What are the best things to do in Rome, you might ask? I had a great time visiting the Italian capital and I'm absolutely certain you will love it too. The small romantic streets, the wonderful piazzas, the architecture, the museums, the history, the culture and of course, the epic food in Rome!
I really enjoyed walking around Rome, exploring its secrets, learning about its past and being part of its crazy busy daily life. The city has a unique rhythm which is vibrant, colourful and extremely vivid. Overall, Rome is a beautiful city which you most certainly have to visit at least once since it has something for everybody. And although I recommend spending a few days exploring the city, don't forget that you can enjoy 24 hours in Rome too!
Here are top eleven things I enjoyed doing most in Rome. I ordered them according to my own personal preference. You may find you like one over the other, that's ok. Just ensure you indeed make time to cross them all off your list.
No. 1 Pincian Hill
This is definitely the spot I loved most about Rome. I walked around the Villa Borghese grounds and enjoyed the statues, the gardens, the relaxing atmosphere. It made me forget I'm in one of Europe's busiest cities. I waited for the sunset here and I got to photograph some absolutely outstanding views over Rome. It's worth noting that I actually stumbled across this place almost by mistake. It was not on my To Do List, but one of the evenings I decided to ditch the map and stroll around. Wonderful underrated gem in Rome, an total must do!
No. 2 Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
Although I'm going to only talk about the Roman Forum, I also added the Palatine Hill here since you get free entrance to both when you purchase your Colosseum tickets. I was most impressed with the Roman Forum, its resilient ruins which survived the test of time and it's majestic high trees overseeing the city. When I visited the Roman Forum, Rome was bathing under the warm rays of sun. It was no surprised that I stopped to have lunch there. This is a brilliant photo spot.
No. 3 Fontana Di Trevi
This is a curious one for me because at the end of the day, Fontana Di Trevi is indeed just a fountain. I imaged this normal sized, interesting looking fountain which is way overrated...but when I got there, I actually changed my opinion in an instance. The Fontana Di Trevi is wonderfully imposing. It's massive and its detailed architecture most certainly has a lot of intricate details which are worth spending time admiring. Besides, you can't go to Rome without making that very important wish you have, right?
You can read how to enjoy the Fontana di Travi for families travelling to Rome with kids.
No. 4 Colosseum
The entry to the Colosseum was 14 euros per adult (at the time of my visit) and it included entries to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. If you wish to avoid queuing for a decade outside the entrance, I strongly recommend you purchase your ticket online. I literally skipped all queues and got in within seconds. I think you need to see the Colosseum when you are in Rome, but don't expect too much. The history is much more impressive than the place itself. Although it's interesting to breathe in the stories, imagine the past and feel as if you are part of something so old, it's not something I would spend hours in.
No. 5 Pantheon
The Pantheon is a circular building with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. The Pantheon is one of the best preserved Roman buildings and has been in continuous use. The black holes in the Pantheon are not bullet holes as on might think. Actually, they are mounting points for metal sculptures that have since disappeared.
No. 6 Piazza di Spagna
The Piazza di Spagna is located right at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. It's one of the most famous squares in Rome and rightfully so; it's full of young and energetic Italians and tourists altogether. This is very busy, but also vibrant and full of joy.
No. 7 St. Peter's Basilica
Perhaps a symbol of Rome's skyline, St. Peter's is a church in the Renaissance style located in the Vatican City. Even if churches are not your thing, I truly believe you cannot miss St. Peter's Basilica whilst in Rome. It's exterior architecture is simply outstanding, whilst its interior is breathtaking. So many motifs and details, its impossible not to find at least something to marvel at. Although very busy, pretty much always, I think it's worth the wait.
No. 8 St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro)
Going to St. Peter's Basilica, you will automatically pass through St. Peter's Square. It feels much bigger and spacious when you are there, although always roaming with tourists. St. Peter's Square is so unique to Rome, it's impossible not to feel some interesting sense of accomplishment. Have a walk around, take everything in.
No. 9 Cupola di San Pietro
Rome's wonderful Dome, the true expression of the transition from Renaissance into Baroque. You will find many drawings by Michelangelo Buonarroti , who worked there until his death in 1564. It of course comes with some outstanding views over St. Peter's Square and Italy's capital city. Be prepared for crowds, so arms yourself with patience.
No. 10 Castel Sant’Angelo
This is brilliant if you like photographing Rome from above. It offers some magnificent views over the city. At the other end of the spectre, you can also visit its mysterious basement. Initially not on To Do List, I decided to give a try, and most certainly I don't regret it.
No. 11 Vatican Museums
Flashy and sophisticated, the Vatican Museums are practically a collection of important works of art from renowned classical sculptures to most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The collection has been built up by the Popes throughout the century. Wanting to see the Sistine Chapel, I had no choice but to walk as allow as a snail and get elbowed by many tourists from all around the world. I'm not sure if it was worth it truth be told, but I believe I would have been more upset to have missed the chance to check it out with my own eyes and have the full experience. Please note that you will not be able to take pictures once in the Sistine Chapel. You also need to keep quiet as it is considered to be a sacred place.