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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 10 attractions in Rome

#1

Colosseum

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The world’s famous Colosseum was built in 80 AD for the Roman emperors to stage fight to-the-death gladiator battles and hunt and kill wild animals, whilst members of the general public watched the violent spectaculars. Entry was free, although you were seated according to your social rank and wealth. Gladiatorial games were banned in 438 AD; the wild beast hunting continued until 523. The Colosseum is amazing for its complex and advanced architecture and building technique. Despite being used as a quarry for building materials at various points in history, it is still largely intact. You can see the tiered seating, corridors and the underground rooms where the animals and gladiators awaited their fate. Today the Colosseum has set the model for all modern-day stadiums, the only difference being today's teams survive their games.More
#2

Roman Forum (Foro Romano)

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In Ancient Rome, the Forum was the centre of the Roman Empire. Until the 4th century AD, a thousand years of decisions affecting the future of Europe were made here. When Roman soldiers were out conquering the world in the name of the Emperors, temples, courts, markets, and government buildings were thriving in the Forum. Located between two of Rome's famous hills, the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, it is now a collection of ruins having spent centuries as a quarry for marble and a cow paddock. The Forum became a very dense collection of buildings in its time but mostly all that remains today is columns, arches, and some scattered marbles so it can be difficult to make sense of it all. Ongoing archaeological work continues, and getting a map or a guide can really bring the bustle of the ancient site to life. You can get a great view over the Forum from the overlooking hills in the Farnese Gardens and from Michelangelo's Piazza del Campidoglio.More
#3

Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina)

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Part of its fame is directly related to the papacy: The Sistine Chapel is where cardinals gather to elect a new pope (known as the Papal Conclave). The primary reason for its fame is pure art: the ceiling fresco painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. The huge fresco depicts the creation of the world and - despite the often shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in the Sistine Chapel - packs a powerful artistic punch (heightened by a recent renovation here that brought back the true color and depth of the original work). Michelangelo returned to the Sistine Chapel between 1537 & 1541 to paint the magnificent 'Last Judgment' fresco on the altar wall. Few people leave a Sistine Chapel tour without feeling moved by Michelangelo's work. The chapel itself is named after Pope Sixtus IV), who renovated an old chapel and commissioned the first artworks here. The chapel contains important works by Renaissance heavyweights such as Raphael, Bernini, and Botticelli.More
#4

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

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St Peter's Basilica was built between 1506 and 1590, when the dome was finally completed. It is on the site of the tomb of St. Peter; his relics were finally found and authenticated in the middle of the 20th century. Before the current grand basilica, a 4th-century church built by Emperor Constantine stood here. This is a church like no other. It is huge and full of significant artworks and tombs, including that of Pope John Paul II. One of the most beautiful pieces is the marble Pieta by Michelangelo just inside the door on the right. It is now behind bullet proof glass after being attacked by an art-hating lunatic in 1972. If you can time your visit with a Mass, you will see the most important hierarchy of the Catholic Church come to worship in their red robes and hats. Climbing to the top of the dome gives a wonderful view over the piazza and Bernini's enclosing colonnade below, and across Rome.More
#5

Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani)

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The popes were among the very first royalty to open their vast art collections to public viewing. Pope Julius II (1443 - 1513) began collecting sculpture during the Renaissance and, ever since, most popes have taken an active interest in art and in commissioning the best artists of their time. Today you can view the Vatican's incredible collection while touring the so-called 'Vatican Museums', a huge complex of galleries and museums showcasing painting, sculpture, frescoes, tapestries and classical antiquities including Roman, Greek and Egyptian. There are, of course, also collections of religious art, papal portraits and, less obviously, carriages and automobiles. Any visit to the Vatican should also include the famous Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms. Leave plenty of time for winding your way through the museums and the narrow connecting corridors and staircases.More
#6

Pantheon

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The Pantheon in Rome is a remarkable building architecturally. Basically a cylinder with the floating dome on top of columns, it is the largest masonry vault ever built. In the center of this dome is a hole bringing in a shaft of light to show the beauty of this building and its relatively simple, open interior. Being inside the Pantheon feels very special. Originally built in 27 BC and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 120 AD, the temple has been damaged and plundered over time. In 609 AD it became a Christian church dedicated to the Madonna. In the 17th century some of its bronze ceiling was taken and melted down for use in St Peter's Basilica. Important figures such as King Victor Emmanuel II and the artist Raphael are buried in the Pantheon.More
#7

Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)

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The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous and most beloved sights in Rome. A huge Baroque flurry (85 by 65 feet or 25 by 20 meters) where water spills from rocks under the feet of Neptune, Triton and sea-horses into a large pool, it's always surrounded by coin-tossing tourists. Superstition has it that if you toss a coin into the fountain you will one day return to Rome. It shows how much people love this city that up to $3,500 a day is thrown in! The money is collected at night by the city and distributed to charity. The Trevi Fountain began as a humble water outlet, the end of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct built in 19 BC to bring water to Roman Baths. The name comes from its location at the junction of three roads ('tre vie'). Around 1735 Pope Clement XII commissioned Niccolo Salvi to design the fountain we still love today.More
#8

Piazza Navona

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The term “piazza” is often translated as “square,” but when you arrive in Piazza Navona you’ll understand why that doesn’t always work. This oblong-shaped space was once a stadium, where citizens of Ancient Rome would come to watch games and races in the 1st century AD. The stadium may be gone, but the shape of the space remains. Today, the Piazza Navona is home to a selection of beautiful Baroque churches and fountains, some fabulously expensive outdoor cafes, and (often) vendors selling tourist trinkets. During the holidays, a Christmas market fills much of the piazza. At the center of the Piazza Navona is Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s famous Fountain of the Four Rivers, with an Egyptian obelisk sitting atop the sculpture. There are two other smaller fountains, one at each end of the piazza, both by Giacomo della Porta. The most prominent building lining the piazza is the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, at the center facing one side of Bernini’s fountain.More
#9

Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)

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The famous Spanish Steps lead from the Piazza di Spagna up to the Trinita Church. The staircase was constructed between 1723 and 1725 in the Roman Baroque style and is the longest and widest in Europe. The design is an elegant series of ramps with 138 steps in a fan or butterfly wing shape. In May, they are particularly beautiful when the ramps of the staircase are covered in spring flowers. Architecture aside, what makes the Spanish Steps a favorite spot to hang out is the people watching. It's a place for tourists and locals to sit and enjoy the spectacle of Rome life. The adjacent Piazza di Spagna is surrounded by wonderful tea rooms and cafes as well as being adjacent to some of the best shopping streets in Rome.More
#10

Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo)

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In Ancient Rome, a “circus” was an oblong arena where events like chariot races, games, and other performances were held. As you might guess, the Circus Maximus was - in a word - huge. It was the Roman Empire’s largest stadium, measuring more than 2,000 feet long by 387 feet wide and capable of holding an audience of 150,000. First built in the 6th century B.C.E., the Circus Maximus was expanded over the next several centuries (and rebuilt occasionally after fire and flood damaged), until it was rebuilt by Emperor Trajan in the early 2nd century AD. In addition to chariot and horse races, the Circus Maximus also held religious ceremonies, and parades. The last recorded uses of the Circus Maximus are in the 6th century AD, and today there’s very little left of the structures. The site is now a public park, and you can see the overall oblong shape where the Circus used to be, as well as some of the starting gates.More

Trip ideas

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Rome

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First-Timer's Guide to Rome

First-Timer's Guide to Rome

Recent reviews from experiences in Rome

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Lovely Tour of Rome
Cj_A, Oct 2020
Trevi Fountain and Hidden Gems Walking Tour in Rome
The tour was a really great way to see central Rome.
star-5
Amazing
Emily_H, Sep 2020
Rome by Vespa: Classic Rome Tour with Pick up
Took us to places we wouldn’t of went to as well as the main tourist attractions.
star-5
Lovely tour
Polikseni, Sep 2020
Trevi Fountain and Hidden Gems Walking Tour in Rome
The walking tour was a great way to see Rome and hear the stories you would easily miss.
star-5
Excellent way to see Rome
TobiasStjernegaard, Sep 2020
Fast and Curious: Vespa 125cc Half-Day Rental in Rome
Really good way to see Rome and all it’s beauty, I was a little bit skeptical to drive in a foreign country but it turned out just fine and the traffic was not bad at sunday
star-5
Fantastic experience!
Madalina_D, Sep 2020
Rome by Vespa Sidecar with Cappuccino
By far the best way to see Rome and learn about its history!
star-5
Fascinating deep dive ...
Joanna_P, Sep 2020
Ticket to Piazza Navona Undergrounds Stadium of Domitian
The information on each exhibit is provided in English as well as Italian.
star-5
Excellent tour in every way!
Suzanne_G, Dec 2020
Exclusive Early Access Vatican Semi Private Tour | with Private Option
And we got to see the Sistine Chapel and Rafael rooms without standing among throngs of other tourists.
star-5
Just simply the best way to see Rome !
paul_p, Oct 2020
Rome by Vespa Sidecar with Cappuccino
The tour itself was awesome - great fun and the best way to see a wonderful city.
star-5
If you are thinking about it, book it you wont regret it.
Nickiy2j, Sep 2020
Rome by Night E-Bike Tour
In my opinion THE BEST WAY to see Rome.
star-5
Rome Experience
Paul_S, Sep 2020
Skip the Line: Colosseum Small Group Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
Taking us around the Colosseum, The Forum and Palantine Hill she spoke to us via a microphone with personal headphones she supplied making it more enjoyable as we could hear her easily above the people around the attractions.
star-5
Fantastic, Best Way To See Rome!
Sarah_L, Sep 2020
Vespa Tour By Night
It was a fantastic way to see the highlights of the city and get an idea where everything was.
star-5
Great tour with a super good guide
Lisa_S, Sep 2020
Colosseum Underground Guided Tour with Palatine Hill & Roman Forum Access
His English was amazing and he was able to answer all questions in a great and engaging way.
star-5
Fun time seeing the sites
Nick, Sep 2020
Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
We signed up for this trip as a family of 4 with our teens to see the sites without having to walk to them all.
star-5
Franco and tour are amazing
Sarah_M, Sep 2020
Ultimate St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb and Tour with Papal Crypts
You could tell he knows his stuff and was constantly giving great English references to help us understand the history of the Basillica.
star-5
Fantastic Tour
Kathryn_D, Sep 2020
Colosseum and Ancient Rome Small Group Tour
All the major attractions have temperature checks and enforce social distancing and wearing masks so we felt very safe throughout our trip.
star-5
Really enjoyed
Edna_M, Aug 2020
Rome: 24hr, 48hr & 72hr Hop-On Hop-Off Guided Walking Tour
He gave us loads of tips on things to see and do and his commentary of the sights as we strolled through the city was super.
star-5
Excellent
URSZULA_F, Aug 2020
Colosseum with Arena Access and Ancient Rome Small Group Tour
Very good English.
star-5
Great tour, Knowledgeable guide, highly recommended
Dijana_M, Aug 2020
Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Tour
Perfect time to visit Rome and explore!
star-5
Great Day Tour!
Ray_D, Jul 2020
Tivoli Day Trip from Rome: Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este
Would recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see something outside of the Rome area.
star-4
Rome’s Culinary Delights
Gill_B, Jun 2020
Jewish Ghetto and Navona Food Wine and Sightseeing Tour of Rome
It’s a great time to see Rome (post lockdown, less tourists), and the stops on the tour are well chosen.

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