The ultimate guide for things to do in Rome

Italy is one of my favourite countries to visit in Europe. Is does not matter where you are in the country, you will always have a great experience! Rome is no exception. The capital is a great place to spend a few days or even a whole week!

For those of you that have an appreciation for history, Rome is a gold mine full of historical sites, but it can also be an epic visit for foodies and nature enthusiasts.

We have compiled a guide to the best places to visit and how you can maximise your experience at each one!

Walking tour

I always find that you need to start a visit to any city with a walking tour. The tour will give you a broad overview of the city and its history as well as provide you with interesting facts that you did not know.

Rome is rich with history and it is impossible to cover everything in a walking tour. You are going to need nine! Yes – you read correctly, there are nine walking tours you can choose to do. All of them provided by Rick Steves in audio format.

I like taking an audio tour through a city, as it is flexible to your needs. If you find something interesting along the way you can pause the tour and have a look. You can rest at a coffee shop in the middle of the tour and it will always be there for when you are ready to continue.

Each tour has its own map to help you navigate the streets and find the places that are being discussed on the audio guide. The best of all is that the guides can be downloaded to your phone for free! Make sure you go visit Rick Steves Audio Tours to see what they have available. I highly recommend:

  • Jewish Ghetto walk
  • Heart of Rome walk
  • Roman Forum walk
  • Pantheon Tour
  • Trastevere walk

top things to do in vatican museums

Sistine Chapel and Vatican museums

When you are in Rome, make sure to book a ticket to go visit the Sistine Chapel. Also, make sure you have the Rick Steves Sistine Chapel audio tour with you. The tour explains the whole process that Michelangelo went through to paint the roof of the Sistine Chapel as well as the symbolic meaning of each part of the ceiling. It is really worth it as there isn’t a lot of information in the chapel to tell you about it.

Make sure you book your ticket to the museum online. You can queue up to three hours at the museum is you decide to buy your ticket on the day. You can book it online up to three months in advance.

We took the first slot of the day, 09:00 as general admission for people buying tickets on the day of their visit only opens at 09:30am.

top things to do in rome st peter basilica cupola

View from the cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica

When you visit the Basilica, make sure you go see the view on top of the cupola. Climbing the more than 500 steps is worth it when you reach the top and gaze over the whole of Rome. You can also take an elevator halfway up for an additional fee.

Also be aware that the last part of the climb can get a bit narrow and become quite tight for those that are claustrophobic.

top things to do in rome ostia antica

Ostia Antica

Osita Antica is a hidden gem in my opinion. It is almost the same as Pompeii, but not as crowded.

The whole city was covered in silt and mud and most of its buildings, frescoes and mosaics were preserved because of the mud. It has since been excavated and is definitely worth a visit.

Make sure to take Rick Steves Ostia Antica tour with you when you visit.

top things to do in rome roman forum

Roman Forum and Colosseum

The Colosseum is one the most visited sites in Rome and queueing for tickets can take some time. Luckily there is a way of skipping the line when visiting this magnificent structure.

Go and visit the Roman Forum fist. The queues at the Forum’s entrance is much shorter (or even non-existent) compared to the queues at the Colosseum. The best of all is that the ticket you buy at the Forum is valid for the Colosseum as well and allows you to skip the line!

As always, Rick Steves has a tour for the Roman Forum as well as the Colosseum. Make sure you have downloaded it!

top things to do in rome gelato

Eat Gelato

There are gelato shops everywhere! We ate so much gelato, stopping every hour at a shop to satisfy our craving.

Try and set a limit to how much you are willing to pay per scoop, as the prices can vary a lot. We set a limit of three euros for two scoops.

top things to do in rome trevi fountain

Do fountain hopping

There are so many fountains in Rome. I tagged most of them on Google Maps and we made sure to visit all of them. Some fountains that you have to visit are:

  • Trevi fountain
  • Turtle fountain
  • Fiumi fountain

top things to do in rome cats

Visit the cat sanctuary

The Torre Agentina is home to more than 150 cats. Make sure to visit the gift shop and take some photos of cats either lounging on a fallen pillar or taking a nap at the foot of an emperor’s statue.

Have you visited Rome? Can you add some sites that is worth seeing? Let me know in the comments below.

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4 thoughts on “The ultimate guide for things to do in Rome

  • I haven’t yet made it to Italy but Rome has been on my list for some time (along with the amalfi coast). You’ve pointed out a few attractions that I hadn’t know about until now. The suggestion of a walking tour is a favourite of mine, you can typically find them free anywhere in the world and there’s not better way to get to know the city.

  • I would love to check out Osita Antica. Sounds like it’s a little more off the beaten path. I love Rome, but I’m not sure I would visit more than once. It’s just so crowded.

  • I definitely have to eat gelato when I visit. It’s one of my favorite desserts 🙂 I also would love to visit Ostia Antica. I like places that are lesser known and not as crowded.

  • I was in Rome when I was a kid. Don’t remember so much. I would love to go back, especially off-peak season. There are too many people there during the summer. I had no idea there was a cat sanctuary. My boyfriend would love to see that haha 😀

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