Rome Bucket List: 10 Things You Must Do in the Eternal City

Rome is a sprawling metropolis with enough to see and do to keep you busy for months. From ancient history to modern treasures, here are ten things you must do when you visit Rome.

1. The Colosseum

The Colosseum is one of the few things that you can’t go to Rome and NOT see. It’s worth seeing up close and admiring the architecture of the ancient Romans.

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

2. The Vatican Scavi Tour

Yes, technically The Vatican is its own country, but it’s still contained within Rome. The Vatican Scavi Tour takes you deep underneath St Peter’s Basilica through the necropolis and to the bones of St Peter. It’s a different look than you’ll normally get (but know you have to book it well ahead of time!).

St Peter's Basilica

3. Gelato

The gelato in Italy is famous enough to be kitschy and touristy. But it’s SO good. You’ll never eat gelato quite like the gelato you’ll find in Italy. I recommend trying every flavor you can!

Italian gelato

4. Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is insanely busy, tucked away, and just crowded as all get out. It’s still worth going to see to appreciate the incredible sculpture. It’s one of the most breathtaking fountains you’ll ever see.

The Trevi fountain in Rome

5. Food. All the Food.

Italian cuisine is famous all over the world, for good reason. The food is incredible. Don’t eat at restaurants with pictures on the menu. Find the holes in the wall, find a local who’s willing to give you a recommendation, and then just eat all the food. The antipasto, with the cheese and meats is to die for. The pasta is just as good as you’d wish. And everything – well, the Italians do food well.

6. The Vatican Museums

If you’ve never seen them before, the Vatican Museums are your old history textbook come to life. Seeing the Sistine Chapel in person, standing before Raphael’s School of Athens, the incredible statuary, and the frescoes in the map room is like nothing else. Even if you’re not normally “into” museums and art, the Vatican Museums are a must-visit. Make sure to book a time and buy tickets ahead of time. The Museums are always busy, but worth going to. And ignore all the vendor’s out in St Peter’s Square saying they can get you past the lines. Just buy your tickets and head on your way!

Hadrian statue at the Vatican Museums

7. The Pantheon

One of the most incredible pieces of architecture the world has seen, the Pantheon is in the center of Rome. It’s a bit of a mystery – from what was used to construct it, to how it’s managed to maintain impact despite the ravages of time (and wars, barbarians, its). The fact that it’s so well-preserved makes this a unique building throughout the entire world.

8. Borghese Gallery

If you love Renaissance art, the Borghese Gallery was made for you. With an incredible collection including works by Bernini, Raphael, Caravaggio and other greats, you can easily spend a day getting lost. The Borghese gardens are also worth wandering through and are a great respite from the city!

9. The Forum & Palatine Hill

Directly across from the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palatine Hill were some of the most important places in ancient Rome. They’re faster to appreciate than the Colosseum, and the entrance is included with your Colosseum ticket. It’s worth taking the time to have a quick wander!

The Palatine Hill as seen from the Colosseum

10. Villa Farnesina

With the villa’s incredible architecture combining with breathtaking frescoes, the Villa Farnesina is a one-of-a-kind home. Just wander the halls and imagine the people who lived there while appreciating some incredible frescoes by Raphael alongside stunning interior finishing! There aren’t the crazy crowds that plague so many of Rome’s other attractions, so you can simply appreciate the villa.

The Ultimate Rome Bucket List: 10 Things You Must Do in the Eternal City

One Comment

  • Donna Plewes

    excellent review…I still am stunned with the colesseum …and everything else. I so enjoyed seeing it with you..made it special beyond belief

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