Rome, often referred to as the “Eternal City,” is a captivating blend of ancient history, rich culture, and modern life. With its iconic landmarks, world-renowned cuisine, and vibrant atmosphere, Rome is a destination that appeals to travelers of all interests. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an art enthusiast, or simply seeking a romantic getaway, Rome has something to offer. Here are 24 of the best things to do in this magnificent city.
1. Explore the Colosseum
No visit to Rome is complete without admiring the grandeur of the Colosseum. This ancient amphitheater, where gladiatorial contests once took place, is a symbol of Rome’s rich history. Take a guided tour to learn about its fascinating past.
2. Wander Through the Roman Forum
Adjacent to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum was the center of ancient Roman life. Stroll through the ruins of temples, basilicas, and government buildings, and imagine the bustling activity that once filled these streets.
3. Marvel at the Pantheon
The Pantheon is a remarkable feat of Roman engineering and architecture. Its massive dome and stunning interior make it a must-visit. Don’t forget to look up at the oculus, a hole in the dome that allows natural light to filter in.
4. Throw a Coin in the Trevi Fountain
Legend has it that if you throw a coin over your left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, you’re guaranteed to return to Rome. Make a wish and join the tradition as you admire this Baroque masterpiece.
5. Visit the Vatican Museums
Home to an incredible collection of art and historical artifacts, the Vatican Museums are a treasure trove of human creativity. Be sure to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
6. Stand in Awe at St. Peter’s Basilica
Adjacent to the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world. Climb to the top of the dome for breathtaking views of the city, or explore the awe-inspiring interior.
7. Explore the Vatican Gardens
Book a guided tour to wander through the lush Vatican Gardens, which cover more than half of Vatican City. It’s a serene escape from the bustling streets of Rome.
8. Enjoy a Roman Holiday at the Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps, with their sweeping staircase and the beautiful Trinità dei Monti church at the top, provide a perfect spot for people-watching and relaxation.
9. Admire the Art at Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese is a vast park in the heart of Rome, home to the Galleria Borghese, which houses an impressive collection of art, including works by Bernini, Caravaggio, and Raphael.
10. Discover Ancient Catacombs
Explore the eerie underground catacombs beneath Rome, where early Christians buried their dead. The Catacombs of San Callisto and the Catacombs of Domitilla are among the most famous.
11. Savor Authentic Italian Gelato
Indulge in the creamy goodness of gelato at one of Rome’s many gelaterias. Try classic flavors like pistachio and stracciatella, and discover unique creations as well.
12. Experience Roman Cuisine
Dine in a traditional Roman trattoria and savor local dishes such as pasta carbonara, cacio e pepe, and Roman-style artichokes. Pair your meal with a glass of Italian wine for the perfect culinary experience.
13. Admire the Art at the Borghese Gallery
Housed in the former Villa Borghese, this gallery is a masterpiece in itself. It contains an outstanding collection of sculptures and paintings, including Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne.
14. Visit the Appian Way
Step back in time by walking along the ancient Appian Way, lined with tombs, ruins, and serene countryside. It’s a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
15. Climb the Capitoline Hill
The Capitoline Hill offers panoramic views of the Roman Forum and the city. It’s also home to the Capitoline Museums, which house a superb collection of classical art.
16. Discover the Palatine Hill
Explore the Palatine Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome, where emperors once lived in opulent palaces. Wander among the ruins and enjoy the beautiful views of the city.
17. Go Shopping in Campo de’ Fiori
Visit the bustling Campo de’ Fiori market in the morning for fresh produce, and return in the evening to enjoy the lively atmosphere, with restaurants and street performers.
18. Tour the Castel Sant’Angelo
This ancient fortress was originally built as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Hadrian. It later served as a papal residence and prison. Explore its history and enjoy stunning views from the top.
19. Watch the Sunset at Pincian Hill
Pincian Hill offers a romantic spot to watch the sun dip below the horizon, with panoramic views of Rome. It’s a serene escape from the crowds, perfect for a leisurely stroll.
20. Visit the Mouth of Truth
Test your honesty by sticking your hand in the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth), an ancient marble mask with a reputation for biting the hands of liars.
21. Take a Day Trip to Ostia Antica
Just a short train ride from Rome lies the ancient Roman port city of Ostia Antica. Explore remarkably well-preserved ruins, including theaters, bathhouses, and apartment buildings.
22. Enjoy the Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is a lively square surrounded by Baroque buildings, fountains, and outdoor cafes. It’s a great place to soak in the atmosphere and street performances.
23. Visit the Baths of Caracalla
Explore the immense Baths of Caracalla, a well-preserved ancient thermal bath complex. The sheer size and architecture of these baths are truly impressive.
24. Go on a Nighttime Tour
Experience the magic of Rome at night by joining a guided nighttime tour. Many attractions, such as the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, offer special evening tours with dramatically lit views.
Rome is a city that can transport you back in time with its ancient wonders while also indulging your senses with its modern delights. Whether you’re exploring its historic sites, savoring its cuisine, or simply wandering its charming streets, Rome promises an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and embark on a journey through the enchanting streets of the Eternal City.