Roma è Roma. Rome is Rome.
Founded in 753 B.C., Rome is the city that has sparked millions of dreams over several millennia.
A city that has been around as long as Rome has is bound to be known by many names. Some of Rome’s nicknames are:
- The Eternal City
- The City of 7 Hills
- Caput Mundi (Capital of the World)
The Italian capital is home to the Colosseum, the Forum, and hundreds of ruins, museums, and must-see churches.
Vatican City, a city-state located within the confines of Rome, is where you will find Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Pope.
Following is a quick guide to Rome. Since Rome is the Italian city that I know best, I have written extensively about it on Italofile. Search below for ideas on what to see and do in Rome. Or click on the links throughout this page to learn more.
- Rome Transportation: Getting There and Around
- 7 Hills of Rome: What Are They and What Can You See?
- Driving in Italy – Here are some helpful tips for driving in Rome, should you take up the challenge
- Rome’s Museums on a Metro Map
When to Visit Rome
Rome is a beautiful place to visit no matter what time of year it is. But some times of the year are better than others.
Rome’s busiest time for visitors is during Easter (March/April); summer (late May/early June until the end of August); and during Christmas.
Rome has a mild, Mediterranean climate, which means the city typically has short winters and long, hot summers. It rarely snows in Rome, but you will need a warm coat and scarf if traveling there between November and March.
The time between November and March is the rainy season in Rome, although sudden soaking storms in summer are also common.
During the summer, the city is packed with tourists and can get unbearably hot. July is typically the busiest month for visitors as well as the hottest. Rome is hot and parched by August, which is why many residents flee the city during this month.
The best months to visit Rome depends on what you want to get out of the city. May and October tend to be absolutely glorious months to visit Rome, with warm, sunny temperatures the norm and fewer tourists than in the high season.
If you want to see Rome when there are the fewest tourists, try visiting during November, January, or February. The weather will be cold, but you are more likely to encounter fewer lines to museums and emptier restaurants.
What to See in Rome and Vatican City
The problem with visiting Rome is not figuring out what to see, but what not to see. Rome is so full of everything, from monuments and art you’ve recognized since grade school to unique details, that you will be definitely feel overwhelmed by it all.
Following is a list of must-see attractions in Rome and Vatican City. “Must see” in this case means you should try to see them within your lifetime, as you will surely find it challenging to fit them all into a three-day or week-long stay.
The best thing to do is to know yourself and what you like to do. Then fit in what you can handle, making sure to schedule in time for aimless piazza strolls, long lunches, and gelato and coffee breaks.
Note that this is not a complete list by any means! I will be updating the list periodically with relevant links and additions.
Please do get in touch if you have questions about any of these listings or anything else about traveling in Rome.
Ancient Sites in Rome
- Colosseum – Colosseum Dungeons Tour
- Roman Forum
- Palatine Hill
- Circus Maximus
- Imperial Forum
- Trajan’s Markets
- Domus Aurea (Nero’s “Golden House”)
- Baths of Caracalla
- Bocca della Verita
- Baths of Diocletian
- Appia Antica
- Ancient Catacombs
- Ancient Egyptian Obelisks
- Teatro Marcello
Museums and Galleries to Visit in Rome and Vatican City
- Vatican Museums, includes the Sistine Chapel
- Capitoline Museums
- Galleria Borghese
- House Museums of Rome
- Museo di Roma at Palazzo Braschi
- Roman National Museum, includes museums at four different sites (Baths of Diocletian, Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Crypto Balbi)
Must-See Churches in Rome and Vatican City
- St. Peter’s Basilica – St. Peter’s Dome Tour
- Saint John Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano)
- Saint Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore)
- Saint Paul Outside the Walls (San Paolo Fuori Le Mura)
- San Lorenzo
- Santa Croce
- San Clemente
- Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
Fountains and Squares to Visit in Rome and Vatican City
- Piazza Navona
- Campo de’ Fiori
- Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps
- Rome’s Jewish Quarter aka The Ghetto
- Piazza del Popolo
- St. Peter’s Square
- 7 Famous Fountains in Rome You Should Not Bathe In
Must-See Art in Rome
- Where to See Michelangelo’s Art in Rome
- Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Art in Rome
- Raphael’s Art in Italy (many works are in Rome)
- Five Fabulous Art Works in Rome You May Have Missed
Other Ideas to Explore in Rome
- Best Places to Kiss in Rome
- Places to Propose in Rome
- Take an Italian Immersion Course in Rome
- Go to a Soccer Game in Rome
- Scary Places to Visit in Rome (for Halloween or Anytime)