillars of past empires.
The city of Rome has some of the most important and fascinating archeological sites in all of Europe. These pillars of past empires show just how eternal the Eternal City is. With so many places to choose from it might be hard to pick just a few to visit. If you want to go explore the past in Rome the right way, here are 5 places you definitely need to check out.
Probably the most well-known archeological site in Rome, the Colosseum (also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre) is the largest amphitheater ever built! Gladiator contests, animal hunts, and other public spectacles were put on here, where up to 55,000 people could watch. After about four centuries of use, the Colosseum fell into disuse and became a source of building materials for other structures in Rome. Today you’ll only see about a third of what the massive structure used to be, and that third is still huge! Even if you’re not a fan of archeology, the Colosseum is a definite must-see.
Just to the west of the Colosseum is the Roman Forum. It was considered the political, social, and symbolic center of the city. Full of temples, basilicas and other public spaces, you could spend hours exploring the massive expanse of ruins. Like the Colosseum, it ended up being plundered for its building materials, but there are still some structures that have survived pretty intact which you should definitely check out. This includes the Curia, which was the senate house, the Arch of Titus, the Temple of Vesta and the Temple of Romulus.
Besides the Colosseum, the Pantheon is one of the most popular attractions in Rome (and its free to enter which helps). Completed in 125 AD, it is also remarkably preserved compared to some of the other archeological sites in Rome. It was first built as a temple to all the gods, as Pantheon means “honor all the gods” in Greek. The most prominent feature of the building is its giant dome with the hole in the middle (also referred to as the oculus). Because of the hole, the dome is technically unsupported by anything, but the massive weight allows it to stay intact. If you’re looking for an amazing architectural feat in one of Rome’s most prominent archaeological sites, this is the place to go.
The Baths of Caracalla are the city’s second largest public baths, and the sheer size of the complex is breathtaking. It covers around 100,000 sq meters and could fit close to 10,000 people. There were three main bathing areas: the frigidarium if you wanted cold water; the caldarium for hot water; and the tepidarium for lukewarm water. There were also large, open-air swimming pools, a garden for exercising, and even a library. Now, besides being a popular archeological attraction, it’s also the summer home of the Rome Opera company.
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Also known as Castel Sant’Angelo, this castle-like structure sits on the north bank of the Tiber River, outside the ancient city of Rome. Back in the 13th and 17th centuries, it housed the papal palace and later a prison, so the building is heavily fortified. It’s called Hadrian’s Mausoleum because it was originally intended as the resting place for Emperor Hadrian and his immediate family members. Today it is used as a museum and you’ll definitely want to check out the St. Angelo bridge, which connects the castle to the mainland. It’s considered the finest ancient Roman bridge still standing and has ten beautiful angel sculptures which give the bridge its name.
Photos: Mackenzie Diamond