To the rest of the world, Rome is known as the Eternal City. It attracts visitors in search of a world-class experience that blends old world charm with the buzz of modern day life. With all the historic sites, museums, shopping, and dining, you could spend years here and still not see it all. To help you decide on how to plan your trip, we have curated a list of the top 15 things to do during your stay in Rome.
- The Colosseum
Source: Gregory Ferdinandsen
Considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre ever built and dates to A.D. 80. Walk the ruins of this ancient marvel where Rome’s people were entertained by watching gladiators engage in bloody sport. Visit their website for information about tickets and hours.
- Sistine Chapel
Source: AF Travel
The Sistine Chapel is home to some of the most important frescos ever made in Italy. Here, you’ll see the visual splendor of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Renaissance master Michelangelo. Part of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel is one of the most visited sites in Rome. To avoid waiting in long line, you’ll want to book your tickets in advance.
- The Spanish Steps
You may recall the famous scene in “Roman Holiday” where Audrey Hepburn meets Gregory Peck on the Spanish Steps. Enjoy a romantic evening here after dark when the Piazza di Spagna and Fontana della Barcaccia are on illuminated display.
- The Pantheon
Dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome, the Pantheon was built by emperor Hadrian between A.D. 118 and 125. This architectural wonder is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. The Pantheon is another tourist hot spot – you’ll want to buy tickets online before your visit.
- The Trevi Fountain
Source: Travel Digg
Rome is known for its marvelous fountains, but the Trevi Fountain tops the list. It is a hallmark of Baroque opulence and features a statue of the God Neptune flanked by tritons. Legend claims that anyone who tosses a coin into the fountain will return to Rome one day.
- MAXXI, the National Museum of XX1 Century Arts
The visionary architect Zaha Hadid conceived of the design behind the MAXXI. It is considered to be Italy’s first national museum devoted to modern and contemporary art. The permanent collection includes artists William Kendridge, Gerhard Richter, Vanessa Beecroft, and Kara Walker among others. Visit for more information.
- Piazza Navona
Source: Portmobility Civitavecchia
At the famous Piazza Navona, you’ll see the energy of modern Rome play out against a backdrop that exudes the city’s old world charm. Here, you can watch street performers and musicians while shopping for handmade goods by local artisans. And be sure to checkout the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. Arrive early because the Piazza Navona fills up with tourists as the day goes on.
- Eat Gelato
Source: Lovely Italy for You
It would be a crime to visit Rome and not have gelato during your stay. The city is filled with gelaterie, so choosing where to get your fix of this cool, creamy treat could be difficult. If you are in the districts around the Vatican, head to Gelateria dei Gracchi (Via dei Gracchi, 272) and sample its delicious gourmet flavors. If you are in the central part of the city, stop at Gelateria del Teatro (Via di San Simone, 70), which offers outdoor seating in a quant alley.
- Eat at a Trattoria
Source: Rome Wise
A trattoria is a mid-priced, family-run restaurant and Rome has plenty of them. Offering a local dining experience, they serve up hearty Italian meals made from recipes that go back generations. Old-school as can be, Hostaria Romana is known for its authentic dishes created with simple and fresh ingredients. Each trattoria is different from the next and Revealed Rome has made great suggestions on the subject.
- Basilica of St. John Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano)
Built under Pope Melchiade between 311 and 314 B.C., the Basilica of St. John Lateran is the most ancient church in the world. Known as the Pope’s church, it is marked by its beautiful interior architecture and art. You can enjoy a peaceful experience thanks to the fact that this church does not fill with tourists like the rest.
- Roman Forum
Source: Destination 360
Known as the “meeting place of ancient Rome,” the Roman Forum is located between the Colosseum and Piazza Venzia. Originally a marsh, Romans turned it into the city’s market place and civic and business centers. A ticket to the Roman Forum also gets you into the Colosseum and Palatine Hill. Visit for more information.
- St. Peter's Basilica
Source: Around de Globe
Located in the Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica is a must-see for anyone interested in religious architecture from the Renaissance period. The interior is marked by a spectacular dome and lavish decoration. Here, you’ll find Michelangelo’s celebrated Pietá. Entrance to the main part is free, paid admission is required to enter some parts.
- Galleria Borghese
Source: Luxor Magazine
The Galleria Borghese boasts a collection of artwork by Italy’s most celebrated artists. Here you’ll see master paintings and sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael, Paolo Veronese among others.
- Centro Storico
Source: A Certain Slant of Light
Translating to historic city, centro storico is made up of meandering narrow streets and alleys. Come here for a unique experience that blends the best of Rome’s baroque heritage and historic sites with the energy of modern life. It is quintessentially Italian, so look out for the locals zipping around the streets on their vespas.
- Castel Sant’Angelo
Source: Booms Beat
Commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadian as a mausoleum for himself and his family, the Castel San’Angelo is a towering cylindrical structure that went on to become a castle and fortress used by popes. Today, it is a museum where visitors come to learn about Rome’s rich history and culture.
Rome is a beautiful city, but there is much to see. The next time you make your way there, make sure to check out this guide to make the most of your travels.