Things to do in Rome: Discover the Best Places to Visit

Spencer Davis, Unsplash
December 13
Written by Elena Kostas

Discover the top attractions and things to do in Rome. Make the most of your trip to the Eternal City with our comprehensive guide.

The Eternal City invites you on a remarkable journey, brimming with ancient landmarks, bustling piazzas, and coveted cuisine. Yes, we're talking about the exceptional Rome. A travel destination with a myriad of things to do that will captivate both history enthusiasts and food lovers alike.

Often referred to as the World's biggest open-air museum, it's astounding what you'll see in Rome. From timeless architecture to cherished relics, every path is a throwback to a different era. Did you know the city is named after its legendary founder and first king, Romulus? It wasn't built in a day!

Our comprehensive Rome guide will lead you through its unravelled history, allowing you to savor the city's riches at your own pace. With so many unique places to visit in Rome, your Italian escapade promises to be nothing less than 'la dolce vita'.

1. Colosseum in Rome

Historical Monuments and Architecture
Colosseum in Rome
Colosseum in Rome / Mike Swigunski, Unsplash

Things to do in Rome: The Colosseum in Rome is one of the most iconic and visited attractions in the city. Built in the 1st century AD, it is an impressive amphitheater that used to host gladiator contests, animal hunts, and theatrical performances.

Visiting the Colosseum: Exploring its ruins is like taking a journey back in time to ancient Rome. You can walk through the underground level, where the animal cages were located, and climb up to the upper level to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.

Architecture and history: The architecture of the Colosseum is breathtaking, with its oval design and its arches of half-moon shape. You will learn about the different types of shows that took place here and discover how they were conducted.

2. Roman Forum

History and Cultural Heritage
Roman Forum
Roman Forum / Fabio Fistarol, Unsplash

The Roman Forum is one of the most iconic archaeological sites in Rome. It was the political, religious, and social center of ancient Rome, and played a vital role in the city's history.

Built in the 7th century BC, the Roman Forum was the place where important ceremonies and speeches took place. It was surrounded by important government and religious buildings, such as the Temple of Saturn and the Curia, where the Senate met.

A visit to the Roman Forum will take you back in time, and you will be amazed by the remains of ancient temples, basilicas, and triumphal arches. Don't miss the Temple of Vesta, the Arch of Titus, and the House of the Vestal Virgins.

3. Trevi Fountain

Historical Monuments and Architecture$$$
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain / Fabio Fistarol, Unsplash

The Trevi Fountain is a true treasure in the heart of Rome. Located at the junction of three streets, this majestic fountain is a symbol of the eternal city and a must-visit for all tourists.

Known for its exquisite design and impressive details, the Trevi Fountain is not only an architectural masterpiece but also a place filled with myths and legends.

According to tradition, if you throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish, you will return to Rome in the future. So don't forget to toss your coin and hope that your wish comes true while you enjoy the magnificence of the Trevi Fountain.

4. Vatican Museums

Museums and Art Galleries
statues on top of building
Vatican Museums / Xavier Coiffic, Unsplash

The Vatican Museums are a must-visit for those exploring Rome and wishing to immerse themselves in the artistic and cultural richness of the Vatican City. With numerous galleries housing an impressive collection of art and antiquities, these museums are one of the most visited destinations in the world.

While wandering through the Vatican Museums, you'll have the chance to admire masterpieces by renowned artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and Caravaggio. The Sistine Chapel, with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo, is a highlight of the visit.

In addition to its invaluable art collection, the Vatican Museums also offer the opportunity to explore the history of the Vatican City and its role in the Catholic religion. From St. Peter's Basilica to the Vatican Gardens, this visit will take you through centuries of history and devotion.

5. Pantheon of Rome

Historical Monuments and Architecture
Pantheon of Rome
Pantheon of Rome / David Kaloczi, Unsplash

The Pantheon of Rome is an incredible monument dating back to 118 AD. It is known for its magnificent dome and Corinthian columns, making it one of the masterpieces of Roman architecture.

This ancient temple has witnessed numerous historical events over the centuries. It is a must-visit for any visitor who wants to immerse themselves in Rome's rich history.

Visiting the Pantheon of Rome will allow you to marvel at its impressive interior, where you will find the tomb of Raphael, the famous Renaissance painter. You'll also be able to admire the oculus at the top of the dome, which allows natural light to enter and creates a magical effect in the space.

6. Spanish Steps

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a group of people walking up stairs with Spanish Steps in the background
Spanish Steps / Neil Cartwright, Unsplash

The Spanish Steps is one of the most iconic attractions to visit in Rome. This magnificent staircase is a symbol of the city and a must-see for all tourists who come to the Italian capital.

Built in the 18th century, the staircase features 135 steps leading to the Trinità dei Monti church at the top, offering an impressive view of the city.

In addition to its architectural beauty, the Spanish Steps are also known for being a popular meeting point and a place to relax and enjoy the Roman ambiance. During the spring and summer months, the steps are filled with people sitting, resting, chatting, and enjoying the scenery.

7. Piazza Navona

Historical Monuments and Architecture
Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona / Marialaura Gionfriddo, Unsplash

Piazza Navona is one of Rome's most famous and picturesque squares. Located in the heart of the city, this square is a must-visit during your stay in Rome. Known for its beautiful fountains and sculptures, Piazza Navona is an architectural treasure that captures the essence of Italian Renaissance.

With its oval design and baroque buildings, the square offers a charming and vibrant atmosphere. During the day, you can stroll around the numerous cafes, art shops, and restaurants that surround the square. At night, the square comes to life with street artists and musicians who entertain visitors with their talent.

In addition to its architectural beauty, Piazza Navona also houses several tourist attractions, such as the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers and the Church of Saint Agnes in Agony. These historical sites bear witness to Rome's rich history and are well worth a visit.

8. St. Peter's Basilica

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a view of a city with a dome in the background
St. Peter's Basilica / Patrycja Chociej, Unsplash

St. Peter's Basilica is one of the most iconic landmarks in Rome. Located in Vatican City, it represents the epicenter of Catholicism and a must-visit for any tourist visiting the Eternal City.

Built in the 17th century, the basilica stands out for its impressive Renaissance architecture and its towering dome, designed by Michelangelo. Inside, it houses masterpieces of art, such as Michelangelo's Pietà.

In addition to its religious value, St. Peter's Basilica is also an important cultural and artistic center. Every year, it attracts millions of visitors who are mesmerized by its beauty and historical significance.

9. Trastevere

History and Cultural Heritage
Trastevere / Iga Palacz, Unsplash

Trastevere is one of the most visited and authentic neighborhoods in Rome, located on the other side of the Tiber River. With its cobbled streets and colorful buildings, this place has an irresistible charm that will transport you to past times.

The beauty of Trastevere lies in its historic squares and fountains, such as Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, where you can admire the majesty of the Basilica of Santa Maria, which stands proudly in the heart of the neighborhood. Additionally, you should not miss exploring Piazza di San Cosimato, a peaceful and lively place where locals gather to enjoy the atmosphere.

One of the main attractions of Trastevere is its vibrant nightlife. Here you will find numerous bars, restaurants, and trattorias where you can indulge in authentic Roman cuisine and enjoy live music. The bohemian and welcoming atmosphere invites you to get lost in its narrow streets and discover its charming corners.

10. Villa Borghese

Museums and Art Galleries
couple standing on gray concrete pavement near brown concrete building during daytime
Villa Borghese / Gabriella Clare Marino, Unsplash

Things to do in Rome: Villa Borghese is one of the must-visit places in Rome. Located in the heart of the city, this historic villa offers a perfect combination of art, nature, and architectural splendor. With beautiful gardens, magnificent fountains, and an unparalleled art collection, Villa Borghese is a treasure you cannot miss during your visit to Rome.

Art and culture: The villa houses the Borghese Gallery, which features an impressive collection of sculptures and paintings by renowned Italian artists such as Bernini, Caravaggio, and Raphael. Stroll through its rooms and marvel at the beauty and mastery of these artworks.

Connecting with nature: In addition to its artistic heritage, Villa Borghese has extensive gardens where you can take a leisurely walk, enjoy a picnic, or even rent a bike to explore its trails. Its picturesque landscapes and serene atmosphere invite you to relax and enjoy nature in the heart of Rome.