With so much to do and see in the Italian capital, it’s hard to know where to start. To help you narrow down your choices, below is a list of the top 10 things to do in Rome. While you’re there, these Rome sightseeing tips can also help.
Throw a Coin in the Trevi Fountain
First things first. If you want to return to Rome someday (which you will), throw a coin into the famous Trevi Fountain. Legend has it that all who do so will come back to Rome in the future. Even if you don’t believe in the prophecy, the stunning Baroque masterpiece is one of the world’s most famous fountains, and is worth a visit. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider going at night.
Visit the Colosseum
No trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to the Colosseum. Surprisingly intact for how old it is, the amphitheater is the most famous ancient Roman monument in the world. Visitors can spend hours there exploring the halls and seating areas, and imagining what it would be like to watch a gladiator in the ring. A good way to avoid the often long lines at the Colosseum is to get a Roma Pass, which will allow you to bypass the regular ticket line.
Walk through the Roman Forum
Adjacent to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum is another of the city’s best ancient Roman monuments. Covering a wide area, the forum gives visitors a great idea of what life was like in Roman times. The pathways throughout the area can be uneven, so make sure to wear good walking shoes when you visit. A water bottle is also a plus on hot summer days.
Go to the Pantheon
Rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian around 125 AD, the Pantheon is a famous Roman temple dedicated to the many gods of ancient Rome. The building is famous for both its history and the large hole in its domed ceiling. It also features an impressive classical exterior with Corinthian columns under a triangular pediment.
No trip to Italy would be complete without tasting the country’s most famous sweet treat, and Rome has a great variety of gelato shops to keep visitors satisfied. Two of the best gelato shops in Rome are Old Bridge Gelateria near the Vatican and Gelateria Corona on Largo Arenula. The latter is known for offering unique flavors like ricotta with saffron.
Visit the MAXXI Museum
For lovers of contemporary art, Rome’s MAXXI museum is a must. Opened in 2010, it was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid and houses a great collection of 21st century art. The museum is located in Rome’s Flaminio district, and is a short bus or taxi ride from the city center.
Sit on the Spanish Steps
In addition to having one of the world’s most famous fountains, Rome also has one of the world’s most famous staircases. Built in the Baroque period, the Spanish Steps lead from the Piazza di Spagna at the base to the Piazza Trinita dei Monti at the top, where a beautiful church dominates the scene. The steps are known for the large pots of colorful flowers that adorn them throughout the year, and are a great place to stop and rest during a busy day of sightseeing in Rome.
Go out in Trastevere
One of Rome’s hottest neighborhoods, Trastevere is known for its picturesque medieval ambiance and great restaurant and nightlife scene. In recent years the area has undergone a transformation, making it one of the best places in the city for dining and bar hopping.
Visit the Galleria Borghese
One of Rome’s most beloved museums, the intimate Galleria Borghese is set in a beautiful villa in one of the city’s prettiest parks. The museum itself is home to a stunning collection of Renaissance art and sculpture, and is a great place to visit to see the works of Raphael, Caravaggio, Bernini, Titian, and other famous Italian artists.
Tour the Vatican and its Museums
No trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to the Vatican. St Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world, and one of the most important. Additionally, the Vatican Museums house some of the world’s most famous art, as well as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. You can pre-book tickets in order to avoid the lines at the entrance, or go at night during the summer months.