Top 33 Things to Do in Rome

A Comprehensive Guide to the Top Rome Attractions and Activities

Rome at a Glance

Famous for its ancient monuments, cobbled lanes and coin accepting fountains, Rome is home to some of the worlds most visited tourist attractions and provides a romantic escape. In the city center, cafes spill out on to the streets as local’s sip espressos and pizza vendors hand out delicious slices of Italy to passers by. You’ll also find historic attractions including the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain making it no surprise that central Rome is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Italy’s capital is also the only city in the world to house an independent country within its parameters; Vatican City. Home to both religious and cultural sites including St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel the area is a culture vulture’s paradise.

Located in the central-western area of the Italian Peninsula, the city itself is like one big open-air museum, and whether your people watching on the piazzas or admiring the Renaissance works of Michelangelo in the Vatican Museum, this culturally rich city has a lot to offer for everyone.

How Much Time Do You Need to See Rome?

To explore the best of Rome, and to discover some hidden gems while you’re at it, we suggest spending three days in the city. Be aware that spring and autumn are the cities busiest seasons with August being the hottest month.

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Free Things to Do in Rome

If you find yourself on a tight budget in Rome, have no fear as there are many attractions, parks, and landmarks to be enjoyed for absolutely free. Below we’ve listed nine free activities in and around Rome.

St Peter’s Basilica
St peter s basilica things to do rome 157 600 270

Located inside Vatican City, St Peter’s Basilica is an Italian Renaissance church dating back to the 16th century. Regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines, the church boasts magnificent architecture and is home to one of Michelangelo’s sculptures

Piazza Novana
Piazza novana things to do rome 158 600 270

When it comes to people watching there’s only one place to do it; Piazza Navona. This Italian square has a vibrant atmosphere and is a gathering place for tourists and locals alike. Head here early to see the Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, a cascading fountain, and central attraction.

Trevi Fountain
Trevi fountain things to do rome 159 600 270

The Trevi Fountain is an iconic landmark famous the world over. The statue of Ocean towers in the center and the architecture is exquisite. Pack your pennies before you visit as its ritual to throw a coin in over your left shoulder to ensure you’ll return to Rome in the future.

Via Appia Antica
Via appia antica things to do rome 160 600 270

Via Appia Antica is one of Rome’s most famous roads. Located on the edge of the city, head here for an afternoon stroll down the old path that once ran from Rome to Brindisi. The stretch of walk closest to Rome is now an archeological park and is flush with greenery.

Jewish Ghetto
Jewish ghetto things to do rome 161 600 270

Inside Rome’s Jewish quarter you’ll find a hubbub of activity and multiple art studios. Tucked away in the heart of the city pay a visit to one of the fifteen churches, the Turtle fountain and the Jewish Museum of Rome to learn about the community’s history.

Quartiere Coppede
Quartiere coppede things to do rome 162 600 270

This somewhat secret neighborhood of Rome is packed with breathtaking architecture and hipster hangouts. Enjoy Art Nouveau, medieval and Baroque style buildings with splashes of color and inviting green areas.

Campo de’ Fiori
Campo de fiori things to do rome 163 600 270

Campo de’ Fiori is a small square located just south of Piazza Navona. This vibrant square boasts a morning market every day except Sunday. Head here early to watch the locals haggle over fresh fruit and vegetables before searching the craft stalls for souvenirs.

Trajan’s Column
Trajan s column things to do rome 164 600 270

This famous landmark towers over the Imperial Forums, just a ten minutes walk from the city center. The column is a commemorative piece of architecture linked to the Dacian Wars and is a must see sight for all history buffs.

Villa Borghese
Villa borghese things to do rome 165 600 270

Villa Borghese is a public park located to the north of the city. The gardens are incredibly beautiful, and couples can enjoy a romantic stroll while families can enjoy boat rides on the lake. The parks biggest pull is Casa Del Cinema, an independent picture house that shows free movies in the afternoons and evenings.

Map of Free Things to Do in Rome
Map of free things to do in Rome

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1-Day Itinerary in Rome

If you only have one day in the city then get ready for a whirlwind tour. Below we’ve listed nine attractions, activities and things to do when you have a limited time in Rome.

Colosseum
Colosseum things to do rome 166 600 270

One of Rome’s biggest tourist attractions is the Flavian Amphitheatre, more commonly known as the Colosseum. Built in AD 72 using concrete and sand it’s the largest amphitheater in the world. Take a guided tour around this masterpiece learning about its history as you go.

Roman Forum
Roman forum things to do rome 167 600 270

This rectangular forum is surrounded by ancient ruins of government buildings. Sitting in the center of Rome this sprawl of ruins is packed with history, and if you visit just before sunset, you’ll see rays of light hitting the pillars and casting beautiful shadows.

Vatican Museums
Vatican museums things to do rome 168 600 270

Located in Vatican City the museum's host an array of art and religious pieces built up by Popes over centuries. With classic sculptures, Renaissance masterpieces and delicate décor the museums are a culture vulture’s paradise.

Museo e Galleria Borghese
Museo e galleria borghese things to do rome 169 600 270

This art gallery sits in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana in the north east section of Villa Borghese gardens. The gallery is home to works by Raphael, Titian, and Caravaggio and is considered one of the most extravagant galleries in the city.

Trastevere
Trastevere things to do rome 170 600 270

The district of Trastevere sits on the west banks of the River Tiber and is considered one of Rome’s best nightlife hubs. Head here in the evening to enjoy bustling bars, traditional restaurants, and nightclubs to boot. Couples can enjoy a romantic evening with an atmosphere here.

Vatican City
Vatican city things to do rome 171 600 270

Vatican City is the only country in the world to be located inside a city and, as such, it’s quite a spectacle. Ruled by the pope this religious area is packed with culture and is home to multiple museums and the Sistine Chapel. No trip to Rome can go by without a visit to this center of Christianity.

Basilica di Santa Maria
Basilica di santa maria things to do rome 172 600 270

The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest Catholic church in Rome and is one of the cities four patriarchal basilicas. Decorated with delicate mosaics and boasting an original interior, this grand church would impress even the atheists among us.

Spanish Steps
Spanish steps things to do rome 173 600 270

The Spanish Steps, located just north of the Trevi Fountain, are the perfect pit-stop to enjoy an ice-cream. Take a seat on the steps around midday to watch the area come alive with people going about their day.

Sistine Chapel
Sistine chapel things to do rome 174 600 270

The Sistine Chapel sits inside Vatican City and is a large part of the Vatican Museums. Famous for its gloriously intricate ceiling, painted by Michelangelo, the chapel is a must do on any visit to Rome. Inside enjoy incredible art work, elegant décor and a tour of Roman history through the ages.

Map Things to Do in Rome With 1 Day
Map of things to do for a one-day itinerary in Rome

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2-Day Itinerary in Rome

Capitoline Museums
Capitoline museums things to do rome 175 600 270

As the worlds oldest national museum the Capitoline Museum will have any history buff itching to explore. Made up of two buildings the museum primarily boasts sculptures but art exhibitions can be found on the second floor. Make sure you see the ‘She Wolf’ exhibit, consider a symbol of Rome.

Tazza d’Oro
Tazza d oro things to do rome 176 600 270

When it comes to coffee, the Italians know the ropes and espresso is considered the national drink. Head to Tazza d’Oro café for a caffeinated pick me up before continuing exploring the city. The gift shop also provides an excellent opportunity to get a caffeinated souvenir.

Pantheon
Pantheon things to do rome 177 600 270

This old temple come church can’t be missed, and you’ve probably walked past it about three times already. With a pillared exterior, the Pantheon showcases exceptional masonry work and is an iconic place of worship for all religions.

Antica Caciara Trasteverina

All these history tours will have left you hungry so it’s time to head to Antica Caciara Trasteverina, one of Rome’s busiest deli’s, and it’s busy for all the right reasons. Enjoy cured meats, local cheeses, and fresh bread to go from this age old family deli. If you’re here on your last day, fill your basket with Italian fare to take home.

Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel sant angelo things to do rome 179 600 270

This Roman fortress was built in AD 130 and has since been both a prison and papal residence. Located on the banks of the Tiber, just a short walk from the Vatican, the fortress offers an insight into Rome of yesteryear and history buffs can call into the Castel museum to learn more.

Pizzarium

There’s pizza almost everywhere you turn in the city, so we’ve narrowed down our favorite pizzeria; Bonci Pizzarium. Located just a 20-minute walk north of Vatican City this pizza house serves soft based pizzas topped with the freshest ingredients and a mouth watering tomato sauce. After a day of exploring the city on foot, you can easily justify a calorific experience like this.

Giolitti
Giolitti things to do rome 181 600 270

Gelato is an Italian ice cream served at almost every café in the city and when in Rome, you’ve simply got to try some. Head to Giolitti, an ice cream emporium, to choose from an array of mouth watering flavors. Children and adults alike will delight at this colorful ice cream parlor.

Map Things to Do in Rome With 2 Day
Map of things to do for a two-day itinerary in Rome

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3+ Day Itinerary in Rome

Three days in the city is a desirable amount of time, and any more than this is a luxury. Spend your days exploring Rome at leisure, hopping from attraction to activity before venturing slightly further afield to the surrounding neighborhood. Below we’ve listed eight things to see on a three or more-day itinerary.

Gianicolo Hill
Gianicolo hill things to do rome 182 600 270

Located a 30-minute walk west of the city Gianicolo and Janiculum Hill offer panoramic views back over Rome. As one of the tallest hills in Rome, Gianicolo provides a great workout while Janiculum is the second tallest.

Eataly
Eataly things to do rome 183 600 270

After three days of devouring fresh pasta, hot pizzas and gelato by the bucket you’re going to find it hard to head home. That’s why a visit to Eataly is a must. This supermarket offers organic and locally sourced Italian ingredients so you can stock up on all your favorite flavors and fine wines.

Capuchin Crypt
Capuchin crypt things to do rome 184 600 270

Capuchin Crypt is made up of several small chapels underneath the church of Santa Maria. This treasure trove is a must see for history and culture buffs alike as the crypt is decorated with the bones of over 4,000 friars.

Centro Storico
Centro storico things to do rome 185 600 270

This area of Rome is filled with narrow cobblestone streets and is the perfect spot for a quiet ramble. Enjoy walking amidst some of the finest buildings admiring the architecture as you go. Come evening; the area is abuzz with revelers heading to the bars for a tipple or two.

Galleria Alberto Sordi
Galleria alberto sordi things to do rome 186 600 270

Even Rome’s indoor shopping arcades boast impeccable architecture, and the Galleria Alberto Sordi doesn’t fail to impress. With an array of boutique and designer stores, restaurants and cafes this shopping arcade is a shopaholics paradise.

MAXXI
Maxxi things to do rome 187 600 270

While the majority of Rome reflects ancient times, the MAXXI is a modern art gallery that looks to the future. Located north of the city this 21st gallery exhibits contemporary pieces and the architecture alone is impressive enough.

Cinecitta Studios

Cinecitta Studios is the largest film studio in Europe and the location for many huge movies including La Dolce Vita. Film buffs will enjoy a private studio tour which passes through the sets and around the back lots of this famous working studio.

Santa Marinella
Santa marinella things to do rome 189 600 270

If you’ve got a spare day in Rome, then head to the beach of Santa Marinella. Located just over an hour north of the city, and accessible by public transport, this beach sits on a quirky bay and boast turquoise waters and provides the perfect escape for all the family.

Map Things to Do in Rome With 3+ Day
Map of things to do for a 3+ day itinerary in Rome

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Parting Words

If you’ve fallen in love with the idea of the above dolce vita lifestyle we can’t blame you. From fresh pizza slices to ancient works of art, the city has it all. Whether you’re a history buff looking to learn about the Roman empire or a family looking for the best parks and ice-cream spots, everyone can enjoy a weekend break here. And, having successfully tossed your coin into the Trevi Fountain, we’re adamant you’ll be back again soon.

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