Rome has so much history and culture that you’re going to be on the clock before you start exploring. Maybe that's why the ancient Latin saying says "actions remain", because what you do in Rome will stay with you for a lifetime. Here are our picks for the top 10 things to do in Rome.
1. Take a Walking Tour
Walk around the cobblestoned streets and by-lanes of the city. Every nook springs a pleasant surprise on you and gives you a taste of Roman culture and lifestyle through various views and aromas such as bread baking in traditional ovens, pizza and cheese, handmade leather and so much more. You can also visit some of the less famous museums, or go straight to the heart of the 'Eternal City' on our Rome tours.
2. Visit the Pantheon
This building has remained intact over the centuries, while several other major attractions are in various degrees of ruin. Known to have been built over two thousand years ago, the Pantheon with its oculus is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. The beauty and significance of this amazing structure can best be understood only if you have a knowledgeable guide with you. This and more is included on our Rome walking tours.
3. Scale the Colosseum
Your visit to Rome is incomplete without a visit to the Colosseum. The exterior of the outer ring has just been restored, revealing the monument's past glory like never before. Visit the world's first mega-stadium, where gladiatorial games thrilled crowds, and Emperors appeased the populace. For the most complete look at this iconic symbol our Colosseum Underground Tour is a must.
4. Eat a Roman Meal
Even if you are on a budget seeking out moderately-priced restaurants, have at least one sumptuous traditional Roman meal when you are here. Treat yourself to deep-fried artichokes, pecorino romano cheese, spaghetti alla carbonara and Rome’s favorite pasta dish cacio e pepe. Look for a place that uses fresh, seasonal ingredients to enjoy the real taste of these dishes. A good place to start is our Trastevere walking food tour, with an exclusive dinner at a private villa.
5. Explore the Vatican
As the center of Catholicism, the Vatican is a huge draw in Rome. Although officially a little country of its own, the Vatican City is still a walled enclave within the boundaries of Rome. Plan a one-day tour to this sacred 'city within a city' and explore St. Peter’s Basilica and square, the Vatican Museums, gardens, and a full range of Sistine Chapel experiences among our Vatican tours, fruit of a unique partnership with the Holy See.
6. Hit Outdoor Markets
The real culture of any place is best found in its local markets. So, if you want to see the real Rome, visit the Campo dei Fiori market, located close to Piazza Navona. Buy yourself a picnic lunch from this thriving food market and interact with the vendors to know more about the food culture here. There are many other markets you can visit to buy souvenirs to take back home.
7. Go to Villa Borghese and Gardens
No trip to Rome can be complete without a walk in the lush green of the Villa Borghese, one of the world's most beautiful city parks. From the top of the Spanish Steps, just follow the trees along an avenue that boasts some of the best views over Rome's steepled skyline until you hit the Pincio Terrace. This is a great spot for a view of the Dome of St. Peter's and Piazza del Popolo from above. From here make a 180° turn and enter the park where delights abound. Not the least of which is the Borghese Gallery. Tickets are included with an incredible tour of some of Rome's best art.
8. Climb the Janiculum Hill
The Janiculum is by far the best natural lookout spot over the historic center of Rome. Towering over the Trastevere neighborhood on the western bank of the Tiber, it is actually not one of the famed 'seven hills'. On a clear day you can see the hill towns to the south and east of the city glimmering on the mountain sides, and see just how compact the city is. Look for the tops of all the sights you've seen, and put it all in perspective. This is the perfect way to end the trip.
9. Devour Gelato
Just eat it. It's good for you, and no matter where you come from you can be sure that what you're used to is inferior. Gelato is less fattening and more flavorful thanks to the rich array of natural ingredients that are used. From fresh ground pistachio to caramel with a sprinkle of salt, this is a true culinary experience. To make sure the shop you choose is good just look out for the 'smurf', that's right, blue gelato that tastes like bubble-gum. If you see it, take a hike and go to one of Rome's true artisans for the handmade stuff.
10. Head Underground
So you think you know Rome? Try going beyond the fold and explore the thousands of years of history under your feet. The honeycombed ruins that provide the foundation for the modern city hold unimagined secrets, that you need to unlock before you go. The church of San Clemente, which goes 4 stories down, is probably the best example of this and is included as a part of our Rome Crypts and Catacombs Tour.