Rome things to do

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Piazza Navona

Price guide: Free
#3/20
expert-rated things to do in Rome
Expert overall rating:4.9 (out of 5)

This extraordinary oval-shaped piazza buzzes with life day and night.

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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.

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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.