Rome things to do

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#2/20
expert-rated things to do in Rome
Expert overall rating:4.9 (out of 5)

Immense, bombastic... and an awe-inspiring place of worship.

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Ostia Antica

Price guide: Mid-range
#5/20
expert-rated things to do in Rome
Best for Families -
Expert overall rating:4.8 (out of 5)

The remains of Ancient Rome’s port town are as evocative as Pompeii – but far less touristy.

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#9/20
expert-rated things to do in Rome
Expert overall rating:4.8 (out of 5)

Ancient Rome’s main road to the south is now atmospheric and semi-rural.

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#12/20
expert-rated things to do in Rome
Best for Culture -
Expert overall rating:4.7 (out of 5)

Roman art, history and traditions in the world’s first public museum.

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#13/20
expert-rated things to do in Rome
Expert overall rating:4.7 (out of 5)

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes are not the only draw of the Vatican’s art collections.

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Colosseum

Price guide: Mid-range
#14/20
expert-rated things to do in Rome
Best for History -
Expert overall rating:4.7 (out of 5)

You'll need imagination to see Ancient Rome’s no.1 arena as it was – but it's still unmissable.

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#20/20
expert-rated things to do in Rome
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

'The glory that was Rome' may lie in ruins – but they’re atmospheric ruins.

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You could live in Rome for a year and still not find time to see all of its historic churches and palazzos, all the cultural treasures stored in the city’s museums, galleries and private collections. I’ve listed here only those sights that for me are unmissable.

Note that most of Rome’s churches are closed from noon-3/4pm. Museums and galleries generally close on Mondays, though there are exceptions to this rule (for example the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel).

For information on the three-day Roma Pass discount card, which gives free or reduced museum entrance and free travel on the city’s public transport network, visit www.romapass.it.

The best one-stop information source is the city-council-run website www.060608.it, which is also a phone helpline: ring +39 06 0608 from outside Italy or 06 0608 inside the country to talk to an operator who, in passable English, can give you information on just about any Rome question you might have, and also arrange bookings for concerts, exhibitions, etc.

How I’ve picked my things to do: 

There's no need to justify the inclusion of sights like the Colosseum, St Peter's Basilica, the Pantheon or the Trevi Fountain: these are so much a part of any visit to Rome that they are a part not only of the city's history, but of the history of tourism. I've tried also, though, to include some sights and attractions that are less well-known but, for me, equally rewarding - like San Clemente, an extraordinary historical layer-cake of a church that takes you back through history as you descend its levels; or Rome's little visited Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden) in Trastevere.

Set focus

There's no need to justify the inclusion of sights like the Colosseum, St Peter's Basilica, the Pantheon or the Trevi Fountain: these are so much a part of any visit to Rome that they are a part not only of the city's history, but of the history of tourism. I've tried also, though, to include some sights and attractions that are less well-known but, for me, equally rewarding - like San Clemente, an extraordinary historical layer-cake of a church that takes you back through history as you descend its levels; or Rome's little visited Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden) in Trastevere.