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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
Love it
Nilda_R, Jun 2022
Small-Group Crypts and Catacombs Tour with Bone Chapel
The trip outside Rome to see the aqueduct was very nice
star-5
Hot weather but great guide!!
par4jonesjrs, Jun 2022
Skip The Line Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Guided Tour
just maybe choose the late spring or early fall to visit Rome.
star-5
Great experience!
Holly_K, Jun 2022
Rome Evening Panoramic Walking Tour Including Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps
It’s great to see Rome in the evening when it’s a bit cooler.
star-5
Amazing Time!
Alison_M, Jun 2022
Rome Food Tour by Sunset around Prati District
I would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Rome and wanting to see the Prati district.
star-5
Fun way to see Rome
Aziza_M, Jun 2022
Vespa Tour By Night
Such a fun way to see the city!
star-5
Fantastic experience
Adrienne_J, Jun 2022
Small-Group Rome Food Walking Tour: Trastevere, Campo de' Fiori, Jewish Ghetto
This was a fantastic way to see Rome and learn about new places to eat and drink.
star-5
Fun city tour
Christina_C, Jun 2022
Rome by Night Segway Tour
Nice way to see the city without melting in the heat.
star-5
Our guide, Alberto, was...
Sarah_S, Jun 2022
Rome by Night with Pizza and Gelato (max 8 people with driver)
We got to see parts of Rome in the evening and enjoy a fun dinner on Navona square.
star-5
Fun in Rome
MarvinM, Jun 2022
Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
Great way to see Rome!!
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AMAZING
Sydney_L, Jun 2022
Skip-the-Line Group Tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica
It shows you everything you could possibly want to see when it comes to the Vatican.
star-5
Awesome
Sydney_L, Jun 2022
Charming VIP Rome By Night Experience
If you are only in rome for a short period of time, this is the best way to see the entire city in just a few short hours.
star-5
Very informative
julie_v, Jun 2022
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica Tour - Skip The Line!
Spoke perfect English even tho she was born and raised in Rome.
star-5
Awesome way to sample Roma with a very personal approach
Vonette_N, Jun 2022
Best of Rome by Golfcart private tour
Very fun adventure to see Rome in small bites, that help you determine where you want to spend time and see in-depth.
star-5
Best view of Rome
Rosa_B, Jun 2022
Tour of St Peter's Basilica with Dome Climb and Grottoes in a Small Group
Visiting the Basilica was incredible To see the resting place of Saint Peter was very moving and all the beautiful mosaics and artwork.
star-5
Magical
Julie_H, Jun 2022
Vespa Tour By Night
It was a beautiful way to see the city!
star-5
Easy off and on
Corey_H, Jun 2022
Rome by Golf Cart Private Tour
So much to see on this ride.
star-5
Great way to see a lot despite the crowds
Blair_R, Jun 2022
Skip the Line: Colosseum Small Group Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
We just had 2 days to see everything we could, and our guide Olga really packed in a lot in our 2 hours together.
star-5
Great tour for solo traveling
Adri_L, Jun 2022
The Colosseum & Roman Forums' Secrets Self-Guided Tour
Great tour to see different landmarks of Rome!
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Gabby was great! She was...
Josh_W, Jun 2022
Haunted Rome Semi-Private Walking Tour
It was our first day in town and she really showed us around and gave us some good recommendations on what to do while in Rome.
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Highly recommended
Tina_R, Jun 2022
4 Hours Private Guided Tour of Rome with Pickup in 8 seater Mercedes minivan
He knew the best sights to take amazing photos and easily knew his way around so we didn't waste time in the car.
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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