Just the word ‘Rome’ conjures images of the magnificent Colosseum, cobbled streets, opulent monuments, majestic churches, and fascinating historic ruins. Within it is also the one of the holiest cities in the world - Vatican City, which is the home of the Pope, and an utter delight to explore. A traveller’s paradise, the city has something for everyone, be it art, history, culture, food, or nightlife.
In this guide, we will take a look at the 10 best things do in Rome — whether you're looking at museums, churches, or even monuments from Ancient Rome, you will find them in this list. However, if you want to take a deeper look into the different activities, then click on the markers above to go to that list.
#1 of 1,887 things to do in Rome on TripAdvisor
With over 5 million visitors every year, the Colosseum is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions. Believed to have been constructed as a gift from ancient emperors to the Roman people, this grand outdoor amphitheater once served as the epicentre for entertainment in the Roman Empire, hosting various public spectacles and games. A stage for gladiator fights, often including animals, the Colosseum has quite the bloody past. Step back in time, marvel at the stunning architecture, and walk the floor of the greatest arena known to mankind.
- Visit during the nighttime to avoid crowd.
- Avoid long lines by purchasing a City Pass or getting Skip-the-line tickets.
• Express Colosseum Guided Tour with Gladiator’s Entrance and Arena Floor
• Colosseum Underground & Ancient Rome Tour
#1 of 53 things to do in Vatican City on TripAdvisor
One of the largest churches in the world, St. Peter's Basilica is a remarkable example of Renaissance architecture. Primarily designed by by Bramante, Bernini, Michelangelo, and Maderno, this church is a must-see for those visiting Rome. Its main dome is a dominant feature in the Roman skyline, and is in itself, a stunning piece of architecture. Apart from being a center of religion, St. Peter's Basilica is also home to numerous works of Renaissance art. Some of the most popular works of art in the basilica are Michelangelo’s La Pietà sculpture, Bernini’s Baldachin, and the statue of St. Peter.
April - September: 7 AM to 7 PM daily
October - March: 7 AM to 6 PM, daily
Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City
• Skip the Line: St. Peter's Basilica with Audioguide
• Skip the Line: Guided Tour of St. Peter's Basilica
• Early Access Group Tour to St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel
#2 of 1,887 things to do in Rome on TripAdvisor
Explore one of the most beautiful structures in the world - the Pantheon. Built between 25-27 BC during the reign of Augustus as a temple to the early pagan gods of Rome. In 609 BC, The Pantheon was converted into a church to save it from destruction during the Middle Ages. The original Pantheon burnt down in a fire in 80 AD. Domitian rebuilt the Pantheon, which burnt down again in 110 AD, when struck down by lightning. The third and current Pantheon has withstood the test of time and remains to this day an architectural wonder that is unmatched by any others. Rebuilt during Hadrian’s reign between 118-125 AD, its dome is the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome today, almost two thousand years after it was built.
8:30 AM - 7:30 PM on Monday to Saturday
9 AM to 6 PM on Sundays
La Feltrinelli Librerie, Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, 84, Rome, Italy
#3 of 1,887 things to do in Rome on TripAdvisor
Designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci, the Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in all of Rome, standing tall at 86 feet. The fountain dates back to Ancient Roman times, and stands at the junction of three roads (tre vie). The fountain is mostly built from travertine stone, which is the same material that was used to build the Colosseum! You can admire the opulence and intricacy of the art on the fountain, and then toss a coin in - it is believed that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will return to Rome!
A ten-minute walk away from the Trevi Fountain are the Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps are an ornate stairway consisting of 135 steps over a steep slope. The Steps connected the Bourbon Spanish Embassy with the Trinità dei Monti church. Today, the Steps are surrounded by beautiful 18th century buildings, and are a great place to enjoy some gelato as you enjoy your afternoon in Rome.
As it is a public fountain, it is open at all hours throughout the year.
Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Rome, Italy
- Try to visit the fountain in the early hours, as it is much more quiet and peaceful then.
#5 of 53 things to do in Vatican City on TripAdvisor
Neighbouring the St. Peter's Basilica is the Sistine Chapel. Its walls and ceilings are covered by some of the most opulent frescoes ever produced. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is especially famous. Painted by Michelangelo over a span of 4 years, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel are considered to be a cornerstone of High Renaissance art. But it isn't just of artistic importance. Nestled in the holy Vatican City, it serves a distinct purpose - it is the site of the Papal conclave, the process by which a new pope is selected.
9 AM to 6 PM (Ticket office closes at 4 PM), Monday to Saturday
Sunday: Closed except the last Sunday of each month: 9 AM to 2 PM. (Ticket office closes at 12:30 PM).
00120 Vatican City
- You are not allowed to take pictures or videos inside the chapel.
- It is advisable to go after 2 PM, or after lunch time, as it is less crowded and you can explore the chapel in peace.
- Buy a Skip-the-Line ticket to avoid long queues, so you can spend more time inside the chpel rather than outside.
Sacred & Religious Sites
#7 of 53 things to do in Vatican City on TripAdvisor
The Vatican Museums are made up of 54 galleries and house one of the largest collections of Renaissance and Medieval art in the world. The museums are home to a number of classical sculptures and paintings by the Renaissance greats such as Raphael, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, and Bernini. Artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso are also represented in the Modern Religious Art section. Famous rooms and galleries in the Vatican Museums include Raphael Rooms, the Gallery of Maps, the Sala Rotunda and the Gallery of Statues and the Hall of Busts.
9 AM - 6 PM, Monday to Saturday
9 AM - 2 PM, Every last Sunday of the month
1 Viale Vaticano, 00165 Rome, Italy
- Make a list of the paintings you’d like to view before heading here, as that will save some time on your hands.
- The museum is least crowded during the noons and off-season.
• Skip the Line Access to Vatican and Colosseum
• Faster than Skip the Line - Exclusive Access to Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel
• VIP Breakfast Tour with Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica
#7 of 1,887 things to do in Rome on TripAdvisor
The Roman Forum was once the political and social center of Ancient Rome. You an now march down the same paved road once graced by victorious Roman armies and explore the easily discernable remains of the banks, temples, and homes. For decades, the Roman Forum was also the center of day-to-day life in Ancient Rome - it was the site of elections, public speeches, criminal trials, and commercial affairs.
Roman Forum: 8:30am until one hour before sunset, daily
Please note that the Roman Forum remains closed on 25 December and 1 January.
Roman Forum: Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Rome, Italy
• Skip the Line Tickets to Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
• Skip the Line Guided Tour of Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
• Rome in One Day Walking Tour: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
#13 of 1,887 things to do in Rome on TripAdvisor
Originally assembled by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, the collections are housed in a magnificent 17th-century villa. A work of art itself, the interior of the villa is beautifully adorned with frescoes, bas-reliefs, decorated ceilings, marble floors, and impressive columns. It is the perfect place for art lovers to get up close and personal with major works from brilliant artists like Caravaggio, Raphael, Bernini, Titian, Canova, Correggio, and Rubens. The gallery is a living testament to Italian artists from the fifteenth to seventeenth century.
8:30 AM - 7:30 PM, Tuesday - Sunday
Closed on Mondays
Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5, 00197 Rome, Italy
- When booking, you have to pick a time slot to visit. Ensure you reach fifteen minutes earlier, as the gallery is inside the Villa Borghese, and you will have to walk a little to get to the museum.
#4 of 1,887 things to do in Rome on TripAdvisor
Rome is a city which is filled with historical facts. By taking a private, guided tour, the sites you explore will come alive through their explanation of the past, culture, and importance of the same. Moreover, if you are inquisitive, you can pick your guides' brains and ask them as many questions as you want, making your tour a fulfilling and rich experience.
#148 of 1,887 things to do in Rome on TripAdvisor
Peel off the many layers of Rome as you go underground to discover the ancient city. This unique tour showcases how the Eternal city developed through the ages and how many historic sites can be found below some of the historic sites. Some of the popular catacombs include the Catacombs of Domitilla and the Catacomb of Santa Priscilla. Some tours are paired in such a way that not only will you see the Catacombs, but also the Basilica San Clemente, a Roman Catholic minor basilica dedicated to Pope Clement.