Many people consider Rome to be synonymous with Italy itself. Those who imagine visiting Italy envision themselves tossing coins into the Trevi Fountain, strolling up and down the Spanish Steps, or staring up at the majesty that is the Roman Colosseum.
In case you didn’t know, all of these places are located in Rome!
Here is a look at some of the things you can do in Italy’s capital city, along with some tips for getting the most out of your trip.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Rome, Italy?
Your best chances at being able to see all the sights without being jostled around too much by the bustling crowds are in the “off-seasons” like April through June and September through October. There are fewer visitors around then, and the year-round Rome residents most likely won’t be vying for a chance to toss their coins into the famous fountain because they’ve probably already done it a million times.
Be aware, though, that early in the year and late in the year, some of Rome’s biggest attractions may be closed because of holidays or weather. So, it’s always best to check an attraction’s opening and closing dates on their websites before you plan your trip.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Rome, Italy
Have a Bite to Eat
Okay, you already know all of Italy is known for its food. But Rome has its own stand-out signature dishes that are definitely worth sampling. There is cacio e pepe, for example, which is a spaghetti dish served with Pecorino Romano cheese (cacio) and black pepper (pepe), and supplì, deep-fried rice croquettes with meat, cheese, and other savory goodness inside. There is also gelato by the bucketful, with a rainbow of colors and flavors that will have you grabbing your spoon before you even get through the door of the gelateria.
Take a Walk
Rome is a great walking city, and not just because all the traffic makes driving a bit of a chore. The best part is, almost every one of Rome’s famous and even lesser-known archaeological and architectural wonders are within walking distance of each other, making it easy to take yourself on your own self-guided sightseeing tour. We particularly recommend a stroll along the statue-studded bridge of the Tevere river, Ponte Sant’Angelo!
Rent a Vespa
Alright, this is one of those stereotypical “touristy” things that has become almost a cliché in films and books. But if you really want to make your trip to Rome like something out of a rom-com, you can’t pass up the chance to hop on a Vespa and take a drive around the city. Just be sure to have a valid driver’s license!
Some of the Best Attractions in Rome, Italy
Roman Colosseum and Roman Forum
This one is a must. The Roman Colosseum and the nearby Forum are pieces of epic Roman history leftover from ancient times. Located smack-dab in the middle of the city, the Colosseum is the symbol of the entire Roman Empire. This is the largest amphitheater ever constructed and was the stage for gladiator battles thousands of years ago. The Forum, on the other hand, contains the ruins of many important government buildings from that same time period. You can walk among the still-recognizable structures and really get a feel for how the ancient Romans lived in their own time.
The Pantheon is an interesting piece of architecture, not just because of its intriguing cylindrical structure and domed roof, but because it has changed so much over the centuries. At first, it was built as a temple to worship the gods, but since the year 609, it has been a Catholic Church. It is one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome, and full of unique art and religious artifacts.
Created by architect Nicola Salvi in the 1700s, the gorgeous (and gigantic) Baroque-era Trevi Fountain is 26.3 meters tall and nearly 50 meters wide. It depicts ocean god Oceanus on a chariot pulled by winged horses carved from marble and stone and is one of the best-known attractions in all of Rome. It is said that if you toss one coin over your left shoulder with your right hand and it lands in the fountain, you will return to Rome someday. Two coins and you’ll fall in love. Three coins? You’ll do both!
Other Sights Worth a Visit in Rome, Italy
Aside from the main attractions in Rome, there are also numerous botanical gardens and museums to visit. You could also stop in at the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, which are technically located in Vatican City, a separate city-state, but that are still within a short walk or metro ride from the major sights in Rome.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, and as such, you should really take your time taking in all the sights. Don’t forget to bring a camera too: there are so many historically significant (and just plain beautiful and interesting) sights to see here that you won’t want to forget a single one.