We’ve all heard the phrase “when in Rome, do as the Roman’s would do”, but, what should you actually do…when in Rome? The city isn’t exactly lacking in things to do, over the years Rome has grown to become a spot where you will always have something to explore, keep you busy and learn new things by indulging in the rich culture. It doesn’t matter if you visit regularly, it’s your first time visiting or you’re passing through.
Here we have listed our recommendations for the top 10 things to do in Rome for you. All of which opens you up to completely new experiences.
1. Tour the Colosseum
I know, it’s super popular and you’ve probably already thought about it, but sometimes people choose to avoid common tourist attractions, and I totally get that – but I’m here to say you should absolutely not do that this time.
Not only is the Colosseum bursting with history; it was inaugurated in 80 A.D., the games played in the Colosseum included gladiatorial combats and animal fights. It was the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire, and it is so interesting to walk around. You really can’t go to Rome without visiting the Colosseum.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to buy your tickets in advance (unless you don’t mind waiting in a very long queue).
2. Walk around the Roman Forum
If you do get a ticket for the Colosseum, you will also get into the Roman Forum, which is just as incredible. Walking through the amazing site, you can really start to envision how people lived in Ancient Rome. Of course, with a little help from either a guide or just the signposts, the Roman Forum is without a doubt something you need to see.
For all the history lovers, the Roman Forum gives you the amazing chance to see sites like the Arch of Titus, Circus Maximus, and Trajan’s Column.
3. Climb up the Spanish Steps
If you have enough energy whilst exploring Rome, you should definitely take a trip to the Spanish Steps. They’re a steep slope that leads to the Trinita dei Monti church. Once you get to the top, you have an incredible view of the piazza and Bernini’s ship-shaped fountain.
Not to mention, surrounding the Spanish steps are some really fancy shops, maybe you should treat yourself for completing that difficult hike up the many steps?
4. Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain
There are two big reasons why you should take a trip to the Trevi Fountain. Firstly, it’s an absolute masterpiece. It will literally leave you stunned, I mean just look at it. Secondly, legend says that if you throw a coin in the fountain, you will return to Rome.
One thing I will say is, The Trevi Fountain, although big, is usually very overrun. Perhaps trying to go early in the morning or late at night would be your best option – especially if you’re going for a photo op.
5. Wander around Centro Storico
Obviously, tourist attractions are wonderful and a visit to Rome wouldn’t be the same without them. However, getting lost down cobbled streets is what really made Rome so special for me.
The romantic streets, beautiful boutiques, cute cafes, fancy restaurants, and stylish shops make this the place you can spend all day.
Do as the Roman locals do, casually stroll through the streets without a care in the world. Who knows what you’ll find or where you’ll end up!
6. Visit the Vatican
Okay, we know it’s not technically in Rome, but if you are in Rome you might as well take the very short trip to the Vatican. Again, I would highly recommend purchasing a ticket in advance or you’ll be waiting in some pretty hefty lines.
Vatican City is a separate country and the smallest one in the world. The Vatican is the palace inside the beautiful country, which is the official residence of the Pope. When you visit Vatican City, you can also see the Sistine Chapel, which really cannot be put into words.
You will also be able to visit St Peter’s Basilica, St Peter’s Square and the Vatican Museums.
7. Shop at Campo de’ Fiori
Romans love fresh fruit and vegetables, so why not live like them, even just for a day? When I visited these markets, I bought the amazing produce and used it in a picnic I made – and I will never forget it.
There are many markets around Rome, but Campo de’ Fiori is perhaps one of the most popular, particularly favored by tourists and expats, meaning you can probably find somebody to talk to here too. I loved this trendy little piazza.
The market is open Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm.
8. Indulge in Local Cuisine
Every country you go to requires a little dip in their local cuisine. In Italy, you’re really spoilt for choice. Rome has restaurants after restaurant serving delicious pasta, pizza and everything else you could possibly dream of. Not to mention that their espresso is literally out of this world.
Of course, you need to treat yourself to some gelato too – and you won’t have to do much searching, the gelato cafes are literally everywhere. What more could you possibly need?
9. Discover the Secret Keyhole
Okay, so it’s not that much of a secret anymore, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. Right up on the Aventine Hill, just moments past the orange grove you’ll find the perfectly placed “keyhole”. When you peep through, you get a direct view of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Nobody’s entirely sure if it was designed to be like this (maybe they predicted the age of Instagram in ancient Rome?), or if it’s just a coincidence.
10. Ostia Antica
So, Rome gets pretty hot in the Summer – in fact, it absolutely sweltering. If you’re visiting in the prime summertime, I highly recommend taking a trip to the sea, to relax and cool off. Ostia Antica is just beautiful which gives you the opportunity to chill out, catch some rays and appreciate Italy.
Remember to book tickets in advance and, like with every trip, plan out your routes and make sure you are prepared for everything. Enjoy yourself. Take a tip from the Italian locals, and swan around, appreciating just where you are. We know you’ll have the best time in Rome…have fun!
Updated: November 18, 2018