Best Things to Do in Rome

Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor does anyone expect you to see it in one either. From monuments and museums to churches and amazingly intact archeological sites, there’s plenty to keep visitors of the Eternal City busy.

Museum buffs with a particular interest in some of the world’s finest collection of Baroque and Renaissance art will certainly find plenty to do and marvel at inside the Vatican Museums. More of a modern and contemporary art type of person? Head to the new kid on the block, the MAXXI museum.

If you’re a history buff interested in witnessing some of Ancient Rome’s best preserved monuments, visiting the Colosseum and the Pantheon will certainly be on the top of your list. For those looking for a holier than thou experience, head to the mother of all churches, St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Or maybe you’re coming to Rome to eat. Get to the culinary heart of the city by joining a pasta making class or even a small group food and market tour with award-winning operator Devour Tours. And for a more private affair you can’t go past Casa Mia Food and Wine Tours. These unique tours and experiences will have you eating for hours on the streets of Rome in the real-deal food haunts that locals cherish but tourists don’t even dream about.  

However you decide to spend your time in Rome, don’t forget to stop every now and then and make an attempt to take it all in. It is after all, one of the most beautiful cities in the world and you’ll be pinching yourself from the moment you arrive. 

Vatican Museums

Photo courtesy of juandesant

Visiting the Eternal City and not making a stop at the Vatican Museums is almost like breaking one of the ten commandments. It’s where some of the world’s greatest art collection is stored. The Vatican Museums are actually a part of the Vatican palaces, where popes have lived since the 1200s. Inside you’ll find works such as Egyptian relics, Etruscan artifacts, Renaissance paintings and Greek and Roman sculptures and busts, all housed in maze of apartments, galleries and palaces. Let’s also not forget about, perhaps what many consider to be the true gem of it all, the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo’s famous Last Judgement can be seen. Entrance is free on the last Sunday of the month (9:00am-2:00pm), with last entry 90 minutes before doors close.
From Monday to Saturday (9:00am-6:00pm), last entry is 2 hours before closure time. Metro: stations Ottaviano-Musei Vaticani; Cipro. Bus: 49. Tram: 19.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Vatican Museums will beyond impress any visitor and features the most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.

Maria’s expert tip: Book your tickets online ( and you’ll avoid having to wake up at the crack of dawn to wait in line for a couple of hours. Buying your tickets online only costs you 4 euros more than what you’d pay at the ticket booth and is definitely worth it as you get to skip the line.

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Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

Photo courtesy of Romewise

You can’t get anymore Baroque beautiful than Piazza Navona. This piazza has it all: three glorious fountains, Bernini sculptures, a lovely outdoor caf� scene and the magnificent Sant’Agnese in Agone church. In the first century A.D., this piazza was built over the Stadium where Emperor Domitian hosted chariot races and other contests. The most prominent of the fountains in the piazza is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. Bernini created the fountain for Pope Innocent X in 1651. The fountain represents the four rivers and four corners of the world: the Nile; the Plata, the Danube and the Ganges. BUS 40, 64, 492, 30.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful squares in Rome and is renowned for its stunning Baroque fountains.

Maria’s expert tip: For a serene view of Piazza Navona that’s virtually empty and all to yourself, make your way over to the piazza around 7am.

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Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma (MACRO)

Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma (MACRO)

Photo courtesy of Macro

What was once the location of a Peroni brewery (one of the most famous Italian beer makers) in the Salario-Nomentano distrit of Rome, is now the industrial space where Rome’s uber sleek contemporary art museum, the MACRO is located. The museum recently underwent a massive makeover, giving it a stylish mod steel and glass exterior design. MACRO often showcases light installations, contemporary and pop artworks by world-renowned and emerging Italian and international artists. The collection covers pieces dating back to the 1960s through today. The museum also has a sister site in Testaccio which also feature contemporary art. BUS: 80, 38.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Visit for the contemporary are but to also see a great example of Italian use of old and abandoned space.

Maria’s expert tip: If you’re in the area of Testaccio, check out MACRO’s sister museum, the MACRO Testaccio, a former slaughter house-turned contemporary art museum.

Read more about Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma (MACRO) →

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

Photo courtesy of Romewise

Commonly referred to as the ‘mother of all churches,’ St. Peter’s Basilica was comissioned in 324 AD by Constantine as a church to be dedicated to the Apostle Peter. The church was reportedly built on the burial site of this most influential Christian, who was crucified upside down in the nearby Circus of Nero in 64 AD. The original church was destroyed in the 16th century, and the present church was built on the same site. Guided tours of excavations around Peter’s tomb are available. Fall and winter closures are about one hour earlier. It is also possible to visit the top of St. Peter’s dome by either climbing the stairs (about 500 steps) for 5 euro or taking the elevator all the way up for 7 euro. METRO: Ottaviano/San Pietro, BUS: 46, 64, 492.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Don’t miss the biggest church in the world and it’s beautiful late Renaissance artwork.

Maria’s expert tip: Make sure not to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts. If caught with bare shoulders or your knees showing, you will be denied entry into the basilica.

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Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo  (MAXXI)

Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo  (MAXXI)

Photo courtesy of ho visto nina volare

The new kid on the block in Rome is the MAXXI museum (Museo di Arte del XXI Secolo) which opened in 2010 in the Flaminio area. The museum has the famous Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid to thank for its stunning 60 million euro design and creation. The MAXXI holds some of Italy’s most prized contemporary pieces of art and is divided into two sections, namely “MAXXI art” and “MAXXI architecture”. It also contains a library specializing in art and architecture and galleries where exhibitions and special performances are held. The museum also takes part in the annual Rome International Film Festival held in November. TRAM:2. BUS: 53, 217, 280, 910.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: MAXXI is Rome’s center of excellence when it comes to modern and contemporary art.

Maria’s expert tip: In the summer months, the MAXXI sometimes organizes free events such as musical performances, lectures and concerts.

Read more about Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (MAXXI) →

Casa Mia Food and Wine Tours

Casa Mia Food and Wine Tours

Photo courtesy of Casa Mia

Gourmet food and wine experiences. Memories to last a lifetime. What more could travelers to Italy want? Run by Eleonora Baldwin and Gina Tringali, Casa Mia is a boutique tour operator specialising in a selection of private food and wine tours and experiences. Their motto: When visiting a city, connecting with a local can deeply transform your travel experience, making it more exclusive, authentic and original. The company delivers the majority of their tours and operations in Rome with a wide additional wide offering that spans the Italian peninsula including (but not limited to) the regions of Tuscany, Campania and Sicily. The variety of their tour products is also diverse ranging from a focus on different neighbourhood to themes and their strong selling point remains their expertise and capacity to customise tours to suit needs, desires and budgets. Whether it’s a market walk, a wine pairing experience, gelato tour or pizza tasting, Casa Mia have got you covered. To book your very own food or wine experience in Italy with Casa Mia, visit their website for contacts and more information.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The most unique way to explore Rome is through its food. These private tours and experiences get you to know the real city.

Maria’s expert tip: Once you’re done eating through Rome, take a day trip to Naples – in an hour you can be eating the world’s best pizza with Casa Mia.

Read more about Casa Mia Food and Wine Tours →



Photo courtesy of Romewise

One of the best preserved monuments and best examples of Ancient Roman architecture in the city is the Colosseum. It took nearly ten years to build one of the world’s largest public venues: heroic arches, columns and windows that stood 160 feet high and a seating capacity of 50,000 which made this arena so immense and prominent. Construction of the arena was ordered by Vespasian in A.D. 72 and was inaugurated by Titus in A.D. 80 with combat games involving gladiators and animals. Aside from bloody battles, legend has it that Christians were also fed to the lions at the Colosseum. BUS: 87, 571. METRO: Colosseo
It was also here that Christians were fed to the lions.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Colosseum is the most recognizable monument in the world and is a must-see for all visitors.

Maria’s expert tip: Admission to the Colosseum also grants you free access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.

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Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

Photo courtesy of Romewise

Thanks to Fellini’s Dolce Vita, the Trevi Fountain has served as a picturesque backdrop for Hollywood blockbusters like Three Coins in a Fountain and Roman Holiday and a dream come true for young women looking for love. Legend has it, throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain, will ensure you a return trip to the Eternal City. The fountain is a dramatic aquatic marvel for visitors thanks to its vast basin ensconced between three tiny streets (the “tre vie,”) with cascades of water that appear to be streaming from the wall of Palazzo Poli. Believe it or not, the Trevi Fountain is quite the money maker. Authorities say it rakes in some €600,000 a year, all of which is donated to charity.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Trevi Fountain is the most famous fountain in the world and certainly one of the most beautiful.

Maria’s expert tip: Make sure you know how to toss the coin in the right way. Toss the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder and your back to the fountain. One coin means you’ll surely return to Rome. Two coins mean you’ll return to Rome and find love at last. Three coins mean, you’ll return to Rome and marry the love of your life.

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After the Colosseum, undoubtedly one of Rome’s best preserved monuments is the Pantheon. It was originally meant to be a pagan temple only to be later converted into a church. The original rectangular facility, which was comprised of 16 granite columns, serves as the porch of the dome structure. The immense preserved building, located in Piazza della Rotonda, makes photographs postcard perfect. The piazza where the Pantheon is located also happens to be a favorite hangout for young people and a popular sport for diners eating a meal at one of the various outdoor cafés. BUS: 40, 64, 46, 916

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: The Pantheon is Rome’s finest example of preserved ancient Rome monuments.

Maria’s expert tip: Enter the Pantheon during some rainfall and you’ll witness a cascade of rain entering through the large circular hole at the top of the dome. Onlookers are often marveled by the fact that the rain doeson’t flood the floors of the monument. Rather, it creates a waterfall onto the resplendent marble floor and gradually drains away.

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Devour Tours

Devour Tours

Photo courtesy of Devour Tours

Discover authentic Roman cuisine with award-winning food tour operator Devour Tours. These small group tours uncover Rome’s iconic bites and dishes while supporting small businesses at every stop. Devour’s Testaccio Rome: Food & Market tour explores this off-the-beaten path neighborhood and includes a visit to a typical Roman market. Spend the evening in the charming Trastevere neighborhood on the Gourmet Food and Wine tour learning the secrets to enjoy Italian wine, aperitivo, and dinner in the Eternal City. Or step into the kitchen to make pasta from scratch on the popular Pasta-Making Class. On a Devour tour, you’ll feel immersed in culture eating and drinking through Rome like a local. 


Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Devour Tours will turn you into a ‘cucina romana’ expert in no time through one of their unforgettable tours or classes.

Maria’s expert tip: Sign up on their website to receive the latest news, promotions and discounts.

Read more about Devour Tours →

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