Rome, the city of illusions! It is built upon layers and layers of history.
No wonder they said all the streets of the world lead to Rome in that glorious era. With its palatial architectural sites and serene churches, museums, art, and ruins, it is one of the fascinating cities in antiquity.
It is the capital of one of the most powerful empires in the ancient era. With its unique Celebrious cuisine and recreational life, it is worth visiting at least once in our lifetime.
It is a cliche thing to say, but I guess each of you is familiar with the saying “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do.” It means when you’re in a foreign land, follow the customs and rules of the country.
Do you feel like taking a tour of Rome this summer vacation? Then here is the list of the best things to do in Rome.
20 Best Things to do in Rome
1. Trot Through The Borghese Gallery
There is a lot to enjoy and do in Rome, but if you’re looking for one of the best galleries I’ve ever seen, then take some time out of your vacation schedule to see Borghese Gallery.
It would be a thought-provoking experience to vacation through the Borghese Gallery in the 17th-century estate built by Cardinal Scipione Borghese.
The gallery is decorated with paintings, sculptures, and other artworks from the 16th to 18th centuries. You will find masterpieces by famous artists such as Raphael, Caravaggio, Bernini, and Titian in this vast estate.
2. Basilica di San Pietro in Vatican City
If you haven’t yet visited the beautiful basilica of St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, what are you waiting for?
This basilica is the largest church in Christendom, and with its dazzling ceiling frescoes by Michelangelo and Raphael, it’s no wonder. You’ll feel like taking your time exploring this magnificent building, so make sure you have at least two hours reserved for touring inside.
And ladies, do not forget to cover your shoulders and knees. I watched a security guard kick out a girl wearing thigh-high dresses. Men cannot be in shorts; they must wear pants.
Since the view is whirling, anyone with a fear of heights is not advisable to climb. And for those who are headstrong, this can be the best thing to do in Rome.
3. Visit the Pantheon, a Temple to All Gods
Pantheon is almost 2000 years old!
The Pantheon is one of the few buildings that has stayed intact to this day. When visiting Rome, be sure to check out the Pantheon. Roman natives will take you up to the roof of a building and show you this prominent site created in 27 BC when Marcus Agrippa “M ordered it.AGRIPPA.L.F.COS.TERTIUM.FECIT”
Originally, the Pantheon was a temple that served as a shrine for all of Rome’s gods. Today, it is still considered one of Italy’s most iconic buildings and welcomes over six million tourists every year.
It is the best place in Rome to walk through and unravel the mystery.
4. Strike a pose for a photo on the Spanish Steps
Spalina Spagna, or Spanish steps with its sporadic butterfly design, is one of Rome’s must-see places. If you are an artist, painter, or photographer, the elegance and unique design will galvanize you.
If you are in search of a place to relax or enjoy the view, just take your time and sit atop one of the steps. This will give you an excellent opportunity to witness people coming down from Trevi Fountain with their coins in hand.
The Spanish Steps is also home to some lovely cafes that offer panoramic views over Rome’s rooftops and ancient buildings below.
The design was created by architect Francesco de Sanctis in 1723 as a commission by Pope Benedict XIII, who had planned on extending the church complex up until where it now stands today; however, he died before construction finished.
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5. Eat Gelato at the Best Gelaterias in Rome
Gelato vs. Ice cream
What is Gelato? It is an Italian version of ice cream, although some consider gelato as a grown-up version of ice cream. Pretty much both are frozen desserts enjoyed on a summer day.
Gelato, though, tends to be made with less butterfat and more milk. It has a denser consistency than ice cream in that the air is not so whipped into it like egg-whites are in making its American counterpart.
The famous gelaterias of Rome will have lines out their doors for touristy spots on hot days. But if you want an authentic experience, keep reading! The best places won’t always be the easiest ones to find – they’ve tucked away or hidden inside restaurants waiting for hungry visitors who want something different from the usual fare at Roma piazzas without paying too much money.
6. See Michelangelo’s Moses at the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli
As we all know, Michelangelo was one of the greatest sculptors the world has seen. You can see carved marble sculptures inside the church of San Pietro in Vincoli.
Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli is a catholic church, and you can find it near the Piazza Barberini. This was the scene of an assassination attempt on Pope Julius II made by two Dominican monks who wanted to liberate Rome from papal power. The sculptures inside are truly amazing!
There’s still a debate on why Michelangelo created a horned Moses. But actually, he described it as a ray of the skin of his face.
With its stunning Baroque architecture, Piazza Navona was once an open stadium but now reduced to a public square. It is one of the best things to visit in Rome.
With its stunning Baroque architecture, Piazza Navona was once an open stadium but now reduced to a public square. It is one of the best things to visit in Rome.
Piazza Navona is home to many Italian cafés and restaurants. The square often hosts free public performances, such as concerts or plays.
The Borghese Gardens are a huge park on the other side of Piazza Navona from the piazzas.
8. Visit Basilica di San Pietro
San Pietro is one of the largest churches in the world and a renowned pilgrimage site. If you’re feeling religious, it is the best place to visit in Rome. It was built by the first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine.
If you’re not in the mood for a religious visit, it is still worth checking out. You can see Michelangelo’s famous painting of “The Creation of Adam” as well as one of Bernini’s sculptures called “Pietà.” The sculpture depicts Mary holding Jesus after his crucifixion and death.
9. Gawk at the Colosseum
The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear Rome is its magnificent Colosseum. Well, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater ever built, which can hold 50000- 80000 spectators. The structure is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Rome.
The ancient Romans built it, and it hosted gladiatorial battles, animal hunts, dramas, and other entertainment events such as Christian martyrdoms are a part of its history.
The Colosseum is restored to a great state. You can imagine what it looked like in the past.
Even though there was a re-enactment of famous battles, plays, and dramas, around 4,00,000 people and 1,00,0000 animals are estimated to be dead in the colosseum gladiator contests.
It is by far the best thing to do in Rome because it has attracted 7.4 million tourists in the last year alone, a massive increase of 5.7% compared to the previous year.
All the facts aside, close your eyes and listen to the tens of thousands of voices cheering and yelling in Latin, ecstatic to watch the bloodbath of animals and Gladiators.
10. Try Cacio e Pepe, Rome’s Famous Pasta Dish.
Want to try the most classic and beloved dish of Rome? Cacio e Pepe is the mouth-watering rendition of Italian flavor.
Cacio e Pepe means cheese and pepper in the Italian dialect. Many are wondering about the obsession with this dish because it is taking the food world by storm. Just thinking about it makes me drool.
It’s a super easy dish that will have your taste buds going crazy. All you need is pasta, freshly ground black pepper, and cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano).
The creamy, salty, spicy, and sharp taste is not that easily forgettable for your taste buds.
The best restaurants to try this heavenly dish is-
- Da Casere Al Casaletto
- Da Danilo
11. Visit the Musei Vaticani
It is pure nonsensical being in Rome and not visiting Musei Vaticani. The Vatican museum brims with a diverse collection of sculptures, paintings, Gobelins, books, scrolls, antique furniture, and whatnot.
All these collections are in gigantic spaces, and the walls with frescos are heart-stirringly beautiful where a day doesn’t go by without remembering them.
Musei Vaticani is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. The museum has over 40 rooms, and every one of them features unique historical pieces.
Besides the Vatican Museum’s vast collections, there are other museums that you can visit, such as the Gallery with Tapestries.
The Vatican museum has the greatest collections of religious art I’ve ever seen. You won’t be able to see even half of them in 2 days.
Use the audio guide because the place gets pretty crowded, and you won’t be able to pass by peacefully in a rush.
12. Visit the Villa Borghese Gardens
Borghese Gardens has various museums and art galleries. There are also fountains, statues, lakes, and woods to explore here.
It’s a lovely place for an afternoon picnic with family or friends. The park has been open all year long since the 17th century, and Cardinal Scip designed it.
Flamino Ponzio, the architect, is the mastermind behind the creation of Villa Borghese Gardens. Located in the northeast of Rome, this garden is considered Rome’s green lung. The park is full of lovely surprises and monuments that keep busy tourists sightseeing. It’s the reason behind thousands of tourists’ stopovers here.
13. Take a Trip to the Ghost Town of Pompei and Climb Mount Vesuvius
Pompei was an ancient Roman city that was drastically destroyed by Mount Vesuvius’s eruption, killing thousands of people and burying Pompei with the carpet of ashes. Hence the name Ghost Town.
You could spend the entire day touring the site and never get bored.
Mount Vesuvius is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes globally, not because of the threat of explosion, but the 3 million people living under it make it more frightful.
The view from the mount is the most picturesque and relaxing to feast one’s eyes on. It will be a great adventure to hike up the mountain with your daring friends or spouse. Well, it is the gutsiest and the best thing to do when you’re in Rome.
Who wouldn’t love a challenge?
14. Admire The Beauty of Rome from Hop on Hop off the Bus
If you want to tour all the popular sites in Rome within a short period, then Hop-on-Hop-off bus tours will be viable. The buses are air-conditioned, and you can get on or off at any of the points.
The bus stops near famous attractions like The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, St Peter’s Basilica, etc. Tickets for these tours cost around EUR 25 if booked in advance, but they could be more expensive during the high tourist season.
Best Hop-on-Hop-off tours agency is listed below-
- Big Bus Tours
- Grayline Tours ( I Love Rome)
- City sightSeeing Tours
- Vatican And Rome Bus Tours (Roma Cristiana)
- Rome By Night (Night Tour)
Also read: Smart wallet
15. An elegant evening in an Opera Theater
There are a lot of opera theatres in Rome to spend a classic and refined evening. But the wealthy among them is Teatro dell’ Opera di, Roma.
It has gained a lot of international prestige by hosting renowned artists such as Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, and so on.
It creates the finest evening for those who love the pursuit and performance of art and music. The scintillating interior of the opera theatre is the place to experience something truly magical.
Rome Opera Omnia, another opera theatre, can give you a completely different experience than the usual opera nights.
With candlelight dinner and performances of a grand piano by classical composers such as Puccini, Verdi, Bellini, and Mozart, bringing them back to life will make any artist never leave their seats.
Other Opera houses would be-
- Salone Margherita
- Caravita Church
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16. Visit San Clemente Basilica
Located near the Colosseum, San Clemente Basilica is a somber-looking church that is a residence for priests learning in Rome.
You have to be ready to be dazzled by the 12th-century Catholic Church with frescoed ceilings, marble floors. Also, glide by to have a look at some of the earliest Christian wall paintings.
12th-century Byzantine mosaics fill the decorum of the church. This tour is ideal for history lovers because there are thousands of years of antiquity to bask in.
Remember, photography is not allowed inside the church. Modest clothing covering shoulders and knees is favored.
You must have a peek around the underground excavations. As there are three layers of the church, it’s commonly known as the Lasagna church. We can travel through time to see the history centuries apart.
Then ascend through the church built atop the pagan temple and get acquainted with its history.
17. Put your hands in the Mouth Of Truth
The captivating myth behind the Mouth Of Truth is that it will bite off the hands off of liars. Scary right!
So it’s primarily like a modern-day lie detector back in those days. The legend says that if you stick your hands inside the mouth of the carving and tell a lie, the rocky maw would bite off your hand.
While this sounds fictitious, superstitions linger to this day. The mouth of truth is like a wayward lie detector in many video games and movies like Roman Holiday, the main plot device.
You can choose your attire to wear in the church, but if the shoulders and knees are exposed, chances are high of being denied entrance.
18. Go on a Vespa Tour
Besides Colosseum and Trevi fountain, another thing that flashes through your mind hearing Rome’s name is Vespa Scooters.
Vespa tour is nothing but taking the tour on two-wheelers like bikes or mopeds to sightsee the prominent places in Rome.
I can’t think of a better way to roam Rome than sitting on the back of a bike. Just speed through the streets with a huge grin on your face and turn a few heads along the way.
The best agencies for Vespa tours would be-
- Rome by Vespa SideCar tour
- Rome By Vintage Vespa- Classic Rome tour
- 3-hour Private Tour of Rome
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19. Drive an Ape Calessino
Ape Calessino is an Auto Rickshaw in the Italian dialect. Like the Vespa tour in two-wheeler bikes, Ape Calessino is taking an excursion around Rome in three-wheelers.
You can experience Rome’s allurement by sitting in the back seat, which can accommodate up to 3 people.
The driver will come to pick you up from the hotel, and you just need to sit back and revel in the glory of Roman streets and have fun. It’s usually a 4 – hour private tour, and you’ll get all the attention to yourself.
Please see whether free coffee and gelato stops are included in Rome: By Ape Calessino Auto Rickshaw agency.
The auto will be an old Italian-designed vehicle widely used in the 1960s under Tuk Tuk’s name. It is one of Italy’s most popular vehicles because of its compact design, fast maneuverability, and can turn people’s heads on the road.
Recommended agencies that can make your journey valuable and the best thing to do in Rome are-
- Ape Calessino Cagliari Touring
- Vespa Buggy Tours
- Classic Rome Ape Calessino Guided Tour
- Secret Tour Ape Calessino Guided Tour
- Rome By Night Ape Calessino Guided Tour
Live Rome likes a Roman!
20. Join a Food Tour
The best way to know a culture is to eat their food. So feasting our way around the busiest food street, we can discover regional and seasonal delicacies alike.
The city of history is as much as about its culinary tourism. I prefer a food tour where I can experience picturesque surroundings while rendezvousing with the native taste.
Top food tours in Rome also comes under the best things to do in Rome they are-
- Tuscany Taster tour
- Rome: Professional Pasta Lab Experience
- Trastevere: 3- Hour Street Food tour
- Roman Countryside Vineyards and Wine -Tasting
- Rome: 3-Hour Private Food Tour
Some Other Things to do in Rome While You are Enjoying
1. Take a Cooking Class
Great cooking comes with time and wisdom. I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn the intricate recipes behind pizza, spaghetti, ravioli, pasta, and other famous Italian classic dishes.
As a one-time visitor in Rome, you might be fascinated by all kinds of recipes and spices the typical Italian dish contains. Hence taking a cooking class in Rome doesn’t sound bad.
You can learn to make classic dishes such as pasta, spaghetti, pizza and learn to work your way through herbs.
It is one of the top things to do in Rome if you’re passionate about cooking and the best cooking classes in Rome would be –
- Handmade Pasta with Grandma
- Hands-on Pasta Making and Tiramisu
- Pizza Masterclass
- Handmade Gnocchi With an Italian Chef
- Cooking Class with a Professional Italian
2. Visit a Cat Sanctuary
Cats are superstitiously associated with Rome and its ruins from ancient history. We can even find an estimation for Cat’s population of around 3,00,000.
In Rome, many cats used to wander around the Colosseum; hence the so-called Cat Ladies who operated on informal cat shelters took it upon themselves to nurture these felines.
Largo Di Torre Argentina is a cat sanctuary that offers sterilization and adoption programs, and it also cares for cats that are hard to handle, like sick, handicapped ones.
Any afternoon you can watch these creatures roaming around, at first. You may not see much, but once you see one, it’s everywhere—volunteers in the sanctuary care for about 250 cats here.
You can either marvel at looking at the adorable cats or adopt, volunteer, donate for the shelter.
3. Explore Rome’s Coolest Neighborhoods
(image of Monti neighborhood)
After touring around the major places like the Colosseum, Trevi fountain, and more, exploring Rome’s neighborhood’s scenic, architectural beauty is like an escape from the trap.
Just look at the narrow roads adorned with bright graffiti and eclectic buildings. It might be the perfect place to hang out with your pals.
Some of the coolest neighborhood is-
- San Lorenzo
4. Go in Search of Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is a decoration and architecture style flowing with extravagant patterns of flowers and leaves followed in Rome around the 1890s.
Art Nouveau’s distinctive style, taking the form of flower stalks, buds, vine tendrils, has an asymmetrical tendency and beauty.
Some of the prominent artists who worked on Art Nouveau style are Charles Rennie Macintosh, Victor Horta, Louis Majorelle.
The prominent art nouveau found in the Italian Liberty style is Galleria Sciarra, Coppedge area, Villa Helene – Anderson Museum where the world-renowned Danish writer Anderson stayed in Rome, and the museum is dedicated to his name.
Going in the pursuit of Art Nouveau is the best thing to do in Rome so that you will be going into a spiral of historical emotions.
What do people think about visiting Rome? According to People’s Reviews and Internet Research.
Take a look at these screenshots to know more about what people think about visiting Rome for a classic vacation.
All In All
Rome has been the kernel of culture, art, and religion for centuries. The city’s comprehensive and rich history has been a milestone destination for tourists in the entire world.
You will fall in love with distinctive architecture, whether looking at the historical monuments, churches, or fountains. I mean, the place is crawling with chronicled places and literature.
Visiting Rome at least once in a lifetime will be like a dream come true, and you can brag about walking in the place where Alexander the Great, Marcus Aurelius, Augustus, Constantine wined and dined.
People also ask
1. Are there any other things to do in Rome besides sightseeing?
Yes, there are many things to do in Rome besides sightseeing, like you can take a pasta cooking class and learn to cook like Italians, browse for antiques in Porta Portese. You can even buy fresh produce from the Testaccio market.
2. What can you do in Rome for free?
There is a good deal of free things to do in Rome, like visiting the Mouth of Truth, the Villa Borghese Gardens. Visit Vatican Museums and have a blast tossing three coins into the Trevi fountain, scale the Spanish steps, crawl the Piazzas, and still, there will be a lot of things left to do for absolutely free.
3. Is Rome safe at night?
Rome is relatively safe both day and night. The center of Rome is very secure because it is full of tourists and many restaurants and bars will be open the whole night. And of course, be careful about pickpockets, especially target tourists.
4. What should you not miss seeing in Rome?
Colosseum is the most recognized monument from Roman history. Hence when you go to Rome, never miss visiting it.
5. Is Trastevere a good area to stay in Rome?
Yes, Trastevere is one of the best places to stay in the room because it is full of picturesque landscapes and a perfect place to take lots of snaps while wandering the Cobblestone streets.