Escape the urban bustle of Rome’s busy streets by heading above its rooftops to take in sweeping views from church domes, hilltop gardens, and other scenic spots across the city. For particularly unforgettable photos, head to your favorite overlook to catch the soft golden light at sunset. Here are the best panoramic perches in Rome.
St. Peter’s Dome
In a city of countless domes and cupolas, there is one that tops them all: Michelangelo’s stunning St. Peter’s Dome. Take the elevator up from the basilica, then climb 320 steps for an unobstructed, 360-degree view of the Eternal City.
Pincio Terrace at Villa Borghese
Arguably the most romantic spot in Rome, this scenic terrace above Piazza del Popolo offers a dazzling view straight across Rome’s rooftops to St. Peter’s dome. Follow the shady avenues of the Villa Borghese to the terrace to steal a photo (or a kiss).
Keyhole of the Knights of Malta and the Orange Garden
One of the most photographed views of Rome is the image of St. Peter’s Basilica framed through the keyhole of the Knights of Malta, located in a door on Aventine Hill. If you’re not interested in waiting in line to snap a picture, head next door to the Orange Garden where you can enjoy the same view without the crowds.
This monument to Vittorio Emanuele II is known by many names: the Vittoriano, the Altar of the Fatherland, and the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument. Whatever you call it, the grand complex has one of the best views over the city’s ancient ruins. Take the Roma dal Cielo elevator up to the rooftop Terrazza delle Quadrighe for glimpses of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum from above.
This hilltop above Trastevere (called the Gianicolo in Italian), is the second highest in the city and a popular spot to watch the sunset glow on the domes and rooftops. The view encompases the historic center and includes the Vittoriano on the horizon.
For a glimpse of the Tiber River and St. Peter’s Basilica from above, there’s no better spot than Castel Sant’Angelo. This round mausoleum, built for the Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, offers arresting views from the circumference of its rooftop terrace.