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14 of the Best Things to Do in Rome Italy

When it comes to things to do in Rome Italy, there is no shortage. Save this list for your upcoming trip to make the most of it.

Updated: 3 March 2022

It’s one of the finest and oldest cities in the world – so there’s no shortage of things to do and see in Rome. Roman history spans over 2,500 years and has been the pinnacle of power, politics, culture, and civilization since its inception.

Rome is steeped in legend and mythology, and there are many different accounts of how this majestic city was built. The present-day tourist hotspot is still filled with remnants of Roman emperors past who ruled over the ancient Roman Empire. It’s easy to see why this iconic city draws millions of visitors each year.

Thinking of a trip to this incredible place? Here’s our guide to things to do in Rome Italy.

Before you get into this list, be sure to save this list of essential travel documents – you will need them for your upcoming trip.

Top 14 Things to Do in Rome Italy

Before we jump into the attractions, make sure you buy the Rome Tourist Card, which provides an all-access pass with no time limit and free skip-the-line entrances to the most famous tourist sites.

1. Visit the Colosseum

If you’re visiting Rome you must take in one of Rome’s most famous ruins, located in the city’s Historic Center or “Centro Storico” in Italian. With a capacity of over 80,000 spectators, it’s the largest amphitheater in the Roman world. In ancient Rome, the classical arena saw epic gladiatorial combats, animal fights, and Roman games, always followed by horrific deaths. Besides its grandeur, the most astonishing fact is that it has remained relatively intact despite centuries of neglect even though it was previously used as a quarry. The visit isn’t free and it’s best to buy skip-the-line tickets for the Colosseum, to leave plenty of time to enjoy other things to do in Rome, Italy.

2. Stroll Through the Roman Forum

The ticket purchase at the Colosseum also includes access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill – so it would be a shame to miss them because the three sites are linked to each other. So, take a stroll through the past center of the city and see ruins of ancient markets, administrative, and religious buildings. But if you want to uncover the story of the forum’s past, opt for a guided tour to get the full historic account.

3. Visit Palatine Hill

The third Roman attraction included in the Colosseum ticket is Palatine Hill or one of the seven hills of Rome. According to mythology, the site is where the city was founded by Romulus and Remus – the two twins who would have been found and suckled by a wolf in a cave. Atop Palatine Hill, you have access to this cave and ruins of the residences of historical figures like Augustus, the first Roman emperor.

Source: Viator

4. Experience the Pantheon

The Pantheon is easily the best-preserved ancient building in the city and another incredible attraction on the list of things to see in Rome. Originally dedicated to all mythological divinities, the structure became a Christian church in the 7th century. Admire the expansive dome and oculus (opening of the dome) which bathes the interior in unique lighting. Entry is free so don’t be shy to enter and bask in the ancient atmosphere. Make sure you view the tombs of Raphael (the famous artist) and Victor Emmanuel II (1st king of Italy).

5. Toss a Coin Into the Trevi Fountain

Nearby the Pantheon you will find the most famous fountain in Europe: The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi). Legend has it that in order to preserve her virginity a young girl had to reveal the location of the fountain’s source to the Romans.

The basin has numerous statues representing an allegory of the sea, with Neptune on his chariot in the center. Tradition says you should throw two coins into the fountain: one to make a wish and the other to be sure to return to Rome. Perhaps after hearing its story, it will be no surprise that the fountain is renowned for hosting a large number of wedding proposals.

6. Eat Gelato

When it comes to the best things to do in Rome, gelato has to be placed on a proverbial pedestal. Take a break from your dramatic sightseeing by enjoying traditional Italian gelato. Two best local-rated best places to enjoy gelato:

  • San Crispino on the Via della Panatteria
  • Gelateria “Giollti” located in Via Uffici del Vicario

Whichever gelato you opt for you’ll face long waits and too many flavors to choose from.

Source: Unsplash

7. Visit the Many Roman Churches

It probably comes to no surprise that Rome is filled with churches – in fact, the city has no less than 900 churches. And they also happen to be some of the most beautiful architectural masterpieces.

Four of the largest basilicas in the world are all located in Rome:

  • The St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City – more on that below
  • The Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano – second largest after the Basilica di San Pietro, also the cathedral of Rome
  • The Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura – marks the location of St. Paul’s tomb
  • The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore – largest shrine in the city erected for the virgin Mary.

Other interesting churches in the city:

  • Chiesa del Gesù
  • Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
  • Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli
  • Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano
  • Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione
  • Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola

8. Explore Museums

Of course, you’d expect museums on the list of things to do in Rome, Italy – so here are the most popular.

Located in Villa Borghese Park:

  • The Galleria Borghese – contains a collection of paintings and sculptures
  • Museo Nazionale Etrusco – a collection of pre-Roman objects
  • Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna – remarkable paintings by Van Gogh and Cézanne

Other museums that history buffs should visit in Rome include:

  • The Capitoline museums – located on Piazza del Campidoglio
  • The Vatican museums – comprised of more than 13 museums grouped together in an impressive architectural ensemble spanning nearly seven kilometers
  • Museo Palatino – everything archaeologists discovered on Palatine Hill

9. Head to the Vatican

Even if you’re not a believer, a trip to Rome would be incomplete without seeing the Vatican. A long corridor leads from the Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican. It’s the smallest country in the world, yet one of the most visited places during any tour in Italy. Only priests and nuns, some dignitaries, guards, and of course the pope are allowed to live there.

Fact about the guards: All the guards are only Swiss and must be Catholic and swear an oath of fidelity to the Pope himself. A tradition that goes back to 1527, when the Swiss guards protected the pope during his escape to the Sant’ Angelo castle.

Source: Unsplash

10. Walk Around St. Peter’s Square

You will enter the Vatican through the iconic St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro). Each year millions of pilgrims and tourists come to see this holy square in person. St. Peter’s Square was designed to allow the largest amount of people to see the Pope give his blessing from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

11. Admire St. Peter’s Basilica

Even if you waited a few hours – once you enter the impressive basilica, you realize it was worth it. Admire an array of altars and monuments within and allow the rich baroque decoration to woo you! Make sure you see:

  • Famous Saint Peter’s statue
  • Gigantic dome designed by Michelangelo
  • The many funerary monuments of the popes

12. Enjoy All The Piazzas

If you accidentally read pizza – of course, do that too. But Rome also has an extraordinary array of piazzas to enjoy. Here are some of the best ones:

  • Piazza Venezia – one of the city’s main squares
  • Piazza del Campidoglio – designed by Michelangelo
  • Piazza Navona – in the heart of the historic center
  • Piazza di Spagna – one of the most popular squares in the city
  • Piazza del Popolo – one of the largest squares in Rome

Source: Unsplash

13. Explore the Trastevere District

The Trastevere District is another one of the top things to do in Rome Italy. This charming little hipster village is relatively separate from crowded areas and offers many narrow, flowery streets to explore. A real “Italian” neighborhood – make sure to check out all the interesting local shops.

14. Tour the Catacombs of Rome

Once used as cemeteries for Jews and Christians, these catacombs are the largest in the city and cover an area of almost 15 hectares. Walls show representations of Christian life including, baptism scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Absolutely get a tour guide!

Source: Viator

The Best Time to Visit Rome Italy

The best times for visiting Rome are between April and June, or September to October. Most of the city’s locals take vacations during August, so plan your trip accordingly. Also traveling too late or early in the year might mean some tourist attractions are closed or open during limited hours.

How to Get Around in Rome

There are many public transport options for people visiting Rome, and these are usually cheap and user-friendly. Main transportation modes include:

  • Metro: The metro in Rome has three lines that cross the city diagonally. Even though it’s not extensive, there are stops near the city’s top attractions.
  • Bus: Due to the limitations of the metro in Rome, if you want to get around the city using public transport, you will often need to take a bus.
  • Tram: Rome has six tram lines. But they don’t reach the city center and are often less useful for tourists.
  • Urban Railway: Rome has three urban railway lines called Ferrovie Urbane – these trains complement the city’s subway.
  • Taxis: Taxi drivers in Rome aren’t always the best and can be very expensive.

We hope these tips will help you have the best possible experience in Rome, Italy. Don’t forget to download the Air Doctor app before your trip – available on Android and iOS.


Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.