Things to do in
Rome

See amazing feats of civilization, ancient and modern alike, in this 2,500-year-old metropolis.

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Our most recommended things to do in Rome

Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

1. 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 Priority Tickets

2. Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Priority Tickets

Skip the long ticket line 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, 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: Shuttle Bus Transfer to or from Fiumicino Airport

3. Rome: Shuttle Bus Transfer to or from Fiumicino Airport

Enjoy a frequent and reliable roundtrip shuttle bus transfer between Fiumicino Airport (FCO) and three central locations in Rome. Ride in a regularly-maintained, air-conditioned bus with Wi-Fi on board. For your return transfer, simply refer to the timetable on your voucher. Choose from pickup or drop-off locations at one of these conveniently located stops: Fiumicino Airport, Rome Termini Train Station (Via Marsala 5 as opposed to the Best Western Hotel Royal Santina), the Vatican (Via Crescenzio, 2), or Circonvallazione Aurelia, 19 (in front of a CRAI supermarket). Choose a 1-way shuttle bus service to or from the airport, or alternatively an open return ticket. Best of all, be greeted by staff who will be waiting for you by your bus. Jump on board once you’ve checked in and your luggage is safely stowed away.  Avoid the hassle of navigating the public transportation system before or after a long journey, instead, relax and enjoy the views of Rome from the comfort of your seat.

Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Official Guided Tour

4. Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Official Guided Tour

Skip the ticket line and gain fast access to both the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Once inside, meet your guide who will conduct your tour and reveal the intriguing story behind the seminal design. Enter the Pio Clementino Museum and get up close to the astonishing classical Roman and Greek sculptures, before walking through to the Gallery of the Candelabras which is populated with majestic marble structures throughout. Continue on to see the 40 maps frescoed on the walls of the Gallery of the Geographical Maps, the hanging renaissance artworks at Gallery of the Tapestries, and the four Raphael Rooms. Finally, marvel at Michelangelo's fresco "The Creation of Adam" in the Sistine Chapel.

Colosseum & Forum Ticket with Multimedia Video

5. Colosseum & Forum Ticket with Multimedia Video

Start your experience at the local partner's office, where you'll pick up your tickets and enjoy a 25-minute multimedia video about ancient Rome. With your ticket, discover the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Visit the Roman Forum where everyday Roman citizens used to live to see the tomb of emperor Julius Caesar and explore the ancient ruins at your own pace. Your ticket also includes entrance to Palatine Hill, the site of the foundation of Rome, and the settlement of the most important houses of emperors and kings. Located just feet away from the Roman Forum and Circus Maximum, it is the centermost of the 7 hills of Rome.  Afterwards, visit one of the most famous monuments in the world, the Colosseum. As you explore the immense amphitheater — the largest ever built by the Roman Empire — imagine the gladiator fights and public spectacles that took place in the arena.

Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Dome to Underground Grottoes Tour

6. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Dome to Underground Grottoes Tour

Explore iconic sights in Rome on this guided walking tour. Stroll thorugh St. Peter's square and take in the views of the city from the top of St. Peter's Basilica. Admire artwork like Michelangelo's emotive 'Pietà' statue and go below the Basilica to uncover St. Peter's final resting place. Meet your guide in St. Peter’s Square then start the tour by climbing your way to the top of the Basilica’s dome. Enjoy an exclusive look at the Dome’s impressive mosaics then head further up to the top balcony. From here, marvel at panoramic views across the city, spot the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and other iconic landmarks. Descend into the Basilica and admire its impressive interior and discover why it took 150 years to build. Gaze at the colorful marble, golden ceilings, and intricate mosaics that surround you. Learn about the renowned works of Renaissance and Neoclassic artists that are housed here.  Next, head underground to the Basilica’s historic grottoes and visit St. Peter’s Tomb. Touch the ancient walls of the original 4th-century Basilica and admire its beautiful frescoes. Finish the tour in St. Peter’s Square and soak up its majestic architecture. 

Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

7. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

Explore St. Peter's Basilica, one of Rome's most famed and magnificent sites. Known as the Queen of all the Basilicas, this Renaissance-style church and its dome dominate the skyline of Rome. Discover why the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson described it as "an ornament of the earth...the sublime of the beautiful". Marvel at the interior, lavishly decorated with marble, reliefs, architectural sculpture, and gilding. At the heart of the basilica, beneath the high altar, discover the Chapel of the Confession, named after the confession of faith by St. Peter. Marvel at the curving marble staircases that lead to this underground chapel. After the tour, you can use the online Rome City Guide, a self-guided audio tour with stories from local experts, which is included in the experience. Learn about the city's points of interest, hidden gems, public transport, Wi-Fi access points, and best photo stops.

Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica Tour

8. Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica Tour

Discover the best of the Vatican in a single visit. Skip the ticket line to the key attractions and see outstanding examples of art and architecture in the company of your expert guide. Discover the frescoes of the Raphael Rooms. Explore the amazing collections of the Vatican Museums, including the Map Rooms and the sculpture of Hermes. Enjoy the beauty of the Sistine Chapel, and marvel at masterpieces by Michelangelo and Raphael. Then, take a tour of St Peter’s Basilica. Admire the world's center of Christianity and discover more about its fascinating history with your guide.

Rome: City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus with Audioguide

9. Rome: City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus with Audioguide

Explore the Eternal City from a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus with your 24, 48, or 72-hour ticket. Travel past the city's icons, leave the bus at any of the eight stops, and hop back on the next bus when you want to continue. Stay flexible while seeing all the amazing sights in Rome. Legend tells of Romulus and Remus and the 7 hills of Rome. Today the city is home to one of the world's largest churches, the Basilica di San Pietro of the Vatican, approached through a marvelous elliptical piazza. Among its other famous sights are the magnificent Colosseum, cinematic Trevi Fountain, and romantic Spanish Steps. With its vibrant café culture and quaint trattorias, Rome never fails to inspire. The full loop takes 100 minutes and you can jump off at any of the following points along the way: STOPS Stop 1: Terminal A Largo di Villa Peretti or Terminal B Largo di Villa Peretti Stop 2: Santa Maria Maggiore Stop 3: Colosseo Stop 4: Circo Massimo Stop 5: Piazza Venezia Stop 6: Vaticano  Stop 7: Fontana Di Trevi  Stop 8: Piazza Barberini

Saint Peter's Basilica Official Audioguide

10. Saint Peter's Basilica Official Audioguide

Explore one of Rome's most famous and magnificent sites! Discover why the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson described this site as "an ornament of the earth … the sublime of the beautiful". St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican is the primary temple of Christianity, and is built in the Renaissance style, with a central dome dominating the skyline of Rome. As you enter the church, you will see that its interior is much bigger than those of any other cathedral. Using an official audio-guide of the Basilica, you can start your visit at any point of the church, without having to follow the order dictated by the presence of a guide. You can decide, for example, to begin with the heart of the Basilica, beneath the high altar and the Bernini's Baldachin, where you will discover the “Confession” or “Chapel of the Confession”, in reference to the confession of faith by St. Peter, which led to his martyrdom and burial place. You may choose to end with "La Pietà", the masterpiece of Michelangelo Buonarroti, or with the St. Peter's bronze statue (so worshipped by all the pilgrims visiting over the centuries).

Frequently asked questions about Rome

What top attractions are a must-see in Rome?

The must-see attractions in Rome are:

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.

Planning Your Visit

  • How long should you stay in Rome?

    We can promise you won't get bored! You could manage to hit a lot of attractions in 4-5 days, or you could stay for months. Rome is incredibly walkable -- meaning it's easy to get a sense of the city just by exploring the neighborhood where you decide to stay. You'll quite quickly discover hidden-gem Italian restaurants or accidentally stumble upon Roman ruins.

  • How much money do you bring?

    The big attractions charge you an entrance fee. Colosseum tickets start at 10€ to tour the inside. You can plan on seeing a lot of the ruins and churches from the outside for free, and you will find delicious Italian food for reasonable prices. One very cool free activity: the Casa del Cinema at Villa Borghese. The city of Rome subsidizes the outdoor film screenings here. Buy some wine and pizza, sit on the grass, and take in a free movie.

  • Where is the good shopping?

    This completely depends on your budget and style. You'll probably walk down Via Connotti on your way to the Spanish Steps. That's where to go if you're looking for the great designer houses of Italy, like Prada and Gucci. Alternatively, check out the Mercato Monti in the neighborhood near the Colosseum. It's open daily for your fashion and trinket flea market fix.

  • One more thing to know about how old Rome is...

    Roman tradition suggests the city was founded in 753 BC, and archaeologists suggest that inhabitants were settled there even earlier!

Good to know

  • Language
    Italian
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +39
  • Best time to visit
    Rome is in southern Italy, so winter weather is mild. One tip: keep major Catholic holidays in mind. It may mean things are closed; more likely, it will mean huge crowds. Whether or not you want to see Easter at the Vatican, it will help your hotel (or flight) plans if you know in advance.

Other Sightseeing Options in Rome

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What people are saying about Rome

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 285,130 reviews

Well worth getting up early for this trip. Our guide Flavia was very knowledgeable and gave us a sheet showing the Sistine Chapel frescos before we entered the Vatican Museums. She gave us an insight into what we were about to see. The museums were not crowded, the groups were staggered, so we could see all the exhibits. Flavia was lovely. Her commentary was excellent. The Sistine Chapel was beautiful Just a shame that owing to Covid the corridor into the Basilica was closed This visit was the highlight of our trip to Rome Do book it if you can Even the cafe near the meeting point served excellent coffee at 07.00

Amazing experience, definitely recommend. Had Elizabeth as our guide, nice small groups and did all the classic food pairings with relevant drinks (e.g. cheese/meats and wine). Visited all local authentic Italian places and had information about their roots in Italy, did a nice loop on the tour so you weren’t traipsing around for hours. Very knowledgeable local guide who even helped give me directions to my next tour when my data stopped working on my phone!

Easy process, just take your email QR code to the main gate for entry. Instructions aren’t very clear when purchased. They are sticklers on the time slots and will not allow even 10 min early for entry. I recommend spending more time at the forum than the colosseum, also the audio guide for the colosseum (you can rent once in) is in no way worth €6

The guide Gigi made this tour ! It was fantastic and his knowledge along with his sense of humour made it really enjoyable .

Loved our tour. Dennis our tour guide was exactly what you would hope. Very informative and great company.