There’s something for everyone in la Città Eterna. Throughout history, Rome has served as the base of one of the world’s greatest empires, a hub for key figures of Renaissance art, and an intriguing destination for travelers from all over the world.
Whether you like to witness sublime examples of art and architecture, learn about the history of the world, try delicious local cuisine, or experience other cultures in unique and memorable ways, Rome is the city for you.
Keep reading to find out what 10 amazing things you should do in Rome.
10 Explore Castel Sant’Angelo
Rome has no shortage of fascinating historical buildings, many of them dating back to ancient times. If you are looking for such a building that typically has fewer crowds and lines than landmarks like the Vatican and the Colosseum, consider visiting the spectacular Castel San’Angelo.
Castel Sant’Angelo can be traced back to the second century. Featuring a distinct cylindrical shape that sets it apart from other castles scattered throughout Italy, the building boasts furniture and artwork that originates from the Renaissance. It’s well-worth visiting if you’re a fan of history!
9 Grab A Bite To Eat In Piazza Navona
Eating delicious food is part of any Roman holiday. Wherever you’re staying in the city, you shouldn’t have to travel too far to find some tasty and authentic Italian fare. But if you’re interested in grabbing a bite to eat in a picturesque setting, you should head to the iconic Piazza Navona.
The focal point of this famous square is a large fountain which people often sit on to eat their slices of pizza, gelati cones, and panini filled with cold meats and cheese. There are also a number of bars lining the square, which Romans have been frequenting since the first century.
8 Revisit The Past In The Colosseum
The Colosseum might draw in huge crowds and have long waiting times, but it’s all worth it. You just can’t go to Rome and not see the Colosseum. The immensity of the structure won’t hit you until you’re standing in front of it. Even with mobs of tourists and scamming gladiators who will charge you 10 euros for a photo, you don’t want to miss this.
You can explore the Colosseum at your own pace, or you can take a guided tour. There are also tours held at night, which point out the secret tunnels used by the real gladiators.
7 Catch A Glimpse Of The Pope At The Vatican
Technically, the official residence of the Pope is located in Vatican City rather than Rome. But it’s all in the same area! Even if you’re not Catholic or religious at all, visiting this marvelous religious site is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you will be able to catch a glimpse of the Pope as he emerges onto his balcony to make a speech or give a blessing.
The lines to get inside the complex are seriously long. If you don’t have the time or the will to wait it out, just enjoying the ambiance of St. Peter’s Square outside the basilica is breathtaking enough.
6 Be Mesmerized By The Sistine Chapel
If there’s one part of Vatican City that is worth tolerating long lines for, it’s the Sistine Chapel. The ceiling of the chapel is probably the most famous ceiling in the world. It is here that you will see The Last Judgment by Michelangelo.
The Sistine Chapel is a must for anybody even remotely interested in art. Michelangelo’s work is often regarded as one of the best artistic accomplishments in human history. Be warned that you won’t be allowed to take photos of this masterpiece to post on Instagram. If you try, you’ll promptly be met with one of the guards ordering, “No video! No photo!”
5 Eat Gelato On The Spanish Steps
There are some things that you just have to do while you’re in Rome. One of them is enjoying gelato from one of the infinite gelato shops around the city. There are endless flavors to sample, but nocciola and hazelnut seem to be the most popular.
One landmark that you should try to see while in Rome is the Spanish steps. For a quintessentially Roman experience, sit on the steps and enjoy your gelato cone while watching the throngs of tourists that are hovering around.
4 Browse In Campo De’ Fiori
For a chance to try some authentic and fresh local produce, visit the market at Campo de’ Fiori. This public square is home to one of the most popular markets in the city where you will have a chance to buy everything from fruit and vegetables to flowers.
You might be pushed and shoved as you browse through the colorful stalls, but it’s part of the experience. Italians are passionate at the best of time, but especially so when it comes to securing the best bargain on their fresh groceries.
3 Do What The Romans Do At The Trevi Fountain
Yes, it’s incredibly clichéd. Yes, you have to do have to toss three coins into the Trevi Fountain. It’s just another tradition of a Roman vacation that you have to take part in, even if you think it’s silly. We don’t make the rules!
Legend has it that tossing three coins into the fountain ensures good fortune. The first coin supposedly guarantees that you will return to Rome one day (and who doesn’t want that?). The second guarantees that you will fall in love. The third guarantees that you will get married.
2 Brave The Mouth Of Truth
If you dare, you should make a little time to visit the Mouth of Truth. The story goes that if you’re a liar and place your hand in the Bocca della Verità, the carving will drop down and bite off your hand. Of course, there are no records of this actually happening, but anything could technically happen!
The Mouth of Truth is found just outside the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Once you’ve seen the sculpture, there is also the option to explore the church and see the alleged skull of St. Valentine himself.
1 Witness The Beauty Of The Pantheon
Not to be confused with the Athenian Parthenon, the Pantheon is one of the most famous churches in Rome. Built between 118 and 125 A.D., the landmark church houses the tomb of Raphael. Once serving as a Roman temple, the building was completed under the emperor Hadrian.
There are several other key figures buried within the Pantheon. These include the first King of unified Italy, Vittorio Emanuelle II, and his son, King Umberto I. Movie fans will recognize the building from films such as Angels and Demons and Roman Holiday.