Home to a vibrant food, arts and fashion scene, the Italian city of Rome has plenty to offer. The Eternal City is undisputedly one of the most charming parts of Italy, and one that the world loves.
From comforting pasta dishes and authentic gelato on every other street to incredible historical sites and Baroque-inspired churches which fill the Eternal City, it would certainly be difficult for you to sit idly and be bored out of your wits.
Here are 12 Things To Do When In Rome for an unforgettable and meaningful trip. Your next holiday is waiting for you.
#1 VISIT THE VATICAN CITY
One cannot say that they have visited Rome if they have not stepped inside Vatican City. The smallest state in the world based in Rome, the Vatican City was built over the tomb of St. Peter.
However, we should not judge a book by its cover. Although small in size, the Vatican City is home to 11 Vatican Museums, which holds the restored Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and the beautiful Vatican Gardens, which even has an enclosure for rabbits!
The Vatican City is also famous for the St. Peter’s Basilica (the world’s largest basilica of Christianity) and the St. Peter’s Square, which fronts the Vatican.
Should you wish to also catch a glimpse of 266th Pope of Rome, Pope Francis, who will appear at St. Peter’s Square every Sunday for a short period of time.
Vatican City, 00120, Italy
Nearest Station: Farmacia Vaticana
#2 ROAM AROUND IN ROME’S PIAZZAS
One of the best ways to truly experience life in Rome is to roam around in Rome’s piazzas. One particular piazza you must not miss out on is the Piazza Navona, which also happens to be our favourite one.
Highly raved as the most beautiful of all piazzas in Rome, Piazza Navona is charming and boasts incredibly stunning views. At the centre of this Piazza lies the Fountain of the Four Rivers, which is often incorporated into films as a backdrop or film set.
You will also find plenty of bars, markets, artists at work and street performers at the piazza, which transforms the piazza into a perfect place to wind down or enjoy a hot cup of coffee.
Other notable piazzas worth checking out include the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti and Campo de’ Fiori.
Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma, Italy
Nearest Station: Ospedale Santo Spirito / Spagna / Barberini
Piazza della Madonna dei Monti
Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, 00184 Roma, Italy
Nearest Station: Cavour
Campo de’ Fiori
Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 00186 Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 0608
Nearest Station: Ospendale Pediatrico Bambino Gesu
#3 TRY THE GELATO
Gelato, we love you. You are our one true love and our addiction to you will never cease. Lucky for all of us ice cream lovers, you can find a gelateria at almost every street in Rome and it is too easy to grab a scoop of gelato whenever the craving kicks in!
What is so special about gelato in Rome is that there is less butterfat in the formulation of the gelato, which contributes to its signature melt-in-your-mouth texture. Gelato in Italian is also always made fresh and from great ingredients, yet prices remain very affordable, usually at €2 per scoop.
Check out our guide to Rome’s Best Gelato for some ideas on where to visit for a yummy treat!
#4 EAT TIRAMISU IN ITALY
A popular coffee-flavoured Italian custard dessert, the tiramisu dessert is built upon a layer of ladyfingers dipped in coffee before layered over with a cream layer, which is a combination of eggs, sugar and mascarpone cheese.
Ask any local on the street, and they would point you to Pompi for the best Italian tiramisu in town! Known as the kingdom of tiramisu, Pompi’s dessert racks are stocked with plenty of boxed tiramisus of different flavours and sizes.
Via Albalonga, 7, 00183 Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 700 0418
Tues to Sun: 7am – 1.30am
Nearest Station: Re di Roma
#5 MAKE A WISH AT THE TREVI FOUNTAIN
When you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, legend has it that your first coin would grant you a return to Rome, and your second coin would also promise you an exciting, new romance.
Although this is typically considered a cheap thrill (or even some would say a waste of money), it is actually on many’s bucket list.
Well, if it is not on yours, you still have to visit the iconic fountain. Why, Fendi even made a runway out of it last year with Supermodel Kendall Jenner strutting her stuff!
Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 0608
Nearest Station: Barberini
#6 PASTA IN ROME
Rich, fresh, and ravishing pasta; like Italy’s amazing gelato, pasta can be found along any streets in Rome. There is really no better place to get an authentic taste of your favourite pasta specialities in Rome.
Some places to dine at include Da Danilo which positions carbonara as royalty, Roscioli if you love raw ingredients, and IL Sanlorenzo for seafood pasta dishes.
Da Danilo, Via Petraca 13, Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 7720 0111
Mon: 8pm – 11.30pm
Tues to Sat: 1pm – 2.45pm, 8pm – 11.30pm
Nearest station: Manzoni
Roscioli, Via dei Giubbonari 21/22, Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 687 5287
Mon to Sat: 8.30am – 12am
Nearest Station: Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesu
Il Sanlorenzo, Via dei Chiavari 4/5, Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 686 5097
Mon: 7pm – 11pm
Tues to Fri: 12.45pm – 2.45pm, 7pm – 11pm
Sat: 7pm – 11pm
Nearest Station: Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesu
#7 VISIT THE CATACOMBS
Some may feel that a visit to the home of the dead is somewhat a weird activity, but really, it is not. The catacombs of Rome are ancient catacombs, which have people of all Roman religions buried in them.
However, a word of caution—this attraction may not be suitable for children, in light of the extensive collection of human bones that “decorate” the walls of the catacombs.
Today, the catacombs play a significant role in our understanding of Early Christian Art and also serves as the reminder of how one of the world’s biggest religions, Christianity, came about.
For those who are interested in how Christian burial practices are conducted, it is recommended that you drop by The Bone Chapel (aka The Capuchin Crypt). Otherwise, a visit to the Catacomb of Callixtus would be a great place to discover and explore the Crypt of the Popes.
Via Vittorio Veneto, 27, 00187 Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 8880 3695
Daily: 9am – 7pm
Nearest Station: Barberini
Catacomb of Callixtus
Via Appia Antica, 110/126, 00179 Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 513 0151
Thurs to Tues: 9am – 12pm, 2pm – 5pm
Nearest Station: Garbatella
#8 EXPLORE THE COLOSSEUM
Living up to the glory of being one of the wonders of the world, the Colosseum is one of the greatest examples of ancient Roman architecture that we are lucky to have sight of today. In the past, the Colosseum was used as an amphitheatre where the Romans would be entertained by bloodshed and other cruel forms of entertainment.
Despite being built over 2,000 years ago, the majority of the Colosseum remains intact, and this architectural feat is one to really admire.
For those who are visiting Rome for the first time, make sure you do not miss out on the grandeur of this magnificent amphitheatre for it will be an experience you will never forget.
Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 3996 7700
Daily: 8.30am – 3.30pm
Nearest Station: Colosseo
#9 CLIMB THE SPANISH STEPS
A trip to climb the Spanish Steps has to be on your itinerary.
Built in between 1723 to 1725, the Spanish Steps first existed with the purpose of linking the Trinità dei Monti church (which was under the patronage of the king of France) with the Spanish square below.
The Spanish Steps has also served as a place of inspiration for painters, artists, and poets. Gradually, the Spanish Steps evolved into a place where people of diverse backgrounds would gather and meet. At present, the Spanish Steps still serves as a meeting place for many.
Do not deny yourself the opportunity of climbing these memorable steps; you never know who you may meet, or what you may find.
Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma, Italy
Nearest Station: Spagna
#10 ADMIRE MUSEUM WORKS
A state rich in the arts, history, and culture, Rome is packed with many different museums for all to wander in.
Maxxi—the National Museum of Art from the 21st century—is one of the most impressive contemporary art museums in Italy, which recently received a donation of 58 works from the collection of the late Milanese art dealer and historian, Claudia Gian Ferrari.
If you are interested in architecture, the Palazzo Altemps is definitely one of the best places to get immersed in Renaissance architecture. The Palazzo Altemps was also recently acquired by the state in 1982 and opened as a museum in 1977.
Entering the Palazzo Altemps, you would find a great collection of classical sculptures and a 3rd-century sarcophagus, carved from a single block of stone.
Via Guido Reni 4A, Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 399 67350
Tues to Wed, Fri to Sun: 11am – 7pm
Thurs & Sat: 11am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Lepanto
Piazza di Sant’Apollinare 48, Roma, Italy
Tel: +39 06 399 67600
Tues to Sun: 9am – 7.45pm
Nearest Station: Ospedale Santo Spirito
#11 THE GREAT PANTHEON
Because no one leaves Rome without seeing the Pantheon and believing just how magnificent it is. It was formerly a Roman temple and now a church. It is considerably among the most well-preserved ancient Roman buildings in the city.
The Pantheon’s interior is extravagant. Upon entering, you’d be greeted by an enormous rounded room covered by the dome. The opulent interior of the dome was possibly intended to symbolize the arched vault of the heavens.
#12 SIP COFFEE AND PEOPLE WATCH
The Italians love their coffee and idyllic way of life. In Rome, do what the Romans do. Pop by one of the many coffee shops in the city and enjoy a cup of Joe while people-watching. It is a nice feeling; you should try it some day.