While walking around Rome you will be marvellously surrounded by stunning pieces of history and architecture. This is the main reason why we want to share with you our ultimate Rome bucket list. A great catalogue of 50 things to do in Rome, the unusual and usual stuff. This is a really long list of experiences to do in Rome during your holidays. For sure you will not be surprised that Rome has a lot to offer.
Live your vacation in style, eat a Gelato like an Italian, ride a Vespa in the cobblestone narrow streets of the Italian Capital, or just look for a local trattoria for a nice lunch.
Are you ready to explore Rome with us? If it is your first time you can book here your free walking tour.
ROME BUCKET LIST
I have been living in Rome for three years, and with many visits to this gorgeous city since I was a little kid, I am very experienced on how to roam around and still be amazed. The ultimate Rome bucket list will be nothing without mentioning the visit to the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, the wonderful Trevi Fountain and the inspiring Spanish Steps.
But I was wondering what makes a great holiday in Rome. That’s why you will also find different ideas. Rome is also famous for gastronomic culture, and going on a food tour will make the best out of your trip.
- Roam around the Roman Forum
- Visit Vatican city
- Flip a coin in the Trevi Fountain
- Enjoy the architecture of Piazza Navona
- Visit the Sistine Chapel
- Like a model at the Spanish Steps
- Go on a Vespa Tour
- Wander in the Vatican Museum
- Enjoy the Colosseum at night
- Go on a day trip to Ostia
- Shopping in Via Condotti
- Eat an Amatriciana
- Have lunch outside the Pantheon
- Lock your love at Ponte Milvio
- Watch a football match at Stadio Olimpico
- Take a photo with the Gladiator
- Watch a concert at Circo Massimo
- Enjoy the view from Gianicolo
- The romantic view from il Pincio
- Visit Frascati, Rome from a different point of view
- Stroll around the beautiful Villa Borghese
- Climb the stairs to the Campidoglio
- Visit the Flea Market of Porta Portese
- Eat a tiramisù from Pompi
- Wander around Trastevere
- Hangout in Testaccio neighbourhood
- Visit the market at Campo de Fiori
- Enjoy a picnic in Villa Pamphili
- Eat a Gelato
- Go for a cooking class
- Drive a Fiat 500
- Put your hand in the mouth of truth
- Climb the stairs to the top of Altare Della Patria
- Eating pizza outside of the Colosseum
- Visit S. Giovanni in Laterano
- Enjoy the churches in Piazza del Popolo
- Stroll around Alberto Sordi Gallery
- See a performance at the theatre
- Visit the BioPark of Rome
- Stroll around St. Peter’s Square at night
- Climb up St. Peter’s Dome
- Explore Castel Sant’Angelo
- Enjoy the view from the Orange Gardens
- Explore the Domus Aurea
- Wander in Villa Farnesina
- Go on a food tour
- Visit Largo Argentina
- Live like a local, a day in Garbatella district
- Enjoy a Carbonara in a local trattoria
- Visit the Caracalla Baths
- HOW TO GET TO ROME
- BEST TIME TO VISIT ROME
- READ OUR ITINERARIES ABOUT ROME AND ITALY
50 Things to do in Rome
Roam around the Roman Forum
I wanted to make it the first point on our list. Walking from the Colosseum to the city centre, you will pass by the remains of the great ancient Rome. The Roman Forum will step your mind back, wandering in the Epoque of the great Imperator. The Roman forum can really give you a dimension of how civilized Rome was in ancient times, some structures are well preserved and the layout is clearly visible.
Well preserved in a full tour of Roman Forum, you can see the Arch of Titus, dated back to over 2000 years, the temples of Antoninus and Faustina Temple, Temple of Vespasian and Titus and many others. Going for a tour with a guide will be the best choice to learn the history and understand a bit more of ancient Rome. Instead, if you don’t have time you can just walk in Via dei Fori Imperiali, looking at both sides.
Visit Vatican city
This is the smallest country in the world, just 0.44 square Kilometres for Vatican city that is also one of the most powerful countries and a must-visit whilst in Rome.
You don’t need to cross any border or provide your ID or Passport to visit Vatican City. This small land inside the territory of the city of Rome is the seat of the Pope and the main reign of Catholic Religion. Inside the Vatican City there are many activities to do, some we have mentioned in this guide, but it is good to know that you must visit the St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel.
Flip a coin in the Trevi Fountain
Many stories are around the Trevi Fountain, but all of them start with throwing a coin in the fountain or flip it as you wish. This wonderful fountain is in the heart of the city of Rome, built between 1732 and 1764 by a project of Bernini. While this fountain has never respected the original plans and completed by Nicola Salvi and Giuseppe Pannini, there are many touches that recall the style of the Italian artist.
But let’s talk shortly about the legend behind tossing a coin in the fountain. Every day tourists are throwing away a lot of money, estimated in over 1.5 Million Euro in 2019 in different currencies. The coins are collected every day by a charity looking after the poor and homeless.
The legend behind flipping a coin into the monument is that, throwing the coin with your back to the fountain, will take you back to Rome and your wish realized.
Enjoy the architecture of Piazza Navona
From a stunning monument to another, Piazza Navona is a huge square, once used for the water games. Piazza Navona is also one of the prettiest corners of Rome, a great place where to enjoy a gelato in the many places around.
Not only that, but Piazza Navona is also where the Fountain of Four Rivers, one of the masterpieces of the genius of Gianlorenzo Bernini. This fountain is the symbol of the power of the Pope over the four continents where Christianity is professed. It represents four of the great water streams covering those continents, the Nile representing Africa, the Danube representing Europe, the Ganges representing Asia, and the Río de la Plata representing the Americas.
Visit the Sistine Chapel
We have started to talk about the importance of visiting Vatican City while in Rome, but this is one of the reasons why you should not miss it. The Sistine Chapel is one of Michelangelo’s most popular works, a stunning series of frescoes painted in the ceiling. It is worth visiting Vatican City even just for this. The Sistine Chapel was originally called Cappella Magna and is located in the Apostolic Palace. This became the location where the Cardinals are closed in conclave for the election of a new Pope.
Like a model at the Spanish Steps
If you are visiting Rome for the beautiful photography spots, you should know that The Spanish Steps are offering you a really attractive scenario.
Always been a good place to chill and relax after a long walk around the city. From a few years, you couldn’t sweat anymore on the steps of one of the most popular staircases in the world. Instead, the entire square is still a place for refreshment, grabbing some water from “La Barcaccia”. The fountain in front of the steps is a masterpiece of Pietro Bernini, father of Gian Lorenzo.
But to be back on our main topic, the Spanish Steps, offer you a great photographic opportunity, with the backdrop of the Church of Trinità dei Monti. Not only that, but the street in front of the staircase is Via Condotti, which we will tell you later, but you just need to know that is a trap for shopping addicts.
Go on a Vespa Tour
Do you want to live like a local and experience what is the Italian Dolce vita? Taking a Vespa Tour is the best way to enjoy a day in Rome. The breeze in your hair, nice view and a bit of history in a fun way. The streets of Rome are not for everybody, for sure, but think about the famous movie Roman Holiday, and your imagination will do the rest.
Is it your first time in Rome? Book your free walking tour in Rome.
Wander in the Vatican Museum
I have already told you that this trip to Rome was amazing, this is another piece of Vatican city you should include in your experiences to do in Rome. Vatican City can be many things in less than a square Kilometres. Visit the Sistine Chapel, the St.Peter’s Church, the Couple of St. Peter’s, the Vatican Museum or just stroll around the huge square.
The real treasure of Vatican city is in its museum. This insane collection is a house of some of the most important world art. Unfortunately, you can’t just pop at the ticket counter and get your ticket done in the day. To make it easy and avoid long queues, you should get your ticket online here.
Enjoy the Colosseum at night
This is maybe one of the best pieces of advice in our Rome bucket list. While studying in this city, I was used to long nights on the books and often a walk for fresh air was what I needed. My first choice was always around the colosseum, one of the most romantic places in Rome for me. Not many know that it is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. An old Roman circular Anphiteatre well preserved, constructed by the Emperor Vespasiano to host brutal battles between gladiators, wild animals. Despite being old, it remains one of the best-preserved monuments of Ancient Rome.
Go on a day trip to Ostia
If you are in Rome for a few days, especially in summer you should consider an escape on the beach of Ostia. By many, this part away a few kilometres from the city centre is known as the beach of Rome. The seaside is the best way to deal with the hot wave of the Italian Summer.
Shopping in Via Condotti
A short introduction to Via Condotti has been already given to you while talking about the Spanish Steps. This is one of the most expensive shopping streets in Rome, located in a fancy area of the city and close to some of the most popular sightseeing.
In Via Condotti, you can find the boutique of world-known brands, Armani, Gucci, Prada and Dior just to name a few. While this is not the street to go shopping for everyone, nearby in Corso Italia there are many other shops less fancy and cheap.
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Eat an Amatriciana
Have you heard about Amatriciana? More than just the Carbonara, this is the typical dish of Rome and the surrounding area. Rigorously served with a type of pasta called bucatini, the Amatriciana is the soul of Rome. Sliced Guanciale (or pancetta), red pepper flakes, black pepper, onion, tomato and extra virgin olive oil. Is it tasty? Try it!
Have lunch outside the Pantheon
Between the many attractions in Rome, one of the most suddenly you will find in your tour will be for sure the Pantheon. Despite that, it is one of the best places to visit in Rome. Because of that, we included in our bucket list of Rome a lunch in front of the Pantheon, in order to admire the architecture and enjoy the changing lights.
You can visit the building inside, and it’s free to enter.
Lock your love at Ponte Milvio
Not many tourists know that Ponte Milvio is not just one of the most stunning bridges crossing the Tiber River. Ponte Milvio is also the place where Italian couples lock their love. This way became famous with the movie “Tre metri sopra il cielo”, and after many other places get used to seeing padlocks on the chains, not only in Italy.
Watch a football match at Stadio Olimpico
If you are visiting Rome during the Mayor Italian Football League, you should go for a match in the Olympic Stadium. The Atmosphere during these events is just insane, the fans are really passionate about their own teams. In Rome, there are two teams playing in the major league, Lazio and Rome. Watching a derby between those two is just insane.
Take a photo with the Gladiator
The great Roman Empire was well known for the Emperor and the Gladiator, the ones which were going in bloody battles inside the colosseum. It is now folkloristic to take a picture with an actor in Gladiator vests with the backdrop of the Roman Ruins.
Watch a concert at Circo Massimo
Still getting inspired by locals, why don’t check for the next big concert in the Capital of Italy. Circo Massimo is a huge area from Tiberian Island and Palatinum Hill. Location of some of the biggest concerts in the world has seen “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen, the new years eve concert, Madonna and many more.
Enjoy the view from Gianicolo
From a hill in western Rome, you can enjoy the best view of the city. The Gianicolo or Janiculum is the second tallest hill of the city. It is one of the best scenic views of central Rome.
The romantic view from il Pincio
If you are looking for romantic things to do in Rome, you should include in your list a walk through “Il Pincio”. The Pincian Hill, like tourists, love to call it, is a hill in the historical centre of Rome. This place is housing some of the best masterpieces of ancient Rome. The rich families loved this place and the view. Today “Il Pincio” is a nice place to walk, directly connected to Villa Borghese and lying between Piazza del Popolo e Villa Medici.
Visit Frascati, Rome from a different point of view
If you are willing to spend more than just a couple of days in the city, it is good to plan a few day trips from Rome. Frascati could be a really good idea, close enough from Rome to don’t plan new accommodation there and reachable in just an hour from the city traffic.
Stroll around the beautiful Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese is one of the most beautiful public areas in Rome. What makes it even one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy, is the presence of the gardens in proper Italian Style, the Galleria Borghese, the Museum of Modern Art and the Globe Theatre.
Villa Borghese is the third largest park in the city and is a must-do if you want to go off the beaten path in Rome. Many tourists skip it because they don’t know. We hope that with our guide about the Rome Bucket List you get into the knowledge of what should be in your itinerary.
Climb the stairs to the Campidoglio
While climbing the stairs to the top of the main square we were exhausted, it was summer and it was hot. The Campidoglio is today the Town Hall of Rome, but not many know that the entire square is a masterpiece of Michelangelo. Unfortunately, the artist has never seen the square completed, while the whole was under construction for two hundred years. In the main square are the Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, housing museums and galleries. If you want to see the origins of Rome, you should visit the original statue of the wolf feeding Romulus and Remus, that you can see as a replica just outside of the building.
As you can understand, the Capitoline Museums is one of the hidden treasures in Rome, out of tourists’ radars.
Visit the Flea Market of Porta Portese
If you love the Flea Markets, Porta Portese is the place you need to go. Seen as the proper Roman place, this is a folkloristic popular market in the city. Located at the end of Via Portuense, it meets Via Porta Portese. This is a proper gate, “Porta” in Italian means door, and that is giving you the welcome to this amazing market.
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Eat a tiramisù from Pompi
Pompi is an institution in Rome, a sweet world where you can eat the amazing Tiramisu’. This delicious dessert is unique and proper Italian. Despite today this company is opening many other stores around Europe. We love the one recently opened in London.
ROME BUCKET LIST
Wander around Trastevere
If you want to just stroll around like a very Roman, you should be roaming around Trastevere. The area on the side of the river is lively and welcoming, especially in summer. At night Trastevere becomes so romantic, with some of the best landscapes in the world. Walking along you can spot Vatican city, Castel Sant’Angelo, The Tiber Island and many other sights. From the banks of the Tiber, you can also take the chance for a mini cruise and also enjoy the amazing bridges crossing the river.
Hangout in Testaccio neighbourhood
This may not be Rome’s prettiest neighbourhood, but for sure is one of the most loved by locals. Testaccio is one of the oldest districts of Rome, the place of pottery and Emporium. Today this corner of the city is one of the most vibrant food scenes of Rome, with many restaurants devoted to the traditional cuisine opening their doors to locals and tourists. Mostly made of cobblestones, Testaccio is not just the Mecca for food lovers, but also for nightclubbers. Locals used to hang out here for the presence of disco clubs and bars open all night long.
More guides about Rome
Visit the market at Campo de Fiori
Campo de Fiori is not just an amazing square, but also a vibrant market opens all week. Once upon a time this was a beautiful field of flowers. In fact, if you translate Campo de Fiori from Italian, it means Flowers Field. The most iconic building in the square is Palazzo Orsini, but Campo de Fiori is more than just a market. This is a meetup point for locals especially at night, with many pubs, clubs and bars open till late.
You can easily visit Campo de Fiori from Piazza Navona, away just a few steps. Also, you can direct your next stop to Trastevere within 15 minutes of walking.
Enjoy a picnic in Villa Pamphili
This amazing park is well known for the presence of Villa Doria Pamphili, and it’s the largest park in the city. The huge green public area is in Monteverde, a really cool area of Rome, on the hill of Gianicolo.
Take a break during your visit to Rome and go for a picnic in the park. Italy is well known for good weather all year round, especially across summer and spring. Take this occasion to get tan in the park or just relax laying on the grass.
READ ALSO | Europe in Spring
Eat a Gelato
No visits to Italy are fully enjoyed if you are not trying a Gelato. You know as many say, Ice Cream is not like an Italian Gelato. The taste of the Italian way is unique and not replicable. There are many “Gelateria” – Ice Cream Shops, be careful to choose it wisely and don’t get in tourists trap shops, which will cost you a lot and don’t taste good. Around the best landmarks of Rome, the prices are high and not really good indeed. Get lost in Rome and find the best Italian Gelato.
Go for a cooking class
Do you want to take some skills back home? Do you want to impress your guests with some new Italian recipes? Go for a cooking class in Italy!
There is a wide range of cooking classes available. An Italian cooking class is a wonderful way to enjoy your holidays in Rome, even if you are just passing by the ancient city while on a trip to Italy
In a cooking class, you can learn how to make pasta, gelato or even pizza. Below are some of our suggestions for you:
Drive a Fiat 500
This will be a dream come true. Driving a 500 on the cobblestone streets of Rome will be a unique experience for everyone in love with Italy. The Fiat 500, old or new style, are the fashion way to enjoy your vacation in Italy. Driving in Italy is never easy is true, but the amazing experience will be forever in your memories.
Put your hand in the mouth of truth
This is something that not many know but is a traditional thing to do in Rome. Become famous by the movie Roman Vacation of 1953 with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, the mouth of truth is a marble mask with the face of Oceanus, the Sea god. The legend wants that if you put your hand inside the mouth and you are lying about a fact, it will eat your hand.
Despite many other mouths of truth around the world, the one in Rome is the original one.
Climb the stairs to the top of Altare Della Patria
Altare Della Patria is a patriotic monument in central Rome. Coming from the Colosseum, across via dei Fori Imperiali, you will behold a white building with an Italian Flag flying high in the sky. The monument is awarded to Vittorio Emanuele II, King of Italy and is in Piazza Venezia.
Inside the “Altare Della Patria” there is the museum dedicated to the Italian Reunification and a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You can visit the museum for free and climb the stairs to the top. If you want to use the elevator to reach the top, the price is €7 to enjoy the amazing view of the city.
Eating pizza outside of the Colosseum
In this Rome Bucket list, we wanted to include some unique things and more common touristy stuff. Some of the best experiences to do in Rome are things you neither think about, but will click on in your mind and become wonderful memories.
Eating pizza outside of the colosseum doesn’t need any presentation to be understandable. Go and enjoy it!
Visit S. Giovanni in Laterano
This amazing square and church are often outside of the tourist maps. People visiting Rome are unaware of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, neither that this is more important of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. This Basilica, in fact, is ranking above all the other churches in the Roman Catholic Church.
St. John Lateran is the official seat of the Pope, who is also the Bishop of Rome. The pope rarely visits the Basilica, but inside there is the Papal throne which you can visit for free.
Enjoy the churches in Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo is one of the central squares in Rome, often hosting ceremonies, protests and gatherings. This square also has a unique artistic heritage. Becomes famous by the movie and book “Inferno” by Dan Brown, the two churches of Piazza del Popolo is something that we couldn’t miss in our Rome bucket list.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto are two twin churches facing the northern gate of the Aurelian walls, once you step in Via del Corso. The external facades and shapes are similar, indeed inside there are differences.
Stroll around Alberto Sordi Gallery
The shopping gallery has been named after a great Italian actor, Alberto Sordi, born and bred in Rome. The style of this gallery is unique, in proper Art Nouveau, go inside, even just for a stroll around and a coffee break.
See a performance at the theatre
Rome is well known for theatre performances, not all in Italian. If you are a theatre lover this is the best way to enjoy your vacation. Include in your Rome bucket list performance at a local theatre.
Visit the BioPark of Rome
If you are an animal lover and keen to visit a BioPark, Rome has got a 42-acre zoological garden located close to Villa Borghese. This could be the right place when visiting Rome with kids.
Stroll around St. Peter’s Square at night
This was maybe the best photographic session we had in Rome. Walking through the city at night can give you the dimension of how it is romantic and charming. While in Rome for two days we were strolling around the city for the whole day, and once visited St. Peter’s during the day, at night this place takes on very special lights and reflections.
Climb up St. Peter’s Dome
Still talking about St. Peter’s and Vatican City in Rome, why don’t wander about climbing up the St.Peter’s Dome?. Without a doubt, visiting the Basilica is an unmissable thing to do in Rome for every traveller. The church itself has got many examples of Italian style, between Renaissance and Baroque design, and internally featuring priceless masterpieces of Bernini, Michelangelo and Vignola.
From the top of the Dome, you can see all the most important sightseeing of Rome, from Castel Sant’Angelo to the long Tiber river.
TOURS | Reserve your ticket here!
Explore Castel Sant’Angelo
The admission fee to Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome is 14 euro, expensive for budget travellers. Anyway if you are not willing to pay for the visit, you can simply enjoy the beautiful castle on the water, from the bridge. This place is even more charming at night.
Inside Castel Sant’Angelo, or the Castle of the Holy Angel is beautiful. The Castle is a fortress, built to protect the Pope in case of need with a direct connection to St. Peter’s. Once upon a time, this was a mausoleum built to contain the mortal remains of Hadrian, one of the greatest Emperors of Rome. Centuries later this was used by Carlo Magno as a fortress for its soldiers.
Enjoy the view from the Orange Gardens
The real name of this place is Savello Gardens, but well known as Orange Gardens. This is a beautiful park of almost 8K square metres, becoming really popular among tourists. This green space is on top of the Aventine Hill, just above the river Tiber, surrounded by nature and offering a unique view over the city. By many, it has been named as the best view of Rome.
Explore the Domus Aurea
This is another place of the ancient heritage of Rome. After more than 20 years of restoration finally in 1999, it reopened to the tourists. To visit this place you are required to wear a helmet in some parts. This is also known as Golden House, following the reconstructions, the ceilings were finally decorated with ivory, mosaics, and precious stones. The complex was hosting pools, fountains and also an artificial lake. The project was flaunted by Nerone as the construction of the new Rome and the eccentric style is still visible today.
Wander in Villa Farnesina
If you are interested in art, you should go to Villa Farnesina, once the building of Agostino Chigi. This beautiful space was then bought by the Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, which gives the name to the Villa. Example of awesome Renaissance style is hosting frescoes by Raffaello (Raphael Sanzio), Giavanni Bazzi, Sebastiano del Piombo and many others.
Go on a food tour
There is no better way to enjoy your vacation in Italy to go on a food tour. More than just organizing it yourself, following your nose and senses, the food tours are giving you a taste of locals that you can’t find by yourself. Followed by history and tips you will taste the proper Italian way to love food and make it tasty as no others.
Visit Largo Argentina
This place is another spot of central Rome where you can taste the ancient heritage. Largo Argentina is nestled in the heart of Rome, and well known by locals as the Cat’s Reign. Many felines choose this place to live in, and the locals love to feed them and leave them alone. Cats are the keepers of the ruins of Largo Argentina.
Live like a local, a day in Garbatella district
This is one of the most folkloristic boroughs of Rome, but also a paradise for food lovers looking for local taverns “trattorie”. We are giving you insider tips with this paragraph. You will love Garbatella, more than Trastevere or Campo de Fiori. Garbatella is just rusty and so traditional that it is slowly attracting tourists and nightlife addicts.
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Enjoy a Carbonara in a local trattoria
Talking about good food in the Garbatella borough, why don’t look for a rusty local tavern where to enjoy the famous Carbonara. Remember, the proper carbonara, following the traditional recipes is made with guanciale, no bacon, no pancetta.
Visit the Caracalla Baths
The baths of Caracalla are our 50th point in our Bucket list of Rome. This was a large Roman Public Bath, using the energy of the water for relaxation and socialization in ancient Rome. Today this is a historic site, one of the most touristic attractions in Rome. In Italian, it is the “Terme di Caracalla”. You can visit the Caracalla Baths, but some areas are restricted to avoid further damage to structures.
Best Things to do in Rome, Italy
HOW TO GET TO ROME
There are many ways to go to Rome, claims an ancient way of saying in Italian. In fact, there are economic and expensive ways to get to Rome and around. Arriving by plane, you can fly into Fiumicino, the international airport, or Ciampino a bit further away and not a well-connected airport. The last airport, Ciampino, is also served by low-cost companies.
The airports are well connected by fast-link by train and cheapest bus services. If you are arriving in Rome from other Italian cities like Florence, Naples or Milan, there is a high-speed track servicing Rome to Milan in just 4 hours. Check cheapest tickets on Italo.
BEST TIME TO VISIT ROME
There is no best time to visit Rome, the city is always crowded with tourists. Despite that many assume winter in Rome as the ideal time of the year to visit the city and avoid crowds. The picking season in Italy is from mid-June through mid-September. Spring from April through June is also really busy, thanks to high temperatures. Saying that we think that travelling to Rome from November to March will be the best time to visit Rome generally.
READ OUR ITINERARIES ABOUT ROME AND ITALY
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