Things to do in

Rome

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

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The 10 Things You Need to Do In Rome

So, the Eternal City is on your bucket list? Prepare to mix and match 2500+ years of history and discover your own version of Rome. You could fall in love with this city without ever seeing a museum -- but here are some of the more notable sights.

  • Vatican City

    1. Vatican City

    Vatican City is the world's smallest independent international state, a walled-off enclave within Rome. It's home to 842 people, the Sistine Chapel, and St Peter's Basilica.

  • Vatican Museums

    2. Vatican Museums

    Some of the world's most important relics -- the Sistine Chapel, for example -- are located inside the Vatican Museum. A guided tour here is worth every penny.

  • Sistine Chapel

    3. Sistine Chapel

    Located inside the Apostolic Chapel, within the residence of the Pope, Michelangelo's ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel is a sight to see. Also, spend time studying The Last Judgement on the altar wall.

  • Roman Forum

    4. Roman Forum

    This is where to go when you want to see Roman ruins. The Roman forum itself was once a marketplace or plaza, and is surrounded by the remnants of ancient government buildings.

  • Colosseum

    5. Colosseum

    Tour this famous amphitheater and reflect on the incredible architecture from 72 AD. The Colosseum is more impressive than any football stadium you've ever seen, AND it's 2000 years old.

  • Palatine Hill

    6. Palatine Hill

    It's thought that Palatine Hill is where Rome began. Excavations show that people have lived there since 1000 BC, and the ruins are steeped in mythology.

  • St Peter's Basilica

    7. St Peter's Basilica

    This tourist attraction is also the center of the Catholic world. The stunning St Peter's Basilica was built on the site where Peter, the apostle and first pope, was buried.

  • Raphael Rooms

    8. Raphael Rooms

    Raphael's 16th century frescoes line the walls of the Palace of the Vatican's four public reception rooms, also called Raphael Rooms.

  • Galleria Borghese

    9. Galleria Borghese

    Known to be one of the best museums in Rome, the Galleria Borghese is a 17th century villa is located in the sprawling Borghese park. You'll see antiquities, Renaissance art, and early Baroque pieces.

  • Trevi Fountain

    10. Trevi Fountain

    Rome's world-famous Trevi Fountain depicts the mythological Neptune, backed by two Tritons. A fun place to grab a gelato, throw a coin in the fountain, and people-watch.

Frequently asked questions about Rome

What top attractions are a must-see in Rome?

Planning Your Visit

  • How long should you stay in Rome?

    We can promise you won't get bored! You could manage to hit a lot of attractions in 4-5 days, or you could stay for months. Rome is incredibly walkable -- meaning it's easy to get a sense of the city just by exploring the neighborhood where you decide to stay. You'll quite quickly discover hidden-gem Italian restaurants or accidentally stumble upon Roman ruins.

  • How much money do you bring?

    The big attractions charge you an entrance fee. Colosseum tickets start at 10€ to tour the inside. You can plan on seeing a lot of the ruins and churches from the outside for free, and you will find delicious Italian food for reasonable prices. One very cool free activity: the Casa del Cinema at Villa Borghese. The city of Rome subsidizes the outdoor film screenings here. Buy some wine and pizza, sit on the grass, and take in a free movie.

  • Where is the good shopping?

    This completely depends on your budget and style. You'll probably walk down Via Connotti on your way to the Spanish Steps. That's where to go if you're looking for the great designer houses of Italy, like Prada and Gucci. Alternatively, check out the Mercato Monti in the neighborhood near the Colosseum. It's open daily for your fashion and trinket flea market fix.

  • One more thing to know about how old Rome is...

    Roman tradition suggests the city was founded in 753 BC, and archaeologists suggest that inhabitants were settled there even earlier!

Good to know

  • Language
    Italian
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +39
  • Best time to visit
    Rome is in southern Italy, so winter weather is mild. One tip: keep major Catholic holidays in mind. It may mean things are closed; more likely, it will mean huge crowds. Whether or not you want to see Easter at the Vatican, it will help your hotel (or flight) plans if you know in advance.

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.

Rome : autres lieux à visiter

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What people are saying about Rome

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 249,848 reviews

Our guide Maya was amazing, she explained everything perfectly and with a lot of detail and it was lovely to see the passion she brings on the visit! Thank you for the perfect tour!! I am pregnant with seven months and Maya was always caring to know if I was doing ok, thank you!

Really glad I booked this tour! Our tour guide was amazing, she was so informative and it was fruitful listening to her. She’s a great storyteller! The company was also amazing at working with me to get an extra ticket last minute bc I accidentally only bought 1 when I needed 2

Great service, special because we booked through getyourguide... We just had to show the voucher and off we went...

Hands down the best tour in Rome. Elisabeth was an amazing guide - very funny and informative. Highly recommended.

It was great, but would have liked to have taken pictures.