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Rome Sightseeing: Top 25 Attractions and Activities
You plan Rome, during your next trip to Italy to visit?
Is with your lover or with your family Rome the perfect place to spend a 2-3 day weekend, especially since the city is easy to visit on foot!
To help you plan your stay, I have this one Travel guide prepared with the best sights and activities to see and do in Rome. Here you will find all must-see attractions and interesting travel destinations that you have to see.
At the end of this article, I suggest you too Travel programs to visit Rome in 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days (or more!) and give yourself a list of the best accommodations depending on your budget.
What are so the best places to visit in Rome? Let's find out!
Attractions in Rome: top 25 must-see attractions
1. The Colosseum and its murderous games
Let's start this list of places of interest with the Colosseum, which is located in the historic center (“Centro Storico” in Italian). It is the most emblematic monument to be seen in Rome can visit!
With a capacity of more than 50,000 viewers, it is largest amphitheater in the Roman world. A fair amount of blood was shed in these arenas, which were the venue for the famous gladiatorial fights, animal fights and Roman games that kept causing terrible deaths.
It's not free to visit, and if you're traveling in high season you'll likely have to wait a few hours before you can go inside. The queues are impressive!
Here's my tip: To avoid long queues, here's what you can do:
- Buy the skip-the-line tickets for the Colosseum, with or without a guide: Click here.
- Buy the Rome City Pass (click here) An all access pass with no time limit and free Skip-the-line tickets for the most famous tourist attractions of Rome and the Vatican. (The Colosseum is of course included). You also get Discounts of 20% or more for other activities.
And even better! This pass also includes a free airport transfer (one way) and one free audio guide.
It's new and is amazing value for money!
Personally, I saved more than 50 euros during my stay in Rome thanks to the Omnia card! (And also saved me a few hours of waiting in line 😋)
2. The Roman Forum
The entrance ticket purchased at the Colosseum also includes access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (I'll tell you more about this in a moment) so it would be a shame not to make these visits there the 3 tourist sites are linked.
The forum was the center of the city and you can Ruins of old markets, administrative and religious buildings see. You won't find an explanation on the spot, however, so if history is your thing then you should really opt for a guided tour.
3. Palatine Hill
This is the third must-see attraction included in the Colosseum entrance ticket.
The Palatine Hill, one of the 7 hills of Rome, according to mythology, is the place where the city was founded by Romulus and Remus. As you may know, these are the two twins who would have been found and suckled by a she-wolf in a cave.
On top of that Palatine Hill you have access to this cave and to the ruins of the residences of historical figures such as Augustus, the first Roman emperor.
4. Piazza Venezia
Not far from the Roman Forum, on the other end of the Via dei fori impierali, is located the Piazza Venezia, one of the most important squares in Rome. From there, all roads lead to Rome's main tourist attractions!
Here you can Monument to Victor Emmanuel II admire, also called "Altare della Patria" or "Vittoriano", a huge building made of white marble, which was dedicated to the first king of Italy, Victor Emanuel II.
Next to the square is also the famous one Trajan column with bas-reliefs tracing the military conquests of the emperor Trajan.
5.Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitol Square)
Go up the wide stairs leading to the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II leads, and reach the Capitol Square. The square, designed by Michelangelo himself, used to be the political and religious heart of Rome.
On the Kapitolsplatz you can see the following:
- The Palazzo Senatorio or Senate Palace
- The Palazzo dei Conservatori or Palace of the Conservators
- Palazzo Nuovo or New Palacewhich now houses the Capitol Museum and the Museum of Art and Archeology. One of the most famous monuments you will find there is the Statue of the she-wolf, who suckle Romulus and Remus. You have certainly seen this statue, you can see images in almost all history books! So don't miss: buy your tickets in advance here.
6. The Pantheon
The Pantheon is the best preserved ancient building in Rome and another must-see tourist attraction!
Originally dedicated to all mythological deities, it became a Christian church in the 7th century. Do not hesitate to enter, the visit is free, which is rare enough to mention!
Internally you can admire the huge dome and the oculus (the opening in the dome), which gives the place a unique lighting.
In the Pantheon you can too the graves of Raphael (the famous artist) and by Victor Emanuel II. (1st King of Italy, as mentioned earlier when I talked about the beautiful building dedicated to him in Piazza Venezia).
And if you want to get more historical information, you can get an audio guide: click here.
7. Piazza Navona
The Piazza Navona is located in the heart of the historic center, not far from the Pantheon. It is one of the most beautiful and famous places in Rome! There you can admire the following 3 fountains:
- The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
- The Fontana del Nettuno
- The Fontana del Moro
It's a great place to have a drink or an ice cream on one of the many terraces, but be careful as this place is very touristy, the prices are very high!
8. Trevi Fountain
Also near the Pantheon is the most famous fountain in Europe: The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi in Italian). A must for every visitor to Rome.
Because of the legend that surrounds it, this fountain is also known for receiving a large number of marriage proposals! Legend has it that a young girl had to reveal the location of the spring to the Romans in order to save her virginity.
In the basin there are numerous statues depicting an allegory of the sea with Neptune on his chariot in the middle.
Tradition has it that you should toss 2 coins: one to make a wish and one to make sure you will return to Rome.
Behind the fountain, a large baroque palace adds a lot to the charm of the place. Only one: The place is always full so you will struggle to get a perfect photo of the fountain with no unwanted heads!
Nevertheless it remains Trevi Fountain a special, very popular travel destination and a major tourist attraction in Rome.
9. Enjoy a gelato (Italian ice cream)
After the Trevi Fountain, to relax from your emotions (if you've got a marriage proposal or if you've been sweating and stressed out!) Or simply to take a short break during the day, it's time to to enjoy an ice cream.
And yes, you are in exactly the right place, very close to one of the 2 best ice cream parlors in Rome: San Crispino at the Via della Panatteria located. The queue is often impressive, but the best things in life are the hardest to come by!
And since opinions about THE best ice cream in Rome are often different, I'll also give you the name of San Crispino's direct competitor, the Gelateria "Giolliti" in the Via Uffici del Vicario.
Whichever ice cream parlor you choose, the problem remains the same: you will also find a long queue here and face the dilemma of multiple choices of perfumes!
As you may have already mentioned in my articles Nice or Annecy found I'm a huge ice cream fan! That's why I have professional advice for you: Test both! This is the best way to form your own opinion, isn't it?
10. Shopping in Rome
If you want to go shopping in Rome, this is the right time: you are near the 2 main shopping streets.
- Via del corso: Go to Via del Corso to shop at big brands like Zara or H&M at reasonable prices.
- Via condotti: If you have a higher budget or just want to admire the shop windows, go to the Via Condotti shop. It is the most prestigious street in Rome with brands like Gucci, Armani and Prada. A bit like the Champs Elysée in Paris!
11. Piazza di Spagna
The Via Condotti leads you straight to the enchanting Piazza di Spagnawhich is certainly one of the most popular places thanks to the beautiful perspective.
The Piazza di Spagna is at the foot of the monumental staircase leading to the church Trinità dei Monti leads. The flowery staircase is the ideal place for a short break for tourists and Italians. A popular meeting place!
You can also use the Barcaccia fountain see, which enhances the charm of the place.
12. Churches in Rome
As I said, at the top of the stairs is the Piazza di Spagna the Church of the Trinità dei Montiwhich offers a breathtaking view of the city. Its location makes it one of the most famous churches Rome. Did you know that the city has no less than 900 churches?
Here is a list of the most beautiful churches in Rome, some of which are true architectural masterpieces!
Let's start with the 4 largest basilicas in the world who fortunately are all in Rome:
Some other interesting churches to see in Rome:
- Chiesa del Gesù
- Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
- Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli
- Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano
- Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione
- Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola (my favorite in Rome)
13. Villa Borghese Gardens
North of the Piazza di Spagna is the largest and certainly the most beautiful public park in Rome.
The Villa Borghese gardens provide a little welcome peace after the crowded streets and tourist attractions!
You can enjoy the shade on wide paths and also go for a walk along a small lake, which is surrounded by temples, statues and many fountains. The park also has a beautiful botanical garden.
To get there, go to Porta Pinciana or for Piazzale Flaminio, the two park entrances.
14. Museums in Rome
The Villa Borghese park also houses 3 museums:
In addition to the museums in the park, there are many other museums in Rome that you can visit, such as:
- The Capitol Museums: In the Piazza del Campidoglio, I have already mentioned it above.
- The Vatican Museums: more than 13 museums, which are combined in a huge architectural ensemble of almost 7 kilometers in length! Different tours are possible, they last between 1h30 and 5 hours. But don't worry, in the end you will automatically come to the very famous Sistine Chapel, no matter what tour you do. In order to have more time for the sightseeing, I strongly recommend that you buy the skip-the-line tickets in advance. You will save a lot of time! Click here now.
- Museo Palatino, with everything that archaeologists have discovered on the Palatine Hill.
- Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica or National Gallery for Ancient Art, with a collection of Italian and European paintings. You should go there to admire the works of Raphael or Caravaggio.
15. Piazza del Popolo
The Piazza del Popolo or People's Square is located near the Villa Borghese. It is one of the largest squares in Rome. It is an important tourist attraction with its fountain, 3 churches and the obelisk.
From the square you can climb the stairs to the top of the hill, from where you have a beautiful view of the Vatican.
16. The bridge and Castel Sant’Angelo
From the piazza you can then follow the Tiber to the Sant’Angelo Bridge and the castle of the same name on the opposite bank.
The bridge is with 10 angel statues adorned, all designed by Bernini. From the bridge you have a wonderful view of the city and the river.
The Castel Sant’Angelo however, was built by Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum. Later this castle played an important military role: it even served as a refuge for the popes during the invasions! There is even direct access to the Vatican.
You can visit the castle, the tombs and the former homes of the Popes. You should yourself too the great view from the battlement not to be missed.
So don't waste your time waiting unnecessarily and buy the skip-the-line tickets here in advance.
17. The Vatican
A long corridor leads from Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican. Even if you are not a believer a visit to the Vatican while in Rome is a must.
It is the smallest country in the world and yet one of the most visited places during a round trip in Italy. Only priests and nuns, some dignitaries, guards and of course the Pope are allowed to live there.
A little anecdote about the guards: They are all Swiss and of course they have to be Catholic. They swear an oath of allegiance to the Pope himself.
This tradition dates back to the sack of Rome in 1527 when the Swiss guards protected the Pope on his escape from Sant’Angelo Castle.
18. The St. Peter's Square
One reaches the Vatican by getting the famous St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro in Italian) crossed. Every year millions of pilgrims and tourists come to visit this place!
St. Peter's Square was designed according to the following principle: They wanted to enable as large a number of people as possible to see the Pope from the balcony of the St. Peter's Basilica to see out his blessings.
Two colonnades surround the square that consists of almost 280 columns and 145 statues of saints consists. In the middle of St. Peter's Square there is an Egyptian obelisk, which is surrounded by 2 large fountains.
From here the long queues to visit the basilica begin.
19. The St. Peter's Basilica
To the St. Peter's Basilica to visit you need to be patient (or smarter than others and buy the skip-the-line tickets here!) Once inside, however, you immediately forget the long waiting time: the basilica is really impressive! There you will many altars and monuments admire. The rich baroque decoration is also impressive.
- The many funerary monuments of the Popes
- The famous statue of Saint Peter
- The gigantic dome designed by Michelangelo.
You can enter the dome on the right side of the basilica. You have to take an elevator first and then, what is most difficult, climb 323 additional steps.
It is not recommended for the claustrophobic, the ceilings are low and the hallways are narrow, but your effort will definitely be rewarded with wonderful views of the city of Rome!
Entry into the St. Peter's Basilica is free, you will only be searched at the entrance. Access to the dome is chargeable.
20. Trastevere district
After the basilica and to stay on the right bank of the Tiber, I recommend that you do this during your trip to Rome quarterTrastevere to visit.
This part of the city is getting trendier and a little “hipster”, but so far it still has all its original charm.
In this neighborhood you will be (relatively) far away from the tourist crowd. You discover one real "Italian" quarter with its inhabitants and local shops, its typical narrow and flowery streets. There are no major historical monuments here like in the rest of Rome.
I personally visited Trastevere in October so it was really very quiet, but I was told that many tourists visit this area in the high season and that it is then a lot less quiet here too!
Then go north in this area and get on the Janiculum Hill up to admire a beautiful panorama over the city.
21. Have lunch in a trattoria!
The Trastevere district is also the ideal place to Enjoy pizza or good pasta in a traditional trattoria. There are lots of authentic local restaurants with nice little terraces, and without too many tourists, it's the perfect combination!
Some nice restaurants in this part of the city:
- Roma Sparita: Large terrace, traditional Roman cuisine. Don't miss the restaurant's specialty: the “cacio e pepe” spaghetti with pecorino cheese and pepper, which is served in a cheese bowl. This restaurant is my favorite for its value for money. Reservation needed.
- Antico Arco: Excellent dishes (especially the risotto) and a very good wine list. Bonus: You also get a small sample of your partner's dish in an extra plate so that you can try it too.
- Tonnarello: Typical, excellent cuisine in a very pleasant setting. Generous dishes at affordable prices.
Of course, if you're not around for lunch, you won't starve to death either, because there is a large selection of trattorias, restaurants and sandwich shops in the middle of it historical center of Rome:
- Birra e Sale: Located next to Piazza Navona. The sandwiches are delicious and made with fresh produce. You should definitely try the cold cuts and cheese!
- Pizzeria Loffredo: Very good pizzas and fresh pasta. Great variety of dishes. Friendly atmosphere and very welcoming staff. Reservation strongly recommended. Perfect price / quality!
- Il Tamburello di Pulcinella: small family restaurant with dishes prepared by mom. Pizzas, pasta, desserts, all homemade for a reasonable price. Reservations recommended.
22. Campo di Fiori
Since your mouth is watering when you hear Italian cuisine, let's move on! To enjoy the smell of fresh products and admire their bright colors, I strongly advise you to take a short walk through the Campo di Fiori close.
Every morning (except Sunday) there is a fruit, vegetable, meat and fish market. Although appreciated by tourists for being in the historical center of Rome, this small market has kept all its authenticity.
It's the perfect place if you Bring home high quality products from Italy want, and it's a lot cheaper here than other parts of Rome!
If you discover the gastronomy and typical products of Rome want, you should book a guided tour of the streets with a local guide.
That’s clear the best way to discover original places, get away from the touristy neighborhoods and enjoy great Italian food!
This tour is so amazing that the operators offer a full refund if you don't enjoy the tour!
To book this guided tour, simply click the button below:
23. San Lorenzo district
As the Trastevere district is that too San Lorenzo district Less known to tourists and definitely worth a look. Originally a working-class neighborhood, is it is now a student district with Roman universities. It is also the favorite place of street performers.
And for amateurs, the nightlife is great and the beer is not expensive at all!
24. Aventine Hill
A very peaceful neighborhood, beautiful gardens and an incomparable view of the city, that's what the Aventine Hill (“Aventino” in Italian) has to offer!
You can also visit:
- The basilica of Santa Sabina all’Aventino
- The famous Aventine Keyhole, on the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. Here the tourists queue up to look through the keyhole (that's all I say!).
The Aventine Hill also offers one of the most beautiful views of Rome. Did I already say that? ^^
25. The Roman catacombs
I am going to be using this list of the best sights and activities to see and do in Rome unusual activity to lock: visiting the catacombs. I recommend the Catacombs of Callixtus, which in my opinion are the best to visit!
Once used as cemeteries for Jews and Christians, they are the largest in the city and extend over almost 15 hectares.
On the walls you can see depictions of Christian life such as baptism, as well as scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Visiting the Catacombs of Rome takes about 30 minutes and must be done with a tour guide.
You should book your tickets here!
If you want to visit the Catacombs of Rome during your stay, it is probably easiest to visit the Capuchin Crypt, as it is located in the city center next to the Trevi Fountain. You should book your tickets here (the tour guide is included in the price).
Other catacombs like San Sebastian, Domitilla or the Catacomb of Priscilla can also be visited.
Rome in rainy weather
If it starts raining during your stay in Rome and you have no idea what to do in such weather, don't worry!
I have a list for you with the best must-see attractions prepared for a rainy day in Rome:
- Visit the museums of Rome: the number of museums in the city is really very large, so that you can easily spend a few days, be it just with the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
- Go to the Pantheon: You may not know, but when it rains in Rome, it actually rains in the Pantheon! The central oculus is just a hole so the rain falls through it. Inside, the bottom has a slight slope and a few holes through which the water can drain.
- Discover and buy (probably!) Amazing local products at Eataly, a market hall entirely dedicated to Italian gastronomy. The hardest part will be not to overload your luggage!
- Discover the catacombs, an unusual visit to Rome when it rains.
- Take an Italian cooking classto learn how to make pasta or pizza like a pro!
- Go to one of the indoor kart racing tracks: Beyond Roma,Kart Roma, Holykartroma.
- Games bowling:Bowling Romais not far from the city center - address: 181 Viale Regina Margherita.
Night life in Rome
What can you in the evening or at nightin Rome do?
- Visit the Colosseum by night, in VIP style. Yes! You can actually tour the Colosseum and its underground with a guide after opening hours to the public. The ambience is completely different, it is the most exclusive way to discover this marvel of ancient Roman civilization: Buy your tickets in advance here.
- Discover the catacombs of Rome by night: Another original way to discover the Catacombs of Rome by night is with this VIP tour:Book here.
- Visit Rome by night on a Segway. This 3-hour guided tour on a Segway is a lot of fun! Book your tour here.
- Go for a drink in the Trastevere neighborhoodwhich is surely the best place to enjoy Rome's nightlife.
- Just stroll around and discover the illuminated squares and monuments: Rome is extremely beautiful at night.
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