Happy New Year! I am back from an amazing vacation to Rome and of course the first thing I want to do is share ALL of the details.  Rome has been at the top of my bucket list since the term “bucket list” became a thing.  When my sister and I found a flight deal to Rome during the Christmas and New Year holidays we jumped at the opportunity!  After seven nights in Rome, I have SO much to share.   This is the first of many posts, but lets start out with the 12 Must See Attractions in Rome! Even with seven days, I could not see it all so these are my favorites of the things I did see!

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This is a “duh” to most people.   I mean you cannot go to Rome without visiting the Colosseum! It is Rome’s most popular attraction and a beautiful reminder of the great Roman Empire.  We saw the Colosseum on our first night in Rome and were stunned at the beauty of it at night.  Of course, you can pay to go inside during the daytime.  I opted not to though as I found just laying eyes on it to be enough.

 Spanish Steps

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Underneath ALL of those people are the Spanish Steps LOL.

The Spanish Steps are in the center of Piazza di Spagna.  This attraction gets its name due to the proximity to Spanish Embassy and literally is just a row of steps that leads up to the beautiful Trinita dei Monti church.  From up top you have a great view of the beautiful streets below.  Also, just beyond the Piazza you will find all of the good high end shopping.  As you can imagine, around Christmas this area was packed!

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The view from the steps.

Trevi Fountain

Legend says if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, you will return to Rome.  I definitley threw a coin in for good luck!  As one of the most famous fountains in Rome, Trevi stays filled with people.  To get a great photo without a million people in it, I suggest going in the early mornings or late at night.

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Trevi Fountain

St. Peter’s Basilica – Vatican City

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A view of the dome from the Vatican Museums.

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Inside the Basilica!

My tour of the Vatican was hands down the worst tour I have ever gone on.  Lines wrapped around the entire building in the rain and paying to skip the line only puts you in a shorter line inside.  We started the tour in the Vatican Museums which I found incredibly underwhelming compared to the Louvre or even the Smithsonian Museums.  But… when the tour ended at St. Peter’s Basilica I saw the purpose!  The basilica is so grand and gorgeous!  Guests can also climb over 500 stairs to the top of the dome for views of the entire city.

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Vatican Museum Spiral Staircase

Just outside of the basilica is St. Peter’s square which has some of the prettiest views of Vatican City.  If you hate lines like me, at least visit St. Peter’s square which is an open square.

Capitoline Hill

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Capitoline Hill

Capitoline Hill provides great views of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum.   The Capitoline Museums are also at the top of this hill.  Entrance to the museum is about 15 euros, but those beautiful views are free!

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Inside the museum.

Sistine Chapel – Vatican City

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Vatican City

Unfortunately, guests are no longer allowed to take pictures here for fear that it will damage the paintings.  Now, I do not quite understand how that is possible without using the flash, but I tend to be a rule follower.   I will also say, I was not as wowed as I thought I would be! Still, as one of the great works by Michelangelo, it is a must see in Rome.

Pantheon

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The Pantheon

The Pantheon was easily one of my favorite buildings in Rome! First, it is utterly amazing that this temple/church was built in 125 AD and is STILL standing.  They actually still hold church services there too.   The Pantheon is currently free to visit, but rumor has it they will start charging in 2018.   Even if it costs, you should still make your way inside just to see the dome which is the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.  It is all a beautiful living piece of history.

Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi – Fountain of the Four Rivers

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Fountain of Four Rivers

Unpopular opinion, the Fountain of the Four Rivers is prettier than the Trevi! Plus, it’s in a HUGE piazza so you can visit it easily without fighting the crowds.  Created in the 1600s by Gian Bernini, the fountain depicts the four major rivers, the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges and the Rio de la Plata.

The Tomb of Augustus

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The Tomb of Augustus while under construction.

During a free walking tour, we stopped by the Tomb of Augustus and listened to a great retelling of the fall of the Roman Republic by our tour guide Chris.  I love history so the recounting of the rise of the Republic, the death of Julius Caesar and the eventual move to an empire under Augustus provided a great framework for the rest of the tour.  The tomb is currently under construction, but a quick pass through is worth it as Augustus is a pivotal figure in Roman history.

Altare Della Patria

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Altare Della Patria

Altare Della Patria or Altar of the Fatherland is a HUGE monument to the first king of the unified Italy.  Apparently locals hate this monument and find it “pompous” due to it’s size.  They have also jokingly likened it to a Wedding Cake or fake teeth.   I say go see it though because the unification of Italy is an important historical moment AND so you can laugh with the locals at this massive monument.

The Roman Forum

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The Roman Forum with the Colosseum in the background.

The Roman Forum was the center of life during ancient time.   The modern city of Rome has developed around the ruins of the ancient forum providing so many great vantage points to take in this historic site.  I recommend Capitoline Hill (described above)!

Castel Sant’Angelo

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Castel Sant’Angelo

Originally built as a mausoleum for Roman emperor Hadrian, the building was eventually used as a home for past Popes.  It is now a museum and I am SO mad that I did not get to go inside during my visit!  I did get to enjoy the beautiful exterior with the highlight being the statues of angels the line the bridge leading up to the castle depict the crucifixion of Jesus by the Romans.

What are must sees for you in Rome? Share below in the comments!

To see the rest of the Black Girls Who Brunch Guide to Rome start here.