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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

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

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

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

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

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

Trip ideas

Top activities in Rome

Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour

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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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Skip the Line: Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill Tour
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Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Group Tour
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Exclusive Early Access Vatican Semi Private Tour | with Private Option
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Gladiator Gate and Arena Floor Special Access Colosseum Tour
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Recent reviews from experiences in Rome

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Private tour
Andrew_Z, Nov 2022
Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
Able to see everything we wanted to.
star-5
An amazing experience to...
samantha_W, Dec 2022
Vespa Sidecar Tour in Rome with Cappuccino
Unique way to see this beautiful city!
star-5
Georgia was the best guide, a brilliant excursion. 100% recommend
Mark_O, Nov 2022
Small Group Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, & St. Peter’s Basilica Guided Tour
If in Rome I would 100% recommend this tour, it is an amazing place to visit.
star-5
The best way to see Rome
Maria_K, Nov 2022
Private tour by electric Tuk Tuk by Etuk Tours
A perfect tip for Rome with kids .
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The non-tourist version of Rome. A great experience for all ages and cultures
Neera_G, Nov 2022
Vespa Tour By Night with pick up/drop off
It was do much fun and amazing to see this side of Rome.
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Don't leave Rome without doing this
Kara_T, Nov 2022
Vespa Panoramic Tour in Rome
If you're looking for a fun way to see Rome, this is for you!
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Incredible
David_M, Nov 2022
Colosseum Night Tour
The best way to see the Colosseum.
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Best way to see Rome quickly!
Leah_C, Nov 2022
Private Half-Day Sightseeing Tour in Rome
The best way to see Rome!
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Great Intro to Rome!
Catherine_L, Nov 2022
Rome by Night with Pizza and Gelato (max 8 people with driver)
We were expecting just a drive around Rome to see the sights but we got a rich and funny history tour with lots of stops for photos.
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Stunning Views and Beauty.
Kathryn_H, Nov 2022
Tour of St Peter's Basilica with Dome Climb and Grottoes in a Small Group
I was fortunate to see it as a child at the NY World's Fair in 1964-65).
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Vineyard & food experience-Must visit
Christine_R, Nov 2022
Half-Day Minardi Wine and Food Tour in Frascati
We wanted to visit a vineyard, but not too far from Rome.
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Less Waiting and More Viewing!
Heather_B, Nov 2022
Skip-the-Line: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Admission Ticket
Lot to see in Rome!
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Rome November 22
Iain_M, Nov 2022
Evening Walking Tour in Rome
Great to see the sights of Rome with an excellent guide.
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What a great way to see Rome!
Tim_R, Nov 2022
Best of Rome by Golfcart private tour
What a great way to see Rome!
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Dimitri was a wonderful...
Carmella_P, Nov 2022
Roman Catacombs and Bone Chapel - Semi-Private Tour
On our last visit to Rome we did not have the time to get to see catacombs.
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Great tour for injured people
Alan_A, Nov 2022
Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
Best way to see Rome with some disabilities.
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Perfect way to end your trip!
Carla_B, Nov 2022
Rome by Night with Pizza and Gelato (max 8 people with driver)
Dinner was great, so was gelato and we got to see some beautiful sites of Rome in the moonlight.
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Amazing Tour
Charles_Z, Nov 2022
Vintage Fiat 500 Tour of Rome's Hidden Sights
He speaks very well fluent English, spanish and of course Italian.
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A little history with a little wine
Maria_A, Nov 2022
Tipsy Tour: Fun Bar Crawl In Rome With Local Guide
We got to visit local “bars” and mingle with the locals.
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Learned and laughed
Alexander_W, Nov 2022
Ancient Mosaic Workshop in Rome, Italy
I came to Rome to visit friends and had some down time so I took this mosaic class.
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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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Frequently Asked Questions