Rome's Must-Do List

From marveling at the Sistine Chapel to strolling through the Villa Borghese gardens, here are the top things to do in the Eternal City.

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Caffè Greco

A day in Italy isn’t complete without a stop (or 2 or 3) for a caffè of some sort. Fuel up for sightseeing with a world-class cappuccino at Rome's famous Caffè Greco on Via Condotti.

Roman Forum

Transport yourself back to an era of kings and emperors with a visit to these seventh-century B.C. archeological ruins. Imagine all the history that has happened at the Roman Forum — from the first government meetings and trials to the epic gladiator matches.

Campo de' Fiori

While Rome’s oldest outdoor market, Campo de' Fiori (literally “field of flowers”), south of Piazza Navona, has catered more to tourists over the years by offering kitchen accoutrement souvenirs, it still has the freshest produce in the city, sold by the same families for generations. 

Colosseum

A visit to the Eternal City isn’t complete without visiting the ancient Roman Empire ruins of the Colosseum, which was built more than 2,000 years ago. Our favorite time to see the elliptical amphitheater is sunrise, when artificial and natural light illuminates it and the crowds of tourists are sparse.

Pantheon

The Pantheon is an ancient architectural masterpiece built in 27 B.C. as a tribute to the gods and then, after the Renaissance, used as a designated tomb for some of the city's artists and elite, including the painter Raphael. Inspiring copycat versions of its tall, sky-reaching columns throughout the world, the Pantheon will take your breath away as you lean back to take it all in.

Sistine Chapel

Nothing can prepare you for the wonder that is the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo's painted ceiling, with the Last Judgment fresco, at the Vatican Museums is well worth the long lines and crowds of photo-snapping tourists bumping into you.

Spanish Steps

Piazza di Spagna is one of the most iconic city squares in the world, and its Spanish Steps create one of the longest and widest staircases in all of Europe. It’s also a very popular spot to visit in Italy, and for good reason, as this is where you see Roman life unfold around you — both locals and tourists use it as a favorite meeting place.

St. Peter's Square

Located in Vatican City, St. Peter's Square is an expansive site designed by Bernini in the 17th century. After snapping obligatory photos in the iconic square, enter St. Peter's Basilica to see Michelangelo's Pietà, one of the most highly regarded Renaissance sculptures.

Tour Trastevere

Once slightly off the trodden tourist path, this charming neighborhood is full of underground art (literally underneath the church of San Crisogono lie the remains of eighth-century frescoes), lively local restaurants and over-the-top sunset views (check out Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi at dusk). More tourists know about Trastevere now, but it’s still worth a visit.

Trevi Fountain

Rome's Trevi Fountain, by Nicola Salvi is a popular site for visitors to the city.

Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums hold classical and Renaissance masterpieces, including one of the greatest artistic feats in the world, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Just as awe-inspiring as the artwork is the double-helix spiral staircase.

Via del Corso

Enjoy la passeggiata, Italy’s evening promenade ritual, on Rome’s liveliest thoroughfare, Via del Corso. At dusk, the street is closed to traffic as it fills with window-shoppers and pedestrians meandering through the restaurants, cafés and stores. Italians dress to impress for la passeggiata, which makes for an even better evening show.

Villa Borghese

Near the Spanish Steps is one of Rome’s best-known parks, Villa Borghese, where you’ll find beautiful art and manicured gardens. Walk to the Pincio, an overlook with views of the Piazza del Popolo, Roman rooftops and the dome of St. Peter’s, or tour the small Galleria Borghese museum, which is filled with 15th- to 18th-century art, including works by Bernini and Caravaggio.

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