A record-breaking 420 million tourists traveled to Italy in 2017 alone. With amazing food, great wine, and interesting attractions, it should come as no surprise that Italy is a must-see destination for people from all around the world.
While there are many great locations in Italy, the capital city of Rome remains the most popular, accounting for 6.4% of the country’s total tourism. And there’s a good reason why.
Some of the best things to do in Rome are centered around history, art, and culture. Not only will you have a blast on your trip, but you’ll also return home with greater knowledge and appreciation for Italy.
Do you need help creating your Roman itinerary? Keep reading to discover 8 things you can’t miss when in Rome.
1. Explore the Colosseum
You can’t have a list of things to do in Rome without mentioning the Colosseum! This is one of the most popular Rome attractions—and for good reason.
You can explore the Colosseum and see what it would look like to be a spectator in ancient times. There are even private tours that allow you to go “behind the scenes”. You’ll see where the animals were kept, where the slaves worked, and where the gladiators prayed before they went into the stadium.
Even if you don’t want to do the special behind the scenes tour, consider joining a private or small tour group to learn more about this impressive site. A Rome trip planner will know the best tours to join to ensure you enjoy your experience.
2. Visit the Pantheon
The Pantheon is another ancient site that’s a must-see. It was built back in 126 A.D. and dedicated as a temple to “All of the Gods”.
Today, it’s one of the best-preserved buildings from ancient Rome, and it’s still praised for its impressive architecture. In fact, it has one of the biggest unreinforced domes in the world!
3. Walk Through the Catacombs
Are you looking to experience a different side of Rome? Consider leaving the beautiful afternoon sun behind and go underground to explore the Roman catacombs.
While there are a few different catacombs to choose from, the one in Santa Maria Della Concezione dei Cappuccini is one of the best. The walls inside the crypt have been decorated using bones to form designs and motifs. You can even find chandeliers made out of bones!
4. Stand Where Julius Caesar Was Murdered
Do you want more creepy history? Then head over to Largo di Torre Argentina.
This square contains the remains of Pompey’s Theatre as well as four Roman temples. Oh, and it’s also where Julius Caesar was murdered! Largo di Torre Argentina can currently only be seen from afar, but it’s expected to open to the public in 2021.
There’s also a special surprise for animal lovers. The Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary is here, so there are always plenty of adorable cats wandering around.
5. See an Opera
Operas are a classic piece of Italian culture. If you want to see a live performance while in Rome, consider visiting the Teatro dell’ Opera.
It was built in the 19th century, so you can see some impressive architecture. There are also many different performances held here, including opera, ballet, and contemporary dance. So, make sure you see what’s playing during your trip, and buy your tickets early.
6. Step Back in Time at St. Clement Basilica
It’s no secret that Rome is packed with churches and basilicas. But St. Clement Basilica is different.
The entrance is absolutely stunning. It contains an apse mosaic from the 12th century as well as Renaissance frescoes. However, this basilica has a surprise right under your feet.
An early Christian basilica from 350 A.D was found under the current St. Clement Basilica. And under that ancient basilica is another basilica from 1 A.D.! Make sure you visit all three layers for a unique look at how basilicas evolved over time.
7. Visit the Vatican and Sistine Chapel
Of course, if there’s one religious site you have to see, it’s the Vatican, which is home to the Sistine Chapel.
Take your time walking through the Vatican Museums, soaking up all the wonderful art. Then, enter the Sistine Chapel where you can see Michelangelo’s famous frescoes on the ceiling. There’s so much to do in this area, that some people choose to spend an entire day here!
Whether you plan to spend the whole day or just a few hours, remember that the lines get extremely long. Consider arriving before the doors open or booking a guided tour to skip the lines and spend more time inside.
8. Rent a Vespa
Rome is a fairly large city, and not everything will be within walking distance. So, when you’re planning your trip, it’s vital to consider transportation.
While you could just get a taxi, why not turn this into a fun activity? After all, they say that getting there is half the fun!
Consider renting a Vespa to get around. This unique mode of transportation will have you feeling like a local in no time.
If you’re not comfortable driving, then you may prefer a Vespa tour. Your guide will be in charge of driving the Vespa, so you can just enjoy the ride. Plus, you’ll get to see some of the top sites on your tour and learn more about the city.
Best Things to Do in Rome
If you’re planning a trip to Italy, Rome can’t be missed! Just follow the guide above to pick the best things to do in Rome. From touring the Colosseum to renting a Vespa, your trip is sure to be unforgettable.
Don’t know what to pack? No problem! Check out our packing lists blog page to ensure you bring everything you need to be comfortable and stylish in Rome.