Rome Travel Guide
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24 Best Things to Do in Rome in 2023
Take time to enjoy la dolce vita – even a week isn't long enough to experience everything Rome has to offer. From historic tours through ancient Rome to admiring art-filled institutions to climbing the Spanish Steps or St. Peter's Basilica ,
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Colosseum (Colosseo) Colosseum (Colosseo)
U.S. News Insider Tip: A normal ticket includes the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (valid for 24 hours) and you can visit all three in one day. It doesn't include a visit to the Colosseum's underground tunnels. For that, you'll have to book a guided tour. – Laura Itzkowitz
The site of many bloody gladiatorial fights, the Colosseum, which was opened in A.D. 80, could then hold about 50,000 spectators. With a circumference of 573 yards and sitting on marshland, experts say the Colosseum is an engineering wonder… not to mention an animal and human rights atrocity. Not only were gladiators pitted against each other, but gladiators fighting animals and animal-on-animal fights were common as well. Today, it's considered one of the world's most famous landmarks .
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
U.S. News Insider Tip: The Vatican Museums contain some of the greatest artworks ever made, but it's also one of Rome's most crowded spots. Consider paying a bit extra to join an early morning tour before the museum opens or check for late opening hours. – Laura Itzkowitz
While Vatican City is home to both the Roman Catholic Church's governing body and its leader, the pope, this small nation within Rome offers a wealth of attractions open to visitors of any faith.
St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) free
The epicenter of Roman Catholicism, St. Peter's Basilica is centered in Vatican City and is renowned for its stunning architecture. What's more, it's open daily for free. (Though it's closed on Wednesday mornings for pope appearances.) Many visitors enjoy trekking to the top of the dome. For a fee of 8 euros (about $8.65), you can climb the 551 steps to the summit; for a fee of 10 euros (about $10.80), you can take an elevator to a terrace where you'll climb just 320. Regardless, you'll take in a panorama of Rome's spectacular landscape. If you've come hoping to catch a glimpse of the pope, you should consider attending the Wednesday General Audience, when he addresses the crowd in St. Peter's Square with prayers and songs. It's free to attend, but tickets are required ; you should request them well in advance of your visit. You'll also want to make sure he is in residence; check the Vatican website to view the schedule. No ticket is required to see the pope on Sundays, when he usually address the crowd in St. Peter's Square at noon.
Keep in mind that this is an active church with daily Mass services. Likewise, a stringent dress code is enforced: No short skirts, low-cut tops, hats or bare shoulders, and be sure to cover any tattoos. Because St. Peter's Basilica is one of the area's major attractions, there is almost always a long queue – though it tends to go fast. Recent travelers recommend you spring for a tour guide ; the depth of insight they bring to the basilica really makes the experience. For more information on tours, read our tips for visiting the Vatican and its attractions.
3 in 1 Cooking Class Piazza Navona: Fettuccine Ravioli and Tiramisu
from $ 76.34
Skip-the-Line Group Tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica
from $ 53.44
Tuscany Guided Day Trip from Rome with Lunch & Wine Tasting
from $ 127.60
Roman Forum Roman Forum
Though it's not as popular as the Colosseum (but located nearby), the Roman Forum is more interesting, according to some reviewers. The Roman Forum comprises much of the Ancient Rome's most important structures, from shrines to government houses to monuments. Although much of the complex is in ruins, you can see the remains and imagine the former glory of the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Titus and the House of the Vestal Virgins, among other structures.
Recent travelers called a visit to the Roman Forum a "must," but they do advise future visitors to rent or stream an audio guide or sign up for one of the best Rome tours (according to reviewers, little is written on the informational plaques). Past visitors also suggest allotting plenty of time to see the ruins and wearing weather-appropriate attire as there is little to no shade at the site.
Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) free
A must-see on many travelers' itineraries, the Trevi Fountain is situated amongst a high concentration of hotels , shopping and nightlife in the Trevi district. Finished in the mid-1700s, the Trevi is a powerful example of a baroque design with a distinctly mythological character. The god of the sea, Oceanus, emerges from the pool, flanked by his trusty Tritons.
According to Roman lore, throwing one, two or three coins into the Trevi, with your right hand over your left shoulder ensures you'll return to Rome; you'll fall in love with an attractive Roman; and you'll marry that same Roman. An added bonus? The city collets the money tossed into the fountain and donates it to a local charity.
U.S. News Insider Tip: After visiting the Pantheon, stop for an espresso at the historic Tazza d'Oro Caffè or walk a few blocks to the old-school gelateria, Giolitti, for a cone of the good stuff. – Laura Itzkowitz
The Pantheon, a former Roman temple and now a present-day church, is known for its perfect proportions, which is amazing, seeing as it was raised in A.D. 120. While you're there, you can also pay your respects to Raphael, as well as Italian kings Victor Emmanuel II and Umberto I, who are all buried there.
Piazza Navona Piazza Navona free
U.S. News Insider Tip: To enjoy a coffee or Aperol spritz on the piazza, grab a table at Camillo, but if you want to eat, it's best to avoid the tourist trap restaurants on the piazza and explore the side streets instead. – Laura Itzkowitz
The centuries-old Piazza Navona is perhaps one of the best-known public squares in Rome. People sipping coffees while watching street performers and artists fill the square. Cafes abound, and there are a number of shops, too, although recent visitors said both tend to be expensive. You'll also find a number of impressive monuments, including one by Gian Lorenzo Bernini ( Fountain of the Four Rivers ) and another by Francesco Borromini (Sant'Agnese in Agone).
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi free
Much like Piazza del Popolo , Piazza Navona 's centerpiece features an obelisk. However, in this case, the obelisk is surrounded by one of Bernini's masterpieces: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. The four figures at each corner of the statue are a personification of the four rivers best known to Europe in the 1600s. The rivers are the Ganges (Asia), the Danube (Europe), the Nile (Africa) and Río de la Plata (Americas). Animals, plants and other iconography help to further differentiate the four nudes.
Travelers invariably have high praise for the fountain's artistry, saying that it is a must-see.
Classes & Workshops
Fettuccine Pasta and Tiramisu dessert Making in the heart of Rome
from $ 58.89
Roman Gladiator School: Learn How to Become a Gladiator
from $ 97.54
Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna) Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna) free
U.S. News Insider Tip: During the era of the Grand Tour, the area around the Spanish Steps earned the nickname of the English Ghetto. Immerse yourself in the area's English past with a visit to the Keats-Shelley House or afternoon tea at Babington's. – Laura Itzkowitz
Found at the Piazza di Spagna, the Spanish Steps (which get their name from the nearby Embassy of Spain among the Holy See) are another must-do for many travelers. Here, visitors can tread the same stairs that writers and artists have climbed for centuries. The steps are especially alluring come spring when they're flanked by blooming azaleas.
Piazza del Popolo Piazza del Popolo free
U.S. News Insider Tip: If you want to do some people-watching on the piazza, skip the expensive and overrated Rosati and go to Canova across the piazza instead. It was frequented by famed filmmaker Federico Fellini, whose drawings decorate the halls inside. – Laura Itzkowitz
Piazza del Popolo is yet another Roman square where you can take in phenomenal architecture and magnificent sculpture. The square dates back to the mid-1500s and is the historic center of Rome. In fact, three major roads intersect here: Via di Ripetta, Via del Corso and Via del Babuino.
Galleria Borghese Galleria Borghese
U.S. News Insider Tip: Don't forget to purchase your timed ticket in advance. Afterward, spend some time strolling through the Villa Borghese park, which has attractions like a little lake, a replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and a few small museums. – Laura Itzkowitz
A favorite among travelers to Rome, the Galleria Borghese is half-villa/half-museum, and it has some resplendent gardens, too. Originally commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 17th century to shelter his massive art collection, it's now considered one of the premier art galleries in the city. The villa's extravagant rooms, spread across two floors, are filled with famous works, including Canova's Venus Victrix, Bernini's sculptures David and Apollo and Daphne, and Caravaggio's "Boy with a Basket of Fruit" and "David with the Head of Goliath," among other masterpieces.
Campo de' Fiori Campo de' Fiori free
The Campo de' Fiori is worth visiting twice in a trip – once during the day for its bustling market, and again as the sun sets for its convivial nightlife. According to historians, the Campo de' Fiori looks much the same as it did in the early 1800s, except for the numerous pizzerias, cafes and gelaterias that line the periphery.
Recent travelers raved about the people-watching throughout the day; the fresh veggies and fruits at the market and the hopping bar scene at night. Some warned that the market is overrun with tourists and not the most authentic market experience in Rome. Even if you don't plan on eating or buying anything within the area, the architecture alone may be enough of a draw, as it was for some.
Church of St. Louis of the French Church of St. Louis of the French free
If you're a fan of Caravaggio, you'll want to visit the San Luigi dei Francesi, or the Church of St. Louis of the French. Inside this church near Piazza Navona are three of the baroque artist's works, including the "The Calling of St. Matthew" (one of his most famous paintings), "Saint Matthew and the Angel" and "The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew."
Recent visitors recommend stopping in the church, especially if want to get a glimpse of some of Caravaggio's most famous works. Several reviewers recommended reading up on the works before visiting as there is no information within the church. However, you can access a prerecorded audio tour by downloading it to your smartphone from a QR code available on-site.
High-Speed train Rome to Venice: Day trip & Happy Hour
from $ 302.06
Amalfi Coast Small-Group Day Trip from Rome Including Positano
from $ 258.47
Positano and Amalfi small group boat tour from Rome with high speed train
from $ 315.18
Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini) Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini)
The Musei Capitolini (Capitoline Museums) dates back to the 1400s, and it holds Rome's symbol, the bronze Capitoline She-wolf. According to lore, the wolf nursed the half-wolf, half-god founders of the city, twins Romulus and Remus. Its namesake museum contains busts of Roman emperors, statues – including a famous one of Marcus Aurelius – and paintings by Caravaggio and Battista, among others. It also offers spectacular views of the Roman Forum .
Several travelers mention that though the Capitoline Museums wasn't high on their list of things to do or see, they're very happy they did see it. Reviewers also urge visitors to look up at the magnificent ceilings. Some note that the museum has a bit of an odd layout with little information about the paintings. Others say the staff can be rude.
Trastevere Trastevere free
If you want a look at the real Rome, experts and travelers strongly recommend you visit Trastevere. Located southeast of Vatican City, this neighborhood is home to the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, as well as numerous restaurants and neighborhood shops (it's often compared to New York City 's Greenwich Village or Paris 's Left Bank thanks to its charming cobblestone streets and narrow roads).
Although a little farther from the city center, Trastevere is a hit with visitors who appreciated the distance, noting that after so many days weaving through crowds and getting stuck in tourist traps, it's nice to explore a quieter neighborhood (with cheaper, more authentic food). Travelers also said they felt like they experienced a genuine look into life as a Roman after having visited Trastevere.
Santa Maria della Vittoria Santa Maria della Vittoria free
This featured chapel from Dan Brown's "Angels & Demons" is now heavily trafficked by Robert Langdon wannabes. But baroque art fans might want to brave the crowds for a look at Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Cornaro Chapel, which features the Ecstasy of St. Teresa statue.
Recent visitors can't stop gushing about Santa Maria della Vittoria. Many said the church is nothing short of stunning, noting that the detail of Bernini's Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is truly incredible. However, travelers also noted that the church is relatively small compared to some of the city's other masterpieces, so prepare for a tight space during peak tourist season (summer). Others warn of odd opening times.
Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo
The Castel Sant'Angelo has had many purposes over its lifetime. Originally built as a mausoleum for Roman emperor Hadrian, the castle has also been a place of protection for popes during invasions, papal residences, military barracks and a prison. Today, it's a museum showcasing not only the site's military history but also incredible frescoes (which were added to the building when the castle became a residence).
For many visitors, admiring the frescoes and learning the history of the site made for a pleasant stop. However, the top draw for many are the views. The top floor terrace (Terrace of the Angel) provides outstanding vistas of Rome.
Basilica di San Clemente Basilica di San Clemente free
Archaeology buffs might find the Basilica di San Clemente interesting as it's a veritable nesting doll of churches. It's a second century pagan temple, underneath a fourth-century church, which is underneath a 12th-century church. Enter the 12th-century church from the street level, take stairs down to the fourth-century one and finally end up at a shrine for Mithras, the god whom was known to gain popularity in the second and third centuries. The oldest structure is believed to have been an ancient mint.
Travelers are fascinated by the story of the church and recommend visiting for the history lesson that it provides. Past travelers also said you should ignore the panhandlers who linger around the church, as some pretend to be affiliated with the church and tell visitors they can't enter unless they give a donation. The church is free to enter, but there is a fee to go down to the lower levels, which people say is worth the cost. To visit the lower levels, you'll pay 10 euros (about $11) for adults and 5 euros (about $5) for students up to age 26.
Art & Culture
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St Peter’s Basilica Guided Tour
from $ 75.25
Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum Guided Tour Skip the Line
from $ 65.42
Ancient Appian Way Ancient Appian Way free
The Ancient Appian Way (Via Appia Antica) has a history that dates back to 312 B.C. and includes the site of Spartacus' execution (in 71 B.C.), the tomb of Caecilia Metella, and many a Roman military march. These days, it stretches for 38.5 miles, though several monuments and historic sites are centered around an approximately 2-mile stretch along Parco dell'Appia Antica. The park sits roughly 2 miles south of the Colosseum .
Recent visitors said the Appian Way is worth the long trek. Some even recommend hiring a tour guide to tag along with you, as even the smallest details along the walk provide a lot of insight into days past. Many agreed that visitors should come prepared with good walking shoes and water. Other advised visiting during the day as some areas can be seedy at night.
Colle del Gianicolo Colle del Gianicolo free
To the west of the Tiber River (near another top attraction, Trastevere ), Colle del Gianicolo, or the Janiculum Hill, is just waiting to be climbed. Although a hike, the site provides unobstructed, panoramic views of the Eternal City. Once at the top, visitors will be able to spot some of Rome's most famous buildings, including St. Peter's Basilica and the Altare della Patria. Interestingly, since it sits outside the ancient city, it's not considered one of the seven hills of Rome. Along with the spectacular views, you'll also spot a few monuments, including the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, or Il Fontanone, which was originally built in the early 1600s.
Travelers report being impressed by the views of Janiculum Hill, with many recommending a visit at sunrise or sunset for a truly breathtaking experience. Though many don't consider it a "must-see," especially for first-time visitors, reviewers did concede that a trek here offers a nice respite from the city's crowded tourist spots.
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
Rome is full of aristocratic palaces whose splendors are hidden behind closed doors. One such place is the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj right on the bustling Via del Corso. Enter and you'll find yourself in a quiet courtyard that feels a world away from the crowds. Upstairs, spend some time marveling at the hall of mirrors, which looks like a smaller version of the one at Versailles , with gold-framed Venetian mirrors, antique statues and chandeliers. The palazzo dates all the way back to the 16th century and the gallery that encircles the courtyard was renovated in the 18th century, with the paintings that form the family's private art collection still displayed as they were in the 1700s. Among them are paintings by Raphael and Caravaggio. In the Velázquez Cabinet at the end of one of the halls is a marble bust of Pope Innocent X by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and a portrait of the pope by Velázquez.
For a few extra euros, you can also visit the "secret apartment," which is supposedly still used sometimes by the princess. Inside it, you'll see the family's furniture and personal objects, like a desk with writing implements, hairbrushes and beds. It's far more intimate than the typical museum experience and might just make you feel like you've stepped into a scene from the Oscar-winning film "La Grande Bellezza," director Paolo Sorrentino's modern-day take on "La Dolce Vita."
Jewish Ghetto Jewish Ghetto free
Sandwiched between the Tiber River and Campo de' Fiori is a neighborhood that was historically home to Rome's Jewish population, the oldest Jewish community in Europe. A papal edict in 1555 created the ghetto, which was walled off from the rest of the city until 1888. It also established laws about what professions Jews could and couldn't hold. To learn more about the neighborhood, you should visit the Jewish Museum of Rome attached to the Great Synagogue, which displays religious artifacts and explains the area's history in a series of panels. A guided tour of the Great Synagogue is included in the museum's admission price and is the only way to see the ornately decorated synagogue without attending religious services.
Recent visitors praised the beautiful synagogue and said the neighborhood is a "hidden gem" in Rome. Travelers say the neighborhood is worth a few hours of your time.
Mercato di Testaccio Mercato di Testaccio free
For a less touristy alternative to the market at Campo de' Fiori , venture beyond the historic center to the Mercato di Testaccio. The large covered market is filled with stalls selling fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat, where Romans do their daily shopping. It's also home to a handful of stalls where you can purchase prepared food, like sandwiches and pizza. Take a number and wait your turn for delicious pizza al taglio at Casa Manco. Ask for a few small slices so you can try more than one topping.
For sandwiches, the place to go is Mordi e Vai, a hole-in-the-wall stall serving sandwiches made with the offcuts that form the backbone of Roman cuisine. Indeed, the quinto quarto tradition of Roman cooking was born in right here in Testaccio. The neighborhood was once home to the city's slaughterhouse and the working-class families who lived here created recipes using the less prized cuts of meat, including the organs, that were cheaper. Many restaurants in the neighborhood are known for this type of cooking, with signature dishes like trippa alla romana (Roman-style tripe with tomato sauce, pecorino and mint) and coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew). If you're not into that kind of stuff, Mordi e Vai always has a vegetarian option available.
Pompeii, Amalfi Coast and Positano Day Trip from Rome
from $ 151.59
Rome in a Day Small Group Tour with Vatican and Colosseum
from $ 183.20
If you've had enough of ancient and Baroque art, consider visiting one of Rome's modern and contemporary art museums. MAXXI – an acronym for the National Museum of 21st Century Art – is located in the residential Flaminio neighborhood north of Piazza del Popolo and was designed by the late Iraqi-British starchitect Zaha Hadid. The building itself is a masterpiece of modern architecture, with dramatic sweeping lines, steel staircases that seem to float in the air, and galleries with glass ceilings. The collection comprises more than 400 works of art by Italian and international artists, including Andy Warhol, Francesco Clemente and Gerhard Richter, as well as a collection of material related to architecture. It ranges from photography and film to art installations and performance art.
Before you go, check to see what's on display. Past exhibitions have featured Bob Dylan's videos, the work of Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, and the architecture of Lina Bo Bardi, a midcentury modern trailblazer and one of the few female architects working at that time. MAXXI has also hosted special off-site exhibitions and events, including guided tours of Casa Balla, the apartment of futurist artist Giacomo Balla.
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10 of the best things to do in Rome
Jul 20, 2023 • 13 min read
Here are the best things to see and do on visit to Rome © Vladimir Vladimirov / Getty Images
No one who visits Rome could complain that there’s nothing to do.
Indeed, the biggest challenge is squeezing everything that the city promises into your visit. And while there are many can't-miss sites in Rome, there’s a lot more to the city than ancient ruins or gilded monuments (and the long lines that come with them). Rome is massive, vibrant, and endlessly entertaining, so get your maps out and start looking for those hidden corners that don’t appear readymade in every guidebook. Along with the greatest hits, it will be those small detours that make your trip to Rome something memorable.
Here are the city's best experiences.
1. Lose yourself in Ancient Rome (but not all in one day)
Any Italian will tell you in detail how downright anarchic Rome is; immediately after, every one of them will say, “but Rome is Rome”. There is simply no place like it in the world, and the only thing to do is abandon yourself to all of its chaotic charm. And though you are extremely likely to meet hordes of people at any moment, how could you possibly skip the very sites that make the city extraordinary?
It would be bananas to visit Rome and not stand in front of the Colosseum , even though you’ll be one in a sea of gladiators-in-training. You must stand underneath the dome of the Pantheon despite the fact that you’ll wait in a considerable line ( one you’ll now pay for , fyi). And though you’ll be surrounded by cameras, souvenir sellers and tour groups, it would be almost unthinkable not to witness the singular beauty of the Trevi Fountain .
So don’t. Take it all in and let the experience find you. Touch the walls of ancient buildings and think about how they’ve been standing for millennia, or fix your eyes on the impossibly intricate carvings of marbles and statues. Wander around the major sights and find your way towards the minor ones and remember that you only have to move one or two streets over to find yourself in a calm corner of the capital. Remember that everyone who comes to Rome does so with the same intention in mind, to be blown away by its absolute and unrivaled magic.
Planning tip: When you make your plans in Rome, make sure that you're spacing out the heavy hitters as much as possible in order to soak everything in at a pace that suits you. If you’re only in Rome for three days, think about dedicating a half day to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Forum , and then leave yourself the rest of the afternoon or evening to stroll through other parts of town that are a little less trafficked. Plus, that leaves you plenty of time to…
2. Learn the subtle art of the aperitivo
Don’t call it Happy Hour, because the aperitivo is so much more than a discount drink after a day at the office. And trust me, there is a science to doing it right: the aperitivo is a pre-dinner drinks ritual that is meant to whet the appetite, not satiate or drown it in cheap booze. Though one can probably find evidence of such imbibing throughout human history, the modern aperitivo dates back only a couple of centuries to the popularization of vermouth and other herbal drinks in the late 1700s.
Since then, Italians have been unwinding with friends and beverages before settling in for dinner, and doing so in ever more creative ways. These days, the aperitivo is ever more varied and always accompanied by snacks, which have also become more elaborately prepared for pairing. Just don’t fill up on any of it – after all, it is but a prelude of what is to come at dinner.
Local tip: Rome is one of the best cities in Italy to sample a wide range of aperitivi , as every bar does things slightly differently and there are far worse ways to spend one’s time than sampling them all. If you’re in the market for luxury, try snagging a spot on the coveted rooftop of Terrazzo Borromini overlooking Piazza Navona . If your tastes run trendier, check out the mixology at Freni i Frizioni in Trastevere . For a classic Roman moment, head over to Ai Tre Scalini in Monti, where the vine-covered streets provide a beautiful backdrop for the most poetic of aperitivi .
3. Spend a day in the Vatican City
Whether you go as a tourist or a pilgrim, the impact of seeing the Vatican for the first time is hard to overstate. From the outside, this half kilometer square city state is dwarfed by the imposing dome of St Peter’s Basilica and framed by the long embrace of Bernini’s square: this alone is enough to make it worth the trip, but once you start exploring inside the Vatican buildings you cannot help but be taken aback.
Start out at the Vatican Museums , a complex of 26 structures that actually spans 7km (4.3 miles) of halls and galleries. While you could spend an eternity craning your neck to see it all, a few hours is enough to get a sense of the unparalleled catalog that the Museums contain. Finish by heading through the claustrophobic staircase (you’ve been warned, but it’s worth it) to the Sistine Chapel , still breathtaking no matter how many people are around you to share the view.
After you’ve hopefully stopped for lunch and a refresh, the Dome awaits. St Peter’s Basilica is a marvel of engineering, architecture, and sheer will: after all, it took more than a century to bring into being and it passed through the hands of many of Italy's most iconic figures along the way. Everything about the Basilica is imposing, so don’t be surprised if the sheer scale of it is overwhelming on the first visit. That’s just another reason to come back.
Planning tip: A dress code is still enforced pretty strenuously. To be safe, wear knee length skirts or dresses, pants and shirts that cover your shoulders. When in doubt, bring a light scarf with you (it's always worth having a scarf in Rome !).
4. Work your way through Rome’s museums
Although the Vatican Museums are amongst the largest in in the world, they are far from the only ones to visit in Rome. What’s more, many of the city’s most interesting museums are slightly off piste for most visitors, meaning you may well find yourself enjoying an unexpectedly peaceful afternoon in even the busiest periods of the year. In a city overflowing with history and culture, there’s a museum for everyone.
If you can’t get enough of Ancient Rome, the Capitoline Museums on the Campidoglio offer that and more, with works dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 17th century. For an even deeper dive into historical artifacts, the National Roman Museum houses a priceless collection in four separate buildings around the city, each a work of art in its own right. Classical art lovers are spoilt for choice as well: from the Galleria Borghese to Palazzo Colonna , there are majestic collections around just about every corner. But there’s always space for more, and modern art has a well established place in Rome. The National Gallery and MAXXI have incredible collections from contemporary artists, all of which are worth seeing.
Local tip: If you like to hunt around, go on the lookout for Rome’s eight “ small museums ”, each of which are located around the city and sometimes in the strangest places. Oh and bonus, they’re all free to enter !
5. Head underground to discover hidden history
Hiding in (almost) plain sight next to the Colosseum, the Domus Aurea is one of the most mystifying and least explored remnants of Ancient Rome. The sprawling complex was built sometime after the fire of 64CE that destroyed much of the city, under the order of Emperor Nero.
Over time it was buried and remained undiscovered until the Renaissance, when intrepid artists like Ghirlandaio and Raphael pulled their version of urban spelunking to witness the painted “underground grottoes”. You don’t have to be nearly as athletic to get there today: the Domus Aurea underground tour offers an incredible chance to tour some of the ancient palace that was probably the hottest club in town. Now of course, it maintains a cool and constant underground temperature, making it the perfect place to escape the Roman sun.
Local tip: The Domus Aurea is also home to a cat sanctuary, so if you’re a cat lover try to spot the friendly felines hanging out among the complex.
6. Take in the views from the city's hills
It’s easy to forget the sheer scope of the city when you’re shuffling through jampacked cobblestone alleys, and it makes all the difference to remind yourselves of it every now and then. Greater Rome covers nearly 500 sq miles (more than New York City), though the vast majority of its most well-known sites are located within a much smaller area of only about 5 sq miles. Luckily, there are a few key points around the city center where you can really get a sense of where you are and admire the beauty of this ever expanding metropolis.
Climb up the Janiculum Hill for one of the most impressive panoramas you’re likely to see, and if you time it right you may be there for the cannon shot that fires every day at noon (don’t worry, they’re blanks). If you’re wandering during the golden hour (right before sunset), make your way to the Giardini degli Aranci on the Aventine Hill for a perfectly framed picture that no camera could ever capture. Enjoy the walk back down though the frequently overlooked Rose Garden , which offers its own unique perspective on the neighboring Palatine Hill.
Detour: If you’ve got the time and a bus map, head to Parco Mellini in Monte Mario outside of the city center for a dramatic view over that stretches far beyond the Aurelian walls.
7. Shop sustainably in Rome's secondhand stores
Though you’ll find every designer in the world has a shop somewhere in the city, Rome actually has a fabulous thrift shop and market culture where you can find clothing, antiques and just about anything else you could imagine. The Mercatino dell’Usato chain has stores all over the city, and many are an adventure in themselves for people who love scouting out finds. If you’re near the Aventino, check out tiny Affare Fatto , a thrift store that often has eclectic furnishings left behind by diplomats leaving for their next mission.
But open air markets are an entity unto themselves, and if you are soothed by the chaos of commerce, this could be the itinerary for you. The market at Via Sannio near San Giovanni has a bustling vibe and is open almost all week with antiques, jewlery, clothing and small independent producers alongside vintage sellers. Time it right to find the ecosolidale market open on Via del Porto Fluviale in Ostiense and you may just get the couture purchase of a lifetime.
If you’re in town on Sunday you cannot miss the mind-boggling Porta Portese market, which takes over the district just south of Trastevere with kilometers of curios. Don’t be surprised if you find a famous designer rummaging along next to you, and if you need to keep up on secondhand Rome, black belt-level thrift shopper Desirée at the Pewter Thimble has you covered.
8. Experience the best of Rome’s many parks
Rome has a lot of parks. Like, a lot. In fact, Rome has the most hectares of greenery in Europe and each of its parks serves an important historical, cultural and natural purpose for citizens and travelers alike. Though it may not be the first thing that you think of when you start filling out your wishlist of things to do in the city, you don’t want to miss the chance to wander through some of the most beautiful urban oases in the world.
The most famous park in Rome is undoubtedly Villa Borghese , and with good reason. Covering 80 hectares of the Pinciano district in the city center, the park has boating, tons of trails, theaters, and of course the Galleria Borghese Museum. But other green spaces abound in the city, and each one provides a refuge from the heat of the summer or the occasional winter gray. Check out the intimate Villa Celimontana near the Colosseum or the Parco del Colle Oppio for a different view of the iconic stadium (that also includes a skate park).
Detour: For those looking for less manicured nature, sign up for a bike tour of the Parco della Caffarella , one of the most untouched areas in the city. And while you’re there, take a walk back in time along the Appia Antica , a site so inspiring that it will put to rest any rumors of Rome’s impending demise.
9. Taste local produce at Rome's incredible markets
It wouldn’t be a Roman holiday without copious amounts of food, the quality of which will leave you pining for its equal once you’ve returned home. And while you could spend a lot of time (and money) sampling restaurants around the city, make better use of both by getting to know the food markets all over Rome.
If you’re coming and going from Termini station, you’ll be spoilt for choice at the Mercato Centrale , which brings together chefs and producers from all over Italy under one postwar roof. Steps away, the Nuovo Mercato Esquilino is a feast for cooks looking for more niche fruits, vegetables, and proteins; you’ll find halal butchers selling alongside pig farmers from the Roman countryside, and fresh fish from the Adriatic.
If you start to get peckish as you head towards the Tiber, make a detour to the Mercato Testaccio for local cheeses, cured meats, veggies, and wines that would make any picnic rival a fine dining experience. Should you be further north near the Vatican, the Mercato Trionfale is the largest in Rome and guaranteed to have something for everyone. For weekend warriors braving the crowds at the Circo Massimo , the nearby Campagna Amica market is a fantastic place to test out your Italian, since you won’t go wrong with whatever you wind up buying.
Local tip: Aperitivo starts at lunchtime on Saturdays and Sundays, meaning you should too.
10. Eat out at Rome's best restaurants
For every majestic monument or glittering tribute reaching up to the heavens, everyone knows that the real reason we come to Rome is to eat. But Roman food, once religiously tethered to the traditional “quinto quarto” philosophy of using every part of an animal, has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years.
Young chefs are reinterpreting the classics, resulting in the explosive flavors of Santo Palato in San Giovanni and the home style goodness of Romanè in Prati. Vegetarians and vegans are also well served in the capital: from the picturesque Mater Terrae in Piazza Navona to the stealthily innovative Rifugio Romano near Termini Station to the irrepressibly lovable Romeow Cat Bistrot in Ostiense, there is no shortage of meatless options in the Eternal City.
Of course, if you’re in search of the classics, they’re right there too. Reserve early and often at Armando al Pantheon , and hope that someone cancels at Felice a Testaccio so that you can get your cacio e pepe (pasta dish with cheese and pepper) done just the way you dreamt of it. Nothing will ever taste quite like the bread from Antico Forno Roscioli , and no one will ever be able to convince you that the slabs of pizza from Gabriele Bonci’s Pizzarium aren’t crumbs sent to lead you straight to heaven.
Local tip: Ever wondered why Italians gasp when you order a cappuccino after a meal? They normally drink coffee after eating as a tool for digestion, as the acidity and caffeine help to speed up the process. By now they’re pretty used to non-Italians asking for milky beverages after a meal but if you want to do like the Romans, skip the dairy (or try a macchiato).
This article was first published September 2015 and updated July 2023
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23 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Rome
Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers Updated Aug 1, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )
In a city so filled with icons of antiquity and the Christian faith, it's hard to know where to go first. Of course, your own interests will govern your choices, but there are certain sites that are almost obligatory landmarks of Italy and top attractions in the world , such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon.
A word of caution: try to vary your experiences as you explore Rome, so that you don't visit too many ancient sites or churches in a row. And intersperse these more serious attractions with a few that are simply tourist icons: the Spanish Steps and that place all tourists must go to toss in their coin, the Trevi Fountain.
Rome is so big that it can overwhelm you, so even the most devoted sightseer needs to take some time to kick back and enjoy la dolce vita in a park or sidewalk café.
You'll be able to choose the best places to visit with this handy list of the top attractions in Rome.
1. The Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine
2. vatican city, 3. the pantheon, 4. roman forum, 5. trevi fountain, 6. vittorio emanuele ii monument, 7. centro storico & the spanish steps, 8. via del corso, rome's shopping street, 9. santa maria maggiore, 10. piazza navona, 11. piazza del popolo & santa maria del popolo, 12. palatine hill, 13. villa borghese gallery and gardens, 14. castel sant'angelo national museum, 15. trastevere, 16. capitoline museum, 17. baths of caracalla, 18. san giovanni in laterano (basilica of st. john lateran), 19. the catacombs and via appia antica (appian way), 20. palazzo doria pamphilj, 21. basilica of san clemente, 22. domus aurea: nero's golden house, 23. terme di diocleziano (baths of diocletian national museum), tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to rome, rome, italy - climate chart, more things to see and do in rome.
As the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, the silhouette of the Flavian Amphitheatre is to Rome. The largest structure left to us by Roman antiquity , the Colosseum still provides the model for sports arenas - present-day football stadium design is clearly based on this oval Roman plan.
The building was begun by Vespasian in AD 72, and after his son Titus enlarged it by adding the fourth story, it was inaugurated in the year AD 80 with a series of splendid games. The Colosseum was large enough for theatrical performances, festivals, circuses, or games, which the Imperial Court and high officials watched from the lowest level, aristocratic Roman families on the second, the populace on the third and fourth.
Beside the Colosseum stands the Arch of Constantine , a triumphal arch erected by the Senate to honor the emperor as "liberator of the city and bringer of peace" after his victory in the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312.
Lines are long and move slowly, so you can save time by joining the Skip the Line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour and have a knowledgeable guide, as well.
Author's Tip: For an unforgettable experience, especially in the heat of mid-summer, visit the Colosseum on a special night tour. Not only is it cooler then, but the monument is magical with its interior bathed in golden light.
- Read More: Visiting the Colosseum: Highlights, Tips & Tours
The Vatican is the smallest independent state in the world , with an area of less than half a square kilometer, most of it enclosed by the Vatican walls.
Inside are the Vatican palace and gardens, St. Peter's Basilica , and St. Peter's Square , an area ruled by the Pope, supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church. This compact space offers a lot of things to see, between its museums and the great basilica itself.
Inside St. Peter's Basilica is Michelangelo's masterpiece, Pieta , along with statuary and altars by Bernini and others.
The unquestioned highlight of the Vatican museums is the Sistine Chapel , whose magnificent frescoed ceiling is Michelangelo's most famous work.
In the Vatican Palace are the Raphael Rooms ; the Borgia Apartments ; the Vatican Library , and a number of museums that include the Picture Gallery, Museum of Secular Art, Etruscan Museum, and others. The collections you can see in these cover everything from papal coaches to 20th-century art reflecting religious themes.
Ticket lines for the Vatican's attractions are incredibly long, and you can spend several hours waiting in line. To save time, purchase a Skip the Line: Vatican Museums with St. Peter's, Sistine Chapel, and Small-Group Upgrade tour in advance. This three-hour tour allows you to bypass the long lines and walk straight into the museums with a knowledgeable guide. Headsets are provided, and you can choose from several different departure times or upgrade to an evening or small-group tour.
The Pantheon - the best-preserved monument of Roman antiquity - is remarkably intact for its 2000 years. This is despite the fact that Pope Gregory III removed the gilded bronze roof tiles, and Pope Urban VIII ordered its bronze roof stripped and melted down to cast the canopy over the altar in St. Peter's and cannons for Castel Sant'Angelo.
The Pantheon was rebuilt after damage by fire in AD 80, and the resulting brickwork shows the extraordinarily high technical mastery of Roman builders. Its 43-meter dome, the supreme achievement of Roman interior architecture , hangs suspended without visible supports – these are well hidden inside the walls – and its nine-meter central opening is the building's only light source.
The harmonious effect of the interior is a result of its proportions: the height is the same as the diameter.
Although the first Christian emperors forbade using this pagan temple for worship, in 609 Pope Boniface IV dedicated it to the Virgin and all the Christian martyrs, and since then, it has become the burial place of Italian kings (Victor Emmanuel II is in the second niche on the right) and other famous Italians, including the painter, Raphael.
Author's Tip: If you visit the Pantheon on a rainy day, be careful of the floor in the center. There is no umbrella over the hole in the roof, and the floor can get very slippery when wet.
- Read More: Visiting the Pantheon in Rome: Highlights, Tips & Tours
Walking through the forum, now in the middle of a throbbing modern city, is like stepping back two millennia into the heart of ancient Rome. Although what survives of this center of Roman life and government shows only a small fraction of its original splendor, the standing and fallen columns, its triumphal arches, and the remains of its walls still impress, especially when you consider that for centuries, the history of the Forum was the history of the Roman Empire and of the Western world.
Roman political and religious life was centered here, along with the courts, markets, and meeting places. After the seventh century, the buildings fell into ruin, and churches and fortresses were built amid the ancient remains. Its stones were quarried for other buildings and it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that systematic excavations brought the ancient buildings to light from under a 10-meter layer of earth and rubble.
Highlights of the Roman Forum are the Temple of Antoninus Pius, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Curia, the Temple of Vesta, and the Arch of Titus.
Tip for Parents: If you're traveling in Rome with children, unless they are fascinated by the Romans, the Forum might be a place best seen from above, instead of by walking through its five acres of largely ruined buildings. It is one of Rome's most popular and important tourist attractions, but it's a lot for kids to take in and it doesn't have the lure of the Colosseum's tales of lions and gladiators.
One of the city's most popular tourist attractions, this 17th-century masterpiece has been immortalized in films until it is almost a required visit. Throwing a coin (not three) into the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is a tradition that is supposed to assure your return to Rome.
Rome's largest fountain, Fontana di Trevi is supplied by an aqueduct originally constructed by Agrippa, the great art patron of the first century BC, to bring water to his baths. The fountain was created for Pope Clement XII between 1732 and 1751 by Nicolò Salvi, and built against the rear wall of the palace of the Dukes of Poli.
It depicts the sea god Oceanus (Neptune), with horses, tritons, and shells. The water swirls around the figures and the artificial rocks and collects in a large basin, always filled with coins.
What happens to all that money? Twice a year it is gathered using long-handled brushes, and donated to Caritas, Rome's Catholic charity.
It's ironic that this grandiose monument, considered one of the national symbols of Italy, is rarely admired by Romans, who liken it to a wedding cake or a giant typewriter. Like it or not, the vast neo-classical structure crowns Capitoline Hill, the symbolic center of ancient Rome, overlooking the later city across Piazza Venezia.
Built between 1885 and 1935, it is a monument to King Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the unified Italy, represented here in an equestrian statue. Italy's tomb of the unknown soldier is here, along with a museum of the Italian unification. A lift will take you to the topmost terrace for 360-degree views of Rome.
Address: Piazza Venezia, Rome
Take a look at a Rome tourist map, and you'll see one area so filled with things to do that it's hard to read the street names. This is the Centro Storico, the historic center of Rome , with so many art-filled churches, resplendent palaces, and lively squares that you could spend your whole vacation strolling its ancient streets and lanes.
Spend some time just to absorb the neighborhood's atmosphere instead of going from one of its must-see sights to the next. Along with Piazza Navona , the Trevi Fountain , and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore , stop in less well-known churches, such as Santa Maria del Popolo, where you'll find works by Bernini and Caravaggio.
Pause at the Spanish Steps, the flight of irregular stairs and landings that lead up to the French church of Trinità dei Monti. The stairs take their name from Piazza di Spagna , the plaza at their base and one of Rome's most typical squares. The stairs have long been a favorite haunt of tourists.
You can no longer channel your inner Audrey Hepburn and eat gelato on the steps as she did in Roman Holiday . Sitting or eating on the steps is banned to protect them after a complete cleaning and restoration, and the ban is enforced.
The boat-shaped fountain at the foot of the Spanish Steps is known as the Barcaccia and was created by Pietro Bernini, father of the great Baroque architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Via Condotti , leading southwest from Piazza di Spagna, is Rome's most fashionable shopping street , where the Caffè Greco is famous for the artists, writers, and musicians who have frequented it.
Address: Piazza di Spagna, Rome
Marking a straight line from Piazza the Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo, Via del Corso is Rome's Main Street . Lined with shops and places to eat, and a few palaces housing art museums, including the magnificent Palazzo Doria Pamphilj. Work is underway to restore and re-design the century-old landmark Alberto Sordi Gallery, which will reopen as Agorà, with fewer shops and more public space for arts and entertainment.
While the shops are mostly name brands, you'll find some designer boutiques here and on the radiating side streets. Not all of Italy's fashion comes from Milan's catwalks, and fashionistas will find more high-end boutiques and prestigious names on streets around Piazza di Spagna, especially Via Venizia and Via dei Condotti .
Between Piazza del Popolo, at the end of Via del Corso, and Piazza di Spagna, look for antique shops and art galleries on Via del Babuino . To mix charm and cinema history with shopping, and find small shops and galleries on the parallel Via Margutta .
Note to Movie Fans: Federico Fellini lived on Via Margutta and Gregory Peck's apartment scenes in Roman Holiday were filmed at No. 51.
One of the most majestic of the churches in Rome , Santa Maria Maggiore has stood here since the fourth-century Pope Liberius had a vision of the Virgin directing him to build a church where snow fell the following day. Although it was August, snow did fall on the Esquiline hill the next morning, so here the great basilica was built.
Mass has been celebrated here every day since the fifth century. The three aisles of its 86-meter-long interior are separated by 40 columns of marble and four of granite, and the apse added in the 13th century is lined with mosaics of Old and New Testament themes, masterpieces of Rome's famous mosaic artists.
Rome's oldest mosaics, as old as the fourth century, decorate the upper walls, and the floor is inlaid with colored stone in the style of the expert 12th-century artisans of the Lake Como region. The first gold to reach Italy from the Americas shines on the coffered ceiling. Two popes are buried here; it's one of Rome's four papal basilicas, an important place of pilgrimage.
Author's Tip: Although admission to Rome's churches is free, you may need to put a euro in the meter to illuminate some artworks or chapels. Keep some coins handy for a better look at the mosaics in Santa Maria Maggiore. It is also a nice gesture to put a few coins in the offering boxes to help the churches maintain their priceless treasures.
Address: Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome
One of Rome's most characteristic Baroque squares, Piazza Navona still has the outline of the Roman stadium built here by Emperor Domitian. It was still used for festivals and horse races during the Middle Ages, and was rebuilt in the Baroque style by Borromini, who also designed the magnificent series of palaces and the church of Sant'Agnese, on its west side.
Its facade, campanile, and dome highlight the way Baroque architecture weaves convex and concave surfaces, gables, windows, columns, and piers into a unified design. In the crypt of Sant'Agnese are Alessandro Algardi's 1653 The Miracle of St. Agnes and the remains of a Roman mosaic floor. Sant'Agnese provided a model for Baroque and Rococo churches in Italy and elsewhere.
Although Borromini designed the square and its surrounding facades, it was his archrival, Bernini, who created its centerpiece, the beautiful Baroque fountain, Fontana dei Fiumi . The spirited fountain represents the four rivers then thought to be the largest on each of the known continents, with figures personifying the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio de la Plata around the large basin, each accompanied by plants and animals of their respective regions.
The two other fountains in the square are the 16th-century Fontana del Moro in front of the Palazzo Pamphili, erected by Giacomo della Porta, and the 19th-century Fontana del Nettuno with its figure of Neptune. Today, the square is filled with Romans, tourists, street artists, musicians, souvenir kiosks, cafés, and during December, one of Rome's best Christmas markets.
Nearby, between the Piazza and the Pantheon, the church of San Luigi dei Francesi contains three major paintings by Caravaggio from the late 16th century, including one of his most famous, The Calling of St. Matthew. No information about the paintings is available in the church, but you can download an audio guide in English on the San Luigi dei Francesi website. The church itself is worth seeing for its elaborate ceiling and inlaid marble floors. Like others in Rome, the church is free to enter
Symmetrically situated at the apex of a triangle of streets that include Via Corso, Rome's main shopping street, Piazza del Popolo was designed in the early 19 th century as the northern entrance to the city center. At its center, the Egyptian obelisk, called Flaminio, rises above a fountain, where four white marble lions spout fans of water into four round travertine pools.
Facing one side like mirror images at either side of Via della Corso are the twin churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto, and at the opposite side of the grand piazza is the Augustinian Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo.
Inside, you'll find Pinturicchio frescoes and two tombs by Andrea Sansovino in the choir, and two beautiful chapels. The Chigi Chapel was designed by Raphael in 1515, and the Cesari Chapel holds two important Caravaggio paintings.
Next to the basilica, climb the steps to the Pincio Terrace for views down onto the piazza and across the city of Rome.
Strategically set 50 meters above the Tiber, the Palatine Hill shows evidence of Rome's earliest settlement: rock cuttings found in front of the Temple of Cybele show human activity as long ago as the ninth century BC. Later, this was the site chosen by the emperors and great aristocratic families for their palaces.
The Farnese Gardens were laid out on the hill in the 16th century for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, a pleasure park of terraces, pavilions, lawns, flowerbeds, trees, and fountains designed as a kind of stage-setting for social gatherings.
Highlights of the Palatine Hill are the House of Livia (Augustus' wife), the semi-subterranean Cryptoporticus , Domus Flavia , Domus Augustana, and most imposing of all, the Baths of Septimius Severus. The Palatine Hill is a lovely place to explore, combining a park with magnificent and impressive ruins of ancient Rome.
One of Rome's largest parks, the Borghese Gardens contain multiple attractions that include two museums, the most prominent of which is the Villa Borghese. Built as a party villa and to house the Borghese art collection, the gallery contains paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and reliefs, most from the 15th to the 18th century, and include works by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Bernini, Dürer, and Rubens .
Elsewhere in the park, Villa Giulia was built as a summer residence for the 16th-century Pope Julius III and houses the Etruscan Museum . More villas are from the world exposition that was held in Rome in 1911.
The park is an English-style landscape garden, with walking paths and ponds where you can rent row boats. You can also rent bikes or a surrey to explore the park. There is a good zoo, Bioparco di Roma , with naturalized enclosures and a miniature trail connecting its various sections. A number of its attractions will appeal to children, including playgrounds, weekend pony rides, and occasional puppet shows.
Many of its attractions will appeal to children , including playgrounds, weekend pony rides, and occasional puppet shows, making it one of the most popular things to do in Rome for families .
One of the secrets of the Borghese Gardens is the replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, where you can watch opera performances or Shakespeare plays. Plays are always in Italian, but an occasional opera is in English. You can rent a cushion and sit on the floor or you can sit in the balconies that ring the interior.
Address: Piazzale del Museo Borghese, 5
Begun in AD 135 as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian and his family, Castel Sant'Angelo is a massive drum-shaped structure overlooking the Tiber near the Vatican. Over the millennia of its existence, Castel Sant'Angelo has been used as a papal residence and a fortress, and more recently as a National Museum.
In AD 271, Emperor Aurelian took advantage of its position guarding the northern approaches to the city and incorporated it into his new system of walls surrounding the city. As a bastion, it protected the city from barbarian attacks, and by the Middle Ages had become a substantial fortress. In times of peril, popes fled here across a secret elevated corridor, the Passetto di Borgo , and stored their most precious riches in the castle's treasury.
Visitors reach the castle across a pedestrian bridge lined with statues of angels (by Bernini), and ascend to its five floors on a spiral ramp. At its various levels are prison cells, a large collection of weapons, and splendidly decorated papal apartments covered in Renaissance frescoes. At the top is a terrace with stunning views of the city.
Address: Lungotevere Castello 50, Rome
Across the Tiber River and off the most popular tourist routes, Trastevere feels like an earlier Rome, with its medieval lanes and narrow alleys . You'll find bits of Roman stonework in its old buildings, and occasional inscriptions that remind you that this was for three centuries the Jewish Ghetto, its gates closed and guarded at night.
Today it is a charming neighborhood with two outstanding churches that are rarely on tourist itineraries. In the third century, before Rome's Jewish population gravitated to this side of the river, Santa Maria in Trastevere was one of the first places where Christians could worship except in secret.
Renovated several times, the last in the Baroque period, the church interior is decorated with patterned marble floors, a gold-washed coffered ceiling, and exceptional medieval mosaics. Also with good mosaics, and a fine 13 th -century fresco, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere hides the foundations of a Roman home.
Author's Tip: It's no secret that Trastevere is a good place to find restaurants serving authentic Roman dishes, but you'll find them less crowded than those in the popular tourist areas.
Two palaces on Piazza del Campidoglio house Europe's oldest public collection of art, founded in 1471. Primarily devoted to sculptures from across the ancient world, the highlights of the Capitoline Museum treasures include the realistic Hellenistic bronze Boy with a Thorn ; Capitoline Venus , from a 4 th -century BC original by Praxiteles; a 4.24-meter-tall Roman equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius; a Roman sculpture of the Dying Gaul ; and the Capitoline She-Wolf , an Etruscan work from the 6th century BC.
More "modern" sculptures include a head of Medusa, by the 17 th -century Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Although the Capitoline Museum is best known for its outstanding collection of classical sculptures, its Capitoline Picture Gallery exhibits paintings by Titian, Veronese, and Rubens, along with Caravaggio's compelling John the Baptist.
Address: Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome
Completed by Caracalla in 216, these were much more than public baths. They were a complete sports center, with hot and cold baths, a swimming pool, dry and steam saunas, gymnastics and sports facilities, social rooms, gardens, libraries, hairdressers, and shops.
The massive and imposing structure covered an area of 300 square meters, a complex of gigantic halls whose domes and vaulting were supported by huge columns and piers. It could accommodate 1,500 people at a time. The floors and walls were covered with marble, mosaics, and frescoes; even in ruin, their splendor is still evident.
Address: Via delle Terme di Caracalla 52, Rome
As you might expect for the episcopal church of the Pope, St. John Lateran is one of Rome's most impressive churches. After centuries of alterations, it still retains its original form from the age of Constantine, when it was built.
Its façade, by contrast, is a purely Baroque embellishment and a fine example of that period. Along with the mosaics in the apse, be sure to notice the beautiful 16th-century wooden ceiling. If the octagonal baptistery, San Giovanni in Fonte , looks a bit familiar, it's because it provided the model for later ones throughout Europe.
Built by Constantine, it is the world's oldest Christian baptistery. Across the piazza, in the church of the Scala Santa, is the Holy Staircase, 28 steps believed to have been brought to Rome in the fourth century by St. Helen, from Pilate's palace in Jerusalem.
The Catacombs of San Callisto (St. Calixtus) and San Sebastiano , both underground burial places in the Via Appia Antica, are extensive — the San Callista Catacomb fills an area of 300 by 400 meters — with intricate multi-layered networks of passages and chambers carved into the soft tufa. In addition to the tombs, St. Calixtus has six sacramental chapels, constructed between 290 and 310, with both pagan and early Christian wall paintings.
In the Papal Crypt are the tombs of most of the martyred Popes of the third century identified by Greek inscriptions. San Sebastiano, one of Rome's seven pilgrimage churches, was built in the fourth century on the site of old cemeteries and catacombs that, along with the foundations of a Constantinian basilica, can be explored.
Tomb chambers are on several levels with fine paintings, stucco decorations, and inscriptions dating to the first century AD. Although venerated remains are thought to have been brought here for safekeeping during persecutions, these were cemeteries, not hiding places for Christians.
A little west of the Via Appia Antica, not far from the catacombs of San Callisto, the Catacombs of Domitilla are the largest and among the most impressive in Rome, with 15 kilometers of underground chambers and passages and a complete subterranean basilica.
Dedicated to the martyred saints entombed there, Nereus and Achilleus, the basilica was a major pilgrimage destination until the Middle Ages. More than 80 painted tombs and a second-century fresco of The Last Supper survive in its galleries.
Outside the Porta San Sebastiano, the Arch of Drusus is near the beginning of the Via Appia Antica, one of the oldest and most important of the Roman highways, built around 300 BC and extended to the port of Brindisi about 190 BC.
Running parallel with the road are the ruins of some of the aqueducts that supplied the city with water, and among the cypresses along its sides are remains of tombs belonging to aristocratic Roman families. The most prominent of these is the first-century tomb of Caecilia Metella and her husband.
Address: Via Appia Antica, Rome
Rome's finest private collection of art is displayed in the magnificent Baroque galleries, state rooms, and chapel of the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj. Representing works by European masters from the 15 th through the 18 th centuries, the collections include paintings by Filippo Lippi, Brueghel the Elder, Correggio, and Raphael, along with major works by Caravaggio ( Rest in the Flight into Egypt) and Titian ( Salome with the Head of John the Baptist).
Velázquez's Portrait of Innocent X is one of the collection's highlights. Another image of the same Pope is a sculpture by Bernini. The palace itself almost outshines its contents, with frescoed ceilings and Baroque decoration; a good audio guide in English enlivens the tour. The gardens are beautiful, with an intricately patterned parterre with labyrinth elements.
Address: Via del Corso 305, Rome
One of Rome's oldest churches and with the city's most beautifully decorated apse, covered in mosaics of Old and New Testament scenes, San Clemente has a further fascination: the multiple layers of its history as each era built upon the last.
You can descend from the 12 th -century church into a previous church, a 4 th -century basilica with Romanesque frescoes of New Testament scenes. Below that are the excavated foundations of a Roman home from the 2 nd century AD, with a shrine to the sun god Mithra, with a carved relief on the altar. From the foundations of the house, you can walk on the ancient streets of this former Roman neighborhood.
But do take time to look around the upper church, to see the mosaics, the inlaid marble floors, and the early Renaissance frescoes by Masolino in the St. Catherine's Chapel.
Address: Via San Giovanni in Laterano 108, Rome
In July of 64 CE, a six-day fire destroyed almost three-fourths of the city. The cruel and unpopular emperor Nero took advantage of the cleared land to build a palace of unheard-of proportions, the Domus Aurea, or Golden House. Rooms were lined in rare marble and elaborately decorated in gold and precious stones.
The palace was never finished, and Nero's successors, attempting to erase all memory of the hated ruler and his reign, buried it, and Rome grew over it. Excavations continue to disclose more of its splendors, and you can tour the active archaeological site to see the halls and rooms that have been uncovered, some with excellent frescoes.
With the help of a video outlining the history and virtual reality technology that recreates the atrium and one hall , you can get a sense of what the palace looked like in Nero's time. Both are included in tours.
Tip: Even on the hottest days, bring something with long sleeves, as the underground excavations site is quite cold year-round.
Historical Note: Did Nero really fiddle while Rome burned? Although he took advantage of the destroyed city to build his extravagant villa, and there was disgruntled mumbling at the time that he had ordered the fire set to clear the land, no historical evidence or contemporary account mentions his playing any musical instrument.
Address: Via della Domus Aurea, Rome
Diocletian's baths were so enormous that today, they contain two churches, large parts of a Carthusian monastery and a major museum. Michelangelo used the vast tepidarium (hot baths) as the shell for his church of Santa Maria degli Angeli , and the Museo Nazionale Romano , Rome's National Museum, fills another section with treasures of antiquity: Greek and Roman sculpture, pre-Christian and later sarcophagi, and beautiful mosaics and frescoes.
The late-16th-century church of San Bernardo alle Terme was built in a rotunda at the corner of the baths; its dome is like that of the Pantheon, but only half its size.
- Sightseeing Tour by Bus : For maximum flexibility while you're seeing all the top attractions, sign up for the Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour on an open-air double-decker bus. Accompanied by audio commentary, this convenient ticket covers all the top sights, with eight different stops, and you can hop on and off at your favorite attractions. You can choose a tour that's valid for either 24 or 48 hours and upgrade to packages that include time-saving skip-the-line admission to attractions like Palatine Hill, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum.
- Segway Tour: Another way to see the top sights without worrying about navigating your way around the city is on the Rome Segway Tour . Included in this three-hour excursion are a brief orientation session, helmets, wet weather jackets (if needed), and audio commentary. Meet your guide near Piazza Venezia and see the sights of Ancient Rome, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Circus Maximus, learning all about them as you zoom around the city.
- Gladiator Experience : If you've always wondered what it's like to brandish a sword like Spartacus, consider signing up for the Roman Gladiator School: Learn How to Become a Gladiator experience on the Appian Way, near the Colosseum. This two-hour private lesson is suitable for anyone aged six years and older and includes entrance to the Gladiator School of Rome Museum as well as clothing and weapon hire.
- Tivoli Day Trip : Organized tours are a great way to explore the attractions in the beautiful countryside around Rome. You can relax and let a professional guide do the work without the hassle of driving, finding your way, and parking. On the Tivoli Day Trips from Rome: Villa d'Este and Hadrian's Villa tour, you can explore two World Heritage-listed historic villas, built as vacation homes for the Roman elite, as well as their gorgeous gardens. The tour includes transportation in a comfortable coach, villa admission, and headsets so you can easily hear the guide.
- Pompeii Day Trip : Another popular excursion is the Pompeii Day Trip from Rome . On this full-day tour, you can hike to the crater of Mt. Vesuvius (in summer) or visit the National Archeological Museum of Pompeii (November 16 through March 31), as well as see the sights of Pompeii. Entrance fees and lunch are included.
Where to Go near Rome: When you have seen Rome's ancient sites, you'll want to explore some of the city's surroundings. The town of Tivoli lies 30 kilometers east of Rome, with Hadrian's Villa and one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy .
Places to Visit from Rome: In just over an hour by train, you can step into the exuberant street life of the vibrant city of Naples . From here, you are only a short ferry ride from the idyllic island of Capri , across the Bay of Naples. Or take a train the short distance to the ancient city of Pompeii , under the still smoldering cone of Mt. Vesuvius.
More on Italy
The 23 Best Things to Do in Rome
By Maresa Manara and Katie Parla
Rome is such an ancient and dense place that prioritizing which attractions to visit can be an overwhelming task. How do you even start to figure out what to do in Rome? To shed some light on that impenetrable question we've pulled together a list of world-famous sites and lesser-known destinations—museums, markets, archeological and architectural marvels—that will provide you with the full spectrum of outstanding experiences the Italian capital has to offer. Whether you have only a day in the city or a couple weeks to explore every detail, this list will help you pull together an itinerary you won't forget.
Read our complete Rome travel guide here .
This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza Arrow
Most artists and architects working in the characteristically ornate and emotional Baroque style leaned heavily on color and materials to create strong visual impressions. Not Borromini, in this magnificent church originally designed for the Università di Roma. Using simply molded stucco forms and daylight, the maestro created an interior space that's at once intimate and infinite, simple and complex. If you've seen Bernini's interior design at St. Peter's Basilica, this is a great place to see how his rival achieves absolute architectural perfection without using scale and color as a crutch. There's no guide. Walk in, take a seat, and take it in.
Galleria Doria Pamphilj Arrow
This museum houses Rome's largest private collection, a trove assembled by the Doria, Pamphilj, Landi, and Aldobrandini families and brought together through marriage. It’s set in a noble palace still owned by the Doria Pamphilj family and the ornate halls provide a grand setting for such an overwhelming amount of art. The collection is acclaimed among 16th and 17th-century art aficionados but is off the average visitor’s radar even though it's located just off Piazza Venezia and close to the Forum.
Villa Doria Pamphilj Arrow
Rome's largest public park is divided into manicured gardens, stretches of forest, pine groves, and bits of wild vegetation. There are wide open fields, as well as intimate nooks for romantic picnics. It's a perfect destination for runners or cyclists who want to get in a few miles without the nuisances of car traffic and smog. Whether you visit for a stroll, a meal, or a workout, be sure to have a map. The place is huge and some exits spit you out into residential neighborhoods.
If you know the background of the building, a visit to the Colosseum will be truly amazing and totally live up to the hype. The place was used for wild beast hunts, public executions, and gladiator fights for several hundred years, then became a condo of sorts as medieval Romans made their homes in the hulking ruins. Spend a little time on the second story exhibition area, check out the artists' renderings of the building's ancient and medieval incarnations, and you'll be anxious to learn more.
Ancient Pharmacy of Santa Maria della Scala Arrow
Entering this ancient apothecary, the oldest in Europe, feels a little like stepping back in time. You enter through the ground floor of the building, which is now a functioning, modern pharmacy, before heading upstairs to the ancient iteration. Visitors are welcomed by a friar, who talks you through the various herbs, potions, unguents, balms, and oils that they used to heal the ancient Romans. He knows his stuff. Ask him to show you some of the original wooden furniture from the 18th century, and the instruments they used for weighing ingredients and making the medicines. Look out for the teriaca, a potion created and used by Romans as an antidote—ingredients include viper meat.
MAXXI Rome Arrow
MAXXI is the kind of place you go to spend half a day, with no plans other than to take the entire place in. Designed by Zaha Hadid, this is Rome’s museum for all things contemporary, with exhibitions spanning modern fashion, cinema, art, and architecture. Heck, it’s worth visiting just to check out the building, a piece of art in itself. The labyrinthine space at MAXXI is astounding. It gets busy, but there's so much space that you wouldn't notice. Big, wide halls give way to rooms of different themes and sizes, resulting in five floors of non-stop, incredible artwork. Spaces range from performing arts to galleries with modern artworks to open cinemas. For some, this might feel a little incoherent, but it helps if you take it in as a whole rather than different spaces.
The Tour Guy: Vatican Night Tour with the Sistine Chapel Arrow
There’s no denying it—The Tour Guy’s tours are slick. They somehow manage to keep things professional feeling relatively impromtu, rather than big and organized. The tour meets at the stairs in front of Caffe Vaticano on Viale Vaticano, located directly across the street from the Vatican Museum's entrance. With a maximum group size of 14, it feels a bit like you’re out with a bunch of your new best friends. This tour is popular, so booking is a must. Despite the name, the guides aren’t just ‘guys’–they’re all genders. What we loved about our guide was her ability to structure the tour towards the individuals on the day, rather than just regurgitating a memorized spiel. She was able to answer everyone’s questions (about the tour and about life in Rome in general), and even gave us an extra hour of her time. By the end of it, we felt like old friends. Plus, being able to skip the long lines, and being inside the Vatican Museums after dark felt delightfully exclusive.
Capitoline Museums Arrow
Home to one of the finest collections of ancient sculpture in Rome (and therefore the world), the Capitoline Museums are—weirdly—rarely crowded. They attract school groups, local history and art buffs, and travelers, all of whom tend to meander through the museums' various buildings, two of which were designed by none other than Michelangelo. Thanks to its collection and its proximity to Rome's main archeological attractions, it's a logical place to stop after visiting the Roman Forum and Colosseum.
Palatine Hill Arrow
The Palatine Hill is a big, sprawling open-air museum. There are emperors' palaces, manicured gardens, medieval churches, and a terrace overlooking the Forum and beyond. The admission fee is about $18 and covers the Roman Forum and Colosseum, too, making it a pretty great deal. Although the Palatine has monuments from every major era in Rome's history, the real draw is a first-century palace built by Domitian, a mad emperor with a very serious architecture addiction.
Jubilee Church Arrow
Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso, also known as the Jubilee Church, was designed by American architect Richard Meier as part of the Vatican's grand church-building and city revival program leading up to the Millennium Jubilee, a Catholic pilgrimage year held in 2000. The church is free, though getting there may cost you. It's about six miles from central Rome, so a taxi could easily cost more than €25 ($28). Alternatively, you can reach the church via public transport for €3 ($4) round trip.
San Zeno Chapel at Santa Prassede Arrow
The San Zeno Chapel is a small chapel and major pilgrimage destination inside the church of Santa Prassede (aka Saint Praxedes). The church, chapel, and mosaics all backdate to the 9th century when Pope Paschal I built the chapel and its Byzantine mosaics for his mother. Because the chapel houses the remains of a pillar believed by many Catholics to be from the Flagellation of Christ, it draws some pilgrims. Other visitors are travelers specifically there to see the Byzantine mosaics.
Domus Aurea Arrow
A sprawling palatial pavilion built by emperor Nero in the 1st century that will blow you away with the design taste and command of concrete and space on display. You can only visit on weekends—the site's under restoration during the week—but admission includes a guided tour. Ours was led by an archeologist who not only worked on the site but was totally obsessed with it; the passion made for a terrific tour. Try your luck.
Mercato di Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo Arrow
Despite being Rome's largest farmers market, the Mercato di Campagna Amica remains down to earth and not at all corporate—as demonstrated by the fact it's only open on weekends. The stalls adhere to the "0 km" philosophy, shorthand for products made or grown within 100 kilometers from the point of sale; and vendors come mostly from Lazio, Rome's home region. It's a crash course in the local leafy greens, amusing in their number and variety, especially to visitors from northern climates. Both the olives and the olive oil you'll find here are worth a splurge, but one of the market's best uses is as a source of super-fresh (and super-cheap) picnic material. Grab some bread, a little fresh pecorino, a few slices of prosciutto, some fruit, and make yourself a lunch.
Villa Farnesina Arrow
The Villa was the private residence of Agostino Chigi, one of the Renaissance's richest men; he liked to showcase his wealth by hiring artists to paint elaborate frescoes on the walls and ceilings in his palace. That makes this a great place for Renaissance fans who want to take their time and see the art in-situ without the crowds. Thanks to Raphael's emphasis on mythological themes, it's also a great place for kids who know about the Roman gods—or want to!
Janiculum Hill Arrow
This is a leisurely stroll beginning in Trastevere and winding up via Garibaldi to the top of Janiculum Hill. The mood changes from urban at the beginning to monumental at the end; it's a bit of work, but rewards those willing to do it with a unique perspective on Roman history and some of the best views of the city. Best to do the walk during the day, or early in the morning if it's summer. If you're on a tight schedule, don't want to brave the hill in the heat, or just want to get a view, skip the hike and take a taxi directly to Piazzale Garibaldi.
Vicus Caprarius Arrow
This museum takes you beneath the Trevi district, through an intricate maze of ancient vestiges to the archaeological ruins of Vicus Caprarius (which roughly translates to “City of Water”), an old Roman apartment complex dating back to the first-century A.D.. You get to see first-hand how the rich Romans lived, using their very own aqueduct–the same one that feeds the Trevi fountain–for their running water. The entrance is unassuming, and if you hadn’t been told it was there it would be easy to walk right past. There’s a fairly comprehensive website but all bookings are made (and confirmed) via a Whatsapp chat. Skip the guided tour—there were 8 of us in the tour group, but we shared the same (small) space with self-guided individuals, many of whom had just showed up and booked on the day. If you're keen on a post-museum cocktail, head upstairs to Harry's Bar.
Santa Maria del Popolo Arrow
Santa Maria del Popolo is a Renaissance church at the edge of Piazza del Popolo and just within Rome's 3rd-century walls. It was decorated during Rome's most recent artistic peak, the 15th to 17th centuries, and is packed with masterpieces. The church is free, though some coins will come in handy for turning lights on in chapels. The place mostly draws visitors on the Caravaggio trail. Two canvases painted by that controversial and innovative artist hang in the chapel next to the main altar.
Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini Arrow
The Domus Romane are ancient Roman villas and other structures that were abandoned in antiquity, filled in with debris, and inadvertently used as foundations for Palazzo Valentini, a Renaissance palace turned government office building. They are now underground, obscured by buildings and pavement just beside Piazza Venezia. Booking is required and must be done online.
Santa Maria in Trastevere Arrow
There are hundreds of churches in Rome, but Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the most breathtaking. Not only are the mosaics and gilded ceiling spectacular, the very skeletal structure of the church is mind-boggling. The columns that support the nave and separate the aisles are single, solid pieces of granite that were lugged across the river in the 12th century after being plundered from the 3rd-century Baths of Caracalla. The church will help you develop a taste for medieval Rome, a period often outshined by the Renaissance and Baroque eras.
Palazzo Massimo Arrow
The Palazzo Massimo's building itself was built by Jesuits in the late 19th century and was only turned into a state-owned museum in 1980. It's next to Stazione Termini, Rome's busiest station, yet few travelers make the trip to see the museum's masterpiece-packed halls. The collection is a mix of Classical sculpture, Imperial frescoes, and Hellenistic baroque-style statuary. After the Vatican Museums and Capitoline Museums, the Palazzo Massimo is a must for ancient art lovers.
Testaccio Market Arrow
This market in one of Rome's most bustling central neighborhoods has all the usual suspects: bread bakeries, produce stalls, fishmongers, butchers, and delis. You'll also find seasonal vegetables like artichokes or zucchini, cuts typical of the local cuisine like tripe and liver, and little chewy pizzas common to Roman bakeries. If you're looking for lunch (or to stock a picnic), hunt down takeaway stalls like the stellar Mordi e Vai, which serves Roman sandwiches near the Via B. Franklin exit. The stalls on the eastern side of the market mainly sell clothes, shoes, and housewares. There's even a hair salon, in case you're needing a touchup.
Pigneto is popular with Italian college students and twenty- and thirty-somethings who frequent the bars on the "Isola," a pedestrianized stretch of Via del Pigneto, the neighborhood's central artery. It's also a destination for Pasolini fans who visit the streets that were the backdrop for his Neorealist films. It's an acquired taste and may feel too rough-around-the-edges for some, but anyone interested in urbanism and street art, or just thirsty to explore neighborhood's outside of Rome's historic center, will enjoy it.
Baths of Caracalla Arrow
The Baths of Caracalla were a massive public bathing complex built in the third century. Throughout the year, the site is open during the day for visitors to stroll through ruins that were so magnificent they inspired the Main Concourse at Grand Central Terminal. Each summer, the city of Rome's Opera company performs at the Baths, using the towering brick ruins as a backdrop. The contrast of the ancient buildings, celebrated operas, and modern acoustics and lighting is stunning.
Quartiere San Lorenzo Arrow
This working-class neighborhood near Termini station first gained international prominence when Soho House opened their Rome outpost there last year. Over the past few years it’s evolved from a rough-around-the-edges student hangout into a decidedly bohemian district, with street art, street food, lively bars, and cool fashion boutiques. To get the most out of the neighborhood, visit in the late afternoon, when fashion boutiques like L’Anatra all’Arancia and La Maison de la Mode will still be open. Refuel with a coffee at the diminutive Giufà Libreria Caffè bookstore-bar, then check out the street art around Via dei Sabelli and Scalo San Lorenzo. Stop by Blackmarket San Lorenzo for a pre-dinner cocktail and vegetarian small plates, or pop into Sanlollo for pizzas, bruschetta, and salted cod. Gelato San Lorenzo does some of the best ice cream in town, all of it organic. Still, don't bring your parents or your fussiest friends here; rather, come with someone who’s up for a cheap-ish night out in a gritty but very cool neighborhood.
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Home » Europe » Italy » Rome
37 BEST Places to Visit in Rome (2023)
What can you say about Rome? Once the most powerful nation in the world and the seed from which western culture grew, Rome has everything. If you love history, Italian food, amazing scenery, or friendly people, you’ll find all that and more when you visit Rome – the incredible, beautiful city.
But that doesn’t mean that traveling to Rome is trouble-free. A lot of stories come out of Rome about pickpockets and other issues that travelers have while in this stunning place.
And while these stories may be true, that doesn’t mean that you should avoid Rome. Because if you do, you’ll be avoiding one of the most beautiful and historically significant cities in the world.
As long as you’re careful and you pay attention to the tips and tricks in this guide, you’ll be able to avoid problems and have the trip of a lifetime while in Rome.
Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighborhood in Rome:
These are the best places to visit in rome, faq on the best places to visit in rome, final thoughts on the coolest places to visit in rome.
The Storico Centro is home to many of Rome’s greatest landmarks, so if you’re searching for where to stay in Rome for sightseeing, this is the district for you.
- Sip and sample your way through the bustling Mercato Centre
- Learn to cook your favorite Italian fare by taking a cooking class with a local
- Rent a Vespa and explore the city on two wheels
To accompany you on your trip to see the best that Rome has to offer, you’re also going to need the BEST accommodation in the BEST neighbourhoods! Be sure to check out where to stay in Rome before scrolling into the fun that awaits you below! Once you’ve done exploring the city, there are also heaps of day trips from Rome you can check out roo.
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#1 – The Roman Forum – One of Rome’s coolest historical sites!
- One of the most popular and recognizable landmarks in the city.
- If you enjoy history, then you’ll love this area.
Why it’s so awesome: This site was first built around 500 BC but it was enlarged several times over the years by various Roman leaders of the Roman Empire, including Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar. It’s a large complex with lots of houses, cobblestoned streets, and temples, and exploring it could take all day!
What to do there: Make sure you go there with a guide, particularly if you’re not an expert on Roman history. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself wandering without any real idea of what you’re looking at.
Make sure you see the Circus Maximus, the Arch of Titus and Trajan’s Column too. They’re a little outside of the complex but are important parts of this venue’s history.
#2 – The Pantheon – A great place to see in Rome if you love architecture
- An ancient temple that was built on the site of an older temple.
- An architectural marvel.
Why it’s so awesome: This temple was built between 118 and 128 AD and was actually used as a burial site for some of Rome’s kings. It’s an architectural marvel and has often been called the world’s only architecturally perfect building. It’s also the best-preserved monument of imperial Rome, so if you want to understand this culture then you need to spend some time at this site looking at what they created.
What to do there: Make sure you look up once you enter the building as the oculus in the dome is open to the sky. This lets the sunlight filter in and fills the room with light in a way that’s arresting and highly practical.
With a Rome City Pass , you can experience the best of Rome at the CHEAPEST prices. Discounts, attractions, tickets, and even public transport are all standards in any good city pass – be sure invest now and save them $$$ when you arrive!
#3 – Piazza Navona – An awesome place to visit in Rome for half a day!
- One of the most popular sites in the city for tourists and locals.
- If you want a great photo, try taking one in front of this stunning fountain.
- The area around the fountain is filled with restaurants, shops and other tourist attractions and you could spend all day exploring them.
Why it’s so awesome: This oval-shaped Piazza Navona is perfect for tourists and locals. The famous square has a wide variety of shops, restaurants, gelaterias in the area and the buildings are stunning. Baroque art is on full display, with carved figures representing the world’s great rivers and prominent figures. No matter how much time you spend here, you’ll always find something else to do, see or eat!
What to do there: Explore the area. Make sure you check out the Via Della Pace, one of the city’s most beautiful streets, and take a picture in front of the fountain. Eat gelato at as many of the gelaterias as your stomach can handle and have a meal in a restaurant with an outdoor area so you can do some people watching. If you manage to do all of this, it will make for the absolute best day in Rome!
#4 – The Colosseum
- An instantly recognizable building.
- This venue has a long and gory history behind it.
- Great for that iconic photo of your trip to Rome!
Why it’s so awesome: The Colosseum has been in so many movies and photos that it’s easily recognized, even for people who aren’t interested in Roman history. It was built in the fourth century and was once used for gladiatorial games and fights that were as brutal as they were an accepted and celebrated part of Roman history.
What to do there: The Colosseum was neglected for centuries, which is why parts of it are falling down. But it’s still in remarkable shape despite that. Make sure you buy your tickets in advance because everyone wants to visit this venue. So, if you don’t buy advance tickets you’ll find yourself standing for hours in the hot sun.
Get a combined ticket that includes other popular tourist attractions like the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and you can skip the line and spend more time exploring this site.
#5 – The Vatican City – One of the most religious places to see in Rome
- Some of the city’s best artworks are contained in this small country.
- Make sure you visit the Sistine Chapel!
Why it’s so awesome: The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, and it’s located right in the middle of a big city. It also contains some of the most stunning medieval and renaissance artwork and sculptures that you’ve ever seen. You could spend days in this area exploring all the rooms and buildings.
And if you want a great view of everything, go south of the Vatican City to the Castel Sant-Angelo. If you climb to the top of this building you’ll get some amazing views of the Vatican and the Tiber River. Some of Rome’s best hostels are located around this area too!
What to do there: While you’re in the Vatican City, make sure you check out the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums . There’s a lot of hype about this attraction, but the artwork actually lives up to all the talk and perhaps is even better than you might expect. Make sure that you also have a look at the Raphael Rooms, which contain lots of stunning artworks and sculptures.
#6 – St. Peter’s Basilica
- An architectural masterpiece.
- One of the most important religious sites in the city.
- Inside the Basilica, you’ll find additional masterpieces.
Why it’s so awesome: St Peter’s Basilica is the first roman catholic church on this site was built in 349 AD over the tomb of the first pope but it was razzed, and the current version has been standing in its place since 1626. It’s one of Rome’s main tourist attractions in Rome and the domed top of this building is absolutely iconic and looks great in photographs.
What to do there: Make sure that you take a photo of yourself outside this architectural marvel in St Peter’s square just so your friends back home know that you were there. And then spend some time inside. You’ll see masterpieces like Bernini’s altarpiece and Michelangelo’s Pieta just to start.
#7 – Trastevere – A must-visit place to visit in Rome on the weekend!
- This neighborhood has a fun bohemian vibe that travelers just love.
- There are lots of hidden shops here so make sure you take the time to really explore.
- Some of the best nightlife in the city is in this area.
Why it’s so awesome: The Trastevere neighborhood is one of the best places to wander, shop and people watch. You’ll find countless tiny boutique stalls, hidden alcoves, and handcrafts on these cobblestone streets. There are also some great bars as well, and there’s no better place in the city to stop for a drink and a chat.
What to do there: While you’re in the neighborhood, take a few hours and just explore. These old-style streets hide many mysteries and it’s only when you’re on foot and open to wandering down any open street that you’ll find them. And when you get tired, stop for a drink and a snack at one of the many bars. Lots of young Italians visit Rome on the weekend to go out for late-night drinks in this district.
#8 – The Trevi Fountain
- Throw in a coin to get a wish granted.
- This fountain is a baroque masterpiece.
Why it’s so awesome: There are so many buildings and monuments of historical and architectural significance in this city that it can be hard to choose a favorite. However, the Trevi Fountain of the most famous fountain in Rome, if not the world, and would be very high on that list.
This Baroque fountain was created by Nicola Salvi in the baroque style and it’s the perfect place for a selfie. Legend says that if you throw a coin in the fountain, you’re guaranteed to one day return to the Eternal City, so try it out!
What to do there: Throw a coin in the Trevi fountain, take a picture if you can around all the other tourists trying to do the same thing, and then grab a souvenir. This area tends to attract lots of street hawkers selling mementos, so take advantage of them. And if you want to see the fountain without the crowds, try going very early in the morning or late in the evening.
#9 – Galleria Borghese
- Contains the best baroque art in the world.
- A stunning garden is attached where you can wander and relax before you plunge back into the busy Roman streets.
Why it’s so awesome: This gallery is located in a villa that is staggeringly beautiful on its own. It was commissioned in the 17th century by Cardinal Scipione Borghese to house his treasures and now contains Baroque and Renaissance artwork from some of the greatest masters in the Baroque movement. You’ll see works by Antonio Canova, Bernini and Caravaggio during your wanderings in this gallery, so don’t miss out!
What to do there: This gallery contains the most stunning examples of Baroque art in the world, so make sure you spend some time there exploring the style. You’ll need to buy tickets ahead of time for the sessions, so get them early so you don’t miss out. And afterward, walk outside and explore the garden. This idyllic garden is filled with orange trees and flowers and is a lovely, relaxing place to recover from the busyness of the city.
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#10 – Galleria Alberto Sordi – A great place in Rome if you love to shop!
- The perfect place for people who want to shop in one of the most stunning places in Europe!
- You’ll get a chance to experience Italy’s best and most popular designers in this venue.
Why it’s so awesome: The Galleria Alberto Sordi is a shopping center like no other. With stained-glass skylights and mosaic floors, it’s one of the most beautiful shopping centers in Europe, if not in the entire world. This shopping center is filled with Italian shops and designers, which will add a touch of exoticism to your shopping expedition.
What to do there: Have an Italian coffee at the Illy Kiosk and then shop! Find your own hidden gems in Rome . You’ll find lots of popular Italian shops in this area like Zara, Massimo Dutti, La Rinascente and mega bookstore La Feltrinelli. So go into every store and just see what catches your eye!
#11 – The Centrale Montemartini – Quite the quirky place in Rome!
- A museum with a difference!
- The old artwork seems to go surprisingly well with this building’s industrial setting.
Why it’s so awesome: You can’t spend time in the Eternal City without looking at the artwork available and this is one of the more unusual places to do it. This venue was chosen to house part of the collection from the Capitoline Museums in the late 1990s and it was an inspired choice. There’s nothing quite like seeing fauns and Apollos amongst the machinery of a decommissioned power station.
What to do there: Take lots of pictures and enjoy the combination of the past and the future. You’ll get to see ancient statues of Minervas, Bacchic revelers and Roman gods set against steel machinery and it’s an oddly interesting sight. This venue also hosts musical events occasionally, so make sure you check what’s on while you’re in the city if you want a really surreal experience.
#12 – Cimitero Acattolico
- A restful oasis in the middle of the city.
- This is actually a cemetery, so don’t spend time at this venue if you’re squeamish.
Why it’s so awesome: This is a place of calm and nature in the middle of the city. It’s also a cemetery, though you probably wouldn’t think so at first look. This venue is known as the Protestant Cemetery, but it also contains people from a wide variety of faiths, their final resting places nestled amongst the grass and trees.
What to do there: You’ll find lots of graves of notable persons from this past in this cemetery such as Percy Shelley, John Keats and Karl Brullov. But mostly, this is a place where you can enjoy some nature and have a short rest before you rejoin the city rush once more. Make sure you explore the newer section, which slopes up to the Aurelian Wall.
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#13 – Stadio Olimpico
- Home of the best football clubs in Rome.
- If you attend a game, you’ll finally get to see what all the fuss is about.
- The games and the chants used can get a bit risqué, so this isn’t a place for young children.
Why it’s so awesome: Football is huge in Europe and Rome is no exception. This stadium is home to the two best football clubs in the city, AS Roma and SS Lazio. The games between these two rivals are epic, but then any football game tends to be. And the competition doesn’t stay on the field either, the team’s supporters tend to compete to see who can come up with the rudest and most insulting chants and pyrotechnics.
What to do there: If you’re there in the right season, then make sure you catch a game. You’ll either be amused by the whole spectacle or shocked at just how seriously people take a game. But even if you aren’t there in the football season, this stadium is also the largest sports facility in Rome, and other sports are played there too. So, just see what’s going on and turn up to watch the madness!
Short on time and want to see as much as possible? Check out our sample itinerary for Rome before visiting!
#14 – Auditorium-Parco Della Musica – A great place to visit in Rome at night
- All the best music shows in the city are held at this venue.
- It also plays host to science festivals, a skating rink in winter, and all the biggest events in the city.
Why it’s so awesome: This is a beetle-shaped building that’s the center of Rome’s performing arts world. It hosts classical music and rock concerts, author meetings, Rome’s annual film festival and science exhibits. So, if you’re looking for something to do on a slow night, you’ll probably find it at this venue.
What to do there: There is always something going on at this venue. It’s the perfect place to have a night out with friends or on your own, exploring the shows and music that Rome loves.
#15 – Ostia Antica – One of the most underrated places to see in Rome.
- A chance to experience everyday life in ancient Rome without braving the lines at Pompeii!
- Good for a short day trip from the city.
Why it’s so awesome: People flock to Pompeii to see the people who were preserved beneath the soot and yet not too many people know that they can see the same thing at this port city. Ostia Antics was built during the 7th century BC. It was abandoned in the fifth century after being repeatedly sacked and the city itself was buried by river mud. This has left it perfectly preserved and ready to be explored!
What to do there: This is the perfect chance for you to see a perfectly preserved Roman town that has been frozen in time. And you won’t have to imagine the horror and the pain of the inhabitants either. Unlike Pompeii, this town was empty when disaster struck, which means no corpses curled in the streets. Instead, all you’ll get are amazing pieces of art, great architecture, and a strong impression of ordinary Roman life.
#16 – Orto Botanico – A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Rome
- A chance to enjoy some greenery in the heart of the city.
- The gardens are a living museum, with displays designed to entertain you and provide respite from the hot city.
Why it’s so awesome: There are 30 acres of greenery in these gardens and they were first planted in the 13th century by Pope Nicholas III. At the time, they were devoted to medicinal plants and citrus groves, but over time this has expanded to include a wide variety of plants amongst baroque stairs, waterfalls and exotic flowers.
What to do there: The best thing to do in this garden is to relax. Rome can be hot, dusty and dry, and you should take advantage of the chance to breathe in cool, wet air. But once you’ve had a chance to relax, make sure you take in the touching and smelling garden for the visually impaired. It’s an ingenious display that’s designed to help everyone enjoy nature’s bounty.
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#17 – Torre Argentina
- An abandoned temple complex that’s now a cat sanctuary.
- This building was part of the portico of Pompey, the structure where Julius Caesar was betrayed and murdered!
Why it’s so awesome: There’s nothing quite like seeing a famous, ancient Rome building fallen to ruin and used by cats, especially when the building has such a famous history. Everyone knows the story of Julius Caesar’s death upon the stone steps of the portico of Pompey. But if you want to see it, you’re going to have to line up behind Rome’s homeless feline population.
What to do there: After this site was excavated it was claimed by feral cats who are now looked after by volunteers. The cats are mostly ill or disabled in some way and the volunteers do their best to care for their special needs and to spay and neuter as many as possible to keep the city’s cat population under control.
You can watch the cats sunbathe from the street, and you’ll be surprised by how many there are. Or you can head to the underground office to volunteer, check out the gift shop, or donate to the cat’s continued care.
#18 – Quartiere Coppedè – A great place to see in Rome if you love architecture
- Architecturally stunning, quite literally like a fairy tale!
- You’ll get some amazing photographs in this area.
Why it’s so awesome: This is a strange and beautiful area of Rome within the Trieste district. The architecture is a fantastical mix of Ancient Roman and Greek, Medieval, Mannerist, Baroque and Art Nouveau.
This sounds like it would be overwhelming and ugly, but it’s actually stunningly beautiful and like being in a fairy tale. The combination was dreamed up by architect Coppede, and he worked on this area from 1919 until his death in 1927.
What to do there: Take a lot of pictures! You won’t quite believe the masterpieces you see in this area, and neither will anyone back home, so take pictures of everything that catches your eye as proof. This area is a little off the beaten path, so by spending time there, you’ll also be experiencing a part of Rome that most tourists never see!
#19 – The Dome Illusion – One of the most underrated places to see in Rome
- A quirky slice of history that looks great in photos.
- If you enjoy art, you’ll love this expertly created trick.
Why it’s so awesome: There are a lot of domes in Rome and it’s fun to see one that doesn’t actually exist. The Dome illusion is located at The Jesuit church of Saint Ignazio, which was originally supposed to have a dome.
After the designers ran out of money, painter Andrea Pozzo used perspective to paint the roof as if the dome was actually there! It’s a trick and a really good one, showing the artist’s mastery of his craft.
What to do there: Like most perspective drawings, you can only see the dome from certain angles, but it’s absolutely worth finding those angles. The dome painting is really well done, and when you’re in certain positions, you’ll swear that it’s actually there!
#20 – Santa Maria della Concezione Crypts
- A fascinating, if slightly creepy look at the past.
- Photographs aren’t allowed, so come prepared to remember all the details you can.
- Definitely not for children.
Why it’s so awesome: This crypt contains the bones of more than 4,000 monks who died between 1528 and 1870. It’s a creepy and infamous place, written by Mark Twin and spoken of by the Marquis de Sade. These monks weren’t buried. Instead, their bones were used to decorate the walls. This was supposed to be a reminder that death came to everything and so everyone should be prepared to face it. But these days, it’s a fascinating and slightly creepy sight.
What to do there: Stay away from this site if you don’t have a strong stomach. But if you do, make sure you explore the crypt. The sign at the entrance claims that “What you are now, we once were: what we are now, you shall be.” This is s sobering reminder of the purpose of the place.
Make sure you see the crypt of skulls, the crypt of leg bones and crypt of pelvises. Also, be aware that mummified monks are dressed in friar’s clothes and hung from the walls. And they’re still there, some of them incorporated into the electrical light system just to make things a little more surreal.
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#21 – Nuovo Mercato Esquilino
- An exciting market where you can get a range of amazing foods and produce.
- If you’re looking for the multicultural hub of the city, you can eat it here.
Why it’s so awesome: This is a lively and chaotic market in the city center that’s filled with sights, smells, and cultures from all around the world. And you can eat most of it too! If you’re getting tired of Italian food, this is the perfect place to come to see Italy’s version of some of the most exotic foods in the world from African fruit stalls, fishmongers and butchers.
What to do there: This is a place to wander around and enjoy the chaotic sights and sounds. If you’re interested in making your own meal, chances are that you’ll find some of the best ingredients in the city at this venue. And when you’re done, head over to nearby Mercato Centrale for something to eat.
#22 – Domus Romane
- This is a rare opportunity for you to see how the wealthy lived and played in the ancient city of Rome!
- You’ll get some fabulous photo opportunities at this site.
Why it’s so awesome: Everywhere you go in Rome you’ll be treading in the footsteps of the ancient Roman Empire and yet you’ll feel this even more in the Domus Romane. They’re located below street level and have only recently been found, excavated and opened to the public. It’s a rare chance to see a previously unknown side of ancient Rome and its fascinating civilization.
What to do there: The Domus Romane is located directly below Palazzo Vanentini and they’re now open to the public. Wander the intricately designed spaces. You’ll find beautiful mosaics, expensive marble flooring and amazing wall paintings, all of which reflect just how wealthy some parts of Roman society were.
#23 – San Luigi dei Francesi
- This church contains Caravaggio’s famous images from the life of St. Matthew.
- Make sure you do more than peer at the famous paintings because there’s a lot to see in this venue.
Why it’s so awesome: this is a small church built in 1589 for Rome’s French community. The outside is gaudy and striking, but it’s the inside that really catches people’s attention. There are two separate chapels at this location, each of them with its own appeal.
What to do there: Most people come to this church for one reason. They want to see Caravaggio’s masterpiece of light and shade in the funerary chapel of Metheiu Cointrel. But don’t just leave once you’ve taken this in. Make sure you also go across to the second chapel, which has a fresco by Domenichino of the life of St. Cecilia that’s just lovely and well worth seeing.
#24 – Pyramid of Cestius
- The only Egyptian pyramid out of Egypt.
- Built as part of Rome’s fascination with Egypt in 30 BC.
Why it’s so awesome: In 30 BC Rome was obsessed with Egypt and built two pyramids in the heart of their empire. Only one remains today, the Pyramid of Cestius. It was probably built between 18 and 12 BC and is 36 meters high. Built as a tomb for a wealthy Roman, the site was sacked a long time ago, so little else is known about the monument.
What to do there: This pyramid is actually located at the edge of a busy traffic intersection near an equally busy train station. This is a sign of how much the city has changed over the years. It was once well outside of the city center. You can only access the pyramid by special permission, but if you want to get a better view of the outside, go inside the Aurelian walls to the northwest side of the Protestant cemetery.
#25 – Galleria Sciarra – A nice non-touristy place to visit in Rome
- A chance to get away from the crowds and see something spectacular!
- Make sure you take plenty of photos of this area so you can show people back home.
Why it’s so awesome: This area is close to the Trevi Fountain and yet tourists never venture there. This is a shame because this small courtyard may be the most stunning in the city. It’s also a nice change from the history of the city, decorated with gorgeous frescos and colors in the Art Nouveau style. Built in the 19th century for a wealthy family, it was meant to be a shopping mall, but these plans fell through and the area was mostly forgotten.
What to do there: This area is absolutely stunning. The artist, Giuseppe Cellini, used his artwork to celebrate women at every stage of life and covered these four-story walls with gorgeous images of women against stunning landscapes.
There is a glass and iron ceiling, which allows light to spill into the area and onto the walls, highlighting the curls of color and floral designs. The walls are even more beautiful at night though, when artificial lights come on to give everything a golden glow.
#26 – Tazza d’Oro
- One of the most famous cafes in the city.
- Take part in the great tradition of coffee drinking in Rome.
Why it’s so awesome: In our opinion, what makes Rome one of the best cities in Europe is its coffee. Rome loves its coffee, so while you’re in the city you absolutely must try a cup the way they love it. You won’t find any Starbucks or Drip Coffee in the city, instead, you’ll find a shop that has turned this simple drink into an art form. There are two famous coffee chains in the city, Tazza d’Oro and Caffe Sant’Eustachi, and they compete wildly for the title of the best coffee around.
What to do there: If you love coffee then you absolutely must try the coffee in Rome. It isn’t uncommon for the locals to have at least 3 espressos a day, so when in Rome… With such a strong coffee culture, there are some rules surrounding this ritual too. Firstly, only drink cappuccinos in the morning. Secondly, if you ask for a latte then you’ll only get milk, so try a caffe macchiato, instead. This is a shot of espresso with milk.
#27 – The Stravinskij Bar
- One of the best places in the city to have a happy hour and a snack.
- This bar has a lovely courtyard, so if the weather is fine then try to snag a spot outside.
Why it’s so awesome: Rome loves happy hour and there are hundreds of bars all over the city that offer cocktails and snacks that are designed for the gap in between the end of work and dinner.
This provides a perfect opportunity for you to enjoy some classic cocktails and drinks in the mid-afternoon when you’re tired from exploring the city. The Stravinskij Bar is one of the most popular places for happy hour and they have a cocktail menu that’s probably the longest and the best in the city!
What to do there: The classic after-work drink in Rome is known as the Aperol Spritz, but you should also try the strawberry flavored wine Fragolino. When you buy a drink at happy hour in Rome you can have your choice of snacks as well in hundreds of bars all over the city. These usually range from potato chips to elaborate buffets. Some of the snacks are deceptively simple and delicious while others are elaborate, so make sure you bring your appetite with you.
#28 – Campo de’ Fiori – A perfect place to visit in Rome if you are on a budget!
- Rome’s fresh produce is of incredibly high quality, so make sure you sample some of it.
- This is the perfect place for some relaxed people watching.
- Shopping for fresh foods is an important part of the culture in Rome, so don’t miss out on seeing this part of their way of life.
Why it’s so awesome: If you enjoy cooking or just want to experience a little taste of what it’s like to live in Rome then you absolutely must visit a market. Shopping for fresh foods at small local markets is commonplace in this city, and no matter where you stay, you’ll see small markets pop up through the week. The Campo de’ Fiori market is one of the most popular in the city and operates every morning except Sunday.
What to do there: Shop of course! The quality of the fruits and vegetables at this market is absolutely amazing, which is probably why Italian food is so good as well. So if you want to be part of this tradition, wander the stalls and pick up some snacks and watch how the locals spend their mornings.
#29 – Giolitti
- You can’t go to Rome and not eat gelato!
- This venue serves old-style gelato that’s just delicious.
- Go more than once, so you can experience as many flavors as possible.
Why it’s so awesome: Italy is famous for its gelato and you’ll probably find yourself eating a lot of it while you’re in Rome. This location, just a short walk from the Pantheon, is one of the best places to get gelato that’s always top quality and delicious. It’s been around since the 1900s and serves dozens of flavors.
What to do there: The best gelato in Rome is a hotly contested topic in Rome and you can be part of the debate! Get your gelato to go and make sure you try as many flavors as possible. After all, it’s hot in Rome and gelato is the perfect way to cool down after a day of sightseeing!
#30 – MAXXI
- Don’t forget that Rome has modern art too!
- The building is unusual and a great draw for tourists too.
Why it’s so awesome: When you’re in Rome, you could be forgiven for thinking that they only have ancient Roman art. In reality, the city still has a strong artistic tradition and you can experience it at the MAXXI, which is one of the best venues for contemporary artwork. The MAXXI building is a sight too, made of glass, open spaces and staircases that seem to float!
What to do there: Give yourself a break from Roman art and experience the modern-day. You can’t help but admire the building, even if you find the staircases a little hair-raising, but have a look at the ever-changing displays of Italian art as well. It will give you a snapshot of modern Rome that you wouldn’t get at the ancient art exhibits.
#31 – Gianicolo
- One of the best places to get a panoramic view of the city.
- An awesome spot for photographers!
Why it’s so awesome: Rome is surrounded by seven famous hills and while Gianicolo isn’t one of them, it is the best place to take in the whole city. This is a prime makeout spot for Roman lovers at dusk because of the incredible views, and you’ll also get some amazing shots of the entire city during the day or night.
What to do there: You can hike to the top of the hill but it’s a long and winding path so it’s usually best to go by car or motorbike. While you’re up there, take in the panoramic views. You’ll be able to see all of Rome’s most popular monuments such as the Spanish Steps and get pictures that will encompass everything you’ve seen and experienced while in the city.
#32 – Tesstacio – Cool place to see in Rome with friends!
- The best nightlife in the city is in this area.
- Once a working-class neighborhood that’s now filled with bars and nightclubs.
Why it’s so awesome: Romans love to party and you should make sure that you experience this side of the culture while you’re in the city. The neighborhood of Tesstacio is the center of Roman nightlife, with more bars and nightclubs than you could visit in a single night. It’s the perfect place to spend an evening bar hopping or going to clubs.
What to do there: Take some friends with you and just enjoy the night. The party goes on until dawn in this neighborhood and there are lots of bars to explore. Just make sure that you don’t wear stilettos because the streets are lined with cobblestones. A couple of drinks and they’d be impossible to navigate in spiky heeled shoes.
#33 – The Sistine Chapel
- One of the most beautiful and recognizable chapels in the world.
- Something that everyone should see, at least once in their lives.
Why it’s so awesome: The Sistine Chapel is iconic. Located in the Vatican City, there’s a lot of art in this chapel with the most famous piece being the ceiling mural. Painted by Michelangelo in 1508, the mural was so difficult that it actually damaged the famous painter’s eyes. Fortunately, he recovered enough to come back later and paint other parts of the chapel, so make sure you experience more than just the ceiling.
What to do there: A lot of artwork was commissioned for this chapel and you should make sure that you see it all. The outside of the chapel is actually fairly plain and bland, but inside are masterpieces completed by Rosselli and Botticelli. The highlight is, of course, the ceiling, which depicts scenes from Genesis in grand, stunning style. It might hurt your neck to stand looking up at it for a long time, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
#34 – Santa Maria della Vitoria
- The famous chapel from Dan Brown’s book, Angels and Demons.
- A fantastic example of Baroque art.
- This is a small chapel, so it can get crowded in the peak tourist months.
Why it’s so awesome: This chapel was made famous by Angels and Demons which is why it’s often crowded with fans of the book or the movie. But don’t let this dissuade you because it’s absolutely stunning in its own right. In particular, the images of Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa are something that you’ll never forget.
What to do there: There are always crowds in this chapel, mostly because of the movie connection, but it’s worth braving them to see the art on offer. Make sure you spend some time looking at the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, it’s probably the most stunning and detailed piece of art that you’ll ever see.
#35 – Bascilica di San Clemente – One of the most incredible free places to go to in Rome
- A literal nesting doll of small churches.
- An ideal location for anyone who loves architecture.
Why it’s so awesome: This venue is a second-century pagan temple that contains a fourth-century church that’s underneath a 12th-century church. This place is full of different types of history and it’s fascinating to see how different times build upon the ruins and foundations of the past. This venue is also fairly unknown in the city, so you should be able to explore it in relative peace.
What to do there: Enter the church from the street level and then take the stairs down to the other church and the temple. When you enter the site, ignore the beggars at the door who often tell people that they’re affiliated with the church and try to claim an entrance fee. It’s free to enter the street level church (amazing, considering Rome can be quite expensive ) but there is a small fee to go down to the lower levels, which is well worth the cost.
#36 – Porta Portese – A great place in Rome if you love to shop!
- If you’d like to pick up a bargain, this is where to do it.
- Perfect for the fashionista who like to wear their Roman souvenirs.
- Be aware of pickpockets and keep your valuables close to you at all times.
Why it’s so awesome: This is a Sunday morning market that runs from 6am to around 2pm that sells everything from books to antiques. But its main focus is both old and new clothes. This has a distinct flea market vibe, so make sure you come ready to rummage around to find a bargain.
What to do there: Watch your valuables in this area as pickpockets are common, but apart from that just enjoy the spectacle. And make sure you bargain for the goods you want, that’s what the locals do and it’s the only way to get the best price! This is also a good place to find somewhere to sit and people watch, as you’ll get to see tourists and the locals alike enjoying themselves.
#37 – The Spanish Steps & Piazza di Spagna
- A great place for that iconic photograph of Rome.
- Located in one of the busiest tourist areas in Rome, so come expecting a crowd.
Why it’s so awesome: The Spanish steps get their name from the nearby Spanish Embassy. Walking up them allows you to walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest writers in history as well as the ancient Romans who created the site. Balzac and Byron both claimed inspiration from this site and maybe you will too!
What to do there: This is a great place for people watching and everyone goes to Piazza di Spagna to see the Spanish Steps. The area is especially beautiful in spring when flanked by azaleas, but the crowds can also be overwhelming.
Going at night is a good option if you don’t like the crowds as there will be fewer people there. Get a coffee from one of the many restaurants in Piazza di Spagna, find a spot near or on the steps, and just people watch for a while. You’ll see a fascinating array of different people all there to experience the magic of this iconic landmark. And if you have the energy then climb up to the top because the views from there are spectacular.
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Find out what people want to know about the best places to visit in Rome
What should I not miss in Rome?
You cannot visit Rome without taking a trip to the seventh wonder of the world, The Colosseum.
What are 2 tourist attractions in Rome I must visit?
The Colosseum and The Pantheon are two monuments in Rome you should not miss.
What is the most visited place in Rome?
The Pantheon is the most visited place in Rome with over 8 million tourists per year.
What is the most important place in Rome?
The most important place in Rome is the Colosseum, which is the largest amphitheater in the world. Vatican City, home of the Catholic Church, is also very important and is connected to Rome.
Like any other city on the planet, Rome has its share of history, culture, and amazing food. But Rome’s history and culture date back millennia, so it’s no wonder this is one of the most visited capitals in the world. THey have a wealth of great Airbnbs there too!
Sure, there are a few pickpockets, but by exercising a little caution, and following my tips for your trip, you’ll have a safe and incredible trip.
And you’ll get to see all those amazing sights that you’ve only heard about or seen on television before. So have fun!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!
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Touropia Travel Experts
Tours & Top Tens
25 Top Tourist Attractions in Rome
Last updated on November 3, 2023 by Touropia Editors - 3 Comments
Ah, Rome. The city where hope springs eternal. It is a city that is proud of its ancient glorious heritage, a city that once expanded its empire throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Rome is a city drenched in history and Christianity. First-time visitors may be easily overwhelmed by all this magnificent city has to offer. After all, one can find history and art on almost every street corner. That’s why visitors may want to do their homework to narrow down what they want to see and do before they get on a plane or train bound for the Italian capital.
Rome is divided into several districts with its center, the Colosseo district, containing the most ancient attractions like the Colosseum, Capitoline Hill and the Roman Forum. On the outskirts of the center is Old Rome, featuring the Pantheon, stunning cathedrals, plazas and Renaissance architecture.
See also: Where to Stay in Rome
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to see all the top tourist attractions in Rome in a few days or even a few months. Wise travelers won’t even attempt to see everything in one trip. To ensure they’ll return to Rome, they’ll toss a coin into the Fountain of Trevi. Legend has it that those who do will return to Rome again.
In this post, we'll cover:
25. Baths of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla, the second largest public baths in Rome, were built by Emperor Caracalla in the third century for political propaganda purposes: The emperor simply wanted people to like him.
The baths were functional for over three hundred years. Negligence, looting and an earthquake turned the complex into ruins but their sheer size and ingenuity continues to impress visitors.
24. Villa Farnesina
Visitors who want a peek at how the wealthy lived during the Renaissance may want to visit Villa Farnesina , a villa located in the Trastevere district. The Villa Farnesina is well known for the frescoes depicting the myths of Cupid and Psyche that were painted by Raphael.
Works by various other artists were commissioned by a banker who was also a papal treasurer, and who had the villa built in 1506.
23. Appian Way
The Appian Way is the most famous ancient road in Rome, connecting the city with Brindisi in southeastern Italy. Named after Appius Claudius Caecus, a Roman censor, it was originally a military road.
Many historical monuments can be found along the first 8 km (5 miles) of the 560 km (350-mile) stone road today. This old highway has heavy vehicle traffic at the beginning, but is safe for pedestrians after a couple of miles.
22. National Roman Museum
If you want to soak in as much of Rome’s history, heritage and culture as possible, then don’t miss the National Roman Museum, or the Museo Nazionale Romano .
This Roman museum does not house its entire collection in one spot. Instead, exhibits are located in multiple destinations throughout the city. Find amber, Roman artifacts and jewelry within the incredible Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, admire breathtaking use of marble and stunning sculptures within the Palazzo Altemps and get an up-close look at Roman baths at the restored historic site of the Baths of Diocletian.
21. Victor Emmanuel II Monument
Built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, this bombastic monument may appear to be solid white marble but actually contains many rooms inside. It was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885 and completed in 1925.
There are two permanent museums, one on Italian Reunification and one on emigration from Italy, as well as other spaces that host rotating exhibitions. The Victor Emmanuel Monument is not exactly known as one of Rome’s most beautiful structures but it is nevertheless well worth the visit, even if only for the great views from the top.
20. Piazza del Popolo
The Piazza del Popolo is a large oval square in northern Rome that has been around since the days of the Roman Empire. At one time, it was the start of the most important road north.
Three churches border the square but the eye-catcher is an obelisk from ancient Egypt. On the north side the square is dominated by the Porta del Popolo, which leads to the Via Flaminia, a road connecting Rome with the Adriatic coast.
19. Santa Maria in Trastevere
Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches in Rome, with most historians believing it was first built in the 4th century. The church has impressive mosaics from the 12th and 13th centuries; it has been enlarged and restored over the years.
Located in the popular Trastevere neighborhood, its atmospheric piazza is enhanced by the mosaics on the façade, especially at night when the church and its tower are illuminated.
18. Ostia Antica
Ostia Antica is an important archeological site that once was the seaport for Rome. It is located less than 20 miles from Rome at the mouth of the River Tiber. The site has well-preserved ancient buildings, some of which date back to the fourth century BC.
Ostia Antica is known for the outstanding frescoes and mosaics on these old buildings, as well as ancient public toilets that turned bathrooms into a social setting.
17. Basilica of San Clemente
Located just a few blocks from the Coliseum, the 12th century Basilica of San Clemente is built on top of a 4th century Church and older Roman temple. The present church is noted for its fabulous frescoes and mosaics.
For an admission fee, it is possible to explore the excavations of the lower two levels, which is a fascinating journey into the history of Rome.
16. Capitoline Museums
It may have taken the Romans 400 years to build the Capitoline Museums , after they were designed in 1536 by Michelangelo, but the wait was worth it. This outstanding collection of art and archeological museums, which started with a papal donation in the 15th century, can be found at Piazza del Campidoglio atop Capitoline Hill. The collections include medieval and Renaissance art, old Roman statues and jewels.
15. Palatine Hill
Palatine Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome, has links to Roman mythology, as it was here a wolf allegedly found the twin boys Romulus and Remus, and cared for them until a shepherd rescued them.
Even if this legend is not true, Palatine Hill is still the place where Rome was founded. Today only ruins remain but during the Imperial era, the hill was completely built up with large palaces.
14. San Giovanni in Laterano
San Giovanni in Laterano (St. John Lateran) is one of four major basilicas in Rome. Dedicated to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, it is the home cathedral for both the archbishop of Rome and the pope.
It is believed to be the first Catholic church built in Rome. Its exterior doesn’t seem as ornate as other churches, but inside it’s beautiful decorated, with wall ornaments, columns, mosaics and paintings.
13. Galleria Borghese
The Galleria Borghese is an art gallery that was built as a party house by Cardinal Sciopione Borghese in the 17th century. A nephew of Pope Paul V, the cardinal also was a patron of the arts.
The galleria today houses many pieces of paintings, sculptures and other antiquities from his collection. Paintings by Titian, sculptures by Bernini, and the National Museum of Musical Instruments can be seen here.
12. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Founded in the 4th century, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) is considered one of the most important Catholic churches in Rome. Its 18th-century exterior conceals one of the best-preserved Byzantine interiors in the city.
Travelers who are in Rome on August 5 may want to attend the Miracle of the Snows celebration when thousands of white petals are dropped from the ceiling.
11. Saint Peter’s Square
Located in Vatican City, St. Peter’s Square is the most famous square in Rome. Hundreds of thousands of people gather here to hear messages from the pope. Created in the 17th century by Bernini, the square has an elliptic shape, surrounded on two sides by colonnades before St. Peter’s Basilica.
Statues sit atop the colonnades. At the center of the ellipse stands an Egyptian obelisk that was transported from Egypt to Rome during the reign of Emperor Augustus.
10. Campo de’ Fiori
Campo de’ Fiori is a rectangular square south of Piazza Navona used as a marketplace during the day, and party central for college students and tourists at night. The name means “field of flowers” and was first given during the Middle Ages when the area was actually a meadow.
Today the market is a lively place, especially when the daily vegetable market is held here (every morning except Sundays). Visitors can buy fresh produce at the market, as well as fish, meat, flowers and spices. The square is surrounded by cafes and restaurants, making it a good place to eat after shopping or just wile away the afternoon.
9. Piazza Navona
One of the most famous of Rome’s many squares, Piazza Navona was established towards the end of the 15th century, and preserves the shape of the Stadium of Domitian that once stood here.
Built by Emperor Domitian in 86 AD, the stadium, which had a larger arena than the Colosseum was mainly used for festivals and sporting events. The buildings surrounding the square stand where the spectators once sat.
Today, the square features no less than three magnificent fountains and is an immensely popular place to sip a cappuccino, shop, and watch street performers.
8. Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo was built to be a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian and his family. Built in 123 BC, it later was turned into a fortress and castle by the popes. It was once Rome’s tallest building.
The ashes of other emperors were buried there, but scattered when the Visigoths invaded in 410. It also served as a prison, but today the castel is a museum. Among the most well known sights in Rome, film buffs will recognize it as a setting from “Angels and Demons”.
7. Roman Forum
Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, The Roman Forum (or Forum Romanum in Latin) was for centuries the teeming heart of ancient Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections, venue for public speeches, and nucleus of commercial affairs.
The Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and includes the Arches of Septimius Severus and Titus, the Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina and the Temple of Saturn.
6. Spanish Steps
A truly monumental stairway of 135 steps, the Spanish Steps were built with French funds between 1721‑1725 in order to link the Bourbon Spanish embassy to the Holy See with the French church, Trinità dei Monti.
The steps are usually very crowded attracting tourists as well as locals who use it as a gathering place. Each year in May the steps are decorated with pink azaleas. At the foot of the Spanish Steps is the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish square) and the Fontana della Barcaccia, a sober fountain designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
5. Trevi Fountain
Completed in 1762 to a design by Nicola Salvi, this world famous Baroque fountain features a mythological sculptural composition of Neptune, god of the sea, flanked by two Tritons.
The location of the Trevi fountain marks the terminus of the ancient Aqua Virgo aqueduct and is so named on account of its position at the junction of three roads (tre vie).
The fountain was the setting for an iconic scene in Fellini’s film Dolce Vita starring Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni. Since than, it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome. The legend says that one who throws a coin in the fountain shall one day return to Rome.
4. Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums began in the 16th century with a collection of sculptures by Pope Julius II. Today, they encompass several museums inside the Vatican City and include some of the world’s most important relics. Attractions of the museums include the spiral staircase, the Raphael Rooms and the exquisitely decorated Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512.
Today the ceiling, and especially The Last Judgment, are widely believed to be Michelangelo’s crowning achievements in painting. To keep the massive crowds under control, the museums have 4 itineraries that range from one and a half hours to more than 5 hours. All itineraries end in the Sistine Chapel.
One of the best preserved Roman buildings, The Pantheon was built in 126 AD as a temple for all the Roman gods. The temple has served as a Roman Catholic Church since the 7th century. Eight graceful granite Corinthian columns extend across the front of this circular building, with lesser columns in back.
Though it is 2,000 years old, the Pantheon’s famous dome remains the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. It is believed Marcus Agrippa built the Pantheon to be his private temple. The current building was reconstructed by Emperor Hadrian in the second century.
2. St. Peter’s Basilica
The center of the Catholic world and a major tourist attraction, the Basilica of St. Peter is a huge church: with an interior height of 120 meter (400 feet), the space shuttle, together with its booster rockets, could fit inside, as could the Statue of Liberty.
The basilica stands on the traditional site where Peter, the apostle who is considered the first pope, was crucified and buried. Construction on the current building began in 1506 and was completed in 1615. Many famous artists worked on the complex and its surroundings: Michelangelo designed the dome while Bernini designed the great St. Peter’s Square.
The Colosseum is another of Rome’s major tourist attractions. Its construction was started by emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty in 72 AD and was finished by his son Titus in 80 AD.
The elliptical amphitheater could hold up to 50,000 people who turned out to watch gladiators do battle, people be publicly executed and enjoy other forms of entertainment. This stone and concrete structure, built in the first century, was the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the Romans’ greatest architectural and engineering feats.
Map of Tourist Attractions in Rome
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October 1, 2017 at 5:15 am
Rome is really majestic! I would love to see these beautiful architectures soon.
May 22, 2014 at 10:50 am
this is so nice
February 1, 2014 at 2:29 am
it is very nice to see Italy, the famous pantheon, koloseum and a lot of other places to see. When i visit it i saw a lot. Bravoo Italy, the most beautiful place in the world.
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Places to Visit in Rome
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Tourist Places to visit in Rome
Here are some of the best places to visit in rome:.
Explore the grandeur of the Imperial Forum, an ancient archaeological complex in Rome, Italy. Once the epicenter of Roman life, this remarkable site features a series of majestic ruins, including temples, basilicas, and triumphal arches. Immerse yourself in the rich history and architecture of ancient Rome as you stroll through the expansive forum. A must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and travelers seeking to unravel the remnants of Rome's glorious past and the cultural legacy that continues to captivate visitors from around the world.
Capuchin Crypt Rome
The Capuchin Crypt in Rome is one of the most unique and fascinating sites. The crypt is entirely decorated with bones and skulls of more than 4,000 individuals. It is a series of chapels that are built underneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione Dei Cappuccin, which is also sometimes called the ‘Bone church of Rome’.
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme Rome
The Palazzo Massimo alle Terme is one of the four structures of the National Roman Museum and is known to feature some of the best archaeological, architectural, and classical art and craft collections in the world. Constructed in a Neo-Renaissance style, the palace laid its foundations in 1883 and is home to several interesting exhibitions.
Musei di Villa Torlonia Rome
Musei di Villa Torlonia is a spectacularly designed museum, that offers an insight into the 19th-century art and lifestyle of Roman Nobles. The museums include Casino Nobile, Casina Delle Civette, Casino Dei Principi, and Serra Moresca, as well as a lovely English landscape garden. A nice collection of stained glass, sculptures, paintings, artifacts, and other treasures make these museums enticing for both art and history enthusiasts.
Villa Doria Pamphili Rome
A historically significant monument, Villa Doria Pamphili is the biggest landscaped public park in Rome, dating back to the 17th century. Located in Gianicolo, Monteverde, this villa served as a family home for the Pamphili lineage, which died out during the 18th century. Filled with several statues and ornaments, Villa Doria Pamphili is a perfect getaway with your friends and family.
Centrale Montemartini Rome
The Centrale Montemartini is a remarkable example of industrial archaeology turned museum. Residing inside the complex of the Musei Capitolini, this art museum is unique because of its setting of displaying ancient collections in the background of the first electrical power plant. It has a sizable collection of classical sculptures discovered during the excavations in Rome at the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th century.
Bioparco di Roma
Bioparco di Roma is one of the most famous zoological gardens in Rome that is best known for its animal-friendly enclosures. During your visit, you will come across about 1200 animals from 200+ different species. This zoo was created for public enjoyment and amusement, in contrast to other zoos of the time that primarily served scientific purposes.
Embark your presence at the famous Apostolic Palace, also known as the summer home of Popes. This castle is famously known for its extravagant grandeur, where Pope spent most of his life. It is a 17th-century villa housing lavish rooms, balconies, private gardens, fountains and other attractions. Get ready to spend some time in the Pope's private space at Apostolic Palace.
Domus Aurea Rome
The Domus Aurea is the great emperor Nero's palace of residence and is regarded as one of history's most lavish buildings. It is often referred to as the "golden house" and emphasizes the magnificence of hundreds of rooms, priceless mosaics, and more that have stood the test of time. The fort was constructed on Oppian Hill and includes ponds, fountains, and an artificial lake too
Trajan’s Market Rome
Also known as Mercati di Traiano, Trajan's market is an open space area in the ruins of Rome, situated in the Via Dei Fori Imperiali. This market is also popular as the oldest of the shopping malls around the world, filled with several shops and apartments. You can also visit the ancient library, and explore the marble floors housed here.
Catacombs of St. Callixtus Rome
The Catacombs of St. Callixtus is one of the oldest cemeteries in the old city of Rome where Christians used to be buried. The cemetery complex spans over five floors and it is believed that more than half a million Christians were buried here, including 16 popes and countless martyrs. In the 3rd century AD, it was also the official cemetery of the Roman church.
Vatican City, one of the major attractions for Roman Catholic Churches, is a well-known region for its magnificent buildings and rich heritage. This tiny country is full of historical and religious structures and has its unique charm that offers many picturesque sights. Some of the tourist and pilgrimage centers include the Sistine Chapel, the Basilica of St. Peter, and the Vatican Museum.
Top Experiences To Do in Vatican City
Visit the ancient Roman Forum which served as the focal point of daily life and as a venue for public gatherings, trials, elections, and gladiatorial combat. The Forum housed the largest temples and monuments in the city under the Roman Empire. It was abandoned following the fall of the Roman Empire and its ruins became a tourist destination for all history lovers.
Top Experiences To Do in Roman Forum
St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica, known as one of the holiest catholic shrines in the world, best depicts Vatican City and Christianity and is a must-visit in Rome. Built on St. Peter’s tomb, it boasts the world’s tallest dome and is a remarkable representation of Renaissance architecture. A trip to St. Peter’s Basilica will leave you in awe of its grandeur, elegance, and spiritual vibes.
Top Experiences To Do in St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter’s Square
Saint Peter’s Square is not only one of the most important tourist spots in Rome but it is also one of the most beautiful and largest squares in the entire wide world. This square is particularly renowned for its sheer size and is believed that during more noticeable events, this square has managed to hold more than 300,000 people at once.
National Gallery of Ancient Art in Barberini Palace
When in Rome, a tour of the world-famous National Gallery of Ancient Art in Barberini Palace is a must, especially if you're an art or literature lover. Arrive at the museum and explore a variety of magnificent displays of paintings, medieval art, sculptures, frescoes, paintings and other famous works of the world's known artists, including Rafael, Van Dyck & Andrea del Sarto.
The Trevi Fountain in Rome is a magnificent Baroque masterpiece and one of the city's most iconic landmarks. Designed by Nicola Salvi and completed in the 18th century, it features a grand façade adorned with sculptures depicting sea gods and mythical creatures. Visitors toss coins into the fountain, believing it ensures a return trip to Rome.
Top Experiences To Do in Trevi Fountain
Basilica Of St. John Lateran
Basilica of St.John Lateran is a Catholic cathedral church located on the outskirts of Rome, Italy. It is known to be the world's most ancient church, constructed during the 4th century. The main attraction of this church is its incredible building and lavish interior, which fascinates the attraction of visitors traveling to Rome.
Centro Storico is one of Rome's must-visit historic centers with a dense maze of cobbled alleyways, Renaissance palaces, antique ruins, and baroque piazzas . Get a perfect escape into the hustling streets and shop for high-end brands like Versace and Gucci. The delightful walking stroll around talented local musicians and themed restaurants add to the nighttime experience.
The Spanish Steps are a popular destination in Rome with a 135-step staircase arranged in an erratic butterfly-like pattern. The Spanish Steps is a popular tourist spot to gather and mingle with local musicians, photographers, and artists. Witness old baroque-style fountains and Roman Catholic churches along the picturesque area, from Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Trinità dei Monti.
Hadrian's Villa Rome
The iconic city of Rome is renowned for its glorious architecture and the Hadrian’s Villa is described to be the epitome of Roman architecture. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site, the Hadrian Villa is more of a garden city than just a huge villa as it spans over a huge area of 18 sq. kms. It is a masterpiece that lets us have a detailed look inside the ancient Mediterranean world.
Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli
The Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven is popular in Rome and is located at the peak of the Campidoglio. Built-in the 6th century on the ruins of Juno Moneta temple, it is still a popular church in the city. The name Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli is derived from a legend that believed that sibyl might have predicted the origin of Augustus, the son of God.
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Santa Maria Maggiore
Santa Maria Maggiore, located on the top of Esquiline Hill is one of the earliest churches in the world devoted to Virgin Mary. One of Rome's four main basilicas and an extraterritorial possession of the Vatican, it features one of the city's best-preserved Byzantine interiors. Witness the Old Testament-themed mosaics in the triumphal arch and nave from the fifth century.
Doria Pamphilj Gallery Rome
The Doria Pamphilj gallery is an exquisite art gallery that is home to masterpieces, created by renowned painters like Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio, Correggio, and Velazquez. This museum was originally a palace made for the Pamphilj family and it is worth noting here that Pope Innocent X belonged to this family. Arrive just after the opening of the place to get aesthetically pleasing pictures.
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National Gallery of Modern Art
The National Gallery of Modern Art, famously called the La Galleria Nazionale, is one of Rome’s most sought-after destinations, established in 1883. Italy’s most renowned museum preserves a vast collection of foreign and Italian art, paintings, sculptures and drawings. The museum houses more than 20,000 art pieces belonging to different parts of the world.
Museo dell’Ara Pacis Rome
Also known as the Museum of the Ara Paris, which is known to offer the best views of the Ara Pacis, making it a unique place to visit when in Rome. This structure was designed by the American architect Richard Meier and is an architectural marvel in itself.
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The Appian Way is a strategically designed Roman road founded back in 312–264 BC. The road directly connects Rome to Brindisi while offering a stunning view of the surroundings. It is equipped with green fields, roman ruins, and flat-topped pine trees, which makes it a unique setting for bike or horse riders. Appian Way is also regarded as the Queen of Roads or Regina Viarum.
Walk down the famous Piazza Navona in Rome, known as being a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and home to hundreds of shops, eateries, and restaurants today. The historical spot is popular among tourists for its three beautiful fountains, an ancient church, street performers, local artists, and much more. Created by famous Roman masters, Borromini and Bernini, the piazza is a great place for history enthusiasts.
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Palatine Hill is one of the tallest among the famous ‘Seven Hills of Rome’, and is known for its lush green beauty. The word Palatine is derived from the word palace, and during your visit, you will see enormous palaces. You'll be able to see ruins of palaces and spaces that were created for high Roman society in ancient times.
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The Borghese Gallery and Museum boasts of having the intricate and finest collection of art and sculptures from the best of artists in European history. Some of the most sought-after collections that one can find here are, a portrait of a young woman with a unicorn, the mysterious Christ carried to the tomb, the Sermon of Saint John Baptist, and more such incredible creations.
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Vatican Apostolic Library
Founded in 1475, Vatican Apostolic Library is a historical place that houses a vast collection of contemporary books and journals which stores the treasures of the famous Vatican museum. This place is commonly known as the Vatican library or as Vat, which has over 1.1 million printed books and 75,000 codices from history.
St. Clement Basilica
Located at the center of the medieval Roman, St. Clement Basilica is a Latin Catholic Basilica made in remembrance of Pope Clement I. Initially a private home for clandestine Christian worship during the early 1st century to a popular basilica in the late 6th century; this historic structure has faced several transformations over the centuries.
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Baths Of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla were one of the largest thermal complexes in ancient times and are the iconic exemplar of a huge Roman bath. A trip to the Baths of Caracalla offers a chance to learn about Roman culture throughout Classical Antiquity. Today left as ruins, their strong wall and enormous size, leave the visitors captivated by the elegance and grandeur of the place.
The enormous Villa Farnesina, located in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood, was constructed during the Renaissance period. Villa Farnesina is renowned for its spectacular architecture as well as its elaborate interior design. This place is also home to some of the iconic creations of great artists like Raphael, Baldassare Peruzzi, and Sebastian del Piombo.
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National Roman Museum
The National Roman Museum is a historical site located in the heart of Rome, Italy. Best described as a series of four magnificent museums nestling at varied locations in Rome, this is an ideal hang-out spot if you find interest in historical artifacts and antiques. All antiques present here belong to the early 5th century BC.
Altar Of The Fatherland
The Altar of the Fatherland is called the Roman wedding cake locally due to the shape of the building which appears as the shape of a wedding cake. It is a historical monument made in honor of the first ruler of unified Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, and is now open for the public to visit.
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Piazza Del Popolo
Visit one of the most well known squares in Rome, the Piazza del Popolo, which was formerly referred to as Porta Flaminia. The piazza is frequented by a large number of visitors especially for the three legendary churches bordering it and the huge Egyptian obelisk in the center. The square also holds immense historical significance for serving as the main gateway to the city of Rome.
Trastevere one of the bustling places of Rome was once a working-class neighborhood. Famous for its vibrant nightlife, Trastevere is known for its old-world cobbled streets, ocher palaces, ivy-clad façade, bohemian atmosphere, and amazing restaurants. This maze of backstreet alleyways is endlessly picturesque and mainly car-free, yet after dark, crowds swarm to its upscale eateries, pubs, boutiques, and craft shops.
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Known to be the city of seven hills, Rome in Italy is one of the world's most magnificent cities, housing over seven giant hills. The eighth and most popular hill is Janiculo, which is known for housing several holy buildings and woods. Although vehicles are prohibited here, several bike rentals are present here, promising a lifetime experience.
The Castel Sant'Angelo is a famous attraction in Rome known for serving as a mausoleum, a fortress, a hideaway and a museum in different points in time of history. Popularly known as the The Mausoleum of Hadrian where you can experience the beauty of its architecture and wallow in its rich historical splendor as you explore its five floors within.
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Tempio Maggiore Di Roma
Tempio Maggiore di Roma holds one of the top designations in Rome when it comes to religious cultural hubs. It is the largest synagogue in Rome and was built on one of the four plots where the demolition of the Jewish community took place. This massive building has a square base, surmounted by a huge piece of structure denoting the eclectic style of architecture.
Sistine Chapel is one of the notable attractions in Rome known for the Michelangelo artwork and the fact that the papal conclave was held here. It is a simple rectangular brick structure devoid of any of the flounces and adornments on the exteriors. However, it is divided into divinely ornate sections for the purpose of painting dramatic gold-gleaming murals in the interiors.
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Piazza Di Spagna
Explore one of the most famous squares in Rome, the Piazza di Spagna or Spanish Square which lies at the foot of the iconic Spanish Steps against a stunning backdrop of the church of Trinita' de Monti. The famous square also features Berninis’ Barcaccia fountain, is the starting point of some of the most historic streets in Rome, and is surrounded by the top couture brands and luxury hotels in the city
The Circus Maximus was built as a chariot racing stadium in the 6th century BC and had a huge significance in its time. During the visit, you get transferred to the past as you witness its tracks, the temples, The Sun and the Moon Cult, and Imperial Cosmology. With its seating capacity of 250,000 spectators, this place is one of the celebrated ruins of Rome.
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Discover the tale of Italy’s reunification as you witness mesmerizing sights of the capital city from its most popular and busiest squares, the Piazza Venezia. Located centrally at the intersection of several main city streets, the piazza also features famous landmarks and fascinating museums including the renowned monument Victoriano. The square is also home to world-class retail stores and fashion outlets of some of the biggest names in the industry.
Situated on the top of Capitoline Hill, the Capitoline museums are a cluster of art and archeological museums, located in Piazza del Campidoglio. The history of these museums traces back to 1471, and the three most significant structures among the Capitoline museums include the Palazzo Sentorio, the Palazzo dei Conservatori, and the Palazzo Nuovo.
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Ranked as one of the most visited art museums, the Vatican museums preserve the finest art and sculptures of excellent artists over the years. The museum has over 70,000 displays of art and architecture, from the greatest artists of the previous generation such as Raphael, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Bernini, and da Vinci. Visit the awe-inspiring location and learn more about its history.
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18 Best Things To Do in Rome, Italy – Top Places to visit & Must-See Sights 🇮🇹
Looking for the best things to do in rome in this guide, i'll tell you everything you need to know before coming to italy's capital..
Rome might be one of the best cities in Europe to visit as a tourist. I’ve been to Rome 5 times so I know everything about the main attractions and I’ve also visited quite a few hidden gems in the Italian capital.
Planning a last minute trip to Rome? 🇮🇹 Here are my favourite places to stay & things to do in The Eternal City. 🛌 Places to Stay : 1. H10 Palazzo Galla (an excellent hotel in walking-distance of everything) 2. Mercure Roma Centro (hotel with a rooftop pool overlooking the Colosseum!) 3. Colosseum Corner (cosy place around the corner from Colosseum, I really enjoyed staying here) 🏟️ Top Activities & Tours : 1. Colosseum is a must, of course - I recommend this Underground Tour 2. Skip-The-Line Tickets to The Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel (this will save you hours !) 3. If you've got 4-5 days, consider going on a day trip to Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius , The Amalfi Coast or Tuscany
In this guide I’ll tell you about the best things to do in Rome as well as some of the more hidden gems and unusual things to do.
If it’s a paid attraction, I’ll link to online ticket booking as Rome is an extremely popular destination and the lines for places like Colosseum and the Sixtine Chapel gets pretty crazy in the high season. My advice is to book skip-the-line tickets when possible.
With that said – let’s dive into the top things to do in Rome, Italy .
I’m going to begin with some of the main things to do as there are just some things you must see when coming to Rome.
1. Colosseum 🏟
2. roman forum, 3. the vatican city & the sistine chapel 🇻🇦, 4. st peter’s basilica, 5. castel sant’angelo, 6. villa borghese, 7. the spanish steps, 8. the trevi fountain, 9. pantheon, 10. piazza navona, 11. campo de’ fiori, 12. the trastevere area, 13. the victor emanuel monument, 14. street food tour with local guide, 15. day trip to pompeii 🌋, 16. experience rome on a vespa, 17. italian cooking class in rome, 18. eat in the best roman restaurants (here are 3 fantastic places to try), what shouldn’t you miss in rome, can rome be done in 3 days, is rome a walkable city.
The Colosseum is undoubtedly the top attraction in Rome – perhaps one of the world’s best-known sights in reality. So it goes without saying that most people who travel to Rome have the Colosseum on their ‘to-do’ list.
There are many tourists everywhere in Rome, so if you don’t think about it, you can end up queuing for many of the most popular tourist attractions.
However, an easy way to avoid the worst queues for the Colosseum is to buy tickets online from home. On my first trip to Rome, we bought regular Colosseum tickets online on their official website .
The tickets cost €18 and ensure that you bypass the long queue; we went straight in and only stood in line for about 1 minute for the airport-like scanners you must go through for security reasons.
The disadvantage of these tickets to the Colosseum is that you do not have ‘floor access’, which I indeed wanted on that first trip and bought when I was last in Rome again in the summer of 2022.
On my summer trip to the Amalfi Coast , we ended the trip with a few days in Rome. On this trip, we stayed in a hotel next to the Colosseum (the hotel was excellent, by the way, check it out on Booking.com here ); thus, it was finally time to get the whole Colosseum experience.
This time we thus booked a guided tour of the Colosseum, where we got down under the ‘floor’ and ended up right in the middle of the Colosseum. In the actual spot that the gladiators used to fight in 🤯
I would highly recommend it to everyone travelling to Rome!
On a Colosseum tour with floor access, you get so much more out of the visit, all the good stories from the guide and you get as far into the Colosseum as possible.
We were on this tour booked via GetYourGuide .
On that tour, you meet your guide next to the Colosseum, and he then takes you inside, bypassing the queue, where you are given a headset so that you can always hear the guide on the tour.
A fantastic experience and one of my highlights in Rome.
Colosseum is jam-packed with people, especially in the ‘cheap rows’, where you have access if you buy regular tickets to the Colosseum, but there are almost no people down on the floor.
By the way, the Colosseum is as incredible an experience as you’d expect – it’s pretty crazy to walk around such a historical place, which is also highly well-preserved. A lift is installed so the disabled can get up to the upper stand.
Imagine getting the lift inside the Colosseum? I bet even Marcus Aurelius never saw that coming 😎
The Roman Forum is right next to the Colosseum, so it makes sense to visit the ancient city of Rome on the same day as you go to the Colosseum.
The ticket to the Colosseum is also valid for the Roman Forum, so it would be a shame to miss the visit to the well-preserved ruins.
If you buy a guided tour of the Colosseum, your guide will take you to the Forum and help you through security.
Check out this brief video guide about the Roman Forum from Rick Steves:
On my first trip to Rome, we made our way to the Roman Forum in the morning and were very impressed by how quiet it was.
It was not as overcrowded as many other places in Rome, and even though you were in the middle of the vibrant city, you could hear birds chirping.
On a later trip, I was in Rome in July, where it was almost 38 degrees celsius and walking around the Forum was a bit of a challenge…
So bring a water bottle and a sun hat if you’re coming to Rome in the summer months.
The Roman Forum is another awe-inspiring thing to see in Rome and something you must not miss on your trip to Italy.
- Have you sorted out your accommodation yet? Check out my guide on the best areas and places to stay in Rome .
The following top thing to do in Rome is the home state of the Pope. On my first trip to Rome many years ago, I visited the Vatican Museum and was quite shocked when I saw the queue for the museum and the Sistine Chapel.
Remember to buy fast-track tickets to the Vatican Museum if you don’t want to waste several hours of your holiday standing in line.
We bought fast-track tickets and went straight in – I’m not kidding when I say the queue is several kilometres long; it’s insane.
The tickets to the Vatican also include a visit to the Sistine Chapel with the world-famous ceiling painting.
Fast-track tickets to the Vatican can be purchased here .
On another trip to Rome, we just wanted to enter St Peter’s Basilica, where there is always a long queue.
I read up a bit on the cases and read in several places that if you just came early in the day (before 11 am), the queue for St. Peter’s Basilica was not particularly long.
But when we entered St. Peter’s Square at 10 o’clock on Friday morning, the queue was surprisingly long (it literally filled the whole square), so we, unfortunately, skipped it.
St. Peter’s Basilica is free to visit, but various companies arrange special “audioguide” tours, which then cost money, but on the other hand, function as fast-track tickets.
I would have bought it myself if I had known there was no point in coming early.
The tickets can be purchased here .
Even if you don’t go into the basilica, St. Peter’s Square is worth a visit.
It is an awe-inspiring sight that meets one, especially if one goes on foot down from Castel St Angelo by the river.
Castel Sant’Angelo was initially built way back in the year 135 by Hadrian (yes, the one who also had a wall on the border between England and Scotland named after him because the Romans could not take Scotland), and over the years, has functioned both as a prison and fortress for the Pope.
Castel Sant’Angelo is located very close to the Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica:
So if you are in central Rome and want to experience a wonderful walk, start from the Castel Sant’Angelo and go up to the Vatican.
Nowadays, there is a museum at Castel Sant’Angelo, where buying tickets online in advance is recommended, so you skip the queue.
Read more and get fast-track tickets here .
Another impressive thing to do and view of Rome is from Villa Borghese, which is ‘just’ a park on one of Rome’s seven hills .
There are several things to do in the park (including an art museum), but I can only talk about the view from Terezza del Pincio , which is outstanding.
If you are in the area, it would be a shame not to go up and see the beautiful view over Rome and the Vatican.
And from the beautiful roman park, we’re going to venture into the absolute city centre and walk through a couple of the most famous things to do in Rome.
One of the most famous things to do in Rome is the Spanish Steps, which is… a staircase 😀
There isn’t much to say about the Spanish Steps other than that they’re beautiful and world-famous and that it has been illegal to sit on them since 2019 .
In other words, it is no longer possible if you had dreamed of bringing a beer and looking at the hectic life in Rome from the Spanish Steps.
On the other hand, the stairs are centrally located in Rome, so it’s easy to swing by and check off one of the most iconic sights in Rome.
Yep, a must-do thing in Rome and the fountain is indeed remarkable. If only you could see it for all those people 😀
No, it’s beautiful, and if you go down to the water and go a little to the sides, you can (perhaps) find a quiet place to sit and enjoy the work.
The Trevi Fountain is one of the things you must experience when you travel to Rome, and with its central location, it is also difficult not to pass by the place when you walk around the streets.
But it is an attraction where you spend a relatively short time, as there are an incredible number of tourists unless you arrive early in the morning.
So if you are travelling to Rome as a photographer or are good at waking up in the morning, then it is recommended to make your way past the Trevi Fountain early in the day.
The Pantheon is a temple built approximately 120 years after the birth of Christ – another imposing historic monument in the centre of Rome.
The Pantheon is free to visit, but there can only be a certain number of guests, so there may be queues – though nothing as crazy as the Vatican, but maybe 5-10 minutes at its worst.
Note : if you travel to Rome in the summer, remember that women’s shoulders must be covered when entering the churches.
Unfortunately, my girlfriend couldn’t enter with bare shoulders, which applies to many churches in Europe.
On the corner of the square outside of the Pantheon, I recommend you try an espresso from Tazza d’Oro , an institution in Rome – known for some of the best espressos in town.
We find Piazza Navona near the Pantheon, a large square with (several) impressive statues and buildings.
Naturally, there are also many restaurants here, which may/may not be tourist traps.
Piazza Navona is one of those squares in central Rome that you naturally pass by.
The square may not be what I remember best from my travels in Rome, but the streets around the square are charming.
For instance, I loved getting a beer and sitting outside La Botticella of Poggi Giovanni , a craft beer bar in a charming Roman street close to Piazza Navona.
On Saturdays, it is a good idea to visit Campo de’ Fiori, where there is a vast market. Here you can buy both the classic tourist items, but also fruit, vegetables and cheese.
For example, you can buy Parmesan cheese that is vacuum-packed so that it is easy to transport home and enjoy the delicious Italian food after your trip.
A very cosy square in central Rome.
It’s time to explore the area often described as ‘the real Rome’. As it is often described this way, there are now a great many tourists who cross the Tiber (the river that divides Rome) and visit the Trastevere area.
Trastevere is my favourite area in Rome; here are narrow cobbled streets with cosy restaurants and small side streets where you can occasionally be lucky to be the only tourist.
So I recommend going over to the Trastevere area – possibly crossing the Tiber via Isola Tiberina – and having dinner at one of the many restaurants in the area.
It’s incredibly cosy, but it’s not the ‘unspoiled real Rome’ feel that many guidebooks tell about – here, too, it’s teeming with tourists.
Right next to the Roman Forum and on the way from the centre of Rome down to the Colosseum, we find a monument that impresses the tourists but is a thorn in the side of many Romans: the Victor Emanuel Monument.
You have no doubt when you see the monument decorated with white marble and packed with lots of columns and details.
It is a feast for the eyes of many, but the Romans seem to have a point when they say that monument is not fitting in with the rest of the architecture in Rome.
The monument was opened as late as 1911 as a monument to the reunification of the Kingdom of Italy, with Victor Emanuel II as the first king.
Not-that-great or beautiful monument – it’s a beautiful building in my eyes and worth going past (if you’re not already going that way when you’re going to the Colosseum).
After I got home, I saw that you can get to the top of the building and get a panoramic view of The Roman Forum and the rest of central Rome.
It’s definitely on my to-do list next time I’m in Rome.
See more about this here .
You can’t say Rome (or the rest of Italy, for that matter) without mentioning food. That’s why it makes sense to go on a street food city walk with a local guide when you go to Rome.
GetYourGuide has a tour where you go on a guided city walk through either the Jewish Quarter or Trastevere, both super exciting areas.
On the tour, you eat local delicacies such as supplì, pizza and gelato, but you taste food from 5 different places and get a glass of beer and wine – while the guide is with you.
The tour gets excellent reviews, so consider going on a guided street food tour in Rome.
See more about the tour and book online here .
If you have been to Rome before or have plenty of time in the city, you can also consider taking a day trip to one of Italy’s most exciting sights – Pompeii.
As you know, Pompeii is the city just outside Naples that was destroyed in the year 79 by a catastrophic volcanic eruption from Vesuvius, which many day trips from Rome also passes by.
It’s a full-day trip, so you won’t get to see as much of Rome on the chosen day, but in return, you’ll experience one of Europe’s most exciting places.
This tour looks exciting and gets excellent reviews .
Nothing goes as well as a Vespa scooter and Rome. Everywhere in the city, you see the iconic scooters, everything from housewives with kids on the back to the businessman in a full suit.
Therefore, it also makes sense that there are so many tourist-friendly rental places with Vespas, so you can rent an Italian scooter and explore the streets of Rome.
If you don’t want to drive, you can even book a Vespa sightseeing tour, where you sit in the back and are moved around to the best sights in Rome. It is also possible to book trips as a group so that you drive together.
Get an overview of the different options here .
Do you dream of taking home the delicious dishes you taste at Roman restaurants?
It’s hard to get a takeaway box with you all the way home on the plane, so why not take a 4-hour pizza & pasta cooking class with a Roman who has 100% mastery of how good Italian food should be made?
On this cooking course in Rome, you will learn to make more than ten different pasta dishes and Neapolitan pizza, which in my view, is also better than Roman pizza 😀
When travelling to Rome, the fantastic Italian food is often an essential part of the trip. To that extent, it was also for us, so much research was done for good places to eat.
Below I will mention a few places where we had delicious food in Rome.
Osteria di Fortunata (Campo de’ Fiori) :
Undoubtedly, the restaurant where we had the best food in Rome. I discovered it in a Youtube video and was immediately sold; here, the pasta is made in the restaurant and tastes fantastic.
The restaurant is located just behind Campo de’ Fiori, where there are many tourists, so at first glance, you wouldn’t think that the place is such a gem – but it is.
We arrived a little after 1 pm on a Saturday and got the last table – after 10 minutes, 15-20 people were queuing outside the place, Italians, all of them, mind you. So this is an excellent restaurant where the locals also eat lunch.
La Botticella (Trastevere) :
Number 1 on Yelp when searching for restaurants in Trastevere. We called them at lunchtime on Saturday and got a table that evening at 8 pm. If we didn’t call to book, there was no chance of getting a table at the tiny, family-run restaurant.
It was definitely packed with both locals and tourists.
Da Lucia (Trastevere) :
Apparently, this is a well-known restaurant for quite a few Danes as it was in a famous Danish guidebook to Rome, but nonetheless, it’s a brilliant restaurant.
And they don’t serve Danish food , don’t you worry 😀
I hope you enjoyed my guide to the best things to do in Rome and that you are ready for your Eternal City trip.
For me, Rome is all about getting lost in the alleys and cobbled side streets, but the main attractions not to be missed are The Colosseum, The Roman Forum, The Vatican City and The Pantheon.
Three days in Rome is a decent amount of time and enough to see the main attractions. However, Rome has enough things to do for 4-5 days if you’ve got the time.
Rome is one of the best cities in Europe for walking and sightseeing as the city centre is relatively compact.
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Rome attractions, sights & landmarks
Top 25 rome tourist attractions, sights, things to do and highlights.
The top 25 Best things to do in Rome, sightseeing and all must-see sights, tourist attractions, monuments and Roman landmarks. What are some of the highlights and best attractions to see in Rome Italy?
Rome Attractions - Top 25 Landmarks & Things to do in Rome
Rome is a city full of museums, squares, Roman landmarks and other highlights. The Italian city has more to offer than just the main Rome tourist attractions like the Colosseum , the Pantheon and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. During your visit to this city, these are the top 25 of the most famous sightseeing and most popular Rome attractions . Click one of the must-see highlights, places to visit or Rome landmarks for more information on this unique monuments, museums , tourist attractions and best things to do in Rome Italy :
Rome sightseeing partnerlinks: Things to do in Seville , Barcelona tourist attractions , Florence tourist attractions and Dubai
Most visited landmarks
Top 25 Things to do in Rome
Colosseum & Tickets
Sistine Chapel & Vatican Museums
St.Peter's Basilica & Tickets
Things To Do In Rome
Top hotel collections.
Near Piazza Navona
Near Trevi Fountain
- Filter (54)
- Church & Cathedral (10)
- Historical Site (6)
- Landmark (6)
1. The Colosseum
1 km from city center 1 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Colosseum or Coliseum is an oval amphitheatre located in the centre of the city of Rome. Often known as the Flavian Amphitheater, the Colosseum is strategically built near the Roman Forum, making it one of the most remarkably popular attractions in the country, with over 6 million people visiting it each year. Needless to say that if you’re in Rome, you’re definitely going to see the Colosseum.
2. Vatican Museums
4 km from city center 2 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The house of thousand arts, Vatican museums are one of the most popular art museums in Italy. With around 6 million annual visitors, this site is one of the oldest in Rome. Boasting one of the best art collections in the city, the Vatican museums include exhibits that run across around 7 kilometres of corridors and halls. This showcase of priceless art is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in Roman art.
3. Roman Forum
1 km from city center 3 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Roman Forum, or what they call it in Latin Forum Romanum, is an area of ruins that once used to be a shopping plaza with several important government buildings surrounding it. This was the place where all forms of public meetings, concerts, performances, law courts and public trials in the city of Rome were held.
4. Trevi Fountain
1 km from city center 4 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Built in 1762 by artist Nicola Salvi, the Trevi Fountain or Fontana di Trevi, the Trevi Fountain is a must-visit for anyone who steps foot in Rome. People often talk about throwing a coin in the fountain. This tradition has been going on for decades, and the myth behind it is dependent on the number of coins tossed into the fountain.
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3 km from city center 5 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
St. Peter's Square is a sizable and beautiful piazza located at the base of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. It's an architectural wonder designed by Bernini. The square is comprised of an elliptical part and a trapezoidal part.
6. St. Peter's Basilica
4 km from city center 6 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or just St. Peter’s Basilica located in the Vatican City in Rome is one of the world’s largest churches and definitely the holiest site for Christianity. It is also known as the “Greatest Church in Christendom”.
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7. Piazza Navona
2 km from city center 7 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Hailed as a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, the Piazza Navona is bristling with life in a hundred shops, restaurants and eateries that surround this historical place.
8. The Pantheon
2 km from city center 8 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
One of the most culturally significant and most well preserved buildings in Rome, the Pantheon houses the remains of several illustrious figures, including Raphael.
9. The Appian Way
32 km from city center 9 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
This is one of the most important roadways in Western history and also forms the basis for the proverb "All roads lead to Rome!" The historical road is lined with catacombs, tombs, mausoleums and villas that are all a part of the rich history that envelops the city.
10. Spanish Steps
1 km from city center 10 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Spanish Steps is an area of steps between Piazza di Spagna at the lower part and Trinita dei Monti at the upper. They are a total of 135 steps designed in an authentic baroque style and serve as a perfect place to sit, relax and observe the daily hustle of the city.
11. Campo de'Fiori
2 km from city center 11 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The market of Campo de'Fiori is one of the biggest markets in the city, where you will find everything from ceramics and pasta cutters to fresh produce and porcini.Located in Piazza Navona in Rome, this rectangular square is one of the major hubs for the locals as well as the focus of Roman life.
12. Sistine Chapel
3 km from city center 12 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Sistine Chapel is the official residence of the Pope, located in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. Visitor’s primarily come here to see Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement, The Creation of Adam and his ceiling paintings. However, the side panels painted by other Renaissance artists also look incredible.
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13. Piazza del Popolo
2 km from city center 13 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Formerly known as Porta Flaminia, Piazza del Popolo is one of the most popular squares in the city of Rome. With three legendary churches bordering the square with an Egyptian massive obelisk in the middle, it is the centre of tourism in the city.
14. Arch of Constantine
2 km from city center 14 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Arch of Constantine is a massive arch located between the two most important attractions of Rome - the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. Considered to be the largest Roman arch ever built, it is dedicated to Constantine, a great Roman emperor.
15. Borghese Gallery
1 km from city center 15 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Located at Piazzale Scipione Borghese in Rome, Borghese Gallery is one of the most prestigious art galleries in the world. It houses the Borghese collection of antiquities, paintings and sculptures dedicated to Renaissance art and ancient and contemporary style.
16. Castel Sant'Angelo
2 km from city center 16 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Castel Sant'Angelo, also called The Mausoleum of Hadrian, has served as a fortress, a mausoleum, a hideaway and a museum in different periods of history. Located in Parco Adriano region of the capital city of Rome, this cylindrical monument is one of the most popular landmarks of the country.
17. Santa Maria Maggiore
1 km from city center 17 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is one of Rome's four major Catholic churches. It is a 5th-century church that underwent substantial reparation and renovation until the mid-20th century. Itis known for its massive size, mosaics and masterpieces created by the best of that time.
18. Ostia Antica
26 km from city center 18 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Ostia Antica is now an archaeological site which once served as the harbour city of Rome. The town which was once buried for ten centuries is now located 25 kilometres southwest of Rome. However, it is now situated 3 kilometers away from the sea as a result of silicification.
19. Palatine Hill
2 km from city center 19 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Palatine Hill is one of the Seven Hills of Rome and the oldest part of the city. It is in the central location and located 40 metres over the Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum. It is this place only from where Roman civilization started and dates back to 1000 BC.
20. Centro Storico
2 km from city center 20 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Centro Storico is a historical centre located in the heart of the city of Rome. It can be covered on foot and consists of the best historical monuments, with the classic baroque architectural buildings, well-laid pavements to walk on and the best shopping and dining places in the city,
9 km from city center 21 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Esposizione Universale Roma was built by the Fascist dictator Mussolini to celebrate 20 years of Fascism. One of Rome's most chilling yet underrated attractions, the EUR houses works by famous architects like Marcello Piacentini, Giuseppe Pagano Pogatschnig, and Ettore Rossi.
22. San Giovanni in Laterano
2 km from city center 22 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano is the highest-ranked and the oldest church among the four main basilicas in Rome. It holds the precious title of the ‘archbasilica’ and the ecumenical mother church of the Catholic faithful. Inside the church, the nave features some of the oldest statues of Rome.
23. Baths of Caracalla
3 km from city center 23 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Baths of Caracalla located in the capital city of Italy were considered to be the second largest public baths. They were built between AD 212 and 216 under the reign of Emperor Caracalla, and hence are known by his name. It can be visited along with the visit to Appian Way as it is located next to it.
24. Villa Farnesina
3 km from city center 24 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Villa Farnesina is a massive mansion built during the Renaissance Period (1505 - 1511) in the Trastevere district of Rome. The name of the villa is given in dedication to the one of the owners of the villa Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Villa Farnesina is not just known for its magnificent building, but also for the interiors and the decorations.
25. Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere
3 km from city center 25 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Santa Maria in Trastevere is a 12th-century church located in the district of Trastevere, Rome. The monument is a titular minor basilica. This is the first church in the city dedicated to Mother Mary and a popular tourist attraction. Tourists opting for walks or tours through Trastevere to explore and learn about its history, culture and traditions often cover this church along with other attractions.
26. Domus Aurea
1 km from city center 26 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Domus Aurea, or the Golden House, is situated in Rome on the Via della Domus Aurea, close to the Roman Colosseum. Constructed as Emperor Nero’s residential palace, it is very lavish and exudes extravagance. It has a dazzling golden dome and ceilings studded with semi-precious stones and is covered in frescoes and mosaics. Guided tours also include a VR experience, enabling you to see what the palace actually looked like.
27. Capitoline Museums
2 km from city center 27 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Located on the top of Capitoline Hill, Capitoline Museums is a group of museums in Rome consisting of archaeological and art museums. The museums date back to the late 15th century when it started with a small collection of bronze statues donated by Pope Sixtus IV. Visitors get to check out a large collection of exhibits that were either donated or collected over the years. Capitoline Museums is one of the most recommended attractions for tourists to get insights into ancient Roman art and archaeology.
28. Baths of Diocletian
0 km from city center 28 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Also known as the Baths of Diocletian, Terme di Diocleziano is the ancient public baths of Rome. It was named after Emperor Diocletian who ruled Rome in the late-2nd century and early-3rd century. It was built in honour of the Emperor and commissioned by Maximian. These baths are considered the largest baths of ancient Rome. A visit to this historical attraction is included in most tour packages of Rome and it can be covered along with the National Roman Museum that the baths are a part of.
29. Villa Borghese
1 km from city center 29 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Villa Borghese Gardens is a park located in the Piazzale del Museo Borghese in Rome. Spanning 80 hectares, this is an excellent spot to relax and look at some exquisite Roman art. The Borghese Gallery here has paintings on display by renowned artists like Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Caravaggio and some statues, like "Apollo and Daphne" by Bernini.
30. National Roman Museum
0 km from city center 30 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
National Roman Museum is a group of museums located at different sites in Rome. These museums were established to display a vast collection of pre and early historical artefacts discovered during archaeological excavations in the regions nearby. It takes about 5 to 6 hours to cover all the museums but a day out exploring the culture of the city through the displays is sure to be worthwhile.
31. Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
1 km from city center 31 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Palazzo Doria Pamphilj is a private museum owned by the Doria Pamhilj family on the Via del Corso in Rome. On display are many masterpieces by Raphael, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Correggio, Velazquez and Bernini. Out of these, Velazquez's realistic portrait of Pope Innocent X clearly shines through and is given its own room.
32. Basilica di San Clemente
1 km from city center 32 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Basilica di San Clemente is a minor basilica located in the Piazza di San Clemente in Rome. This monument takes you through various stages of Roman history. The basilica features many beautiful frescoes and a mosaic depicting the Triumph of the Cross.
33. Piazza Venezia
1 km from city center 33 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Piazza Venezia, or Venice Square, is located at the intersection of the four roads—Via del Corso, Via del Plebiscito, Via di Teatre Marcello and Via dei Fori Imperiali. The square takes its name from the Palazzo Venezia, one of Rome's most significant historical monuments.
34. Altar of the Fatherland
1 km from city center 34 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Altar of the Fatherland is an imposing, majestic building located in the Piazza Venezia. It has various names such as Vittoriano, Monumento Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II, and The Wedding Cake or The Typewriter building. At its nucleus is the equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel Ⅱ, the first king of unified Italy.
35. Palazzo Colonna
1 km from city center 35 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Palazzo Colonna is the largest private palace in Rome, located on the Via della Pilotta. This grand palace is truly a gem in hiding as it gets overshadowed by a myriad of other public museums and palaces and is open just once a week. Annibale Carracci’s Il Mangiafagioli (The Bean Eater) is the most admired painting in the Colonna collection. The ceilings are adorned with Pinturicchio frescoes, and there are artworks by artists like Jan Brueghel the Elder, Bronzino, Guercino, Veronese, Tintoretto and others.
36. Terme di Caracalla
3 km from city center 36 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Terme di Caracalla is a complex of old ruins located on the Via delle Terme di Caracalla in Rome. The Baths, which were the city’s second-largest Roman public baths, in this complex, are the most visited site here. Virtual Reality visors available at this archaeological site engender an excellent audio-visual experience of how people lived here in ancient times. In summer, the Teatro dell’Opera hosts fantastic concerts, operas and ballet performances.
37. Santa Maria della Vittoria
0 km from city center 37 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Santa Maria della Vittoria is a church situated on the Via Venti Settembre in Rome. It has a fancy interior and is blessed with a lot of natural lighting. The most notable artwork here is Bernini’s racy Santa Teresa trafitta dall’amore di Dio (Ecstasy of Saint Teresa), displayed in the Cornaro Chapel. There are also other art pieces by painters like Guercino, Nicolas Lorrain, and Domenichino.
38. Church of St. Louis The French
2 km from city center 38 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Church of St. Louis The French is located in Rome in the Piazza di San Luigi de' Francesi. It houses many statues of saints and historical figures like Charlemagne and Saint Louis. Fans of Caravaggio’s works and others would be genuinely delighted by three of his most exquisite works of art displayed here—The Martyrdom of St. Matthew, The Vocation of St. Matthew and St. Matthew and the Angel—in the famous Contarelli Chapel.
39. Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini
1 km from city center 39 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini is the recently discovered archaeological remains of ancient Roman villas and houses beneath the Palazzo Valentini. Guided tours are arranged to take you through the restored ruins on glass walkways. The experience is enhanced by multimedia projections of what the ruins were like before. Old baths and patrician residences are covered in pretty frescoes and stunning mosaics.
40. Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola
1 km from city center 40 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola is a 17th-century Jesuit church located in the Piazza di Sant'Ignazio in Rome. This church is most well-known for the remarkable trompe l'œil frescoes by Andrea Pozzo. You will be amazed by how one of them imitates a dome, creating a splendid optical illusion. The other fresco, which is equally incredible, is drawn on the nave ceiling. It depicts St Ignacius' entry into paradise surrounded by angels.
41. Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary
2 km from city center 41 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is a no-kill cat shelter located at the historical site of Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome. This ancient site has become a cat-lovers paradise and is home to over a hundred feral cats. Volunteers at the sanctuary also arrange for adoptions, spaying and neutering and feeding the cats who live here, many of which have disabilities.
3 km from city center 42 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Trastevere is a pretty Roman neighbourhood contiguous to the River Tiber (tras Tevere = across the Tiber). Stroll through charming old-fashioned cobblestone streets or enjoy an appetising meal in an intimate open restaurant. The Piazzi di Santa Maria is a popular landmark in Trastevere. There’s a basilica here with a lovely fountain near it where people can relax.
43. Ponte Sant Angelo
2 km from city center 43 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Ponte Sant’Angelo or the Saint Angelo Bridge connects centro storico to the Castel Sant'Angelo, crossing the River Tiber. It’s a flat stone bridge with 5 arches lined with 10 beautiful angel sculptures designed by the talented Gian Lorenzo Bernini on the sides. It is worth a quick stop for a photo session, especially after dusk.
44. Quirinale Palace
1 km from city center 44 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Quirinale Palace is situated atop a hill in the Piazza del Quirinale in Rome. It is currently the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic. It houses buildings and structures like the Temple of God Quirinus, which gave the hill its name, and the grandiose Monte Cavallo Fountain with the Dioscuri—two giants named Castor and Pollux.
45. Stadio Olimpico
5 km from city center 45 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The Stadio Olimpico, or the Olympic Stadium, is the stadium of two big football clubs—AS Roma and SS Lazio—located in Rome. Besides football matches, the stadium hosts rugby games and international pop and rock concerts. A guided tour of the stadium gives you a look at the changing rooms, media rooms, the turnstiles and the pitch. You can also access the museum and marvel at the jerseys and photos of accomplished players.
46. The Pantheon
2 km from city center 46 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
The former Roman temple, now a church, the Pantheon is one of the most ancient buildings in Rome. The oculus in this building is the main source of natural light and has been in continuous use throughout its history. Adopting a different, non-traditional structure from other Roman monuments, this attraction is one of the best-preserved buildings in the nation and is a must-visit for anyone who is interested in Roman history.
47. Fiumi Fountain
2 km from city center 47 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Fiumi Fountain is situated in the Navona area of Rome and is one of the most famous fountains in the country. The fountain was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and considered an architectural masterpiece. There a few benches around the fountain where people just sit and enjoy.
48. Knights of Malta Keyhole
3 km from city center 48 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Knights of Malta Keyhole is a popular attraction in Rome situated in the Church of Santa Maria del Priorato that is known for its view of the Aventine Hills through a keyhole of a huge church door. the keyhole gives a picturesque view of St Peter’s Basilica, lined with trees.
49. Orange Garden Rome
2 km from city center 49 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
One of the pretty parks on the Aventine hills of Rome, Orange Garden is sprawled over 8,000 square meters. It offers a spectacular landscape view of the city. From the Tiber River to the Santa Maria and Janiculum, the verdant greenery of the park complements the view.
50. Circus Maximus
7,217 km from city center 50 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Located between the famous valley of Aventine and Palatine hill, Circus Maximus was one of the first stadiums in the Roman Empire and is now a mass venue to host different entertainment programs and concerts. It was converted into a beautiful public park.
51. Keats-Shelley House
1,670 km from city center 51 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Situated on the east of Piazza di Spagna of Rome, Keats-Shelley House is a museum housing an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, letters, and manuscripts dedicated to the writers and poets like John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Oscar Wilde, Wordsworth and many more.
52. Leonardo Da Vinci Museum
6 km from city center 52 out of 54 Things To Do in Rome
Leonardo Da Vinci Museum is one kind of museum in Rome that is dedicated to the artworks and inventions of Leonardo. There are 50 interactive machines in the three different thematic exhibits that are divided based on the phases of Leonardo.
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4 Days in Rome – Tips for Planning a Perfect 4-Day Rome Itinerary
Are 4 days in Rome enough? Honestly, we don’t think so. However, if you can only afford 10 days or two weeks in Italy , this is roughly how much time we suggest you devote to the capital.
To help you make the most out of your limited time, we packed an epic 4-day Rome itinerary to show you what you can do in such a short time to optimize your stay and give you some local’s insight on where to eat and where to stay.
Even though in 4 days in Rome you will be able to visit many of the main landmarks, depending on how much time you will spend in a single place will define how many sights you can add to your sightseeing.
Usually, museums and large archaeological sites like the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill will take up much of your time. Provided that you don’t want to make time for some relaxing leisure such as a stroll in the park, a relaxing aperitif or brunch on a Sunday morning, a concert, or some plain and simple piazza time!
If you are into archaeology, you might want to spend at least 3 days in Rome , while if you are looking for a deeper experience that will encompass different aspects of Italian life, from food to shopping to ancient and modern art, probably 5 to 7 days would be a better option.
This is mainly a 4-day Rome itinerary for first-time visitors because it touches the most famous landmarks you want to visit if you’ve never been before. If you are more into themed itineraries, you can check out these other options of Rome’s themed tours we packed for you.
Important to keep in mind: We do not advocate rushing when visiting Rome’s landmarks. We think 5 to 10 minutes are enough for a fountain (unless you are an art historian!), but larger attractions, archaeological sites, museums, and some religious buildings require more than the standard 30 minutes. If you have only 4 days in Rome this time, explore at your own pace to learn about the city, not just tick items off your list or take a selfie.
Table of Contents
Our suggested itinerary for Rome in 4 Days – What to see and do
With the right planning, four days in Rome can actually be enough for at least the main historic sites. Here is a handy itinerary to help you explore the most important landmarks like the Colosseum and the Vatican, and the most famous Rome neighborhoods such as Trastevere or the Centro Storico .
Just like every itinerary, this one, too, is highly customizable. You can switch days, add or remove sights as you go either because they are closed when you are here or because you are simply not interested, join tours, or go romantic in Rome with your other half.
We will be linking to many of our posts so that you have enough resources to tailor and fix this itinerary to spend 4 days in Rome just like you have been dreaming of.
What to see in 4 Days in Rome
Day 1 in rome – discover ancient rome – map.
Visit the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill
We all have either read or heard about the Roman gladiators, so among the first things to do in Rome even if you stay only 4 or even 3 days, there sure is the Colosseum. We suggest adding this first thing in the morning to your 4-day Rome itinerary. If you manage, get there early, even before it opens, to avoid huge queues.
There are parts of the Colosseum open to the general public that you can access with a single ticket, and others where you can enter only with a guide or a tour. To skip the line, either booking online or a guided tour of the Colosseum is your best bet.
As the Roman Forum is right beside and the ticket is the same as the one you buy for the Colosseum, we suggest you do both of them on the same day, or better on the same morning. If you feel too overwhelmed and prefer doing something else right after the Colosseum, you can as the ticket is valid for two days.
If you like to go deeper, there are several underground tours of Rome that will show you the areas that are generally not open to the public, such as the dungeon where the gladiators used to stay before the shows and the fights.
Explore the Caracalla Baths
For as popular and After enjoying the beauty of the Colosseum and the pulsing heart of Roman ancient life in the Roman Forum, head to the Baths of Caracalla , one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Rome . Here, you will be taken back to Ancient Rome and their love for spas and pampering themselves.
This is a very fascinating site that you can totally spare an hour for in your 4 days in Rome. Visit these ancient baths and see how they were organized, comprising several spa areas, pools, a gym, and even a library.
I know that four days is a pretty short time to visit Rome, but please, don’t devote only 20 or 30 minutes to the Baths of Caracalla. It would just mean ticking it off your list without appreciating the value of the ruins. Take in its history, its role in Roman society, and the different social classes from the highest to the slaves busy in the undergrounds, that you can also visit.
In fact, make sure you don’t miss the undergrounds of the Baths of Caracalla where is the largest Mithra temple discovered so far in the city. Whether you make it a 30-minute or a 1-hour visit, it won’t change much in your 4-day Rome itinerary, but your experience in this wonderful ancient site will be much richer.
If you are planning your four days in Rome in August , you can even see the Caracalla Baths spruced up for the night and for a scenic Opera performance.
San Clemente Basilica
When you enter, this is a medieval church, but we are including the site on the first day devoted to the imperial times because as you get underneath the modern-day street level, you are right in ancient Rome.
On the second layer, you will visit an early-Christian basilica, but don’t stop there. Make your way down one more level and walk around Roman tiny alleys, visit the Roman mint, and a Mithraic school and temple.
Walk along the Fori Imperiali
Round off your historical tour of Rome by walking along the Imperial Fora (Via dei Fori Imperiali). This is the long road of almost 1 km that goes from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia and shows the public spaces that emperors built for their
While it’s not possible to actually enter, you can see a lot from outside. Here is where emperors and orators made their speeches. Some of the most important fora are the ones of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nerva, and of Trajan. Right behind, there are also the fantastic Trajan’s Markets that I totally suggest you carve at least an hour to visit.
Museo Nazionale Romano – Diocletian Baths
A fantastic addition to your first day in Rome devoted to the ancient city is a visit to the Museo Nazionale Romano. One of Rome’s top museums , it is dislocated in several spaces, but the main one is where the Diocletian Baths are, right close to Termini station.
Walk the ancient baths as you enter and then carry on to the permanent exhibition of findings and remains from ancient Rome, from tools to decorations to Mithraic images. It’s really big, but in one or two hours you can really see a lot.
Day 2 in Rome – The Centro Storico (Historic Center) – Map
Piazza di Spagna (The Spanish Steps)
With the long Trinità dei Monti staircase, Piazza di Spagna is one of the most famous squares in Rome. Named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, on the piazza, you can see the Barcaccia, a Baroque sculpture by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Going up the famous Spanish Steps , a beautiful view will start unfolding. On the right side of the staircase is the house of British poet John Keats who lived here until 1821, when he died aged 25. His house has been turned into a museum that can be visited every day except Monday. The staircase was built in the 18th century to connect the Spanish embassy to Trinità dei Monti church on top.
Right in front of the stairs, you will see the exclusive shopping street Via dei Condotti with some of the most luxurious Italian and international fashion brands.
Go Shopping in the Tridente Streets
Walk along Via del Corso, a famous shopping street in central Rome where you can find several brands of clothing, shoes, accessories and homeware. Either along the same Via del Corso or the other two streets of what’s known as the Tridente, Via del Babuino and Via Ripetta.
Some of the brands you are going to find in the Tridente roads are Liu Jo, Class, Intimissimi, Doppelganger men’s clothing store, Pepe Jeans, Moschino, Birkenstock, and more.
Hardly in need of any introduction, the Trevi Fountain is on the top list of any first-time Rome traveler, and even if you have only 3 or 4 days in Rome, this is a must.
Stunning and huge Baroque fountain, its theme is the sea and the large statue in its middle is the Ocean by Pietro Bacci, dating back to the late 18th century. The origins of the fountain are actually much more ancient as it was a Roman aqueduct that remained operative up to today.
This is a very touristy area, so you might want to be extra careful if you want to eat here. You can order a good meal at Il Piccolo Buco (Via del Lavatore 91), Colline Emiliane (Via degli Avignonesi 22), Baccano (Via delle Muratte 23) or, for a great gelato, San Crispino (Via della Panetteria 42).
An ancient temple devoted to all gods, whether you are spending 1, 2, or 4 days in Rome, the Pantheon is one of the unmissable landmarks. Especially if you are in the city for the first time.
Even after 2000 years, its dome is one of the largest in the world. Today the Pantheon is a Catholic church that hosts the graves of several members of the former Italian royal family as well as the tomb of Renaissance Italian painter Raphael.
This, too, is an area always packed with tourists, but even though tourist menus are the trend, it’s also possible to find some great eats. Some examples are Armando al Pantheon (Salita de’ Crescenzi 31), hands downs one of the best restaurants in Rome , Ginger e Sapori (Piazza Sant’Eustachio). For a fantastic gelato, head to Gunther Gelato Italiano (Piazza Sant’Eustachio), one of the best gelaterias in Rome .
Crossing Corso Rinascimento from the Pantheon, you get to Piazza Navona built on top of Domitian Stadium that hosts Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain and the Baroque church of Sant’Agnese in Agone designed by his forever rival Francesco Borromini.
On the side of the piazza is the palace of the Doria Pamphilj noble family, where Donna Olimpia used to live, now occupied by the Brazilian embassy. Apart from the majestic Four Rivers Fountain in the middle, there are also other two beautiful fountains on the two ends of the stadium-shaped square.
Ice cream lovers can enjoy a delicious gelato from GROM in Piazza Navona.
Campo de’ Fiori
With an easy stroll from Piazza Navona, cross Corso Vittorio Emanuele and you will end up in Campo de’ Fiori . Historic piazza that hosts a daily food market selling also clothes and kitchenware, in its center stands tall the statue of Italian friar and philosopher Giordano Bruno. Right in this spot, he was burned at the stake with the accusation of heresy by the Holy Inquisition in 1600.
Historically the place of the veggie market, today Campo de’ Fiori is a hangout place for locals, tourists, and young people thanks to the many restaurants and cafes surrounding the square, including one of Rome’s most popular street food places , Supplizio.
Day 3 in Rome – The Vatican City – Map
Explore the Vatican Museums
We suggest starting the third of your 4 days in Rome early at the Vatican Museums. Among the many things to do in Vatican City , these giant galleries are the most time-consuming so it’s a good idea to do it first thing and then proceed to other places. If you want to at least avoid the line, it would be a good idea to book a skip-the-line ticket beforehand or join a private Vatican tour .
Displaying some five centuries of artwork gathered by the popes either by commission or donations from kings and leaders from all over the world, the Vatican Museums enshrine a huge wealth of history and culture.
Some of the most famous areas, alongside the world-renowned Sistine Chapel, are Raphael’s Rooms, the Statues Courtyard, and the Gallery of the Maps, of the Tapestries and of the Candelabra.
Stare in Awe at the Sistine Chapel
This is a chapel inside the Vatican Museums but it deserves its own spot on the list because it’s so famous that you can’t possibly skip it. Always included in any tour around the Vatican, here you will see the famous Last Judgment by Michelangelo.
Very likely, you will enjoy it nice and tight with a few hundred people altogether, so if you want to have a more intimate experience, your best bet is to book a tour for either the early morning before opening time or in the evening after the museums close to the public.
Admire the Art in St. Peter’s Basilica
Stunning and free to enter, St. Peter’s Basilica is a must-see church for anyone visiting the city for the first time, even if you are in Rome for 4 days only.
Inside it’s a huge basilica with several mosaics, statues, side chapels, the gorgeous dome, Bernini’s canopy and the wonderful sculpture La Pietà by Michelangelo Buonarroti. From inside the basilica, you can also go down one level and visit the crypt where several popes are buried.
Before entering the basilica, do stop to stare at the gorgeous colonnade by Gian Lorenzo Bernini framing the huge St. Peter’s Square. On the piazza are also several statues, among which Saint Paul’s and Saint Peter’s, an obelisk and the fountains.
The Vatican Necropolis
For this, you will have to book weeks in advance, so you definitely need good planning. This ancient necropolis lies some 11 meters below St. Peter’s Basilica and right next to Nero’s Circus, where Saint Peter was martyred.
This necropolis is where St. Peter is buried, and this is one of the reasons you might want to visit it. It’s a Roman cemetery, so you will see several pagan graves lying side by side with the tombs of their Christian slaves. It’s a very fascinating site where history, symbols, and religion are tightly intertwined.
Castel Sant’Angelo (Hadrian Mausoleum)
Located in front of St. Peter’s Square, right at the end of the long Via della Conciliazione, the Hadrian Mausoleum is a very interesting building and historical site to explore.
In the centuries, it served different purposes. Built as the tomb of Emperor Hadrian in 135 AD, Castel Sant’Angelo has also been a medieval stronghold, residence and political prison. It’s connected to the Vatican through the so-called “Passetto”, a long wall erected to protect the Vatican from the Saracen invasions and allow the Pope and high prelates to seek shelter in Castel Sant’Angelo.
Day 4 in Rome – Trastevere and the Jewish Quarter
Walk around the Trastevere neighborhood
Even just walking around the cobbled alleys of this quaint district is worth it. A former working-class neighborhood now gentrified and a favorite hang-out place for tourists and locals alike both day and night, there are many things to do in Trastevere .
Sporting a wealth of good restaurants, cafes and gelaterias, here you can easily spend a couple of hours just strolling around, watching the local architecture, and stopping for a good gelato (Otaleg, Fiordiluna, and Fatamorgana are my suggestions!).
Duck into the ancient Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica
One of the landmarks to visit in this neighborhood is the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. Dominating the view of its namesake piazza, this important Catholic church was probably the first official Christian worship place built in Rome. For sure the first one that was officially devoted to the Virgin Mary.
Renovated a few times in the centuries, it displays wonderful mosaics both inside and on the facade by Pietro Cavallini from the 13th century.
Visit Villa Farnesina and Raphael’s frescoes
If you are into art, don’t miss Villa Farnesina in Trastevere during your 4 days in Rome. Beautiful Renaissance building commissioned in Agostino Chigi in the 16th century, today is used by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei for their official ceremonies. At the end of the 16th century, it was bought by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, after whom it was later named.
The Villa is worth a visit for its interior decorations, including stunning frescoes by Italian painter Raffaello Sanzio and Giovanni Bazzi among others.
Explore the layers of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica
Often neglected because it’s on the other side of Viale Trastevere, so not directly in the tourist heart of the district, this is a truly fascinating church and historic landmark.
Devoted to Santa Cecilia, the saint patron of the music, below modern-day street level is a gorgeous Byzantine crypt decorated with a forest of pillars and arches. Going down another level, you can walk into a wealthy domus home and an insula from ancient Roman times.
Even though one of the least-visited churches , it is absolutely worth including in your itinerary for Rome in 4 days. It won’t take you more than one hour or an hour and a half, it’s easy to reach, and it’s a historical treasure trove.
Plus, after this visit, you can enjoy an exquisite lunch at the nearby traditional Roman restaurant Da Enzo al 29 (Via Vascellari 29).
Discover the Alleys of the Jewish Ghetto
One of Europe’s oldest Jewish Quarter (only Venice one is older), this is an interesting neighborhood worth you are including in your 4-day Rome itinerary. You can get there very easily on foot from Trastevere crossing the Ponte Garibaldi bridge or with an easy stroll from Largo Argentina.
In the Jewish Ghetto, stop at the beautiful Renaissance Fontana delle Tartarughe (Turtles’ Fountain) and the nearby Portico di Ottavia , the ruins of an ancient Roman porch. In Via Catalana, inside the Tempio Maggiore complex, you can also visit the Museo Ebraico di Roma (Rome’s Jewish Museum) to discover the long history and rich culture of Roman Jews.
Planning your 4-day Rome trip
Find a perfect hotel.
Finding a hotel in Rome can be confusing, but having a planned itinerary will certainly make things easier. Some of the neighborhoods we suggest booking your hotel are the city center , probably the best area since it’s close to most of the major landmarks or otherwise well-connected with the other districts via public transport.
A great neighborhood for your stay is also around the Vatican , so Trionfale or Prati areas. From here, too, you can easily reach most of the places mentioned in this 4-day Rome itinerary either on foot or by bus/metro/train.
For some budget options, also staying around Stazione Termini is not a bad idea. You can find good accommodation, reasonable prices and for sure you will have all the buses, trains and metro you need at your fingertips.
Get to the city center from the airport
There are several ways to reach Rome city center from Fiumicino airport and in all these years we used pretty much all of them.
You can take the public taxi, just stand in line at the exit and take one of the official white taxis. Or you can book your own private car and airport transfer easily online .
Or you can simply use public transport, which is also pretty efficient. There are trains to Termini Station every half an hour (Leonardo Express) for 14 euros, or trains to the stations of Trastevere, Ostiense, Tuscolana and Tiburtina roughly every 15 minutes for 8 euros.
You can also choose to take the bus to reach the city center or Roma Termini. There are several companies and prices are pretty cheap, around 6 and 7 euros depending on the company. You can buy the ticket at the counter as you arrive or book a shuttle bus online .
Rely on public transport
I know Rome’s public transport has been under the radar for quite some time and it’s true, it can be greatly improved. However, since you are in the city for a short period of time and most of your days will be spent downtown, in this 4-day Rome itinerary, we definitely recommend you rely on the public service for your mobility.
I think most of the time you will be walking, so I guess a single ticket (1.50 euro for 100 minutes validity with 1 train, 1 metro and unlimited bus rides) each time you need it will be enough. You can also purchase a 24h/48h/72h ticket, but I recommend these only for the days when you are actually planning to use public transport a lot as they cost respectively 7/12.50/18 euros.
Know where to eat
I might have said this before, but often in the city center, it’s not too straightforward to find a good place to eat or enjoy some properly made artisan gelato.
Especially around the most popular landmarks, you might find restaurants using enticing words like “antica”, “trattoria”, “osteria”, “tradizionale”, just to give a traditional and genuine impression, but sometimes they are just tourist eateries.
This is why we wrote a few extensive guides to the best places where to eat in Rome , where the locals go, fantastic places for great pizza , a traditional Roman meal , and even vegan or vegetarian restaurants .
In 4 days in Rome, you are going to have enough time to pick at least a few good places to eat so don’t settle for less than great in at least one meal every day. And if during the day you prefer to save time and keep going, stop at one of the best street food places in Rome for a quick but delicious bite.
Carry a small dictionary
While in tourist areas you will find people speaking some English, if you go a bit far from the most popular spots English is seldom spoken. So you better either learn some Italian basic phrases or carry with you a small dictionary or glossary. This will help you get by in situations like restaurants or asking for directions.
What to add if you have more than 4 days in Rome
Are you lucky enough to afford to spend one full week in Rome ? Here are some fantastic places you can add to your bucket list.
If you can afford more time, check out our guide to decide how many days you should stay in Rome .
The Appian Way and the Catacombs
A fantastic area of Rome you can see in half a day is the southern Parco dell’Appia Antica park. Whether you are into archaeology or some physical activity, you will love this park. Visit Parco degli Acquedotti to see the remains of several ancient aqueducts and understand some of the most sophisticated engineering feats of ancient Romans.
The park is huge and you will see plenty of people walking, jogging, bike riding, and picnicking. If you have kids, there are also playgrounds for them to have plenty of fun.
On the same day, you can walk the ancient Appian Way to see some of its most famous tombs such as the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, as well as some of Rome’s largest catacombs. Close to each other are in fact the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, the Catacombs of Domitilla, and those of St. Sebastian.
To visit this area of Rome, it’s better to either drive or book a tour. If you feel a local expert will add value to your experience, read everything about the tour to the Appian Way we took with Take Walks .
Ostiense street art and industrial archaeology sites
If you are into modern art and history, I’m sure you will find the way to squeeze the Ostiense district into your 4 days in Rome. This modern and hip neighborhood is where you can explore the recent past of Rome’s industrial era through the vestiges of former power plants like Centrale Montemartini , gazometers, general warehouses and the river port.
Fans of contemporary art, can get lost discovering the murals that give a colorful look to Ostiense , while if you are not done with the churches overdose, nearby is the important Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls .
Testaccio traditional neighborhood
Next to Ostiense is the traditional working-class neighborhood of Testaccio . Along with important remains of BC times such as the ancient Emporium river port and the Pyramid of Caius Caestius, you can also visit sights linked to more modern times such as the beautiful Protestant Cemetery , the former slaughterhouse turned into a museum and cultural center, and the lively Mercato Testaccio local market.
Apart from the many landmarks of Testaccio , the neighborhood is well-known in Rome for its great food scene. Authentic and traditional, here you are sure to find hearty meals and delicious street food.
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About The Author: Angela Corrias
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4 Days in Rome Itinerary: Highlights & Hidden Gems
Julie Last updated: October 19, 2023 Italy , Itinerary Leave a Comment
4 days in Rome is a wonderful amount of time to spend in this city. Not only will you be able to visit the main highlights, but you will also have time to explore a few hidden gems and add in something like a cooking class, more leisurely time, or a food tour.
The list of things to do in Rome is enormous. It takes one busy week to visit Rome’s long list of museums, cathedrals, archaeological sites, and famous attractions. With 4 days in Rome, you won’t be able to get to everything, but you will see and do quite a lot.
This itinerary covers the main places to visit in Rome as well as restaurant recommendations and rooftop bars. One of our favorite things to do in Italy is to eat and Rome is filled with amazing restaurants, from fast, cheap eats to expensive, fine dining experiences. We mix these in as well.
Having a good meal in Rome is just as important as touring the Colosseum, in our opinion, and this is very easy to do on a budget.
We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
About this 4 Days in Rome Itinerary
This itinerary is very similar to our 3 days in Rome Itinerary. Days 1, 2, and 3 are identical on both our 3 day and 4 day Rome itinerary. The only real difference is day 4 (of course). On the final day of this 4 day itinerary, we give you several options on how to plan your time.
There is a long list of cathedrals and historical sites in Rome, so you can pick and choose the ones you want to do. And if touring a bunch of churches doesn’t sound like how you want to spend your time, we’ve got some other ideas for you.
You can do these days in any order. For example, you can do day 3 first, if that works better for your overall itinerary or with getting entrance tickets into certain attractions.
It is also important to know that St. Peter’s Basilica does not open until the early afternoon on some Wednesdays (when the Pope holds an audience in St. Peter’s Square). Day 2 of this itinerary includes a visit to St. Peter’s Square in the morning, so do not plan to do day 2 of this itinerary on a Wednesday (unless you want to modify it and attend the Papal Audience).
All of the times in the daily schedules are rough estimates, just to give you an idea about timing throughout the day. Your times may differ, based on queues and how much time you decide to spend at each place. I did my best to anticipate waiting times and visiting times, but on very busy days (or very quiet days) these times can differ.
We have tons more information about Rome (and Italy) which you can see in our Italy Travel Guide.
I do my best to keep the hours of operation and pricing up to date for each attraction, however, these can change at any time. I recommend getting updated hours and pricing for your dates of travel. The link to the official website is provided for each site.
Table of Contents
Best Things to Do with 4 Days in Rome
Below is a list of the places to visit if you have 4 days in Rome. All of these are included on this Rome itinerary.
- Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
- Piazza Navona
- Borghese Gallery
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- Altar of the Fatherland
- Mouth of Truth
Santa Maria Maggiore
- San Pietro in Vincoli
- Cooking class
Piazza Navona | 4 Days in Rome
4 Days in Rome Itinerary
Rome itinerary day 1.
Colosseum, Roman Forum, Altar of the Fatherland, Trastevere
Ciao! Welcome to Rome!
Today you get to visit one of the world’s most popular attractions (the Colosseum), stroll through ancient Rome, take in the view from one of the best viewpoints in the city, and end the day with dinner with a view.
Get ready to take lots of photos and make some wonderful memories.
Everything on today’s itinerary is located within a small area of Rome so you won’t do a ton of walking. In fact, it adds up 3.2 km/2 miles, a little more if you choose to walk to Trastevere (this walking distance is just to get from site to site, it does not include walking within the sites, for example, walking through the Roman Forum and in the Colosseum).
9:00 am: The Colosseum 10:30 am: Roman Forum & Palatine Hill 12:30 pm: Lunch 1:30 pm: Via dei Fori Imperiali 2:00 pm: Altar of the Fatherland 3:00 pm: Capitoline Hill 5:00 pm: Aperitif at Oro Bistrot 6:00 pm: Trastevere
How to Use This Map : Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (places to go and the walking routes). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest. If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
9:00 am: The Colosseum
The Colosseum is the most popular attraction in Rome. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Construction was completed in 80 AD, making it the largest amphitheater in the world at that time. The Colosseum could hold up to 80,000 people, spectators who were drawn here to watch gladiatorial contests, executions, animal hunts, and re-enactments of famous battles.
You can tour the Colosseum on your own or with a guide. Purchasing tickets in advance and touring it on your own is the cheapest option. Taking a guided tour is more expensive but you will get more out of your visit (we have done both and recommend taking a guided tour of some sort).
The Colosseum | 4 Days in Rome
Inside the Colosseum | 4 Days in Rome
On a visit to the Colosseum, you can also add on the Arena Floor (stand on a portion of the floor and gaze up at the Colosseum…it’s well worth the few extra euros), the Underground (tour the maze of hallways under the Colosseum), and the Upper Tier (currently closed but you can get updates about its reopening on the official website ).
For more information about the Arena Floor, the Underground, and what there is to do at the Colosseum, read our article How to Visit the Colosseum. It also has lots of helpful tips for your visit.
How to Visit the Colosseum
On your visit to the Colosseum, you can either wander through it on your own, take the audio guide tour, or join a guided tour. Most visits last 1 to 3 hours.
You must purchase your entrance ticket in advance (you cannot just show up and get in line for a ticket). Tickets now sell out almost as soon as they become available, which is 1 month in advance. Set a reminder on your calendar to purchase tickets the moment they become available. The earlier time slots of the day usually sell out first.
If online tickets are sold out for your dates of travel, I recommend joining a guided tour of the Colosseum. You will spend a little more money than purchasing your tickets directly from the Colosseum website, but at least you will get to visit the Colosseum.
Hours: Hours vary by season. Click here to get hours for your dates of visit. Cost: €16 (+ €2 online reservation fee) for the standard ticket that gets you in to the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum; there is also a Full Experience ticket that also includes a visit to the Colosseum arena and underground area for €24 Website: Get updated hours and pricing and purchase your ticket here. Roma Pass: If you have the Roma Pass, you must make your reservation to visit the Colosseum in advance. There is a €2 reservation fee. Click here for more information. Getting Here: The closest metro stop is Colosseo. When you exit the metro station, the Colosseum will be right in front of you.
For more information, including ticket types, how to book your tickets, things to do at the Colosseum, plus many more photos, check out our guide on How to Visit the Colosseum.
10:30 am: Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are a short walk from the Colosseum. They are both included on your entrance ticket into the Colosseum. If you are on a guided tour of the Colosseum, most tours will continue to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
From the Colosseum, walk up Via Sacra towards the Arch of Titus to enter the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
The Roman Forum is ancient Rome, a complex of government buildings, temples, and marketplaces from 2000 years ago.
Notable things to see in the Roman Forum include the Via Sacra, the Temple of Venus, the Temple of Romulus (the bronze doors date back to 309 AD), the Temple of Antonius and Faustina and its “hanging door,” the Temple of Vesta, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimius Severus, and the Temple of Julius Caesar.
A visit to the Roman Forum lasts 20 minutes to an hour.
Palatine Hill | 4 Days in Rome
Palatine Hill sits next to the Roman Forum. It is a complex of archaeological excavations, the remains of temples and palaces, and a museum. During the time of the Roman Republic, many imperial palaces were built here, including palaces for Augustus, Tiberius, and Domitian.
While on Palatine Hill, make sure you visit Terrazza Belvedere del Palatino for a bird’s eye view of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. It’s one of the best views in Rome. Here is the view:
Roman Forum | 4 Days in Rome
12:30 pm: Lunch
For lunch we recommend La Prezzemolina. This highly rated restaurant serves Italian street food and pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) at budget-friendly prices. It’s one of our favorite restaurants in Rome.
For more restaurant recommendations, check out our Rome Restaurant Guide (it also includes some great rooftop restaurants that are perfect for dinner).
Pizza at La Prezzemolina
1:30 pm: Via dei Fori Imperiali
From La Prezzemolina, take a stroll along Via dei Fori Imperiali. This street runs between the Roman Forum and the Forum of Augustus and the Trajan Forum. Keep an eye out for Trajan’s Column, which was erected in 113 AD.
The view of the Forum of Augustus on the walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali
Via Fori dei Imperiali ends at Piazza Venezia. From here, you can climb the steps on the Altar of the Fatherland for one of the best views of Rome.
Altar of the Fatherland | 4 Days in Rome
2:00 pm: Altar of the Fatherland
The Altar of the Fatherland, also called Altare della Patria, the Victor Emmanuel II Monument, or simply the “wedding cake,” is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Rome.
This national monument was built between 1885 and 1935 to honor Victor Emmanuel II, who was the first king of unified Italy. It contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and an eternal flame.
For free, you can climb the series of staircases to the upper terrace and café. For the best view, ride the elevator (€12 in 2022) to the top of the monument for panoramic views of Rome. From here, you can see all of Rome’s major landmarks, including the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum.
On the top level of the Altar of the Fatherland | 4 Days in Rome
The view from the Altar of the Fatherland | 4 Days in Rome
3:00 pm: Capitoline Hill
There are two reasons to visit Capitoline Hill: for a great view of the Roman Forum and to visit the Capitoline Museums.
To get here from the Altar of the Fatherland, it is a 3-minute walk along Via del Teatro di Marcello. You will walk up a series of steps to get to Campidoglio, which is the square on Capitoline Hill. This square was designed by Michelangelo.
The Capitoline Museums are located inside of Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo. These museums contain works of art by Caravaggio, Rubens, and Tiziano. Be sure to see the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius (a copy of this statue sits in Campodoglio Square) and the original statue of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, called the Capitoline Wolf (a replica of this statue sits next to the Senatorial Palace).
For hours and pricing, visit the official website.
Campidoglio Square | 4 Days in Rome
For the best viewpoint of the Roman Forum from Capitoline Hill, walk between Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Senatorial Palace along Via del Campidoglio to Terrazza sul Foro for another great view of the Roman Forum.
The view of the Roman Forum from Terrazza sul Foro
5:00 pm: Aperitif at Oro Bistrot
Having an aperitif (an aperitivo) is a pre-dinner drink that is served with a few small snacks. It is popular thing to do in Italy and a great way to unwind after a busy day sightseeing.
One of our favorite places to go for a drink with a view is Oro Bistrot. It is located very close to Piazza Venezia and is a 7-minute walk from Capitoline Hill.
Oro Bistrot is a rooftop terrace that has a spectacular view of the Altar of the Fatherland and the Trajan Forum. They open mid-afternoon and you can have a drink here and then move on or stay for dinner (dinner does not start until 7 pm). Make a reservation in advance for drinks and dinner.
Here is the view. We spent several hours at this spot and sunset was amazing.
The view of the Altar of the Fatherland from Oro Bistrot | 4 Days in Rome
6:00 pm: Trastevere
You have the option to spend all evening at Oro Bistrot, or you can go to Trastevere. This neighborhood is filled with some of the best restaurants in Rome and it is a lovely area to explore. We recommend Nannarella, Enoteca Trastevere, and Trapizzino (make your reservations in advance, we have links to these restaurants on our Rome Restaurant Guide ).
To get here, hire a taxi (you can walk but it is a 22-minute walk, about 0.6 km/1 mile from Oro Bistrot). The hotel staff at Oro Bistrot can call you a taxi. We were able to get a taxi at Piazza Venezia.
Trastevere | 4 Days in Rome
Rome Itinerary Day 2
Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, Castel Sant’Angelo, Historic Heart of Rome
Morning (7:30/8:00 am): Vatican City 12:00 pm: Lunch 1:30 pm: Castel Sant’Angelo 3:00 pm: Scenic Walk to Piazza Navona 3:20 pm: Historic Heart of Rome 5:30 pm: Free Time or Rooftop Bar 7:00 pm: Dinner
The best way to avoid the crowds and the long line at Vatican City is to get an early start, which accounts for the 7:30/8:00 am time listed above. You can hit that snooze button, but you risk an hour wait (or longer on some days) to enter St. Peter’s Basilica.
And again, be aware that on Wednesdays when the Pope is in town, he holds an audience and St. Peter’s Basilica does not open until the early afternoon. So, if this day happens to fall on a Wednesday, move this day to a different day of the week.
Morning: Vatican City
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. In Vatican City, there are three big sites to visit: the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
St. Peter’s Square | 4 Days in Rome
Rome of the Immaculate Conception
The staircase inside the Vatican Museums
Overlooking St. Peter’s Square from the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica
There are several ways to visit Vatican City. You can take a guided tour or visit it independently. We have visited Vatican City independently and on a tour. Taking a tour is more expensive but has several advantages.
Taking a tour is much more educational, as a knowledgeable guide will teach you about important sights within the museums and concentrate on the most important things to see. Some tours take you right from the Sistine Chapel into St. Peter’s Basilica, which can save you a lot of time (you get to skip the line into St. Peter’s Basilica). Yes, a tour is more expensive, but skipping that line is well worth the extra money.
Here are three different ways to plan your visit to Vatican City:
BEST OPTION: Early morning guided tour of Vatican City. The Vatican Museums open at 9 am. On an early morning tour, you enter at 8 am, which allows you to see part of the museums with very low crowds. Some tours will take you directly into St. Peter’s Basilica via the tunnel from the Sistine Chapel, which bypasses the enormous line to enter the cathedral. An early morning tour is pricier (on average you will spend about €80 to €135 per person), but it is an all-around better experience. We recommend this early morning tour (it is with the same tour company we used).
CHEAPEST OPTION: At 8 am, go first to St. Peter’s Basilica. This early in the day, there should be little to no line to enter the cathedral. Once inside, do the dome climb first, then visit the rest of the cathedral (learn more about what to see and do in our Guide to Vatican City). After the basilica, visit the Vatican Museums (book tickets for a 10 am entry, and do this several weeks before your visit). You will tour the museums and Sistine Chapel on your own, without a guide. The museums will be busy so be prepared for some crowds.
GUIDED TOUR: The early morning tours of Vatican City are expensive, since you are paying for early access. You can save some money and still take a guided tour by taking a tour that starts at 9 am, which is opening time of the museums. This tour gets nothing but stellar reviews and includes the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
GUIDE TO VATICAN CITY: In our Guide to Vatican City, we cover hours, pricing, and helpful tips for your visit. You also have the option to add on the “secret rooms” of the Vatican, such as the Cabinet of Masks, and we cover these as well.
12:00 pm: Lunch
For lunch, we have three recommendations that are all within walking distance of St. Peter’s Square. You can either have a quick lunch or a longer, leisurely lunch.
We had a quick lunch at Alice Pizza, dining on pizza by the slice. It’s great if you are on a budget or are saving your money for dinner. Two restaurants we have not tried but sound amazing are Borghiciana Pastificio Artiginale and Scialla the Original Streetfood.
1:30 pm: Castel Sant’Angelo
Stroll along Via della Conciliazione towards Castel Sant’Angelo (and look back several times for the amazing view of St. Peter’s Basilica).
As you walk to Castel Sant’Angelo, you have the option to make a small detour to Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II for a beautiful view of the castle and Ponte Sant’Angelo.
The view from Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II | 4 Days in Rome
Castel Sant’ Angelo, also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, was originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family. Later, it was used as a fortress, a prison, a castle, and now it is a museum.
Castel Sant’ Angelo | 4 Days in Rome
During your visit, you will follow a walking route through the fortress. First, you make a loop around the lower level. At the end of this loop, you will enter the center building, and climb to the top on a series of ramps and steps.
From the highest terrace of Castel Sant’Angelo you have almost 360° views of Rome.
Get hours and pricing on the official website.
3:00 pm: Scenic Walk to Piazza Navona
Cross the Tiber River on Ponte Sant’Angelo (the bridge that crosses the Tiber River in front of Castel Sant’Angelo). This bridge is lined with angels and a great photo spot.
Walk east along the Tiber River. Once you get to Ponte Umberto I, walk a short distance on this bridge for an iconic view of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Tiber River.
The view from Ponte Umberto I | 4 Days in Rome
Then walk down Via Giuseppe Zanardelli until you get to Piazza Navona.
This walk is 800 meters (0.5 miles) and takes 10 minutes without stops for photos.
3:20 pm: Historic Heart of Rome
Piazza Navona is one of Rome’s most famous squares. It is filled with cafes, fountains, and lots of people. While you are here, take a look at the three fountains (the Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Fountain of Neptune, and the Fountain of the Moor), watch the street performers, and step inside Sant Agnese in Agone.
Piazza Navona is a good place to rest your feet for a few minutes. Many cafes get mediocre reviews, but it’s a nice spot to get a cup of coffee or glass of wine. We recommend Bernini.
Cafes in Piazza Navona
Once you are finished in Piazza Navona, continue the stroll through the heart of Rome.
It’s a quick walk to the Pantheon. The Pantheon is one of the oldest buildings in Rome. For hours of operation and ticket options (the Pantheon is no longer free to visit), visit the official website.
The Pantheon | 4 Days in Rome
Continue to the Trevi Fountain, passing by the Temple of Hadrian and Venchi (one of our favorite gelato shops in Rome).
The Trevi Fountain is one of the busiest places to visit in Rome. If you want to leave the crowds behind, visit Garden Roof Trevi (also called Trevi Rooftop) . This tiny rooftop bar overlooks the Trevi Fountain. You can have a drink with a view and rest your feet for a few minutes.
Trevi Fountain | 4 Days in Rome
Continue the walk until you get to the Spanish Steps.
This stairway is one of the most popular places to visit in Rome, frequently shows up in walking tours of the city, and is free to visit. The fountain that sits at the bottom of the Spanish Steps, Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Longboat), dates back to 1629 and was built by Pietro Bernini, father of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Spanish Steps | 4 Days in Rome
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Tired and need a break? Think twice about having a seat on the Spanish Steps. In 2019, a new law was put in place to crack down on “bad behavior” in Rome. If you are caught sitting on the Spanish Steps, you risk paying a €400 fine.
For a unique view of the Spanish Steps, go inside the Keats-Shelley House. It takes 30 minutes or less to tour this small museum. For hours of operation and pricing, visit the official website.
The view of the Spanish Steps from the Keats-Shelley House
5:30 pm: Free Time or Rooftop Bar
Dinner in Rome does not typically start until 7 pm. That gives you some free time. You can either return to your hotel for a little bit or visit a nearby rooftop bar for an aperitif and another nice view of Rome.
Just a one-minute walk from the top of the Spanish Steps is Cielo Terrace, which is on top of the Rocco Forte Hotel de la Ville. They serve both aperitifs and dinner, so you could stay for dinner. Learn more about the rooftop bars in our guide to the Rome Rooftop Bars.
Cielo Terrace | 4 Days in Rome
Almost next door to Cielo Terrace is Imàgo, a Michelin-starred restaurant with amazing views over Rome. If you like the idea of dining here, make your reservation at least one month in advance.
The view from Imàgo
7:00 pm: Dinner
For dinner, you can stay at Cielo Terrace or have dinner elsewhere. If you didn’t go to Trastevere yet, you could have dinner here tonight. For recommendations, take a look at our Rome Restaurant Guide.
Rome Itinerary Day 3
Appian Way, Catacombs, Borghese Gallery
In the morning, cycle on the Appian Way and tour the Catacombs. In the afternoon, visit the Borghese Gallery, an art museum that contains one of the best art collections in the world.
9:00 am: Appian Way & Catacombs 3:00 pm: Borghese Gallery 5:00 pm: Villa Borghese Gardens 6:00 pm: Aperitif 7:00 pm: Dinner
Morning: The Appian Way & the Catacombs
The Appian Way is an ancient Roman road that was built to connect Rome to Brindisi. Many monuments lie along this road, including the Circus of Maxentius and numerous catacombs.
If you are visiting Rome with kids, this is one of the best things to do in Rome.
Appian Way | 4 Days in Rome
To visit the Appian Way, you can either rent bikes and cycle the road on your own or take a tour. Many tours use e-bikes and include a visit to the catacombs.We took the bus to the Appian Way, rented bikes at a small shop (Appia Antica Caffe), and cycled the road on our own, ending the morning with a visit to San Sebastian Catacombs. This takes about 3 hours, so if you get started at 9 am, you will finish around 12:00 pm. To learn how to do this on your own, take a look at our article about the Appian Way.
Joining a tour takes out a lot of the hassle of getting to and from the Appian Way (we used a combination of the metro and bus to get here). Plus, you get to tour the catacombs with a guide, so you’ll get the most out of your visit.
Here are several of the highest rated tours of the Appian Way and Catacombs. Some take 3 hours and there is one on this list that takes 6 hours. If you plan to visit the Borghese Gallery, take a shorter tour so you have enough time to also visit the Borghese.
3:00 pm: Borghese Gallery
I put the Borghese Gallery at 3 pm, to give you enough time to have lunch and get here from the Appian Way. Plus, you will have to arrive 30 minutes before your tour time to pick up your tickets.
Getting to the Borghese Gallery: The closest metro station is Barberini and from here it is a 20-minute walk or a quick bus ride to get to the Borghese Gallery. You also have the option to use the bus, taxi, or Uber. There is more information about how to get here on the official website.
Even if you are not a big fan of art museums, or even just museums in general, the Borghese Gallery is still worth the visit. This art museum contains one of the best collections of art in the world. See works of art by Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian, and Bernini.
Inside the Borghese Gallery
Apollo and Daphne
PRO TRAVEL TIP: You can only visit the Borghese Art Gallery with a reservation. Reservations can be made up to 3 months in advance. Reservations are made for two-hour time slots, starting at 9 am, and the last time slot is at 5:45 pm.
You can make your reservation online or call +39 06 32810. There is a €2 fee for making online reservations. Tickets can also be purchased through GetYourGuide , which includes a guided tour of Borghese Gardens. This is a great option if you want to visit the museum with a guide or were unable to purchase tickets on the official website.
Collect your tickets a half an hour before your time slot. For a 3 pm reservation, plan on arriving no later than 2:30 pm. If you arrive late, even 5 minutes late, they may turn you away. We saw this happen to other people who arrived late for their reservation.
Hours: 9 am – 7 pm; last entry at 5:45 pm Closed Mondays Cost: €13, prices can increase during special exhibits, +€2 reservation fee Website: galleriaborghese.beniculturali.it Nearest Metro Station: Barberini
5:00 pm: Villa Borghese Gardens
After your visit to Villa Borghese, take a stroll through the gardens. Notable things to see include Tempio di Esculapio (a small temple on the lake) and Orologio ad Acqua del Pincio (a hydropower clock).
Tempio di Esculapio | 4 Days in Rome
At the far end of the Villa Borghese Gardens, you will be standing on Terrazza del Pincio. From here, you will overlook Piazza del Popolo.
The view of Piazza del Popolo
6:00 pm: Dinner
If you aren’t getting tired of rooftop bars yet, we have a few more recommendations. Just a short walk from Piazza del Popolo is Terrazza Nainer. A little farther away is AcquaRoof Terrazza Molinari. This rooftop bar and restaurant serves amazing pasta dishes.
Terrazza Nainer | 4 Days in Rome
Another recommendation is Divinity Restaurant & Lounge, which is near the Pantheon. They have an outdoor terrace where you can have an aperitif and they also have an outdoor restaurant. The food and drinks are great and here is the view at sunset (the view from Divinity Restaurant is also the header photo for this itinerary):
Divinity Restaurant & Lounge | 4 Days in Rome
Rome Itinerary Day 4
Cathedrals, Hidden Gems, Food Tours & Cooking Classes
Even after three busy days in Rome, there is still a very long list of archaeological sites and cathedrals to visit. We have organized these places into 4 hours chunks of time. You can pick and choose two of the blocks of time that look most interesting and put them together to create today’s itinerary.
Option #1: A Tour of Rome’s Cathedrals
This walking tour takes you to some of Rome’s oldest and grandest cathedrals. Some cathedrals close midday. We have provided the links to each one so you can get updated hours and pricing before your visit.
This walking route is 3.3 km/2 miles point-to-point. It starts at the Termini metro station and ends at the San Giovanni metro station. From the Termini metro station, it takes 3 minutes to walk to Santa Maria Maggiore.
This is the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome and a Major Papal Basilica. Things to see include the coffered ceiling (the gold on the ceiling was brought by Christopher Columbus to Ferdinand and Isabella), the Salus Populi Romani, the Crypt of the Nativity (which contains wood from the crib of Jesus Christ), and mosaics. Get hours here.
Santa Maria Maggiore | 4 Days in Rome
Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli
It is a 10-minute walk from Santa Maria Maggiore to San Pietro in Vincoli. This church is famous for Michelangelo’s statue of Moses and a reliquary containing the chains of St. Peter. Get hours here (this basilica is closed midday).
Moses by Michelangelo
The chains of St. Peter
Next, you will walk past the Colosseum on the way to the next place to visit, the Basilica of San Clemente.
Basilica of San Clemente
The Basilica of San Clemente is famous for its three-tiered design: a present-day church that sits atop two much older churches. The oldest church, which is now underground, dates back to the first century. The spring that runs through this church also runs to the Colosseum. Get hours and pricing on the official website.
Basilica of St. Clemente | 4 Days in Rome
The Scala Sancta, or Holy Stairs, is a staircase of 28 marble steps that lead to the Sancta Sanctorum (Holy of Holies). The Sancta Sanctorum is the first private Papal chapel. It is believed that Jesus Christ climbed these same stairs several times a day while imprisoned in Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem. The stairs were later relocated to this site in Rome.
At the top of the Holy Stairs is the Sancta Sanctorum. You can get a peek of it through the window or spend a few euros for a ticket to enter the chapel, which is well worth it. This small chapel is covered in colorful mosaics and a beautiful place to visit.
Scala Sancta | 4 Days in Rome
Ceiling of the Sancta Sanctorum
Basilica of Saint John Lateran
This basilica, which is across the street from Scala Sancta, was founded in 324 AD, making it the oldest basilica in the Western world. It is also the Pope’s official seat. A visit here is free, but for a few more euros, you can visit the cloister and monastery, which is well worth it.
Cloister of Saint John Lateran | 4 Days in Rome
Option #2: Aventine Hill, Jewish Ghetto & Mouth of Truth
This half day itinerary takes you to some interesting, off the beaten path destinations. This point-to-point walk is 3.2 km/2 miles. It starts on Aventine Hill and ends at the Spada Gallery.
Knights of Malta Keyhole
This keyhole is famous for its view of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. There is usually a short line to look through this keyhole. When we did this, a black bar sat across the keyhole, obstructing most of the view. So, before you go, just be aware that you may not get the same great view that you have seen online or on Instagram.
It is free to visit and plan on spending about 15 minutes in line.
photo credit: Matteo Gabrieli/shutterstock.com
View from the Orange Garden
From the keyhole, walk through the Orange Garden to a viewpoint called Terrazza Belvedere Aventino. From here, you get a sweeping view of Rome and the Altar of the Fatherland is the main focal point.
View from the Orange Garden | 4 Days in Rome
Bocca della Verita
From the Orange Garden, it is a downhill walk to get to Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
The Mouth of Truth is a marble mask that is located in the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church. Legend has it that it will bite off the hand of anyone who tells a lie while their hand is inside of the mouth.
After having your photo with the Mouth of Truth, you have the option to enter Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Inside, you can visit the crypt and see the skull of St. Valentine, which sits in a side altar on the left side of the church.
Mouth of Truth | 4 Days in Rome
Theatre Marcellus and Porticus Octaviae
From Santa Maria in Cosmedin, it is a 5-minute walk to Theatre Marcellus. This building looks like a smaller version of the Colosseum. It’s older than the Colosseum and could hold up to 20,000 spectators. It has been turned into a palace but you can still see the ancient exterior walls of the theater.
Walk around Theatre Marcellus and take the pathway to Porticus Octaviae, which was built in 27 BC to enclose the temples of Jupitor Stator and Juno Regina. The theatre and the remains of the Porticus are located together and take just a few minutes of your time.
Theatre of Marcellus | 4 Days in Rome
Spend the next 30 to 60 minutes strolling through the Jewish Ghetto. See the Turtle Fountain and the Great Synagogue (Tempio Maggiore di Roma). You can also grab a bite to eat. We had a drink at the bar at Chapter Roma. They have a rooftop bar but it does not open until the evening.
Galleria Spada is an art museum that is located inside of Palazzo Spada. This gallery contains four rooms filled with Baroque paintings that were collected by Cardinals Bernardino and Fabrizio Spada. In these rooms, you will see works of art by Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, and Guido Reni.
The main attraction here is the perspective gallery that was created by Borromini. This is the best place to see an optical illusion in Rome. The colonnaded gallery is only 8 meters (26 feet) long and the statue of Mars is only 60 centimeters (24 inches) high, but they look much larger than this.
Spada Gallery | 4 Days in Rome
Tickets can be bought online or at the palazzo. We purchased our tickets onsite and there were just a few other people here during our visit.
From the Spada Gallery, it is a 3-minute walk to Campo de’Fiori and a 7-minute walk to Piazza Navona. You can also retrace your steps back to the Jewish Ghetto, cross the Tiber River, and then spend a few hours in Trastevere.
Option #3: Food Tour or Cooking Class
One of the best things to do in Rome is to take a food tour or cooking class. These walking tours combine some of Rome’s most interesting neighborhoods with local foods. These tours typically take about 4 hours.
This highly rated street food tour takes visitors through Trastavere or the Jewish Quarter.
Take a food tour of Rome at night and sample more than 20 different foods.
Or take a sunset food tour of Trastevere or this food and wine tour also includes a visit to a market.
In this cooking class, learn how to make authentic pasta and pizza, taste limoncello and tiramusa, and enjoy unlimited red wine.
Option #4: Domus Aurea or Capuchin Crypt
There are two notable places to visit in Rome that didn’t make it into our itinerary above. You don’t miss much by skipping them, but they are interesting and worth mentioning, so you know about them.
The Capuchin Crypt
In several small chapels underneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappucchini are the skeletal remains of almost 4,000 Capuchin friars. The bones are arranged in artistic patterns. It’s morbidly fascinating and definitely an off-the-beaten-path location. Unfortunately, photographs are not permitted.
For updated hours and pricing, click here.
Domus Aurea is massive villa that was built by Emperor Nero. This immense, opulent palace, also called the Golden House, was covered in marble and gold. It had 300 rooms. After Nero’s death, the palace was stripped of its marble and jewels and much of the palace was filled with dirt, which helped preserve it. It is now one of Rome’s most important archaeological sites.
It can only be visited on a small group tour. If this sounds like a place you would like to visit, take a look at the official website for pricing, hours, and information on booking your visit.
Seating for the Immersive Reality experience in Domus Aurea
Option #5: Colosseum at Night
One of the best ways to visit the Colosseum is on a nighttime tour. It’s a wonderful way to end your visit to Rome. These tours sell out far in advance since spots are limited and this is a very popular thing to do.
This nighttime tour includes a visit to the Arena Floor and the Underground, as does this tour , which also gets very good reviews.
Are the Travel Passes Worth It?
There are several different travel passes in Rome, including the Roma Pass , the Omnia Card , and the Turbo Pass. Of the three passes, the Roma Pass is best for this itinerary. The Roma Pass is the cheapest of the three (the Omnia Card and Turbo Pass are expensive and cover a lot of sites not listed in this itinerary, so you won’t get your money’s worth).
The 3 day Roma Pass costs €52. It also covers a long list of sites that are not in our itinerary, but it does cover the Borghese Gallery, Spada Gallery, the Capitoline Museums, and the Colosseum and Roman Forum. The first two sites you visit are free and then the remainder get a discount. You also get free use of the public transportation. The savings are minimal and with the Roma Pass, you still have to make your Colosseum reservation in advance (if Colosseum tickets are sold out, you will then have to offer a tour, so the Roma Pass is of no benefit in this situation). We don’t think it is worth it, but you can learn more about it on the official website.
How to Get Around Rome
The majority of the must-see sights in Rome are located in central Rome. It’s possible to get around mainly by walking, but you can save your steps, and a little bit of time, by also using the Rome metro or taking a taxi.
Taxi stands are set up throughout the city. On Google Maps, you can search “taxi stand” for the ones closest to your location. Then you get in the taxi first in line and tell them your next destination. We frequently do this and in 2022, every taxi we took used credit cards (but it is good to have some cash on hand as a back up). To tip the taxi driver, we added on 1 to 2 euros to the fare.
You can also use Uber but we ended up spending a lot of time waiting for the Uber to arrive and figured out it was quicker to walk to the closest taxi stand.
The metro is fast, cheap, and easy to use. It’s a lot more economical than a taxi. Just beware of pick pockets on the metro and in other crowded places throughout Rome.
The view from Oro Bistrot in the evening
Best Time to Visit Rome
Spring and fall are the best times of the year to visit Rome. During this time, the weather is great for sightseeing and crowds tend to be lower than the busy summer months. But here is a breakdown by season of what you can expect in Rome:
WINTER: It’s chilly in Rome during the winter months. Daytime high’s average around 13°C (55°F) and it is a little colder at night. Rainfall is slightly above average for the year (averaging about 7 days of rain per month in December, January, and February).
SPRING: In early spring, the high temperature is 16°C (60°F) and it continues to get warmer week by week, reaching an average high of 27°C (80°F) by June. Rainfall chances go down the closer you get to the summer months. May and June have warm weather and lower chances of rain than the fall and winter months.
SUMMER: Expect the biggest crowds of the year and hot weather during the summer months. Daily high temperatures average 31°C (87°F) but they can easily get up to 35°C (95°F). Rainfall is the lowest of the year. If you plan to visit in the summer months, make your hotel reservations far in advance as well as your entrance tickets into the museums.
FALL: In early fall, crowds can still be high, not really quieting down until the end of October. Daytime high’s range from 26°C (79°F) in early fall and cooling off to 17°C (62°F) by late fall. Autumn is the wettest time to visit Rome (mid-September through early December with rainfall peaking in November), so bring an umbrella if you plan to be here at this time.
VERDICT: The best time to visit Rome is May through mid-June. The weather is nice and crowds are manageable.
Where to Stay in Rome
For recommendations on where to stay, read our Best Hotels and Neighborhoods Guide for Rome. Learn where to stay for a great view of the Colosseum and Piazza Navona and get recommendations whether you are looking for a budget hotel, luxury hotel, or if you are traveling as a family.
Where to Eat in Rome
We listed several recommendations in this itinerary, but for a bigger list of recommended restaurants, take a look at our Rome Restaurant Guide. And for rooftop bars, take a look at our guide about the Rome Rooftop Bars.
Where Are You Going Next?
If you are just beginning to plan your Italy itinerary, take a look at our 10 Days in Italy Itinerary for five different ways to spend 10 days in Italy. We also have a detailed 10 day itinerary that includes Rome, Florence, the Cinque Terre, and Venice.
For those with more time, check out our 14 day Italy itinerary, which covers the highlights of Italy.
On this 10 day southern Italy itinerary, visit the Amalfi Coast, Castelmezzano, Matera, Alberobello, and more towns in Puglia.
More Information about Rome
For a full list of things to do in Rome, check out our article Best Things to Do in Rome. For the best viewpoints of Rome’s famous landmarks, take a look at our article Best Views of Rome.
Don’t miss our detailed guides about How to Visit the Colosseum and How to Visit the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica.
Get recommendations on where to stay in Rome in our Rome Hotel Guide.
For advice on where to eat, read our guide about Where to Eat in Rome, that has restaurant recommendations near the Colosseum, Vatican City, and the historic heart of Rome, plus some great rooftop restaurants. We also have a guide to the Best Rooftop Bars in Rome.
If you have fewer than 4 days in Rom, learn how to plan your time with our One Day in Rome Itinerary , 2 Day Rome Itinerary and 3 Day Rome Itinerary.
If you have any questions about this 4 days in Rome itinerary, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Italy
BEST OF ITALY: In our guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 25 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy.
FLORENCE: For a list of things to do, take a look at our Florence Bucket List and learn how to plan your time with our 2 Day Florence Itinerary. We also have information about how to visit the Florence Cathedral, about the best rooftop bars in Florence, the best viewpoints in Florence, and where to stay in Florence.
TUSCANY: Get started with our guide to the Best Things to Do in Tuscany. Learn how to plan your visit with our Tuscany Itinerary, which has sample itineraries, whether you have 3 days, 5 days, or an entire week in Tuscany.
VENICE: Learn more about Venice in our article Best Things to Do in Venice. We also have guides about How to Visit St. Mark’s Basilica, where to get the Best Views of Venice, and how to spend Two Days in Venice.
AMALFI COAST: Pick out which towns you want to visit in our article about the best towns to visit on the Amalfi Coast. If you are active and adventurous, one of the best things to do on the Amalfi Coast is hike the Path of the Gods. We also have a guide on how to plan your Amalfi Coast Itinerary , best things to do in Capri , and where to stay on the Amalfi Coast.
We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, Basilicata, and Puglia.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these affiliate links, we get paid a small commission at no extra cost to you.
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4 Days in Rome Itinerary (Most Complete Guide 2023)
- October 30, 2023
Rome is one of the most visited cities in Europe. It’s one of the big three in Italy – Rome, Florence and Venice. Rome is not only the capital of Italy but also the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Founded nearly 3000 years ago, it’s known as the Eternal City. And it really is!
Rome is home to renowned masterpieces of art, ancient ruins, centuries-old churches and mouth-watering food. It’s an inspiring place that you should visit at least once in your lifetime. And you’ll probably need a lifetime to see it all!
4 Days in Rome itinerary
How to see Rome in 4 days? With so many attractions and must-see places, it’s not easy to craft the perfect itinerary. Plus you need to book some tickets in advance unless you want to spend hours waiting in lines.
Follow this 4 days in Rome suggested itinerary to ensure that you’ll get the best of the city during your vacation. It includes the most popular attractions, the best places to eat and tips on how to avoid the crowds.
Already have a hotel booked? Check if your hotel has a convenient location in my guide to where to stay in Rome first time .
Find a map of this Rome itinerary (with all attractions and restaurants’ websites) at the end of the article.
4 days in Rome (the perfect Rome itinerary)
- Day 1: Colosseum of Rome, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Knights of Malta Keyhole, Trastevere
- Day 2: Vatican Museums, Castel Sant’Angelo
- Day 3: St. Peter’s Basilica, Pantheon, Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Altare della Patria, Piazza Navona
- Day 4: Galleria Borghese, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
4 Days in Rome – Day 1
Breakfast in italian style.
07:30 AM – 08:30 AM Start your first day with a cup of coffee and a pastry at 081 Caffè or Antico Caffe Del Brasile .
Visit the iconic Colosseum
08:30 AM – 10:00 AM Colosseum (Colosseo) is the largest amphitheatre in the world. Emperor Vespasian commissioned its construction in 72 AD. Colosseum was used for gladiatorial fights and it could accommodate up to 80,000 spectators. Romans even flooded it for boat battles.
Many gladiators found their death here. To be more precise over 500,000 people and twice as many animals. The last gladiatorial fight took place in 435 AD.
You can visit most of the Colosseum on your own, but the underground areas are accessible only with a guide. To explore the gladiators’ rooms and the animal cages under the arena, book this excellent Colosseum Underground Tour .
Also don’t miss to see the Colosseum at night, when it’s beautifully illuminated.
Explore Palatine Hill
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Palatine Hill (Palatino) is the ancient part of the city. In fact, it’s the birthplace of the Eternal City. According to the legends Romulus and Remus , the founders of Rome, lived in a cave here on Palatine Hill.
During the reign of Augustus, the Palatine Hill was a thriving place, a home to the wealthy Romans. You can still see the remains of the imperial palace of Augustus and his wife Livia.
Palatine Hill is huge and there is a lot to see. You’ll need more time compared to the Colosseum. And don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes.
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM Stop for lunch at Fuorinorma or Mizio’s Street Food . Fuorinorma is the perfect place to taste some wine, cheese and salami platter. For a quick lunch and awesome sandwiches, visit Mizio’s Street Food.
Stroll through the Roman Forum
02:00 PM – 03:00 PM The Roman Forum (Foro Romano) was the beating heart of ancient Rome. It was the centre of the political and cultural life of the city. All the important monuments, temples and courthouses were located here.
Today, you can still see the ruins of the royal residence, the Temple of Saturn, the Temple of Vesta and many other significant buildings.
Knights of Malta Keyhole
03:20 PM – 03:40 PM Knights of Malta Keyhole reveals one of the most unique city views. When you peek through it, you’ll see the dome of St. Peter’s perfectly situated in its centre.
The door in question leads to the Priory of the Knights of Malta. Therefore, the view shows three countries at once – Italy, the Vatican and Malta.
However, the keyhole is not marked in any way. Just look for a green door at the intersection of Via di S. Sabina and Via di Porta Lavernale.
04:00 PM – 05:00 PM Trastevere is the most picturesque district. Cobblestone streets, small markets and coffee shops, Roman trattorias, artisan workshops, it has it all. It’s the perfect place to wander and get lost.
If you look for some delicious Roman food, this is the place to go. The area is full of small traditional restaurants and cafés, that serve mouth-watering food.
Finish the first day of the itinerary with a dinner at I Pizzicaroli Trastevere or La Tavernetta 29 da Tony e Andrea . For a lighter dinner with salami and cheese platter, visit I Pizzicaroli Trastevere. If you look for a lavish meal, then La Tavernetta 29 da Tony e Andrea is your place.
More ideas for your 4 days in Rome – Day 1
If you are ahead of time or want to change any of the sites, check out the attractions below. They are close to the sites from the first day, so you can easily add any of them to your Rome itinerary.
Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the most important of the four papal major basilicas. In fact, it’s the mother church of the Roman Catholic faithful. That’s why it’s called an archbasilica. St. John Lateran Archbasilica is also the oldest church in the whole of Europe.
Mouth of Truth
The famous Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verità) is an ancient lie detector. According to the legends, if you put your hand inside and tell a lie, it will cut off your hand.
Baths of Caracalla
Going to baths was an important part of the daily life of the Romans. It was a place to socialize, gossip and even discuss politics.
The Baths of Caracalla were the largest thermal baths in the world during the 3rd century. In fact, Terme di Caracalla was a spa complex, that includes also reading and exercising areas, gardens and restaurants.
Although today only ruins are left from this place, you can still feel its splendour.
Protestant Cemetery (Cimitero dei protestanti) is the final resting place for all non-catholic citizens of Rome. It’s a beautiful and tranquil place filled with stray cats. The Protestant Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Europe and it’s still in use (almost 300 years after its opening). Here you’ll find the graves of the famous romantic poets – John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Rome in 4 days – Day 2
08:00 AM – 08:30 AM Start your second day with breakfast at Sciascia Caffè 1919 or Forno Feliziani .
Visit the Vatican Museums
08:45 AM – 01:00 PM Vatican City is the smallest state by area and population (800 people) in the world. Yet, it has its own post office and you can send a postcard from there to your friends!
It is an absolute monarchy ruled by the Pope. However, the popes haven’t lived always in Vatican City. Their first home was the Lateran palace in Rome. At the beginning of the 14th century when a French Pope was elected, the papacy moved to Avignon.
When they returned to Rome 70 years later, the Lateran Palace was in ruins. The popes decided to move to Vatican City and since then it’s been their home.
Although the state is small, it has the largest complex of museums in the world. They contain masterpieces of art and sculpture collected by the popes through the centuries. The most famous artwork is the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel which features the Last Judgment by Michelangelo.
Vatican Museums are huge and you’ll need days to see everything. So, focus on what is most interesting for you and skip the rest. It’s one of the most popular sites and the queues are huge (even before the opening time). So, it’s strongly advisable to book your tickets in advance.
In this way, you’ll get a fast-track entry and use a separate queue to enter. Do it as early as you can, as you have to choose a time slot and the ones in the morning are sold out quickly. If possible, visit the museums early in the morning, because there are fewer people. Later in the day, there could be queues even for the fast-track entrance.
The best day to visit the Vatican museums is Wednesday morning. This is only in case you don’t want to see the Pope or you’re joining a guided tour, which includes also St. Peter’s Basilica. The Papal Audience takes place every Wednesday at St. Peter’s Square. So most of the tourists are at St. Peter’s Square at that time.
My advice is not to visit St. Peter’s Basilica after the Vatican Museums. Leave it for the next day, so you can go very early in the morning. The waiting lines for the basilica are outrageous.
01:00 PM – 03:00 PM For one of the best pizza in the city, visit Ristorante dei Musei . If you prefer salami and cheese platter, go to The Loft . After lunch, try the gelato at Lemongrass (my favourite one).
Tour Castel Sant’Angelo
03:00 PM – 05:00 PM The Roman emperor Hadrian built the castle as a mausoleum for his family in 123 AD. However, its purpose changed several times over the centuries.
During his reign, Emperor Aurelian transformed the mausoleum into a military fortress. He also incorporated it into the city walls. The purpose of the fortress was to defend the northern entrance of the Eternal City.
In the 13th century, a covered fortified corridor (called Passetto di Borgo) was constructed. The corridor connects Vatican City and the castle. You can take a glimpse of this secret corridor if you take the Angels and Demons tour .
From the beginning of the 14th century, the papacy took control of the fortress and converted it to a castle. Papal apartments were built to ensure a comfortable stay in case of a siege.
Castel Sant’Angelo was also used as a prison. Many executions took place in its inner courtyards. This castle was the place where Benvenuto Cellini, Cagliostro and Giordano Bruno were imprisoned before their executions.
Nowadays the castle is a museum. It represents various exhibits, including Renaissance paintings, military weapons, furnishings and sculptures.
The castle took its name from the large statue of Archangel Michael, situated on the top of the building. According to the legends, the city was struck by a plague in 590 AD that ended with the apparition of the Archangel Michael above the mausoleum.
You can book your skip-the-line tickets for Castel Sant’Angelo here .
Take an evening walking tour of Rome
Take an evening walking tour of Rome to admire the beauty of the city at sunset. You’ll see some of the most beautiful spots in the city, including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona.
Taste some authentic Italian food
Finish the day with a dinner at Wine Bar De’ Penitenzieri or La Fraschetta di Castel Sant’Angelo . Both restaurants serve authentic Italian food.
Rome in 4 days – Day 3
08:00 AM – 08:45 AM Start the third day of the itinerary 4 days in Rome with some pastry and coffee at Bar Pasticceria Gelateria Parenti Silvano .
St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square
09:00 AM – 11:30 AM Located in Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world. It is also one of the four major basilicas in the Eternal City. Among them are – Basilica of St. John Lateran, Santa Maria Maggiore and St. Paul Outside the Walls. All four basilicas are truly beautiful, so if you have enough time, don’t miss to visit them.
St. Peter’s Basilica is constructed on the burial site of Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. The first temple in that place was built in the 4th century by emperor Constantine the Great. In the 15th century, after years of neglect during the period of the Avignon Papacy, the church was in desperate need of restoration.
During the 16th century, Pope Julius II decided to build a new church in the place instead of repairing the old one. Bernini was entrusted with the interior of the basilica.
Some of the masterpieces he designed are the baldachin (a large bronze pavilion, beneath the dome), the throne of St. Peter and the tomb of Alexander VII. The throne of St. Peter is a large bronze throne, which enshrines a chair claimed to be used by the apostle.
One of the most famous monuments in the basilica is the Pietà. It is a marble sculpture of Mary holding the body of her dead son after the crucifixion. Michelangelo created the sculpture in 1499-1500. After a visitor vandalised this piece of art with a hammer in 1972, it is now protected by bulletproof glass.
Climbing the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica
If you want to climb the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, prepare yourself for a lot of stairs. You can skip the first part of the stairs by taking the elevator to the basilica’s roof level. From the roof level to the top the only option is to take the stairs.
The climbing of the rest 320 steps is not easy – the staircase is narrow and the walls are slanted. Also, it can become crowded and stifling. If you consider climbing the dome, do it before visiting the basilica, because after that you will exit directly in the church.
The entrance to the basilica is free, but you have to pay to climb the dome. Go as early in the morning as you can, because the waiting lines are enormous.
The dress code is very strict, so skip the shorts, bare-shoulder tops and miniskirts. You will be turned away at the entrance if you are not dressed properly. In addition, to enter the basilica, you have to pass through airport-style scanners and security.
St. Peter’s Square is the place where the papal audience takes place every Wednesday. To attend the papal audience, you need to reserve your ticket in advance .
11:45 AM – 01:30 PM Stop for lunch at Likeat or Pane pane vino Ar Vino . Both places offer super tasty sandwiches.
Admire the Pantheon
01:30 PM – 02:00 PM Continue this Rome sightseeing itinerary with a visit to the Pantheon. Pantheon is the best-preserved monument from ancient Rome. Its exact construction date is unknown, but it was around 126 AD.
The most fascinating feature of the Pantheon is its dome. It’s the largest unsupported dome in the world! Nowadays, this former Roman temple serves as a church.
To learn more about the history of this magnificent temple take a Pantheon audio guide tour .
Be amazed by Doria Pamphilj Gallery
02:15 PM – 04:00 PM Doria Pamphilj Gallery is housed in a gorgeous palace that dates back to the 16th century. The gallery features one of the richest private art collection in Rome. Even if you aren’t into art, it’s worth visiting to see the lavish state apartments. There is a free audio guide, that is narrated by Jonathan Pamphilj himself. Today, the Doria Pamphilj family still owns the palace.
See the stunning Altare della Patria
04:15 PM – 04:45 PM Altare della Patria is also known as National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II. It’s one of the most imposing buildings in the Eternal city. Altare della Patria is a monument built to honour the first king of Italy, Victor Emmanuel.
Don’t miss to take the lift to the panoramic terrace for some great city views.
While you’re in the area, take a look at Trajan’s Column (Colonna Traiana). It commemorates the victory of the emperor Trajan in the Dacian Wars.
See the famous Piazza Navona
05:00 PM – 05:30 PM Piazza Navona is a charming square and a popular meeting spot. It’s surrounded by small restaurants and there are regularly street artists.
Finish the day with a dinner at Mimì e Cocò or Osteria del Pegno .
More ideas for your 4 days in Rome – Day 3
Church of st. louis of the french.
The Church of St. Louis of the French is a Baroque gem from the 16th century. It houses the three world-renowned canvases of The Calling of St Matthew by Caravaggio.
Church of the Gesù
Church of the Gesù is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in the Eternal City. The most striking part of this 16th-century church is the ceiling fresco, that looks three dimensional.
Largo di Torre Argentina
Largo di Torre Argentina is a square from ancient Rome. You can see the remains of the Theatre of Pompey and four temples from the 4th century BC. Moreover, it was the place where Julius Caesar was murdered.
Nowadays, the ruins are home to a large number of cats. There is even a cat sanctuary right next to Largo di Torre Argentina.
Palazzo Colonna is an art gallery that features leading Italian and foreign artists from the 15th-16th century. It’s a beautiful 14th-century palace still owned by the noble Colonna family. Unfortunately, this gorgeous place is open only on Saturday morning.
Capitoline Museums consist of two separate buildings – Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo. The collection mainly consists of statues, sculptures and paintings by renowned artists like Caravaggio, Rubens and Tiziano. Here you’ll also find the original statue of the Capitoline Wolf, the symbol of the city.
4 Days in Rome – Day 4
08:00 AM – 08:30 AM Start your last day of this 4 nights in Rome itinerary with breakfast at D’Angelo Caffè or Trecaffè .
Both coffee shops offer super tasty sandwiches and pastries.
Admire the art at Galleria Borghese
08:45 AM – 11:15 AM Galleria Borghese occupies the summer residence of the noble Borghese family. And it is a must-see for every art lover. Its amazing collection features the artworks of Caravaggio and Bernini.
To visit the gallery, you need to book tickets in advance. The tickets are always in high demand, as only 360 people are allowed in at a time. During the booking, you have to choose a time slot and the length of your visit can’t exceed 2 hours.
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Spanish Steps is one of the most city emblematic spots. The staircase connects Piazza di Spagna with Trinità dei Monti Church. The Spanish Steps are truly beautiful in late April when they are decorated with 300 white and lilac azalea plants.
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM Stop for some tasty panini and salad at Ami Bistrot or Burro e Alici .
Toss a coin in Trevi Fountain
02:00 PM – 02:30 PM Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is the largest and most beautiful fountain in the city. It’s a must-see when in Rome. And don’t forget to throw out a coin over your shoulder in the fountain. This will ensure a return to the Eternal City.
Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
02:50 PM – 03:30 PM Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the four major basilicas in the Eternal City. It’s an outstandingly beautiful church from the 5th century. The basilica is built on the same spot, where according to the legends snow has fallen in the summer of 358 AD.
I didn’t include many sites on the last day, so you can easily add a few extra by your choice from the suggestions below. Moreover, if you’re not an art lover, skip Galleria Borghese and take a day trip from Rome (see further in the post for ideas).
Finish this 4 days in Rome itinerary with dinner at Ristorante Nerone or Colline Emiliane . Both are perfect places to spend a wonderful last evening in the Eternal City.
More ideas for your 4 days in Rome – Day 4
Learn to make pasta from scratch.
There is no better way to finish your 4 days in Rome than to join a pasta-making class . You’ll cook, dine and learn the secrets of pasta-making with a local chef.
Become a gladiator
Train to be a gladiator at a school in Rome. Learn the basic techniques of sword fighting and find out more about how gladiators lived in ancient Rome.
Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls
Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls is located a little bit out of the city centre. However, it definitely worths a visit! It’s one of the four major basilicas and it’s stunningly beautiful. Decorated with gold mosaics and enormous marble columns, it is a feast for the eyes.
Villa Farnesina is a true masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance with its beautiful frescos and ceilings. It was built for the wealthy Sienese banker Agostino Chigi in the 16th century. Located in Trastevere, the villa is a little oasis away from the crowds of tourists. Keep in mind, that Villa Farnesina is open only in the mornings.
Visit the morbid Capuchin Crypt
Capuchin Crypt is a truly unique and fascinating place. When the monks from the Catholic order moved here they brought with them 300 cartloads of deceased friars. However, they didn’t rebury the skeletons. They used them to decorate the walls of the crypt, which consists of six chapels. More than 4,000 skeletons were sculptured in various mosaics. You can even see mummified monks, dressed in friar’s clothes!
To learn more about the fascinating history of the Capuchin Crypt and the Catacombs of Rome, take this Underground Tour of Rome .
Catacombs of Rome
The catacombs are a labyrinth of underground passageways, that are several kilometres long. They were used for burials from around the 2nd to the 5th century AD. After that, the catacombs were abandoned and suffered continuous lootings. There are more than 60 catacombs, but only five of them are open to the public.
Colosseum – one of the top attractions with huge queues. To skip the lines buy a combined ticket for Colosseum and Roman Forum .
Vatican Museums – also a top attraction. I’d recommend booking as soon as possible because the tickets are valid for a certain time slot. You can book your Vatican skip-the-line-ticket here .
Galleria Borghese – if you’re an art lover, this museum is a must. Tickets are again timed entry, so you need to book in advance here .
How to save money on your 4-day Rome itinerary
The city is full of tourists at any time of the year. So even if you’re travelling out of the season, you need to buy tickets in advance. What’s worse is that for every ticket bought online there is a reservation fee added to the price (if you buy from the attractions’ official websites).
The best way to save all this trouble (plus save some money) is to use Vatican & Rome City Pass .
The pass includes:
- free entry to Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
- fast track entry to St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums and Coliseum
- free hop-on-hop-off bus tour
- free entry to 2 attractions (including Coliseum, Palatine Hill, Borghese Gallery and Castel Sant’Angelo)
- discounted entry to another 30 popular attractions
- travelcard for unlimited access to the public transport system
- detailed guidebook and map of the city
The pass is valid for 3 consequent days, so use it for the first three days of this itinerary. Also, you’ll get a fast-track entry to the most popular attractions. This will save you hours of waiting in lines. In fact, this is the biggest advantage of the pass.
Please note that you have to book a time slot to the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum and Borghese Gallery when collecting the pass.
Getting around in Rome
Find a detailed map of the itinerary here .
The easiest way to get around the city is by using the metro or hop-on-hop-off buses .
The public transport tickets are one and the same for the metro, buses and trams. The single ticket is valid for a 100min. journey and you can switch bus lines.
Don’t forget to validate your ticket on the ticket machine inside the buses and trams. As for the metro – your ticket will be automatically validated when you pass through the barriers.
There are also 24, 48, 72 hour and weekly passes . You can buy them from any metro station, major bus stops or tobacco shops.
How to get to Rome
The main train station is Roma Termini. It’s located in the city centre and connected to the rest of the city by two metro lines.
If you’re planning to travel by train through Italy, book tickets in advance (they are cheaper if you buy them earlier). Check timetables and book train tickets online at Trenitalia official website .
If you’re arriving by car, book accommodation with parking. You won’t find free parking in the city centre of Rome. Moreover, a huge part of the city centre is a ZTL zone (limited traffic zone). This area is not accessible to private cars.
You can find several car parks near Vatican City and Galleria Borghese that are outside the ZTL zone.
There are two main airports – Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) and Ciampino Airport (CIA).
Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport is located southwest of the city. It is the main international airport. There are several ways to get to the city centre:
- the easiest one is to book a private transfer directly to your hotel. I recommend this airport transfer (more than 1,130 excellent reviews).
- take a shuttle bus (there are 3 stops – Rome Termini Train Station, the Vatican – Via Crescenzio 2, or Circonvallazione Aurelia 19)
- take Leonardo Express train to Termini Train Station (trains every 15 minutes)
Ciampino Airport is located next to Ciampino city, southeast of Rome. It is the city’s low-cost airline airport. The most convenient ways to get to the city are:
- book a private transfer directly to your hotel
- take the shuttle bus to Termini Railway station
Day trips from Rome
If you have a little extra time in the city, check out these awesome day trips.
Florence is the gorgeous capital of Tuscany. Known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, it’s a must-see while in Italy.
It’s best if you can dedicate 2-3 days to Florence. For more information, take a look at my detailed 2 days in Florence itinerary . Yet, if you’re short on time, a day trip to Florence is also an option.
How to get to Florence Take a train from Roma Termini to Firenze Santa Maria Novella (1h35min journey). The historic city centre is about a 10min walk from the train station.
Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
This tour combines two iconic locations into a single-day trip. And it’s the most popular day trip from Rome. You’ll visit the infamous city of Pompeii, which was buried in ash and soot in 79 AD. Learn about its final hours and the tragic end of its citizens from a local archaeologist.
Then you’ll head to the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Climb the famous volcano and enjoy stunning views of Capri and Sorrento.
Discover the medieval hill towns in the countryside of Tuscany. Visit an authentic vineyard, the splendid town of Pienza, the Montalcino Fortress and the Abbey of Sant’Antimo. In addition, you’ll enjoy a typical Tuscan lunch along with some local wines. The best of Tuscany in one single day.
Villa D’Este and Hadrian’s Villa Tivoli
These are the two most impressive Renaissance villas on the city’s outskirts. You’ll have the chance to visit the magnificent state mansions and see the spectacular gardens. The admission fees are included in the price of the tour.
How many days in Rome
Are 4 days in rome too much.
4 days in Rome is the perfect amount of time to explore the city. You’ll need 3 full days to see the most popular attractions, including Colosseum, Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, Castel Sant’Angelo and Galleria Borghese. Also, have in mind that you’ll waste time in queues (even if you book tickets in advance).
In addition to this, the city is full of attractions that you don’t want to miss. You’ll encounter stunning churches, picturesque squares and fountains, great museums and Roman ruins at every corner.
What if I don’t have 4 full days in Rome?
In this case, skip Doria Pamphilj Gallery (or Galleria Borghese) and Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Also, I’d strongly recommend you to book in advance tickets for all major attractions.
3 or 4 days in Rome?
To tour the most popular sites you’ll need 3 or 4 days. Four days is the better option if you don’t like to be in a hurry and want to visit more museums. If it’s possible I’d recommend you spend 4 full days in Rome.
Best time to visit Rome
Rome is one of the most visited cities in Italy. It’s full of tourists all year long (the busiest months are July and August). Easter is also a popular time. So, if possible, avoid the summer and Easter days.
The winter is not cold, but with plenty of rain. This is very inconvenient as many of the tourist attractions are outdoor. You know, Rome is like an open-air museum, so skip the winter if possible.
Every year on the 21st of April, Rome celebrates its founding. There are gladiatorial fights, street parades and recreations of historical events all over the city.
On the 2nd of June, the Italians celebrate with a military parade their national holiday, the Republic day. This is the day of the founding of the Italian Republic in 1946.
In April and May, the Spanish Steps are decorated with 300 white and lilac azalea plants. This is an annual spring tradition dating back more than 80 years!
I’d recommend visiting Rome in May, September or October. The weather is still warm and very pleasant. Plus, the crowds are smaller.
What are the best days of the week to visit Rome
For me, the best days are from Monday to Friday including (arrive on Monday and leave on Saturday for example). If possible, avoid the weekends, especially Sunday. There are a lot more tourists during the weekends, therefore you’ll spend more time waiting in lines.
Plus, some of the museums are free every first or last Sunday of the month and the crowds are unbearable.
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About the author
Thank you for this fantastic Rome guide! We are so glad we booked the no line entry to the Vatican . The queues were enormous. Highly recommended!
Hi Emma, I’m glad this was helpful for you! 🙂
Thank you so much for the restaurant and tour ideas! So excited for June to arrive 🙂
Hi Jackie, Have a great trip! 🙂
Thank you very much for all the helpful information.
I am planning a four day trip to Rome. I was planning it for July, however after viewing your blog, I am going to change my dates.
Hi Pat, I’m glad the blog was helpful! 🙂 July and August are very hot months with a lot of crowds, if possible I’d recommend spring or autumn.
Hi We only have two full days in Rome. We have two teenage sons with us. Would you recommend a hop on hop off bus for 48 hours – to give us a whistle stop tour – and then 4 ‘things’
The hop-on hop-off bus is a great option for such a short time. Then it’s up to you to decide according to your family’s interests (especially when travelling with kids) what will be a priority to visit. The most popular attractions are the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. You can see these sights in 2 days, but I also recommend you take a deeper look at my itinerary for something more interesting for kids, which you can add to your itinerary. Also, book skip the lines tickets in advance, you’ll save a lot of time.
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22 TOP Hidden Gems of Rome That Most Tourists Never See (+ Map & Tips)
By Author Jurga
Posted on Last updated: October 4, 2023
Are you visiting Rome and want to get a bit off the beaten path and discover some of the secret or lesser known, hidden gems of Rome? This article might be just what you need. Take a look!
Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and a real bucket-list destination! Even people who have never been to the city can tell you what the main highlights of Rome are. Who hasn’t heard of the Colosseum , Trevi Fountain, or St. Peter’s Basilica? But if you travel to Rome and spend all your time checking off the list of the must-see places only, you are missing a great deal .
I know it because I made this mistake the first time I traveled to Rome. I loved this beautiful city, but I was just ticking off the list of the main landmarks and missing more local experiences… So on the subsequent trips, I decided to set it right and tried to get off the beaten path for a taste of different, secret Rome even if just for a little bit.
If you are also looking to get to know a bit different side of the Eternal City and visit a few of the hidden gems of Rome , this article will give you a few ideas. And if you wonder how to see these places, check out our recommended Rome itinerary for 4 days – in addition to all the ‘musts’, it also includes most of the hidden gems mentioned in this article.
I also included a map indicating all the hidden gems mentioned in this article. At the bottom of this article, you can also find some quirky and different local tours in Rome. Take a look!
Top 3 Unusual Things to Do in Rome:
- Crypts, Catacombs & Bone Chapel .
- Street Food Tour .
- Ancient Appian Way, Aqueducts & Catacombs .
In this article, we are sharing some of the less known, amazing places you can find in Rome that most tourists never see. Why are they ignored? Because the competition is fierce. That’s the one and only reason I can think of.
These are one by one top places and they would have no difficulty in attracting big crowds were it not for the bad luck of being located in the shadow of the ‘must-see’ places in Rome.
While some of these gems of Rome are somewhat known and more and more tourists seem to find their way to them, some others are still really undiscovered…
Update: This guide to some off-the-beaten-path places in Rome was originally published with just a few of my personal favorites. However, our readers wanted more ideas and more unique places to see. So we asked our fellow travel writers to share some of their favorite hidden gems of Rome and included them in this updated edition. I also added some more places and updates after our most recent visit to Rome.
This list will give you more ideas for unique places to visit in Rome than you’ll be able to do in one trip. Find out!
TIP: If you want to get a bit off the beaten path and discover the lesser-known side of Rome, consider these two tours: ancient Appian Way, aqueducts & catacombs by e-bike, and this street food tour with a local guide . After lots of research, we booked these two tours on our most recent visit and I can highly recommend them both to everyone looking to get to know Rome in a different way!
The hidden gems of Rome on the map
To make your trip planning easier, I created a map with all the hidden gems of Rome mentioned in this article. It should help you to better plan your visit – take a look below.
How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.
Without further ado, here are some lesser-known and secret places, the hidden gems of Rome:
1. Quartiere Coppedè
Visiting Quartiere Coppedè was one of my absolute favorite experiences in Rome. We were walking down the regular busy street, then turned around the corner, and… WOW! There it was – Rome’s smallest district – Quartiere Coppedè .
Quartiere Coppedè is a fairy-tale-like neighborhood in Rome and is different from anything else I have ever seen. The best place to start exploring is by entering Quartiere Coppedè at the corner of Via Dora and Via Tagliamento.
The Coppedè neighborhood isn’t big and there are just a couple of really special buildings. However, it’s so unique that it makes the visit here really worth it. It’s one of those secret places in Rome that are completely off the beaten path and there are hardly any tourists around…
You can easily visit this neighborhood on your own, but if you prefer to go with a local guide and discover more hidden gems of Rome, there are a few tours that also visit here .
2. Basilica di Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio
There are more than 900 churches in Rome, one more impressive than another and it would be impossible and somewhat pretentious to just pick one favorite. Santo Stefano Rotondo made it to my list of the hidden gems of Rome because it’s so very different from the other churches we visited in Rome.
Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo is the oldest example of a centrally planned church in Rome. The church was built in the 5th century and is famous for its 16-century graphic frescoes, portraying many scenes of martyrdom. This church has impressed me with the unusual circular architecture, somber interior, and truly authentic feel.
There is plenty of history and very old buildings in Rome, but only a few places make you feel like you traveled back in time. Santo Stefano Rotondo is one of them!
It’s hard to believe that this church is located within such a short walking distance from the Colosseum. It’s a truly hidden little secret that is well worth visiting if you have at least half an hour to spare.
This small church is a real secret gem of Rome, literally hidden. If you don’t know it’s there, it is quite easy to miss.
Practical information: Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo is located on Via di Santo Stefano Rotondo 7 (side street of Via Claudia), just a 10-15 minute walk from the Colosseum. It’s open to the public from 10 AM to 1 PM and from 2 PM to 5 PM (October to March) and from 3 PM to 6 PM during the summer months.
Trastevere is a somewhat lesser-visited district in central Rome. It’s one of the places where you can find a very pleasant local atmosphere and some of the best food in Rome.
Located just across the Tiber River from the city center, is probably the most charming district in Rome. Out of all the places on this list, Trastevere is the most popular one with tourists. However, most travelers seem to limit their visit to Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere and a few streets around it.
The moment you leave the busy square next to the church, the number of tourists decreases dramatically. Just two-three blocks further and you are left to explore the charming old neighborhood all on your own.
There is also an outdoor food market on Piazza di San Cosimato and, together with a couple of restaurants and a playground, it’s a part of the city that gives you a truly local feel.
Trastevere is not a secret place by any means, but as it often goes, most people never take the time to explore it deeper.
TIP: If you can, plan to have lunch or dinner in Trastevere as there are so many good local restaurants in the area. Try to avoid places with pictures on the menu and look for the ones where locals eat. For an even more authentic experience, join this highly-rated Trastevere food tour with a local .
If you are interested, you can find some authentic food stores like Antica Caciara selling some of the best cheeses in Rome or Pasticceria Valzani selling traditional pastries.
There are more of these really old shops in Trastevere and while they may look charming to one, somebody else may find that they bear lots of resemblance to the old food stores in the communist countries three-four decades back in time…
I find that small neighborhood stores are well worth paying a visit in order to get a more authentic feel for the place. It’s better than the souvenir stands anyway.
Another great way to discover the local side of Rome and the food of Trastevere is by doing this food tour . It brings you to some secret places you wouldn’t easily find on your own, while at the same time allowing you to taste some local delicacies.
TIP: For an even more local experience, check this highly-rated Rome food tour in an even lesser-known district, the Jewish Quarter. It includes samples of typical Roman dishes, wine and beer tastings, and of course, the Italian Gelato! We did this tour on our most recent trip to Rome and I can’t recommend it highly enough!
4. Aventine Hill and Knights of Malta Keyhole
Recommended by Lori of TravlinMad
A visit to Rome’s Aventine Hill , the southernmost of the Seven Hills of Rome, offers a peaceful respite from the bustling city and crowds. Here, you can find not one, but several bucket list-worthy hidden gems of Rome.
Steeped in ancient Roman history, the Aventine was home to plebeians during the days of the Republic. Today, the area is comprised of upscale residences, sumptuous gardens, and elegant churches and monasteries with a wealth of architectural interest.
Don’t miss the Basilica of Santa Sabina ( Basilica di Santa Sabina all’Aventino ), one of Rome’s oldest basilicas. Its interior is especially worth seeing!
One of the defining sites on Aventine Hill is the Orange Trees Garden ( Giardino degli Aranci ), one of the city’s most beautiful parks. It’s also one of the largest parks in Rome at nearly 8,000 square meters. Not only is the park worth a visit for its secluded location and feel, but it also offers some of the best views in Rome .
Just nearby, you can find one of Rome’s most interesting hidden gems – the Knights of Malta Keyhole in Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. Near the parking lot and behind the big green door is where you can steal a peek through the keyhole and be treated to one of the most unique views of Saint Peter’s Basilica through the hedges. The view technically spans three countries – across the autonomous property of the Knights of Malta, through a patch of Italy, and over to the Vatican.
Practical information: A visit here is free of charge, but keep in mind that the garden is only open until sunset. The Priory Keyhole is no longer a secret place in Rome. Recently, it has become a very popular site and so expect a long queue at the keyhole. However, it’s usually quieter early in the morning or in the evening at around sunset.
5. Via Margutta
Recommended by Helga of ShegoWandering
Via Margutta is a beautiful street hidden between Piazza di Spagna’s Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo. As it’s off the main road, it’s never busy, and it’s an absolutely magical place, with beautiful Italian palazzos covered with ivys all along the street. Originally, Via Margutta was home of various stables and workshops, but that has changed in the last century.
The street became famous after the premiere of the movie ‘ Roman Holiday ‘ with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Pack in 1953. Roman Holiday is one of the most iconic movies ever made in the Italian capital. Since the main male character, Joe Bradley, lived on Via Margutta in the movie, the street became famous straight away.
Thanks to the success of this film, many famous people moved to Via Margutta in the 60s -70s. The neighborhood of Via Margutta became an exclusive, super expensive place to live in Rome. Also today, it’s still the residence of wealthier Romans.
In addition to its beautiful buildings, this quiet, cozy, and colorful street also has some unique places to visit. On Via Margutta, you can find numerous amazing art galleries, luxury shops, and high-end restaurants.
TIP: If you’re a fan of the Roman Holiday , you can also visit the palazzo where Joe Bradley was living in the movie. It’s located on Via Margutta 51.
6. Doria Pamphili Gallery
Recommended by Dymphe of Dym Abroad
The Palazzo Doria Pamphilj is a beautiful and interesting palace in the center of Rome. It’s absolutely stunning, easy to visit, but is not very well-known. You can easily walk here from other famous sights in Rome, such as the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, or the Victor Emmanuel II Monument.
The interior of the palazzo is lavishly decorated. Inside the palace, everywhere you look, you can see amazing art and impressive architectural details. Furthermore, the courtyard of the palace is also very nice to visit.
But there’s more to this palace than its looks! Inside, you’ll find the Doria Pamphilj Gallery . This is one of the best museums in Rome! All the artwork was collected by the Doria Pamphilj family, a princely Roman family, and contains works from various periods in time. Most of the paintings were made by famous painters, such as Velázquez, Raphael, and Titian.
The combination of the beautiful palace and its rich art collection makes a visit to Palazzo Doria Pamphilj one of the best activities for those looking to get off the beaten path and experience a truly unique place in Rome.
Practical information: The entrance fee includes an audio guide. The gallery is open on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and public holidays from 9.30 AM till 7 PM and on Friday from 11:30 AM till 11 PM. For more information, check their website (in Italian) or book your tickets here (in English).
7. Capuchin Crypt of Santa Maria della Concezione
Recommended by Roxanne of Faraway Worlds
If you are looking for something unique to do in Rome, don’t miss the Capuchin Crypt at Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins (Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini). This is one of the best and easy-to-visit Rome underground sites .
Underneath the church lie the bones of almost 4,000 monks. What’s unusual about this crypt is that the bones aren’t buried. Instead, they adorn the six tiny chapels below the church.
In 1631, the Capuchin monks left their home at the friary of St. Bonaventure near the Trevi Fountain and moved to the Santa Maria della Concezione. The cardinal ordered them to bring the remains of their deceased brothers with them, so all the Capuchin friars could rest in one place. This they did. However, instead of burying the bones, they decorated the walls of the crypts with them.
The bones of all the monks who died between 1528 and 1870 decorate the crypt walls, the effect both disquieting and strangely beautiful. The ornaments vary in nature – there are separate crypts for the different bones (skulls, legs, and pelvises), light-fittings made from finger bones, and a skeleton holding a scythe and scales (both, of course, made of bones).
This was meant as a reminder for the monks that death is inevitable. A plaque in one of the chapels reads “What you are now, we once were. What we are now, you shall be”. Wandering through the chapels is a melancholy experience, somehow intertwining death, art and religion.
Practical information: Santa Maria della Concezione is located on the Via Veneto near Piazza Barberini, a short walk from the Trevi Fountain. The crypts are open from 9 AM to 7 PM daily. Keep in mind that modest clothing is required and photography is not allowed these days anymore.
TIP: If you like crypts and catacombs, you may want to join one of the popular tours that visit these unique places in Rome. This is the most popular tour that visits the Capuchin Crypt, the Catacombs, and more . Check it out!
8. Largo di Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary
Recommended by Cindy of Travel Bliss Now
Largo di Torre Argentina is a town square in the heart of Rome, just a few blocks from the Pantheon. Chances are that you’ll notice the ruins just below street level at Largo di Torre Argentina. What you might not know is that this is the very spot where Julius Caesar was assassinated. Nowadays, it’s a cat sanctuary .
The ruins of four temples and the remains of Pompey’s Theatre date back as far as the 4 th century B.C. Julius Caesar was killed on the steps of the theatre on the Ides of March 44 B.C.
When the site was excavated in 1929, feral cats moved in. The cat ladies of Rome started looking after them and eventually established a shelter in one corner of the site. Now, 130 cats live in the ruins. And that’s what also makes this place more special to visit – not just the history, but also the cats.
Good to know: You can’t access the ruins, but can see the site and the cats, at no cost, from street level. And because this place is so central, you can easily add it to your itinerary, even if you only have a day in Rome . You can also visit the shelter itself, where about 20 elderly or disabled cats live. To get there, take the stairs down to the site at the corner of Via Florida and Via di Torre Argentina.
Practical information: The cat sanctuary is open from noon to 6 PM on weekdays, and 11 AM to 6 PM on weekends. There is no charge to visit, but donations are welcome. You can find more information on their website .
9. Vatican Necropolis & St Peter’s Tomb
Recommended by Nicholas of Rambling Feet
St Peter’s Basilica is one of the most well-known and visited sites within Rome, but few people visit the ancient Roman necropolis that lies buried under the church.
It is partly because you cannot simply rock up and buy a ticket or wait in line to enter. The process starts with writing to the Vatican Scavi office ahead of time, hoping you get a reply confirming your spot on a guided tour. If successful, you would be one of only 250 visitors who would be permitted to enter that day.
As the tour descends the stairs to the underground necropolis (there are no lifts), you will be taken two millennia back in time. Vatican Hill was once outside the city walls of Rome. It covered in the 1st and 2nd-century mausoleums that lie under the present-day St Peter’s Basilica. Incredibly, they were discovered only 80 years ago and the paintings on some mausoleums are very well-preserved.
Inside, there are also old piers and structures that date to Emperor Constantine’s Old St Peter’s Basilica. That church was torn down and replaced in the 1500s by the Bramante/Michelangelo masterpiece that we see today.
For pilgrims, the Vatican Necropolis is especially significant because it is also the site of the tomb of the Apostle St Peter . To paraphrase the Bible, the tour takes you to see the “rock” on which the Church was built.
Good to know: Vatican Necropolis is very humid and stuffy, so I would not recommend visiting it in the middle of a Roman summer. No photography is permitted during the tour, hence the publicly-sourced photo for this write-up. Lastly, the tour ends in the Vatican grottoes where the popes are buried, which means that taking this underground tour is one of the ways you can skip the queue to enter St Peter’s Basilica .
Alternatively, you can just visit the underground of St. Peter’s Basilica – Vatican Grottoes. Here, you can visit the publically accessible St. Peter’s Tomb (one level higher than the original St Peter’s Tomb) and see where some of the Popes are buried. It’s not the same as going deeper, of course, but much easier to do without any prior arrangements.
TIP: You can also do this with this amazing tour that includes St. Peter’s Basilica and Dome visit as well as the underground grottos. We recently did this tour and it was a good way to learn more about the Basilica without getting overwhelmed or trying to figure out where exactly to go and what’s worth seeing the most.
10. Appian Way
Recommended by Jyoti of Story at Every Corner
Dating from 312-264 BC, Appian Way was the first and the most strategic road in Rome. Used for military transportation, this road also led to many conquests for the Roman Empire. These days, visiting the Appian Road is one of the most special, unique things to do in Rome! After all, how many things stand the test of time for thousands of years?!
The Appian Way is the longest straight road in Europe (62 km). It went from Rome to the coastal town of Brindisi, on the other end of the peninsula. Many of the sections of this iconic 2,300 years old road survive to this day. Much of it is renovated and used by cars and other vehicles. So you can drive on the oldest road in Europe!
There are many ways to explore this historic route. Most locals come for a stroll and a peaceful walk on the quiet tree-lined sections of the road. For a quick visit, the easiest way is to come with an e-bike tour . We opted for a horseback ride. The section we visited is well preserved with its original stone road and remains of many buildings, temples, and mausoleums next to it.
TIP: On hot summer days, it’s best to visit in the morning or evening.
Practical info: There is no entry fee or even an entrance gate for the road. You can visit any time. As already said, the easiest way to visit is with a tour . Alternatively, you can get here by bus. You’ll have to check the bus route and schedule on Rome’s transit site .
TIP: This Appian Way, Aqueducts & Catacombs e-bike tour also visits the Appian Way, Roman Aqueducts, and it includes a visit to the Catacombs of St. Callisto (more info about these places – below). We did this bike tour on our most recent visit to Rome and it was one of the best days in the city! It’s such a great way to explore Rome off the beaten path and see so many amazing hidden gems in a short time.
11. Catacombs of St. Callixtus
There are few places in Rome that are as unique and as special as the Catacombs of St. Callixtus (Catacombe di San Callisto). So if you are looking to discover hidden Rome, definitely consider a visit here. Nowhere else can you feel and experience history as you do here!
St. Callixtus Catacombs are located just outside the city walls of Rome, along the Appian Way. It’s an ancient burial site containing about 500,000 tombs dating from the 2nd-4th centuries. It’s best known for the Crypt of the Popes, where some of the first popes were buried, the grave of St. Cecilia, and some ancient frescoes.
The catacombs have several underground layers connected by staircases and about 20km of tunnels. You can only visit here with a guide, so no worries about getting lost. A guided tour includes a visit to the second underground layer where the most interesting crypts and graves are located. You also walk through several corridors and a visit here gives you a very good idea of the vastness of this site.
Good to know: It’s not a creepy place and one that you can also visit with children (there were lots of kids when we visited and – with the right explanation – they all seemed to be really interested and found the visit fascinating). All the open graves that you’ll see have been emptied and the bones were moved to the lower levels where tourists aren’t allowed (this is because of the vandalism in the past).
Practical info: St. Callixtus Catacombs are open daily except for Wednesdays and some public holidays, in the morning from 9 am to 12 and in the afternoon from 2 pm to 5 pm. You have to book your tickets in advance – see their website for more info or book your tickets here .
The catacombs are located outside the city and can be reached by public transport. You can also drive here by car or taxi. However, the easiest way to visit here is with an organized tour , often in combination with the Appian Way and/or some other interesting sites. That way, you don’t have to worry about any practicalities.
TIP: As already mentioned before, we visited these catacombs on this Appian Way, Aqueducts & Catacombs e-bike tour . It’s a wonderful tour that covers some of the most unique places in Rome in just half a day. Highly recommended!
12. Chiesa Santa Maria Addolorata
In the city of 900 churches, one more impressive than the other, Chiesa Santa Maria Addolorata (Church of Our Lady of Sorrows) is well worth including in your list of the hidden gems to visit. Not only because it’s located close to the earlier-mentioned Coppedé district, but also because it’s truly beautiful!
Commissioned by Argentine priests and sponsored by Argentine bishops, this was the first South American national church in Rome. It took 20 years to build and the church was inaugurated in 1930.
Chiesa Santa Maria Addolorata on Piazza Buenos Aires is quite different from most of the other churches in Rome. On the outside, you’ll find beautiful mosaics that change color depending on the light. Inside, the church has two levels and a Neo-Byzantine interior with even more impressive mosaics.
Good to know: There are two churches in Rome with the same name. See our map for the exact location.
Practical information: The church is open daily and is free to visit.
13. Gianicolo – Janiculum Hill
Gianicolo or the Janiculum Hill , also called the 8th Hill of Rome, is another beautiful area that is overlooked by most travel guides. It offers some of the best views of the city of Rome !
Gianicolo is located South of Vatican City, just above Trastevere, and can be easily reached on foot. It’s a bit of a climb though, but the views over the city of Rome are certainly worth it.
The main attraction is the Piazzale Garibaldi with Giuseppe Garibaldi Monument and a cannon that fires each day at noon. In addition, make sure not to miss the 17th-century Aqua Paola Fountain (Fontana dell’Acqua Paola) as well.
Gianicolo is an amazingly quiet area and a good way to escape the city and get a bit off the beaten path.
TIP: One of the best ways to explore Gianicolo and some of the other further located areas in Rome is by taking a bike. You can rent a bike or join a highly-rated electric bike small-group tour .
Private e-bike tours are also available and are great if you want to explore Rome deeper with a local guide but at your own pace.
14. Park of the Aqueducts
Recommended by Anda of Travel for a while
One of the most interesting places in Rome – and a hidden gem at the same time – is the Aqueducts Park ( Parco degli Acquedotti ). This protected area in the southeast of the city hosts two major aqueducts – Aqua Felix and Aqua Claudia – and the remains of a few others.
These aqueducts were used to bring water from the Alban Hills to the busy city of Rome. Aqua Felix was built by Pope Sixtus V in the 16th century. Aqua Claudia is a much older aqueduct, finished during the reign of Emperor Claudius, in 52 AD. Aqua Claudia is still very impressive with its huge arches dominating the fields.
The Romans used only gravity to bring clean water from the higher ground of the hills to the city. The water filled Rome’s many fountains and was used for drinking and bathing.
The best time to visit the Aqueducts Park is just before sunset. The aqueducts and the umbrella pine trees create a picture-perfect setting at that time. A small part of the Ancient Via Latina is also visible in the Aqueducts Park. The locals come here with their bikes or their dogs, or just for a run. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon with friends or family.
Practical info: You can easily reach the Park of the Aqueducts from Rome’s center by metro line A to either Lucio Sestio or Giulio Agricola stations. The park is a short walk away from the metro station and it is free to visit.
TIP: This highly-rated small-group e-bike tour visits the Park of the Aqueducts, as well as several other hidden gems of Rome mentioned in this article. We did this tour and LOVED it. Check it out!
15. Galleria Sciarra
Recommended by Kate of Our Escape Clause
Located a mere two-minute walk away from the famous Trevi Fountain, visiting the Galleria Sciarra is both easy and well worth the small effort. This beautiful courtyard, which today stands in the center of an office building, was commissioned by Prince Maffeo Barberini-Colonna di Sciarra in the late 19th century to connect several pieces of his property together.
Repeating a fairly common story in modern Italy, what was once the private realm of wealthy citizens has morphed into a public space. Today, Romans use the Galleria Sciarra as a shortcut when walking across the city.
The courtyard is decorated in an intricate Art Nouveau style, with an iron-and-glass ceiling that brings beautiful light to the space and, most strikingly, intricate frescoes showing off the “Glorification of Women”. The frescoes are painted to show off what the artist, Giuseppe Cellini, believed to be female virtues, including strength, justice, and faithfulness, among others.
Soaring high above a visitor’s line of sight, it’s easy to spend several minutes craning your neck upward to make out various details of the frescoes when visiting this hidden gem in Rome.
Practical information: The Galleria Sciarra is located at Via Marco Minghetti, 10, 00187 Roma RM. While it is a very short walk from the Trevi Fountain, you’re very unlikely to stumble across it accidentally–the courtyard lurks just out of sight, tucked into an unassuming yellow building. As the Galleria Sciarra is located in an office building, it is open to visitors during business hours.
16. Domus Aurea – Nero’s Golden House
Recommended by Steph of The Mediterranean Traveller
Hidden in plain sight is one of Rome’s most intriguing archaeological sites – Domus Aurea , or Nero’s Golden House. It’s located in a leafy park just over the road from the Colosseum, but not many people know about it. Don’t go expecting a literal palace of gold though. This one is underground, although confusingly also at ground level, and was stripped of its splendor a long time ago.
So what’s the story? You may have heard of Nero, the fifth emperor of Ancient Rome whose cruelty and madness is legendary. He famously fiddled as Rome burned in the Great Fire of AD 64. There were even rumors that he started the fire himself. Whether or not these stories are true, Nero did use the opportunity to seize a lot of the damaged land for his new palace project.
The site then became a vast country estate in the heart of the city, possibly as large as 300 acres. At its core was an extravagant villa complex designed for entertaining – lined with frescos, gold leaf, gleaming marble, and mosaics made with ivory and semi-precious stones.
There was a golden dome with an oculus, endless pools and fountains, and reputedly even a banquet hall that rotated as guests were showered with rose petals. Domus Aurea represented the best of Roman art and engineering and the worst of its excesses.
After Nero’s death, the complex was destroyed by subsequent emperors and the land was returned to public use. The main building was filled with rubble and built over – the Baths of Trajan are directly above.
And so Domus Aurea was lost until the 15th century when a local fell through a hole in the ground and found himself in a cave filled with intricate paintings. The gems and gold had been looted after Nero’s death, but the rubble protected the frescos from light and moisture. The discovery of these caves ( grottos ) had a big influence on the early Renaissance artists of the time.
Excavations at the Domus Aurea are ongoing. Nowadays, you can take a guided tour led by one of the archaeologists. There’s a fantastic virtual reality experience in one room that gives you a sense of what the grounds and building would have looked like in Nero’s time.
Practical information: Domus Aurea can only be visited with an official guide and tickets must be purchased in advance! You can opt for just a guided visit or – recommended – a tour that also includes an amazing Virtual Reality Experience .
Also, don’t trust Google Maps to find it. Instead, walk along the Via della Domus Aurea from the Colosseum, turn left at Viale Serapide, and look for the gate.
17. Baths of Caracalla
Recommended by Katy of Untold Italy
Rome is full of ancient Roman landmarks and 2000-year-old sites , but if you are looking for a really special place, don’t miss the Baths of Caracalla (Terme di Caracalla or Termae Anthoninianae) . These are some of the most impressive Roman Empire ruins still standing in the Eternal City.
Built around 212 AD, the baths were in use for 300 years before falling into ruin. At their peak, the Baths of Caracalla (named after the son of the Roman Emperor who commissioned them) was the second-largest bathhouse in the city.
In fact, it is best to think of this site as more like a modern day leisure center. Along with bathing houses, there were also saunas, a sports center, an Olympic-size swimming pool, gardens, and libraries for the Roman citizens to enjoy. The baths themselves were heated by a system of underground furnaces.
When you visit the baths, you can appreciate the grandeur and scale of this complex. Now a working archaeological site, you can watch stunning mosaics being painstakingly uncovered and restored.
TIP: Make sure you choose the interactive guide! It shows you virtual reconstructions of the baths based on the archeologic research. This digital project shows how the baths were constructed and then filled with art and sculpture that covered the walls and ceilings that soared 44 meters overhead.
Practical information: The Baths of Caracalla are located on Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 52, close to the Circus Maximus and Metro Line B Circo Massimo. You can find more information on the official website . Alternatively, you can also visit here with this highly-rated tour that includes several other ancient landmarks as well.
18. Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese is the largest public park in Rome and it’s a great refuge from the hectic noisy streets of the city. The park is huge and you would probably need a day to see most of what it has to offer, but it’s a nice place to escape the city, even if just for a few hours.
The park is known as the ‘park of museums’, the most famous one being the Galleria Borghese which is located in the Villa Borghese after which the park is named. But there is more to the park: the lake and many fountains, the old-fashioned puppet theatre, a small zoo, the beautiful gardens,…
Villa Borghese park is located to the North of the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo and is a bit outside of the regular tourists’ routes and even outside some of the city maps, but it’s not really that far. You can easily walk there from the city center.
The best way to explore the park is by bike and there are several places where you can rent one. There is also a small tourist train driving around the park in the high season. If you are visiting Rome with a family, you could rent one of the 4-6 seater bikes to explore the park.
I really enjoyed this oasis of green and quiet in the middle of the noisy city. It is the perfect place to escape the heat in summer, to have a picnic, let your kids play, or just relax.
TIP: If you want to visit the Borghese Gallery, you have to book the tickets in advance !
19. St. Clement Basilica
Recommended by Annalisa by Travel Connect Experience
The Basilica San Clemente , located just a short walk from the Colosseum, is one of the most overlooked Rome monuments . From the outside, it might look like any other church in Rome, but this Basilica has so much more to offer than it looks at first sight!
Basilica di San Clemente has three underground layers. They were built in a different time period and each is unique. Visiting here allows you to take a journey through the history and ancient ‘layers’ of Rome all the way back to the 1st century.
As you enter, the 17th-century facade introduces you to a medieval church. The church that you see dates back to the 12th century. It has three naves with a gold inlaid mosaic in the apse and can be visited for free.
With a 10 euro ticket, on the other hand, you have access to the underground levels that preserve 2000 years of history . The Dominican friars who manage the Basilica and the adjoining convent discovered the underground levels at the end of the 19th century, during renovation work.
Immediately below street level is an early Christian basilica from the 4th century. Its altar holds a relic of St. Cyril and impressive frescoes on the walls.
On the floor below, are the remains of two Roman buildings from the 1st century. Inside one ‘building’ that appears like the foundations of a Roman villa, you’ll find a temple dedicated to the god Mithras with a statue of Mithras subduing the bull.
The other ‘building’ is protected by huge megalithic stones – this is probably a place where they used to create coins.
The floor further down dates back to the time of the burning of Rome by Nero, 64 AD.
Practical information: Basilica di San Clemente is open daily. For opening hours and more information, please check their website . Alternatively, this tour visits Basilica San Clemente and a few other hidden gems.
READ ALSO: Rome Underground Sites, Crypts & Catacombs
20. Isola Tiberina
Recommended by Jiayi of The Diary of a Nomad
Did you know that there’s an island in the middle of Rome’s city center? And not just an island. Tiber Island (Isola Tiberina) is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the world and a real hidden gem in the city. Furthermore, it’s only a 20-minute walk from the Colosseum and is the perfect place to stop by during a stroll on the Lungotevere (Tiber Waterfront).
Floating on the River Tiber, Isola Tiberina is about the size of three football fields. The island is home to Basilica di San Bartolomeo , which dates back to the 10th century and was built on top of an ancient temple. Inside the basilica, you can see relics from Catholic martyrs that have been chewed up by lions in the Colosseum.
There’s also a restaurant and a 400-year-old hospital on the island, which is still in operation today.
The true magic of Isola Tiberina is its transformation into an annual film festival hub in the summer. A pop-up amphitheater is set up there, with hundreds of guests attending different screenings every day.
On summer evenings, Isola Tiberina also comes alive with rows and rows of pop-up bars and restaurants on the island’s riverbanks. The nighttime atmosphere there is truly breathtaking, with tons of locals packing the bars and expats meeting up for drinks while live music plays nearby.
But no matter the season, Isola Tiberina is always worth a few minutes of your time. If you’re strolling around the city center of Rome, definitely check out this tiny hidden gem on the River Tiber!
21. Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
Recommended by Stella Jane of Around the World in 24 Hours
The Palazzo Massimo alle Terme , home to one of the branches of the National Roman Museum, is a real gem! It houses one of the most fascinating collections of Roman artifacts and architecture in the city, but doesn’t get nearly as many visitors as the most popular landmarks!
In just a couple of hours here, you can explore the beautiful creations of ancient Rome without the crowds that you find at the Colosseum or the Roman Forum.
Fans of ancient art will love the Roman sculptures and jewelry here. But the most impressive part of the museum is its remarkably intact ancient mosaics. The museum even has some mosaics that come from the Villa of Livia, Emperor Augustus’s wife.
There are also fragments of a temple dating back to the reign of Emperor Claudius. It’s easy to see why some call this museum one of the finest archaeological museums in the world .
Even if you normally don’t like museums, you will enjoy exploring the more unusual parts of the Massimo alle Terme. The museum itself is located in a 19th-century palace, so the building itself is very beautiful. Enjoy the shade and admire the sculptures and greenery in the palazzo’s outdoor courtyard.
TIP: Your admission ticket will also allow you to explore the nearby Baths of Diocletian, also part of the National Roman Museum. These were the largest Imperial baths in all ancient Rome and remain a spectacular place to explore today.
Practical information: Palazzo Massimo is open from 9 AM to 7:45 PM every day but Monday. Admission is 10 Euros. You can find more information on their website .
22. Park Caffarella
Recommended by Gabi of Under Flowery Sky
Park Caffarella is a large park in central Rome, only 15 minutes walk from the Colosseum. But it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the popular tourist areas. This is a place that is mostly visited by locals. You’ll have difficulties believing it’s in Rome!
So if you want to know the local way of life and get to know a very different side of Rome, I truly suggest visiting Caffarella. Here, you can discover Roman ruins, visit a cheese-farm factory (Casale Della Vaccareccia), see the Tomb of Annia Regilla and the Old Mill Farmstead, or simply take a walk through this simple park.
Historical treasures within the park include the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metela, the Temple of Ceres and Faustina, an artificial cave called Nymphaeum of Egeria with its water source, and also a Great Cistern.
The Almone River that flows into the Tiber adds to the charm of the park. In ancient times, botanical life was much richer here, but also nowadays you can still see a big variety of flora and fauna.
It’s a great place to discover the rural side of Rome, to watch over 70 species of birds, and animals like goats, sheep, and foxes. You’ll also find maple trees, oaks, walnuts, fig trees, wild roses, wild apples, and so much more.
The park continues to the ancient Appian Way (see higher above) where the Roman Aurelian’s Wall proudly stays. These Walls encircled all the seven hills around the Eternal City.
Practical information: Park Caffarella is located very centrally. You can walk here from Colosseum or take a metro to Furio Camillo station. The best way to enter the park is through Via Macedonia.
So, here are some of the hidden gems of Rome, the city that has thousands of incredible gems, secret finds, and unique places. Most of these places are really worth your time, but of course, there’s no way to visit them all if you are only in Rome for a few days…
But even if you choose just a few places from this list, you’ll discover a very different side of Rome. A truly unique city that has more secrets than any other place in the world.
The good news is that most of these places are quite easy to visit in combination with the highlights of Rome. Getting just a bit off the beaten tourist track will make your trip to Rome so much more special and memorable!
READ ALSO: Best Views & Viewpoints in Rome
Best tours to get off the beaten path in Rome
If you are looking for more hidden gems of Rome or want to explore the more local side of this beautiful city, but aren’t sure where to start, I recommend booking one or several organized tours with a local.
These great tours bring you to the lesser-known places of Rome and show you a different side of the city that you wouldn’t see otherwise.
Here are some highly-rated local tours that I selected especially for our readers . These are one by one excellent and highly-rayed tours that will show you a different side of Rome, far away from the beaten tourist paths. Take a look:
- By e-bike: Ancient Appian Way, Aqueducts & Catacombs E-Bike Tour .
- Walking tour: Dark Heart of Rome – Facts, Legend & Mystery Walking Tour .
- Bus + walking: Crypts & Catacombs Tour with Bone Chapel Visit .
- Walking food tour: Small-Group Street Food Tour .
READ ALSO: Best Street Food Tour in Rome with a Local Guide
More information and inspiration for your trip to Rome:
- Tips for Planning a Trip to Rome
- Top Things to Do in Rome
- Guide to Colosseum Tickets & Levels
- 1 Day in Rome (all the best places and one or two lesser-known gems)
- 2 Days in Rome (includes a few hidden gems)
- How to See the Best of Rome in 4 Days (includes most of the hidden gems mentioned in this article)
- Best Area to Stay in Rome
- How to Get to Rome from Fiumicino or Ciampino Airports
- Where to Eat in Rome
- Ancient Rome Landmarks (the oldest Roman sites you can still see in Rome today)
READ ALSO: Italy itinerary: how to see the best places in 2 weeks
If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin these images!
More travel inspiration and tips for Italy:
- What to see: Best Places to Visit in Italy
- Italy in low season: Rome in November & Italy in November
- Cities: Most Beautiful Cities in Italy
- Food: Italian Food by Region & Where to Eat in Rome
- Milan: Must-see in Milan & One Day in Milan
- Venice: Best Things to Do in Venice & One Day in Venice & Doge’s Palace (must-see!) & Venice Gondola (must-do!)
- Florence: Best Things to Do in Florence & One Day in Florence & Florence Rooftops
- Cinque Terre: One Day in Cinque Terre & Tips & Info for Visiting Cinque Terre
- Tuscany: Most Beautiful Towns in Tuscany & Tuscany Itinerary & Siena & Montepulciano
- Amalfi Coast: Amalfi Coast Itinerary & Where to Stay on Amalfi Coast & How to Get from Naples to Amalfi Coast
- Naples: Best Things to Do in Naples & Where to Stay in Naples & One Day in Naples & Best Day Trips from Naples
- Emilia Romagna: Emilia Romagna Itinerary & Best of Rimini
- San Marino: Complete Guide to Visiting San Marino
- Italian Lakes: Lake Garda & Lake Como & Bellagio & Best Lakes in the Dolomites
- Italian Mountains: Best Hikes in the Dolomites & Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites & Best Lakes in the Dolomites
- … for many more places all over the country, see our Italy travel guide .
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Tuesday 27th of June 2023
Thank you so much for the e-bike tour recommendation! It was a last-minute decision for us because we needed a break from the crowds and hustle & bustle of the city. It was the highlight of our time in Rome. My 14-year old really enjoyed himself and it was wonderful to see a different side of Rome.
I'm really glad to hear that, Nicole. We also loved that tour. One of the best memories of the trip for sure. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!
Saturday 20th of May 2023
My friend and I just returned from a 3 week trip to Italy and were in Rome for a week. We were getting overwhelmed while researching things to see and do (outside of the “usual” ie Vatican, Trevi Fountain etc). Then we found this blog. It certainly helped to target unusual and less-touristy places and we were able to check off 11 out of 22. Although the imbedded map couldn’t be used, we pinned each of the places on our own Google map. Thank you so much for doing all the legwork for us.
Monday 22nd of May 2023
Glad to help, Patricia. Happy travels! PS In case anyone else is wondering about the map. You have to save it to your Google account by clicking on the little star icon. However, you do need mobile network coverage or wi-fi in order to use these maps. Regular Google Maps with your personal 'saved' locations can be downloaded and used offline as well. So indeed, if you are unsure about your data coverage, it's best to save the locations of those places that you want to visit in your own personal Google Maps account.
Tuesday 28th of March 2023
hi and thanks so much for such useful hints and info .
how can i print or copy soem of the info on your blog . we are travelling to Rome and want to custom our trip based on some of the info you have provided . is there a subscription ?
Wednesday 29th of March 2023
Hi Tarek, you can just print whatever you need by using Ctrl+p or simply choose print in your browser menu. Have a great trip!
Tuesday 13th of September 2022
We enjoyed some of these places after reading this. Enjoyed the fountain Paola, pamphilj gallery, Malta keyhole and the coppede area. Via Magurtta was not at all nice anymore, tho. It was near to several pretty streets that we went back to time after time, tho. At the paola fountains go to a fine dining place called Antico Arco up the hill a bit from there. It was difficult getting back via taxi from coppede area. Another hidden gem is the Etruscan museum near Villa Borghese. That whole area is beautiful. Went to the modern art museum there. If you have been to modern art places in big cities before you may be disappointed but the horse figures will disrupt your day in not a good way but,hey it is art. Thanks for this site!
Friday 16th of September 2022
Glad to help and thanks for sharing your experience, Heidi. It might be useful to our other readers. PS We just passed Via Margutta a few months ago and I found it quite nice to see. It's not something I'd go out of my way for, but that's the area most people visit anyway, so why not walk through... Happy travels!
Sunday 27th of March 2022
Hi, thanks so much for this writeup! This exactly the type of exploring and discovering that my husband and I love to do. A few questions: This is our first time to Italy. We're trying to squeeze in a week-long trip as our 2nd honeymoon/babymoon before our baby comes in July. I'll be 26 weeks pregnant when I visit and am prone to foot pain after a few hours of walking. How do you recommend that we tour? I'm leaning toward Rome>Florence>Siena>Tuscany towns> and then flying out of Rome or whatever is cheapest and accessible within 3 hours. Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated! xo
@Jurga, the taxis are cheap here…
Monday 28th of March 2022
Hi Yonit, there are always ways to visit the cities depending on your interests and abilities. If you can't walk a long time, maybe you can opt for a let's say a golf-cart tour or a hop-on hop-off bus. But these will usually cover the main sights and not the off-the-beaten-path places. In general, you'll have to walk quite a lot in order to experience Rome. But you could limit the walking by planning your itinerary in such a way that you concentrate on just one area and visit many sights that are close to each other. Still, there's really no way to avoid walking - pretty much anything you do will involve quite some walking, some steps, and lots of cobblestones. For the other cities, it's pretty much the same situation, except that they are smaller than Rome and most highlights are concentrated closer to each other. Also, depending on when you travel, keep in mind that it can very warm and sightseeing can be exhausting. So make an itinerary that you're comfortable with, wear comfortable shoes, have sun protection, and maybe get a hotel with a pool where you can rest in the afternoons, etc. Your itinerary sounds ok, but it also depends a bit on how you travel. If you are traveling by train and don't want to change hotels/ carry luggage too often, you could just stay in e.g. Rome and Florence (3-4 days each), and then make day trips from Florence to the other places (by train or by tour, depending on what you want to see). Plan some free time for gelatos and long lunches, pool, etc., and make it into a more relaxing vacation without necessarily trying to see it 'all'. You'll love it either way. Good luck with the planning! PS Just last week I stumbled upon this hotel in Rome that looks perfect for a luxury honeymoon/babymoon. I haven't seen anything quite similar in Florence, but for my own trip in a few weeks, I have this hotel booked which also looks very nice for a combination of sightseeing and relaxing vacation.
How To Visit Rome In 4 Days – See, Eat & Save Money
For those traveling to Italy and want to visit Rome in 4 days (maybe as part of a weeklong itinerary) this is our suggestion to help you get the most out of your trip. Our experience in Italy included 4 days in Rome and we want to share what we think is the best way to see this amazing city.
Now, of course, there is no way to see everything in Rome in such a short amount of time, but this article should give you all you need for your first visit. There are just some essential monuments, historic spots, and things you just must see as a first-timer in Rome. Also, if you’ve never been, we include some things we learned during our experience there and wanted to pass on as some vacation tips to other travelers.
- 1 4-Day Rome Itinerary In A Nutshell
- 2 Places To Visit In Rome Italy In 4 days
- 3 What To See When Visiting The Vatican In Rome
- 4 Itinerary For The Fourth Day Of Your Rome Visit
- 5.1 Take A Self Guided Food Tour
- 5.2 Here’s why we think it’s great:
- 5.3 Best Way To Get Around & Sightsee Rome
4-Day Rome Itinerary In A Nutshell
Day 1 – Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna and Spanish Steps
Day 2- Vatican: The Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel
Day 3 – The Colosseum, Arch of Titus, Arco Di Constantino, Palatino, Circus Maximus, Roman Forum
Day 4 – Pizza making class, Piazza Venezia, Castel Sant’Angelo & Ponte Sant’Angelo
I know what you may be thinking and before you say anything I will say that this is a jam-packed itinerary. Honestly, though, when in Rome…you gotta try to see as much as possible. And boy is there loads to see!
How is this all possible in just four days? Well, we do have a tip on the best way to get around and be able to see everything. Also, keep reading for ways to save money and manage your time.
Places To Visit In Rome Italy In 4 days
The way I organized this post is the way we did it on our visit. You can think of it as an itinerary and customize it based on your needs and number of days in your visit.
Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps)
We were able to visit the Pantheon as soon as we arrived because it was, literally, a 4-minute walk from our Airbnb apartment. This is what I love about using Airbnb, it allows you to find places to stay that are in the heart of “the action.” By the time we got to the Pantheon, it had closed, but the nice thing was that it was not crowded around the fountain that is in front of it. I would also highly recommend trying to visit during the week as the weekends can be super crowded. When we visited in March, it was very chilly (they had even gotten snow for the first time in a while a few weeks back!). Even in the brisk evening, there were still lots of tourists around.
We enjoyed our first pizza in Italy after seeing the Pantheon and then headed for a quick, 14-minute walk to the Spanish Steps at Piazza Di Spagna. After spending around half an hour climbing the stairs and marveling at the fountains in the piazza we headed back towards our apartment. Since the Trevi Fountain was on our way back (8-minute walk), we decided to pay it a visit even though it was quite late in the evening. Even in the dark of the night, there were lots of folks around the fountain.
I have to admit, the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon both really blew me away and were a nice way to start the Rome trip! I never imagined the structures would be so huge! I think this was the most surprising thing about them for me. I’m glad that we did this quick walk around on our first evening because, though very jetlagged, we were both inspired to do as much sightseeing as possible here in our four days.
We did end up going back to all of these spots during the day. I gotta say, though, there was a kind of magic in seeing them at night when there were so few people around. The Trevi Fountain is lined with visitors during the day. The outline of people is about ten individuals deep, so getting that shot by yourslef in front of the fountain is a dream at that point!
First thing you want to do is get the Omnia Rome and Vatican Pass Right Here:
What To See When Visiting The Vatican In Rome
On Our second day, we were ready for a full day at the Vatican. I would suggest trying to see the following spots in one day because they are in close proximity to each other. The only caveat is that you should purchase tickets in advance and have your time slots picked, so make sure they don’t overlap.
We went to the Vatical Museums first thing in the morning followed by a tour of the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s Famous Fresco on the ceiling. We then had a quick lunch right in Vatican City and then visited St. Peter’s Basilica in the late afternoon.
The below lists all the places to visit in Rome Italy in 1 day:
The Vatican Museums
There is so much to see here that you can easily spend a good portion of the day staring at all of the masterpieces at this museum. We didn’t quite rush it, but enjoyed it the way we usually like to enjoy museums: see the things we really want to see and then head out. This is our usual MO but others may zip through just to say they have been there and many people may stay a while and partake in the audio tours that thoroughly explain each piece. Everyone has a different museum style and you will have to gauge the time in your itinerary accordingly.
Get Your ticket here and save time!
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Not To Be Missed: A lot of people might miss the Momo Stairs (sometimes referred to as the Snail Staircase). It is, interestingly, made of a double helix (yeah like DNA!…science…..religion…hmmm). I highly recommend taking them down when you are ready to exit the museum! They are great for photography!
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Square is impressive in itself but do go in and take a peek inside the world largest church! Inside, you’ll be able to see exactly how much bigger it is compared to other’s around the world…they, literally, draw lines on the ground to demonstrate it! Inside this papal enclave which is the holy of places in the Catholic World, you will find works of Bernini and Michelangelo.
Not To Be Missed: Make sure to go up to the dome and viewpoint where you can have one of the most amazing panoramic views of Rome. Can you beleive we actually did miss this?? I blame the jetlag! So, make sure you don’t make the same mistake as us and check it out!
I was super impressed just walking down the hallway that leads to the main chapel where Michelangelo’s famous painting adorn the ceiling. You can imagine my awe once we entered and saw the magnificent masterpiece!
How To Visit Rome On Day 3
The following list of places to see are all grouped together, again, because of how close they are to each other. If you are in the part of Rome where the Colosseum is located, you could potentially check out all of the below in one day.
We had an early start to our day and enjoyed breakfast right down the street from the Colosseum. It was nice skipping the line and heading right inside (see below in the section about our Rome Vacation Tips on how were able to do this).
Arch of Titus
Arco Di Constantino
Don’t forget to also visit: Palatino, Circus Maximus, Roman Forum
Itinerary For The Fourth Day Of Your Rome Visit
Pizza Making Class
This was the first time we tried an experience from Airbnb and it was a blast!. I happen to see it pop up in my email before our trip to Italy and decided to book it. Because, hey, “when in Rome…”
We got a free ride on the metro to Florentina (see below in our tips section on how we did this) and were picked up by our host and chef. He drove us to his home outside the city a bit and taught us how to make pizza from scratch. It was abeautiful day so we did all the preparations in the garden outside. It was a very fun experience and the food we made was delicious!
We returned to the city via metro and had just enough time to do a bit more quick sightseeing.
The following are a couple of places that you can check out quickly from the outside. You will certainly need to allow more time if you like to go inside and see them better, but you should definitely include them in the list of places to visit in Rome Italy in 4 days.
Castel Sant’Angelo & Ponte Sant’Angelo
I particularly enjoyed walking the bridge here and just gazing at the Tiber River and birds flying over it.
We passed by this building many times, but never had the time to go and check it out up close or inside. However, for us this was enough. Some people may like to explore it further so we wanted to make sure to list it.
Need help planning your Italy vacation? Check out our itinerary including Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice.
Other European Destinations and Itineraries You Might Like:
- Best Of Budapest In 3 Days
- What You Don’t Want To Miss In Amsterdam
- Travel Guide For Lisbon, Portugal
Some Rome Vacation Tips From Us
Take a self guided food tour.
The second part of our Rome vacations tip section is about the Bitemojo App. We were given a free tour from Bitemojo to try the App and review it for our audience and we really enjoyed the experience!
Here’s how it works: You download the app (click the picture below), search for and purchase the tour that you like, start the tour on your app when you’re ready! (note: you will need data on your phone so I would recommend purchasing a sim card when you enter the country).
Bitemojo has lots of great self guided food tours available in several amazing cities worldwide! Check out the Bitemojo website and see which tours you’d like to take on your next trip! The tour we took was the Classic Rome Food Tour.
Here’s why we think it’s great:
- You can go at your own pace (you also have the option to stop the tour and continue later within a time frame) – This was my favorite part! We started the tour in the late evening and it was perfect because the small bites were all that we really needed for the night. Since we had had a full day of walking, we stopped the tour halfway and continued it when we were fresh the next day.
- The tours give you a walking map to follow and tell you about significant spots along the way (even I didn’t get lost!) – It was like having our own private guide! I enjoyed the interesting things I learned as we went from one restaurant/bar to the next. We got to see some things we may not have otherwise!
- The small bites were tasty and unique – I was impressed by the offering at each location. It really gave us a glimpse into the local food specialities at very authentic food joints!
- This is a great way to take a food tour if you like to do things on your own time and in your own way when you travel. It was super convenient for us to take the tour since we didn’t have to find the meeting point and wait for a huge group of people to gather like traditional tours. There’s also the benefit of not having to walk with a big crowd of people around town. I know I always struggle with hearing the tour guide in front and trying to keep up. With the app, we felt less like tourists and more like travelers!
Best Way To Get Around & Sightsee Rome
Our top recommendation for visitors in Rome (especially those going on their first time) is to purchase the OMNIA Vatican And Rome Card for your 3 or 4 day visit. Not only will it save you on ticket costs (you even get free entrance to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums!) to a lot of attraction that you will inevitably want to visit, but it will save you LOADS of time. The card lets you skip the line at the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica as well as at the Colosseum!
We knew people that were visiting at the same time as us and they stood in line for three hours for St. Peter’s Basilica!
We didn’t have to!
This alone made our entire trip and experience more enjoyable. Being able to show our card and get in through an exclusive line made all the difference even though it was not the busiest time of year . This is perfect for those who plan to visit Rome in 4 days!
Additionally, you get to ride the hop on hop off bus with the card! This is how we got around most of the time in Rome. It was also a great lazy way of sightseeing at the end of the day when we were tired of walking around. We just sat back, listened to the audio guide and enjoyed the sights along thr route! You also get another transportation option with the card: A Travelcard to use on the public transport network around the city! We saved almost 2o Euro each when we took the metro out to Laurentina for our Pizza making class!
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Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them.
My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind.
My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!
Aah, Rome. High on my bucket list and super intimidating to plan. Good to know that we can do it justice in 4 days. Granted, I probably wouldn’t want to sleep, but still. I love purchasing city cards, and the OMNIA card sounds perfect!
I know what you mean about the planning being intimidating. It is pretty hard to get to everything and I almost didn’t want to sleep either. The place has got so much and all of it is incredible!
Rome is such a magical place. Great tips! We grew tired of the crowds at major attractions but there are ways to minimize that and see some of the quieter parts of town. :)
Yes the crowds can be tiring at some of the popular spots but timing is key! I love getting lost and exploring parts that others may not go to!
I love Rome. I was there this February. And guess what? I spent exactly 4 days there. Haha, this post brought back a lot of memories. Although I am shocked to see the lesser number of tourists near Pantheon, Trevi Fountain & Spanish steps. And you managed to take a picture of Sistine Chapel which is amazing. Sadly, I couldn’t!
That’s cool that you were also there for 4 days! I think it is a typical amount people spend there before going on to other places. The picture of the Sistine chapel was given to me by someone I know who was there on a private tour and was allowed to take photos, so I got lucky! Being there was amazing!
Travel with Milky
wow, impressive, you have done a lot. I love Rome, i have been living there for 4 months 2 years ago. nice memories while reading
What a cool experience that you were able to live there and really have a good chance of seeing the place!
I have been to Rome many years ago and I can’t really remember that much so I want to go back some day. I will definitely keep your post about Rome close by :)
It’s certainly a place that we could always go back to! I hope you make a visit back and perhaps see some new things!
Wow! I am so glad you tried Pizza making! Even I haven’t yet tried the Airbnb activities recommended to me by Airbnb till date. But what better way to start with it than by making pizza!
Also, your post is just perfect for Indians who keep city-hopping in Europe and rarely spend longer than 4 days in any city!
We loved making the pizza, but eating it was the best! Glad you could stop by our post!
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4 Days in Rome: The Perfect Itinerary (For a First Time Visit)
How to spend 4 days in rome: the best itinerary + where to stay.
You want to spend 4 days in Rome and you’re looking for the best things to do?
You’re at the right place!
In order to help you plan your stay , I have prepared for you this 4-day itinerary in Rome.
It’s perfectly optimized to allow you to discover all must-see attractions of the city such as the Colosseum and the Vatican.
In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.
So, what are the best places to visit in Rome in 4 days? Where to stay?
Let’s find out!
1. The Rome Tourist Card
2. the omnia card, 4 days in rome: must-see attractions:, one last tip for a perfect 4-day stay in rome, a. visit the colosseum, b. palatine hill, c. the roman forum, d. piazza del campidoglio / capitoline museums, e. piazza venezia / the monument to victor emmanuel ii, a. visit the vatican museums and the sistine chapel, b. st. peter’s basilica, c. castel sant’angelo, a. piazza navona, b. the pantheon, c. the trevi fountain, d. via del corso and via condotti, e. rome’s spanish steps, f. the villa borghese, a. campo di fiori market, b. the trastevere district, c. the aventine hill, d. the catacombs of rome, where to stay in rome, visit rome in 4 days with your family, even more places to visit and activities for your 4-day stay in rome, map of your 4-day itinerary in rome, flight prices to rome, you’re traveling in italy these articles will help you, how to avoid waiting in line (and save a lot of time) at rome’s tourist attractions.
It’s no secret that Rome is one of the most touristic cities in the world .
Every day, thousands of visitors flock to the Colosseum, the Villa Borghese or St. Peters Cathedral.
You probably agree that there’s nothing more irritating than seeing your plans for your 4 days in Rome shattered because you lost 3 hours waiting in line!
Hopefully, there are 3 very simple solutions to avoid this inconvenience and have the time to visit all must see attractions during your 4 days in Rome.
Here they are:
If you want to save as much time as possible during your 4-day itinerary in Rome, your first option is to get the Rome Tourist Card, also called Rome City Pass .
This 100% digital pass grants you priority entrance to the most famous tourist sites of the Italian capital.
With the Rome Tourist Card, you will get:
- Skip the line ticket for the Colosseum with audio guide + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill
- Guided visit (skip the line) for St. Peter’s Basilica + audio guide
- Skip the line ticket to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel
- 10% discount on museums (Castel Sant’Angelo, Borghese Gallery), guided tours (Tour of the Catacombs, Rome by bike) and excursions around Rome (Florence, Venice …)
To buy your Rome Tourist Card, simply click on the green button below:
Your 2nd option to visit Rome in 4 days and get priority entrance to the most important tourist attractions is to buy the Omnia Card , also called “Rome and Vatican Pass”.
It’s quite similar to the Rome Tourist Card, and even more complete . The Omnia Card is valid for 3 consecutive days from the moment of its activation.
Hopefully, I have organized this itinerary in a way that will make your purchase of the Omnia Card profitable: all visits included in the city pass are done during the 3 first days of your trip.
Here is what’s included in the Omnia Card:
- Priority entrance to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel (on the second day of your trip)
- Skip the line ticket for St. Peter’s Basilica + audio guide (also in the schedule of the second day)
- Visit to St. Peter’s Prison + audio guide
- Entrance to the Basilica of St. John Lateran and the cloister + audio-guide
- The Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum (you will visit them on the 1st day)
- Castel Sant’Angelo (2nd day)
- The Borghese Gallery (3rd day – optional)
- Capitoline Museums (1st day – optional)
- Free access to all public transport for 3 days in Rome (very convenient for getting around quickly, if you don’t want to do everything on foot)
- Discounts for museums and activities
- Ticket for Rome’s hop-on hop-off tourist bus
- A map of Rome
To buy your Omnia Card, you need to click on the green button below:
You’re hesitating between the Omnia Card and the Rome Tourist Card?
It’s very simple, you will just have to decide if you want to take public transportation and what you want to visit:
- You don’t want to use public transportation or visit the entire Vatican? Then the Rome City Pass is cheaper for your 4 days in Rome.
- You plan to take the bus and want to visit as much of the Vatican as possible? The Omnia Card is the best choice.
3. Skip the line tickets for Rome’s tourist attractions
Your last option to save time is to buy your priority entrances one by one, depending on what you want to visit during your 4-day itinerary in Rome.
Skip the line tickets can be bought online for all historical monuments and museums.
Simply click on the name of the monuments below to get more information and book your priority entrances.
- The Colosseum
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- Capitoline Museums
- The Pantheon
- St. John Lateran Basilica
- Villa Borghese
- Hop-on Hop-Off tourist bus
- The Catacombs of Rome
Be careful of where you buy your tickets from!
To book tickets, guided tours and activities in Rome, you should always book on one of these 2 websites (the ones I always use):
They are reliable and safe, selling only official tickets. You should bookmark them!
If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!) , you should really book your accommodation.
As Rome is one of the most touristic cities in the world , the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.
As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.
You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in Rome by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅
So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in Rome.
And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!
It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.
To check the best hotels deals in Rome, simply click on the green button below:
After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!
Visiting Rome in 4 days: the best itinerary
It’s now time to plan your 4-day itinerary in Rome!
For this itinerary, I assume that you’ll be spending 4 full days in Rome and purchased the Rome Tourist Card / Omnia Card or have purchased skip-the-line tickets . That’s the best way to save time and money during your stay!
And if after reading this guide, you still need help to plan your trip, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section located at the end of the article.
So, how to visit Rome in 4 days?
Day 1 – Ancient Rome
Day 1 visits:
A. The Colosseum B. The Roman Forum C. Palatine Hill D. Piazza del Campidoglio / The Capitoline Museums E. Piazza Venezia / The monument to Victor Emmanuel II
The best way to start your 4-day trip to Rome is to visit the Colosseum!
This emblematic monument was the largest amphitheater in the Roman world: it could accommodate up to 50,000 spectators, who came to watch the Roman games and gladiatorial combats .
It’s less known, but the Colosseum also hosted theatrical performances or reconstructions of famous battles.
Today, despite a few missing pieces, the Colosseum is still standing and as impressive as ever!
You can visit the first and second floors , the arena and the underground tunnels, where the animals were kept.
As there is always a huge waiting line at the entrance, you should buy your skip the line ticket in advance. All tickets to the Colosseum also includes access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Please note that if you purchase the Rome Tourist Card or the Omnia Card , the entrance ticket to the Colosseum is included.
In order to help you find your way around all the different tickets, I have prepared a list of all tickets for the Colosseum (click here) .
As all tickets for the Colosseum are not always available (for a given date, there is a limited number of tickets of each type , and they are sold out very quickly!), the orange links take you directly to the page with all Colosseum tickets.
Simply choose the one that suits you best on that page.
Of course, if you already know your travel dates, book quickly to ensure you can visit the monument.
Among all these tickets, my favorite for its amazing value for money is: the Colosseum + Arena + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill skip the line ticket .
You can also opt for the guided tour of the Colosseum. It’s the best way to learn more about the history of this impressive monument! Your guided visit needs to be booked here: Guided tour of the Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill .
And if you have no budget restrictions you should opt for the VIP guided tour : VIP Guided Tour: Colosseum (+ Underground + Arena) + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill.
It will allow you to access exclusive places such as the Arena or the underground of the Colosseum , accompanied by an amazing guide.
For your convenience, I have listed the 3 tickets below. Simply click on the green button to book the one that suits you best:
Colosseum + Arena + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill
Guided tour: Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill
VIP guided tour: Colosseum (+ Underground + Arena) + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill
Let’s continue your first day in Rome and head to the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum located nearby.
These two sites are included in the ticket for the Colosseum, so it would be a shame to skip them! They are a great way to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of ancient Rome .
According to legend, the city was founded by Romulus and Remus, two twin brothers abandoned and then raised in by a she-wolf on Palatine Hill.
During your visit, wander through the ruins and enjoy a breathtaking view over Rome’s monuments from the top of the hill . Don’t miss the residence of Augustus , the first Roman emperor.
Located only a few steps away from Palatine Hill, it’s now time to visit the Roman Forum.
This is the third historical site included in your Colosseum ticket.
When visiting the Forum, the city center of the ancient Rome, you will discover ruins of administrative buildings, temples as well as the ancient market.
Once again, if you’re interested in history, you should really opt for a guided tour, as unfortunately there are no explanatory panels on site.
Your guided visit needs to be booked by clicking here.
After visiting the 3 must-see attractions mentioned above (a great start for your 4-day stay in Rome, right? 😄), let’s know head to Piazza del Campidoglio.
This beautiful square designed by Michelangelo is located only a 15 minute walk from the Roman Forum.
There, you will find the Capitoline Museums , located in 3 palaces: the Palazzo dei Senatori, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo .
In the museums, you can admire famous works , including paintings by Tintoretto and Caravaggio , as well as the famous statue of the She-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus.
Tickets needs to be purchased by clicking here.
After visiting the Capitoline museums (or just admiring them from the outside!), walk 5 minutes to reach Piazza Venezia.
Considered as the most central square of Rome, you can recognize it at first sight thanks to the Victor Emmanuel II monument located on one side of the square. Built in white marble, you really can’t miss it!
On the same square, you can also admire the Trajan column and its engravings representing the military conquests of the former Emperor.
Day 2 – The Vatican
Day 2 visits:
A. The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel B. St. Peter’s Basilica C. Castel Sant’Angelo
For the second day of your 4-day itinerary in Rome, let’s visit the smallest country in the world: the Vatican!
You should start by visiting the Vatican museums, a large complex of buildings hosting more than 13 museums. As it’s really huge, you will have to opt for one of the predefined routes depending on your interests. Don’t worry, everything is very well indicated.
The various itineraries last from 1h30 to 5 hours . Of course, you don’t have to visit everything in detail and you can skip certain sections that are not your taste.
Whichever route you choose, you will end your visit with one of the highlights of the Vatican : the famous Sistine Chapel, built in the 15th century.
This tiny chapel features several paintings by the greatest Italian artists , including the famous ceiling fresco by Michelangelo .
To visit the Vatican Museums, you really need to purchase your tickets in advance if you don’t want to waste hours waiting in line.
Please note that access to the museums is included in both the Rome Tourist Card and the Omnia Card .
However, if you don’t have a city Pass, you need to book your entrance tickets by clicking on the button below:
After this cultural morning and a good lunch in one of the many restaurants surrounding the Vatican, let’s continue with a visit to St Peter’s Basilica.
Located on St Peter’s Square, the Basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited monuments in the world .
Inside the monument, you will be able to admire the superb baroque decorations, the vaults of the former popes , the statue of St. Peter and the huge dome , once again designed by Michelangelo.
And if you wish to, you can also climb to the top of the dome (for a fee) to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view over the city.
There is always a huge waiting line at the entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica (I am talking about several hours – mainly because the entrance is free if you have enough patience!), so as usual don’t forget to book your priority ticket!
St. Peter’s Basilica ticket + Audio guide
Guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica (priority) + dome + crypt (my favorite!)
On St. Peter’s Square, don’t miss the numerous columns topped by statues of saints , the Egyptian obelisk and the two majestic fountains.
To end the second day of your 4-day trip to Rome in style , leave St. Peter’s Square and walk down Via della Conciliazione to reach Castel Sant’Angelo in 10 minutes.
Topped by a statue of an angel with outstretched wings, this castle built under the orders of Emperor Hadrian was a precious refuge for the popes during enemy invasions .
The popes had direct access to the castle from the Vatican and were able to quickly take shelter in case of an attack.
To visit Castle Sant’Angelo, you should plan 1 to 2 hours. You will be able to see the former apartments of the popes, ancient tombs, as well as some of the ancient weaponry used to defend the castle.
The short walk around the castle’s wall , is also worth it, as it offers beautiful views!
When leaving the castle, you will cross Sant’Angelo bridge . It passes over the Tiber and offers a beautiful view of the river and the city at sunset.
You need to book your ticket to visit the castle by clicking on the button below:
Day 3 – The historic centre
Day 3 visits:
A. Piazza Navona B. Pantheon C. Trevi Fountain D. Via del Corso / Via Condotti E. Piazza di Spagna F. Villa Borghese
Let’s continue your four-day trip to Rome: today, you will explore the historical center of the Italian capital.
You should start at Piazza Navona , one of the most famous and beautiful squares in the city. There, you will find many restaurants and cafés – a great opportunity to enjoy a good breakfast on a terrace!
On Piazza Navona, you will also find 3 very nice fountains. Personally, I really enjoyed the romantic atmosphere of the square, and spent a bit of time there, wandering around and watching the street performers and artists.
Your next stop is the Pantheon , built during the Ancient Rome and located close to Piazza Navona.
The Pantheon houses the tombs of Emperor Victor Emmanuel II and the famous painter Rafael.
Inside, don’t forget to look up to contemplate the dome and the Occulus letting the day light through.
Since July 2023, access to the Pantheon has been subject to a charge and requires an admission ticket (cost: €5) . To visit, you should book your ticket on the official website .
And if you want to get more historical information , it’s better to get the fast track ticket + audioguide by clicking here:
The audio guide will make the visit much more interesting as it will give you valuable explanations about the history of the monument .
It’s now time to head to another must-see of your 4-day itinerary in Rome: the Trevi Fountain , located just a 10-minute walk from the Pantheon.
Considered one of the most beautiful fountains in Europe, it attracts millions of tourists every year. People come to take pictures of this beautiful work of art and throw coins to see their wishes come true!
According to the tradition, you need to throw 2 coins into the fountain: one to make a wish and the second to ensure that you will return to Rome.
It’s now time for a bit of shopping!
From the Trevi Fountain, take Via del Corso where you will find all the big international brands like Zara or H&M.
If you’re more looking for luxury brands and Italian designers like Prada or Gucci, you should continue a bit further on Via Condotti.
Even if you don’t like shopping, you should still head toward Via Condotti, as it’s on the way to the next place you will visit.
After walking for 5 minutes on Via Condotti, you will arrive at Piazza di Spagna.
Also called “the Spanish Steps” in English, it’s located at the foot of a large staircase that leads to the church of Trinità dei Monti.
With its cobbled floor, its fountain and its typical “dolce vita” atmosphere, the Piazzi di Spagna is one of the most popular square in Rome.
There, you will find many ice-cream vendors, shops and a few street performers. It’s really a great place to relax for a bit!
To end your third day in Rome, let’s enjoy some greenery in Villa Borghese Gardens , the most beautiful park in the city.
Take time to wander through the alleys and discover the many fountains and statues located around the lake.
You will also have the opportunity to visit the botanical garden and a few museums:
- The Borghese Gallery , renowned for its collection of paintings and sculptures. You need to buy your skip the line ticket by clicking here!
- The National Etruscan Museum and its collection of pre-Roman objects and jewellery
- The National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art , housing paintings by Van Gogh and Cézanne.
day 4 – Walking around Rome
Day 4 visits:
A. Campo di Fiori market B. Trastevere district C. The Aventine hill D. The catacombs of Rome
You are lucky enough to spend 4 days in Rome , which gives you enough time to get a bit off the beaten track for the last day of your trip!
You should start by visiting Campo di Fiori market, located in the historic center.
The market is open every morning except Sunday, and allows you to discover local produces and gastronomy.
This market is very authentic , so it’s the perfect opportunity to bring Italian specialties back home !
To discover the best of Roman’s gastronomy, you should book a food tour with a local guide . You will have the chance to discover the Campo di Fiori with super guide and taste many local products!
This tour is actually so good that they offer you a full refund if you are not satisfied.
To book your food tour and discover the best of Italian gastronomy, you just need to click on the button below:
Close to the Vatican, on the right bank of the Tiber river, the Trastevere district is a quiet and authentic place to take a stroll.
Even if it’s getting more and more popular in the recent years, it’s still a real Italian working-class neighbourhood, with less tourists and no famous historical monuments.
You will see, it’s very charming, with flowery cobbled streets and typical Italian squares lined with cafés and small shops.
While there, don’t forget to climb to the top of the Janiculum hill, in the north of the district, for a superb panoramic view of Rome .
To continue your 4-day itinerary in Rome, let’s go to Aventine hill , on the other side of the Tiber, about 20 minutes walk from the Trastevere district.
Of course, if you don’t want to walk, you can also take the bus (it will take you about 10 minutes in that case).
The Aventine Hill is a very peaceful area of Rome , featuring many gardens and offering a great view over the city.
On the Aventine Hill, you can also:
- Visit the Basilica of Santa Sabina
- Unravel the mystery of the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta . Why is everyone waiting their turn to look through the keyhole of this door? I’m not going to spoil it for you! It’s up to you to try and find out the answer 😇.
To end your 4-day stay in Rome on an original note , you can visit the catacombs of Rome.
With a surface of more than 15 hectares, the catacombs of Saint Calixtus are the largest of the city. They were once used as a cemetery for Jews and Christian.
In the galleries, you can see tombs and scenes of life engraved on the walls . The tour lasts about 30 minutes and a guide is required.
You need to book your guided tour to Saint Calixtus catacombs by clicking here.
The catacombs of Saint Sebastian, Domitilla, Priscilla and the crypt of the Capuchins can also be visited. The latter is the easiest to get to and is located near the Trevi Fountain.
For the crypt of the Capuchins, you need to book your visit by clicking on the button below:
Now that you know how to visit Rome in 4 days, the last thing to do is to find an accommodation!
In order to help you out, I have prepared a selection of my 5 favorite hotels depending on your budget.
As always, if you already know your travel dates, book your hotel right now! In Rome, the best hotels are fully booked very quickly.
- Biancaluna: B&B located near Termini Station, 1.5 km from the Colosseum. Modern, comfortable and very clean room from 70€. Strong points: the warm welcome and the advice to visit Rome, the location. An excellent choice for a cheap stay in Rome!
- Hotel Balilla: Located 1.6 km from the Colosseum and close to a metro station. Well-equipped and quiet double room, impeccably clean, from 99€, breakfast at 5€. Strong points: the friendly staff, the comfort of the beds, the location at 10 min walk from the Colosseum. This is our favorite for its excellent value for money!
- Alice Vatican House : Located 450 meters from St. Peter’s Square. Contemporary room with neat decoration from 95 € per night, breakfast included. Strong points: ideal location, terrace overlooking the Vatican, warm welcome. This is the best choice for your stay in Rome under 120 euros!
- MZ Hotel: Located near the Campo di Fiori and not far from the Pantheon. Modern double room from 150€, breakfast at 12€. Strong points: the location near the historical center, the warm welcome, good bedding, new hotel.
- Roma Luxus Hôtel : High end hotel located at only 400 meters from Piazza Venezia. Beautiful double room starting at 200€ per night, breakfast at 20€. Strong points: The room design, the 5 stars service, the superb breakfast, the spa, the amazing staff. It’s the best hotel for a high end stay in Rome!
- NH Collection Roma Fori Imperiali: This 5* hotel located right next to the Roman Forum offers sublime rooms from 580€, breakfast included. Strong points: the exceptional location, the attentive staff, the view, the comfort. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Rome!
If you want to save a bit of money, you can find an accommodation around Rome. I recommend you he bungalows of Camping Village Rome , located at only 15 minutes by car from the Vatican city.
The price starts at only 30€ per night! It’s the best “budget” solution if you don’t mind not being in the city center. It’s also a great choice for families, with the swimming pool!
You’re planning to visit Rome in 4 days with your family?
Even with kids, you can easily follow my 4-day itinerary.
However, you can for sure add activities especially for them!
The best in my opinion is to take them to the gladiator school .
Dressed in traditional gladiatorial garb , they can train for combat in a very fun and friendly atmosphere. At the end of the activity, they will even receive a gladiator diploma!
You need to book this family activity by clicking here .
A picnic in the gardens of the Villa Borghese is also a great way for your children to have fun.
After eating, you can let them play in the various playgrounds, hire bikes for a ride and why not offer them a boat ride on the lake. There is also a zoo with over 1000 animals in the gardens. Tickets needs to be bought here.
You can also take them to Explora museum. You can visit this fun museum on the 3rd day, as it’s located near Villa Borghese . It features numerous activities your kids can try, and the visit takes about 2 hours.
Finally, you can opt for an Italian cooking class followed by a dinner. A very pleasant activity to do with your family!
Near the Trevi Fountain, have fun concocting an authentic Italian pizza under the guidance of a chef before enjoying it during a full dinner. This pizza making + dinner must be booked by clicking on the button below:
You’ve followed my 4-day itinerary in Rome and still have some time left?
So, you should read my guide of the 25 best things to do in Rome !
There, you’ll find even more ideas of places to visit and activities to enjoy in the Italian capital.
And who knows, maybe after reading my other guide, you’ll even want to extend your stay in Rome and spend 5 days or even one week in Rome!
To help you visualize your daily itineraries during your 4 days in Rome, I have created this map with all the places to visit day by day . You can view the legend of the map by clicking on the top left button, the one with a little arrow.
As always, you should book your plane tickets as early as possible to get the best prices.
To check the rates and schedules for flights to Dubai , you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner:
If you need help organizing your 4-day stay in Rome, don’t hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments section below.
Italy travel Guides
- Buy the Lonely Planet Italy guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Rick Steves Italy guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
Discover all my articles about Italy : All my articles to help you plan your trip to Italy are listed there.
- Rome: The 25 best things to do and see
- Where to stay in Rome? – The definitive guide of the best areas!
- Colosseum: The 7 best skip the line tickets
- Milan: The Top 15 things to do in the city and around
- Turin: The 20 must-see attractions
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10 replies to this topic
Walking is the easiest and best way. You can take the metro to some places but it doesn't go into the city center. There is a good bus system that you can use along with taxis and Uber black.
take a taxi or use the metro to the furthest out and then walk back plotting a path to see other sites - eg go to borghese and walk back seeing spanish steps, trevi, pantheon, forum etc
I truly appreciate the wonderful, clever, one-word responses from other writers!
We actually did something similar--we combined two of the tours, and did the Vatican with Museums, Sistine Chapel & Basilica in the morning, and the Colosseum , Palatine Hill , and Forum in the afternoon.
But, we were willing to spend money on taxis to get us to our arrival points on time, and we were in Rome much longer than a day. We are also in very good shape, and pretty high energy tourists! All our days were non-stop full, but there is always more to see and do in Rome, which is why we return again and again (smile).
Just walk, and/or take a bus. You'll be surprised how close many of the major sites are to each other. Plot on Google map the ones you want to see and create your own personal walking tour.
Keep on walking 🎶
If doing it yourself, you will really have to pick and choose, but these may give you ideas and you can quickly find more on line:
Some things are so close that clearly you should walk ... as an example, the two sights you mentioned, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, are a short walk away and part of the area is pedestrian only. But, if you are going from, say, the Colosseum to St. Peter's, you may want to just hop a taxi to save time.
The biggest time issue, however, is already having tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, if those are on your must see list. Here's my list of places to book in advance, with ticket websites: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Trips/85118537
You should first figure out your must-see sights and then plot them on a map, which will help you figure things out.
I seriously think if you planned your day carefully walking would be the fastest way to see “the best tourist attractions”. No waiting for cabs just keep moving. That is how we do it and we are in our mid 60’s.
Of course everyone has a different definition of best.
Maybe a cab at the end to get you back to your hotel.
It is hard to do everything in one day, if you want to go inside etc. we found combination of walking plus taking e-bikes along the streets the best!
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Newsable Asianet News
Rome to Venice: 7 places to visit when in Italy
Posted: 4 November 2023 | Last updated: 4 November 2023
An Italian holiday must include a trip to Rome, Amalfi coast, tasting wine at Tuscany and other iconic destinations like Forence. Here's a list of 7 places you must visit when you are taking that long awaited trip to Italy
An Italian holiday must include a trip to Rome. Here's a list of 7 places you must visit when you are taking that long awaited trip to Italy
Do not miss the birth-place of Renaissance when in Italy. Florence Cathedral, Uffizi gallery and Michelangelo's David in Accademia Gallery is a treat for any art lover
Enjoy wine-tasting amongst the rolling hills of Tuscany and its beautiful landscapes
This fishing village, perched atop the Italian Riviera is a UNESCO world-heritage site and is great for hiking
This is a coastal-town of Italy overlooking the picturesque town of Amalfi, Positano and Ravello and great to spend those lazy winters
Mount Vesuvius destroyed this once buzzing city. The ruins are intact and is a great archeological site
The heart of ancient democracy and the Land of Julius Caesar is the place you should be when in Italy. Do not miss this place at any cost
It has a reputation to be one of the most-romantic cities in the world. Take that gondola ride and visit Doge's palace
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