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Rome tourism - Archaeological Sites

Rome Archaeological Sites

All you need to know about the Eternal City

Rome-the city of visible history, where the past of a whole hemisphere seems moving in funeral procession with strange ancestral images and trophies gathered from afar. George Eliot

Ara Pacis Augustae

The Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace or Altare della Pace) is one of the greatest works of Roman sculpture. It consists of a rectangular space including the actual altar, a Roman sacrificial marble altar beautifully carved. It was commissioned in 9 BC by emperor Augustus, to celebrate his victories in the Gallic and Spanish campaigns and commemorate the great peace that followed. The remains of the altar, completely neglected for centuries, have been rediscovered and restored in recent years.Among the allegorical and ceremonial scenes decorated in high relief, the mostsignificant is the one depicting Augustus, Agrippa, Julius, and Tiberius.
At the base of the walls running along Via di Ripetta you can admire the so called Res Gestæ, a bronze reproduction of Augustus' testimonial plaque.

Opening hours: Tuesdays - Saturdays 9am to 1.30pm, Sunday 9am - 1.30pm (April-September also open Tuesdays and Saturdays 4pm - 7pm)

Arch of Constantine

The Arch of Constantine was erected in 315 AD, in honour of Constantine after his victory over Maxentius in the Battle at the MilvianBridge. This triumphal Arch, decorated with fragments from older Roman monuments, is located in the valley of the Colosseum, between the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum, along the road taken by the triumphal processions.

Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla, the second largest bath complex in ancient Rome, were commissioned by emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known as Caracalla, and built between 212 and 219 AD. Still in use in the early Middle Ages, the remains were unearthed in the lateMiddle Ages.
The massive bath complex contains several masterpieces of Roman sculpture. Although in semiruins, it still remains impressive, especially on summer evenings, when it is used to stage opera.

Opening hours: Tuesdays - Saturdays 9am - 6pm (October - March until 3pm); Sundays and Mondays 9am - 1pm
Transports: Buses 90,93

Baths of Diocletian

Almost a century after Caracalla gave Romans his baths, Emperor Diocletian commissioned a huge and gorgeous bathing establishment in the attempt to outshine his imperial predecessor.
The largest of the ancient Roman baths, the Baths of Diocletian were built in the 4th century.
They could originally accommodate over 3000 people, about twice as many as the Baths of Caracalla. Changing rooms, gymnasiums, libraries, meeting rooms, theatres, concert halls, gardens, as well as mosaic floors and marble facades, were also available on the site. Today's luxurious spas and health resorts are but pale copies of the Baths of Diocletian. Moreover, sections of the former baths house the National Roman Museum and the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, designed by Michelangelo.

Transports: Metro Repubblica, Termini

Bocca della Verit (Mouth of Truth)

Beneath the Porch of Santa Maria in Cosmedin you will see an enormous marble mask:the Mouth of Truth, once supposed to be the mouth of an oracle. Originally set in a fountain, it represents the face of a Triton. According to a medieval legend it would snap shut on the hand of anyone whith a guilty conscience, particularly adulterine women.

Romulus' Hut

Located in the Palatine area, it is still believed to be the site of the first Roman settlement, founded by Romulus in 753 BC.

Livia's House

Located in the Palatine area, its rooms are elaborately decorated with frescoed wall-paintings in the second Pompeian style, depicting a variety of mythological scenes.

Fori Imperiali

Located in a valley between the Palatine hill and the Capitoline hill, it originally was a marsh. After an intensive drainage the Romans turned the area into a political, economic, and and civic center. It was later expanded to include temples, a senate house and law courts. At the falling of the Roman Empire the Forum became neglected, used as a cattle pasture during the Middle Ages.

Sacred Way (Via Sacra)

The oldest street in Rome and the most important road in the Forum, the Sacred Way dates back to the time of Augustus. In the past it was lined with sanctuaries: both victorious generals and emperors would ride along it to offer sacrifices to the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol.

Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina

Along the Via Sacra you'll see the Temple of Antonius Pius and Faustina. It was erected by emperor Antoninus Pius to commemorate his wife Faustina. Its fine state of preservation is due to the building of San Lorenzo in Miranda's church within the walls of the ancient temple.

Arch of Titus

The Arch is located in the Forum Square. Erected in 81AD by emperor Domitian in honour of his brother Titus, it is the oldest triumphal arch in Rome. Two large decorations in high relief on the arch represent episodes of the imperial Triumph.

House of the Vestals

The House of the Vestals (AtriumVestae) is located on the forum area, just behind the Temple of Vesta, between the Regia and the Palatine Hill. It was the residenceof the Vestal Virgins, priestesses of the cult of Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth fire. They were supposed to maintain a perpetual fire burning in the Temple: should they ever allow this fire to become extinguished they would suffer dire punishments. The Vestal Virgins finally disbanded in 394 AD.

Column of Marcus Aurelius (Colonna di Marco Aurelio)

This column was erected around the year 180 by Commodus, Marcus Aurelius' son, to commemorate the emperor's victories in the Danube region. Because of its height of around 100 Roman feet, it was nicknamed Centenaria or "the hundredfooter".

Colosseum (Colosseo)

The Anfiteatrum Flavium, as it was called in the past, was built by Emperor Vespasian in the year 72 AD, on the site of a drained lake in the grounds of Nero's Golden palace.

Originally designated for sacred games it soon became the centre of Roman life, site of the navy-battles, the gladiator-fights and the wild animal-hunts. It is said that more than 5000 “beasts” were killed during the fights between gladiators and animals. It could hold up to 80.000 spectators. The auditorium rose in tiers up to the highest point of the outer wall, over 150 feet above the ground In the XV century it became a “quarry” for the building of Palazzo Venezia and the church of Saint Peter, stopped in the XVII century when it was dedicated to the Christian martyrs. Legend holds that the Venerable Bede would say “as long as the Colosseo exists, so will Rome; when it falls, so will Rome, but then the world will end”.

Opening hours: Mon.,Tues.,Thurs.-Sat. 9-7 (summer) to 3pm in winter. Wed. and Sun. 9-1 year round.
Transports: Buses: 11,27,81,85,87. Metro: Colosseo


First built in 27 BC and later on restored by emperor Hadrian, the Pantheon is one of the most sublime architectural creation in the world. It was transformed into the Christian Church of Santa Maria and Martyrs during the Middle Ages.The interior is breathtaking: it is a perfectly proportioned floating dome resting on an elegant drum of columns and pediments. The exterior walls are divided into two zones by the cornis in the ratio of a square root of 2 to 1.

Opening hours: April - September: Mondays - Saturdays 9am - 6.30pm and Sundays 9am - 1pm October - March: Mondays - Saturdays 9am - 5pm and Sundays 9am - 1pm
Transports: Buses: 119, 64,70,75

Roman Bridges

Many impressive Roman bridges are visible in Rome: few of them are just pedestrian bridges while many others are still in use. Among them you will admire:

Moreover, in the borough territory of Santa Marinella are conserved the remains of several others Roman Bridges, which marked out the ancient Via Aurelia, the famous road that connected Rome, the Etruria coast and the Ligurie, built from about the 3rd century B.C. on the base of previous Etruscan tracks.

Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo)

Built in the 6th century B. C. during the time of the Tarquins, the Circus lies in a valley formed by the Palatine and the Aventine, close to the Colosseum. It was the most impressive structure in ancient Rome, located in one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods. With its 300,000 seats, the track was primarily used for horse-racing, hunts or mock battles.

Transports: Metro: Circo Massimo