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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

#1
Colosseum

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
#2
Roman Forum (Foro Romano)

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
#3
Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani)

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
#4
Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina)

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
#5
Vatican City (Citta del Vaticano)

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
#6
Mt. Vesuvius (Monte Vesuvio)

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
#7
Pantheon

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
#8
St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)

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
#9
Piazza Navona

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
#10
Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)

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
#11
Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)

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
#12
Campo de' Fiori

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
#13
Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo)

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
#14
St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro)

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
#15
Piazza Venezia

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

Trip ideas

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Rome

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Rome

Top activities in Rome

Skip the Line: Colosseum Small Group Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
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Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
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Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour

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Fully Guided Pompeii Day Trip with Option for Mount Vesuvius or Amalfi Coast
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Rome Golf Cart Private Tour

Rome Golf Cart Private Tour

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Small-Group Tour of Colosseum Underground, Arena and Forum
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Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Group Tour
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Colosseum, Pantheon and Roman Forum Express: Small Group Tour Skip-the-Line Pass
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Skip the Line: Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill Tour
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Small Group Pompeii and Amalfi Coast Guided Tour with Positano from Rome
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Gladiator Gate and Arena Floor Special Access Colosseum Tour
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All Rome in 1 Day WOW Tour - Luxury Car, Guide, Entrance Tickets, Lunch included
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Recent reviews from experiences in Rome

star-5
Great tour and awesome tour guide!
Mary_N, May 2022
Private Early Bird Vatican Tour
She gave us many suggestions of other things to see and do in the city.
star-5
Awesome
VIRGINIA_L, May 2022
Private Arrival Transfer: Rome Fiumicino Airport to Hotel
Driver was courteous and easy to talk to in English.
star-5
A great chance to see some of Rome that is off the beaten path
gordon, May 2022
Rome: Appian Way Catacombs and Aqueducts Bike Tour
We were able to see parts of Rome we have never visited and it was a great way to spend a day seeing the wonderful scenery of Rome.
star-5
My Best experience of Rome
mary_h, May 2022
Rome by Night-Ebike tour with Food and Wine Tasting
It was a great experience to see Rome at night ❤️
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So much FUN!
Ashley_F, May 2022
Vespa Sidecar Tour in Rome with Cappuccino
This was one of my favorite activities during my 2 week European vacation.
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Sterling Chauffeur Service
Graham_L, May 2022
Shared Arrival Transfer: Fiumicino Airport to Rome Hotels
But he was very good in finding an English speaking citizen and we were soon on our way to the right address.
star-4
Good way to spend some hrs in Rome
Torben_A, May 2022
Leonardo da Vinci Experience
Amazing to see da Vinci's creative ideas on display.
star-5
Brilliant Tour from start to end!
Stephanie_B, May 2022
Skip-the-Line Group Tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica
Lucia's English was perfect and I can't recommend her and tour enough!
star-5
A night to remember
Amanda_V, May 2022
Bachelorette Party Wine and Food Tour in Rome
She knows exactly what to do the make it a night to remember.
star-5
Must go on tour! Great introduction to Rome at night!
Kathy_S, May 2022
Best of Rome by Night Private Sightseeing Chauffeured Tour | pick up/Drop off
I saw many new places and mom was still able to see the standards.
star-5
5 Stars All The Way
Wendy_H, May 2022
Rome Segway Tour
I highly recommend not only Fat Tire Tours, but doing this tour as soon as you get to Rome to see all the things you want to get more familiar with.
star-5
Rome at Night
Geraldine_B, May 2022
Vatican Night Tour - Rome
I would certainly recommend the night walk as to see Rome at night and to finish off at the Vatican was a brilliant ending
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Just Awesome
Tyler_T, May 2022
Private Full-Day Rome Segway Tour
It was such a fun way to see the city and the guides were extremely nice and knowledgeable.
star-5
Amazing experience and guide.
KELLY_W, May 2022
E-Bike Tour to Rome Ancient Appian Way
An entire new way to see how Rome was created.
star-5
Unique way to explore Rome
kathy_G, May 2022
Small-Group Rome Food Walking Tour: Trastevere, Campo de' Fiori, Jewish Ghetto
Great way to see this special areas in Rome.
star-5
Different side of Rome!
Lindsay_P, May 2022
E-Bike Tour to Rome Ancient Appian Way
I’ve only ever seen the city parts of Rome so it was great to see the beautiful green side of Rome.
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Food tour in Rome
Nancy_S, May 2022
Small-Group Rome Food Walking Tour: Trastevere, Campo de' Fiori, Jewish Ghetto
It’s a great way to see parts of Rome you would never see on your own.
star-5
Rome plus a little bit more
Richard_C, May 2022
Rome Walking Tour Including the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain
She showed us the main attractions which we expected, but also some off the beaten track sights like St Ignatius...
star-5
What a trip
Michele_H, May 2022
Best of Rome by Golfcart private tour
I gave him instructions to see as much as possible with as few facts as possible- just relevant information- it was great - I don’t think anyone saw as much as we did in our 3 hour buggy ride - would highly recommend him.
star-5
Our guide, Paul, was...
Robert_C, May 2022
Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
He allowed us to help design what we wanted to see and made each site and area come alive with great insight and historical perspective.

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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions