In the southwest corner of Rome entro le mura (within the walls), there stands the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and dozens and dozens of other countless sites and monuments that have stood the test of time, having been built before the birth of Christ and are testaments and memorials to Rome’s ancient civilization. This is my favorite part of Rome! The best time to photograph this part of Rome is in the early summer when the light is right, but the best to visit and walk through the grounds and parks is in the late fall and early winter when the crowds are somewhat lighter.
This part of Rome is my least favorite in the sense that it is the least Roman part of the city — it’s full of tourists and restaurants and business that cater only to tourists. It’s not the best place to head if you want to explore modern Rome, but if you have an interest in history, antiquity and archaeology like me, then you probably care little that it is so touristy. There are dozens of museums, parks, sites and other things to see and do there, and, like the Louvre in Paris, you just can’t see everything in one day, however, in a day, you can see and do a lot!
So if you only have a day to explore the ancient part of Rome, what is a must — I’d say the Colosseum, Trajan’s Market, Roman Forum and its surroundings, Arches of Titus and Constantine, Trajan’s Column, and the Capitoline Museum (which contains many artifacts that were uncovered in the various forums) and then finish your day by visiting the Ara Pacis Museum (which is south of the Piazza del Popolo) and then having a late lunch or early dinner at Il Gusto.
Get up early, start your walking and sight-seeing around 9:00am and don’t stop ’til you drop! :)