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, but don’t try to do it all in one trip. In our opinion, the best things to do in Rome are eating and exploring by foot, which is pretty difficult to do and enjoy if you have a list of 20 things to tick off. After multiple trips to Rome and spending a month there on our last trip, 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 our favourite piazzas:
- Piazza del Popolo (my favourite!)
- Piazza Navona
- Piazza Di Spagna (otherwise known as the Spanish Steps)
- St Peters Square
- Campo de’ Fiori
- Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere
You will also stumble across fountains that are quite literally pieces of art. Some of our favourites:
- Fiumi Fountain in Piazza Navona
- Trevi Fountain
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 till the end.
Make sure to buy tickets online in advance so you can avoid the long line. 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 that 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 ever 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 archaeological 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. One for the cat lovers.
11. Testaccio ‘Non-Catholic’ or ‘Protestant’ Graveyard
In one of 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. Castel Sant’Angelo Night Tour
We stumbled across Castel 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 10 pm tour. I’d really recommend the night tour as it added this eeriness and it was easier to imagine how it would have been. Castel Sant’Angelo was so interesting and one of the best things to do in Rome at night.
15. Get Out Of The City Center And Explore
We didn’t get as far as we’d have liked, but we have explored the neighbourhoods of Testaccio and Trastevere. But there are many easy day trips to take from Rome such as Orvieto, Ostia Antica and the beaches like Ostia Lido.
16. Walk Along The Tiber River
Walk along the Tiber river and cross some of its 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. Another great place for views over Rome is Gianicolo Hill (also known as Janiculum Hill).
19. Gianicolo Hill For Sunset
Speaking of Gianicolo Hill, it’s perfect to walk (or get a taxi) here for sunset and see the beautiful views over Rome. Afterwards, have a delicious dinner at Antico Arco nearby, one of our favourite places to eat in Rome.
20. Get Lost In The Streets
The best way to explore anywhere is to wander the streets without a plan. Usually, I get my bearings pretty quickly, but in Rome, those little streets get me every time!
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. Take Photos Of The Amazing Architecture
Amazing architecture everywhere. You will want to remember it.
24. Explore The Trastevere Neighbourhood
We were so happy to stay in Trastevere for a month on our last trip to Rome. This historical neighbourhood of Rome is beautiful. Make sure to visit Piazza Santa Maria, the Basilica of Santa Maria, have gelato from Fior di Luna, buy some traditional biscuits at Biscottificio Innocenti, and if you’re there on a Sunday, visit the Porta Portese flea market. You can walk to Trastevere from the city, just across the river, or you can take tram no. 8.
25. Explore The Testaccio Neighbourhood
Testaccio is an old working-class neighbourhood of Rome that’s full of character. There are lots of great food options here such as the Testaccio markets, Flavio al Velavevodetto and Da Remo for pizza.
26. Food Tour
We did a great food tour of Testaccio with Eating Italy. A great introduction to food in Rome for your first visit.
27. 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.
28. Have A Delicious Italian Dinner – But Not Before 8 pm
Italian food is absolutely delicious. There are some great restaurants in Rome, but it screams tourist if you have dinner before 8 pm, or better yet wait till 9 pm.
I’m not a huge coffee drinker but in Rome, I have an espresso every day, and I enjoy them all! It’s such a great experience standing at the bar to have your espresso. Find our favourite coffee in Rome here.
Similar to a croissant but denser and can come filled with creme or chocolate. A perfect way to start the day!
31. Go To The Supermarket
I love visiting supermarkets when travelling. 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. When we spent a month in Rome, we spent lots of time exploring the supermarkets whilst we were staying in our Airbnb.
32. Go To The Local Markets
We love the fresh fruit and vegetable markets of Rome. Some of our favourites include Campo de’ Fiori, Testaccio Market, and Trionfale Market.
Read More: Healthy Food In Rome: Balancing Out The Gelato
33. Eat Italian Pizza
Rome has so many different styles of pizza. Some are thin, some are thicker and some have a focaccia-like base. Some you buy by the rectangle slice, and some are whole round pizzas. All are delicious.
We tried some beautiful wines in Rome and throughout Italy, and I just enjoy tasting the differences.
More Options For Things To Do In Rome
A quick little list of some of the things we haven’t yet done…
36. Catacombs Of Rome
Ancient underground tombs.
37. Galleria Borghese
An Art Gallery in the Villa Borghese gardens.
38. Explore The Neighbourhood of EUR
A commercial suburb of Rome very different to the city centre, with architecture commissioned by Mussolini to display his fascist ideologies.
39. Via Appia Antica
An ancient Roman Road where you can walk and see ruins. Closed to traffic on Sundays. Here’s some information on how to get there.
40. Visit A Beachside Town Of Rome
Some beaches can be visited as a day trip from Rome, such as Santa Marinella and Sperlonga.
41. Do A Cooking Class
Any Italian cooking skills you can bring home with you can only be a good thing.
42. Do A Scooter Tour
Seen Rome by foot? Time to experience another side to Rome and see it from a scooter.
So that’s 42 things to do in Rome, enough to keep you busy for a while :) We love spending time in Rome and can’t wait to return again to discover even more.