Rome Architecture Guide: 30 Sites That Celebrate the City’s Rich Culture and History

Rome Architecture Guide: 30 Sites That Celebrate the City’s Rich Culture and History

Spanning over 3 millennia with one of the highest concentrations of architecture in the world, Rome wields a transcendental influence on global culture. A city rich in history, universities and the arts, the Italian capital is considered one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Europe and has retained its countless layers of history to become a perfect representation of old meets newearning its nickname of “The Eternal City”.

The historic center of Rome, which stretches from Piazza del Popolo to Piazza Venezia and from the east bank of the Tiber to Piazza di Spagna, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides its historical significance, the presence of renowned contemporary architects and designers in the city has made Rome an influential design destination. In 2019 it was the 14th most visited city in the world, welcoming over 8.6 million tourists, making it the third most visited city in the European Union and the most popular tourist destination in Italy .

Lateran University Library / King Roselli Architetti.  Image courtesy of King Roselli ArchitettiLa Rinascente / Franco Albini and Franca Helg.  Photo © Catalina ValenzuelaTor Marancia Street Art / 999 Contemporary.  Photo © Catalina ValenzuelaPalazzo della Civiltà Italiana / Ernesto Lapadula, Giovanni Guerrini and Mario Romano.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela+ 32

The following list highlights 30 must-see historical and contemporary buildings that make a good starting point for your first visit to the Italian capital, featuring works by renowned architects and offices such as Renzo Piano, Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier & Partners Architects, Foster+ Partenaires, Studio Odile Decq and Luigi Moretti, to name but a few.

Parco della Musica Auditorium / Renzo Piano

Auditorium Parco della Musica / Renzo Piano.  Image via Wikimedia Commons
Auditorium Parco della Musica / Renzo Piano. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Villa Doria Pamphilj

Villa Doria Pamphili.  Image via Wikimedia Commons
Villa Doria Pamphili. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Mosque of Rome / Paolo Portoghesi

Mosque of Rome / Paolo Portoghesi.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Mosque of Rome / Paolo Portoghesi. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

La Rinascente / Franco Albini and Franca Helg

La Rinascente / Franco Albini and Franca Helg.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
La Rinascente / Franco Albini and Franca Helg. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome) / Studio Odile Decq

MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome) / Studio Odile Decq.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome) / Studio Odile Decq. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Mercado de Porta Portese

Mercado de Porta Portese.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Mercado de Porta Portese. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Tor Marancia Street Art / 999 Contemporary

Tor Marancia Street Art / 999 Contemporary.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Tor Marancia Street Art / 999 Contemporary. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

House “Il Girasole” / Luigi Moretti

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House “Il Girasole” / Luigi Moretti. Image © Gabriele Basilico

Quartiere Coppedè / Gino Coppedè

Quartiere Coppedè / Gino Coppedè.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Quartiere Coppedè / Gino Coppedè. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana / Ernesto Lapadula, Giovanni Guerrini and Mario Romano

Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana / Ernesto Lapadula, Giovanni Guerrini and Mario Romano.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana / Ernesto Lapadula, Giovanni Guerrini and Mario Romano. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Church of 2000 / Richard Meier & Partners Architects

Church of 2000 / Richard Meier & Partners Architects.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Church of 2000 / Richard Meier & Partners Architects. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Corviale / Mario Fiorentino

Corviale / Mario Fiorentino.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Corviale / Mario Fiorentino. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid

MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects.  Image © Iwan Baan
MAXXI Museum / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

Forced Perspective Gallery at Palazzo Spada / Francesco Borromini

Forced Perspective Gallery at Palazzo Spada / Francesco Borromini.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Forced Perspective Gallery at Palazzo Spada / Francesco Borromini. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Olympic Village / Vittorio Cafiero, Adalberto Libera, Amedeo Luccichenti, Vincenzo Monaco and Luigi Moretti

Olympic Village / Vittorio Cafiero, Adalberto Libera, Amedeo Luccichenti, Vincenzo Monaco and Luigi Moretti.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Olympic Village / Vittorio Cafiero, Adalberto Libera, Amedeo Luccichenti, Vincenzo Monaco and Luigi Moretti. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Recovery of the former slaughterhouse in university campus / Studio Insula

Recovery of the former slaughterhouse in university campus / Studio Insula.  Image © Stefano Cerio
Recovery of the former slaughterhouse in university campus / Studio Insula. Image © Stefano Cerio

Square Perin del Vaga

Perin del Vaga square.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Perin del Vaga square. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Palazzetto dello Sport / Annibale Vittellozzi and Pier Luigi Nervi

Palazzetto dello Sport / Annibale Vittellozzi and Pier Luigi Nervi.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Palazzetto dello Sport / Annibale Vittellozzi and Pier Luigi Nervi. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Zuccari Palace / Federico Zuccari

Zuccari Palace / Federico Zuccari.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Zuccari Palace / Federico Zuccari. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Casa Sperimentale de Perugini / Giuseppe Perugini

Casa Sperimentale de Perugini / Giuseppe Perugini.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Casa Sperimentale de Perugini / Giuseppe Perugini. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Barrio Garbatella / Gustavo Giovannoni and Massimo Piacentini

Barrio Garbatella / Gustavo Giovannoni and Massimo Piacentini.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Barrio Garbatella / Gustavo Giovannoni and Massimo Piacentini. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art / Cesare Bazzani

National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art / Cesare Bazzani.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art / Cesare Bazzani. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Città del Sole / Labics

    Citta del Sole / Labics.  Image © Marco Cappelletti
Citta del Sole / Labics. Image © Marco Cappelletti

Marmorata Post Office / Adalberto Libera and Mario De Renzi

Marmorata Post Office / Adalberto Libera and Mario De Renzi.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Marmorata Post Office / Adalberto Libera and Mario De Renzi. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Piazza di Sant’Ignazio / Filippo Raguzzini

Piazza di Sant'Ignazio / Filippo Raguzzini.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Piazza di Sant’Ignazio / Filippo Raguzzini. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Ara Pacis Museum / Richard Meier & Partners Architects

Ara Pacis Museum / Richard Meier & Partners Architects.  Photo © Catalina Valenzuela
Ara Pacis Museum / Richard Meier & Partners Architects. Photo © Catalina Valenzuela

Roman Pantheon / Emperor Hadrian

Flickr user Phil Whitehouse (under CC BY 2.0 license).  Image courtesy of Flickr user Phil Whitehouse (under CC BY 2.0 license)
Flickr user Phil Whitehouse (under CC BY 2.0 license). Image courtesy of Flickr user Phil Whitehouse (under CC BY 2.0 license)

Apple Store in Rome / Foster+Partners

Foster+Partners converts a palace in Rome into a new Apple Store.  Image courtesy of Apple
Foster+Partners converts a palace in Rome into a new Apple Store. Image courtesy of Apple

Headquarters INTECS SPA / modostudio + Studio Cattinari

Headquarters INTECS SPA / modostudio + Studio Cattinari.  Image © Julien Lanoo
Headquarters INTECS SPA / modostudio + Studio Cattinari. Image © Julien Lanoo

Lateran University Library / King Roselli Architetti

Lateran University Library / King Roselli Architetti.  Image courtesy of King Roselli Architetti
Lateran University Library / King Roselli Architetti. Image courtesy of King Roselli Architetti

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