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Bucket list destination:

Rome

  • Rome, Lazio, Italy

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: Rebecca Winke

Rome has been on history’s front page for more than 2,000 years; it’s a city of marvels that has seen glory, greatness and triumph – and excess, murder and decadence – in equal measure. Yet despite its dazzling wealth of ancient, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture, the Eternal City is no museum piece.

A thriving and modern metropolis among venerable treasures, Rome boasts a hip, 21st-century art scene, world-class theatre, outstanding shopping, superb cuisine and, of course, gelato. One of Europe’s most exciting capitals, Rome is a shining example of la dolce vita; its many piazzas alive with al fresco bars and restaurants.

Orientation

Founded on seven hills, Rome is largely defined by its tightly packed historic centre. Most of the city’s landmarks can be found here, such as the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and the Colosseum. Across the Tiber lies the Vatican, the world’s smallest independent state and home to the world’s most famous ceiling fresco. Beyond the ancient walls, Rome is also very close to the sea, and a trip to the beach makes the perfect urban escape.

Tours, tickets & transfers

28

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

  • Rome

Explore Rome by golf cart and take in top attractions in style on this private tour. Please keep in mind we could visit any of those sites listed on the tour info section, but we could not visit them all on a 3 hour tour. Please refer to this list as sites we could visit. As the tour starts your guide will enquire with you about the sites you'd like to visit on the day and we will do our best to have as many of them on your tour. Roll through the pretty streets by golf cart as a private guide brings Rome’s rich history to life. Along the way, take in famous landmarks and hidden gems such as the Trevi Fountain and the basilicas of Santo Stefano Rotondo and Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Spin through bustling squares like Piazza Barberini and Piazza Colonna, and admire panoramic city views from Aventine Hill or Caelian Hill — two of the city’s famous vantage points.

Price €144

Min age 3

Rating 4.96 / 5 [2250 ratings]

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  • Rome

Skip the lines at the Colosseum and Roman Forum on this 3.5-hour tour. Explore the largest amphitheater in the world and the ruins of the Roman Forum before visiting the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. The Roman Forum, located in a valley between the Palatine and Capitoline hills, was the political, religious, and commercial center of the ancient city. Leave the ancient world and continue to Piazza Venezia and admire the Altare Della Patria. Walk with your guide along narrow Roman streets and visit the recently restored Trevi Fountain, the largest and most famous fountain in Rome. See the Pantheon and then Piazza Navona, home to 3 stunning fountains by Bernini.

Price €240

Min age 0

Rating 4.27 / 5 [1821 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Rome

See the sights of Ancient Rome by Segway on a 3-hour tour, passing incredible monuments like the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Circus Maximus. On a self-balancing electric scooter, follow a guide around Rome’s 2000-year-old ruins, while hearing their history from a live guide. Stop for photos by iconic sites and test Rome’s very own lie detector – the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verità)! This tour includes an amazing Virtual Reality experience that will put you in the centre of ancient Rome. This small-group tour is limited to eight people, ensuring you’ll receive personalized attention from your guide.

Price €69

Min age 16

Rating 4.89 / 5 [1448 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Rome

Summon the specters of the Dark Ages and rediscover the history Rome would rather forget. This night-time tour combines eerie sights you won’t see on other tours, dark tales spun by a master storyteller and unique views of famous monuments, including Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Campo de’ Fiori and Castel Sant’Angelo.

Price €25

Min age 0

Rating 4.31 / 5 [959 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Travel advice

When to go

High summer can be unbearably hot and humid in Rome so it’s best to visit in spring or autumn, though the Easter holiday period, when pilgrims and school groups descend on the city, tends to be very busy.

Winter is a charming time to visit, especially around Christmas, and January and February can be mild.

June and July are good months for culture vultures – the squares are filled with open-air restaurants and bars, and parks such as Villa Celimontana and Villa Ada play host to concerts and festivals.

Getting there and away

Rome has two main airports. The main international airport, Fiumicino (FCO), also known as Leonardo da Vinci Airport, is 30km from the city centre and serves major international airlines. Busy Ciampino (CIO), 17km to the southeast, serves mostly budget carriers from European destinations. There are plentiful taxis at both flat-rate fares of approx EUR50 from Fiumicino and EUR30 from Ciampino. From Fiumicino, you can take a fast, direct train to Roma Termini. The journey takes about a half-an-hour and costs around EUR20, departing every 20 minutes.

Getting around

Walking around the compact historic centre is the best way to admire its many sights – and discover its hidden secrets. You can’t hail taxis on the street – they must be booked or hailed at taxi ranks. Licensed taxis are white or yellow, with ‘SPQR’ on the doors; don’t get in an unauthorised taxi. Also watch for drivers switching to the more expensive tariff 2 – tariff 1 is standard within the GRA ring road. See here for up-to-date rates.

Renting a car isn’t recommended as the traffic is usually awful and parking is almost impossible. Cycling is a popular option and especially good for getting around the historic centre: there are bike-sharing racks on most of the piazzas. Download Uber’s Lime app and go!

The ‘Archaeologia Card’ allows access to nine major archaeological sites in Rome, with discounts on audio guides and guided tours. It may be purchased at the Colosseum, Baths of Caracalla and the four museums that comprise the National Museum of Rome (Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Baths of Diocletian and Balbi Crypt).

The three-day Roma Pass offers free entrance to the first two museums visited and discounts on the others, as well as free public transport.

Where to stay

Rome’s historic centre is split into key urban quarters or rioni. Most of the grand luxury hotels are around Piazza di Spagna (the Spanish Steps) and Via Veneto, while intimate boutique hotels and B&Bs tend to be in Trastevere and near Campo de Fiori. Other neighbourhoods such as Testaccio – a mecca for foodies – and Monti, Rome’s oldest neighbourhood are filled with cool shops, funky bars, and fashionable restaurants.

For an edgier cosmopolitan mix, head further west towards Esquilino, near Termini train station and Il Pigneto, home to loft-dwelling artists and students.

Orientation

Founded on seven hills, Rome is largely defined by its tightly packed historic centre. Most of the city’s landmarks can be found here, such as the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and the Colosseum. Across the Tiber lies the Vatican, the world’s smallest independent state and home to the world’s most famous ceiling fresco. Beyond the ancient walls, Rome is also very close to the sea, and a trip to the beach makes the perfect urban escape.