Wondering what to do in Rome? The Romans say, non basta una vita!, which means, "A lifetime is not enough!" I live here, and I have to agree.
It's true, there really is always something new to see and do in Rome. Tourism in Rome is my business and my life, and even I am always discovering new things. My husband is from Rome, and he is often discovering new things along with me!
Rome is so much more than just a city to fly into or out of, as I once did. The more time you spend in Rome, the more you want to see.
Rome has over 2000 years of history, and you will find a rich wealth of art, architecture, and archeology, not to mention shopping and my favorite pastime in Rome: eating!
But you are visiting and want to know how to plan your stay.
Whether you have planned a short break to Rome or a 2-week trip; whether it's your first time in Rome or your 5th, I've got lots of suggestions for you!
I find the most typical visit to Rome is about 2 1/2 - 3 days. If you've never been to Rome before, you should consider seeing the main sites and monuments. These include:
It is possible to see the above sites in a 2-3 day visit to Rome.
But there is so much more to see. The more time you spend in Rome, the more you realize you need more time here!
So if you are not sure how much time you should spend in Rome, I'd suggest you try to add at least one more day if you can.
Have you already been to Rome? Do you have more than 3 days in Rome? If so, then you may want to consider what to do in Rome besides visiting the above sites and monuments.
Even if you only have a short break in Rome, you may want to and be able to squeeze in some of these:
See how many great things to do in Rome there are? It's always a good idea to add another day or two on to your trip to Rome.
There are hundreds of museums in Rome. Like the Criminology Museum, or extraordinary collection of stained glass in the Casina delle Civette inside the Villa Torlonia, Mussolini's old party pad. Never heard of them? Well, in case you've already visited all the other Rome museums, you might want to check those out.
If you only have time for 1 museum, then one of these three should be on your list:
Of course you can fit in some shopping even in a 2-3 day visit to Rome. Many of the main sites such as the Spanish Steps, Pantheon and Piazza Navona are right in the center of Rome, and there is shopping all around. Find out more about Shopping in Rome.
(More Rome neighborhood shopping guides to come, stay tuned)
If you want to see the pope while you are in Rome, you might still be able to fit it in, even for a short visit. Your best chances are if you are here on a Wednesday for the Papal Audience, or a Sunday for the Angelus in Vatican Square (as long as Pope Francis is in town.)
Find out more about Seeing the Pope in Rome.
Want tickets to the Papal Audience or Papal Masses? Click here.
In a typical 2-3 day visit to Rome, where you see the main sites, you are not likely to really get a feel for how the Romans live today. Most of the most picturesque, fun and interesting neighborhoods are devoid of any major attractions, so you would have to choose to go there for their own sake.
I am talking about central Roman neighborhoods, easily accessible by foot or metro. Like
(Am working on guides for each of these, and more. Stay tuned!)
If you have extra time, and want to explore within a 2-hour drive or train ride from Rome, there are so many options. The most popular are:
These are pages in progress, stay tuned!
Whether you are visiting Rome for a religious pilgrimage, or as an art-lover, you will want to visit some of the amazing and beautiful churches in Rome.
Rome has thousands of churches, and so many of them hold precious history, art and even archeological wonders that you can only fully appreciate by seeing them up close.
There are four Patriarchal Basilicas in Rome or, as they are now referred to, Major Basilicas in Rome. What does this mean?
Essentially, there are four basilicas in the world where the pope has direct jurisdiction. And guess what, they are all in Rome! (Well sort of, Saint Peter's is actually not in Rome but it's easy to visit from here!)
Anyone coming for the Roman Jubilee must visit all of these four churches to gain the Jubilee indulgence.
There are almost 1000 churches in Rome! And many of them have incredible things to see, like underground excavations, baroque facades, or paintings or sculptures by the masters. It's worth popping into just about any church you walk past to see what might be inside.
Visit my page about Special Churches in Rome to see my top ten favorites that are a little off the beaten path.
Rome has mostly mild weather although we do get cold and rainy winters. But most of the time, from mid-March through late November, you can enjoy some outdoor activities in Rome.
Some people plan their trips to Rome around a specific event.
Every year we see people booking long in advance for weekends there are Six-Nations Rugby matches held in Rome. Or for the Rome Marathon, held every year in March. We also get some pretty big-name concerts in Rome, such as the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Paul McCartney.
But even if you didn't plan for it, there are always lots of great things happening in Rome.
To find out more about Events in Rome, visit the official Rome tourist board website.
Will you be in Rome during a holiday? Find out what's happening, what the weather's like, what to do and what to expect:
Most of the itineraries I have seen suggested for Rome include visits to the main sites (see top list), spread out over 1-4 days. At our Rome boutique hotel, we've helped thousands of visitors get the most out of their stay, according to their tastes. So I have really seen the gamut of requests for what do in Rome.
I have dedicated many pages to this, as there is more than just one standard answer!
You might be interested in one of these pages:
You are planning your trip to Rome and thinking about all the great things to see and do. You might also want to be prepared for these practical matters too:
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