Things to do in Rome

See amazing feats of civilization, ancient and modern alike, in this 2,500-year-old metropolis.

Our most recommended things to do in Rome

Rome: Street Food Tour with Local Guide

1. Rome: Street Food Tour with Local Guide

Tuck into Rome's iconic street food on a guided walking tour of the Jewish Quarter or Trastevere. Learn about local food with five tastings and try delicacies, such as pizza, supplì, and seasonal dishes. Choose between a tour of Trastevere or a tour of the Jewish Quarter, two of Rome's most picturesque districts with group and private tour options available. With your guide, learn about Rome’s history through its most beloved street food. If you've chosen the Trastevere tour, meet your guide on Tiber Island and soak up its unique atmosphere before entering Trastevere. Step into vibrant squares, such as Piazza Santa Maria, and indulge in popular street food, from cheesy supplì to delicious cannoli. If you've chosen the tour of the Jewish Quarter, head to the lively Campo De' Fiori square where one of the oldest open-air markets takes place every morning. Then, follow your guide to Rome's Jewish Quarter and see highlights, including the Portico of Octavia and the Turtle Fountain. Throughout both tours, enjoy five tastings with some wine and beer. Finally, make your way to an ice cream shop for a much-deserved treat. Both tours finish on a sweet note with the perfect Italian gelato.

Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

2. Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

Take a stirring journey through art and religious history with skip-the-ticket-line entry to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Avoid the long ticket lines and then enjoy your visit at your own pace.  Wander through the Greek Cross Gallery to see elaborately-carved sarcophagi that might just contain the earthly remains of some of antiquity's famous kings and queens. Peek at the Cabinet of the Masks, or tour the Sala degli Animali to see a virtual menagerie of fantastic beasts, real and imagined. Walk the Upper Galleries, including the Gallery of Maps, to see how cartographers depicted the world through the ages. See masterpieces by Renaissance masters in the Raphael Rooms, and rest for a while in the Borgia Apartments. Then, it’s time to marvel at Michelangelo’s exquisite Sistine Chapel, the crown jewel of the Vatican, and perhaps even of all the world’s art treasures.

Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Entry Tickets

3. Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Entry Tickets

Marvel at the remains of some of the greatest monuments of the Roman Republic with an entry ticket to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Skip the long ticket line at the Colosseum and go straight to the fast track entrance for security checks. After entering the Colosseum at your allotted time, relive the stories of emperors and gladiators. Begun under the emperor Vespasian in 72 AD, and completed by his son Titus in 80 AD, the Colosseum was the largest amphitheater ever built. Imagine the ferocious fights between man and beast, as you stand in the elliptical arena, comprised of 4 levels, and once able to seat up to 73,000 spectators. Your ticket also includes one entry to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, must-see sights for all those visiting the “Eternal City.” According to ancient tradition, this is the spot where Rome was born. Look down at the ruins of temples in the Imperial Forum, the center of all political, social, and economic life in the city during the Roman Republic. Experience the most ancient parts of Rome from the most significant of its “Seven Hills.”

Rome: Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum Guided Tour

4. Rome: Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum Guided Tour

Explore the most famous amphitheater in the world on this guided tour. Enter the Colosseum with skip-the-line tickets and learn its incredible history. With your guide, walk on Palatine Hill and through the Roman Forum to see the most iconic monuments of Ancient Rome. Start your tour by admiring the outside of the Colosseum. Listen as your guide explains the history of the monument over the centuries. Enter the Amphitheater, through a security check, and discover the spectacular activities that took place inside it. Then, visit the first floor and admire the interior.  Take a moment to stop in front of the imposing Arch of Constantine as your guide describes its history and most significant features. Walk on the ancient Via Sacra to reach the entrance to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. After the security check, admire the Arch of Titus up close. Continue with the tour of Palatine Hill, where the remains of the oldest settlement in the city are. Visit some of the most significant imperial residences: the Palatine Stadium, the Domus Augustana, and the Domus Flavia. Next, go down to the valley that hosts the Roman Forum. Along the Via Sacra, discover the magnificence of the Basilica of Maxentius, the bronze door of the temple of Romulus, the curious suspended door of the temple of Antoninus and Faustina, the temple, and the house of the Vestals. Finally, arrive in the central area of the Roman Forum, which over the centuries has become the political, religious, economic, legal center, and square of the ancient city. Here, admire and learn about the Curia, the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Tabularium, the temple of Saturn, and more.

Rome: Colosseum Guided Tour with Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

5. Rome: Colosseum Guided Tour with Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Explore the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill with a guided tour of all 3 attractions. Learn all about the biggest amphitheater in the Roman Empire, everyday Roman life, and the founding site of the city. After skipping the ticket line, explore the Colosseum as your guide shares its history with your group. Imagine the battle scenes with gladiators and wild animals that took place here. Next, visit the Roman Forum to see where the center of Roman social, political, and religious life took place. Home to the old marketplace and Temple of Julius Caesar, it was a grand site at the heart of Roman life. Head up Palatine Hill next, the rumored birthplace of Rome and the middle of the 7 hills. Enjoy panoramic views over the city from here, including unforgettable views of the Colosseum and Roman Forum themselves. Travel along the Via Sacra, the road connecting all 3 sites, as your guide paints a picture of Roman life for your group.

Rome: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Tour

6. Rome: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Tour

Discover some of the most popular attractions in Rome on a guided walking tour of Vatican City. Visit the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica with your guide, and admire the ornate interiors and the famed artworks housed here. Meet your guide close to the entrance to the Vatican Museums and follow them as you set out to explore the most interesting galleries within the museum. See the Rotunda, the Gallery of Tapestries, and the Gallery of Maps. Take in the ornate ceilings in each room and see the ancient statues, frescoes, and tapestries that adorn the walls. Then, enter the Sistine Chapel and marvel at the intricate fresco that covers the entire ceiling and walls. Painted by Michaelangelo between 1508 and 1512, the Sistine Chapel represents a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. From the Creation of Adam to the Last Judgement, Michelangelo dedicated some of his greatest years to the Sistine Chapel, working day and night – even sleeping in the chapel – to satisfy the popes of Rome. The artist also expressed his frustration through hidden meanings in his work, which have since been uncovered and deciphered. Listen as your guide lets you in on Michelangelo's private jokes. Finally, head to St. Peter's Basilica for the final leg of your guided walking tour. The cathedral is one of the most renowned works of Renaissance architecture and holds the title of the biggest church in the world. Explore the interior of this magnificent structure with your guide and discover the many masterpieces of Renaissance and Baroque art that fill the cathedral. Admire the famous Pietà by Michelangelo and the elaborate St. Peter's Baldachin by Bernini. Your tour comes to an end outside the cathedral. From here, feel free to wander around Saint Peter's Square or visit the nearby Castel Sant'Angelo on your own. 

Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Priority Access Guide

7. Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Priority Access Guide

Start your tour right outside the monumental Colosseum where you will meet your guide. Here, your expert in Roman history will give you an introduction to the finest arena of the Roman Empire. Explore the magnificent Colosseum, which had 80 entrances and could accommodate around 65,000 spectators. Hear about the spectacular festivals the Romans held here, which could last up to 100 days. Enjoy time at your leisure after your visit to take some pictures, refresh yourself, and wander around. Then, being the second part of your tour to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. Explore the social, political, and religious center of the Roman Empire, where the different strata of Roman society would rub shoulders. Take in the incredible ruins at Palatine Hill on a guided tour of the grounds, and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Colosseum. For the second part of your tour, you will have the opportunity to meet your second guide, who is passionate about Ancient Rome. Make the most out of your experience by having two of the highest-rated guides lead you through the areas of expertise they know best.

Rome: Skip-the-Line Tour to Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill

8. Rome: Skip-the-Line Tour to Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill

Skip the line with a guide on this highlights tour of the Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine Hill. Enter the Colosseum through a dedicated group entrance. Follow in the footsteps of gladiators and see the monument from a 360° panoramic vantage point. Imagine what it was like to see 50,000 blood-thirsty spectators with help of your guide. Visit the Forum and walk around several important ancient Roman government buildings. Take a step into the past at the Forum Magnum, which was once a bustling marketplace. Learn more about the ancient Roman culture and picture how they lived. Go up Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome. Experience the most ancient place in the city, situated 40 meters above the Roman Forum. Marvel at the view of the Circus Maximus.

Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Tour with St. Peter's

9. Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Tour with St. Peter's

Discover the art collection inside the Vatican Museums on a tour with an art historian guide, with an optional entry to Castle Gandolfo and skip-the-line access to St Peter's Basilica for visits before lunchtime. Walk through the galleries and admire masterpieces by Michelangelo inside the Sistine Chapel.  Meet your guide, an art historian who will tell you all about the masterpieces you will be encountering. Hear fascinating facts and stories as you visit the Gallery of the Maps, the Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Candelabra. Round off the tour with by encountering the marvels of the Sistine Chapel, complete with frescoes by Michelangelo. Be awed by coming face-to-face with Michelangelo’s most famous artwork: The Last Judgement. On tours before 2:30 PM, take advantage of skip-the-line access to St. Peter's Basilica. You can also make the most of your experience by taking advantage of additional entry to Castle Gandolfo (if option selected).

Rome: Colosseum Tour with Access to the Gladiator Arena

10. Rome: Colosseum Tour with Access to the Gladiator Arena

Visit one of Rome's most iconic attractions on a guided tour of the Colosseum. Learn about the rich history of this place, hear tales about the games that took place here, and enter through the gladiator gate to access the arena floor. Walk through the back door of the Colosseum and pass straight onto the arena floor through the gate named after Libitina, the goddess of funerals. Tread where dead gladiators and animals were once carried away. Feel the majesty of ancient Rome beneath your feed as you stroll over the steps of those who fought in gladiatorial combat. Enjoy astonishing 360-degree views of the Colosseum. Look up at ruins that were once filled with thousands of spectators. Snap excellent pictures, as a limited amount of visitors can be there for a given amount of time. Explore the general access area which includes the ground floor, the second tier, and a balcony with astonishing views over the Roman Forum and Arch of Constantine. Step onto the podium reserved for the most important Romans over the main entrance to the Arena and feel the thrill of the amphitheater. Let your guide paint you a picture of the past with engaging stories and legends.

Frequently asked questions about Rome

What top attractions are a must-see in Rome?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Rome?

The best day trips and excursions from Rome are:

Pompeii

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Rome

Elyssa Bernard is the creator and publisher of the Romewise. She comes from Florida but has been living in Rome for more than 20 years now, a place that she calls home and is passionate about. On her blog you can find all the detaills for a planning a 3 day Itinerary in Rome.

What should I do on my first trip to Rome?

A first-time visitor to Rome may want to see some of the must-see sites like the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, along with Saint Peter's Basilica; the one and only Colosseum, along with the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and one of the most amazing monuments from ancient Rome, the Pantheon.

What are some hidden gems to see in Rome?

Rome is packed with hidden gems. If you love art, don't miss the Galleria Doria Pamphilj or Palazzo Barberini. The Museo Barracco is a free museum and well worth a quick visit. If you love the ancient stuff, don't miss the Domus Romana at Palazzo Valentini, the Domus Aurea, and the Baths of Caracalla. For even more hidden gems, take a tour of Trastevere, a fascinating neighborhood full of history and ambiance.

How much time should I spend in Rome?

To really see the "must-see" sites in Rome, you need at least 2.5 days. Try to avoid visiting the Vatican and the Colosseum on the same day, as both are huge with lots to see, and it can be tiring. I'd split these over two days. You'll also want to fit in other sites like the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon. And if you want some additional time for strolling, shopping, and just soaking up the atmosphere, you really need 3-4 days.

What food is Rome known for?

Every region of Italy has its own cuisine, and Rome is no exception. Some foods Rome is known for include the 4 classic Roman pastas, all made with pecorino (sheep's milk) cheese: cacio e pepe, gricia, carbonara, and amatriciana. Rome is also famed for its artichokes, either braised (alla Romana) or deep fried (alla Giudia, or Jewish-style). A large part of Roman cuisine is based on "cucina povera", simple food, and this includes many offal dishes like tripe, coratella, pajata, and more. This is actually a rich topic so I highly recommend trying out some local trattorias, and if you really want to know more, take a cooking class or food tour.

What is the best way to get around Rome?

The best way to get around Rome is on foot. You will see more hidden courtyards, cobblestone streets, shops, etc. But it can also be tiring when you are sightseeing, so you can opt for Rome's public transportation system of underground metro or city bus. Another great way to get around Rome, especially for first-timers, is with a hop-on/hop-off bus that allows you to get an overview, while stopping at all the major sites and monuments.

What are the best months to visit Rome?

For the loveliest weather, visit Rome in spring and fall. But these are also the most crowded times of year in Rome. The quietest months are January, February, and August. Christmas is a beautiful time to visit Rome, despite the cold. The city is all lit up and festive. Summer is a great time to experience a lot of things outside and at night, but you can expect hot, humid days. If you want a good mix of fair weather and smaller crowds, try late November or late August/early September.

What is neighborhood Trastevere known for?

There are many interesting and picturesque neighborhoods in Rome, most with hundreds if not thousands of years of history behind them. There is not one particular neighborhood that Rome is best known for but perhaps one of the most popular and picturesque neighborhoods is Trastevere, just across the Tiber river (hence its name). Its history goes back at least 2,000 years and you can find layers of ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Rome here. You'll also find tiny winding cobblestone streets with fascinating doorways and even smaller streets at every turn. Despite its fame as a "touristy" neighborhood, Trastevere is in fact a very fascinating area to explore. I recommend a tour so you get the most out of this beautiful Roman neighborhood.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

You can eat well in just about every Roman neighborhood. Some of the most well-known include Trastevere, Monti, Campo dei Fiori, and Testaccio. I'd venture to say that some of my favorite restaurants can actually be found around the historic center near the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Pantheon.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Rome is full of great shopping areas, perhaps none more famous than the Spanish Steps neighborhood. For more boutique-style shopping, head to the Pantheon, Monti, or the area around via Cola di Rienzo on the other side of the Tiber River not far from the Vatican.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Rome?

Choosing where to stay in Rome is subjective for everyone. If it's your first time in Rome, I recommend staying as central and close to public transportation as possible. This means staying near Piazza Barberini, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain. If you want to be a bit further from the historic center, but still close enough to easily access it, Esquilino offers many good affordable as well as luxury options. Prati, near the Vatican, is another lovely but slightly less central area with several metro stops making it convenient to get across the river to the center. Campo dei Fiori, the Jewish Ghetto, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona are charming neighborhoods that are not close to a Metro stop. But as they are so central, you can easily walk most places.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Rome?

The best family things to do in Rome will depend on your children's ages and their interests. Visiting the Vatican and Colosseum are probably high on your list, but if your children are small, you should consider keeping the visit short or taking a tour geared towards families. Other family friendly things to do include cycling, taking a food tour or cooking class, or just strolling very leisurely through the historic center and taking lots of breaks.

What is the best thing to do in Rome for solo travelers?

The best things to do in Rome for solo travelers depends on whether you want to meet some fellow travelers or not. For solitude, visit some of Rome's amazing churches, including of course, Saint Peter's Basilica and the Pantheon. Take some time enjoying Rome's many parks, gardens, and markets. To meet fellow travellers join small-group tours, especially food tours and cooking classes, where you will have more of a chance to chat and mingle.

What is the best thing to do in Rome for couples?

Rome is already such a romantic city, or it can be. If you are here from Spring through early fall, you can enjoy some of the many outdoor nighttime events like shows on the Fori Imperiali, or night tours of the Vatican Museums or Colosseum. Other fun things for couples include doing wine or gelato tastings, cycling along the Appia Antica, enjoying a picnic in the park, or taking a Vespa tour.

What are the best annual events in Rome?

Rome enjoys a fairly mild climate year-round, making it a great destination any time. You may want to visit Rome during the Christmas/New Years holidays, as the city is all lit up and festive. Easter is another beautiful time to visit when the city is bursting with spring blossoms. Summertime in Rome means lots of outdoor nighttime events, and it's also a great time to check out the nearby beaches.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Rome?

Rome is blessed with huge swaths of green space. You can spend time in the Appia Antica park and not even feel like you are in a city at all. This historic and archeological park is full of things to see and do, such as visit the catacombs, rent bicycles or just explore on foot. The Villa Borghese is another of Rome's most beloved parks. It offers stunning views over Rome at one end, one of Rome's best museums (the Borghese Gallery) at the other end, and a gorgeous, shaded, well-kept park in the middle. You can do all kinds of sports here, along with visit other smaller museums, rent boats on a lake, or picnic.

Other Sightseeing Options in Rome

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What people are saying about Rome

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 363,298 reviews

Vatican is a fascinating place of history, religion and art. Firstly, we thoroughly enjoyed an informative and relaxing bus tour through beautiful Vatican gardens. The Vatican Museum was big and busy. I wish we had a guided Museum tour rather than audio guides which we had to additionally hire in order to get some guidance. Audio guides were not very helpful, because we had to decide what to focus on and the information provided was not always engaging. Therefore, we stopped using audio guides and enjoyed the experience. For such a large museum I would prefer to have a guide who could select stops and give more relevant information. The Sistine Chapel was breathtaking. Vatican City is not to be missed.

Our tour guide Peter was great, really, he was very knowledgeable about the areas we were going through and seeing, he was very informative about subjects pertaining to the tour, he knows his history. Peter was good about prepping us to know when we would break for food, restrooms etc.. The drive was cumfy in a clean bus and didn’t seem as lengthy as it would seem on paper at all, so don’t shy away from the hours this tour runs, it was fun, didn’t seem heavy at all and there was a really good restaurant at the end of the day drop off point at 2 min walking distance.

Very enjoyable 1 hr evening concert! Well known classical music pieces composed by Italian composers Puccini, Verdi, Vivaldi, Mascagni, Boccherini... Elegant, historical venue (St Catherina of Siena lived in this place, the Chapel is in the foyer) close to the Pantheon in Rome. We loved the performance of a string quartet, soprano and tenor soloists!

A must do while in Rome, but having a guide made it all even better. Both of our guides make the visit much more interesting and rich. Very knowledgeable and great story tellers

Very good experience. I booked the tickets the same day of the flight and i didnt found any problem