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Things to do in Rome

Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Art Museum
“The Vatican Museums begin just beyond a massive bronze door that, like magic, takes you out of Italy and into the smallest country in the world: the Vatican. There are priceless works of art here, collected by the popes or often expressly commissioned by them. More than 70,000 pieces are on exhibition in over 42,000 square meters, with another 50,000 pieces preserved in the vaults and storerooms. Forget about seeing everything in a single visit: it simply can't be done. To the millions of visitors that come here from every part of the globe to admire these marvels, the whole complex seems to be one gigantic museum but the Vatican Museums, with their full name "Papal Museums and Galleries", are the Museum of Museums, the result of the union of various collections, collections that often take the name of the pope that began them. The most sought-after stop on the Vatican Museum trail is without doubt the Sistine Chapel however every room is rich in history and precious examples of life from every era. The birth of the Museum was almost by chance: it all began in 1506, when an ancient sculpture was found in a vineyard on the Esquiline Hill near Nero's Domus Aurea. It was only later that it was recognized as one of the most famous statues ever: the Laocoonte, described even by the Latin author Pliny. The subject of the work is taken from an episode of Virgil's Aeneid in which the seer and priest Laocoonte, for having predicted Ulysses' use of the Trojan Horse, was punished by the gods who sent two enormous snakes to strangle him and his two children in their deadly coils. Like all the pontiffs, Pope Julius II had always shown great interest in artwork, and he immediately summoned Michelangelo and Giuliano da Sangallo to authenticate the sculpture. The pope then decided to acquire it, making sure no one else could do so before he did. So the dramatic Laocoonte was put on exhibit in the Vatican, enriching Pope Julius II's collection that was the seed of what would ultimately become the Vatican Museums. The Laocoonte was placed in Bramante's Belvedere Courtyard where Julius II grouped all his ancient statuary, transforming it into the "Courtyard of the Statues". Visitors came from all over the world just to admire the sculptures and artists stopped there to copy the masterworks. The Museums as they appear today, were created in the second half of the 18th century and are made up of two parts: the actual Museum and the popes palaces, naturally only the portions open to the public. The visit is an incredible stroll through the history of art where you can meet the greatest artists ever, through their most important works. You can organize your visit according to the time you have at your disposal; the shortest takes at least two hours, the longest, around six. You'll discover masterpieces in a sort of crescendo as you pass from one room to another; in fact, the rooms themselves are works of art, frescoed by artists like Fra Angelico, Pinturicchio or Raphael. The Vatican Museums: The courtyard of the Pinecone Chiaramonti Gallery Braccio Nuovo Pio-Clementino Museum Octagonal Courtyard Apoxyomenos Apollo del Belvedere Laocoonte Galleries of the statues Belvedere Torso The round hall Sala a Croce Greca Gregorian Egyptian Museum Gregorian Etruscan Museum Gallery of the Candelabra Gallery of Tapestries Gallery of Maps Sala Sobieski Raphael’s rooms Hall of Constantine Room of Heliodorus Room of the Segnatura Room of the fire in the Borgo Sala dei Chiaroscuri Cappella Niccolina Appartamento Borgia The Sistine Chapel The ceiling Last Judgment Musei della Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Pinacoteca Vaticana Museo Gregoriano Profano Museo Pio Cristiano ”
  • 453 locals recommend
Castle
“just 5 minutes walking from our structure you can admire Castel Sant Angelo that its one of the most important Rome's attraction. you can take a ticket for admire the interior or you can just admire from the outside, on the bridge in front of the castle, propely on the tiber.”
  • 344 locals recommend
Park
“Villa Doria Pamphili is a succession of surprising views and historic buildings immersed in the lush vegetation of one of the largest green areas in the city. It has a perimeter of 6.5 km and extends over 184 hectares and, in addition to being a park, it is also a splendid monumental villa, so green that it was also known as the 'Bel Respiro' (Beautiful Breath). One of the accesses to Villa Doria Pamphili is Piazza di San Pancrazio (St Pancras's Square). This place was already talked of in the mediaeval period - the pilgrim itineraries (the old 'guides') indicated the Santuario di San Pancrazio (St Pancras's Sanctuary) to those arriving from the north. This is a beautiful church that, finding itself on a pilgrimage route, could offer a welcome to the wayfarers in its monastery; it also had a Catacomb in its crypt full of valuable frescoes. Today, the underground cemetery contains graffiti, traces of old paintings and lots of loculi making its dark corners even more mysterious. When the estate along the Via Aurelia was bought by Panfilo Pamphili in 1630, there was only the Villa Vecchia, the oldest building, inside it. However, between 1644 and 1652, under the papacy of Innocent X Pamphili, the architects Algardi and Grimaldi built the complex of the Villa Nuova, which became the residence of Camillo Pamphili, the Pope's nephew. At the beginning, the villa was divided into three parts - the building and gardens (pars urbana), the pinewood (pars fructuaria) and the farm (pars rustica), but the Pamphili family had the so-called 'Casino di Allegrezze' designed and built. This was to host parties and large receptions while the park and the 'Giardini di delizie' (Gardens of Delight) were arranged around the Palazzo where the games and pastimes of the Roman nobility were held for many years. The scene must have been enchanting because of the incredible number of rare plants and flowers kept with such care and in such quantity that they could be used to extract perfumes, not counting the oranges, lemons, cedars and ilexes in which coloured birds of various species and from distant places nested. The plants were in decorated terracotta vases or put directly into the ground. 
The scene was completed by lots of fountains, almost all designed by Algardi, fed by a Roman aqueduct that Pope Paul V had refurbished at the end of the 14th century and which took the name of Acquedotto Paolo. Deer and fallow deer, pheasants and many other species of animals kept specially to entertain guests who went hunting, the favourite sport of the nobility, ran free among the poplars and pines in the depths of the woods and glades. Today, after entering by Porta S. Pancrazio, the Arco dei Quattro Venti (the Four Winds Arch) is directly ahead. A little further on there is Palazzina Corsini dating to the 18th century and part of the Villa Corsini from the same century. From here, there is a breathtaking view of the Valle dei Daini (Fallow Deer Valley) where these animals roam freely and which was cleared in 2000 after years of negligence. The Fontana del Giglio lies beyond the pinewood, and features plays of water that flow into the Laghetto del Belvedere (the Belvedere Lake), a natural basin which underwent alterations and extensions over the years without changing the water supply. Only a recent restoration has improved the inflow and outflow of the water while the historic paths created for the beauty spots ('belvedere') have been rearranged. The Cappella Doria Pamphili (Doria Pamphili Chapel), a little way away, was the last of the buildings constructed in the villa between 1896 and 1902. The Villa Vecchia or Casino di Famiglia, the original building, is on the side of the Via Aurelia Antica which, at this point, runs alongside the ruins of the Acquedotto Traiano-Paolo (Traiano-Paolo Aqueduct), whose material was 'reused' to build the villa. The gardens of the Villa Vecchia were famous for the great number of citrus trees. At the end of the 19th century, they appeared to be paths with sweeping curves that enclosed various types of trees, flowerbeds in designs and many palms which gave an exotic appearance. The west part of the Villa recalls the Roman countryside and is an excellent place to laze, walk or do open-air sports. As a result of its position, Villa Doria Pamphili also has interesting archaeological remains; these include a Roman necropolis where two tombs from the Augustan age were found, decorated with splendid frescoes and which can be admired in the Museo Nazionale Romano. The mediaeval Casale di Giovio, built on a little Roman funerary temple, is on a small hill, once more in the western part. Villa Doria Pamphili was extended and altered in the middle of the 19th century but the villa was inexorably divided in two by the opening of a dual-carriage way, bearing the name of Leo XIII, in 1960. In 1967, the complex was acquired by the state and Rome City Council and was at long last opened to the public. Today, it is the ideal place to laze, have a picnic, do open-air sport or simply walk in a lush, green oasis in the chaotic heart of Rome. Casino del Bel Respiro The Casino del Bel Respiro is one of the most beautiful buildings of Villa Pamphili, also known as Palazzina dell'Algardi in memory of the architect whose intention was to express the magnificence of the noble family. It was commissioned by Giovanni Battista Pamphili, who became Pope with the name of Innocence X. It was the home of valuable art collections, and recreational events, parties and meetings were held there. The palace was inspired by the villas of Palladio while the furnishing and gardens recalled ancient noble residences, in particular Villa Adriana at Tivoli, where Algardi used to go to study and draw. The building has a façade on two levels on the main side and, to overcome the difference in the level of the ground, three levels on the side where the Giardino Segreto (Secret Garden) was created. 
This secluded and picturesque oasis was embellished by hedges shaped to form designs like the fleur-de-lys, the family crest, and many statues which also decorated the access drive to the Casino. Two fishponds were planned along the short sides of the garden but only one was actually created. A fountain in the centre completed the scene. The Giardino Segreto leads to the Giardino del Teatro (Theatre Garden), a semi-circular construction which hosted certain theatrical events.”
  • 307 locals recommend
Church
“It's the largest of the four papal basilicas of Rome, known throughout the world.”
  • 259 locals recommend
Church
“Our Lady in Trastevere is a titular minor basilica in the Trastevere district of Rome, and one of the oldest churches of Rome”
  • 148 locals recommend
Plaza
“The heart and the symbol of the spiritual power of the Church. A place of evocative spatial geometries.”
  • 106 locals recommend
Landmark
“Janiculum (Il Gianicolo) If you hear talk of the “8th Hill” of Rome, don't be surprised: Janiculum is one of the highest hills, even though it isn't one of the Seven Hills of the “Eternal City”. But it is famous for being one of the most charming corners of Rome -- a balcony with breath-taking views over the expanse of churches, piazzas, and monuments below, with the meandering Tiber taking centre stage. Towards the east, the hill descends to another famous and ancient Roman quarter: Trastevere. The name Janiculum comes from the belief that in ancient times it was the place where the god Janus was worshipped. The fourth king of Rome, Ancus Marcius, was the first to occupy, fortify, and join this high ground to the city by way of the Pons Sublicius. The Via Aurelia, connecting Rome to Etruria, passed over this bridge. Because of its elevation and incredible view of the entire city, Janiculum became an area filled with sacred woods and buildings associated with worship; the hill was in fact the most suitable place for priests to read the sky for signs and be as close as possible to the gods. Here stood an eastern temple dedicated to Isis, some of whose remains are kept at the museum of the Palazzo Altemps. In the 17th century, Pope Urban VIII enclosed the hill with a wall that came to be called the Janiculum wall. Later on, stately houses such as Villa Doria Pamphili and Villa Corsini were built in former Janiculum parks; it also remained a place linked with worship, in the meanwhile, of Christianity. It became populated with churches such as San Pietro in Montorio and convents like Sant'Onofrio and the ancient San Pancrazio. In 1849 Janiculum was the scene of an important battle, where Giuseppe Garibaldi fought the French troops summoned by Pope Pius IX. There are various monuments on the hill commemorating this event and recalling both the battle and that period of Italian history. A large monument with Garibaldi on horseback was built at the centre of the piazza; later a second one was dedicated to his wife, Anita. His ashes are kept in the base. Going today along the streets that lead down toward Trastevere, you can see numerous marble busts of partisans who fought defending the Roman Republic. A little below the Garibaldi monument is one of the Janiculum's main attractions: the cannon that fires blank shells each day at exactly mid-day, to be heard all the way to the Coliseum. The midday cannon was Pope Pius IX's idea. In 1847 he decided to provide a reference point for all Rome's church bells, which might otherwise ring at different times based on the different timekeeping practices of their individual clerks. At that time, the cannon was in the Castel Sant'Angelo; after being moved to various locations, it ended up on Janiculum. It wasn't fired during the wars, but the practice was re-instated for good in 1959.”
  • 103 locals recommend
Church
“Pro tip: try to get the last tour of the day. Its always gonna be crowded, but not quite as much at night. Maybe this is because everywhere you read says to go super early? One ticket gets you access to the entire Vatican Museum, with the Sistine Chapel being the final room of the experience. €16 adults, €8 for children or students. Open Mon-Sat 9am - 6pm. Also open the last Sunday of each month, with free admission that day. The line will be extremely long however so use caution!”
  • 98 locals recommend
Art Museum
“THE IMPORTANT AND BEAUTIFUL BASILIC OF S. PETER, S. PETER - MICHELANGELO DOME, THE COLONNADE, THE OBELUSK AND S.PETER SQUARE .”
  • 94 locals recommend
Park
“the city of Rome is unique in many ways, historical ruins, grandiose chapels, amazing food, all wrapped up in the richness of Italian culture. Despite this, Rome is still a city and when you need a break from the bustling streets but can’t get away, we recommend you escape to the Botanical Garden in Trastevere. The Greenhouses There are four greenhouses on the grounds, the Corsini Greenhouse, the Monumental Greenhouse, the French Greenhouse and the Tropical Greenhouse. Each site houses various plants that are not native to the Italian ecosystem like cacti from America and Africa and lush trees and flowering plants from the Amazon Rainforest. Although the greenhouses are primarily used for study, as a visitor you will feel like you have traveled to all the world’s most exotic conditions when you enter these miniature ecosystems.”
  • 90 locals recommend
Italian Restaurant
$$
“At 10min walking (900mt) from the b&b. Trendy cool place in 70's style, good cocktail and wines, good food. The prices are not economic Opening time - all days 8am - 2am late at night”
  • 94 locals recommend
Pizza Place
$
“PIZZA: This one is tucked away in a discreet alleyway in Trastevere. Legendary pizza here!”
  • 83 locals recommend
Italian Restaurant
$$
“Excellent happy hour, cheeses, salami and the fantastic ‘trapizzini’ (triangles of pizza dough stuffed with traditional roman dishes). High quality dinner with special dishes, medium-high prices. Prices: 15,00/45,00€ ”
  • 82 locals recommend
Sculpture Garden
“Daily at noon, a cannon fires once from the Janiculum in the direction of the Tiber as a time signal. This tradition goes back to December 1847, when the cannon of the Castel Sant'Angelo gave the sign to the surrounding belltowers to start ringing at midday. In 1904, the ritual was transferred to the Janiculum and continued until 1939. On 21 April 1959, popular appeal convinced the Commune of Rome to resume the tradition after a twenty-year interruption.”
  • 99 locals recommend
Nature
“17th-century Park of the Pamphilj Family, it is today a marvelous public park. One of the six (along with Boboli Park in Florence) among the most beautiful in Italy. It is rich in baroque fountains and endless views of greenery. Wonderful pine forest above the staircase that flanks the palace of the lords.”
  • 51 locals recommend
Pizza Place
$$
“In Rome, in the Prati area is the best Pizza there is !! Attention take the number”
  • 69 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Italian Restaurant
“At 10min walking (900mt) from the b&b. Trendy cool place in 70's style, good cocktail and wines, good food. The prices are not economic Opening time - all days 8am - 2am late at night”
  • 94 locals recommend
Pizza Place
“PIZZA: This one is tucked away in a discreet alleyway in Trastevere. Legendary pizza here!”
  • 83 locals recommend
Italian Restaurant
“Excellent happy hour, cheeses, salami and the fantastic ‘trapizzini’ (triangles of pizza dough stuffed with traditional roman dishes). High quality dinner with special dishes, medium-high prices. Prices: 15,00/45,00€ ”
  • 82 locals recommend
Pizza Place
“In Rome, in the Prati area is the best Pizza there is !! Attention take the number”
  • 69 locals recommend
Gastropub
“The best beer in Trastevere without any doubts. They have 19 pints everyday and, if you find that place closed during the day, there's a little shop that sell the same beer of them open 9AM-2AM. Are you wondering where is that shop? Just in front of the first one and are the same owners.”
  • 60 locals recommend
Steakhouse
“It was originally a workshop of a blacksmith .. now has been turned into restaurant, pizzeria, grill, here you find Italian and foreign meat on the grill, pizza, wine and craft beers ...”
  • 52 locals recommend
Park
“Inside Villa Doria Pamphili you can have a delicious lunch, surrounded by nature and away from the chaos of the city. You can sit at tables, or have a tasty picnic. For dinner you have to book.”
  • 46 locals recommend
Steakhouse
“Wood-fired oven Pizza, quality meat, fish and seafood, italian cooking and free buffet for appetizers / side dishes.”
  • 38 locals recommend

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