22 of the Best Things to do in Rome​

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Welcome to the Eternal City, where ancient history and modern charm intertwine to create an unparalleled tapestry of experiences. In this guide, we’ll embark on a journey through the heart of Italy, exploring the 22 best things to do in Rome. From iconic landmarks like the Colosseum and the Vatican City to hidden gems tucked away in charming neighborhoods, Rome beckons with its rich cultural heritage, delectable cuisine, and a vibrant atmosphere that captivates every visitor. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food connoisseur, or someone simply seeking the allure of la dolce vita, Rome’s diverse offerings promise an unforgettable adventure that transcends time and tradition. Join us as we uncover the essence of this enchanting city, where every cobblestone street tells a story, and every corner reveals a new facet of Rome’s timeless allure.

1. Colosseum

When you find yourself in Rome, a visit to the Colosseum is an absolute must. This iconic structure stands as a shining testament to Rome’s rich history, and it’s even more awe-inspiring in person than you might imagine. Erected between 72 and 80 AD, the Colosseum reigns as the largest amphitheater globally, with a jaw-dropping capacity of up to 80,000 spectators.  In its heyday, local Romans flocked to the Colosseum to witness intense gladiator battles and thrilling animal hunts. Today, the atmosphere is far more serene, offering visitors a glimpse into a distant past. To make the most of your visit, we highly recommend securing your tickets in advance, as the lines can be quite lengthy. However, rest assured that the wait is one hundred percent worthwhile when you reach the fifth level, granting you a breathtaking 360-degree panorama of this remarkable ancient theatre.


2. Pantheon

This nearly 2,000-year-old temple is renowned for its magnificent dome and impressive architecture. The Pantheon is a remarkable example of Roman engineering and has served as a place of worship for centuries. With its timeless architectural grandeur and rich historical significance, offers an unforgettable journey into the heart of ancient Rome and is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a glimpse of the past.



3. Roman Forum

The Roman Forum, situated nearby, complements your historical expedition perfectly. This archaeological wonderland was the epicenter of ancient Rome, where you can wander through the remnants of temples, government buildings, and bustling markets, providing a vivid window into the daily life and grandeur of the Roman Empire.

4. Vatican City

And just a stone’s throw away lies Vatican City, a sovereign city-state intertwined with the heart of Rome’s cultural heritage. A visit here is essential, where you can explore the magnificence of St. Peter’s Basilica, immerse yourself in the treasures of the Vatican Museums, and gaze in awe at the iconic Sistine Chapel, home to some of the world’s most priceless art and religious history.

5. Trevi Fountain

And don’t forget to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain, a Baroque masterpiece that beckons travelers to toss a coin over their left shoulder into its shimmering waters, a delightful ritual believed to ensure your return to Rome. Beyond its superstitious charm, the Trevi Fountain is a captivating work of art, drawing visitors from around the world with its intricate details and timeless beauty, making it a must-see destination in the Eternal City.

6. Spanish Steps

Situated in the heart of the city, the Spanish Steps present a charming location to relax, soak in the atmosphere, and engage in some delightful people-watching. As you ascend the 135 steps, you’ll be rewarded with not only the Trinità dei Monti church at the summit but also a panoramic vista of Rome’s stunning skyline, making it an unforgettable experience for visitors to the Eternal City.

7. Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona, a bustling square in the heart of Rome, is a vibrant hub of activity that beckons visitors with its lively atmosphere. It is adorned with the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers, a masterpiece created by the renowned artist Bernini. Here, you can immerse yourself in the dynamic street performances, dine at charming restaurants, and relax at inviting outdoor cafes, all while being surrounded by the beauty of historic architecture, making it a quintessential Roman experience.

8. Villa Borghese

If you’re seeking a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle, look no further than the Villa Borghese Gardens. This expansive urban oasis invites you to wander through lush greenery, discover charming fountains, and bask in scenic vistas that provide a serene contrast to the urban sprawl. Additionally, you can explore the world-class art collection at the Galleria Borghese, making it an ideal spot for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike within the heart of Rome.

9. Castel Sant'Angelo

Steeped in history, Castel Sant’Angelo, originally constructed as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, has transformed over the centuries to become a multifaceted architectural gem. Delve into its rich past as you meander through its ancient corridors, and then ascend to the top for panoramic views that reveal Rome’s sprawling beauty in all its glory. From its origins as a mausoleum to its role as a fortress and papal residence, Castel Sant’Angelo offers a captivating journey through time, all while providing breathtaking vistas of the Eternal City.

10. Palatine Hill

Nestled among the seven hills of Rome, the Palatine Hill is a place steeped in both history and mythology. As you explore its ancient pathways and captivating ruins, you’ll be transported back to the very roots of the Eternal City. The Palatine Hill is more than just a historic site; it’s considered the birthplace of Rome itself, where legendary tales of Romulus and Remus unfold. Moreover, from its elevated vantage point, visitors are treated to sweeping, picturesque views of the Roman Forum, offering a unique perspective of this iconic archaeological wonder within the heart of Rome.

11. Capitoline Hill

The Capitoline Hill, an integral part of Rome’s historical tapestry, is home to the renowned Capitoline Museums. As you ascend this ancient hill, you’ll encounter a stunning piazza, masterfully designed by the genius of Michelangelo, offering a harmonious blend of classical and Renaissance elements. Beyond its architectural grandeur, the Capitoline Museums house a treasure trove of art and artifacts that tell the captivating story of Rome’s evolution. With a collection ranging from classical sculptures to invaluable archaeological finds, it’s a destination that immerses visitors in the depth and diversity of Rome’s cultural heritage.

12. Piazza Venezia

Piazza Venezia, a central square in the heart of Rome, serves as a bustling crossroads of Roman life. It’s dominated by the monumental Altar of the Fatherland, a symbol of Italian unity and patriotism. As you stand in this vibrant hub, you’ll witness the lively flow of Roman traffic and the city’s dynamic energy. For those seeking an elevated perspective, a climb to the top of the Altar of the Fatherland rewards you with yet another breathtaking panoramic view of the Eternal City, offering a unique blend of historic grandeur and modern vitality.

13. Campo de' Fiori

Campo de’ Fiori, a versatile destination within the heart of Rome, transforms from a bustling marketplace by day into a vibrant hub of nightlife activity by night. During daylight hours, this historic square comes alive with colorful market stalls offering fresh produce, flowers, and local goods, making it a must-visit for those seeking authentic Roman flavors. Yet, as the sun sets, Campo de’ Fiori takes on a different persona, with lively bars and restaurants welcoming patrons well into the evening.  

One striking feature not to be overlooked in the center of the square is the statue of Giordano Bruno, a philosopher and thinker of immense historical significance. Erected in the late 19th century, the statue pays homage to Bruno’s contributions to science and philosophy, while its location within Campo de’ Fiori serves as a reminder of the square’s ever-evolving role as a gathering place for both the past and present.

14. Galleria Doria Pamphilj

The Galleria Doria Pamphilj, a hidden gem among Rome’s cultural treasures, invites art enthusiasts to explore its lesser-known but impressive collection of European masterpieces. As you wander through its elegant halls, you’ll encounter works by renowned artists that span centuries, offering a profound journey through the evolution of art.

What makes the Galleria Doria Pamphilj particularly special is its serene atmosphere and the opportunity for a more intimate art experience when compared to the bustling Vatican Museums. Here, you can take your time to savor each masterpiece, immerse yourself in the stories they tell, and enjoy a peaceful escape into the world of European art. It’s a perfect alternative for those seeking a quieter and more contemplative cultural encounter in the heart of Rome.

15. Borghese Gallery and Museum

The Borghese Gallery and Museum, nestled within the picturesque Villa Borghese, offers an extraordinary journey through the world of art. Its collection is nothing short of astounding, showcasing masterpieces by some of the most revered artists in history, including Bernini, Caravaggio, and Raphael.

What sets this museum apart is its intimate setting, allowing visitors to appreciate each work of art up close, feeling the brushstrokes and sculptures in exquisite detail. The villa’s elegant surroundings and well-curated exhibits create an ambiance that invites you to immerse yourself in the genius of these great artists. For art lovers and connoisseurs, the Borghese Gallery and Museum stands as a must-visit destination in Rome, offering a rich cultural experience that lingers in the memory long after you’ve left its hallowed halls.

16. Catacombs of Rome

The Catacombs of Rome offer a truly unique and captivating experience for those intrigued by the mysteries of the past. Descend into the underground burial chambers that wind through the depths of ancient Rome, and you’ll find yourself walking in the footsteps of early Christians who sought solace and refuge within these hallowed catacombs.

These subterranean labyrinths not only serve as a testament to the religious history of Rome but also offer a poignant glimpse into the lives and beliefs of those who lived centuries ago. The intertwining tunnels and intricate burial niches tell a story of faith, resilience, and the enduring human spirit. A visit to the Catacombs of Rome is a journey into the heart of history, providing a profound connection to the city’s rich heritage and the individuals who shaped it.

17. Aventine Keyhole

The Aventine Keyhole, one of Rome’s best-kept secrets, promises a truly enchanting experience for travelers seeking a unique perspective of the city. As you approach this unassuming door, curiosity takes over, and you peer through the famous keyhole.

What awaits you is nothing short of magical. Through the perfectly aligned hedges, a breathtaking view of St. Peter’s Basilica appears, framed like a postcard picture. It’s a captivating sight that captures the essence of Rome in a single, mesmerizing image. The Aventine Keyhole offers a glimpse into the city’s hidden gems, inviting you to discover the beauty that lies in the most unexpected places. It’s a moment that lingers in your memory and adds an extra layer of wonder to your Roman adventure.

18. Basilica of San Clemente

The Basilica of San Clemente is a remarkable testament to the layers of history that lie beneath the surface of Rome. As you step inside this intriguing church, you embark on a journey through time, unveiling a complex narrative of architectural evolution.

At its core, you’ll find a 12th-century basilica, adorned with stunning frescoes and intricate details. But the story doesn’t end there. Descend into the depths of the church, and you’ll discover a 4th-century church that existed long before the current basilica. This layer of history is a testament to the enduring significance of this sacred site.

The most astonishing revelation comes when you venture even deeper, revealing a 1st-century Roman house buried beneath the layers of Christian worship. It’s a vivid reminder of the ancient roots of Rome and the transformative power of time. The Basilica of San Clemente invites you to explore these layers, each offering a unique glimpse into the city’s rich history, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.

19. Trastevere

Trastevere, with its narrow winding streets, colorful facades, and lively atmosphere, is a neighborhood that embodies the essence of authentic Rome. It’s a place where time seems to stand still, and the beauty of the past mingles effortlessly with the vibrancy of the present.

As you stroll through Trastevere’s enchanting streets, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a delightful array of family-run trattorias, charming cafes, and traditional Roman eateries. It’s a culinary haven where you can savor the rich flavors of Roman cuisine, from pasta dishes bursting with local ingredients to delectable pizzas prepared in wood-fired ovens.

When the sun sets, Trastevere comes alive with a vibrant nightlife that beckons both locals and travelers alike. The neighborhood’s bars, live music venues, and bustling squares create an atmosphere that invites you to immerse yourself in the spirited energy of Roman evenings.

Trastevere is more than just a neighborhood; it’s a sensory journey through the heart and soul of Rome, offering an authentic experience that lingers in your memory long after you’ve bid it farewell.

20. Appian Way

The ancient Appian Way, often referred to as the “Queen of Roads,” presents a unique opportunity to traverse history itself. As you embark on a walk or bike ride along this iconic Roman thoroughfare, you’ll find yourself following in the footsteps of ancient travelers, feeling the echoes of a bygone era.

Lined with historic ruins, the Appian Way is a testament to Rome’s enduring legacy. It’s a journey that takes you past the remnants of grand villas, ancient tombs, and landmarks that have witnessed millennia of history. The sense of connection to the past is palpable as you explore this ancient road.

Whether you choose to leisurely walk or briskly bike, the Appian Way offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, where the whispers of ancient Rome still linger in the air. It’s an experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Rome’s heritage and provides a deeper appreciation for the layers of history that have shaped this remarkable city.

21. Circus Maximus

Circus Maximus, a vast ancient chariot racing stadium, stands as a captivating window into the grandeur of Roman entertainment. As you wander through its evocative ruins, you’ll find yourself transported to a time when this colossal venue could accommodate up to 150,000 enthusiastic spectators.

In its heyday, Circus Maximus was the epicenter of excitement, hosting thrilling chariot races, games, and other sporting events that brought the city to life. The mere thought of the roaring crowds and thundering hooves of the chariots racing around the vast oval track is enough to ignite the imagination.

Today, while the cheers of ancient Rome may have faded, the ruins of Circus Maximus still bear witness to the legacy of Roman engineering and the spirit of communal celebration. Exploring this historic site allows you to connect with the city’s vibrant past and gain a deeper understanding of the cultural significance of these grand sporting events in the heart of Rome.