Rome is a city built on incredible history, and knowledge in this area can help you plan your Rome holiday experience. But if it’s been a while since your last history lesson, and you can’t picture yourself dragging around a textbook or joining a long-winded guided tour, apps are a great solution for providing on-the-spot insight. Here’s the lowdown on five fantastic apps that help put Rome’s history into context in a light and easy-to-understand manner.

Virtual History ROMA

By Arnoldo Mondadori Editore S.p.A.

Described as a “4.5/5”, this app puts history lessons in a whole new light. Presented in English, this app digitally reconstructs ancient Rome as it would have appeared over 2,000 years ago. In clever 3-D technology, the app allows users to explore the likes of the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus, almost as if they were living back in those times. As well as addressing places of interest, it also explores important moments in Roman history, from wars and gladiator showdowns, to art and architecture. Accompanied with various maps, fact sheets and personality profiles, it’s the perfect introduction to the civilisation. It’s particularly good for visual learners.

Britannica Kids: Ancient Rome

By Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.

The rise and fall of the Roman Empire is discussed in a fun and interactive way with this app. Specifically designed for kids, this app was developed by Encyclopaedia Britannica to help make learning enjoyable. It discusses all things concerning ancient Rome, from important leaders and mythology to important pieces of art and architecture. Learning is encouraged through the use of videos, games, puzzles and quizzes. It’s been designed for kids ages 8 to 14, and the content is based on what you would find in a school curriculum. Consistent with the quality that the Encyclopaedia Britannica is known for, the app has received many glowing reviews.

SPQR Latin Dictionary and Reader

By Paul Hudson

Regardless of your age, wouldn’t it be cool to actually translate some of the ancient text you see scattered throughout Rome to truly gain an understanding of what is going on? This app offers Latin translations on the go, which can help provide tourists with additional insight and information when they are visiting Rome’s main attractions. You’ll be able to translate most of the text you see littered around the likes of the Forum Romanum (Roman Forum) and Palatine Hill. Although it was originally designed for Latin students and teachers, it’s an incredible asset for the intellectually curious British tourist.

Rome Travel Guide and Offline Map

By Ulmon GmbH

A great reference for tourists, this is a practical solution for navigating around Rome, as well as learning why it exists as such today. Designed by a company that specialises in developing travel guides, it comes recommended by the likes of Apple and BBC Travel. It can provide you with travel tips and insights, a quality metro map and a quick-find reference section as well as extensive information and articles on the most popular tourist attractions. One of the best things about this app is that it works offline, meaning no nasty data-roaming fees will be waiting for you when you return home. The best thing of all, though, is that it’s completely free!

iDotto Rome (English)

By Duel S.p.A.

The app is an audio-guide book, offering over 3,000 audio tours of important parts of Rome. Based on your location, it recommends relevant tracks that can give insight about your surrounding attractions. As well as spouting off important historical facts about what went on behind the walls of the Colosseum, it also provides information on what goes on today. Again, this app avoids expensive roaming costs, as it features a built-in navigation service. You may want to make the most of it while it is still free!

About the Author: Nadia Whitby is a high school teacher and part-time blogger who visited Rome for the first time last summer.