Things to do in Rome – 30 most beautiful places to visit in Rome

The Spanish Steps from Piazza di Spagna with Fontana della Barcaccia, Rome, Lazio, Italy
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There are countless Things to do in Rome. The city has everything, from historical or religious sites, to ancient ruins, fountains, statues, squares, museums and galleries of every kind, unforgettable atmosphere and some of the best cuisine in the world.

But which places are best to visit in Rome? That’s hard question! Here I prepared a list of the 30 most beautiful places to visit in Rome, that no tourist would want to miss. I was in this city 2 times already and missed few of these places. Well, next time it won’t happen again!

Rome skyline, Things to do in Rome, Italy
Rome skyline, Lazio, Italy by Bert Kaufmann

Things to do in Rome – 30 most beautiful places to visit in Rome

1. Colosseum

Colosseum is considered to be the largest amphitheater in the entire Roman world. It used to have a capacity of around 50,000 – 80,000 spectators that can enter at the same time through its 80 entrances. Today, many people are paying just to see what is left of this historic place in Rome.

Colosseum, Things to do in Rome, Italy
Colosseum, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Julius

Its construction started in 72 AD during the reign of Emperor Vespasian and was completed within 8 years. The last performance here took place in the year of 523 and then the Colosseum was used for many purposes.

In the Middle Ages it was converted into a fortress, in the 15th century served as a source of building materials for the construction of various palaces (eg. Palazzo della Cancelleria or Palazzo Venezia), St. Peter’s Basilica and many others.

Colosseum - interior, Things to do in Rome, Italy
Colosseum – interior, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by User:Colin

2. Arch of Constantine

Near the Roman Colosseum you can also see beautiful and well-preserved Arch of Constantine, named after the first Christian Roman emperor Constantine. It was built in 315 AD to mark the 10th anniversary of his accession.

The arch is 21 meters high, 25.7 meters wide and 7.4 meters deep. Decoration is made up of some parts of ancient monuments that already existed at the time of construction.

Arch of Constantine, Things to do in Rome, Italy
Arch of Constantine, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Tony Bowden

Arch of Constantine - detail, Things to do in Rome, Italy
Arch of Constantine – detail, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Xiquinho Silva

3. St. Peter’s Basilica

If you want to see the center of the Catholic world, then do not look to other places than the St. Peter’s Basilica. It is a huge basilica, with the height of around 120 meters, enough for the Statue of Liberty to fit inside of it. It is one of the must-go and must-see places of Rome.

What I liked the most during my visit were never ending stairs leading to the top of Basilica. It really took a while, but the result was breathtaking! From the top I enjoyed one of the most beautiful views I have ever had.

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican city
St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican city by Julius

St. Peter's Basilica - interior, Vatican city
St. Peter’s Basilica – interior, Vatican city by Patrick Landy

4. Pantheon

Piazza della Rotonda is the square boasting the best preserved monument of ancient Rome – Pantheon. Despite the fact that it was built already in 126 AD, the building is well preserved and since the 7th century it has served as a Roman Catholic Church.

We came only accidentally to this piazza while strolling Roman streets and were not prepared for such a huge temple here. Perhaps Pantheon is what I liked the most in Rome. It is amazing not only from outside but even its interior worth a visit! Do not miss it!

Pantheon, Things to do in Rome, Italy
Pantheon, Things to do in Rome, Italy by Julius

Pantheon - interior, Things to do in Rome, Italy
Pantheon – interior, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by John Morton

5. Vatican Museums

For art lovers, it is a must to see and visit the Vatican Museums inside the Vatican City, which holds many important relics of the world. Have you ever heard of the Sistine Chapel? If you want to see it then this is a place that you’ve got to include on your list.

Vatican Museums boast the largest collection of classical sculptures, a large collection of Etruscan art, Egyptian exhibition including Egyptian mummies, medieval and Renaissance art and especially the beautiful Sistine Chapel.

Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums
Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums by fortherock

Sistine Chapel - ceiling paintings, Vatican Museums
Sistine Chapel – ceiling paintings, Vatican Museums by fortherock

6. Trevi Fountain

Planning to have a return trip to Rome? Then why not try your luck and throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain? This world renowned attraction in Rome was made famous because of the legend that whoever throws a coin in the fountain, would one day go back to Rome.

I did this in 1998 and returned in 2006. 🙂 The fountain is definitely on top of things to do in Rome, but it is often crowded and you will need to wait some time to get closer.

Trevi fountain, Things to do in Rome, Italy
Trevi fountain, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Julius

Trevi fountain at night, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Trevi fountain at night, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by gnumarcelo

7. Spanish Steps

Need to meet up with relatives and friends in Rome? Try to meet up in the Spanish Steps which now serves as a perfect gathering place for tourists and their relatives. Usually crowded, the place is always full of energy.

Spanish Steps are most beautiful when they are decorated by flowers. It means that you will need to visit Rome from late April to early May only, for the rest of the year the steps are decorated occasionally only.

The Spanish Steps from Piazza di Spagna with Fontana della Barcaccia, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
The Spanish Steps from Piazza di Spagna with Fontana della Barcaccia, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Dark Rome Tours & Walks

A view from Spanish Steps, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
A view from Spanish Steps, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Julius

8. Roman Forum

You’ve got to be in Roman Forum if you are interested in ancient Rome. This served as its heart and as a venue for elections and speeches in ancient times.

At present, however, there are only ruins. Anyway it is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Although no longer amaze visitors with its ancient beauty, it is very attractive for its faded glory and mysterious atmosphere.

Roman Forum, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Roman Forum, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Julius

Roman Forum - panorama, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Roman Forum – panorama, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by DannyBoy7783

9. Castel Sant’Angelo

If you have watched the film “Angels and Demons” then you might recognize Castel Sant’Angelo by looking at its pictures. That is because this place was used as a setting for the movie. Castel Sant’Angelo is now one of the museums that have to be visited while you are in the city of Rome.

The place is also very nice in the evening when you will have an opportunity to make some of the most beautiful photos from your visit to Rome. Try to do so from nearby bridge Ponte Sant’Angelo.

Castel Sant'Angelo, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Castel Sant’Angelo, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Giuseppe Milo

Castel Sant'Angelo and Ponte Sant'Angelo, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Castel Sant’Angelo and Ponte Sant’Angelo, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Ben Cremin

10. Piazza Navona

If you like to just walk and walk, take pictures and go to crowded places for a little adventure, then the Piazza Navona is a perfect place for you. It is one of the famous squares in all the city of Rome as well as one of the most beautiful ones.

It really is considered one of the most beautiful squares not only in Rome, or Italy, but throughout the whole world as well! Best atmosphere here is in the evening.

Piazza Navona, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Piazza Navona, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by N i c o l a

Piazza Navona in the evening, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Piazza Navona in the evening, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Julius

11. Campo de’ Fiori

While walking in the Piazza Navona, you will also need to pass through the nearby Campo de’ Fiori. It is a famous market place in Rome where you can buy some fruits, vegetables, fish and flowers. It is a perfect place to roam around the city.

If you want to enjoy real Italian atmosphere then this place is my tip for you to visit. Local wineries and lively pubs are here open long to the night.

Campo de' Fiori, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Campo de’ Fiori, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Jari Sjölund

Campo de' Fiori square, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Campo de’ Fiori square, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Myrabella

12. Baths of Caracalla

In 193 AD when Septimius Severus became the Roman emperor, he and his son Caracalla decided to build a huge complex of baths. On the area of 100,000 square meters they built amazing spa center – Baths of Caracalla.

They were able to accommodate up to 10,000 people a day. The baths were completed in 217.

Baths of Caracalla, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Baths of Caracalla, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Patrick Denker

Baths of Caracalla - panorama, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Baths of Caracalla – panorama, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Chris 73

13. Piazza del Popolo

In the center of Rome, there is a large square Piazza del Popolo, which is a reflection of the monumental architectural style originating from Paris. The name of the square comes from the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, which is its main landmark.

However, the square is a home to other two churches Santa Maria di Montesano and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. They look to be identical but there are some differences.

Piazza del Popolo, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Piazza del Popolo, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Julius

Piazza del Popolo and Vatican as seen from Villa Borghese, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Piazza del Popolo and Vatican as seen from Villa Borghese, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Umberto Rotundo

14. Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano is one of the four patriarchal basilicas of Rome. It was built in the 4th century AD, and today is the official seat of the Pope. “Omnium Urbis et Orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput” – the “mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world”.

Basilica was built in the 4th century by the Emperor Constantine. Since then it was looted several times, burned or damaged by the earthquake but it was always well renovated.

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Simone Ramella

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano - Cloister, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano – Cloister, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Dnalor 01

15. Piazza Farnese

Piazza Farnese is one of the most picturesque squares in Rome dominated by Renaissance Palazzo Farnese, which was built in the 16th century and currently serves as the French Embassy.

On its construction participated all the great Renaissance artists, so it is considered the most beautiful Renaissance building not only in Rome but in all of Italy.

Piazza Farnese, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Fountain of Piazza Farnese, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by schizoform

Piazza Farnese, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Piazza Farnese, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Michele Ursino

16. Piazza del Campidoglio

The Capitoline Hill where Piazza del Campidoglio is located forms the heart of ancient Rome and is the most famous one of the seven hills of Rome. In the past, it was also the religious center and a symbol of power of ancient Rome.

Since the square is really beautiful, it was featured in several old or recent movies.

Steps to Piazza del Campidoglio, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Steps to Piazza del Campidoglio, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Julius

Piazza del Campidoglio with equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Piazza del Campidoglio with equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, Rome, Lazio, Italy by Bruno

17. Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli

Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli is a three-aisled basilica with twenty antique columns. It was founded back in 442, and over the centuries has undergone many alterations and modifications. It wouldn’t be so interesting if it wouldn’t be a home to a statue of Moses made by famous Michelangelo.

It is located very close to Colosseum, so once you are here, do not forget to visit even this church. It’s on the hill offering different views of the Colosseum.

Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Jonathan Gonzalez

The interior of San Pietro in Vincoli, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
The interior of San Pietro in Vincoli, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Rabanus Flavus

18. Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli

Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is considered to be one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in Rome. Its amazing gilded ceiling, valuable floor and 22 ancient columns will amaze you once you step into this church.

It can be found next to the Piazza del Campidoglio, just behind the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II.

Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Bert Kaufmann

Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Allie_Caulfield

19. Circus Maximus

The largest Roman stadium Circus Maximus with a capacity of 185,000 spectators is notable for its beautiful view of the Palatine Hill. It served for horse racing in ancient Rome and currently hold free concerts of world mega stars.

The best view of the Circus Maximus is available from the imperial palaces on the Palantine hill.

Circus Maximus, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Circus Maximus, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Chris

20. Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

Another church you simply must visit is Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. It was built already in the 5th century and rebuilt several times in the 16th and 17th centuries. Its belfry from 1377 is, with its height of 75 meters, the highest in the city.

The main altar of the chapel is decorated with a painting of Blessed Virgin Mary and is considered the most important painting of Blessed Virgin Mary in Rome. It’s very close to the main railway station in Rome (Termini) and is therefore one of the first sights you will visit if you come to Rome by train.

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Daniele Rapaglià

Interior of Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Interior of Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Tango7174

21. Piazza Mattei and Tortoise Fountain

There are lots of squares in Rome that are not on the list of the hottest places in Rome, but they usually offer most romantic and yet typical Italian atmosphere that probably a majority of tourists seek on their visit to Rome.

This is why you should visit Piazza Mattei where you will find one of the most beautiful fountains in Rome, the Tortoise Fountain (Fontana delle Tartarughe).

Tortoise Fountain, Piazza Mattei, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Tortoise Fountain, Piazza Mattei, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Marco Crocoli

22. Villa Borghese park and museum

Villa Borghese is a beautiful Renaissance park, dating back to the 17th century. The park is large and is an ideal place to relax at some of the romantic fountains or in the shade of chestnut trees, oaks and pines.

The villa is now known as Galleria Borghese housing a museum where you can see collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities.

Villa Borghese park, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Villa Borghese park, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Altug Karakoc

Villa Borghese museum, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Villa Borghese museum, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by SpirosK photography

23. Piazza del Quirinale and Quirinal Palace

Piazza del Quirinale was named after the Quirinal Hill on which it is situated. There are three beautiful buildings on the square and from its observation balcony you can enjoy spectacular views of the city.

Here you can find Quirinal Palace which is the largest Roman palace from the 16th century, now the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic.

Piazza del Quirinale, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Piazza del Quirinale, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Lalupa

Salone dei Corazzieri in Palazzo del Quirinale, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Salone dei Corazzieri in Palazzo del Quirinale, Rome, Lazio, Italy by Geobia

24. Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace)

Ara Pacis Augustae Memorial is one of the most famous monuments of ancient Rome. The ceremonial altar was inaugurated in 9 BC to commemorate the peace known as Pax Romana.

The altar was discovered in 1568 near the Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina and now it is well maintained in Museum of Ara Pacis.

Ara Pacis Augustae, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Ara Pacis Augustae, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Manfred Heyde

25. Villa Doria Pamphili

Just a few people know that Rome has 1,000 hectares of gardens, historic parks and protected reserves. Rome is a nice city and its street are lined with thousands of trees.

If you love nature then you should not forget to visit Villa Doria Pamphili – Rome’s largest park.

Villa Doria Pamphili, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Villa Doria Pamphili, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by CucombreLibre

26. Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere

Trastevere is one of the hidden parts of Rome, usually skipped by the tourists as no famous monument is located here. However it is one of the most charming places in Rome, centered in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere.

If you want to get off the busy streets then you will find this part suitable and strolling around will allow you to explore Rome in different way.

Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Stefano Costantini

Fountain on Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Fountain on Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by neiljs

27. Gianicolo Hill

If you would like to see Rome from above then visiting Gianicolo Hill (Janiculum) is a must. It is a hill, although not one of the famous Seven Hills of Rome.

Being one of the highest hills around Rome, Janiculum offers great views of the city as well as its surroundings. It is also located in Trastevere so once here, do not forget climb up to this hill.

View of Rome from Gianicolo Hill, Things to do in Rome, Italy
View of Rome from Gianicolo Hill, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Jay Bergesen

28. Fontana dell’Acqua Paola

Fontana dell’Acqua Paola is a jewel among baroque monuments and the only real competitors to Trevi fountain. Situated on the Gianicolo Hill it offers great views over the city.

Fountain was built in the early 17th century and its designer was Italian architect Giovanni Fontana.

Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Randi Hausken

View of Rome from the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, Things to do in Rome, Italy
View of Rome from the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Rene Cunningham

29. Theatre of Marcellus

If you thought that Rome has just one Colosseum, you were wrong! Its smaller and older version, Theatre of Marcellus is one of the first permanent theaters in the city of Rome, completed in the 1st century BC.

This is also the only theater from several that we can still admire today. Other were destroyed over the centuries.

Theatre of Marcellus, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Theatre of Marcellus, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Alexander Russy

30. Temple of Portunus and Temple of Hercules

Temple of Portunus (1st century BC) and Temple of Hercules (2nd century BC) are two temples standing next to each other on Piazza Bocca della Verità.

This is where the ancient area of the Forum Boarium was once situated. Now there are some more ancient monuments you would want to see.

Temple of Portunus, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Temple of Portunus, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Mac9

Temple of Hercules, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy
Temple of Hercules, Things to do in Rome, Lazio, Italy by Jeroen van Luin

31. The Aventine keyhole and Giardino degli Aranci (Orange garden)

The Aventine Hill is one of the seven hills on which the city spreads. And it is also one of the must-visit places for all those who want to see Rome from a different and unforgettable angle.

One of them is at the Priory of the Knights of Malta and surprisingly it is a keyhole in their gate what makes this palace so popular. Countless tourists make their way here to enjoy the famous view of St. Peter’s Basilica through this keyhole and really, it is a special one!

And the other one is Giardino degli Aranci also known as Savello park which offers some of the best views of Rome. Apart from views you can also enjoy a good smell of the orange trees all around.

Aventine hill keyhole, Rome, Italy

How did you like these Things to do in Rome. I haven’t seen all of them so far, but they are still on my list. 🙂 What about you? Have you been to all of them or is there something still waiting for your next visit? You may also like this top 25 on The Crazy Tourist.

Julius

I am someone who left his open-spaced cubicle after spending there 8 years of his life. Someone who started to live more outside! :) I am in travel blogging since 2010 and with Traveltipy I am going to conquer the world :)

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18 Responses

  1. Stacey says:

    Hi Julius great blog. We are traveling to Rome in September and would like to see most of the above sites, can you suggest places to stay that are close to the above sites.

    • Julius says:

      Hi Stacey, we were staying quite far from the city centre to save some money. It was in Happy Village Camping http://www.happycamping.net, where we booked a wonderful bungalow (although the prices for a hotel room in the city centre start at the same level). I prefer such places because we can also see some other parts of the city, not just the centre. And it was a really quiet place, with great garden in which bungalow is set and a good restaurant as well. The disadvantage is that you are limited by time then and cannot be outside until 2AM for example because then you do not have bus/train connections during the night…

  2. Snaya Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing the blog I really love the pictures that you have posted in the blog. Earlier I was confused which place to visit in Italy but now I have a brief idea and I will surely visit Rome. But according to me to enjoy the trip fully one should know the basic Italian and Easy Spoken Italian is the best place to learn the basic Italian.

  3. Bilal Saeed says:

    Hello
    Your article is quiet informative. I am visiting Rome in September next year. I have only 2 days for Rome as I have a 15 day Europe trip. Can you suggest what can I cover within two days. Please note that I am travelling with my wife and a 3 years old daughter.

    • Julius says:

      Hi Bilal, well, to be honest, I would rather choose some quieter place when travelling with 3 years old kid. Rome can be quite crowded, busy and noisy even in September. And 2 days are very low if you want to see all of Rome’s sights without killing your kid. 🙂

      However, if you already chose that place here are my recommendations. I’ve been to Rome a few times already and among the places I would definitely want to show to my kids are Fontana di Trevi and Pantheon. They both are situated on small squares and therefore should be visited early in the morning before the crowd wakes up and fill the squares. You could start in Piazza di Spagna and then include also Piazza Navona, Campo de’Fiori, Piazza Farnese, Castel Sant’Angelo and then finish in Vatican. The tour is about 5km long so the girl should make it 🙂 And you’ll see some of the most beautiful places already in the 1st day.

      Here is the map:

      https://goo.gl/maps/h8MbjaaSF9v

      For the 2nd day, you should go to Colloseum and see the sights around, such as Foro Romano, Campidoglio and others and/or rather choose Villa Borghese where you can spend the whole day easily and which is more kid-friendly. 🙂

  4. Jesse says:

    Outstanding blog about Rome! Many things to learn. Amazing places. Please, when is the best time to visit Italy?

  5. Rome is a very beautiful city! Love Italy!

  6. K. says:

    Rome will always be one of my favourites. I could spend a whole week just at the Colosseum! 🙂

  7. Christianna says:

    Well done on the list – it’s comprehensive and put together nicely. I’ll definitely have to check out most of these places when I finally visit Rome!

  8. I have never been to Rome, but I am definitely saving this article for several reasons – it is consise and it lists what can be seen there. Also it has amazing pictures and the most important details that one needs to know about the place. Good job!

    • Julius Szabo says:

      Hi Nikoleta, thanks for your comment, I have just enhanced this list with 10 more places so check them 🙂 before you go to Rome! It is amazing city and as said in the beginning, all the people should visit this city at least once in their lifetime.

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