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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

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
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
#6
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
#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

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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Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Group Tour
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Skip the Line: Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill Tour
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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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Gladiator Gate and Arena Floor Special Access Colosseum Tour
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Vatican City Tour: Vatican Museums Sistine Chapel and Vatican Basilica
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Small Group Pompeii and Amalfi Coast Guided Tour with Positano from Rome
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Recent reviews from experiences in Rome

star-5
Not Your Typical Tour
WGina_F, Jul 2022
Explore Rome via Golf Car Private Tour
It was a very exciting, comfortable way to see Rome and enjoy a break from walking in the heat!
star-5
Professional Service
Brian_L, Jul 2022
Private Arrival Transfer: Rome Fiumicino Airport to Hotel
He gave us good tips on what to do and see while we were there.
star-4
Good to see the city in a different way.
Dennis_R, Jul 2022
Angels and Demons Half-Day Guided Tour with Private Transport
This was a great way to see Rome and experience what the book or movie portrayed in its adventure.
star-5
This was a great way to...
Stewart_G, Jul 2022
Rome Segway Tour
This was a great way to see Rome.
star-5
Great way to start a visit to Rome.
Eric_H, Jul 2022
Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
This was an excellent way to see may areas in Rome in comfort.
star-5
Well worth the money
Daniel_G, Jul 2022
Colosseum, Piazza Pantheon and Roman Forum Small Group Tour Skip the Line
What an amazing trip, 100% would recommend this as it’s so informative and allows you to see so much of Rome and it’s history.
star-5
Would have been very difficult on our own.
Walter_G, Jul 2022
Rome in a Day: Colosseum, Vatican & Historic Rome Small-Group Skip-the-Line Tour
Was the way to go to see Rome in a day.
star-5
Awesome experience,...
Audrey_K, Jul 2022
Rome by Night-Ebike tour with Food and Wine Tasting
Best way to see Rome on our first day in the City.
star-5
Don't miss this tour!
Lee_d, Jul 2022
Skip-the-Line: Night Vatican Museums Tour with the Sistine Chapel
I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the Vatican museums we were able to see on the tour.
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went back for more!
susan_c, Jul 2022
Small-Group Rome Food Walking Tour: Trastevere, Campo de' Fiori, Jewish Ghetto
I was able to see parts of Rome that I hadn't in the past and learned a lot of history.
star-5
Excellent Experience
Emilia_S, Jun 2022
Colosseum, Piazza Pantheon and Roman Forum Small Group Tour Skip the Line
Our tour guide, Hilary, was fantastic and took us to other attractions as well as the ones included.
star-5
Great way to see the city!
Gemma_C, Jun 2022
Big Bus Rome Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Tour
Great way to see Rome on such a hot day!
star-5
Awesome start to vacation!
Dominic_J, Jun 2022
Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
Willing to change and accommodate to see other things.
star-5
Rome in one day
Carlos_M, Jun 2022
Rome in a Day: Colosseum, Vatican & Historic Rome Small-Group Skip-the-Line Tour
Lots to see in Rome but the tour is designed to hit all the right places so you don't miss any of them.
star-4
Great unique experience
Christy_M, Jun 2022
Small-Group Tour of Colosseum Underground, Arena and Forum
Hike up the Palatine hill is no joke for the out-of-shape, especially in the summer Roman heat!
star-5
Great tour!!! Memorable!!
Kristin_S, Jun 2022
Vespa Tour By Night
So much fun to see Rome from a vespa!
star-5
Rome in one day!
Rita_W, Jun 2022
Skip the Line: Colosseum and Ancient Rome Small-Group Walking Tour Including Pantheon and Piazza Navona
Would recommend for someone trying to see Rome in a day!
star-5
Excellent tour of Vatican Museums
Laura_R, Jun 2022
Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Guided Tour
So much to see in the Vatican museums.
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Transfer
Jeffrey_G, Jun 2022
Private Arrival Transfer: Rome Fiumicino Airport to Hotel
He did not speak English but we made it work and got to our hotel.
star-5
Best experience, best guide
Sally_W, Jun 2022
Best of Rome by Golfcart private tour
Best way to see Rome for the first time.
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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
CEST (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