Are you planning a trip to Rome or are you currently in the city and want to know what to see near Termini Station?
You’ve come to the right place. This article details the top 9 things you should check out around Termini.
Pro Planning Tip: Consider bookmarking this article into a “Rome” folder in your browser. This way you can circle back to it while planning. Also, check out our Best Rome Tours so you can see the Eternal City right.
- Top # Things to See and do Near Termini Station
- Top 14 Things to See at the Spanish Steps
- Top 10 Things to See at the Trevi Fountain
- Top 13 Things to See at the Pantheon
- Top 12 Things to See in Piazza Navona
- Top 11 Things to See near Piazza Venezia
- Top 11 Things to See in Trastevere
- Top 11 Things to See in and near Campo de’ Fiori
The Top 9 Things to See and do in and Near Termini Station in Rome
Train stations are normally not the nicest areas in European cities. That said, Rome is built on the remains of 3000 years of history.
1. Palazzo Massimo alle Terme (Museo Nazionale Romano)
Address: Largo di Villa Peretti 2
Entrance Cost: 7€ + cost of the exhibition if one exists (normally 3€ extra)
It is a very large and prominent collection including a captivating version of Discobolus of Casteloporziano aka Discus Thrower.
Very similar to many of the galleries on this list, you simply won’t find crowds here. The Vatican will be so packed with people it will turn you off to other museums but it is the only museum in Rome with crowds like that.
You can stroll into Palazzo Massimo with a reservation, buy a ticket, and enjoy tons of incredible works of art. Like all the museums on this list, we recommend a tour and can provide a private tour here. Contact us, [email protected]
If you are going it alone, here are the most notable works of art to see:
- Frescoes of Villa Farnesina
- Portonaccio Sarcophagus
- Collection of Ancient Coins (massive & impressive collection)
- Sleeping Hermaphroditus
- Via Cassia Mummy
- Ludovisi Hermes
- Tiber Apollo
- Discobolus of Casteloporziano
2. Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore
There are four major Basilicas in Rome and this one is a must-see. It is also only a 10-minute walk from the train station.
The charming legend states that back in 352 AD, Pope Liberius ( Pontif 352-356 AD) had a dream where the virgin Mary told him to build a church where he found snow. As it happened, on August 5th it snowed on the Esquiline hill and therefore he built a small church there and called it Santa Maria Della Neve ( St. Mary of the snow). This tradition is commemorated every year on August 5th when white petals are let down in the Pauline Chapel.
The church you are looking at today, albeit major reconstruction over the years, was built in 432 under Pope Sixtus III (Pontiff 432-440 AD). Amazingly from this early period, not only multiple mosaics in the central nave but also the main triumphal arch. The main mosaic behind the high altar ( absidal) is dating from the 13th century and done by the master Jacopo Torriti.
A few interesting facts about the Basilica when you visit:
- One of the very first churches to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary ( after the Council of Ephesus where Mary was proclaimed the mother of God).
- In the Crib of the Nativity, it is said that there are fragments of wood from the holy crib of Jesus.
- During the massive plague of 590 AD, Pope Gregory the Great ordered 7 processions around the city to appease the wrath of God. In the end, he ordered that the processions converge on Santa Maria Maggiore instead of St. Peters
- St. Jerome, who is credited with translating the Bible into Latin in the 4th century, is buried here.
- When the Papacy returned to Rome after Avignon, the pope set up shop first at Santa Maria Maggiore due to the Lateran church’s poor state.
- The famous architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who built half of Baroque Rome, is buried here.
Looking for a bite to eat? Check out our annually updated list of the best places to eat near Termini Station and Monti in Rome!
3. Baths of Diocletian (Museo Nazionale Romano)
Entrance Cost: 9€
As a licensed tour guide of Rome, this is by far one of my favorite museums together with Palazzo Massimo ( see below). That is to say, when I have free time, this is one of the museums I come to since the museum has a lot of applied learning opportunities.
When you enter the museum today, you are actually entering a very small part of what was once a massive Thermal Public Bath, built by Emperor Diocletian in 306 AD. The bathhouse would have covered a whopping 32 acres (17 hectares).
Most importantly it could hold 3,000 potential bathers at one time. To put into comparison, Seaworld in Orlando, which is not a bathhouse, but a place where people go with water has on average only 1,885 people a day.
Contrary to the middle ages when people bathed once a year, the ancient Romans bathed daily and were also clean-shaven. A typical day at the baths could last hours where one would play some sports, then maybe get a massage before heading over the Tepidarium ( warm water bath), the caldarium ( hot water bath), then frigidarium (cold water bath). They would typically bath in that order.
In addition, there was a Natatio which was a huge swimming pool. The Natatio in these baths was an astounding 43,000 square ft (4,000 sqM). To put that in perspective it is almost the size of a football field.
The museum is broken down into 4 main sections:
- The Natural history of Pre-Roman Civilization
- Written Communication of the Romans
- The Courtyard by Michelangelo
- Remains of the bathhouse
4. Horti Sallustiani (Gardens of Sallust)
The Gardens of Sallust were an Ancient garden a massive garden that was once owned by Julius Caesar himself! This is a great way to see something 99.99% of tourists don’t see and walk through a former property of the great general himself.
The gardens were afterward given to Tiberius who used them, as did following emperors, as a public garden. When Alaric, the Visigothic King, sacked in Rome in 410 AD, they entered the gates from where the gardens were. Afterward, they were abandoned for centuries.
In the 17th century, the Cardinal Ludovisi bought the area and built his huge palace where the ancient gardens had been. During these excavations, many famous classical statues were found, including The Dying Gaul and Gaul killing himself.
They are located nearby Termini station and don’t post regular hours. We recommend you call to see when they are open.
Address: Piazza Sallustio 21 | +39 06 4201 1597
5. The Ancient Wall around Rome ( Servian Wall)
During the reign of Emperor Aurelian ( 270-275 AD), a protective wall was built around the entire city of Rome which was 12 miles (19km) long. If you happen to venture outside the historical center of Rome in almost any direction, you will almost certainly come into contact with the walls.
What many people don’t know is that an even earlier wall was built around the city in the 4th century BC and if you know where to look you can still see it today! The name was the Servian wall and named after the 6th Roman King Servius Tullius and was built using huge blocks of grey tufa stone.
The best place to see a nicely preserved area of this stone is actually right next to Termini! If you are walking into Termini from the main entrance a massive wall of this Tufa stone will be on your left-hand side- definitely hard to miss.
By the time the first Emperor, Caesar Augustus, came around, there wasn’t really a need for the wall since the Pax Romana had started and at that point, no enemy of Rome would even dare to try and Rome for at least two more centuries.
6. Basilica di Santa Prassede
This is definitely one of the hidden gems left in the Eternal City if you like to visit a church without many people and be surrounded by Medieval Mosaics.
The origins of this church go back to supposedly the middle of the 2nd century. However, we have to take the church at their word since no remains have yet been discovered from that period ( There is still time!) Prassede was the daughter of Pudens in whose house St. Peter stayed during his visit to Rome and traditionally was the Saint’s first Christian convert.
This was a Titulus church, meaning that it was one of the first churches built in the city and was probably first built in the middle of the 4th century under Pope St Siricius (Pontiff384-399). The current church that you enter is dating from the 9th century and was built by Pope Paschal I (817-824) to replace the crumbling earlier church.
What to see
While there are 2 entrances, I recommend that you enter from the main, southern entrance on Via di San Martino ai Monti. This allows you to walk through the original facade of the 9th century.
What you will notice as soon as you walk in is the various fragments of marble and stone of different origins. This is because when they were building churches back in the day, they would take the stone from Classical, Pagan temples and would mix and match to get a sufficient amount of stone.
A few interesting items to see when you visit:
- A purple disc– In the back of the nave, you will see a round piece of purple marble. This supposedly marks the spot where there was once a well where St. Prassede used to store all the bones of Martyrs.
- A Marble slab– in the back of the left aisle of the nave this unassuming piece of stone is where St. Prassede used to sleep on
- Tomb of G.B. Santoni- Along the right aisle near the front was designed by none other than Gian Lorenzo Bernini. He was only 17 years old at the time.
- Plaque– by the Santoni tomb, it lists the relics put into the church. It is an 18th-century copy from the original one in the 13th century.
- The Crypt– All churches have a crypt. This one happens to be decorated by the famous Cosmati brothers back in the 13th century. It also holds the relics of both St Prassede and her sister St. Pudenziana.
7. The Trophies of Marius
A short walk from Termini will take you to a gigantic square called Piazza Vittorio. You can still see traces of the splendor that once covered this square, but unfortunately, in recent times it has become quite neglected.
Known mostly today for its massive food market and various ethnic cuisines such as Indian and Chinese, it is worth a visit in the daytime as you pass through to see the older locals who still frequent the area.
In the North corner of the square, you have a hidden gem that most people never even notice called the Trophies of Marius or Nympheum Alexandria. This imposing brick structure was actually an Ancient Roman fountain built on top of an aqueduct.
Not only can you still see fragments of the aqueduct, but the size of the fountain gives you a clear idea of the massive building projects which took place 2,000 years ago. This particular fountain was built at the time of Emperor Alexander Severus around 226 A.D. The name ” Trophies of Marius” comes from 2 marble statues which were taken from here and now reside on the Campidoglio near Piazza Venezia.
8. Piazza della Repubblica
There are still many examples of buildings in Rome that have retained the structure of Ancient sites. One perfect example is the Piazza della Republicca. Originally it was called Piazza dell’Esedra due to the exedra (massive concave structure)from the ancient Baths of Diocletian ( see above).
Over the centuries the area was built into a garden and then a church until in the 19th century via Nazionale was built and cut a hole right through the middle of the massive curved area to create a central artery in the city. Today Piazza della Repubblica is a massive roundabout and important thoroughfare of connecting roads in the historical center.
The first time I came to Italy, I remember standing on the sidewalk near the piazza just staring in wonder at the cars racing in and to of this roundabout and no crashes happening. After some time I realized that the trick is to be an aggressive offensive driver instead of a defensive driver and organized chaos reigns.
In the middle of all this chaos is the beautiful fountain of the Naiads, spewing its molecules of water into the air, and adding a unique calm that only Rome can achieve. The fountain was built in the late 19th century and the sculptures of the Naiads were put there in 1901 by Mario Rutelli. In the center of the fountain is Rutelli’s Glauco statue which symbolizes the dominion of man over nature.
9. Santa Maria della Vittoria
Rome is home to over 400 churches and even if you are totally churched out, this little church is an interesting one to visit for one specific sculpture inside.
The Discalced Carmelites decided to build a church on this spot at the beginning of the 17th century. As the excavations began, they soon discovered a beautiful, ancient statue known today as the Borghese Hermaphroditus. It garnered attention right away, from the main collector at the time, Scipione Borghese who was the nephew of Pope Paul V.
He immediately claimed the statue for the church and took it away to his treasured collection which we know today as the Borghese Gallery. As a token of his gratitude, he financed the rest of the church from his own pocket. I think it turned out to be a pretty good deal for the monks.
When you walk inside, everyone’s attention goes right away to the Cornaro Chapel which is halfway down on your left-hand side. There you will see, tucked in the corner a masterpiece by the master himself, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The name of the statue is the ecstasy of St. Theresa and was the biggest scandal of the 17th century!
The art piece depicts the moment of St. Theresa’s encounter with an angel:
I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it.
Bernini obviously took her words to be allegorical and alluding to something more of an intimate encounter with a man. The look of pleasure on her face scandalized all of those who saw it. This statue has shown revamped interest after Dan Brown’s book- Angels and Demons which speaks about the statue.