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Things to do in Rome

Things to do in  Rome

Welcome to Rome

An open-air museum home to two millennia of architecture, art, and culture, Rome is one of the world’s most visited cities—for good reason. You can spend hours exploring ancient wonders, traveling between attractions, or hunting for the best gelato; but those in the know stay ahead of the crowd with skip-the-line entrance tickets and guided tours. Hop-on hop-off tours allow visitors to breeze through must-do lists, while group visits to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Vatican Museums offer a more in-depth experience. For a true taste of Italy, take advantage of the city’s central location with day trips to Pompeii, Tuscany, and beyond.

Top 15 attractions in Rome

Colosseum

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The Colosseum has been a symbol of Rome since 80 AD, and today it’s a top monument in Italy. Some 50,000 spectators once gathered in the amphitheater’s tiered seats to watch gladiatorial games, and though parts of its original marble facade were pilfered over the years to build the likes of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum remains remarkably intact 2,000 years later.More

Roman Forum (Foro Romano)

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A sprawling mass of ruins, the Roman Forum (Foro Romano) was once the center of ancient Rome, with temples, courts, markets, and government buildings in full swing until the 4th century AD. While all that remains today is an array of ancient columns and arches, the forum is one of the most important archaeological sites in Italy, and excavations occur to this day. Aside from a lesson in Roman history, visitors can get a great view of the Eternal City from the overlooking Palatine and Capitoline hills.More

Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani)

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Home to some of Italy’s most important artworks—from paintings and sculptures to tapestries and classical antiquities—the Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani) is one of the country’s top attractions. Explore the Pinacoteca, Egyptian Museum, Gallery of Tapestries, Pius-Clementine Museum, and Gallery of Maps, before admiring the crown jewels in the Sistine Chapel, famed for Michelangelo’s ceiling and The Last Judgment.More

Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina)

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The Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina), part of Rome’s Vatican Museums, was decorated by art masters Sandro Botticelli and Pinturicchio in the 15th century before being completed with Michelangelo’s stunning 16th-century ceilings frescoes and monumental “The Last Judgement,” which covers the apse wall. The fresco-covered ceiling is the artist’s greatest work and one of the most important masterpieces in history, while the Sistine Chapel serves as a glorious homage to Renaissance art and one of the most visited sights in all of Italy.More

St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)

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The enormous St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) dominates Vatican City, and its dome can be seen from all over Rome. Built on the site of St. Peter’s crucifixion and over his tomb, it’s the epicenter of the Catholic Church and the burial place of many popes, including Pope John Paul II. The lavishly adorned basilica is the largest church in Italy, and it's also a museum full of priceless works of art—including Michelangelo’s spectacular Pietà and Bernini’s bronze baldachin.More

Mt. Vesuvius (Monte Vesuvio)

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Looming above the Bay of Naples, Mt. Vesuvius (Monte Vesuvio) erupted in AD 79 and covered Pompeii in ash, preserving parts of the ancient city that can still be seen today. The volcano itself is still active—the only active one in continental Europe—and, though dormant, is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. Despite this, many visitors hike the mountain to see its infamous crater and are rewarded with stunning views of Pompeii, the Bay of Naples, and the surrounding Italian countryside.More

Vatican City (Citta del Vaticano)

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Vatican City (Città del Vaticano) may be the smallest sovereign nation-state in the world, but it's a religious and cultural superpower. Home to some of the world’s greatest artistic and architectural marvels—namely St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums—it's located wholly within the confines of Rome, covers 110 acres (44 hectares), and has an official population of about 800.More

Pantheon

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Known for its massive dome and center oculus, the well-preserved Pantheon attracts millions of annual visitors to Rome—and its proximity to the gelaterias along Via della Maddalena is just a bonus. Highlights of this temple-turned-church, which is the burial ground for Renaissance artist Raphael and the first King of Italy, include awe-inspiring architecture and beautiful art.More

Piazza Navona

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One of the most famous and sumptuous squares in Rome, Piazza Navona is home to the Baroque Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone and Palazzo Pamphili, both overlooking Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s famousFountain of the Four Rivers. Bustling outdoor cafes and rowdy buskers lend a lively air to the otherwise stately square.More

Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)

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The incredibly ornate Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is the most famous fountain in Rome, and perhaps all of Italy. Centered around the Greek sea god Oceanus—as well as Tritons, seahorses, and other mythological figures—the baroque Trevi Fountain has made cameos on the silver screen and is a popular spot of superstition; throw in a coin and make a wish.More

Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)

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Climbing from Piazza di Spagna to the Trinità dei Monti church, the Spanish Steps are one of Rome’s most recognizable landmarks, immortalized in countless postcards and films. Built between 1723 and 1725, the 138-step staircase is also one of the widest in Europe and serves as a lively meeting place for locals and visitors alike.More

Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo)

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Rome’s Circus Maximus(Circo Massimo)—a massive arena for chariot races, games, religious ceremonies, and civic events—was the largest stadium in the Roman Empire. A major restoration in 2016 yielded a spruced-up archaeological site comprising arched walkways, ancient shops, a newly excavated cobbled road, and the Circus track’s oblong outline and starting gates.More

Campo de' Fiori

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One of the mainstays of daily life in Italy is shopping at the market, and the market, for many Romans, means Campo de’ Fiori. This historic square in the city center hosts one of the largest and most famous outdoor food markets each morning,, offering visitors the perfect opportunity to rub elbows with locals.More

St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro)

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The heart of Rome's Vatican City is St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro), the grand space that provides a magnificent approach to St. Peter's Basilica. Designed by Bernini in the 17th century, Piazza San Pietro is lined by semicircular colonnades four columns deep on either side that seem to reach out and enfold visitors in an embrace.More

Piazza Venezia

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Most visitors to Rome pass through the Piazza Venezia intersection, home to the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, at least once. This busy, sprawling intersection has a vast grassy island at its center, making it a square, but its function is to keep the Eternal City’s car and bus traffic flowing, rather than act as a leisure space.More

Top activities in Rome

Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour

Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour

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Vatican City Tour: Vatican Museums Sistine Chapel and Vatican Basilica
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Small-Group Tour of Colosseum Underground, Arena and Forum
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The Original Entire Vatican Tour & St. Peter's Dome Climb
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Skip the Line: Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill Tour
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Small-Group Ancient Rome and Colosseum Underground Tour
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Rome in a Day Tour with Vatican and Colosseum
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Colosseum Underground Semi-Private Tour with Roman Forum & Gladiator Arena
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Skip the Line: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel with St. Peter's Basilica Access
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Gladiator Gate and Arena Floor Special Access Colosseum Tour
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Rome

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Best tour in Rome
Khaled_a, Feb 2023
Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
The gulf tour is one of the very recommend activities to do in Rome, especially with Rome’s huge history around each popular site!
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Second trip to Rome tour
Martha_O, Jan 2023
Small-Group Crypts and Catacombs Tour with Bone Chapel
Excellent tour if you are looking for something outside of the usual Rome attractions.
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Our tour guide & driver...
Thomas_S, Jan 2023
Rome Highlights Private Tour from Rome
Would recommend this tour to anyone who really wants to visit Rome.
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Loved it!
Sandra_L, Jan 2023
Big Bus Rome Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Tour
Best way to see Rome!
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A must tour in Rome!
Dan_L, Jan 2023
Best of Rome by Golfcart private tour
This was a great way to see the sights with a great guide "Mimmo" Picked up and dropped off In front of our hotel.
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Colosseum Underground
ChristinaM_L, Jan 2023
Small-Group Tour of Colosseum Underground, Arena and Forum
Take this tour to see it!
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A must if you are in ROME
Niki_M, Jan 2023
Rome by Night-Ebike tour with Food and Wine Tasting
Fantastic tour a MUST if visiting Rome Bruno our tour guide was so knowledgeable We were a party of 6 and everyone had a great experience We stopped for wine and cheese in a authentic Italian restaurant it was delicious We went to all the main tourist attractions and was fabulous to see them at night all lit up
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Three of the "Top 10" Must See Sites in Rome
Gregory_M, Jan 2023
Best of Rome Walking Tour: Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and Trevi Fountain
Excellent walking tour which covers three of the "top 10" best sites to see in Rome.
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Ancient Rome brought to life.
Francis_M, Jan 2023
VIP Colosseum Tour
She really brought ancient Rome to life and I would highly recommend her to visitors.
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A perfect tour of The Vatican
Lauren_B, Jan 2023
Skip-the-Line Group Tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica
Both my partner and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Rome and would definitely recommend to visitors to the city.
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Rome at Night Tour
Margaret_B, Jan 2023
Vespa Tour By Night with pick up/drop off
Fun way to see Rome.
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Immersive and Fun!
Dalton_T, Jan 2023
Gladiator Gate and Arena Floor Special Access Colosseum Tour
Her English was flawless and she herself had a lot of energy.
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Great way to see Rome’s highlights
Jessica_Z, Jan 2023
Vespa Tour By Night with pick up/drop off
It was my first time in Rome so taking a Vespa tour our first night was a great way to see the city highlights.
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Roma Xmas!
Chris_S, Jan 2023
Private Day Trip from Rome to Pompeii and Amalfi Coast
We get to visit each of the must see places in Rome briefly.
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Do not miss out on this opportunity!
Sydney_C, Jan 2023
Rome by Vespa - Best Rome Vespa Tour with Optional Driver
It was such a fun and cool way to see Rome.
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Amazing experience
Richard_C, Dec 2022
Rome Segway Tour
This is the best way to see Rome and really fun at the same time.
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Manny was great!
Badri_G, Dec 2022
Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
It was a very informative and easy way to see Rome
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Fantastic trip
Daniel_T, Dec 2022
Private Tour: Amalfi Coast and Pompeii Day Trip from Rome
If you have a short time in Rome and want to see the ruins at Pompeii and the Amalfi coast I can’t think of a better way to do it.
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Amazing Apian Way
Sophie_W, Dec 2022
E-Bike Tour to Rome Ancient Appian Way
A great day for teenage kids also and something a bit different to see in Rome.
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Wow! Wow! Wow!
KarenJ_B, Dec 2022
All Rome in 1 Day WOW Tour - Luxury Car, Guide, Entrance Tickets, Lunch included
Both the driver and tour guide spoke English fluently and were extremely knowledgeable about Rome and its history.
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All about Rome

When to visit

Avoid Rome in July and August unless you can handle heat and humidity. Spring and fall offer perfect conditions, but the trade-off is peak crowds and prices. Instead, visit during the off-season months of October through April, when you’ll trade shorter opening hours for fewer crowds. Winter is crisp, but nothing a light coat can’t handle.

Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
CET (UTC +1)
Country Code
+39
Language(s)
Italian

A local’s pocket guide to Rome

Emiliano Esposito

Born and raised in Rome, Emiliano is a software engineer now living in the UK. With family roots in Naples, he’s been a seafood lover from birth.

The first thing you should do in Rome is...

visit the Colosseum and learn all about its history, before trying a typical Roman dish, like spaghetti alla carbonara or coda alla vaccinara, in a nearby trattoria—Luzzi, near the Colosseum, is my favorite.

A perfect Saturday in Rome...

includes shopping in Via Del Corso; visiting the Spanish Steps, Barcaccia Fountain, and the Pantheon; and finishing at the Imperial Fora. Don’t forget to stop at Giolitti’s for a fabulous multi-flavoured gelato!

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the Pantheon. It still has many original features and the dome is considered one of the ancient world’s most astonishing architectural feats. Oh, and did I mention it’s free to enter?

To discover the "real" Rome...

take a walking tour of Trastevere and visit Tiber Island, where you’ll find many restaurants still serving rare but traditional Roman dishes such as pajata (unweaned calf intestine).

For the best view of the city...

head to the Janiculum Hill. If you happen to be there around noon, you might also catch the cannon that’s fired daily in the direction of the Tiber.

One thing people get wrong...

Pizza is not a typical dish in Rome. If you want to taste something close to Neapolitan-style pizza (but still really typical of the city), look for Pinza Romana on the menu.

People Also Ask

What is Rome famous for?

Italy’s capital is known as “The Eternal City,” thanks to its collection of dazzling ancient sites that have been standing since the peak of Roman glory 2,000 years ago. The independent city-state of Vatican City is also set in Rome, famous for St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums.

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What is the number one tourist attraction in Rome?

The Colosseum has been the symbol of Rome since it was completed in 80 AD and continues to be the city’s most popular attraction. The largest ancient amphitheater in the world, it sees about 8,000 visitors a day—slightly more than the Vatican Museums across the Tiber River.

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What is something I should see in ancient Rome?

The Colosseum tops most visitors’ must-see lists, but Rome is home to a number of impressive ancient sites. The Roman Forum and Pantheon are two headliners in the city center, while the catacomb-lined Appian Way—an intact Roman highway—cuts through the countryside past ancient aqueducts and villa ruins

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How can I spend 2 days in Rome?

Divide your time between the two banks of the Tiber River. Dedicate one day to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and historic center sights: the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Spanish Steps. Then cross the river to spend your second day exploring St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Trastevere neighborhood.

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What could you do for free in Rome?

Many of Rome’s top sights are free, including St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. The Colosseum and Forum can both be admired from outside and strolling through the city’s top squares (Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, and Campo de’ Fiori) doesn’t cost a penny.

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Is Rome dangerous?

No, Rome does not have a problem with violent crime, though this major metropolis and premier tourist destination is rife in petty crime like theft and pickpocketing. Always keep your eye on your valuables and store your phone, wallet, and documents in zipped, inner compartments of your bags.

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Rome information

Number of Attractions

187

Number of Tours

6,791

Number of Reviews

239,802

Currency

USD
Frequently Asked Questions