Things to do in Rome: The 25 Best Places to Visit and Highlights
So, you’re planning to visit Rome during your next trip to Italy?
With your lover or family, Rome is the perfect place to spend a 2-3 days weekend, especially since the city can be easily visited on foot!
In order to help you plan your stay, I have written this guide of the best things to do in Rome, with all the must-see attractions and points of interest.
At the end of the article, you will also find itineraries to visit Rome in 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days (or more!) as well as my suggestions of the best accommodations depending on your budget.
So, what are the best places to visit in Rome? Let’s find out!
- Things to do in Rome: The 25 Best Places to Visit and Highlights
- Visit Rome: 25 Must-See Attractions
- 1. The Colosseum and its murderous games
- 2. The Roman Forum
- 3. The Palatine Hill
- 4. Piazza Venezia
- 5. Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitol Square)
- 6. The Pantheon
- 7. Piazza Navona
- 8. Trevi Fountain
- 9. Enjoy a gelato (Italian ice cream)
- 10. The Vatican
- 11. St. Peter’s Square
- 12. St. Peter’s Basilica
- 13. The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
- 14. The bridge and Castel Sant’Angelo
- 15. Go shopping in Rome
- 16. Piazza di Spagna
- 17. Visit Rome’s churches
- 18. Villa Borghese gardens
- 19. The Borghese Gallery
- 20. Other museums to visit in Rome
- 21. Piazza del Popolo
- 22. Trastevere district
- 23. Where to eat in Rome: Have lunch in a trattoria!
- 24. Campo di Fiori
- 25. San Lorenzo district
- 26. Aventine Hill
- 27. Visit the Catacombs of Rome
- 28. The 6 best things to do around Rome
- Getting around Rome on foot
- How many days to visit Rome?
- 1 day in Rome
- 2 days in Rome
- Visit Rome in 3 days
- 4 days in Rome
- 5 days in Rome
- One week in Rome
- Where to stay in Rome
- The 7 best things to do in Rome with family
- Things to do in Rome when it rains
- Things to do in Rome at night
- Tourist map of Rome
- How to go to Rome?
- How to reach the city centre from Rome airport
- Best things to do in Rome: I answer all your questions
- You’re traveling in Italy? These articles will help you!
- Visit Rome: 25 Must-See Attractions
Visit Rome: 25 Must-See Attractions
1. The Colosseum and its murderous games
Lets start this list of the must-see attractions with the Colosseum, located in the Historic Center (“Centro Storico” in Italian). It’s the most emblematic monument to visit in Rome!
With a capacity of more than 50,000 spectators, it’s the largest amphitheater in the Roman world. Quite much blood was shed in these arenas, where the famous gladiatorial combats, animals fights and Roman games were held, always followed by horrific deaths.
The visit isn’t free and you will probably have to wait for a few hours before getting there if you are going in high season.
Here is my tip: to avoid waiting in line for hours, you can:
- Buy skip the line tickets for the Colosseum, with or without guided visit. You need to buy them here.
- Purchase the Rome Tourist Card (click here), an all access pass with no time limit and free skip the line entrances to the most famous touristic sites of Rome and Vatican. (Colosseum is of course included). You also get rebates of 20% or more on other activities.
And you know the best about this pass? It also include a free audio guide.
It’s new and it offers an amazing value for money!
- Buy the Vatican & Rome City Pass (Omnia Card) – click here: it’s the most complete pass to visit Rome. You will get rebates on more than 40 attractions + free public transport.
I have personally saved more than 50 euros thanks to the Omnia card during my stay in Rome! (And a few hours of waiting in line 😋)
2. The Roman Forum
The ticket purchased at the Colosseum also includes access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill (I will talk about it just below), so it would be a shame to miss them, as the 3 touristic sites are linked together.
The forum was the centre of the city and you can see ruins of ancient markets, administrative and religious buildings. However, you will not find any explanation on the site, so if you’re interested in history, you should really opt for a guided tour.
I recommend you to choose the small group tour of the Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill. It’s the most complete and it’s available in English, Italian, Spanish or French, which is really convenient!
Book by clicking on the button below:
3. The Palatine Hill
This is the third point of interest included in the Colosseum ticket.
Palatine Hill, one of the 7 hills of Rome, is according to mythology the place where the city was founded by Romulus and Remus. As you might know, they are the two twins who would have been found and suckled by a wolf in a cave.
At the top of Palatine Hill, you will have access to this cave and ruins of the residences of historical figures such as Augustus, the first Roman emperor.
4. Piazza Venezia
Not far from the Roman Forum, at the other end of Via dei fori impierali, you can find piazza Venezia, one of Rome’s main squares. From there, all the streets leads to Rome’s main tourist attractions!
This is where you can admire the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, also called “Altare della Patria” or “Vittoriano”, a huge white marble building dedicated to the first king of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II.
Next to the square, there is also the famous Trajan’s column, with bas-reliefs retracing the military conquests of the Emperor Trajan.
From the roof of the building you can also enjoy a superb panoramic view of the whole city. Access is via a glass lift at the back of the building.
Tickets for this lift can be booked in advance by clicking here!
They also include a 25-minute film on Ancient Rome, a ticket for the Risorgimento Museum and the National Museum of the Palace of Venice.
You’re going to Rome?
You probably know it: the hardest part of planning your trip is to find an hotel offering a good value for money!
And that’s even worse in the large European capitals 😅.
The closer you get to your travel dates, the harder it will be to get a good deal. Tens of thousands of people will be visiting Rome on the same dates as you, so you can be sure that the best deals are booked extremely quickly!
Hopefully, there is a pretty simple solution to this problem: do like me and book your hotel as early as possible!
So, my best advice is to take 5 minutes (now) to have a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in Rome.
And if you see a good offer, book it!
Most hotels offer free cancellation, so it’s quick, easy, and you will avoid the the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.
To check the current best deals for your hotel in Rome, simply click on the green button below 😎:
Once you’ve booked your hotel, it will be time to continue reading this guide and find out more about the best things to do in Rome!
5. Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitol Square)
Climb the broad staircase leading to the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II and you will arrive on Capitol Square. Designed by Michelangelo himself, it was formerly the political and religious heart of Rome. On Capitol Square, you can see:
- The Palazzo Senatorio or Senatorial Palace
- The Palazzo dei Conservatori or Palace of the Conservators
- Palazzo Nuovo or New Palace, which now houses the Capitoline Museums and the Museum of Art and Archaeology. One of the most famous art piece you can find there is the Capitoline Wolf statue: The one with the mythical she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus. You may have already seen it, it’s in almost all history books! Don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance here.
6. The Pantheon
The Pantheon is the best preserved ancient building in Rome and another must-see touristic attraction to add to this list!
Originally dedicated to all mythology divinities, it became a Christian church in the 7th century. Don’t hesitate to enter, the visit is free of charge, which is rare enough to mention it!
Inside, admire the immense dome and the oculus (the opening in the dome), giving the place a unique lighting.
In the Pantheon, you can also see the tombs of Raphael (the famous artist) and Victor Emmanuel II (1st king of Italy, as mentioned above when I talked about the beautiful building dedicated to him on Piazza Venezia)
And if you want to get more historical information, you should get an audioguide. It can be booked here.
And for more detailed explanations, you can also choose a guided tour of the Pantheon by clicking here!
The Piazza Navona is located in the heart of the historic center, not far from the Pantheon. it’s one of the most beautiful and famous square of Rome! There, you can admire the 3 following fountains:
- The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
- The Fontana del Nettuno
- The Fontana del Moro
It’s a great place to have a drink or eat ice cream on one of the many terraces, but beware, since this place is very touristic, the prices are too!
8. Trevi Fountain
Looking for romantic things to do in Rome?
Well, you should go see the famous Trevi Fountain, also located close to the Pantheon!
There, you’ll find the most famous fountain of Europe: The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi in Italian). A must see for anyone visiting Rome.
Because of the legend surrounding it, this fountain is also renowned for hosting a large number of wedding proposals! Legend has it that in order to save her virginity, a young girl had to reveal the location of the source to the Romans.
In the basin, there are numerous statues representing an allegory of the sea, with Neptune on his chariot in the center. The tradition says you should throw 2 coins: one to make a wish and the other one to be sure to return to Rome.
Behind the fountain, a large baroque palace contributes much to the charm of the place. Just one thing: the place is always crowded, so you will have a lot of trouble to make a perfect photo of the fountain with no unwanted heads!
Nevertheless, the Trevi Fountain is a major point of interest in Rome.
9. Enjoy a gelato (Italian ice cream)
After Trevi fountain, to recover from your emotions (if you were proposed or if you knelt down on your knees while sweating with stress!) or simply to take a short break during the day, it’s time to enjoy an ice cream.
The great new is that you’re in the ideal place, very close to one of the 2 best ice cream shops of Rome: San Crispino located on the Via della Panatteria. The queue is often impressive, but the best things in life are the hardest to obtain!
And since opinions often differ on THE best ice cream in Rome, I also give you the name of San Crispino’s direct competitor, the gelateria “Giolliti” located in Via Uffici del Vicario.
Whichever you choose, you will face the same problem of long waiting line and multiple choice of perfume dilemma.
And yes, as you know from my articles on Nice or Annecy, I am a big ice cream fan! So I have a pro advice to give you: test both! It’s the best way to make up your own mind, isn’t it?
10. The Vatican
Even if you’re not a believer, a visit to the Vatican is a must during a stay in Rome.
It’s the smallest country in the world, yet is one of the most visited places during a tour in Italy. Only priests and nuns, some dignitaries, guards, and of course the pope are allowed to live there.
During your visit to the Vatican, you shouldn’t miss:
- Saint Peter’s Square
- Saint Peter’s Basilica
- The Vatican Museums
- The Sistine Chapel.
I will give you all the info you need to visit these places a bit below in this article.
To visit the Vatican and all its monuments without queuing, you should opt for the Vatican Pass. It’s very convenient, as it gives you priority access to the museums and a guided tour of Saint Peter’s Basilica.
To book your Vatican Pass, simply click on the green button below:
A little fact about the guards: they are only Swiss and must of course be Catholic. They swear an oath of fidelity to the Pope himself.
This tradition goes back to the sack of Rome in 1527, when the Swiss guards protected the pope during his escape to the Sant’Angelo castle.
11. St. Peter’s Square
You will enter the Vatican through the famous St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro in Italian). Every year, millions of pilgrims and tourists comes to see this square!
St. Peter’s Square was designed with the following principle in mind: they wanted to allow the greatest number of people to see the Pope give his blessing from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Two colonnades surround the square, consisting of nearly 280 columns and 145 saints statues. In the center of St. Peter’s Square stands an Egyptian obelisk surrounded by 2 large fountains.
The long waiting lines to visit the basilica start from this square.
12. St. Peter’s Basilica
To visit St. Peter’s Basilica, you will have to be patient (or be smarter than others and buy the skip the lines tickets here!).
However, once inside, the impressive basilica will make forget the long waiting hours. There, you can admire many altars and monuments and be impressed by the rich baroque decoration. To see:
- The many funerary monuments of the popes
- The famous Saint Peter’s statue
- The gigantic dome designed by Michelangelo.
On the right side of the basilica, you can access the dome. You need to take an elevator first, and then, the hardest thing, to climb 323 extra steps.
It’s not recommended for claustrophobes, the ceiling is low and the corridors narrow, but your effort will be greatly rewarded by the magnificent view of the city of Rome.
As the entrance to Saint Peter’s Basilica is free of charge, there is always a very long waiting line (and by this I mean several hours!) at any time of the day.
To avoid wasting too much time, especially if you are planning to spend a weekend in Rome and want to see as much as possible, you should book a skip the line ticket or a guided tour.
Both will grant you priority access.
You can also access the dome for a fee. It needs to be booked in advance.
Book your ticket or guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica by clicking directly on the green button below:
If you have bought the Rome Tourist Card or the Vatican Pass, the guided tour of the Basilica is already included.
13. The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
While visiting the Vatican, you should really go to the Vatican museums.
There are more than 13 museums grouped together in a huge architectural complex of nearly 7 kilometers long!
Tapestries, paintings, sculptures, the museums house an impressive collection of works of art by prestigious artists such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio or Raphael
Here are my favorite parts of the museums:
- The Vatican Pinacoteca, where Italian paintings are exhibited in chronological order
- Raphael’s rooms, with sumptuous frescoes tracing the history of the papacy
- The gallery of geographical maps and its ceiling decorated with paintings of the 16th century
- Bramante’s Staircase, a particularly photogenic double helix staircase that is located at the exit of the Vatican Museums.
To discover them, there are several possible itineraries ranging from 1h30 to 5 hours of visit. So I advise you to allow 3 hours on average to visit the Vatican museums.
But don’t worry, all the tours end at the very famous Sistine Chapel! Its ceiling painted by Michelangelo is one of the most famous works of art in Vatican City.
Important: the Vatican museums are closed on Sundays.
Just like for the Colosseum, it’s imperative to buy a skip the line ticket for the Vatican Museums if you don’t want to wait at least 2 hours before entering!
Simply click on the button below to book your priority access tickets:
Guided tours are also available by clicking here!
And don’t forget that if you have purchased your Rome Tourist Card, Vatican Pass or Omnia Card, you already have a skip the line ticket.
14. The bridge and Castel Sant’Angelo
Let’s now head to another main tourist attraction of Rome: Castel Sant’Angelo.
Just walk along the Tiber River up to St. Angelo Bridge, and you will find the castle of the same name on the opposite bank. You can also reach the castle in just 5 minutes on foot from St. Peter’s Square.
The bridge is decorated with 10 statues representing angels, all designed by Bernini. From the bridge, you will have a magnificent view of the city and the river.
The Castel Sant’Angelo, on the other hand, was built by Emperor Hadrian to serve as a mausoleum. Later on, it started to play an important military role: it even served as a place of refuge for the popes during invasions! They have even created a direct access to the Vatican.
You can visit the castle, see the tombs and the ancient popes apartments. You shouldn’t miss the great view from the rampart walk.
As always, you need to buy skip the line tickets in advance here:
15. Go shopping in Rome
Still wondering what to do in Rome?
You can for example go for a little shopping session in one of the 2 main commercial streets of the Italian capital:
1) Go shopping in Via del corso
Go to Via del Corso to do some shopping at reasonable prices with big brands such as Zara or H&M.
2) Go shopping in Via condotti
If you have a higher budget or just want to admire the shop windows, continue your way on Via Condotti. It’s the most prestigious street of Rome with brands like Gucci, Armani or Prada. A bit like the Champs Elysée in Paris!
16. Piazza di Spagna
The Via Condotti will take you straight to the charming Piazza di Spagna, certainly one of the most popular squares, thanks to the beautiful perspective it offers.
The Piazza di Spagna is located at the foot of the monumental staircase leading it to the Trinità dei Monti church. The flowery staircase is the perfect place to take a short break for tourists and Italians alike. A popular gathering place!
On the square, you can also see the Barcaccia fountain ,which adds to the charm of the place.
17. Visit Rome’s churches
Let’s continue this guide of Rome with a few very beautiful churches.
As I was saying, at the top of the Piazza di Spagna stairs, there is the Trinità dei Monti church which offers a breathtaking view of the city. Its location makes it one of the most famous churches in Rome. Did you knew that the city has no less than 900?
Here is a list of the most beautiful churches in Rome, some of them are true architecture masterpieces!
Let’s start with the 4 largest basilicas in the world, which fortunately are all in Rome:
- The St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican city, which I am talking about in detail below
- The Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, second largest after the Basilica di San Pietro, it’s also the cathedral of Rome,
- The Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura, which marks the location of St. Paul’s tomb.
- The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the largest shrine in the city erected for the virgin Mary
Some other interesting churches to see in Rome:
- Chiesa del Gesù
- Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
- Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli
- Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano
- Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione
- Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola (my favorite in rome)
18. Villa Borghese gardens
North of Piazza di Spagna, there is the largest and certainly the most beautiful public park in Rome.
The Villa Borghese gardens offers a bit of very welcomed calm, after the crowded streets and tourist attractions! You will be able to walk in the wide shady alleys and at the edge of a lake surrounded by temples, statues and many fountains. The park also has a beautiful botanical garden.
To get there, go to Porta Pinciana or Piazzale Flaminio, the 2 park entrances.
19. The Borghese Gallery
In Villa Borghese Gardens, you will also find one of the most visited museums in Rome: the Borghese Gallery.
During your visit, you will be able to admire numerous paintings and sculptures in the twenty or so sumptuous rooms of the Borghese villa. It was owned by a rich family that was very influential in the Roman aristocracy.
To be able to admire what is considered one of the richest collections of Italian art, it is absolutely necessary to book your tickets as early as possible (most of the time, they don’t even offer them at the ticket office because everything is already sold out online):
20. Other museums to visit in Rome
The Villa Borghese Gardens also houses 2 other museums:
- The Etruscan National Museum (click here) and its collection of pre-Roman objects and jewelry
- The National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (tickets available there), featuring paintings by Van Gogh and Cézanne.
In addition to the museums located in the park and the Vatican museums, there are of course many other museums to see in Rome, such as:
- The Capitoline Museums, located on Piazza del Campidoglio. I already mentioned them a bit earlier in this guide of Rome
- Palazzo Barberini, known for housing works of famous Italian painters. If you couldn’t get tickets for the Borghese Gallery, this is a good alternative.
- The Palazzo della Cancelleria and its exhibition dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci
- The Doria-Pamphilj Gallery houses paintings by Caravaggio
- The Colonna Gallery, dedicated to the Baroque period.
- Museo Palatino, with everything archaeologists discovered on Palatine Hill
- Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica or National Gallery of Ancient Art, with a collection of Italian and European paintings. You should go there to admire the works of Raphael or Caravaggio.
21. Piazza del Popolo
The Piazza del Popolo or People’s Square is located near Villa Borghese.
It’s one of the largest squares of Rome. It’s a major point of interest, with its fountains, 3 churches and obelisk. From the square, climb the stairs to the top of the hill, you will have a beautiful view up to the Vatican.
22. Trastevere district
During your city trip to Rome, you should definitely visit the Trastevere district.
It’s located on the right bank of the Tiber, on the same side as the Vatican City.
This neighbourhood is becoming more and more trendy and a little “Hipster”, but for now it has retained all its original charm.
You will be (relatively) away from the crowd to discover its typical narrow and flowery streets. There is no big historical monument here like in the rest of Rome, but a real “Italian” neighborhood with its inhabitants and local shops.
I personally visited Trastevere in October, but it seems many tourists visit the area in high season and it becomes less quiet!
On your way to the north of the district, go up the Gianicolo hill to admire a beautiful panorama of the city.
23. Where to eat in Rome: Have lunch in a trattoria!
The Trastevere district is also the ideal place to enjoy pizza or good pasta in a traditional trattoria. There are a lot of authentic local restaurants with nice small terraces and without too many tourists, it’s the perfect match!
Some nice places in the district:
- Roma Sparita: Big terrace, traditional Roman cuisine. Don’t miss the speciality of the restaurant: the “cacio e pepe” spaghetti with pecorino cheese and pepper served in a cheese shell. This is my favorite for its great value for money. Requires reservation.
- Antico Arco: Excellent dishes (especially the risotto) and a very good wine list. Bonus: they bring you a sample of your partner’s dish in a small plate so you can taste it.
- Tonnarello: Typical, excellent cuisine on a very pleasant setting. Generous dishes at affordable prices.
Of course, if you’re not in the neighborhood for lunchtime, you won’t starve to death with the many choices of trattorias, restaurants and sandwich shops right in the heart of Rome’s historic centre:
- Birra e sale: Located next to Piazza Navona. Sandwiches are delicious and made with fresh products. You should definitely try the cold cuts and cheeses!
- Pizzeria Loffredo: Very good pizzas and fresh pasta. Great selection of dishes. Friendly atmosphere and very welcoming staff. Booking strongly recommended. Perfect price / quality!
- Il Tamburello di Pulcinella: little family restaurant with food made by the mama. Pizzas, pastas, desserts, all home made for a reasonable price. Booking recommended.
24. Campo di Fiori
Since I’ve made your mouth water with Italian cuisine, let’s keep going! To enjoy the smell of fresh produce and admire their bright colors, I advise you to take a little walk through the campo di Fiori.
Every morning (except Sunday) there is a fruit, vegetable, meat and fish market. Although appreciated by tourists because it’s located in Rome historical centre, this small market has managed to preserve all its authenticity.
It’s the perfect place if you want to bring home high quality products from Italy, and it’s much cheaper than in Rome touristic areas!
If you want to discover Rome’s gastronomy and typical products, you should book a street food guided tour with a local guide.
It’s clearly the best way to discover off the beaten track places and enjoy great italian food!
This tour is so amazing that they offer you a full refund if you don’t enjoy your time.
To book it, you simply have to click on the button below:
25. San Lorenzo district
Like Trastevere district, the San Lorenzo district is less known to tourist and clearly worth a look.
Originally a working-class district, it’s nowadays the student district, with Roman universities. In addition to students, it’s also the street artists favorite place.
And for amateurs, the nightlife is great and beer isn’t expensive at all!
26. Aventine Hill
A peaceful neighborhood, beautiful gardens and an incomparable view of the city, this is what the Aventine Hill (“Aventino” in Italian) has to offer!
You can also add:
- Basilica di Santa Sabina all’Aventino
- The famous Aventine Keyhole, located Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. You will see people standing in line to look through the keyhole (I won’t say anything more!).
The Aventine hill will also offer you one of the most beautiful views of Rome. Did I say that already? 😄
27. Visit the Catacombs of Rome
I will finish this list of the best things to do in Rome with an unusual activity: visiting the catacombs. I recommand you the Catacombs of Callixtus, the best to visit in my opinion!
Once used as cemeteries for Jews and Christians, they are the largest in the city and cover almost 15 hectares. On the walls, you can see representations of Christian life such as baptism and scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
The visit of Rome catacombs takes about 30 minutes and must be done with a guide.
Book the tickets for the tour here!
If you want to visit Rome’s catacombs during your stay, the easiest is probably to go to the Capuchin Crypt, as it’s located downtown, next to the Trevi Fountain. You should book the tickets for the tour here (the guide is included).
Other catacombs such as San Sebastian, Domitilla or Catacomb of Priscilla can also be visited.
28. The 6 best things to do around Rome
You’re wondering what are the best things to do around Rome? Which city you can visit near Rome?
To help you out, I have selected the 6 best day trips from Rome.
All these excursions are super convenient: you don’t have to prepare anything, as everything is already included: the transportation from Rome (and back), the guide, the visits and sometimes even the lunch!
Here are the best places to visit near Rome (simply click on the orange links for more info and to book):
1)Visit to Pompeii and Vesuvius: for a whole day, go discover the crater of Vesuvius and visit Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Maximum 25 people per group.
2) From Rome – shuttle bus to Pompeii and back: this shuttle bus service takes you to Pompeii and back to Rome in the evening. Departure at 7:15 am – Return at 7 pm. You will have about 4.5 hours to visit Pompeii.
3) Rome: Day trip to Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa: Day trip from Rome to Tivoli to see two of the most beautiful Renaissance villas in Italy. Round trip + visit to the villas and gardens with guide + meals included.
4) Visit to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast from Rome: the tour includes a guided visit to Pompeii and the beautiful village of Positano, one of the most famous on the Amalfi Coast.
5) Day trip to Florence and Pisa, to discover the 2 most beautiful cities in Tuscany: 3 hours free time in Florence and 1.5 hours in Pisa.
6) Day trip to Venice from Rome: you will take the high speed train to Venice and have a day to enjoy a gondola ride, discover St. Mark’s Square and the Bridge of Sighs.
Getting around Rome on foot
Here is a one day itinerary to visit Rome on foot. It will allow you to discover most of the city’s main tourist attractions. If you choose to do it in 1 day, you will have to content yourself with seeing the monuments from the outside only.
If you spend more time in Rome, you can split this walk on a few days: I will show you to the best way to do it a bit further down in this guide, in my itineraries to visit Rome in 2, 3, 4, or 5 days.
let’s start this walking tour at the Colosseum, to admire its impressive architecture. Then, head to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, the 2 other touristic sites in the Ancient Rome area.
To continue this walk, let’s go to the piazza del Campidoglio and then piazza Venezia, where you can enjoy the beautiful Monument to Victor Emmanuel II.
Now, it’s time to head to Piazza Navona and enter Rome Historical Center (“Centro Storico” district in Italian). After Piazza Navona, you can go to the Pantheon and the famous Trevi Fountain.
After this, let’s go north, taking Via Condotti (Rome’s shopping street), it will take you directly to the Piazza di Spagna. From there, go West to reach the Tiber river and walk on the quays until Sant’Angelo bridge. Cross it to arrive at Castel Sant’Angelo.
For the last part of this walk, you will go to the Vatican City. Simply take the Via delle Conciliazione, it will take you directly to St Peter’s square, just in front of the superb St Peter’s Basilica.
Not bad for a day in Rome, right?
How many days to visit Rome?
The time you will want to spend in Rome will depend on 2 things:
- The type of traveler you are: you’re fast and don’t like idle times? Or do you prefer to take your time?
- The season of your trip: In high season, the waiting lines are much longer!
If you are a ”fast” traveler
It’s possible to visit Rome in 2/3 days. It’s really the ideal time to discover the italian capital main points of interest without any downtime.
If you are a slower traveler (or with children)
In this case, it’s better to plan about 4-5 days in Rome, which will allow you to explore the tourist attractions of the city at your own pace.
In order to help you out, I have prepared for you itineraries to visit Rome in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days (or even for a week !). You will find them just below.
For these itineraries, I’m assuming you will have purchased a City Pass (Rome Tourist Card / Omnia Card) or Skip-the-Line tickets.
Without that, it’s not possible to do everything I mention, as you would waste hours everyday just waiting in line to buy your entrance tickets!
Here are the details of the 2 City passes I recommend for a visit to Rome:
- The Rome Tourist Card, which includes a visit to the Colosseum and the Vatican + a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica.
As there is no public transport included with the Rome Tourist Card, you can also book the Rome Transport Card by clicking here. It includes:
- Unlimited public transportation in Rome for 3 days
- Airport transfer by taxi: upon arrival, a professional taxi driver will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel (available from the 2 airports of Rome: Ciampino and Fiumicino)
The Omnia Card will allow you to enjoy free entrance to the main places of interest in Rome and the Vatican, free skip the line tickets, free public transportation and a city tour with the hop-on hop-off bus.
To buy your Omnia Card now, simply click on the green button below:
1 day in Rome
For those who only have a day to visit Rome, I advise you to focus on the Ancient Rome area. Here is an itinerary that can be done in one day:
- Start with the Colosseum (don’t forget your skip the line ticket)
- Then head to the 2 other Ancient Rome touristic sites: the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill for a great view of the city.
- It’s then time to go to the piazza del Campidoglio to visit the Capitoline museums.
- End your day of visit at piazza Venezia, with the Monument to Victor-Emmanuel II
If you want to get a very good overview of the city in just 1 day (without visiting the inside of the monuments), you can also do the Itinerary I have suggested you in the “Rome on Foot” part of this travel guide.
Another solution for a quick visit to Rome is to only visit everything from the outside (and don’t have to wait in line!). In this case, it’s possible to see the vast majority of places described in this guide in a day.
It’s nevertheless quite a run and you will have to walk relatively quickly! It’s the Itinerary I told you about in the “Getting around Rome on foot” section of this travel guide.
Or if you don’t want to walk, you should opt for the hop-on hop-off bus tour (click here).
Visiting Rome by bus is the best way to see everything in a short amount of time. It’s very convenient if you don’t want to walk too much!
2 days in Rome
If you have 2 days in Rome, in addition to the first day presented above, you should go for a walk on the Vatican side for your 2nd day in the Eternal City:
- Start with the visit of the Vatican, its museums and Sistine Chapel
- Then head to St. Peter’s Basilica
- Visit the Sant’Angelo castle and admire the Sant’Angelo bridge
You should read my detailed 2-day in Rome itinerary here: 2 Days in Rome – The best itinerary
Visit Rome in 3 days
With 3 days in Rome, in addition of the 2 days above, you should now visit Rome Historic Center.
- Start at the piazza Navona
- then visit the Pantheon
- Head to the Trevi fountain
- Go shopping on Via Condotti
- head to the Piazza di Spagna.
- To relax at the end of the day, you should visit the Villa Borghese gardens.
- If you have the time (and the motivation!) You can visit one of the museums located in the gardens.
You can find the detailed itinerary for your 3-day stay in Rome in my dedicated article: How to spend 3 days in Rome?
4 days in Rome
4 days in Rome is perfect to discover all the points of interest of the city:
- Start with a visit of the Campo di Fiori market
- Take time to stroll around Trastevere’s neighborhood
- Relax on the Aventine hill, enjoy the gardens and view of Rome.
- Visit the catacombs of Rome.
All the necessary information to plan your 4 days in Rome is in my article: The best 4-day itinerary to visit Rome.
5 days in Rome
If you’re lucky enough to spend 5 days in Rome, I suggest you to take a day trip from Rome for the last day.
Here are the best ones:
- Visit of Pompeii and Vesuvius with a guide
- Shuttle bus to Pompeii and back
- Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa
- Visit to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast (Positano or Amalfi)
- Day trip to Florence and Pisa
- Day trip to Venice
If you’re planning to spend 5 days in Rome, you should read my detailed article: How to spend 5 days in Rome?
One week in Rome
You wan to spend one week in Rome?
Then you should read my detailed itinerary: The perfect one week itinerary in Rome.
Where to stay in Rome
You’re wondering where to stay in Rome?
In Rome, finding accommodation at a good price isn’t that easy. In oder to help you out, I have selected for you the best hotels depending on your budget.
One last advice: Book now if you can, there is a lot of demand in Rome, so the best hotels rooms are sold out very quickly!
- Biancaluna: B&B located near Termini Station, 1.5 km from the Colosseum. Modern, comfortable and very clean room from 70€. Strong points: the warm welcome and the advice to visit Rome, the location. An excellent choice for a cheap stay in Rome!
- Hotel Balilla: Located 1.6 km from the Colosseum and close to a metro station. Well-equipped and quiet double room, impeccably clean, from 99€, breakfast at 5€. Strong points: the friendly staff, the comfort of the beds, the location at 10 min walk from the Colosseum. This is our favorite for its excellent value for money!
- Alice Vatican House: Located 450 meters from St. Peter’s Square. Contemporary room with neat decoration from 95 € per night, breakfast included. Strong points: ideal location, terrace overlooking the Vatican, warm welcome. This is the best choice for your stay in Rome under 120 euros!
- MZ Hotel: Located near the Campo di Fiori and not far from the Pantheon. Modern double room from 150€, breakfast at 12€. Strong points: the location near the historical center, the warm welcome, good bedding, new hotel.
- Roma Luxus Hôtel: High end hotel located at only 400 meters from Piazza Venezia. Beautiful double room starting at 200€ per night, breakfast at 20€. Strong points: The room design, the 5 stars service, the superb breakfast, the spa, the amazing staff. It’s the best hotel for a high end stay in Rome!
- NH Collection Roma Fori Imperiali: This 5* hotel located right next to the Roman Forum offers sublime rooms from 580€, breakfast included. Strong points: the exceptional location, the attentive staff, the view, the comfort. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Rome!
if you want to save a bit of money, you can find an accommodation around Rome. I recommend you he bungalows of Camping Village Rome, located at only 15 minutes by car from the Vatican city.
The price starts at only 30€ per night! It’s the best “budget” solution if you don’t mind not being in the city center. It’s also a great choice for families, with the swimming pool!
The 7 best things to do in Rome with family
If you’re planning a family trip to Rome, I have prepared for you a list of the best things to do with your kids:
- Visit the Colosseum of course! The monument might not be what will captivate them the most, but the stories about gladiators and wild beasts will for sure catch their interest.
- Go to Trevi fountain and let them throw a few “luck coins”
- Go to Villa Borghese park for a family picnic and enjoy the greenery. There are several children playgrounds, you can rent a bike and you can even rent rowing boats. There is also a very nice zoo (you need to buy your tickets here).
- Take your kids to the Gladiator school! This activity is a very fun way to learn more about gladiators, the whole family will love it! It must be booked in advance here.
- Discover Explora, a museum designed especially for kids, with many interactive activities.
- Enjoy an Italian ice cream: no need to search a lot to find an ice cream shop in Rome! And to be honest, your kids would never forgive you if you don’t buy them at least 1 during your stay in Rome 😄
Things to do in Rome when it rains
If it starts to rain during your stay in Rome and you don’t really know what to do, no need to worry!
I have prepared for you a list of the best things to do in Rome on a rainy day:
- Visit Rome’s museums: considering the number of museums in town, it can for sure keep you busy for a few days, especially if you go to the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel.
- Going to the Pantheon: you may not know it, but when it’s raining in Rome, it’s actually raining inside the Pantheon! The central oculus is just a hole, so the rains falls through it. Inside, the ground has a slight slope and a few holes, allowing the water to drain away.
- Discover (and probably purchase!) amazing local products at Eataly, an indoor market entirely dedicated to Italian gastronomy. The hardest thing will be not to overload your luggage!
- Discover the catacombs, an unusual visit to do in Rome when it rains.
- Take an Italian cooking class, to learn how to make pasta or pizza like a pro!
- Go to one of the indoor karting race tracks: Beyond Roma, Karting Roma, Holykartroma.
- Go play bowling: the Bowling Roma is the closest from the city center – Address: 181 viale Regina Margherita.
Things to do in Rome at night
Here is my selection of the best things to do in Rome at night, or in the evening.
- Visit the Colosseum at night, VIP style. Yes! You can visit the Colosseum + its underground with a guide after it closes for the general public. The ambiance is totally different, it’s the most exclusive way to discover this marvel of Ancient Roman civilization. You need to purchase your tickets in advance here.
- Discover Rome Catacombs at night: An even better way to discover the catacombs is at night, with this VIP tour. You have to book it here.
- Visit Rome by night in Segway. This 3 hours guided tour in Segway is a lot of fun! It needs to be booked there.
- Go have a drink in the Trastevere district, for sure the best place to enjoy Rome’s nightlife.
- Simply walk around and discover the illuminated squares and monuments: Rome is extremely beautiful at night.
Tourist map of Rome
This tourist map of Rome, handy to download on your phone, will certainly be useful during your trip:
How to go to Rome?
As all roads lead to Rome, this shouldn’t be too difficult 😆.
Getting to Rome by plane remains the easiest solution, especially since there are really cheap flights from the other European big cities with lowcost airlines like Easyjet. Moreover, the great advantage of the city is, as I said in the introduction, it’s very easy to visit on foot!
How to reach the city centre from Rome airport
If you are arriving at Fiumicino Airport, you can book your transfer in advance by clicking on one of the links below:
- Bus transfer from Fiumicino Airport to Rome
- Ticket for the Leonardo Express – Transfer by TGV from Fiumicino to Termini station. This is really the most convenient as there are more frequent buses and it is also the fastest, no risk of getting stuck in traffic!
For an arrival at Ciampino airport:
So, how long would you like to stay in Rome? What do you plan to do?
Best things to do in Rome: I answer all your questions
🚗 Rent a car
🗽 Book entrance tickets and guided visits
🏄 Book your sports activities
🚤 Book your rental boat
🌍 Take a travel insurance
🙎 Book a tour
🚅 Book your train tickets
✈️ Book your flight
Italy travel Guides
- Buy the Lonely Planet Italy guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Rick Steves Italy guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
You’re traveling in Italy? These articles will help you!
Discover all my articles about Italy: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Italy are listed there.
Where to stay in Rome? – The definitive guide of the best areas!
If you get cancellations for borghese gallery Aug 8, please contact me by email. Thank you so much.
I’ve looked at all the websites that sell tickets to visit the Borghese Gallery and unfortunately it’s sold out everywhere.
Even if there are cancellations (I will not know about it) and I think it will be booked up in a minute.
I hope you will have a great time in Rome anyway!
Thank you so much! I travel a bunch and this has been very helpful. I love that you put destinations in order of location, rather than a tier list. Keep up the great work, this is an amazing article.
Thank you very much for your kind comment!
I am delighted if my blog helped you to visit Rome.