If you are planning a trip to the capital but don’t know what to see in Rome, fear not. We are here to help you. To avoid getting lost among the wonders of this beautiful city, we thought we’d put together a list of the 10 things you can’t miss on your itinerary in Rome. If you are thinking of extending your stay with a tour of Lazio, renting a car with SIXT might be the right solution to have all the flexibility you need.
We offer a range of car categories at our locations in Rome. Drive a compact car like an iconic Fiat that fits in with the narrow Roman streets, or choose a station wagon or SUV if you’re visiting for a family vacation. Be sure to add GPS to your rental so you don’t get lost in the ancient city.
Must-see attractions in Rome
The Colosseum is perhaps one of the most iconic historic buildings in the city. It’s part of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World and is located in the historic center of Rome. With its 1,729-foot perimeter and a capacity of more than 50,000 spectators, it’s the largest ancient building dedicated to entertainment in Italy. There are indeed many curiosities surrounding the arena. A visit is a must, even if only from the outside, to admire its beauty.
Address: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM
Entry fees: More information
Hours: When to visit
Besides being one of Rome’s best-known tourist attractions, the Trevi Fountain is also one of the most famous fountains in Europe. It certainly cannot be missing from your list of things to see in Rome. Although its origins are ancient, the fountain owes its appearance to the 1732 restoration by Nicola Salvi. As is clear to the visitor’s eyes, the fountain is an ode to the sea and its deities. It owes its name to its location; it’s located, in fact, at the intersection of three streets. Made even more famous by Fellini’s La dolce vita, the Trevi Fountain is a magical place where wishes come true. Don’t believe it? Flip a coin, or three as tradition dictates, and see.
Address: Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM
Not far from the Trevi Fountain, you can visit the Pantheon. This is the best-preserved ancient building in the entire city and is absolutely a stop to add to your list of what to see in Rome. Founded around 27 BC, it was originally dedicated to all the deities of mythology. It then became a Christian church around the 7th century. Visiting it is truly an unforgettable experience. In addition to the tombs of Raphael and Victor Emmanuel II, the Pantheon is famous for its dome and oculus.
Address: Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM
If you are wondering what to do in Rome, a visit to the Vatican is a must on your tour. Although it’s small in size (.17 square miles), making it the smallest country in the world, Vatican City truly hides so many wonders to discover. If your stop in Rome is not very long, you can see the most important things in one day. However, if you have a way to stay longer, a two-day visit would be ideal to enjoy every nook and cranny.
Majestic and imposing, St. Peter’s Square is the first thing you will see upon entering the Vatican. With a total area of almost 506,000 square feet, it houses the beautiful St. Peter’s Basilica. A visit to the Vatican Museums is also a must if you are about to visit Vatican City. Keep in mind that they include many galleries and halls and you will need at least 3 to 4 hours to visit them entirely. A great advantage of buying a ticket to the Vatican Museums is that it also includes admission to the beautiful Sistine Chapel.
Museums of Rome
If the Vatican museums have not fully satisfied your hunger for knowledge, do not despair. Rome really does have a lot to offer. Among the museums in Rome that can’t miss on your visit are the Capitoline Museums, a stone’s throw from Piazza del Campidoglio. If you’re an art lover, don’t miss The National Gallery, with its approximately 200,000 works of art from the 19th century to the present, The National Museum of 21st Century Arts (MAXXI), one of the largest museums of contemporary art and architecture and The Barberini Corsini National Gallery. In addition to its splendid collection of ancient art, the gallery is located between Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Corsini, two historic buildings that are worth the cost of the ticket alone.
If you want to learn a little more about the city’s history, we recommend visiting the National Roman Museum. The museum tour is organized into four visits that take place in four different locations: Palazzo Altemps, the Baths of Diocletian, the Crypta Balbi and Palazzo Massimo. Also don’t miss the Ara Pacis Museum and the Castel Sant’Angelo Museum. If you are wondering what to do in Rome when it rains, visiting one of its fantastic museums might be a great way to occupy an afternoon. Remember that on the first Sundays of the month, from March through October, museums have free admission.
Churches of Rome
How many churches are there in Rome? There are about 900 of them scattered throughout the city. It goes without saying that if you are wondering what to see in Rome in two or three days, it is almost impossible to expect to visit them all. There are some, however, that, in our opinion, simply cannot be missed. In addition to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Pantheon, do not miss the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Also known as the Cathedral of Rome, it’s the mother church of the diocese of Rome.
The Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, is located in the EUR district and is one of the most modern basilicas in Rome. If you love frescoes and perspective plays, don’t miss the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola. On the other hand, if you are looking for something evocative, we recommend visiting the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione, especially its Crypt of the Capuchins.
Piazzas of Rome
Stuck on what to see in Rome? If you enjoy walking and feel like exploring the city, you could make an itinerary of the piazzas. Starting from Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo, continue a little further north to see Piazza Venezia, considered the center of city traffic. Not far away Piazza Navona is most famous for its three fountains the Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Fountain of the Moor and the Fountain of Neptune. Going towards Villa Borghese you will cross the very famous Piazza di Spagna, with the Spanish Steps, and Piazza del Popolo.
Baths of Caracalla
Commissioned by Emperor Septimius Severus, they were inaugurated by his son Caracalla in 216 AD . The Baths of Caracalla are one of the best-preserved thermal complexes of antiquity. At 118,400 square feet, they are second in size only to the Baths of Diocletian. Between about 1824 and 1950, excavations unearthed the beauty of the complex. The baths are also the site of the Opera House’s summer opera seasons thanks to a temporary stage placed in the structure for performances.
Address: Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Roma RM
Entry fees: More information
Hours: When to visit
The Circus Maximus is located between the Aventine and Palatine hills and is the most famous and oldest stadium in the world. Built over 2,000 years ago, the stadium is majestic in size: Over 1,968 feet long and 387 feet wide, it has an area of more than 785,000 square feet and could accommodate up to 300,000 people. In addition to hosting sports competitions, games and performances of various kinds, the stadium was also a venue for trade and markets. Today it hosts many events such as concerts and other events. For an all-around visit, don’t miss the Circus Maximus Experience as well.
Address: Via del Circo Massimo, 00186 Roma RM
Entry fees: The meadow is free, but you’ll have to pay for the Circus Maximus Experience.
Hours: When to visit
What is there to see in Rome if not perhaps its most famous neighborhood? Although Trastevere is a very touristy neighborhood, you only need to move to the less-traveled streets to savor its true essence. Between cobblestone streets, stores and houses covered in climbing plants, it won’t take long for you to fall in love with it. Drop by Villa Farnesina and the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. Walk along the Lungotevere, cross Ponte Sisto and sit on the steps of Piazza Trilussa. If you feel like enjoying a beautiful view of the city, visit the Janiculum Hill and the eponymous Belvedere.
Best Places to Eat & Drink in Rome
After discussing what to see in Rome in three days, it’s time to talk about the things that really matter. What is there to eat in Rome? More importantly, where? If you want to eat a proper carbonara, go to Flavio’s at Velavevodetto (you will thank us). Another great tradition in Rome is pizza by the slice. You eat it walking down the street, or sitting on some steps along with a cold drink. If you want to savor one, go to Bonci’s.