Renaissance palazzos and Baroque fountains effortlessly juxtapose ancient ruins reflecting an undeniable sense of old-world charm in beautiful Rome.
The caput mundi is a maze of meandering alleyways that snake their way through gorgeous piazzas, and the capital of Italy‘s exhilarating sense of wonder cannot be ignored.
With awe-inspiring art, a vibrant culture, and thousands of monumental edifices and basilicas, there is something about Rome that will just make you fall in love with it, over and over again.
Chrissy from Travel Passionate is here to share the best things to do in Rome, Italy. So, let’s dive right in.
Nothing can really rival Rome’s heritage, and its history, along with the architectural wonders. From Baroque edifices, to Byzantine mosaics, to frescoes from the Renaissance era, the Roman experience will take you through some of the world’s top masterpieces by some of the world’s greatest artists.
Add to this the ever so evident dolce vita, the streetside cafes, the aperitivos and the sheer romanticism in the city and you’ve got yourself the perfect vacation destination!
There are a ton of things to do in Italy, but it’s capital has even more interesting things to do while you traverse the city!
How To Get To and From The Airport
There are plenty of ways to get to and from the airport in Rome. You can buy a ticket for the bus when you arrive, and they usually take about 45 minutes to get to the center (Termini). These cost anything from 5 EUR to 10 EUR. There are plenty of bus companies offering this service, and you can check out their booths at the airport.
You can also get an Uber or a taxi which will cost you around 50 EUR to the center. This option costs a little more, but is easy after a long flight.
You can also the option to take a train into Rome (only from Fiumicino airport) which will take you to the Termini Station for 14 EUR which takes about 30 minutes.
15 Things To Do In Rome
1. The Colosseum
There is no doubt that the Colosseum is the most recognized icon in all of Rome, if not all of Italy. It is one of those attractions that you simply have to visit on your trip to the city. Your first interaction with the Colosseum will be one of awe, and of grandeur. It perfectly mixes gore and glory together as it stands proudly dating back to AD 72. Despite everything that Rome has gone through, the Colosseum still stood there majestically.
The Colosseum still leaves a powerful impression on everyone that visits it. Of course, who would not be impressed by a Flavian Amphitheatre that served as a model for stadiums around the world?
The seating back then were allocated based on social status, with the emperors and the most important people of the time sitting in the front. There is also a passage inside that takes you through the room where the slaughters happened!
2. St. Peter’s Basillica
In a city of one gorgeous church after the other, no church can compare to the utter grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica – the largest and most stunning of them all.
Dating back to the 4th century, the church boasts nothing short of a lavish interior and all types of spectacular art – specifically the renowned Michelangelo’s Pieta. Make sure to check out every part of the Basillica!
The façade is beautiful with soaring columns, central balconies and perfect adornments into stone, while the interior will take you hours of exploration to even get a gist of the immensity of this place.
Of course, the most important attraction is Michelangelo’s hauntingly beautiful Pieta, and then there is the Museum, the dome and its entrance (if you’re brave enough to climb the 320 steps), the piers and the status of St. Peter. Visiting it for the first time is an unforgettable experience filled with one priceless masterpiece after the other.
For breathtaking views, I really recommend climbing into the dome for a soul-stirring experience!
3. The Vatican
Visiting the Vatican should be on your top of list of things to do when you visit Rome. In fact, it’s one of the most incredible attractions there.
The Eternal City is filled to the brim with masterpieces, and is like stepping back in time. The once-in-a-lifetime experience entails you visit everything there – Museum, the Sistine Chapel, the Squares and climbing the dome!
The Vatican Museum is a treasure trove of some of the world’s beautiful masterpieces, paintings and sculptures by some of the world’s giants in the world of art. The impressive art collection simply cannot be missed out on.
Next, visit the Vatican Gardens and then the nearby Castel San Angelo.
4. Castel San Angelo
Located very near the Vatican, the Castel San Angel is brimming with history and has served all types of purposes throughout history so is definitely worth visiting. It was once a defensive fortress, a prison, a Renaissance residence and now it’s a museum that cannot be missed. There are five levels of the museum, each reflecting different types of artifacts.
Level 1 is the access ramp and the place where the tombs were, Level 2 is the prison and where the warehouses were located, and Level 3 was the place used for military purposes. Level 4 is the papal apartment, and level 5 is the incredible upper terrace with beautiful views all around.
5. Roman Forum
Few sites in the world can match the sense of history that embodies the Roman Forum, and for many years it was the place to go to for a good dose of history. The remains only give you a hint of what this place like – with a small sense of grandeur left, but the Forum had a very important history in ancient times.
The place is absolutely vast and crowded, for good reason! The center of the extensive Roman Empire is great to see in conjunction with the Roman Colosseum.
Check out the different areas: Temple of Saturn, Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, Temple of Venus and Roma, and much more. Over the years, this was a marketing center and today it’s one of the places you have to check out on your trip to Rome.
6. The Pantheon
The Roman Pantheon is the best preserved building of Ancient Rome which makes it a top attraction to visit on your trip to Rome. The structure was built by Emperor Hadrian that date back to 116 AD, and till this day is an incredibly magnificent sight that is known for its well-known beauty. Imagine the fact that it looks today, the same way it has looked for thousands of years. There are plenty of stuff to see at the sight, including:
The Pantheon itself, for anyone who is interested in architecture and design that has stood against the test of time.
The Dome is another great part of the Pantheon.
Make sure to check out the oculus which is the only source of natural light located in the Pantheon.
7. Trevi Fountain
Nothing prepares you for the Trevi Fountain. The attraction looks like it came out straight of a fairytale, with magical triumphant figures of the sea-god Neptune, the sun reflecting unto the waters, and the allegorical figures side by side representing health and abundance.
Make sure you take part in the ritual of tossing the coin in the fountain for good luck and prosperity. The fantastical fountain embodies La dolce vita of Rome, so after you fight your way through the summer crowds, head over to the seats around the fountain for a drink or food.
8. Piazza Navona
Of all the piazzas in Rome, Piazza Navona is one of the most popular, and by far my favorite. The first thing you notice when you enter this piazza is how it’s pretty much got no corner and has round ones.
This Baroque piazza brims with Bernini sculptures, and magnificent fountains along with an important church in Rome. You’ll find all sorts of things to do there and is one of the most animates squares in Rome and is the perfect place to stop for coffee, or relax before you wander off to the rest of the place.
This elegant showcase square and has always hosted the city’s main market, and despite the fact that this was originally built as a stadium, check out the Piazza for luxurious cafes and Baroque palaces.
9. The Piazza di Spagna
If you find it weird that one of the most popular piazzas in Rome is Piazza di Spagna, don’t be! The Spanish Steps lead up to a church that overlook the piazza, and are an in incredible place to relax between sight-seeing.
It’s one of the most renowned squares and a popular neighborhood in Rome, and is one of the largest stairway in Europe! The steps are enchanting at all times of the years, with sellers, flower dealers and photographers all year round!
10. Villa Borghese Galleria
If you’re an art lover, this is the place for you. The Borghese Gallery is the perfect place for all art lovers and symbolizes Rome’s love of art. The Borghese Gallery features one of the world’s largest private art collections and is filled with all types of art from the Roman, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.
Built in the early 17th century, this place is the definition of a treasure trove for art. The Villa Borghese itself is Rome’s largest park and is the best place to actually escape the city with sculptures, fountains and 3 museums.
11. Piazza del Popolo
This is a large square in Rome that is known for the giant Egyptian obelisk right in the middle of it. On the boundary of the plaza are two churches, and the Santa Maria del Popolo is an important one filled with art treasures and artifacts.
12. Campo de’ Fiori
Whether you want to visit it in the morning during its bustling market, or during the night for its fun atmosphere – the Campo de Fiori is the bustling center of Rome.
There are plenty of bars, cafes, museums, churched and monuments along with an outdoor market so whichever time of the day you go, you’ll find something to do!
13. Piazza Venezia
The Piazza Venezia is the actual geographic heart of the city, and is the beginning of the ancient Roman road (Via FLamania).
The PalazzaVenezia is the main attraction in the square, a palace that was once the headquarters of the Venice embassy, and is now a museum filled with Renaissance art, and much more.
14. Capitoline Hill
Despite the fact that the Capitoline Hill is the smallest in all of Rome, it’s still considered as the most important of them all. It remains a symbolic center of Rome and houses great artistic and archeological treasures in MuseiCapitoini.
The museum itself overlooks some of the best attractions –including the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Make sure you climb the Capitoline Hill and check out the largest bronze statue from Roman antiquity!
You could actually spend an entire day just roaming around Trasrtevere. The neighborhood dates back to the medieval times and is right across the Tiber river, and will take you right into the atmosphere of Rome, with shops, cafes, winding cobblestone side streets, street performers, religious shrines and much more!
The locals there spend a lot of time and it’s a great spot for people-watching and sight-seeing! Check out the Basilica of Santa Maria there, and roam around the Botanical Garden of Rome, and finally don’t forget to try the gelato at the Gelateriaalla Scala.
Rome is an extremely diverse city to visit with plenty of things to do. The city teems with history and would take weeks to explore just the surface of it and all of the art that it has to offer!
More About Chrissy
Chrissy is a travel blogger and tourism professional based in Athens, Greece. She writes in both English and French for Travel Passionate, her blog focusing on luxury travel around Europe.
She’s traveled extensively throughout Europe for the past 25 years and has no intention of slowing down. She loves to explore the local culture and gastronomy of the places she visits. You can follow her adventures on Facebook and Instagram.