Some of the best views of Rome are panoramic vistas you can enjoy from one of Rome's hilltops.
The Seven Hills of Rome
Rome famously has seven hills, but you won't necessarily get the best views of Rome from all of them.
Likewise, there are hills in Rome that are not part of the "7 Hills of Rome", from which you can get excellent views of Rome.
The Seven Hills are the Palatine, Capitoline, Aventine, Quirinale, Caelian, Viminale, and Esquiline.
You can get some of the best views of Rome from the first 4 but not so much from the latter 3.
The Gianicolo Hill (Janiculum) is Rome's highest point (82 meters) and offers one of the best panoramic views of Rome.
One of the best views in Rome is from Piazzale Giuseppe Garibaldi, high on the Gianicolo Hill in Trastevere.
The Gianicolo is not one of the original 7 hills of Rome. (This area was not part of Rome in Ancient Roman times.)
Located in the highest part of Trastevere, the Gianicolo also offers a unique view of St. Peter's Basilica from above, if you know where to look for it.
From Piazzale Garibaldi, as you face the main overlook, move backward and look to the left. This stunning view of Saint Peter's basilica is even more beautiful in early spring when you can spot wisteria just below you.
How to get there: From Piazza della Rovere you can either walk up the hill (about 20-30 minutes and it's almost all scenic), or take the 115 or 870 bus that will drop you right at Piazzale Giuseppe Garibaldi.
Do you travel with binoculars? I love having them with us on vacation.
And when you are chasing the best views in Rome, these are amazing for being able to pick out all the landmarks, great and small!
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The Orange Tree Garden/Parco Savello
The Aventine Hill is one of the Seven Hills of Rome, and it offers two spots where you can see panoramic views of Rome.
One of these is the Orange Tree Garden, Giardino degli Aranci in Italian.
Its actual name is Parco Savello, and it's part of the grounds of the beautiful ancient basilica Santa Sabina.
The Orange Tree Garden is a lovely place to visit on its own. It's also a popular spot to enjoy some panoramic views of Rome.
The park is worth a visit even in winter, when its orange trees are at their best.
The viewing area at the edge is not that big, so at sunset, especially during high season months, you can expect it to be crowded. It's also a popular wedding picture spot so be prepared.
How to get there: From Piazzale Ugo La Malfa overlooking the Circus Maximus, walk through the Roseto Rose Garden and along the slightly inclined hill and you will spot the Basilica of Santa Sabina after 5-10 minutes. The entrance to the park is on your right.
The Aventine Hill overlooking the Circus Maximus
The other viewing point on the Aventine Hill has you looking across the Circus Maximus towards another of Rome's Seven Hills, the Palatine Hill.
One of the best views in Rome to see the Palatine Hill from above is at this spot across the Circus Maximus on the Aventine Hill. I love it year-round as the colors and shadows change. This is in winter when the shadows are long during the middle of the day. It's also stunning at sunset.
This spot is only a few minutes' walk from the Orange Tree Garden but it offers a completely different viewing experience.
What amazes me is that those ruins you see are only the structural bases of what were imperial palaces in Ancient Rome.
Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.
One reason I love the Terrazza Caffarelli is how little-known it is.
One of the best views of Rome rooftops is on the "secret" Terrazza Caffarelli which is part of the café inside the Capitoline Museums.
I have never seen it crowded here.
Granted, to get to the best vantage point, the Capitoline Museums need to be open, so you can access the upper terrace. (You can access this terrace from inside theCapitoline Museums, but you can also access it for free by entering it from the lower part of Terrazza Caffarelli, as long as the museums are open.)
From Terrazza Caffarelli, both the upper and lower levels, you will get the best views in Rome of the Jewish Ghetto and Teatro Marcello right below you.
But even if the museums are not open, you can still enjoy beautiful city views from the lower terrace.
The top of the Spanish Steps, called Trinità dei Monti for the church of the same name, is at the northern tip of another of Rome's Seven hills, the Quirinale.
Which is the highest hill in Rome?
Some sources declare that the Quirinal hill is the highest in Rome.
Others state that the Esquiline is the highest hill in Rome.
Either way, from the Quirinal Hill, you have a couple of spots where you can get some excellent views of Rome.
The view from the top of the Spanish Steps is not quite as panoramic as the others but it's still beautiful, especially at sunrise (behind you) and sunset (straight ahead of you.)
The view from the top of the Spanish Steps is a fairly small slice of Rome but the view of the fountain below (la "Barcaccia"), and via dei Condotti stretching out from it gives you a sense of the unique urban architecture of this famous piazza.
The Trinità dei Monti doesn't really offer the best views of Rome but it's lovely, especially when you include the walk along the Pincio (to the right of this photo),
From the steps of the Trinità dei Monti church, you can get an even wider view of Rome's rooftops, along with a view of the lookout terrace below.
Best Rome dinner with a view
If you're looking for dinner (or lunch) with a fantastic view of Rome, your best bet is going to be an upscale restaurant, often inside a luxury hotel.
Here are 3 of my favorite restaurants where you can enjoy some of the best views in Rome:
But since this page is about the best views in Rome, here are 3 of my favorite rooftop bars if you want a stunning view with your aperitivo:
The relatively new NH Collection Fori Imperiali has a rooftop that is just wow. This is one of the best views in Rome from a rooftop.
I love the rooftop bar at the Hotel Mecenate Palace, called Terrazza dei Papi, which means the Popes' Terrace. There is nothing like sitting straight across from Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the most stunning basilicas in Rome. Truly breathtaking!
With views like this, the Pantheon Iconic hotel is one of the best rooftop bars in Rome.