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When in Rome: Top 10 sights to see

Apr 18, 2012, 8:16 a.m.

Wondering what to see in Rome? You'll never cover the entirety of this beautiful country in one trip, so let's be realistic, instead: Choose any three of these Rome tourist sights that stand out to you and put them on your Must-See List, then cover whatever else you have time for.

  1. The Baths of Caracalla. Rome is famous for their bathhouses, and at the baths of Caracalla, you can even take in an opera. Consider this a two-in-one of sorts.
  2. Ville d'Este. Built by a cardinal in the 1500's, Ville d'Este is more than a showcase of gorgeous fountains in the Roman hillside -- it's sculpture, using water as a medium. This is a little more than you're going to get from the fountain outside your bank.
  3. Hadrian's Villa. Built in 135 A.D., these amazing ruins were actually built by an amateur. Reachable by bus, Hadrian's Villa is an excellent sight to include in any day trip through the Roman countryside.
  4. Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Rome's only Gothic church, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is a unique and imposing sight in the Roman landscape with its pointy arches and awesomely high ceilings towering overhead.
  5. The Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel had to appear on this list somewhere. One of the crowning achievements of the art world, you really need to see this to believe it. While in the area, you'll also want to check out...
  6. The Vatican Museums. He may be the star attraction, but Rome has more to offer the art world than just Michelangelo. You can reach both the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums by bus.
  7. The Colosseum. Another one you can't get around. This Colosseum used to house some 50 or 60 thousand spectators at a time. The bloodsports on display at this location were more than mere horror shows. Their political and cultural purpose was actually in keeping the peace.
  8. Pantheon. Built in 118 for the pagan gods, the Pantheon was the largest dome in the world for over 1,300 years.
  9. Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain is considered to be the most spectacular in all of Rome. Built in the 18th Century, the fountain occupies a square that is usually quite crowded with out-of-towners, so be prepared for a crowd if you show up during the big tourist seasons.
  10. Circus Maximus. While the Colosseum is the location we spend more time talking about in movies, books and television, Circus Maximus held five times as many people, or about a quarter million, and was the largest stadium in ancient Rome, built specifically for the chariot races.

The question that remains is which three of these locations to pick. You'll probably want to include either the Colosseum or the Sistine Chapel, but the truth is that there are no wrong decisions. Every one of these locations will leave you with some amazing memories of your time in Rome.

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