What To Do In Rome, Italy
Rome is a magnificent city filled with some of the most historical sites, museums, churches, art galleries, and architecture in the world. You’ll never be at a loss for things to do in Rome.
I’ve got a special place my heart for Rome because I lived here for six weeks when I was studying abroad in college. I’ve been back since and I’m looking forward to my next opportunity to return again in the future. I can't ever get enough!
There are so many things to see in Rome that it can be overwhelming for a first-time visitor.
To help you narrow things down, here is a list of the top attractions in Rome followed by ideas for additional activities to add based on specific interest areas.
Rome's most internationally recognized symbol. The colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world and it was used to hold gruesome performances like: gladiator battles, exotic animal hunts, and executions.
PRO TIP: There are three options for visiting the Colosseum: you can just admire it from the outside, you can purchase a ticket to go inside, or you can purchase a ticket that allows you to go inside and gives you access to the arena floor area.
Sistine Chapel & Vatican Museums
The frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are absolutely stunning; painted by Michelangelo in the 1500's.
The Vatican Museums are one of the largest and most important art collections in the world displaying works amassed by the Catholic Church throughout the centuries.
St. Peter's Basilica
Technically located in Vatican City which is independent of Rome but still within the city. This is a holy site for Christians as it sits on top of the tomb of Saint Peter (apostle of Jesus), but the mass scale of this church (largest in the world) and opulence will wow any visitor.
Be sure not to miss the fantastic Pieta sculpture by Michelangelo!
PRO TIP: Avoid visiting on Wednesday mornings because this is when the Pope holds his general Papal Audience.
PRO TIP: I highly recommend climbing to the top of the dome (purchase tickets onsite) for incredible 360 degree views of the city and a close up look at the beautiful mosaics that decorate the interior of the dome. You can either climb all 551 steps or take the elevator to the base of the dome and then climb the remaining 320 steps up the narrow, spiral staircase.
This is the most beautiful, famous, and largest fountain in Rome. It draws water from an ancient aqueduct system that is almost entirely underground.
As the legend goes, if you throw a coin over your left shoulder with your right hand, you'll ensure a return trip to Rome.
The elegant design of these steps make them a lovely landmark in Rome. At the base of the steps, you'll find the Fontana della Barcaccia ("Fountain of the Old Boat') designed by Bernini, and at the top is the Trinita dei Monti church.
In the 17th century, the Spanish embassy was located in the square (Piazza di Spagna) at the bottom of the steps - hence the name Spanish Steps.
PRO TIP: As of 2019, it is no longer permitted to sit on the steps; violators can receive a stiff fine of around 400 euros.
This is one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in all of Rome dating back to 125 AD—originally constructed as a place of worship for Roman gods and then converted to a Christian church.
Its most striking feature is the dome structure, which is the largest unreinforced dome in the world; it spans 142 feet in diameter making it quite an architectural marvel.
You will also find the tomb of the famous renaissance artist, Raphael, located here.
One of Rome's prettiest piazzas with lots of restaurants and cafes lining it. It is built on the former site of a stadium which explains its unique oblong shape.
There are three fountains in the piazza with the most famous being the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi ("Four River Fountain") designed by Bernini.
PRO TIP: This large, pedestrian-only piazza is a great place for an evening stroll to enjoy the charming atmosphere before dinner.
CLICK HERE to check out Rome tours available through Project Expedition.
Additional ideas based on specific interests:
Basilica di San Clemente
Castel Sant' Angelo
Santa Maria del Popolo
Galleria Doria Pamphilj
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Catacombs of Saint Callixtus
Basilica of St. Peter in Chains
Basilica of St. John Lateran
Ancient Appian Way
Villa Borghese Park
Villa Doria Pamphilj
Parco degli Acquedotti
Food tour in Trastevere
Campo de' Fiori
A great trip to Rome doesn't start with a Google search. It starts with a trusted travel advisor, like me, who can help you create a custom itinerary that's designed specifically for you.
Ready to visit this amazing city yourself? Rome is waiting!
CLICK HERE to start planning your trip to Rome.
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