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What to do in Rome

Visiting Rome and planning things to do? You'll have a hard time to choose because there are so many sights to see and thing to do in this beautiful Italian city.

Absolutely must do when in Rome is visiting the Colosseum and the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon, exploring numerous churches, museums and galleries. They says that Rome is the world's greatest outdoor museum.

Don't skip tasting delicious pasta dishes, crispy pizza and creamy gelato (doing a food tour is one of the choices). Relaxing in the green parks or walking along the Tiber River.

If seeking for a unique experience, explore best of Rome on Vespa scooter! Rome is great also for shopping (read our suggestions for best shopping places).

We compiled the list of places to visit and thing to do while on your trip to Rome. Continue to read to find out more...

👉 Pick your favourite things to do from these Roman tours on sale!

1. Explore every corner of the Colosseum

The Roman Colosseum

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The Roman Colosseum is something that shouldn't be missed when in Rome, especially now that they have extended the visitor route to the underfloor passageways through which gladiators and wild beasts made their entrances.

The largest amphitheatre in the world, the Colosseum can hold up to 80000 people and it's magnificent to explore it. It's easily accessible from anywhere in Rome (on foot, by bus or metro).

For staying just steps away from it, book a room at Nerva Boutique Hotel (you'll love it).

To skip the long lines in front of the Colosseum, it's good advice to book fast track entrance tickets which allows you smooth and quick entrance.

To get to know more, consider joining a guided tour and learn more historic facts about Colosseum. We suggest this top-rated VIP Colosseum Tour.

Not everyone sees the ground flour and arena floor of the Colosseum. Book this guided tour offering the complete experience of the Colosseum (plus Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill).

Or opt for gladiators gate and arena tour with a small group - you'll love this experience!

2. Walk around the ancient Roman Forum (and Palatine hill)

The Roman Forum

Once you explored the Colosseum, move on to the nearby Roman Forum (once the center of ancient Rome, with temples, courts, markets and buildings which are now ruins you can explore); get a great view of the Eternal City from the Palatine and Capitoline hills).

It helps to have a guide who can bring the stories to life! This top-rated private Colosseum and Roman Forum tour can be customized to your interests!

Entrance to the Forum and Palatine also includes entrance to the Colosseum, valid the same day with one entrance to each site. Book online to minimise queuing, and try to go either in the morning or end of the day for fewer people.

3. Wind through Rome on Vespa scooter

What could be more fun than zipping around Rome on Vespa scooter? You can rent a Vespa and explore on your own or join a guided tour that takes you to see the Colosseum, Vatican City, the Pantheon and other Roman sights.

This is a great way to see sights away from the centre, which can be tricky to see otherwise. Note that any age can participate in this adventure!

You can ride solo, with a friend or enjoy a personal driver, click here for booking!

One of the most popular tours is this Vespa Sidecar tour (with gelato and coffee stops). For seeing the most famous places in Rome and get amazing photos of your visit, join this Vespa tour with a photographer.

4. Visit Saint Peter's Basilica & Dome

St Peter's Square

St Peter's Square and basilica are for sure not to be missed while in Rome. Reach it on foot from historic centre (cross Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II) or hop onto metro and get off at Ottaviano-St. Pietro stop and walk for 10 minutes until you reach it.

We loved to stay at Fragrance Hotel and Eccelso Hotel & Apartments, both only a short walk from Vatican (comfortable and clean rooms, great service).

During the summer season you'll find long lines of people waiting to enter Saint Peter's Basilica but it's worth visiting (it's free). Once you get inside you can admire the beautiful altars and masterpieces of Italian art (Bernini’s masterful altarpiece—the great bronze Baldacchino—and Michelangelo’s PietĂ ).

If you are not afraid of height and don't suffer from claustrophobia, climb to the top of St. Peter's Basilica dome from where you can capture stunning photos of the area.

If you come in the right time, you can see the Pope giving his blessing from the balcony. Explore Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica and the Dome, on this great private tour

USEFUL TIP! Dress codes are strictly enforced, so make sure to have your shoulders and knees covered during your visit.

5. See Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps

The Fontana di TreviThe Fontana di Trevi is a great spot for taking a photos

Visiting both Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps is a must when in Rome. These two iconic sights of Rome is best to visit in one day, as they are very close to one another (you'll need 10 minutes on foot between these two places).

The Trevi Fountain, located in the Quirinale district of Rome, is one of the most famous fountains in the whole world. Come here, throw the coin in the fountain and take some amazing photos.

It's recommended to visit it early in the morning as later on in the day, the space around it becomes to crowded with tourists. To reach the fountain take metro to Barberini stop, then walk down for about 10 minutes.

Next, head to Piazza di Spagna, taking a pleasant walk through the streets of Rome. Along the way you can do some shopping (so many small shops as well as La Rinascente department store) as well as sit at one of the cafĂ©s or taste delicious gelato.

Once you get there, climb the beautiful Spanish Steps dating from 1723 to the top where you'll find Trinita dei Monti Church is located (you can also enter the church). This is a great place for taking photos. This spot can be reached also from nothern side - from Via Veneto (if staying in one of many hotels there).

If you get hungry, we recommend Ginger eatery in Via Borgognona not far from Spanish Steps (they offer delicious sandwiches, pasta, fruit smoothies and much more).

6. Join a food tour in Rome

A plate of pasta carbonaraA plate of pasta carbonara

Is there a best way to explore any destination than through local food? With food places on every corner, Rome is ideal for this.

We suggest you to take a food tour at the beginning of your stay, to reveal the best places to eat during the rest of your stay.

There are varierty of food tours on offer in Rome and each one explores specific neighbourhood of Rome. Some tours goes to Jewish Ghetto and Campo de' fiori, other take participants to Trionfale market in Rome while some explore Testaccio, the home of authentic Roman food knows as "cucina povera".

Our faovourite Roman food tours are this night tour of Jewish Ghetto and Campo de' Fiori (a little bit of sightseeing and lots of food tasting) and this morning food tour or the elegant Prati area (close to Vatican).

Be prepared for eating a loads of pasta, thin-crust pizza, arancini, suppli, fried artichokes, prosciutto and cheeses, Sicilian sweets, gelato and many other Italian food specialities.

Check here a full list of best Roman food tours so you can pick the one that best suits you.

7. Visit Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums

For art lovers, another place that must be included in your things to do in Rome list are the Vatican Museums. It’s one of the largest museums in the world and home to over 70,000 artworks amassed by the Catholic church throughout the centuries.

The Sistine Chapel, famous by Michelangelo's frescoes and detailed ceiling artwork, is part of the Vatican Museum complex.

For the best viewing experience, book an early-access tour to enjoy the masterpieces before anybody else. For staying literally a few steps from the entrance to Vatican Museums, choose the Heart Hotel, offering spacious rooms and friendly service.

8. Climb Altare della Patria

Altare della Patria

When in Rome, don't skip visiting Vittoria Emanuele II Monument, also know as Altare della Patria. This imposing monument (135m wide and 70m high) is located in Piazza Venezia and can be reached easily from any part of Rome (the Colosseum in only 10-minute walk away).

Here you can visit the Museum of the Risorgimento (dedicated to the unification of Italy), the tomb of the unknown soldier with an eternal flame and finally and take the elevator to the top of monument to get amazing views of the whole city of Rome.

The top is crowned with an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel cast in bronze and two chariots driven by the goddess Victoria.

The panoramic lift ride costs â‚¬7, while youth and seniors pay â‚¬3.50.

9. Walk the parks & gardens

The Villa Borghese Park

When in Rome, be sure to explore it's beautiful parks and gardens - you'll enjoy and it doesn't cost a thing. The most famous is Rome's central park, Villa Borghese, which can be easily walked to if you are staying in historic centre.

This park covers about 100 acres of wooden glades, gardens and grassy banks and offers plenty of space to run around. The park is home to interesting architecture, sculptures, monuments and fountains.

The Villa Borghese Park is ideal for jogging and walking, and you rent rollerblades, bicycles and four-seated electric bikes at the main gates.

For staying near this park, choose Magina Luna Boutique Hotel - small cosy hotel not far from Piazza Fiume.

When in this park, don't skip visiting Bioparco di Roma, the zoo with over 1200 animals - great for families with children.

10. Visit Pantheon

The Pantheon in RomeThe Pantheon in Rome

Visit Pantheon, a gem nestled in the heart of Rome. Admire this building from the outside, marvelling at its massive Corinthian columns and huge dome. Then, get inside and admire the ceiling decorated with golden stars.

The best way to see the Pantheon is by booking a guided tour (with skip-the-line entrance) and learn history facts from local guide.

Reaching Pantheon is very easy; it's situated very close to Via del Corso as well as other Roman sights, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, the Colosseum...

11. Have a coffee and pastry in cafĂ© (or pasticceria)

Cannoli and sfogliatelle, popular Italian pastries

Having a coffee or cappuccino with a freshly baked pastry is a unique experience you shouldn't miss while in Rome. Rome is home to some of the best cafĂ©s and pastry shops (pasticceria in Italian) that Italy has to offer. 

They usually have a few tables to sit down and offer specialty coffees, as well as a wide range of pastries (cornetti, sfogliatelle, bomboloni, cannoli...).

We adore cannoli, Sicilian pastries made with crispy dough shell filled with a sweet ricotta filling (sprinkled on the side with nuts, chocolate bits or candied orange; filling can be plain or flavoured). I dolci di nonna Vinceza is a great place near Ciampo de' Fiori, for seat down for a coffee and one of these Sicilian sweets.

This morning food tour near Vatican will take you to the great Sicilian pasticceria, where you'll have typical Italian breakfast.

12. Walk along the Tiber River

A walk along the Tiber River is a must when visiting Rome. The river makes it way through the ancient areas and passes the Vatican and Castel Sant'Angelo. 

The river is accessible by numerous spots around the city and it's great for quiet contemplation away from the bustle of the city streets.

If you find yourself in Trastevere, you can take a nice 20-minute walk to Vatican area. The walk can be done on both sides of the river.

The walk along the Tiber is great choice in every time of the year, in the spring, summer and especially in the autumn (so romantic).

Did you know that you can do water rafting in Rome? Join this urban rafting tour that takes you from historic centre to Tiber island (nice way to cool down on a hot day!).

13. Go shopping in Rome

Via Nazionale in Rome

Shopping in Rome is a great way to spend your time between sightseeing and sampling delicious food. You might expect that you'll find only designer boutiques and jewellers here, but be sure that you'll find also vintage products to buy as well as great food products. 

  • For regular clothes and cosmetics head to Via del Corso, where you'll find global stores like H&M, Zara and Gap alonside well-known Italian brands like Benetton and Intimissimi. This is a place to go if you need a pair of jeans, new shoes or cosmetics.

  • In Via Cola di Rienzo street (close to Vatican) you'll find a range of stores (clothes, shoes and cosmetics) as well as Coin department store. Here you'll Castroni, wonderful store selling gourmet foods (shop here authentic Italian products such as pasta, pesto, olive oils, coffee, teas, nuts, sweets and much more; you'll find here some products you won't find in grocery stores). For staying close, choose Eccelso Hotel & Apartments which is only a few steps from this street.

  • Head to Via Nazionale, a long street not far away from Termini Station (catch here trains to other Italian cities as well as Leonardo Express train to Fiumicino Airport), for another great shopping day (it's dotted with fashion stores, hotels and churches).

  • If looking for luxury goods, fashion and accessories, visit La Rinascente, Italy's iconic department store, which can be found at two locations in Rome: one central along Via del Tritone (only a short walk from both the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps) and the other one in Piazza Fiume (near Villa Borghese). Take an elevator to the top of stores, where you'll find restaurant offering decent meals (youl'll love staying at nearby The Radical Hotel Rome).

14. Taste delicious Roman food (la cucina Romana)

Fried artichokes & Suppli

Roman specialties are simple, and with a few ingredients you'll get so delicious meal. Be sure to try fried artichokes and fried salt cod fillets (typical for Jewish Ghetto), amatriciana (pasta with rich tomato sauce, pork cheek and Pecorino Romano), carbonara (creamy sauce made with egg yolk, guanciale and Pecorino cheese), gricia and cacio e pepe

For something rather unusual try trippa alla Romana (tripe cooked in tomato sauce).

To try all these dishes visit traditional Roman trattoria which can be found all around Rome but mostly in residential areas such as Testaccio, Trastevere and others.

15. Take a tour of Italian gelaterias

Taste delicious gelato while in Rome

While in Rome, don't skip tasting creamy Italian gelato that makes you mouth water. Look for artisanal gelato, which are usually kept in metal containers with lids. Skip large piles of bright-coloured gelato - this is not quality one!

Gelato is served in a cup or waffer cone; both can you get one or several flavours, depending on your taste. Our favourite flavours are chocolate and pistachio!

Still not sure you can track down the best gelato on your own? Fatamorgana and Gelateria dei Gracchi each have several branches dotted around the centre.

We love Verde Pistacchio Gelateria at the top of Via Nazionale, as well as Venchi stores selling both chocolate goods and gelato (they have several branches across Rome; there is one near Spanish Steps and on Via del Corso as well).

Other top gelato shop is Hedera Gelateria, only a short walk from Sant Peter's Square with super friendly owners.

Taste delicious gelato on this Vespa sidecar tour of Rome!

16. Buy fresh produce at local food markets

Visiting local food market, that can be found in almost every neighbourhood, is a great way to experience everyday life of Romans as well as learn a little bit of Italian.

Close to Vatican, you'll find Trionfale Market - really huge market where you can find quality produce: fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, fresh pasta, baked goods, all kind of fresh meat, fish and seafood as well as offer of wines. If you are staying in the apartment, stock up delicious ingredients and prepare amazing Italian meal.

Another great market is the one at Testaccio, where you can find delicious made food you can eat there or take away.

17. Send a postcard from the Vatican

While on a trip to Rome many tourist send a postcard from Vatican city with Vatican stamp, either as a souvenir for themselves or as a nice gesture to family and friends back home.

You can find Vatican post office open to the public under the colonnade to the right-hand side of St Peter's Square, open Monday to Saturday, from 8:30am until 6:30pm.

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