Have you been toying with the idea of a trip to Rome ever since you saw Roman Holiday? Well, even if you haven’t seen the classic film, visiting Rome, Italy should feature on every traveler’s bucket list. A trip to Rome is akin to traveling back in time — more than 2000 years, to be precise. A history buff’s favorite stop and an art lover’s paradise, this city is every travel enthusiast’s dream destination.
With a gamut of places to visit and too many things to do in Rome, plan your itinerary for Italy way in advance. From basilicas and palaces to ancient ruins and piazzas, along with magnificent paintings, sculptures, and regal fountains crafted by renowned artists, this city has elegance personified. The Colosseum, Pantheon, and the Vatican City, of course, remain the star attractions. So time to pack your bags and set forth to get a real feel of the famous saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
St. Peter’s Square
Located in front of St. Peter’s Basilica at Vatican City, this large square plaza is named after Saint Peter, an apostle of Jesus considered as the first Pope by Catholics. Now, if you are in Rome, you would definitely want to catch a glimpse of the Pope. Try your luck at St. Peter’s Square as you also start your tour of Vatican City.
Built-in 1670 by the disciples of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the square is the site for most of the Vatican’s key events. St. Peter’s Square is known for its architectural grandeur, with 248 columns and 88 pilasters surrounding the square in a colonnade of four rows. Around 140 statues of saints and previous popes stand on the columns. The center of the square has an obelisk that was brought from Nero’s Circus in Egypt.
Address: Vatican City, Rome, Italy | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/AVzHdeodWpKzyDE46
The first image that pops up in mind when you think of Rome, Italy, is the Colosseum. This iconic landmark should be one of the first places to visit in Rome. Built around 70-80 AD during the Flavian rule, the Colosseum is an enormous amphitheater with a past that is equally glorious and gory. Built to host public activities such as executions, games, gladiator fights, and animal hunts, the Colosseum could accommodate more than 50,000 people at a time.
After having a bloodied yet celebrated run for centuries, years of neglect and natural disasters led the Colosseum to lose its sheen. However, the Colosseum still remains one the most popular architectural wonders the world over and a top favorite among tourists.
Address: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: 8:30am-7pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/TN3g8suoUKPTq7qKA | Phone Number: +390639967700
The most famous of all Rome attractions, this architectural genius has earned the name of being one of the best-preserved ancient Roman constructions. As popular as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, at the Piazza Della Rotonda is also known as the world’s only architecturally perfect building. Constructed in 118 AD by Emperor Hadrian, the Pantheon was built on the site of an earlier temple. Currently, it is the burial place of ancient kings and other important people, including Raphael.
To understand the historical and architectural significance of the Pantheon, walk down the magnificent building. A key feature is a marvelous dome, which opens into the sky to allow sunlight to spill in.
Address: Piazza Della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: The timings may have changed owing to the pandemic. Please check https://www.pantheonroma.com/ for the latest timings. | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/df9rjXY7G8cq4N9U7 | Phone Number: +390668300230
St. Peter’s Basilica
One of the most important religious places in Christendom, St. Peter’s Basilica, stands at the site where Saint Peter was buried, at the far end of St. Peter’s Square in Piazza san Pietro. After the old Basilica was torn down, construction for the new Basilica began in 1506 and was helmed by Pope Julius II.
A tour of the Basilica will take you through several Renaissance artwork, especially those by Michelangelo, Bernini, Bramante, Carlo Maderno, etc. A guided tour of this Basilica along with the remaining Vatican City would help you explore the place better.
Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City | Timing: October-March: 7am-6:30pm, April-September: 7am-7pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/VRjQ3jXq2CKV1Xny5 | Phone Number: +39066982
A must-see among Rome tourist attractions, this flight of 135 steps was constructed in 1725 and got its name from the nearby Embassy of Spain. It connects the two squares — Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza Triniti dei Monti. The view that you get to experience after reaching the top makes the tiresome climb worth every bit.
You can also sit on the stairs with a cuppa or a gelato and observe the diversity of the people flanking the place, especially tourists from across the world. Piazza di Spagna offers a lot of shopping options and cafes, as well.
Address: Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: 24/7 | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/nHnRVHzig6WMP1iN7
The Trevi Fountain, built by Nicola Salvi in 1762, is one of the world’s most outstanding artworks. Situated at Piazza di Trevi, the Trevi Fountain was constructed in stunning Baroque design with the statue of Roman God Oceanus riding a chariot that is being pulled by his Tritons.
The Trevi Fountain, however, is popular for the legend attached to it. Apparently, it is said that if you toss a coin (or second and third coins) into it with your right hand over your left shoulder, you’ll return to this city and marry a Roman. So while you praise the artistic value of the Trevi Fountain, remember to throw a coin into it. Definitely, one of the best things to do in Rome.
Address: Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3Cb1Ha9zZNF2U4HEA | Phone Number: +39060608
Sistine Chapel Ceiling
A trip to Italy and the Vatican City would be incomplete without visiting the Sistine Chapel, a frontrunner among Rome attractions and one of the most famous religious places in the world. Apart from the Vatican museum complex, visit the Sistine Chapel for its extensive and detailed architecture and interior decorations by various renowned artists, especially the artwork in its ceiling by Michelangelo.
The sculptor was appointed the task of painting the ceiling by Pope Julius II in 1508, and there’re a lot of historically significant stories around it. The paintings on the ceiling capture the central scenes from the Old Testament, the most noteworthy ones being the frescoes of the Creation of Adam and the Fall of Adam and Eve/Expulsion from the Garden and the fresco of The Last Judgement.
Address: 00120 Vatican City | Timing: Monday-Saturday: 9am-4pm, Sunday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5vmT13otFt2EmqFs6 | Phone Number: +390669884676
Explore the Ancient Ruins at the Roman Forum
If you are wondering what to do in Rome, Italy, then plan a day trip to the Roman Forum. Considered the heart of ancient Rome and built around 500 BC, the Roman Forum was the most significant among all the forums. One of the most important archeological sites in Italy and the world, the Roman Forum was the hub of all religious, social, and political activities in ancient Rome. Located next to the Colosseum, the site comprised of various temples, squares, and arches. Some of the most well-known structures at the place include the Senate House, Temple of Saturn, Arch of Titus, Temple of Vesta, etc.
The Roman Forum was reconstructed and extended a number of times by various rulers like Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar, Domitian, and Trajan. The ruins at the Roman Forum were excavated by archeologist Carlo Fea in 1803. A priority in your top things to do in Rome Italy list, take a guided tour of this historical wonder to know more about centuries of the city’s past.
Address: Via Della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Monday-Friday: 10:30am-4:30pm, Saturday-Sunday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://g.page/foro-romano-roma?share | Phone Number: +390669984452
One of the most popular public squares in Rome and located close to the Pantheon, Piazza Navona is one of the top Rome attractions, with the maximum number of Baroque artwork and sculptures. The piazza boasts of three fountains, among which the Fountain of Four Rivers was designed by Bernini. The Moor Fountain (Fontana del Moro) and Fountain of Neptune are two other popular fountains. The façade of Saint Agnese in Agone Church at the piazza was by architect Francesco Borromini also happens to be a famous baroque masterpiece. While you appreciate the awesome artwork at the piazza, you can also take a grub break at of the restaurants, relish some gelato or enjoy the live performances.
Address: Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: 24/7 | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/CW9uaWEFpQNa35RL8
Save a day only to spend time at the Vatican City. Besides the St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums will blow your mind with the enormous amount of artwork on its premises. Museo Pio-Clementino, the Museum Chiaramonti, the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, and the Museo Gregoriano Egiziano are a treasure troves of more than 70,000 pieces of historical artwork.
Other noteworthy attractions at the Vatican Museums are the Entombment of Christ by Caravaggio, a gallery of maps, the spiral staircase, plenty of sculptures, the rooms of Raphael, etc. Opt for a guided tour for a better understanding of the place and buy your tickets online to avoid serpentine queues.
Address: 00120 Vatican City | Timing: Monday-Saturday: 9am-4pm, Sunday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zJsCaEgF3sC9jN3P7 | Phone Number: +390669884676
An open-air museum that houses palaces, gardens, a terrace, and much more. The Palatine Hill offers a great view of modern Rome while giving you a glimpse of the city’s history through centuries. Monuments from almost all eras of the city’s past can be found here. Noteworthy structures that still stand are the Flavian Palace, Hippodrome of Domitian, House of Augustus, and Farnese Gardens, among others. The site has connections to Roman mythology, as well. According to it, twins Romulus and Remus were originally found in this Location, and later they went on to build Rome.
Address: 00186 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy | Timing: 8:30am-7pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Dz44Hm5rwY8efjrn6
Castle Saint Angelo
A short distance away from the Vatican City, Castle Sant’Angelo was originally built in the early 2nd century as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian. However, later it was connected with the St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City with a fortified corridor as an escape route to the refuge for the Pope in adverse situations. Currently, it has a collection of weapons, sculptures, frescos from the Renaissance period, etc. You can climb up the spiral ramp to reach the top of the Castle Sant’Angelo for a panoramic view of Rome.
Address: Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00193 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: 9:30am-7pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PcwwSdFALNWAh2gj7 | Phone Number: +39066819111
Santa Maria Maggiore
One of the largest churches in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is known for its magnificent architecture as much as for being an important religious place. Built on the highest part of Esquiline Hill (one of the Seven Hills of Rome), it is listed as a basilica major and has a large medieval bell tower.
Visit the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore for its intrinsic art, architecture, and artifacts — original woodwork from the 15th century, gold decorations, 4th-century mosaics, frescos, a piece of Jesus Christ’s crib brought from Bethlehem in the 7th century, among others.
Address: P.za di Santa Maria Maggiore, 00100 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: 7am-6:45pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xDokT6ZhiLyTG93D9 | Phone Number: +390669886800
Borghese Gallery and Museum
An art gallery and museum that houses a great collection of paintings, sculptures, and antiquities that was owned by the Borghese family. Originally designed by architect Flaminio Ponzio in the early 17th century, the building was built for the order of Cardinal Borghese and has undergone multiple facelifts by other architects. In 1902, its collection was sold to the Italian state due to lack of maintenance. The collection includes some of the best artworks by Caravaggio — Boy with a Basket of Fruit, St Jerome Writing, Sick Bacchus —Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love, Raphael’s Entombment of Christ, and works by Peter Paul Rubens and Federico Barocci.
Address: Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5, 00197 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Monday-Friday: 9am-7pm, Sunday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/RsMjmpFR6P284ATR7 | Phone Number: +39068413979
Explore the funky and bohemian Trastevere
Thinking of fun things to do in Rome? Trastevere is your destination. Literally translated to “across the Tiber”, this part of the city is a true picture of Roman life. Cobblestone winding streets, ancient houses, and a slice of local life — Trastevere reflects the true spirit of the city!
The atmosphere is hip and bohemian, with numerous shops and boutiques selling jewelry, perfumes, and handicrafts. Trastevere has a thriving nightlife that’s too tempting to ignore. The narrow roads are lined with plenty of pubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants. Just hop into any and let your hair down.
Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/48a9sndvVGpmL2KMA
Santa Maria Della Vittoria
Tourists flock to Santa Maria Della Vittoria at a piazza of the same name for two reasons — to appreciate Bernini’s artwork or relive moments from Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. The mind-blowing artwork Cornaro Chapel by Bernini features the Ecstasy of St. Teresa statue within the church. The present church was built at the site of a small ancient chapel, and the main design is based on a Latin cross with a short nave, central dome, transepts, and an apse.
Address: Via Venti Settembre, 17, 00187 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Monday-Saturday: 8:30am-12pm; 3:30-6pm, Sunday: 3:30-6pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/6LwjDPVPfw8RCpF57 | Phone Number: +390642740571
Church of the San Luigi dei Francesi
If what to do in Rome has been playing on your mind besides trips to the Colosseum and similar places, then head to the numerous religious places. Churches here are synonymous with works by some of the world’s greatest artists. From the mesmerizing Sistine Chapel to the smallest ones, all of them boast of stunning masterpieces. This church has three of Caravaggio’s best works — The Calling of St. Matthew, Saint Matthew and the Angel, and The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew.
Located in between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, this church was built in the 16th century and designed by Giacomo Della Porta. A closer look at the façade will give you a glimpse of statues from French history.
Address: Piazza di S. Luigi de’ Francesi, 00186 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Monday-Friday: 9:30am-12:45pm, 2:30pm-6:30pm, Saturday: 9:30am-12:15pm, 2:30pm-6:30pm | Sunday: 11:30am-12:45pm, 2:30pm-6:30pm, Wednesday (morning only): Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zXbQPuYjdriqiptA7 | Phone Number: +3906688271
Altar of the Fatherland
One of the most important monuments for the Italians and located at the prime Location of Piazza Venezia close to the Colosseum, the structure was inaugurated in 1911 to pay respect to Victor Emmanuel II, Italy’s first king. The bronze equestrian statue of the king stands at the focal point of the building. Also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (Altare della Patria), the place was designed by architect Giuseppe Sacconi. The monument has the vault of the Unknown Soldier, an exhibition of the flags deployed in the battle for Italy’s unification, and memorabilia of navy units.
Address: Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: 9:30am-7:30 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/8pMWyAaTsxkDLaa26 | Phone Number: +39060608
Janiculum Hill (Belvedere del Gianicolo)
If you are ready to go the extra mile for a spectacular view of the city, then take a hike to the top of Janiculum Hill or Belvedere del Gianicolo. A little away from the hustle-bustle of the main city, the journey begins at Trastevere, via Garibaldi, to reach the top. Once up there, you will be able to spot all the famous structures besides gaping at the outstanding view. Among the many Rome attractions, this one is unmissable.
Pro tip: try to visit during sunrise or dusk for a breath-taking experience.
Address: Piazzale Giuseppe Garibaldi, 00165 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: 24/7 | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/fBNbPeZYy89VvBCX6 | Phone Number: +39060608
Located on Quirinal Hill, the Quirinale Palace is one of the official residencies of the current President of Italy. Known to be one of the largest palaces in the world, it has elegantly decorated rooms, courtyards, staircases, and chapels. The gardens of the property are also worth a visit. Opt for a guided tour of the palace to know more about its historical significance.
Address: Piazza del Quirinale, 00187 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Tuesday-Wednesday, Friday-Sunday: 9:30 am-4 pm, Monday and Thursday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/spRcMxfyuKqYwD7s9 | Phone Number: +390646991
Basilica de San Clemente
A not-so-famous one among the plethora of basilicas in Italy, the Basilica de San Clemente is nondescript from outside but opulent from inside; but nevertheless, it is one of those Rome attractions you cannot miss. Packing in almost 2000 years of history, this minor Basilica will take you back in time over three periods — a pagan temple in the first century, the Basilica of the 4th century, and its current form since 1123 AD. The Basilica de San Clemente has some of the most spectacular mosaics and frescoes. Besides its religious significance, visit to satisfy the art lover in you.
Address: Via Labicana, 95, 00184 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Monday-Friday: 9am-12:30pm, 3-6pm, Saturday-Sunday: 12-6 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/nsZkubnEj1Zruojj9 | Phone Number: +39067740021
To experience real la dolce vita, make sure you have enough time to stroll through the tangle of cobblestone alleys of Centro Storico. Lined with boutiques, cafes, gelaterias, restaurants, and bars, every corner of Centro Storico spells vibrancy in the truest sense of the term. As you walk through, get awed by the many Renaissance palaces, monuments, ancient ruins, piazzas, private courtyards of wealthy citizens, and so much more.
Address: 00186 Rome, Italy | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vnQirzjnwk35XJjA8
Go shopping at Porta Portese
A vacation remains incomplete without a serious bout of shopping, scouting through hundreds of items, and bargaining for the best deal. If too much history and art appreciation are already tiring you, then take a break and fill up your shopping bags at Porta Portese.
It is a Sunday morning market in Trastevere at the Piazza di Porta Portese where you get everything from books to antiques (both original and copies), and clothes. The place gives you a flea market feel, and you can bargain until you get a happy rate for your picks.
Address: Piazza di Porta Portese, 00153 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Sunday: 6am-2pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Sqy4NV69rvBr2ghe9 | Phone Number: +39060608
Get a coffee at La Casa Del Caffe Tazza D’oro
This almost 80-year old coffee shop in the heart of the city is home to some of the best brews in the world. A must in your list of best things to do in Rome, this café has been keeping traditions alive all through. Its claim to fame is its unique “Regine” blends, single-origin selections, granita coffee, and other award-winning products that showcase the finesses of Italian expertise. The renowned café has been appreciated by tourists and locals alike for its offerings, pricing, and warm service. Take a break from all things touristy and sip on your cuppa like a true Roman.
Address: Via Degli Orfani, 84, 00186 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Monday-Saturday: 7am-8pm, Sunday: 10:30am-7:15am | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/yaXKhSAf3n5X3eRb7 | Phone Number: +39066789792
Appian Way: Europe’s first superhighway
Walking through a road that has more than 2000 years of historical tales to tell! Now, that’s a holiday worth cherishing forever. The Appian Way (Via Appia Antica), named after the Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus, is Europe’s first superhighway that was built as a military road in 312 BC. And it has seen some serious actions over centuries. Walk through the pages of history as you stop by to check out the many ancient monuments along the way. A guided tour is recommended for detailed know-how of its glorious past. Keeping this road out of your itinerary will leave your Rome sightseeing incomplete.
Address: Via Appia Antica, 42, 00178 Roma RM, Italy | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/2aqNEM6KuejQE2wz5 | Phone Number: +39065135316
Campo de’ Fiori
Still thinking about what to see in Rome? Drop by at the Campo de’ Fiori for fresh fruits and vegetables. One of the best markets in the city, the place bustles with vendors and is full of life. Located south of Piazza Navona at the Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, the spot boasts of some genuine noteworthy architecture, as well. For a more vibrant feel, drop by at night and spend time at the many pizzerias, cafes, and gelaterias or go bar hopping with your friends or partner.
Address: Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 00186 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: 24/7 | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/wpyvucWPjMxrsDUs7 | Phone Number: +39060608
Home to the city’s symbol, the Capitoline Wolf, this place could pass off as any art or history lover’s favorite haunt. Located at the Piazza del Campidoglio and divided into three separate buildings, it houses a splendid collection of sculptures, including busts of Roman emperors — Augustus to Caligula — statues (including one of Marcus Aurelius), paintings by Caravaggio and Battista, and so much more.
Address: Piazza del Campidoglio, 1, 00186 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: 9:30am-7:30pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5ZcCyYdok1rfTdXS9 | Phone Number: +39060608
Have some Gelato at Giolitti
A trip to Rome remains incomplete if you don’t spend an obscene amount of time at the many gelaterias around town, gorging on gelatos of all colors and flavors. Giolitti has been around since the 1900s and has an eclectic menu of a dozen flavors. Always crowded, be prepared to wait in the queue to get your fill of a cone of two flavors with whipped cream. And while at it, do not forget to appreciate the 100-year old interiors of the place.
Address: Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, 00186 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Monday-Friday: 7:30am-11pm, Saturday-Sunday: 8:30am-12am | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/BVKcUVpHNfz3BiRMA | Phone Number: +39066991243
MAXXI – National Museum of 21st Century Art
If you think this city is all about the Colosseum and centuries of historical artwork, then you need to visit MAXXI to get a completely different experience of Rome attractions and get transported to a different world altogether. A first of its kind in Italy, this place is devoted to contemporary art with innovation and creativity in every corner. MAXXI Art, MAAXI Architecture, galleries, auditoriam, cafeteria, shops, and a lot more are enough to keep you hooked for quite a few hours.
Address: Via Guido Reni, 4a, 00196 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Tuesday-Friday: 11 am-7 pm, Saturday-Monday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://g.page/museomaxxi?share | Phone Number: +39063201954
Testaccio: Neighborhood you must visit
Wrap up your holiday in Italy by partying all night at Testaccio. Visit this place to get a vibe of the Roman nightlife and to get your fill of fun things to do in Rome. A number of bars and nightclubs offer great venues to let your hair down as you party hard until dawn. If you are looking at a more sober visit, then drop by at the market for bakeries, fresh produce, delis, etc. The Testaccio market is also known for its fishmongers and butchers. Walk a little ahead to the eastern side of the market to check out clothes, shoes, and housewares.
Address: Via Aldo Manuzio, 66b, 00153 Roma RM, Italy | Timing: Monday-Saturday: 7am-2:30pm, Sunday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zmjjHisSSL2Deakq5 | Phone Number: +393337156290
The capital city of Italy is a perfect potpourri of art, history, and culture. There’s always so much to do and so many things to see in Rome that either you spend a considerable amount of time here or plan a second trip soon after you come back from the first one.