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What is Rome Known for & Famous for?

The capital city of Italy is known throughout the world for many reasons. It has been romanticized throughout the years in books, movies, and television. Yet, as with all major cities, it can be difficult to see what makes a city famous. Luckily, Rome has many aspects that make it known around the world. 

Rome is known for its history and its culture, which can be seen in its architecture, cuisine, and museums. Some structures, such as the Colosseum, are almost 2,000 years old. Located within the city of Rome is the country of Vatican City, which is a center of culture as well.

Rome is an ancient city. It is one of the centers of culture in Europe and is a favorite destination for folks around the world. Read on to discover more about what Rome is famous for. 

Located near the coast on the western side of central Italy, Rome is known worldwide. The city itself was founded in 625 B.C., which makes it one of the oldest major cities in the world. It is rich in history and culture as a result. 

Rome is filled with many aspects that make it famous. Since it is so old, history is a strong part of what makes this city well-known. You have heard the stories of gladiators and emperors in ancient Rome. They have inspired countless works of art. 

Additionally, the renaissance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries helped expand the arts in not only Rome but the entire world. The history of Rome is tied to all the elements that make it famous. 

Whether you are traveling to Rome or you just want to learn about its importance, there are five main components that make Rome famous. They are:

  • History
  • Architecture 
  • Food
  • Museums 
  • Vatican City

Roman History

Roman history is the foundation upon which Rome is known. Rome’s history goes back thousands of years and encompasses so many periods of history. From gladiators, chariot races, and Julius Caesar, to renaissance artists and sculptors, it has a rich history that is reflected in the city itself to this day. 

Rome was the center of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire is a very important part of history, not only of Italy but of the world. The Roman Empire, at its height, was massive. It had territory on three continents and was so large it eventually broke into two different empires, each with its own emperor. 

Despite its massive size, the Roman Empire would eventually fall entirely by the fifteenth century. However, Rome still existed. It persisted throughout the renaissance, becoming a center for the arts. 

The history from the early history of Rome up to the present is what holds everything together. Roman history forms the foundation upon which every point that it is known for relies on. 


Rome is well known for its booming tourism industry. According to statista.com Rome saw over 30 million overnight stays from travelers in 2019.  However, due to the COVID 19 pandemic took a huge hit and only saw 6.5 million in 2020. 

Roman Architecture

The architecture found in Rome is one the most prominent features of the Italian city, and the architecture is one of the foremost reasons it is famous. It boasts many impressive feats of engineering, including ancient structures that are still standing. Some of the places in Rome that fall into this category include:

  • The Colosseum
  • The Pantheon
  • The Spanish Steps
  • The Roman Forum
  • The Trevi Fountain

These places can still be visited. These sites bring the history of the city alive. They have been written about for centuries and appear in movies and television shows across the years. When someone thinks of Rome, they think of these places. Each one is unique and a gateway into the past. 

Additionally, Rome is home to many public fountains and old churches. These features of the city show the architecture throughout the years. For example, the Trevi Fountain is considered the most famous in the city, and its current incarnation dates back to the eighteenth century. 

The Trevi Fountain

People come from all over the world to throw coins into the Trevi Fountain. In fact, it is said that nearly one million euros are tossed into the Trevi Fountain each year. The city of Rome uses the money to help fund organizations around the city for the less fortunate. 

The Colosseum

Perhaps one of Rome’s most famous landmarks, the Colosseum is also one of the world’s most famous architectural works. It is even considered one of the modern wonders of the world and for good reason.

The Colosseum is a massive work of engineering, especially for the time in which it was built. The Colosseum was begun around 70 A.D. to 72 A.D. and was completed around ten years later. It was an amphitheater used by the Romans for events such as gladiatorial games, public executions, and dramas. 

The Colosseum is partially destroyed from earthquakes centuries ago and from neglect over the centuries since, which has created its now-famous aesthetic. At its height, it could hold around 50,000 spectators. At its highest point, the structure stood at over four stories. 

Visiting the Colosseum today is a journey into the past. Many Roman emperors visited the Colosseum during the years it was operational, and thousands and thousands of Romans went each year to watch the different forms of entertainment. 

The Pantheon

You have seen the influence the Pantheon has had on architecture across the world if you have ever seen Monticello in Virginia, which was modeled after the Pantheon by Thomas Jefferson. 

It is undeniable how famous the Pantheon is across the world, and it is one of the reasons Rome is famous. The Pantheon was built around the year 128 A.D. While nobody knows the original purpose of the building, its history is still a rich one. 

The Pantheon is still an active building, too. While it is a popular tourist spot, it is also an operational Catholic church. Mass is still held in the Pantheon. Moreover, several famous people are buried at the Pantheon. Some of them include:

  • Raphael 
  • Arcangelo Corelli
  • Baldassare Peruzzi
  • Umberto I

The Pantheon is known for its distinctive design. Its white pillars are identifiable immediately. The Pantheon also features an impressive domed ceiling, and it has marbled floors. When the dome was built, it was the largest in the world and remained so for quite some time.  

The Spanish Steps

Another architectural landmark that makes Rome famous around the world is the Spanish Steps. These steps are the widest in all of Europe, and they link together the Piazza di Spagna with the Trinita dei Monti. At the top of the staircase sits the Trinita dei Monti church. 

The Spanish Steps were built in the eighteenth century and include 138 steps that lead to the church. These steps are famous because of their proximity to many shopping spots and eighteenth-century buildings that surround the area. 

As mentioned earlier, fountains are part of what Rome is known for, and at the bottom of the Spanish Steps is a famous fountain called the Fontana della Barcaccia. This means the Fountain of the Old Boat. The fountain itself is designed to look like a boat that is sinking. 

The Roman Forum

Located in the same area as the Colosseum is the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum is a historical site as much as it is an architectural one. The Roman Forum used to form the center of ancient Rome. The site itself is in ruins, though many architectural fragments still exist and can be visited. 

The Roman Forum is a famous part of Rome. Many public events took place there. Some of the events that would take place in the Roman Forum included:

  • Roman elections. Elections in the city of Rome would often take place in the Roman Forum.
  • Speeches. Many people would give public speeches in the Roman Forum where citizens could gather to hear them. 
  • Gladiator events, before the Colosseum was built nearby. 
  • Criminal trials. Often, the Roman Forum would act as a courtroom, and criminal trials would take place. 
  • Commerce. The Roman Forum was an open-air area. Merchants would often set up stands and buy and sell goods in the area. 
  • Meetings. There would often be meetings held in the Roman Forum. These meetings could be for business or for religious reasons. 

As the history of Rome is part of why it is well known around the world, it makes sense why the Roman Forum is an important part of the renown the city boasts. It is a combination of architecture and history. 

Visitors to the Roman Forum, which has been excavated throughout the years, can imagine what the area must have looked like, and they can see glimpses into the past as they walk around the area. 

Roman Food

Of course, Rome is not famous just for its architecture. The city also boasts a lot of fine Italian cuisine that is world-famous. People who visit Rome always make sure to try the local food because it is quintessential Italian fare. 

In the city, many sections have various restaurants both big and small. Rome is famous for its food. It is something people look for when they visit the different parts of the city. 

When people visit Rome for culinary reasons, they look out for three main elements:

  • Roman Restaurants. Within the city, there are a multitude of restaurants to choose from that will serve you authentic Roman cuisine. 
  • Roman Dishes. Italian food is beloved around the world, and one of the main aspects of Rome is its culinary dishes. Many Italian dishes are famous in Rome. 
  • Roman Wine. Rome is also known for its wine. Around Rome, there are wine vineyards that produce some of the most famous wines in the world. 

Taking a closer look at each element shows why food and drink are popular in Rome. Oftentimes, people who went to Rome without knowing about their cuisine cannot stop talking about it afterward.

Restaurants in Rome

The cuisine of Rome is simple but great. Though, over the years, the culinary scene has been evolving into modern times, the classic taste of Roman cuisine is still prominent in the city. Hence why so many tourists visit Rome to try the food. 

But before you can order your food, you need to know where to go. There are many popular restaurants for which the city is famous. 

  • Roscioli. Roscioli is a popular restaurant in Rome that many tourists and locals alike enjoy. They serve many classic Roman dishes. They also have a deli counter with many kinds of cheese and meats. 
  • Felice a Testaccio. In Rome, one of the most famous areas for food is the Testaccio region. Felice a Testaccio is located here and is famous for its traditional Italian dishes, some of which can be made at your table, adding to the experience. 
  • Trattoria Monti. This restaurant is a popular destination, especially for locals. It is well-known for meat dishes.
  • Pizzeria da Remo. Pizza is another traditional Italian dish that can be enjoyed in Rome, and Rome is famous for its pizza. Pizzeria da Remo is a historic pizzeria that serves the super-thin Roman pizza and had been doing so for quite some time. 

This is just a sampling of the restaurants available in Rome. Regardless of which restaurant someone chooses to dine at, they know they are partaking in one of the reasons Rome is well-known around the world. 

Roman Dishes

Even more famous than the restaurants in Rome are the dishes served in Rome. Rome is known for its Italian dishes, and the restaurants in the city serve them daily. When visiting Rome, it is one of the most popular things to do. 

What types of dishes are popular in Rome? Of course, pasta dishes are a big part of Italian culture, and the same is true in Rome. Moreover, there are some specific Roman dishes that are worth taking a look at.

  • Saltimbocca. While this dish comes from Northern Italy, it is one of the most popular dishes in Rome. When you are in Rome, you will likely see it on a menu. What is it? It is a veal and bacon dish with white wine sauce. 
  • Carciofi alla romana. Artichokes are a very popular vegetable in Italy, and the same is true in its capital city. Carciofi alla romana is probably the most popular dish in the city. It is artichoke with spices and garlic. This dish is served with both olive oil and white wine sauce. 
  • Cacio e pepe. Cacio e pepe could also lay claim to the most popular dish in Rome. This is a Roman staple and for good reason. It is a pasta dish tossed with cheese and a lot of black pepper. It is also difficult to find this dish outside of Rome and Italy. 
  • Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Another classic dish that is popular throughout Italy, it is also a very popular dish in Rome. The sauce used in this dish uses pork, eggs, and parmesan cheese to make its distinctive taste known. 
  • Bucatini all’Amatriciana. This is another pasta dish that is world-famous for being in Rome, though folks all around Italy enjoy it. It is a pasta dish with a red sauce that includes meat and cheese. It is a very traditional dish and can be eaten practically anywhere. 

Italians take pride in their culinary culture. Rome, likewise, is known for its signature dishes. Oftentimes, people travel to Rome just for the food. 

Roman Wine

The region in which Rome is located is in the province of Lazio. This region produced a lot of white wine, so white wine is the most popular wine in Rome. Rome is well-known for its white wine production.

However, the wine grown in this region does not appear much out of Rome, and this is probably because so many restaurants and vendors sell the wine in Rome and the surrounding area that there is not much need to sell elsewhere. Therefore, when visiting Rome, many people take advantage of the wine that is found there. 

There are nine areas that grow the grapes needed for the wines in Lazio province, but the most popular white wine in Rome is called Frascati. This is a type of white wine that can be either dry or sweet, but it is the wine you will find in most restaurants, cafes, and bars in Rome. 

The wine that is popular in Rome is often drunk either on its own or with pasta dishes. It is part of the culinary experience in Rome that people come from all over the world to experience. The biggest benefit to this wine when you are in Rome is that they are not all expensive, and you can find a good bottle for a decent price. 

Museums in Rome

Rome is famous for its culture. The culture of the city is located in every street and restaurant and culinary dish. It is experienced firsthand by walking around the city and visiting historical sites. However, it is also contained within several museums in Rome.

The museums in Rome are well-known and sought after by travelers and history lovers alike. Some of the museums in Rome include:

  • Galleria Borghese
  • National Museum of Rome (which has four different locations)
  • The Capitoline Museums (which has two main buildings)

These museums, along with several others, are part of what makes Rome famous. They house works of art of all kinds. People come to Rome to have an opportunity to visit these museums. 

Galleria Borghese

The Galleria Borghese is an art museum. The museum itself is a mansion. The artwork contained in the Galleria Borghese comes from the fifteenth to eighteen century. Within the museum, also, are several sculptures by artists such as Bernini and Canovas. 

The Galleria Borghese also features gardens that people can walk through, and the gardens form the third largest park in Rome. 

The Galleria Borghese is a museum that is famous around the world. People come from all over the world to see the art that is contained within. For example, there are works of art by Raphael housed in the Galleria Borghese. 

Additionally, they have exhibits that feature mosaics and other artwork from the first, second, and third centuries. Art is a major part of what makes Rome famous around the world, and some of the greatest paintings and works of art are contained within the Galleria Borghese. 

National Museum of Rome

Another one of the well-known museums in Rome is the National Museum of Rome. The National Museum of Rome was created in the late nineteenth century, and it is split into four different locations. The locations are:

  • Palazzo Altemps
  • Baths of Diocletian
  • Crypta Balbi
  • Palazzo Massimo

Each of these locations offers visitors something different. Regardless of which location is visited, the culture of Rome, and of Italy, is contained within. The culture of Rome is very important, so the National Museum of Rome is a well-known destination within the city. 

Palazzo Altemps

The Palazzo Altemps is an art museum housed in a mansion that has its beginnings in the fifteenth century. The Palazzo Altemps was acquired by the National Museum of Rome and serves as one of its four branches. 

At the Palazzo Altemps, you will find large art collections. For example, there are collections of sculptures from throughout Italian history that you can see.

Baths of Diocletian

The Baths of Diocletian date back to around the year 306 A.D. They are a fairly large exhibit as, when they were operational centuries ago, they could hold upward of 3,000 people. 

The Baths of Diocletian represent another historical architectural achievement that has made Rome famous. Additionally, a church has been built atop where most of the baths once were. This church, Our Lady of Angels and Christian Martyrs, was built in the sixteenth century. 

Crypta Balbi

The Crypta Balbi museum is unique. It is the result of archeological digs in Rome. You journey through the history of architecture and daily life starting in the medieval ages and up to the seventeenth century. 

Preserved in the Crypta Balbi is a lot of Italian culture. Each century has its own rich history that is shown in this museum. It is a famous part of Rome. 

Palazzo Massimo

The Palazzo Massimo is housed in a mansion that was built in the nineteenth century to house a Jesuit school. What was once a Jesuit school is now a cherished museum in Rome. 

The Palazzo Massimo has four floors. Within its walls are paintings, mosaics, sculptures, frescos, and more. 

Part of the reason this museum is famous in Rome is because much is contained inside. It is a journey through the arts of Rome and of Italy. 

The Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums consist of two main buildings: Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo. These two museums are among the oldest in the world dating back to 1471. 

These two museums are part of what makes Rome famous. Not only are they among the oldest museums in the world, but they have a lot of history contained within them.

  • Palazzo dei Conservatori. This museum is housed in a mansion and was opened in the 1730s. Included are many famous paintings and sculptures, including the first sculpture of a living person, which dates to the 1200s. It also includes a hall made entirely of glass. 
  • Palazzo Nuovo. This museum houses primarily sculptures, statues, busts, and mosaics. Among the works contained here include “Capitoline Venus,” a sculpture from the second century. It also includes a wing dedicated to statues and busts of notable philosophers. 

The Capitoline Museums are located near the center of the city, so it is a vital part of the heart of the city of Rome. 

Vatican City

Rome is a world-famous city, but it is a unique one, too. While Rome is the capital of Italy, there is actually a country located within the confines of its borders. This country is Vatican City. It is the smallest country in the world. 

While Vatican City is not a part of Rome, it is located within Rome. Most conversations revolving around Rome will involve Vatican City. It is a part of what makes Rome so famous around the world.

Most people who visit Rome take time to visit Vatican City as well. The Vatican boasts several reasons that make it famous:

  • The Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is famous for its painted ceiling that was painted by Michaelangelo. It is famous all over the world having been in numerous films and television shows. People come from everywhere to see it. 
  • St. Peter’s Basilica. One of the most famous churches in the entire world, it is located in the heart of Vatican City. 
  • Vatican Library. Containing over one million books, this library is a rich treasure trove of history and knowledge. 

While Vatican City may be separate from Rome officially, it is culturally a part of it. The two cities are synonymous with each other, and they offer a great glimpse into the culture of the country. 


Football, or soccer to North America, is by far the most popular and well known sport in Rome, and Italy as a whole. According to Forbes; in 2021, Associazione Sportiva Roma, or A.S Roma, was worth $548M. 

Street Art

Rome is recognized worldwide for its beautiful displays of murals by prominent Italian and international artists. Some of the best spots to visit to admire the street art according to the culture trip are: 

  • Metro A – Piazza di Spagna
  • San Lorenzo
  • Ostiense
  • Tor Marancia
  • Quadraro
  • San Basilio
  • Pigneto & Torpignattara


Rome is a center of culture and of history. It boasts a long, rich story that dates back thousands of years. As such, it is world-famous. Rome is known for its history, its architecture, its culture, and its food. 

What makes Rome important is all the unique experiences that may be had there. For example, visiting a museum or eating at a local restaurant to understand why people are always talking about the city that is called “The Eternal City.”

Whether you plan on traveling to Rome or you just want to know more about it, it is important to understand how much this city means to the people who visit it. Along with Vatican City, which is located within its boundaries, Rome is famous and for good reason.

Be sure to check Rick Steves’ guide to Rome here on Amazon.