Things to do in Rome: Discover these iconic movie locations

By Theo Panagopoulos, Jan 2020

Marked by scenic streets, impressive monuments and a vibrant local culture, Rome boasts an abundance of exciting things to do. Its dazzling architecture provides a dramatic setting and has made the city a favorite among the world's most acclaimed directors.

Here are a few of the famous landmarks that became the backdrop to some of the most beloved movies of all time that will give you an idea of the best things to do in Rome.

Castel Sant

Visit Rome's Castel Sant'Angelo, an impressive structure that was once a mausoleum and fortress.

Castel Sant'Angelo

The Castel Sant'Angelo is a majestic cylindrical mausoleum built as the final resting place of the Roman emperor Hadrian. The Vatican converted it into a fortress in the 14th century; today, it's one of the most prominent museums in Rome. At the time of its construction, Castel Sant'Angelo was the tallest building in Rome, and it's still one of the best spots to catch stunning panoramas of the city, thanks to its superlative views of the iconic St. Peter's Basilica and the Tiber river.

Famous movies featuring the Castel Sant'Angelo

In the famous 2004 heist movie "Ocean's Twelve," a few of Hollywood's most famous stars visit Hadrian's mausoleum, and the film highlights the thrilling views from the top of the fortress.

Fontana di Trevi

Rome is dotted with splendid fresh-water fountains, but no fountain is as popular as the iconic Fontana di Trevi. The imposing monument was built as a tribute to the sea god Oceanus, and it took about 30 years to complete. The Fontana di Trevi is one of the city's most beautiful landmarks, and visiting to throw a coin in its pool will always remain one of the most fun things to do in Rome.

Famous movies featuring the Fontana di Trevi

The beautiful fountain provided the setting for the classic 1954 romantic comedy "Three Coins in the Fountain" and for one of the most famous scenes in Federico Fellini's 1960 masterpiece "La Dolce Vita."

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Take in the beauty of the Pantheon as its unique artwork is shone through natural sunlight.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is the best-preserved monument in Rome, a temple dedicated to the gods and a testament to the glory and splendor of ancient Rome. The temple is most famous for the impeccable artwork that adorns its walls and the colossal circular dome that lets natural sunlight in through a large oculus (also known as the eye of the Pantheon) at the top of its roof.

Famous movies featuring the Pantheon

The Pantheon has made an appearance in the popular 2009 mystery film "Angels & Demons" and in the 1953 movie "Roman Holiday," which made Audrey Hepburn a sensation.

The Colosseum

Visiting the Colosseum should be at the top of your list of things to do in Rome. Originally built during the Flavian dynasty, the massive building was used for all kinds of public spectacles such as gladiator competitions, executions, battle re-enactments and theatrical plays. In its time, it was the largest amphitheater ever built, and it's still one of the most recognizable ancient landmarks. The area around the Colosseum also offers some of the best accommodations in the city, teeming with all kinds of hotels and holiday rentals.

Famous movies featuring the Colosseum

The Colosseum has appeared in several memorable movies over the years, including Mark Steven Johnson's 2010 film "When in Rome" and the prized 1954 comedy "An American in Rome."

Fountain of the Four Rivers with an Egyptian obelisk and Sant Agnese Church on the famous Piazza Navona Square in the morning, Rome, Italy.

Walk through Rome's captivating Piazza Navona to see Gian Lorenzo Bernini's famous Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is one of the most popular squares in center-city Rome. It brims with classy restaurants, charming cafes and small pastry shops. The square's terraces are surrounded by magnificent palaces. They also encompass three beautiful fountains, the central one being Gian Lorenzo Bernini's famous masterpiece: the Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi. Piazza Navona is a gathering point for all kinds of performers and street artists, who entertain the crowds of tourists passing by.

Famous movies featuring Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona has been the backdrop to two of the most well-known romantic flicks: Woody Allen's 2012 film "To Rome with Love," and "Eat Pray Love," the 2010 movie based on Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling memoir.

Visit these can't-miss sites in Rome and you'll understand why they set the stage for some of the world's most beloved movies.

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