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Must See in Rome

Updated: Jul 5

I have just returned from Rome, amazed by all the culture, history, and architecture. I visited not only the world-famous sites but also some hidden gems so let me share with you the most amazing sites you can't miss out on in Rome!


Here is a list of all the Must See sites in Rome:


  1. Colosseum

  2. Trevi Fountain

  3. Pantheon

  4. Piazza Navona

  5. Piazza di Popolo

  6. Monument to Victor Emmanuel II

  7. Spanish Steps

  8. Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore

  9. Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

  10. Church of Santa Maria di Loreto

  11. Galleria Colonna

  12. Trastevere Neighborhood

  13. Castel Sant'Angelo


I will also comment on a few places that are not worth visiting, how much time you need to see all the above and I will share with you my TOP 3 Rooftop Terraces in Rome!


Colosseum

As the first one, I have to highlight the Colosseum! It is one of the current World Wonders so definitely a must-see when in Rome. You can enjoy it fully, 360 degrees from outside absolutely for free but I do recommend getting a ticket and seeing from the inside too. It truly is a walk in the past. I did it on my own and got the general ticket for 18 Euros from the Colosseum official site. They do offer different ticket types if you want to explore more of Colosseum but the general ticket I got gave me a great sense of the place. I also, recommend getting the ticket for 8:30 AM, to avoid massive tourist crowds.


Trevi Fountain

You can't leave Rome without making a wish at the famous Trevi Fountain. Yes, they do clean the coins out every week but they all go to local charities, so wish with a good cause. Here I want to share with you one important tip!


Places like Trevi Fountain which are free sites, I highly recommend visiting first thing in the morning. Ideally, if you can start the day early and get there before 7 AM because after that the tourist crowds just grow by the minute!

Pantheon

pantheon-rome

The Pantheon is another must-see in Rome. It is one of the oldest sites in Rome that has managed to last throughout the times. It was a Roman temple and only after turned into a church which is why the shape and interior are so different from many other historical buildings in Rome. The Pantheon opens at 9 AM and again I recommend booking for as early as possible. The general ticket costs 15 Euros and you need to purchase it online because from July 3 it won't be possible to buy at the site anymore!


Apart from the first Sunday of each month! On those days entrance is free for everyone.

Piazza Navona

For a perfect coffee or cocktail break, I recommend the Navona Square. It is one of Rome's most famous squares featuring the magnificent Fountain of the Four Rivers designed by Bernini and the Church of Sant'Agnese.

Piazza di Popolo

Another square that should be on your list is the Popolo Square. Dominated by the Egyptian obelisk at its center, surrounded by the twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli, it serves as a grand entry to the city via the northern gate of Porta del Popolo. The square is a popular gathering place and offers a stunning view down Via del Corso, one of Rome's busiest shopping streets, making it a significant cultural and social hub in the city.


spanish-steps-rome

Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps I would also recommend visiting early in the morning. Ideally, if you allocate one earlier morning for Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps as this site is also free and it gets very crowded during the day so you can't enjoy it as much as you would in the morning. Located between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and the Piazza Trinità dei Monti at the top, the steps offer a charming route linking these two squares. Spanish Steps are known for their elegant design and the picturesque Barcaccia Fountain at their foot.


Monument to Victor Emmanuel II

must-see-in-rome

The site that surprised me the most is the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II. It is huge! I had seen it before in the pictures but I never anticipated it to be so significant. When you will be wandering around Rome, it will pop up in the far from many locations. I guess that was the idea for Victor Emmanuel II. Also known as Altare della Patria, is a grand structure dedicated to the first king of a unified Italy. Definitely check it out from the inside too as the entry is free. Once inside, there is an option to take a lift up to the panoramic terraces offering spectacular views of the Roman Forum and the city, but that is for an extra charge of 12 Euros. You do not need to book in advance, you can simply purchase the ticket at the site.


Get free and discounted entries into Rome's top sites, as well as 72h travelcard for Rome's public transport with Omnia City Pass!

Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore

If there is one thing Rome is not short on, it is Churches! There is literly a church on every corner. You could easily spend 3 days just visiting all the churches because they all are incredible. But if I have to highlight one, then it is the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major which is one of Rome's four major basilicas. It stands out for its beautiful ancient mosaics and important religious artifacts. Located on Esquiline Hill, it's famous for housing the Holy Crib relic and features some of the oldest Christian mosaics in the world.


Another church I want to mention is St. Ignatius of Loyola for its incredible ceiling design.


And one of my favorites - the Church of Santa Maria di Loreto which you will find just behind the Victor Emmanuel II monument.

Galleria Colonna

A little art treasure not many might know about is the Galleria Colonna. Located inside the Palazzo Colonna, it showcases the magnificent collection of paintings, sculptures, and frescoed ceilings. The gallery's highlight is the Great Hall, adorned with breathtaking artworks that tell the story of the Colonna family's pivotal role in Roman history. Be aware, that the Galleria Colonna is only open to visitors on Friday & Saturday mornings! The full ticket costs 25 Euros but you can also get a limited one for 15 Euros.


Here I want to add another important tip - book as much as you can in advance. From the links I have provided in this article, you can gather that I booked all myself via the official attraction sites because I like to visit places at my own pace but you can also book different types of tour tickets online with different tour agencies. No matter how you book, do it before your trip, at least a few weeks in advance, as the tickets do get sold out or might have less convenient times. Also queues at the sites to book tickets are huge and will steal a lot of time from you. Also, if you have pre-booked tickets, you usually get in via a shorter queue.

Trastevere Neighborhood


A lovely bohemian neighborhood you have to explore is Trastevere. In this area, you will find many lovely restaurants and bars. Make sure to enter the Trastevere neighborhood via the Ponte Sisto, a lovely bridge that connects the neighborhood with the city center. The bridge is always busy as it is a popular place for street musicians. For amazing views of Rome, make sure to make your way up to Janiculum Hill Viewpoint. On Google Maps you can also find it as Belvedere del Gianicolo.


Trastevere can also be a great neighborhood where to pick your accommodation as the prices will be a little bit lower than in the Rome City center. Learn more about the best places where to stay in Rome in my Rome Areas Explained travel guide!


Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome started as Emperor Hadrian's tomb and has transformed over the centuries into a fortress, a pope's hideaway, and now a museum. Positioned right by the River Tiber near the Vatican, it has played a crucial role in Rome's history. Today visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of Rome from its rooftop. When visiting the castle, make sure to also cross the St Angelo Bridge. The castle is open for visitors from 9 AM and the general ticket costs 22.90 Euros.


Did you know it’s also connected to the Vatican by a secret passage used by popes in times of danger?

If you are not interested in entering the sites but just want to see them from outside and learn more about them, consider booking one of the free walking tours around Rome!



Places NOT worth visiting in Rome

If you have time, for sure have a stroll via the Villa Borghese which is the biggest and main park near Rome center, but if you are short on time, this place wouldn't be on my list. I love big parks in European cities but this was the most disappointing park I have been to in Europe.


I am not saying the Roman Forum is not worth visiting, BUT you can see 90% of it for free from many locations in the city. If you would love to learn more about ancient Rome then definitely add it to your list, but this probably is the only place that I truly recommend booking with a guide! As the information on the site was limited and I feel like I would have enjoyed it more with a guide. Also, I thought I would be seeing more, but truly you can see most of the sites for free from the viewpoints around it.


How many days do I need in Rome?

Seeing the above list you might be wondering, how many days do you need to see all of it? Quick answer - 3 days. If you have more time, great, you can then see all the above at a slower pace, have a chill afternoon cocktail at one of the amazing rooftop bars, or plan an extra day trip. But if you are short on time, or Rome is just a one-stop on your Italy trip then with good planning you could possibly squeeze it all in 2 days!


If you are plannign a trip to Rome, make sure to check out my perfect Rome 3-Day Travel Itinerary!

Talking about rooftop terraces... I want to share with you 3 amazing rooftop bars I visited that provide amazing views.


My personal favorite is the Roof Garden terrace which provides views of the Vatican and Rome. The prices are expensive but the ambience is wonderful.


Then I also really enjoyed the Oro Bistrot rooftop terrace. From there you get amazing views of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II and the Roman Forum. Again the drinks are pricey but they have a great selection of cocktails. They also serve food.


For a more chill ambiance, I recommend the Divinity Rooftop Lounge located in the center of the old part of the town, near Trevi Fountain and Pantheon. Their rooftop bar allows to escape from the busy tourist streets and take in Rome from a different perspective.


And also really want to share with you a rooftop terrace that is definitely NOT worth visiting just because other bloggers share it via socials but I would never recommend it. It is called The Court Cocktail Bar and it does offer a wonderful view of the Colosseum but the service is terrible, drinks are overpriced and from all the available seats, around 4 tables will only get the amazing view. The rest will have to look at the backs of people who sit in the front line. The worst part was that we had to wait on the street to be let in. Our reservation was for 6 PM, we arrived at 5:45 PM and were told to come back at 6 PM. Ridiculous. No offer to wait in reception, nothing.


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