Rome is just one of those cities that’s bound to impress you. It’s the kinda city you visit and don’t really realise how much there is to see and do in Rome before you arrive. There are literally hundreds of the top places to visit in Rome that you’ll almost be spoilt for choice.
Honestly, there’s just so much amazing history around (and indeed historical sights within) the city and let’s not even to begin to talk about all the yummy food and free things to do in Rome.
Now, despite popular sentiments that Rome is best ‘done’ in summer, there’s really no ‘bad’ time to see the top places to visit in Rome. You see, each season has its own amazing benefit and charm that make Rome a year-round city to explore.
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the top places to visit in Rome on your next trip. Now, there are so pretty popular sites and some are a little more ‘off the beaten path’, but all should be some of the top places to visit in Rome.
Oh, and don’t forget to have an authentic Italian gelato (or two) whilst you’re there. Just make sure to read our guide on how to choose the best gelato. After all, you wanna make sure you’re eating the best… no one likes a bad gelato!
Take a look below at the top places to visit in Rome. 🇮🇹
1.) The Colosseum
This one really needs no introduction, does it?
That being said, I had to share as it really is one of the top places to visit in Rome. Now, the mighty Coliseum still stands proud in Rome, to this day, and is totally incredible.
As it can get pretty busy in summer, it’s best to book in advance to avoid disappointment as it can get very crowded. Just make sure to pack some nice comfy shoes, lots of sunblock (the sun is strong in summer) and a big bottle of water. You’ll end up staying longer than you think!
For a great place to stay, check into the Aleph Rome that’s near Via Veneto.
2.) Appian Way and Catacombs
Dating back to 312 BC (yup, it’s old), these catacombs have tombs that sit both above and below ground and is easily up there as one of the lesser-known top places to visit in Rome.
that being said, it’s probably best avoided if you’re claustrophobic as there are 18 miles of tunnels that stretch under the city and include the remains of nine former popes (so no cursing). 😉
These are a more ‘hidden part’ of Rome that quite a few visitors miss out on when they visit so you should definitely pop by.
If you’re looking for a really good lunch, head over to CiPASSO that’s one of the best bistros in the city. Just save room for their homemade puddings, you won’t be disappointed.
3.) Domus Romane
Domus Romane is the home of a former Roman resident that has been excavated, restored and brought back to life for us all to enjoy.
With some interactive installations that use computer wizardry to tell the story of ancient Rome, it’s up there as one of the top places to visit in Rome if you’re interested in Roman history. As well as the exhibits, you can opt into the daily tours here and get a more in-depth look at its history.
That being said, if you’re not a history fiend, you might wanna give this one a miss.
4.) Borghese Gallery
Often touted as one of the best collections of art in the entire world, the Borghese Gallery has all the classics that you would expect in Rome. It’s one of the best art collections and top places to visit in Rome, which includes so works by Caravaggio.
As with a lot of important sights in the city, you’ll probably find it best to plan in advance to avoid disappointment. Now, your visit itself will probably take around 2 hours and is a perfect spot if you want to miss the midday heat of Rome.
5.) Baths of Caracalla
Originally constructed in 217 AD, this massive bathing complex is definitely a sight you do not want to miss out on (those Romans sure do love a good bath house).
Oh, also, you can even visit the tunnels under the baths that heated the water running to the baths. In the summer months, the baths also play hosts to several outdoors events so perhaps a nice way to visit is to actually attend one of the events here in summer.
It really is one of the top places to visit in Rome. Afterwards, head over to Mercado Centrale for a little bite to eat, it has a heap of stalls and restaurants that serve up some regional goodies.
6.) Capitoline Museums
The Capitoline Museums contain a huge array of artwork collected by former popes and other important people from the region. Once inside, you can even see paintings by former popes too.
The museums first opened way back in 1734 and these days it’s one of the top places to visit in Rome to see the paintings by Caravaggio as well as its amazing collection of statues and monumental art.
It’s often considered to be one of the best in all of Rome.
For another hotel in the city centre, check into Margutta 19 that’s near Via del Corso. It’s a Small Luxury Hotel of the World and is so nice.
The Museum of 21st Century Arts or MAXXI makes for a great pit-stop and break if you are a little jaded from looking at period pieces.
Dedicated to contemporary art and housed in a cutting edge building that is a work of art in itself, this makes for the perfect contrast to older pieces of art that Rome is so well-known for.
Now, some of the collections are totally free but others (seasonal pieces) will need to be paid for. Just remember that when planning your budget.
8.) Roman Forum and Palatine
The Roman Forum is the place where former emperors would have lived in the days of old, and you will find the majestic ruins of their palaces here.
Built on a hill, you will also be afforded amazing views over the rest of the city below. In my opinion, it’s best to head here after you’ve visited the Colluseum as it’s close by.
Just make sure to set aside about 90-minutes for a nice stroll through the area.
9.) Crypta Balbi
No actually not a crypt at all but a small museum that lots of people don’t know about in Rome.
Crypta Balbi was once a Roman theatre and is now dedicated to showcasing life in Rome through the ages (if that’s your thing).
Now, this is not one of the largest or most famous museums in Rome, but it is one of the most interesting. It’s quite a quick place to visit, so you won’t need loads of time here.
Also, for some tasty Italian street food and wine, head over to Mamasi that is so good.
10.) Vatican Museum
The Vatican Museums sit in front of the Sistine Chapel and is one of the top places to visit in Rome (or Should I say Vatican City).
Now, don’t assume that the museum is like ‘filler bit’ before seeing the Sistine Chapel, it really isn’t. There is so many grand halls, rooms and art that is just incredible to see.
One thing to note, the Vatican Museums (and Sistine Chapel) get incredibly busy! So much so that it’s almost hard to move at certain points. That being said, there are ways to avoid the crowds and queues.
Firstly, always pre-book your Vatican ticket before you arrive. This avoids the massive queues to enter the Vatican. Honestly, it’s the one thing that’s really terrible about the Vatican.
Also, if you want, you can prebook before 99% of the crowds, just organise the Vatican breakfast that comes with a tour guide of the museums. This way, you can enjoy the sites in a much more leisurely manner.
11.) Museum and Crypt of the Capuchins
A rather macabre visit, I know, the Crypt of the Capuchins is the final resting place of former monks whose bones have been arranged around the crypt.
It might not seem like one of the top places to visit in Rome but it tells a story of Rome’s history that no other places do.
Now, the museum part of the experience aims to tell the story of the monks, including their propensity for self-flagellation (i.e. flogging themselves).
12.) Palazzo Altemps
If you’re really into your historic Roman culture and art, then honestly, Rome is perfect for you.
There are famous and iconic pieces of art hidden around all areas of the city. If you’re looking for an afternoon spent perusing said statues, Palazzo Altemps is without a doubt one of the top places to visit in Rome.
Filled with works that have been restored and/or preserved, this started as a series of private collections by Roman residents and is now open to us adorning public. It’s a great spot to visit in Winter or if the weather gets too extreme.
13.) San Luigi dei Francesi
If you want to see three of famed Baroque master Caravaggio’s most famous works, then you definitely need to visit San Luigi dei Francesi. All about the life of St Matthew (the calling of St Matthew, the inspiration of Saint Matthew and the martyrdom of Saint Matthew), it’s one of the top places to visit in Rome if you want to explore the divine history of the city.
Even if you’re not a super fan of Caravaggio, these are still very important sights to see in, not just Rome, but in Italy as a whole so do make some time to pop in and marvel at Caravaggio’s masterpieces.
14.) The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque style fountain in the world and one of the top places to visit in Rome during your tip.
Now, the fountain itself is super popular and it’ll likely be surrounded by hundreds of other visitors when you arrive. That being said, if you want to avoid the majority of the crowds, just head here first thing in the morning.
Just remember to drop a penny in and wish! It’s one of the best free things to do in Rome.
15.) Vatican City
Officially, Vatican City isn’t part of Rome at all, but more a very distinct country that’s nestled within Rome itself. Now, the Vatican is without a doubt one of those top places to visit in Rome, even if you’re not Catholic.
Built in 1506, St Peter’s Basilica is considered one of the holiest places of worship for Catholics across the world and if you visit on sundays you can even get an audience with the Pope.
If you’ve got the legs for it (and aren’t too claustrophobic), you definitely need to climb the dome of St Peter’s Basilica (the higher you climb, the tighter it gets) where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Rome and the Vatican.
Now, just make sure to carry some cash with you, you will need a few Euro to climb the dome and they don’t take cards.