22 Best things to do in Rome: Top attractions, places to visit & must-do trips
Imagine this: You’re wandering around the historic center of Rome, enjoying a bruschetta meal and sipping on prosecco wine at one of the city’s tiny restaurants, watching the sunset at the Colosseum… Well, these are just some of the best things to do in Rome!
But, trust us, there are many more fascinating activities and places in Rome that are missing from your list. To find them out, scroll down!
The best things to do in Rome in a nutshell
Travel back in time with a tour to the mysterious Roman catacombs
Hop-on hop-off tour to explore the main attractions in just one day
Colosseum: The most and most photographed attraction in Rome
Amalfi day trip from Rome to see picture-perfect pastel houses
Vatican tour to discover the worldwide famous Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica
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The best fun things to do in Rome
Who said you can’t learn the secrets of the infamous Italian gelato? We have learned them from the best at the oldest gelateria in town. And the good news is you can, too! So, if you want to enter a traditional gelato factory, see the ice-cream making process, and taste freshly made gelato, we recommend that you go for an ice-cream making session at Rome’s oldest gelato factory in the heart of the city. Finger licking delicious!
Audrey Hepburn passing by the most beautiful landmarks in Rome is the most iconic scene of the “Roman Holiday” movie. Did you know that you can do this in real life?
Exploring Rome on a Vespa scooter is one of the most fun experiences to have in Rome and you can easily book it online. If you know how to ride a scooter and feel confident about navigating in the city, you can rent a Vespa and tour Venice on your own. But, if you aren’t familiar with the roads of the city, renting a Vespa might not be an ideal option. What we did was join a Vespa tour guided by a local, who took us to all the iconic places in Rome. We can’t recommend it enough!
Tip: If you want to enjoy Rome city by night, you can book a night Vespa tour.
It’s not a secret that Italian food is the best. Do you know what’s even better? Knowing how to make the perfect Italian ravioli and tiramisu by yourself. Taking a cooking class is one of the best and most rewarding things to do in Rome (it’s also the perfect excuse to gorge on yummy Italian delicacies). Just imagine how impressed your friends will be when they try your homemade fettuccine alfredo!
In case cooking isn’t your cup of tea, we suggest that you join a food tour in Rome. It’s an ideal way to taste all the local delicacies without having to search for the best restaurants in Rome!
We know it is hard to see ALL the top attractions on a single visit to Rome. Is there a way to see everything on your list in just one day? You bet there is: a hop-on hop-off tour in Rome.
Well, it might sound like a rather touristy activity, but trust us, it’s one of the most complete sightseeing experiences! There’s a variety of hop-on hop-off tours, operators, and ticket options. All buses are more or less the same: double-deck, bold-colored, and open-top. The main departure points are the Vatican and Termini station. From there, the buses will take you to the main attractions in the city center, as well as to some attractions outside the city, like the catacombs. Also, most bus operators offer entrance tickets to some attractions like the Colosseum. All in one!
Tip: If you want to live a magical (and utterly romantic) sightseeing experience, opt for a night tour -you won’t regret it!
The best things to do in Rome for free
This is hands down our favorite sunset-watching spot in Rome! Giardini Degli Aranci, which means “Orange Gardens”, is a verdant park perched on the Aventine Hill. Its elevated position offers a breathtaking sunset view and panoramic vistas of the city. If you’re planning on visiting Rome with your significant other, watching the sunset at Giardini Degli Aranci is a very romantic thing to do.
Fun fact: Sometimes, there’s also a man who serenades visitors playing his guitar. Romantic or what?
We know that if you’re traveling on a budget, even the simplest activities have a unique charm. A quiet walk along the Tiber River is one of the things we do every time we visit the Eternal City! If you’re feeling fed up with the overcrowded city center, the pathway along the river is the absolute place to find your zen.
One of the things we love about Rome is its incomparable architecture. Thankfully, it’s free! So, if you’re on a budget, we suggest spending a day exploring the city’s most iconic squares and marvelling at the beautiful architecture. Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps), Piazza Navona, Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, Piazza di Trevi, and Piazza Campo de’ Fiori are some of the most iconic squares to visit in Rome.
Tip: The best time of the day to visit the squares of Rome is in the evening, just before sunset!
Things to do in Rome with family and friends
Sometimes the view is better from above! The ultimate spot to enjoy a panoramic view of Rome that encompasses the stunning Via della Conciliazione, St. Peter’s Square, Tiber River, and Castel Sant’Angelo is St. Peter’s Dome.
Even though the spectacular view is really worth it, the long line to reach the elevator that leads to the dome is not fun at all. If you want to skip the line and get straight to the dome without breaking a sweat, we recommend that you book your tickets online or join a tour to St’ Peter’s Basilica. Problem solved!
We know that a family holiday to Rome might seem challenging, but you can play it smart by taking part in kid-friendly and family-friendly tours. Having an experienced guide take you to all the main points of interest without having to find your way through the roads of Rome can do a lot for keeping you and your family sane. Trust us, we’ve been there!
However, if sightseeing isn’t your thing, then opt for a family cooking class or a family meal with pizza and gelato. You can never go wrong with Italian food!
Well, this is the ultimate activity to do with your family in Rome! The Park of the Monsters, also known as the Garden of Bomarzo, is a spooky park with wide terraces, fountains with water games, and grotesque sculptures. Throughout the park, you’ll find figures of monsters, dragons, and exotic animals, as well as monuments, like the Leaning House, the Buddha Park, and Villa Palagonia. The overall atmosphere of Park of the Monsters, which reminds of Frankenstein, will fascinate your kids. You can thank us later!
The best places for sightseeing in Rome (Top attractions and monuments)
There’s no denying that the Colosseum is the top attraction in Rome! It might be considered a “touristy” monument, but it’s easy to understand why all tourists flock to the huge ancient Roman Stadium. The Colosseum Stadium is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also the most-photographed monument in Rome. Even though taking a photo outside of the stadium, which is, of course, free, is an option, getting inside the actual stadium is really worth it.
The only downside is the long line of tourists waiting to enter the Colosseum. The best way to skip the line is to pre-book a ticket or join a tour in Rome that includes the Colosseum. Doing so, you’ll get to see all the main attractions in Rome without any hassle!
This is arguably one of the most popular things to do in Rome! The stunning St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums are the main sights to visit in the Vatican city. St’ Peter’s Basilica is one of the most important Catholic churches, as, according to legend, Saint Peter is buried underneath it. That’s why it is considered one of the holiest churches in the world!
As for the Vatican museums, they host the world’s largest private art collection as well as the worldwide famous Sistine Chapel. Visiting the Vatican may be an exhausting experience, mainly because it’s always packed with tourists. If you want to skip the line and make your experience more comfortable, our tip is to book your tickets online at the Vatican’s website or book a tour to the Vatican.
Tip: Avoid visiting the Vatican on Saturdays and on the last Sunday of the month, when the entrance is free.
Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the most beautiful buildings in Rome! Originally constructed in 139 AD by Emperor Hadrian to be his tomb (the Mausoleum of Hadrian), this medieval fortress has a fascinating past.
The Castel Sant’Angelo is located next to the Tiber and is connected to St.Peter’s Basilica through a corridor named Passetto di Borgo. This means you can easily combine your visits to the two moments! Also, did you know that many scenes of the “Angels and Demons” movie were filmed in the Castel Sant’Angelo? How cool is that?
Are you in the mood for a spooky historical experience? Then don’t miss the catacombs of Rome! The catacombs are underground passageways that date back to the 2nd-5th century -the Roman ones are believed to be some of the world’s oldest. Back in the day, this tunnel network, which is located on the outskirts of Rome, was used for burials of early Christians.
There are several reasons behind the construction of the catacombs. To name a few, there wasn’t enough space above the ground, burials inside the city weren’t allowed, and Christians were against the pagan way of burial, i.e. burning the body.
Today, the crypts and catacombs of Rome are some of the most interesting places to visit, especially if you are a history buff. Since the history of the catacombs is REALLY interesting and there’s so much to see and learn, we highly recommend booking a tour to make sure you won’t miss anything!
The top places to eat in Rome
If you go to Rome without eating pizza, did you even go to Rome? Pizza is a must-try in the eternal city, but finding the perfect pizzeria is a piece of cake. Thankfully, we know the best pizza places and Sapori e Delizie is one of them. Our top recommendations? The Caprese pizza with salami, the authentic Italian Margherita, and the prosciutto pizza.
Info: Via Giovanni Lanza, 102/104, 00184 Roma RM, Italy, Tel: 39 06 487 5450
Pasta is a national delicacy in Italy, so it’s not a surprise that Rome is full of pasta restaurants! Our top choice for pasta in Rome is the Osteria Da Fortunata in Trastevere. This place serves the most delicious homemade pasta recipes -they actually make the pasta in front of your eyes! The ragu fettuccine, the carbonara, and the ricotta ravioli are our favorite dishes at Osteria Da Fortunata. Oh, and don’t forget to order tiramisu for dessert!
Info: Via del Pellegrino, 11/12, 00186 Roma RM, Italy Tel: 39 06 6066 7391
The Italian gelato is the ultimate frozen delight! And we know where you’ll find the best gelato in town: at Giolitti. It is the oldest gelateria in Rome that is still open till today and that says a lot about the quality of its gelato. Some of our favorite flavors are chocolate, raspberry, pistachio, and tiramisu. Warning: One scoop is not enough!
Info: Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, 00186 Roma RM, Italy Tel: 39 06 6066 7391
Where to have a drink in Rome
One of the experiences you need to have in Rome is visiting a wine bar or two. From our experience, the best ones are not the touristy ones, but rather the tiny ones you often pass without noticing them. L’Angolo Divino might be hard to spot, as it is hidden in Via dei Balestrari, but it is really worth a visit! This quaint wine bar has a frankly enormous list of wines to choose from. But, even if you have no clue what the best wine to pair your food with is, the staff goes out of its way to help you find the right one!
Info: Via dei Balestrari, 12, 00186 Roma RM, Italy Tel: 39 06 686 4413
Best day trips from Rome
Insulated by enormous mountains cloaked with vegetation and covered with picture-perfect pastel houses, the Amalfi coast oozes a discreet retro charm! A day-trip from Rome to the Amalfi coast is the best way to explore this Mediterranean gem. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you -the scenery is out of this world and the views are second to none!
A day-trip from Rome to Tivoli is a unique experience! Tivoli is a beautiful town, ideally situated in the Monti Tiburtini hills, next to the Aniene River. Thanks to its incredible location and elegant atmosphere Tivoli has become a must destination for a luxurious holiday. The stand-outs of Tivoli are its noble villas, like Villa D’Este and Hadrian’s Villa. The ethereal gardens, beautiful waterfalls, and elegant fountains create a fairytale-like atmosphere that will fascinate you!
Pompeii is one of the most stunning archaeological sites in the world! Trust us, you don’t want to miss it during your holiday in Rome. A guided day-trip to the UNESCO-listed Pompeii will give you the chance to explore the ancient city, have lunch on the slopes of Vesuvius, climb to the top of the mountain, and enjoy the views from the crater. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Are you planning on spending your summer vacation in Rome? Do yourself a favor and go for a boat trip from Rome to the Pontine Islands, a beautiful archipelago south of Rome. Ponza Island is the most popular island of the archipelago and a destination well-known to sea lovers. So, if you love water adventures, hop on the boat and embark on an adventure to the islands to enjoy a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean and snorkeling!
How to get to Rome?
You can get to Rome by plane, ferry, car, and train. The plane is the easiest and fastest way to get to Rome. Rome has two airports: Ciampino (close to the city center, it mainly serves budget airlines) and Fiumicino (country’s main airport, outside Rome).
Where to stay in Rome?
The best area to stay in Rome -especially if you are a first-time visitor- is the city center. The main points of interest in Rome are concentrated in the historic center, so choosing a central hotel in Rome is the best way to be close to everything. There’s a variety of accommodations near the center of Rome for every budget. Some of the best hotels in the city center are Baglioni Hotel Regina, Hotel Locarno, and The First Roma Arte.
What is the best time to visit Rome?
If you want to avoid the excessive crowds and take advantage of the good weather, the best time of the year to visit Rome is in spring. Generally, Rome tends to get very crowded during the summer. The hot and humid weather doesn’t help either, so opting for milder months like October or April is your best bet.
What are the best attractions in Rome?
The most popular attractions to visit in Rome are the Colosseum, Vatican City, Trevi Fountain, Palatine Hill, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Roman Forum, and Piazza di Spagna.
What are the best foods to eat in Rome?
The best delicacies to try in Rome are carbonara, maritozzi, gelato, supplì, and pizza.
Now we ‘d like to hear from you
Rome is full of surprises and adventures, right?
We’ve shared with you all the best things to do in Rome. Day-trips, fun activities, tours…you name it!
There’s just one last thing you need to do to enjoy all these experiences. To book your trip to Rome. Are you ready?
What are your favorite things to do in Rome? What places are you looking forward to visiting? Comment below. And don’t forget to share this article on Social Media, if you liked it!