Rome is one of the most spectacular cities in the world, with a long and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years.
Tourists flock to the Eternal City to glimpse its iconic sights and learn more about its culture and monumental architecture.
With so many attractions, choosing what to see and do in Rome can be overwhelming.
We’ve compiled a list of Rome’s 16 best tourist attractions to make it easier.
From ancient ruins and ornate churches to piazzas and lively markets, there’s something for everyone in Rome.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the best tourist attractions in Rome, giving travelers an overview of the city’s must-see sights and helpful tips on making the most of each visit.
1) Pantheon and Piazza Della Rotonda
As an ancient Roman temple, the Pantheon is a tourist attraction worth your time.
But what I love about it is the Piazza Della Rotonda that it’s located in. It’s a beautiful square home to other interesting landmarks, such as the Fountain of the Naiads and the Victor Emmanuel Monument.
2) Trevi Fountain
Built in the 18th century, the Fontana di Trevi is one of Rome’s largest and most famous fountains. According to legend, visitors who throw a coin into the fountain are ensured a return trip to Rome.
The fountain is stunning, and it’s a must-see for any visitor to Rome.
The ornate Baroque design is impressive, and the water features are truly mesmerizing. If you’re looking for a place to take amazing Instagram photos, the Trevi Fountain is the place to go.
3) The Colosseum
As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Rome is home to some of the most iconic attractions on the planet.
The Colosseum is easily one of the most famous, drawing visitors from all corners of the Earth to witness its grandeur.
Construction on this massive amphitheater began under Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD under Emperor Titus.
It was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles for centuries. Today, it’s still an impressive sight, despite its age.
4) Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums are a must-visit for any traveler to Rome. As one of the world’s most significant art collections, the museums contain works from some of the most renowned Italian and Renaissance painters.
Popular attractions include Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms, and the Pinacoteca, a comprehensive collection of other Renaissance masterpieces.
I highly recommend getting tickets in advance to avoid long lines and looking into some guided tours for extra insight into the works.
The Museums are an incredible opportunity to explore thousands of years’ worth of art in one place; don’t miss it!
5) Janiculum Hill
Janiculum Hill is a must-see for any visitor to the Eternal City. It’s the highest hill in Rome and is located on the western bank of the Tiber River. This is a great spot to enjoy stunning city views, and you can even find a 360° panoramic view atop the hill.
One of the best things about Janiculum Hill is that it’s relatively untouched by modern development, so you can take in all of that natural beauty as if you were back in ancient times.
There’s also some fascinating history associated with this spot, as it was where Giuseppe Garibaldi defended Rome from French troops in 1849. So if you’re looking for an exciting story to complement those beautiful views, Janiculum Hill is worth a visit.
6) Spanish Steps & Piazza di Spagna
No trip to Rome is complete without visiting the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna. This grand staircase is one of the city’s most iconic symbols, and it’s easy to see why; with 135 steps and a beautiful fountain at the base, it’s just breathtaking.
The area around the Spanish Steps is filled with designer stores such as Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana, so it’s also a great place to shop.
But remember to enjoy the attractions too! Climb to the top of the steps for stellar views over Rome or visit nearby Keats-Shelley House, where poets John Keats and Percy Shelley once lived.
7) Roman Forum
The Roman Forum was the center of daily life in Ancient Rome, and it’s worth a visit! The ancient ruins are scattered across the Appian Way and consist of several temples, a basilica, and a marketplace.
It’s an incredible sight to behold.
When you visit the Forum, you’ll quickly realize that it was once the political, social, cultural, and religious hub of Ancient Rome.
You’ll see some incredibly well-preserved monuments, such as the temples mentioned above and basilicas, as well as Triumphal Arches, columns, and more.
Sign up for a guided tour if you’re interested in learning more about the Forum’s history while you’re here.
They usually include an audio guide explaining what each ruin was used for in its heyday.
It’s insightful! Plus, if you’ve got a full day to explore here, several of Rome’s other attractions, such as Il Vittoriano and Piazza Navona, are within walking distance.
8) Galleria Borghese and Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese and the Galleria Borghese are two unique places to explore if you’re visiting Rome, especially if you love art.
The Villa Borghese is an elegantly landscaped garden ideal for a stroll and offers some stunning views of the city.
Meanwhile, the Galleria Borghese is a must-visit for art lovers. The collection includes works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, and Raphael, among others.
I strongly suggest anyone searching for the top tourist spots in Rome participate in this remarkable experience.
The villa and gallery are located at Piazzale del Museo Borghese in central Rome, so it’s straightforward to get there by public transport or taxi. Book your tickets in advance to guarantee entry at your preferred time slot.
9) Capitoline Museum
The Capitoline Museum is located on Capitoline Hill, one of the oldest public museums in the world.
Pope Sixtus IV founded it in 1471, and it houses a variety of sculptures, Roman artifacts, and other relics from classical antiquity.
One of its highlights is the impressive marble sculpture of Marcus Aurelius, which was commissioned by Emperor Hadrian in 176 AD.
This piece is considered one of the essential classical sculptures in existence.
Also housed within this museum are other works by Italian Renaissance masters such as Caravaggio and Bernini.
Besides its renowned art collection, visitors can also explore its rich history through its numerous ancient Roman artifacts and relics. It’s an absolute must-see for anyone looking to get an insight into Roman culture.
10) St Peter’s Square and Basilica
St Peter’s Square is one of Rome’s most beautiful and incredible architectural feats, with its elliptical shape and grand, towering columns.
It’s also a popular destination for tourists who want to take pictures, especially during nighttime when it is illuminated with gorgeous lanterns.
The world’s largest church, St Peter’s Basilica, is also within the square.
This stunning building features Renaissance art, an awe-inspiring altar designed by Michelangelo, and breathtaking sculptures and mosaics.
If you want to experience the grandeur of Catholicism firsthand, then make sure you visit this architectural masterpiece!
11) Catacombs of Rome
The Catacombs of Rome are one of the classic sights to visit in the Eternal City, and for a good reason!
Descending a few sets of stairs, the catacombs provided a tranquil resting place for Christians from the 2nd to 5th centuries.
They hold the remains of some 6 million people, and their long tunnels and deep chambers evoke a sense of solemnly and history that’s hard to find anywhere else.
While visiting, the catacombs can be quite an experience, be sure to arrive prepared: wear comfortable shoes and bring a flashlight for traversing through darkened tunnels.
And remember to keep an eye out for historic frescoes and carvings during your explorations!
12) Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is one of the most iconic squares in Rome, Italy. It is located in the historic center of Rome and has been a popular destination for tourists for centuries.
The piazza is shaped like an oval and features three impressive fountains, including the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Visitors can also admire numerous Baroque-style buildings surrounding the square and street performers and artists who often perform here.
Piazza Navona is also known for its many cafes and restaurants, where visitors can enjoy a traditional Italian meal or relax with a cup of coffee or gelato.
Whether you’re looking to explore some of Rome’s history, take in some of its cultures, or relax in the sun, Piazza Navona is worth a visit!
13) Sistine Chapel
If the Colosseum is Rome’s most popular tourist attraction, the Sistine Chapel is a close second.
This spiritual home of the Catholic church is famous for its breathtaking ceiling, which Michelangelo painted.
Commissioned by Pope Julius II, Michelangelo worked on the project for four years, and the results are simply stunning.
The chapel is also home to some of Michelangelo’s other famous works, including “The Last Judgment,” which covers one wall.
14) Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo, also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, is a fortress located on the right bank of the Tiber River in Rome.
It’s been used for various purposes, including as a papal fortress, prison, and museum.
I always love visiting Castel Sant’Angelo when I’m in Rome. The views from the top are stunning, and it’s a great place to take photos. Plus, the history behind it is fascinating.
15) Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
The Palazzo Doria Pamphilj is a marvelous Baroque tower erected in the 16th century.
It’s an incredible display of Italian art and architecture and one of Rome’s few remaining noble palaces.
There are several rooms on each floor. The highlight of the palace has to be the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, which houses a magnificent collection of works by Caravaggio and other Italian masters.
The courtyard is also beautiful and home to some statues of Roman gods and goddesses.
It is a great place to wander around, taking in architecture and art.
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj is worth a visit if you’re looking for something truly stunning in Rome.
16) Terme di Diocleziano
These ancient thermal baths are located near Roma Termini, and you can feel the grandeur of this enormous structure.
Emperor Diocletian commissioned the baths, and some parts have been converted into a museum.
The museum allows visitors to understand an essential part of Rome’s history, a great reminder of how far we have come as a society.
You can also take advantage of The Garden Café at Terme di Diocleziano which is a great place to relax and enjoy the view while having refreshments or light meals.
This place is lovely during summer, so be sure to check it out if you are looking for a nice place to take a break during your trip!
What to See in 3 days in Rome?
If you only have three days in Rome, deciding which tourist attractions to visit can take time and effort.
Here I’ll share some of my favorite hotspots that should be noticed.
First up is the Colosseum, a must-see for any newcomer to Rome. You can explore parts of the stadium or take tours to learn about its history and significance in Roman culture.
If you’re up for an adventure, try out the Catacombs and discover 2000 years of hidden Christian art in underground galleries!
Catch a glimpse of the Spanish Steps, enjoy the top view, or explore Vatican City. Take your pick from landmarks like St Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel.
For foodies, remember to check out Campo de’ Fiori to sample the local cuisine while mingling with locals!
And if you find yourself with some extra time, book a tour of Palatine Hill, where some ancient ruins still stand atop the hill.
There’s no shortage of places to explore in this beautiful city. Make sure to check them all out!
What are the best tours in Rome?
If you’re looking to get the most out of your Rome experience, why not take one of the many exciting tours available?
One famous tour company is Through Eternity Tours, which offers a Rome in a Day Tour with Colosseum.
This guided tour includes skip-the-line access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. You’ll also get entry to the Vatican Museums and your own LED headset for group listening.
Another excellent tour option is the Skip-the-Line Group Tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica.
This comprehensive tour gives visitors access to some of the top 25 attractions in Rome, including the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon.
You’ll also get an expert guide to investigating each site’s history and cultural significance.
How do I not look like a tourist in Rome?
Rome is such a beautiful city; it’s hard to imagine not wanting to explore every inch of it.
But you can do a few things if you want to blend in with the locals and not look like a tourist.
Firstly, dress nicely and don’t wear shorts or flip-flops. Wearing sandals is ok, though, as they are widely accepted.
Secondly, learn some basics in Italian most locals appreciate it when you try to make an effort to speak their language.
Lastly, be aware of the general etiquette people here do not like loud voices or aggressive body language.
This way, you can make your visit more enjoyable by feeling less self-conscious and more at home in Rome!
In conclusion, Rome is filled with history, art, culture, and stunning architecture.
With so many attractions, deciding where to start your journey can be challenging.
These 16 attractions are the best, from the Pantheon to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain.
Whether you are looking for a quick walk or a day-long excursion, there is something for everyone in Rome.