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Things to do in Rome

Rome, Italy is a vibrant and beautiful city with a rich and fascinating history. It is a city steeped in culture and tradition, with a wealth of incredible architecture, art and cuisine. There is something for everyone in Rome, whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a family holiday, or a fun-filled adventure. You can explore the city's ancient ruins, sample delicious Italian cuisine, and take in the stunning beauty of its architectural masterpieces. Rome also offers a wide variety of activities, from shopping and sightseeing to hiking and swimming. With its bustling nightlife, vibrant culture, and relaxed atmosphere, Rome is the perfect destination for a memorable vacation.

Our most recommended things to do in Rome

Rome: Street Food Tour with Local Guide

1. Rome: Street Food Tour with Local Guide

Tuck into Rome's iconic street food on a guided walking tour of the Jewish Quarter or Trastevere. Learn about local food with five tastings and try delicacies, such as pizza, supplì, and seasonal dishes. Choose between a tour of Trastevere or a tour of the Jewish Quarter, two of Rome's most picturesque districts with group and private tour options available. With your guide, learn about Rome’s history through its most beloved street food. If you've chosen the Trastevere tour, meet your guide on Tiber Island and soak up its unique atmosphere before entering Trastevere. Step into vibrant squares, such as Piazza Santa Maria, and indulge in popular street food, from cheesy supplì to delicious cannoli. If you've chosen the tour of the Jewish Quarter, head to the lively Campo De' Fiori square where one of the oldest open-air markets takes place every morning. Then, follow your guide to Rome's Jewish Quarter and see highlights, including the Portico of Octavia and the Turtle Fountain. Throughout both tours, enjoy five tastings with some wine and beer. Finally, make your way to an ice cream shop for a much-deserved treat. Both tours finish on a sweet note with the perfect Italian gelato.

Rome: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Basilica Tour

2. Rome: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Basilica Tour

Take a tour of one of the holiest sites in Christendom on this guided walking tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. First, visit the Pine Courtyard, Belvedere Courtyard, the Gallery of the Maps, Candelabra Gallery, Pio Clementino's Rooms, the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms (only on early morning tours), and the Sistine Chapel. Then, be led by an expert guide to some of the major attractions, as well as to some lesser-known spots that other tourists often miss. You will also get to see other galleries of the Vatican corridors. Finally, visit Michelangelo's Pietà at St. Peter's Basilica before concludig your tour at the Sistine Chapel.

Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

3. Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

Take a stirring journey through art and religious history with skip-the-ticket-line entry to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Avoid the long ticket lines and then enjoy your visit at your own pace.  Wander through the Greek Cross Gallery to see elaborately-carved sarcophagi that might just contain the earthly remains of some of antiquity's famous kings and queens. Peek at the Cabinet of the Masks, or tour the Sala degli Animali to see a virtual menagerie of fantastic beasts, real and imagined. Walk the Upper Galleries, including the Gallery of Maps, to see how cartographers depicted the world through the ages. See masterpieces by Renaissance masters in the Raphael Rooms, and rest for a while in the Borgia Apartments. Then, it’s time to marvel at Michelangelo’s exquisite Sistine Chapel, the crown jewel of the Vatican, and perhaps even of all the world’s art treasures.

Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Entry Tickets

4. Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Entry Tickets

Marvel at the remains of some of the greatest monuments of the Roman Republic with an entry ticket to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Skip the long ticket line at the Colosseum and go straight to the fast-track entrance for security checks.  After entering the Colosseum at your allotted time, relive the stories of emperors and gladiators. Explore the largest amphitheater ever built and learn about its construction process, which started under Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD and was completed by his son Titus in 80 AD. Imagine the ferocious fights between man and beast, as you stand in the elliptical arena which was once able to seat up to 73,000 spectators. Discover Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, which, according to ancient tradition, are precisely where Rome was born. Look down at the ruins of temples in the Imperial Forum, the center of all political, social, and economic life in the city during the Roman Republic. Experience the most ancient parts of Rome from the most significant of its seven hills.

Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Priority Access Guide

5. Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Priority Access Guide

Start your tour right outside the monumental Colosseum where you will meet your guide. Here, your expert in Roman history will give you an introduction to the finest arena of the Roman Empire. Explore the magnificent Colosseum, which had 80 entrances and could accommodate around 65,000 spectators. Hear about the spectacular festivals the Romans held here, which could last up to 100 days. Enjoy time at your leisure after your visit to take some pictures, refresh yourself, and wander around. Then, being the second part of your tour to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. Explore the social, political, and religious center of the Roman Empire, where the different strata of Roman society would rub shoulders. Take in the incredible ruins at Palatine Hill on a guided tour of the grounds, and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Colosseum. For the second part of your tour, you will have the opportunity to meet your second guide, who is passionate about Ancient Rome. Make the most out of your experience by having two of the highest-rated guides lead you through the areas of expertise they know best.

Rome: Skip-the-Line Tour to Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill

6. Rome: Skip-the-Line Tour to Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill

Skip the line with a guide on this highlights tour of the Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine Hill. Enter the Colosseum through a dedicated group entrance. Follow in the footsteps of gladiators and see the monument from a 360° panoramic vantage point. Imagine what it was like to see 50,000 blood-thirsty spectators with help of your guide. Visit the Forum and walk around several important ancient Roman government buildings. Take a step into the past at the Forum Magnum, which was once a bustling marketplace. Learn more about the ancient Roman culture and picture how they lived. Go up Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome. Experience the most ancient place in the city, situated 40 meters above the Roman Forum. Marvel at the view of the Circus Maximus.

Rome: Fast Track Colosseum with Arena Floor VIP Guided Tour

7. Rome: Fast Track Colosseum with Arena Floor VIP Guided Tour

Explore Rome's iconic sights on a unique tour to the Colosseum and its arena floor, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill on a walking tour. Discover unseen facets of these famous Italian landmarks and learn about their rich history from your local guide. Begin your tour with a guided visit of the Roman Forum. Find the remains of public buildings, temples, the sacred dwelling of the Vestal Virgins, and more in the Forum - the political, social, and religious core of the city. Learn stories of the political dramas that played out and the lives of people who lived 2,000+ years ago. Then, head to Palatine Hill, where Romulus chose to found his new city that became home to the rich and powerful during the Republic. Finally, make your way to the iconic Colosseum. Access the arena floor through the gladiators’ gate and imagine their experience stepping out under the gaze of thousands of noisy spectators. From the arena, look down into the dungeons where the gladiators prepared themselves beforehand and where wild animals were kept.

Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-The-Line Ticket

8. Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-The-Line Ticket

Explore the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel without waiting in the often long public lines. Take a journey through the awe-inspiring museums where you’ll find a treasure trove of Roman statues, Renaissance paintings, and Italian artworks. With these Vatican Museum skip-the-line tickets, have more time to explore the immense collection of art that can be found in the Vatican Museums. Walk through the exhibits and galleries from the Round Room to the Gallery of the Tapestries. Discover the Belvedere and Pinecone Courtyards and the famous Gallery of the Maps. This room filled with topographical maps of Italy by Danti dating back to 1583 remains one of the largest geographical pictures to this day. Browsing through the Pio Clementino Museum you can see the Greek Cross Hall, Gallery of the Statues, Hall of the Muses, and other paintings, sculptures, and statues from artists spanning centuries. Pass through the majestic collection of ceremonial carriages that are now part of the Carriage Pavilion. Discover the countless treasures of the Vatican with a visit to the Raphael Rooms. Admire the 4 rooms of the Vatican famous for their frescoes by the High Renaissance great Raphael. Gaze in awe at Raphael’s The School of Athens. Observe the most famous chapel in the world – the Sistine Chapel. Witness the beautiful frescoes that decorate the interiors from Botticelli, Rosselli, Perugino, and Ghirlandaio and the most famous fresco of all – Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Entry Tickets

9. Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Entry Tickets

Marvel at the remains of some of the greatest monuments of the Roman Republic with an entry ticket to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Skip the long ticket line at the Colosseum and go straight to the fast track entrance for security checks. After entering the Colosseum at your allotted time, relive the stories of emperors and gladiators. Begun under the emperor Vespasian in 72 AD, and completed by his son Titus in 80 AD, the Colosseum was the largest amphitheater ever built. Imagine the ferocious fights between man and beast, as you stand in the elliptical arena, comprised of 4 levels, and once able to seat up to 73,000 spectators. Your ticket also includes one entry to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, must-see sights for all those visiting the “Eternal City.” According to ancient tradition, this is the spot where Rome was born. Look down at the ruins of temples in the Imperial Forum, the center of all political, social, and economic life in the city during the Roman Republic. Experience the most ancient parts of Rome from the most significant of its “Seven Hills.”

Rome: Colosseum Underground, Arena Floor and Ancient Rome

10. Rome: Colosseum Underground, Arena Floor and Ancient Rome

See parts of the Colosseum that are usually restricted on a guided walking tour that gives you special access to the arena floor and the underground tunnels with fast-track entry. Afterward, continue on with a stroll through Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. As you stand on the arena floor, walk in the footsteps of gladiators and imagine the roaring crowd. Then, descend beneath the colosseum and see the tunnels that connected the colosseum with the Ludus Magnus, where the gladiators would train. Observe the chambers that would house wild animals and see the elevators that were used to release these predators onto the arena floor. Continue with a walk through the Roman Forum followed by a stroll through the ruins of the emperors’ palaces on the Palatine Hill.

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Frequently asked questions about Rome

What top attractions are a must-see in Rome?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Rome?

The best day trips and excursions from Rome are:

Pompeii

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Rome

Elyssa Bernard is the creator and publisher of the Romewise. She comes from Florida but has been living in Rome for more than 20 years now, a place that she calls home and is passionate about. On her blog you can find all the detaills for a planning a 3 day Itinerary in Rome.

What should I do on my first trip to Rome?

A first-time visitor to Rome may want to see some of the must-see sites like the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, along with Saint Peter's Basilica; the one and only Colosseum, along with the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and one of the most amazing monuments from ancient Rome, the Pantheon.

What are some hidden gems to see in Rome?

Rome is packed with hidden gems. If you love art, don't miss the Galleria Doria Pamphilj or Palazzo Barberini. The Museo Barracco is a free museum and well worth a quick visit. If you love the ancient stuff, don't miss the Domus Romana at Palazzo Valentini, the Domus Aurea, and the Baths of Caracalla. For even more hidden gems, take a tour of Trastevere, a fascinating neighborhood full of history and ambiance.

How much time should I spend in Rome?

To really see the "must-see" sites in Rome, you need at least 2.5 days. Try to avoid visiting the Vatican and the Colosseum on the same day, as both are huge with lots to see, and it can be tiring. I'd split these over two days. You'll also want to fit in other sites like the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon. And if you want some additional time for strolling, shopping, and just soaking up the atmosphere, you really need 3-4 days.

What food is Rome known for?

Every region of Italy has its own cuisine, and Rome is no exception. Some foods Rome is known for include the 4 classic Roman pastas, all made with pecorino (sheep's milk) cheese: cacio e pepe, gricia, carbonara, and amatriciana. Rome is also famed for its artichokes, either braised (alla Romana) or deep fried (alla Giudia, or Jewish-style). A large part of Roman cuisine is based on "cucina povera", simple food, and this includes many offal dishes like tripe, coratella, pajata, and more. This is actually a rich topic so I highly recommend trying out some local trattorias, and if you really want to know more, take a cooking class or food tour.

What is the best way to get around Rome?

The best way to get around Rome is on foot. You will see more hidden courtyards, cobblestone streets, shops, etc. But it can also be tiring when you are sightseeing, so you can opt for Rome's public transportation system of underground metro or city bus. Another great way to get around Rome, especially for first-timers, is with a hop-on/hop-off bus that allows you to get an overview, while stopping at all the major sites and monuments.

What are the best months to visit Rome?

For the loveliest weather, visit Rome in spring and fall. But these are also the most crowded times of year in Rome. The quietest months are January, February, and August. Christmas is a beautiful time to visit Rome, despite the cold. The city is all lit up and festive. Summer is a great time to experience a lot of things outside and at night, but you can expect hot, humid days. If you want a good mix of fair weather and smaller crowds, try late November or late August/early September.

What is neighborhood Trastevere known for?

There are many interesting and picturesque neighborhoods in Rome, most with hundreds if not thousands of years of history behind them. There is not one particular neighborhood that Rome is best known for but perhaps one of the most popular and picturesque neighborhoods is Trastevere, just across the Tiber river (hence its name). Its history goes back at least 2,000 years and you can find layers of ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Rome here. You'll also find tiny winding cobblestone streets with fascinating doorways and even smaller streets at every turn. Despite its fame as a "touristy" neighborhood, Trastevere is in fact a very fascinating area to explore. I recommend a tour so you get the most out of this beautiful Roman neighborhood.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

You can eat well in just about every Roman neighborhood. Some of the most well-known include Trastevere, Monti, Campo dei Fiori, and Testaccio. I'd venture to say that some of my favorite restaurants can actually be found around the historic center near the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Pantheon.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Rome is full of great shopping areas, perhaps none more famous than the Spanish Steps neighborhood. For more boutique-style shopping, head to the Pantheon, Monti, or the area around via Cola di Rienzo on the other side of the Tiber River not far from the Vatican.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Rome?

Choosing where to stay in Rome is subjective for everyone. If it's your first time in Rome, I recommend staying as central and close to public transportation as possible. This means staying near Piazza Barberini, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain. If you want to be a bit further from the historic center, but still close enough to easily access it, Esquilino offers many good affordable as well as luxury options. Prati, near the Vatican, is another lovely but slightly less central area with several metro stops making it convenient to get across the river to the center. Campo dei Fiori, the Jewish Ghetto, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona are charming neighborhoods that are not close to a Metro stop. But as they are so central, you can easily walk most places.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Rome?

The best family things to do in Rome will depend on your children's ages and their interests. Visiting the Vatican and Colosseum are probably high on your list, but if your children are small, you should consider keeping the visit short or taking a tour geared towards families. Other family friendly things to do include cycling, taking a food tour or cooking class, or just strolling very leisurely through the historic center and taking lots of breaks.

What is the best thing to do in Rome for solo travelers?

The best things to do in Rome for solo travelers depends on whether you want to meet some fellow travelers or not. For solitude, visit some of Rome's amazing churches, including of course, Saint Peter's Basilica and the Pantheon. Take some time enjoying Rome's many parks, gardens, and markets. To meet fellow travellers join small-group tours, especially food tours and cooking classes, where you will have more of a chance to chat and mingle.

What is the best thing to do in Rome for couples?

Rome is already such a romantic city, or it can be. If you are here from Spring through early fall, you can enjoy some of the many outdoor nighttime events like shows on the Fori Imperiali, or night tours of the Vatican Museums or Colosseum. Other fun things for couples include doing wine or gelato tastings, cycling along the Appia Antica, enjoying a picnic in the park, or taking a Vespa tour.

What are the best annual events in Rome?

Rome enjoys a fairly mild climate year-round, making it a great destination any time. You may want to visit Rome during the Christmas/New Years holidays, as the city is all lit up and festive. Easter is another beautiful time to visit when the city is bursting with spring blossoms. Summertime in Rome means lots of outdoor nighttime events, and it's also a great time to check out the nearby beaches.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Rome?

Rome is blessed with huge swaths of green space. You can spend time in the Appia Antica park and not even feel like you are in a city at all. This historic and archeological park is full of things to see and do, such as visit the catacombs, rent bicycles or just explore on foot. The Villa Borghese is another of Rome's most beloved parks. It offers stunning views over Rome at one end, one of Rome's best museums (the Borghese Gallery) at the other end, and a gorgeous, shaded, well-kept park in the middle. You can do all kinds of sports here, along with visit other smaller museums, rent boats on a lake, or picnic.

Other Sightseeing Options in Rome

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What people are saying about Rome

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 363,298 reviews

Maria was a fantastic host and teacher. If you have any interest in making pasta, then this course is a must do. I had tried at home a few times in the past, with mixed success. After this course I now have a much better insight and have already started making pasta at home (and Tiramisu)!

We had an excellent tour! Our guide, Daniella, was personable, knowledgable and VERY funny!! We enjoyed her storytelling and humor very much. The tour was timed perfectly and she provided so much information that we weren't left with any questions to ask.

The tour was fascinating and just enough time to be underground. I recommend bringing a mask. The musty smell gets a bit much after a while, if you are sensitive to smells.

Fantastic experience! We got a very great tour from an enthusiastic and cunning tour guide named Radu!

Ilenia was an amazing guide, thank you for everything.