No matter how long you spend in Rome, I think it would be pretty difficult to see & do everything this city has to offer. It’s endless! There are so many amazing things to do in Rome, make sure you leave time to do at least a few. Here are some of our favourite things to do in Rome…
1. Walk Around The Many Piazzas Of Rome
There is something so special about walking around the ‘perfect for getting lost’ streets of Rome and then suddenly have them open up into a beautiful big square. Here are some of my favourites:
- Piazza del Popolo (my favourite!)
- Piazza Navona
- Piazza Di Spagna otherwise known as the Spanish steps
- St Peters Square
- Campo de’ Fiori
You will also stumble across fountains that are quite literally pieces of art. Some of our favourites:
- Fiumi Fountain in Piazza Navona
- Trevi Fountain (although this was under maintenance when we visited)
3. Vatican Museums
I absolutely loved the opportunity to see the Vatican Museums. It was like my eyes were going to a progressive dinner at the finest of restaurants, but they had to sit in a fair bit of traffic to get from one place to the next.
Walking through the Vatican Museums is like walking through Ikea, if Ikea housed some of the world’s most revered artworks and you couldn’t just pop them in your trolley and keep going. Instead of arrows on the floor showing you the way through the maze, at the Vatican you have no choice but to flow through with the sea of people. And once you’re in, you have a one-way path til the end.
We were lucky enough to realise you could buy tickets online and pretty much get straight in. And trust me, this is well worth it as the line to the Vatican Museums is by far the most absurd thing I’d seen on this trip.
4. St Peters Basilica
I actually preferred St Peters Basilica over the Vatican Museums. You could move around a bit more inside and have some freedom, and there was beauty everywhere you looked. I’d never seen anything like it.
The Colosseum was the first thing we did in Rome, and it’s everything you would expect it to be. If you want to avoid the huge lines, go in the afternoon or better yet, buy your tickets from Palatine Hill.
6. Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
This was the second thing we did in Rome and probably the moment I fell in love with the city. Palatine Hill is the site of first settlers and later a residential area of nobility. It feels like you’re walking through a beautiful park that has so many stories to tell. It’s absolutely one of my favourite things to do in Rome. The Roman Forum was a place of political and business activity and is now one of the most important archeological sites in the world.
7. Circus Maximus
Circus Maximus was one of the largest stadiums in Ancient Rome that held chariot races. You can walk past this near Palatine Hill.
The Pantheon is a temple dedicated to the Roman Gods. It’s amazing architecture and history is well worth the visit.
9. Largo di Torre Argentina
This is a site of ancient ruins and also the place where Julius Caesar was assassinated.
10. Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary
At the site of Largo di Torre Argentina is a Cat Sanctuary that cares for the stray cats that reside there. You can visit here to see the cats and donate. Probably only interesting to cat lovers.
11. Testaccio ‘Non-Catholic’ or ‘Protestant’ Graveyard
In one fo the neighbourhoods of Rome, Testaccio, you will find the Non-Catholic Graveyard for Foreigners. It contains the graves of many famous artists, such as poets Shelley and Keats. Next to it you will see the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, a large pyramid tomb.
12. Piazza Venezia & Il Vittoriano
Piazza Venezia is pretty chaotic with traffic, but around it, you will find Il Vittoriano, a monument dedicated to King Victor Emmanuel II.
13. Walk Through Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese is a sprawling park with great views over the city. A great way to relax.
14. Sant Angelo Castle Night Tour
We stumbled across Sant Angelo Castle after getting lost at night. We thought we would try our luck to see if it was open, and not only that, we were right in time for a 10pm tour. I’d really recommend the night tour as it added this eeriness in a good way. Sant Angelo Castle was so interesting and one of my favourite things we did in Rome.
15. Get Out Of The City Center And Explore
We didn’t get as far as we’d have liked, but we did do a tour of Testaccio and it was fabulous.
16. Walk Along The Tiber River
Walk along the Tiber river and cross some of it’s beautiful bridges.
17. Post A Postcard From The Vatican
As you exit the Vatican Museums, you can get your iconic Vatican postcard and send one back to your family and friends straight from the Vatican. There is also a Vatican post office on St Peters Square.
18. See The City From Above
Seeing Rome from above can give you magnificent views. You can get great views from Villa Borghese and we stopped by the InterContinental hotel for the views and a drink on the rooftop bar.
19. Get Lost In The Streets
What better way to explore a city than to get lost in it!
20. Drink Out Of A Nasoni
The Nasoni are one of the best things about Rome. Little water fountains spread out all over the city, that you can use to drink from (just put your hand over the end and the water will come out of a hole on top) or use them to fill up your drink bottle. At least you know you can save money on not needing to buy water!
21. Shop On Via Condotti
One of Romes busiest fashion streets, starting at the Spanish Steps. Even if you’re not shopping its worth a look.
22. Take Photos Of The Amazing Architecture
Amazing architecture everywhere. You will want to remember it.
23. Food Tour
We did a great tour of Testaccio with Eating Italy.
24. Enjoy Aperitivo
Aperitivo is that time of night, around 6-9pm, where you stop and have a drink and snack. Some bars include the snacks with your first drink, so it can cost-effective if you don’t need dinner after.
25. Have A Delicious Italian Dinner – But Not Before 8pm
Italian food is absolutely delicious. There are some great restaurants in Rome, but it screams tourist if you have dinner before 8pm, or better yet wait til 9pm.
I’m not a huge coffee drinker but in Rome I probably had an espresso every day, and I enjoyed them all! It’s such a great experience standing at the bar to have your espresso.
Similar to a croissant but denser and can come filled with creme or chocolate. Yum!
28. Go To The Supermarket
I love visiting supermarkets when traveling. It gives me that local feel and it’s the time I start imagining what it would be like to live somewhere. Supermarkets in Rome are stocked with amazing meats, cheeses, bread and desserts.
29. Go To The Local Markets
One we went to and loved was Testaccio Markets. There is also a popular one in Campo De’ Fiori.
30. Try Italian Pizza
I was surprised to learn there were different styles of pizzas. Some were thin, some were thicker and some had a focaccia-like base. All were delicious.
We tried some beautiful wines in Rome and throughout Italy, and I just enjoy tasting the differences.
Things To Do Next Time
A quick little list of some of the things we didn’t get to do, but might do next time…
Ancient underground tombs.
34. Galleria Borghese
An Art Gallery in the Villa Borghese gardens.
A commercial suburb of Rome very different to the city centre, with architecture commissioned by Mussolini to display his fascist ideologies.
36. Explore Other More Residential Neighbourhoods
Just to get a more local feel.
37. Via Appia Antica
An ancient Roman Road where you can walk and see ruins.
38. Visit A Beachside Town Of Rome
39. Do A Cooking Class
40. See The View From Janiculum Hill
41. Do A Scooter Tour
So that’s 41 things to do in Rome, enough to keep you busy for a while :) I can’t wait to return to Rome and discover even more!