Roman Revelations: Unforgettable Things to Do in Rome, The Heart of Italy!

Rome is unlike any other place. Here are some of the best things to do in Rome, as recommended by locals, whether this is your first or 20th visit.

This is a city where narrow streets lead to stunning temples, the mound serves pasta, and there are endless opportunities to people-watch. There’s a reason it’s one of the most well-known cities in the world, but you can only truly appreciate its allure if you visit.

Things To Do In Rome

Rome things to do

It’s important to have a plan because Rome is much larger than you may have imagined. Archaeological finds, famous art collections, and an abundance of culture can all be found here, making you want to visit again and again.

But don’t worry, you still have plenty of time to enjoy an aperitif outside in the warm sunshine and digest your lunchtime pasta.

Vatican Museums And Sistine Chapel

Across 54 galleries, courtyards, and hallways, the Vatican Museums, established by Pope Julius II in the sixteenth century, are home to one of the greatest and most significant art collections in the world. The Sistine Chapel is home to thousands of prehistoric sculptures, Raphael pieces, and, of course, Michelangelo’s frescoes.

Get tickets to explore the Vatican Gardens, which are home to fountains, plants, and a recreation of the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, as well as the Vatican Necropolis, which is beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, if you have the time and can arrange well in advance.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum is a must-see when visiting Rome, of course. Rome’s crown jewel is this magnificent building—you know, the kind of thing you see on postcards—and it’s even more amazing in person than you could have imagined. It is the world’s largest amphitheater, with a capacity of 80,000 people, and was constructed between 72 and 80 AD.

This used to be much more peaceful, with local Romans coming to watch animal hunts or bloody gladiator fights. Because of the sometimes insane lines, we advise purchasing tickets in advance. However, the 360-degree view over the theater on the fifth level makes it well worth the climb.

Castel Sant’Angelo

Hadrian, the Roman Emperor, constructed the striking cylindrical fortification known as Castel Sant’Angelo, or “The Castle of Angels,” on the banks of the Tiber River in the second century AD. The popes used it as a castle and fortress after it was first inaugurated as a mausoleum for Hadrian and his family.

It even has a hidden escape route connecting the building to Vatican City. These days, it’s a museum featuring rooms decorated with frescoes, a display of medieval weapons, and expansive views of Rome and the neighboring St. Peter’s Basilica. Inside is a small cafe where you can have a drink or some snacks while taking in views of the Vatican.

The Pantheon

One of the best-preserved ancient structures is the Pantheon, which was constructed by Emperor Hadrian in 125 AD. With a diameter of 142 feet, its dome is the biggest in the entire globe. This is a must-see in Rome, and if you’re visiting the city over Pentecost weekend, you’re in for a treat. This tops every tourist’s list of things to do in Rome.

To commemorate the occasion, tons of rose petals are dropped from the oculus during Sunday Mass. It’s quite a sight. The Pantheon is free to enter as of the time of publishing (May 2023), but there are plans to charge visitors an admission fee of €5.

Galleria Borghese

Originally built in the sixteenth century, Cardinal Scipione Borghese showcased his extensive art collection under its roof. It is still regarded as one of Rome’s top museums. Expect to find extraordinary creations within, as the Cardinal was an ardent art collector who was also a big fan of Caravaggio’s works and an early patron of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Highlights of the museum include Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit, Canova’s Paolina Bonaparte, and Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne. Take a stroll through the park after your visit to the “pleasure palace,” which was once a suburban villa submerged in the vast gardens of Villa Borghese.

Domus Aurea

The opulent Domus Aurea (Golden House) of Emperor Nero is a rare window into Rome’s underground world and is regarded as one of the most magnificent homes of its era. It was constructed as an opulent amusement venue close to the Colosseum between 64 and 68 AD, covering numerous historic hills in Rome.

It was then devastated by the city’s destructive fire in 64 AD. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, guests can participate in guided tours. A virtual reality tour is also available, which helps recreate the villa’s former splendor.

Read Also: Eternal Elegance: A Guide To The Best Hotels In Rome

Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums are housed in three buildings on the trapezoidal Piazza del Campidoglio, which Michelangelo created in the sixteenth century. Known as the world’s first public museums, they hold Renaissance marble statues and Roman bronzes, including the Capitoline Wolf, a symbol of Rome’s founding, and the Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius.

An underground tunnel through the Galleria Lapidaria connects the two buildings of the museum. Visitors can also enjoy a superb view of the Roman Forum. Make time to spend a few hours perusing the collection, and don’t forget to pay a visit to Piazzale Caffarelli’s hidden garden, which is tucked away right behind the square.

Gianicolo

Rome sometimes referred to as the “city of seven hills,” is renowned for its picturesque viewpoints and abundance of terraces that provide breathtaking views of the cityscape. Gianicolo, the highest point in Rome with a panoramic view over the Eternal City, is worth the trek even though it isn’t technically one of the fabled hills.

It is situated above the Trastevere neighborhood. Nearby is the magnificent Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, which was featured in La Grande Bellezza’s opening scene. Its majesty will astound you.

Testaccio Market

The Testaccio neighborhood is the epicenter of Rome’s culinary traditions, making it a must-visit destination for foodies and daring diners alike. The region was once home to the biggest slaughterhouse in Europe, and workers were typically compensated with leftover animal parts, known as the “quinto quarto,” or fifth quarter.

The Testaccio Market, a bright and modern structure full of enticing stalls, serves everything from freshly made pasta and craft beers to tripe stews and artichoke sandwiches. It is one of the best things to do in Rome while enjoying the varied cuisine and delicious street food.

Wrapping Up

Rome, with its two millennia of architecture, art, and culture, is an outdoor museum and one of the most visited cities in the world for good reason. You can lose hours discovering historical marvels, traveling between sites, or searching for the best gelato, but insiders use guided tours and skip-the-line entrance tickets to beat the crowd. Hop-on, hop-off tours let travelers quickly check off items on their lists of things to do, but group excursions to the Vatican Museums, Roman Forum, and Colosseum provide a deeper experience.

If you have thoughts to share or questions to ask about things to do in Rome, please comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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Sarmind is a Writer and an aspiring Editor who has experience in various short and long-form niches. Her academic pursuits intensely mold her industry background in content creation. She holds a Master's degree in Literature, and when not writing for professional purposes, she can be found re-reading old classics of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. She is super fond of cats and enjoys hours of doom-scrolling through memes on social media while cuddled up with a cup of desi chai. She likes to think she is an intellectual badass (colloquial: nerdy bore), and now all she needs is a sewing kit to complete the look!

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