One of the greatest civilizations in the history of mankind, Rome started out as a city-state, and grew to become one of the largest empires in the world, with a huge impact on western civilization. At its peak, the Roman civilization had a complex and advanced social and political structure, with influences from Greek democracy. Covering most of what is Western Europe, the Ancient Romans introduced their way of life to the countries they conquered.
Today, you can learn about the way the Ancient Romans lived, and see their monuments, some of which are preserved in excellent conditions, like the Colosseum and the Appian Way.
How Much Of Ancient Rome Is Left Today?
Only a small amount of ancient Rome is left today - experts say around 10%. Much of it was destroyed over time, and much of what remains is in ruins. The remaining 90% is said to be buried deep inside the earth, around 30 feet below the street level today. However, there are still some great examples of Roman architecture and ruins to be seen in Rome. Including the Pantheon, an epitome of Roman architecture and one of the best well-preserved structures.
Top 8 Ancient Ruins In Rome
With over 5 million visitors every year, the Colosseum is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions. Believed to have been constructed as a gift from ancient emperors to the Roman people, this grand outdoor amphitheater once served as the epicentre for entertainment in the Roman Empire, hosting various public spectacles and games. A stage for gladiator fights, often including animals, the Colosseum has quite the bloody past. Step back in time, marvel at the stunning architecture, and walk the floor of the greatest arena known to mankind.
The Colosseum is open to the public from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, all around the year.
Closing times vary throughout the year, and it is best to check again before leaving.
Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184, Rome, Italy
- Visit during the nighttime to avoid crowd.
- Avoid long lines by purchasing a City Pass or getting Skip-the-line tickets.
Explore one of the most beautiful structures in the world - the Pantheon. Built between 25-27 BC during the reign of Augustus as a temple to the early pagan gods of Rome. The Pantheon has withstood the test of time and remains to this day an architectural wonder that is unmatched by any others. Rebuilt during Hadrian’s reign between 118-125 AD, its dome is the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome today, almost two thousand years after it was built.
Open daily from 9 AM - 7 PM
Entry closes at 6:30 PM
La Feltrinelli Librerie, Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, 84, Rome, Italy
- Make sure to book your tickets in advance, if you are planning to visit on a Saturday or during the holidays.
- Dress modestly - cover your knees, shoulders, and midriff as the Pantheon is also a church.
The Roman Forum was once the political and social center of Ancient Rome. You can now march down the same paved road once graced by victorious Roman armies and explore the easily discernable remains of the banks, temples, and homes. For decades, the Roman Forum was also the center of day-to-day life in Ancient Rome - it was the site of elections, public speeches, criminal trials, and commercial affairs.
Open daily from 9 AM - 7 PM
Closed on 25 December and 1 January
Roman Forum: Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Rome, Italy
- Much of the Roman Forum includes areas and pathways made with uneven stones. So make sure to wear comfortable sneakers or shoes to avoid foot pain.
- Make sure to carry an umbrella if visiting during the summers, and water at all times as many areas in the Roman Forum are not shaded and can turn out to be hot.
The centremost of Rome's Seven Hills, Palatine Hill is said to house the cave where Luperca the she-wolf took care of Romulus and Regus, where the former founded Rome. Between 509 BC – 44 BC, many upper-class Romans built their residences in Palatine Hill, the remains of which are still preserved, and can be seen here. Palatine hill stands nearly 40m above Roman Forum, which means you can get brilliant views of the monument from here.
Open daily from 8:30 AM to 7 PM
Palatine Hill, 00186 Rome, Italy
- Be sure to check out the remains of the House of Augustus and the House of Livia, most visitors miss these, but they are worth visiting!
Peel off the many layers of Rome as you go underground to discover the ancient city. This unique Roman Catacombs tour showcases how the Eternal city developed through the ages and how many historic sites can be found below some of the historic sites. Some of the popular catacombs include the Catacombs of Domitilla and the Catacomb of Santa Priscilla. Some tours are paired in such a way that not only will you see the Catacombs, but also the Basilica San Clemente, a Roman Catholic minor basilica dedicated to Pope Clement I.
Open daily from 9 AM to 12 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM.
Via Salaria, 430, 00199 Roma RM, Italy
- Ensure that you have dressed appropriately and cover your shoulders and knees.
- The catacombs are narrow alleys and stretch deep into the earth. Although they are adequately lit, they can get claustrophobic. If you are prone to anxiety in such places, avoid it altogether.
- Carry a bottle of water and snacks for the tour. There aren’t many places to eat near the catacombs.
Built in 312 BC, the Appian Way is considered one of the most strategically important roads of Ancient Rome, which connected Rome to Brindisi, in southern Italy. Rightly called "Queen of the Roads", the road was first built for military purposes during the Samnite Wars. One of the oldest roads in the world, the Appian Way is still preserved in stellar condition, and now, you too can walk the same path as Julius Caesar! The best place to see the Appian Way is at the Appia Antica Regional Park, through which it runs.
October to March: 9:30 AM - 6 PM
April to September: 9:30 AM - 5 PM
Via Appia Antica, 42, 00178 Rome, Italy
- The park is closed to traffic on Sundays, making it a prime day to visit. You can take a bus to the park, and also check out the cafes and the nearby Catacombs.
Constructed in the 6th century during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of Rome, Circus Maximus was once a chariot racing stadium. Today, it is a public park that is occasionally used for concerts, but it was once the centre for public games in Rome. As time passed, the Circus Maximus also started to host gladiator shows and religious processions. The chariot races held here were highly popular amongst the Romans, who bet on one of the four factions that participated in the races. The last race to be held at Circus Maximus was in 549 AD, nearly a millennium after the first ever race that was held here.
Open 24 hours, daily
Via del Circo Massimo, 00186 Rome, Italy
- It is best to combine the Circus Maximus visit with a visit to Palatine hill, the Roman Forum, and the Colosseum, as they are close by.
- The Circus Maximus is open for visitors during the summer and entrance is free to all.
The Via Sacra was once the main street of Ancient Rome. Stretching from Capitoline Hill to the Colosseum via the Roman Forum, the Via Sacra was surrounded by ancient temples and monuments. If only it could talk - the Via Sacra has seen Kings walk down before their coronation, victorious armies march down amidst cheering crowds, and thousands of people have walked along it to go the Basilicas, or even danced along the road to praise their Gods. During Nero's reign, the Via Sacra was lined with colonnades, a long sequence of columns. Today, you can see the Via Sacra as you visit the Roman Forum, and walk on it as the mighty Ancient Romans did centuries ago!
Open 24 hours everyday
Via Sacra, 00186 Rome, Italy
- Skip heels and wear comfortable shoes as the cobblestone floor can be turn out to be uncomfortable with heels.
- Try to go early to get the best pictures before the crowds set in.
Ruins In Rome: FAQs
According to recent estimates, around six million tourists visit the Colosseum each year. The majority of these visitors are from Italy or other European countries.
The Colosseum is open every day except Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Closing times vary depending on the time of year, but generally the last entry is one hour before sunset.
There are plenty of ruins in Rome that can be visited for free, including the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
It is generally advisable to buy tickets for the ruins in Rome in advance, as queues can be very long during peak season. Tickets can be purchased online with Headout for a seamless booking experience!
Other top experiences in Rome
Rome has tons of other attractions you can visit after your trip to the ancient ruins. Here are some other attractions that are now open to the public that cannot be missed! Check out more things to do in Rome.