Last updated: 03:30 PM ET, Thu June 02 2016

Rome’s Top 5 Attractions According to Locals

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | June 02, 2016

Rome’s Top 5 Attractions According to Locals

PHOTO: The Colosseum in Rome is one of the most popular attractions in the city for locals. (photo by Janeen Christoff)

Italians’ favorite places to visit in Rome aren’t much different than visitors’ preferences, making traveling like a local pretty easy.

A recent survey by of 678 people in the Centro region of Italy revealed the most popular spots among Italian locals in Rome, and 29 percent said that the Colosseum was their favorite.

Other local favorites include Old Town, the Imperial Forums, the Trevi Fountain and the Basilica of Saint Peter.

It’s not surprising that the Colosseum was chosen as the top pick. The ancient structure is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome and continues to be one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, attracting an average of four million tourists per year. It’s one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.

Here is what visitors will find in Rome’s top 5 local attractions.


Constructed between 70 and 80 A.D., the Colosseum is one of the largest amphitheaters ever built. It is estimated that it could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, where they would watch gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, executions, reenactments of famous battles and dramas. Upon the arrival of the medieval era, the Colosseum was no longer used for entertainment purposes but was put into service for housing purposes, workshops, a Christian shrine and a fortress.

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Today, it’s partially in ruins due to earthquake damage, stone robbers and wear and tear over the centuries, but visitors can still visit and tour the facility. Tickets are available to purchase online and avoids a long wait at the ticket office.

Old Town

Rome’s historic center is a maze of narrow streets and alleyways with cobblestones dating back to the Middle Ages. It is filled with churches, palaces and piazzas from the Renaissance and Baroque periods that visitors can stroll through and enjoy on foot.  The heart of the area is the Piazza Navona, filled with cafes, street artists and musicians — all vying for your attention.

The Pantheon is another hub of activity, with more cafes and nightlife.

Imperial Forums

For many decades, these forums, constructed between 46 B.C. and 113 A.D., were a hub of Roman life and culture. They are a series of five complexes housing public squares, palaces, temples, markets, courts and more built by various emperors who were willing to spend freely on public works projects to please the populous, beginning in the time of Julius Caesar.

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A boulevard runs through the center of the forums and is now closed to private traffic and more pleasant for pedestrians. On Sundays, the road is closed to all traffic.

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain just reopened after 17 months of restoration to clean, scrub, repair and restore it to its former glory. The renovations were paid for by fashion design house Fendi and the 18th-century fountain, carved by sculptor Nicola Salvi, is now free of scaffolding and a welcoming spot for summer tourists. There is one caveat, however. The nearby Spanish Steps are now having their turn for a refurb and are closed to visitors.

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is arguably the world’s most outstanding Christian house of worship. It was added on top of a 4th-century church that was commissioned by the emperor Constantine. Construction of the basilica began about the beginning of the 16th century and it took 120 years to construct. It holds some of Italy’s most celebrated masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s Pieta as well as Bernini’s Baldachin over the papal altar.

When visiting, expect long lines, especially in the summertime, and dress codes are enforced.

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