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Benvenuti a Roma! The Eternal City is waiting to show you its best and brightest side with countless things to see and do. Whether you’re into the ruins of Ancient Rome, the religious artwork of the Catholic church, Renaissance art, and architecture, or so many other things, Rome has attractions, museums, and sights that are sure to delight you.
Anneliese O'MalleyBy Anneliese O'Malley

The 10 Best Things to Do in Rome

There are literally hundreds of things that you can do in Rome, so many that it might be overwhelming. We’ve gathered a list of the ten best things to do in Rome for those who have never visited before or for those who want to go a little deeper on their next visit. Pick and choose the things that appeal to you to build your perfect trip.
Vatican City
1

Visit the Vatican

Technically Vatican City is its own country and isn’t part of Rome at all, but the home of the Roman Catholic church is a must-visit sight on anyone’s list. Marvel at St. Peter’s Square, line up and enter St. Peter’s Basilica free of charge, or visit the Vatican Museums to see the glorious Sistine Chapel with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo.
Italian Pasta
2

Food Food Food

Italian cuisine is renowned worldwide, for good reason! While pizza comes from nearby Naples and pasta can be found all over Italy, Rome has its own unique cooking style featuring pork, lamb, artichokes, and several specific pasta dishes. Take a food tour of the city, especially the Trastevere district, to sample some Roman delights, finishing off with an espresso or some gelato.
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Trastevere
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Inside the Colosseum
3

Discover the Colosseum

The Colosseum has been a symbol of Rome for centuries, hosting gladiator fights, animal hunts, and other spectacles during the Roman Empire. This attraction is well-worth seeing with a guide who can make the empty archways come to life for you, especially if you want to see some of the restricted areas like the arena floor or the upper tiers that aren’t accessible to visitors with a basic ticket.
Discover the Streets of Rome
4

Take to the Streets

Part of the joy of visiting Rome is stumbling across something beautiful while exploring its streets. If you want to find some special spots off the beaten track then consider taking a walking tour, a bike tour, or even a Segway tour of the city!
Rome by Bike
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Day Trip to Pompeii
5

See Italy on a Day Trip

There’s more to Italy than just its capital city, and Rome is a great base for those who want to do a bit of exploring. Favorite day trip destinations include the ruins of Pompeii, the Villa d’Este at Tivoli, and the archaeological site of Ostia Antica, the port town of Ancient Rome. Make sure to check what’s included with each ticket - some include lunch and transportation as well as a guide.
Villa d'Este
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Ostia Antica
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Day Trips
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Music in Rome
6

Delight Your Ears at a Concert or Opera

Italy is the home of opera, and there are dozens of venues where you can sample classical music and operas. From concerts in the Capuchin Crypt to outdoor concerts under the summer night sky, there are plenty of options to choose from.
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Galleria Borghese | Flickr: Sonse CC BY 2.0
7

Discover Rome’s Art Galleries

The greatest artists in the world were all drawn to Rome. Whether they sought patronage from the Vatican or were inspired by the ancient ruins that litter the city, they left behind a legacy of art that is unrivaled around the world. Art-lovers should book early for a chance to visit the Galleria Borghese, in the impressive Villa Borghese. Alternatively, you can visit the Doria Pamphilj Gallery or the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna.
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna
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Museums
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Rome after dark
8

Nighttime in Rome

The center of Rome is dazzlingly beautiful after dark, with the main monuments lit up. Discover its secrets on a night-time walking tour, or visit one of the tourist attractions that offer unique nighttime access. The Colosseum is one of these, as are the Vatican Museums on certain selected dates. Access to these events is more expensive, but also far more exclusive!
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Hop-On-Hop-Off-Bus in Rom | Flickr: Chris Sampson CC BY 2.0
9

Explore Rome on Hop-On Hop-Off Buses

Rome’s public transport system can be extremely busy and a little confusing, but a ticket for a Hop-On Hop-Off bus can make your life much easier. These air-conditioned buses will take you between the city’s top attractions and, whether you want to ride a full loop to orient yourself or you’ve picked stops to visit, you’ll also be able to enjoy audio commentary along the way.
Gardens in Italy
10

Relax in Rome’s Green Oases

Sightseeing can be tiring, and sometimes you just need a park or garden where you can enjoy a picnic and rest your feet. One of the most popular options is the Villa Borghese Gardens, which surround the Galleria Borghese and are found on one of Rome’s famous hills. The park area also houses the Bioparco di Roma, a zoo where you can visit over 200 species of animals. If you’re visiting the Colosseum then your ticket also includes access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill - the Palatine Hill and the remains of the Domus Augustana are particularly lovely to explore.
Palatine Hill
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Bioparco di Roma
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City Passes for Rome

City Passes

If you know that you want to visit several different attractions on your visit to Rome, then you might want to consider buying a city pass for your trip.There are a couple of different options, including the Roma Pass, the Rome Explorer Pass, and the Omnia Card. Some include entry to the Vatican Museums and some don’t, while some offer access to Rome’s public transport or to a Hop-On Hop-Off bus. Consider the options before buying the one that suits your needs. A comparison of the different offers can be found on TicketLens Magazine.
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Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome

Many of Rome’s best attractions date back two thousand years or more, to the days of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.One of the highlights is the Roman Forum, which contains the remains of buildings from different eras of Ancient Rome. You can access the forum with a ticket to the Colosseum, and the area with the Roman Forum also includes the Palatine Hill. The Capitoline Hill originally housed several important temples, and today you can visit the ruins alongside the Capitoline Museums. The Circus Maximus was the largest stadium in Ancient Rome, hosting chariot races. Today it’s a public park and you can visit free of charge - though you might want to take a guided tour instead to learn more. The Baths of Caracalla are also an impressive set of ruins, but the original bathhouse was in use until at least 530 CE. This snapshot only scratches the surface: Rome has dozens of ancient sites that have been excavated by archaeologists and are available to visit.

Catholic Rome

The other noticeable theme when you visit Rome is the power of the Roman Catholic Church. You’ll barely be able to turn a corner without finding another church, but there are several that are well worth a visit.While St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is the largest church in the world, there are several other cathedrals in Rome that are important to practicing Catholics and that house treasures of their own. The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is one of the most important, being the seat of the Bishop of Rome and the oldest basilica in the Western world. It’s also the final resting place of several popes and the interior is extremely beautiful. The Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano is also fascinating to visit - underneath the medieval church are the remains of an older church from the 4th century AD and beneath that lie the remains of a Roman mithraeum or temple to the god Mithras. Other beautiful and significant churches include the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, or Saint Mary Major.
Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
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Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
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Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
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Anneliese O'Malley
Written byAnneliese O'MalleyAnneliese is a former Londoner, keen traveler, and total word nerd. As a Content Management Specialist she knows the TicketLens inventory inside out and curates, matches, and writes about the most interesting attractions worldwide.
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