Are you planning for the ultimate trip to Rome or are you simply dreaming about seeing the eternal town? I dream about going back and even though I’ve spent some months there in the past, I still have some things to tick off my Rome bucket list.
There are so many amazing Rome experiences that I honestly don’t care if I’ve already done some, I would do it again at any point in time!
And since I’m now on the other side of the world, I can only dream about the narrow streets filled with history, the smell of fresh pizza, strong coffee, and breathtaking sunsets. Rome should be on any Italy bucket list!
If you’re just like me, you’ll enjoy dreaming with your eyes open about the days you’ll spend on the streets of Rome.
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The complete Rome bucket list – not to miss experiences
Stay in a Roman villa with a breathtaking view
The first time I’ve ever been to Rome I was there for work and spent almost 3 months in town. However, we had to stay close to the office, rather than close to the old town.
Thus, we stayed somewhere far away, and getting to the old town and the main attractions took around 1 hour. It was a new hotel, really nice and clean, with big rooms, but it wasn’t an Italian dream.
The other times I went back, I had a very limited budget, thus I had to find the perfect combination between location and price.
However, I absolutely dream about going back and booking a true Roman villa. The one that you don’t want to go out from! The place where you cannot wait to go back to and have a glass of prosecco with a stunning view!
If you’re just like me, here are a few places you’ll want to add to your Rome accommodation bucket list.
Vatican Luxury Penthouse with terrace
A stunning 2-bedroom penthouse with a terrace that will leave you in awe! Located only 3 minutes away from the metro station, in the heart of the city, it is not only super comfortable but also typical Italian.
Rooftop Magic in Piazza del Popolo
A rooftop facing Piazza del Popolo where you could return for a stunning sunset over one of the most iconic landmarks of Rome.
This room with a terrace facing the Colosseum and a perfect terrace for breakfast or an afternoon rest. See one of the most popular squares in Italy from your bed.
Have breakfast overlooking the Colosseum
Some time ago, I’ve seen this restaurant overlooking the Colosseum, offering the perfect setting for breakfast or dinner when in Rome. I still haven’t been there, but I know I would end my day in style at the Aroma restaurant.
Make sure to book a table online and take advantage of this Instagrammable spot, on top of the mouthwatering breakfast.
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Toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain
Maybe the most popular fountain in all of Rome, the Trevi Fountain should be on anyone’s Rome bucket list.
Yes, it is crowded, no you cannot eat on its steps, and you will most probably have to wake up early to find it empty for a picture. But it is so worth it.
For me, all roads lead to the Trevi Fountain in Rome and no matter how many times I’ve seen it already, I would always go back and sit on its stairs and listen to the crazy town.
Climb the tower in St. Peter’s Dome and see Rome from above
No matter if you have already booked a room with a view, the sight you get from the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral is simply stunning.
Book your ticket in advance so you won’t have to wait in line, and admire 360-degree views across the Vatican and Rome.
I remember the first time I climbed all the way to the top, I was a bit stunned by all the stairs and narrow corridors, but the view you get from the top makes it all worth it.
Take a cooking class
Rome and food go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or like any great couple you know out there.
I’m a total sucker for Italian food and I would have it anywhere and anytime. Learn how to make some Roman pasta and an authentic tiramisu at a cooking class with dinner.
And until you get to Rome, why not take a cooking class online?
Go back in time with a visit to the Fori Imperiali and the Colosseum
This is the first thing we did, after we ate, on our one day in Rome visit before a cruise on the Mediterranean.
Optimize your time spent here by booking skip the line ticket – you won’t have to wait in line and you will be able to cancel it at any point before the trip.
I had my husband with me and he is super passionate about Ancient Rome, thus he told me all the stories behind the Colosseum and the Forum, but you will want to have an official guide with you for that.
See the Vatican – a city within a city
Who comes to Rome without seeing the Vatican?
One of the smallest cities in the world, part of another city and country, the Vatican is something else and on anyone’s list of Rome experiences worth having.
And when you want to really have a special experience, book an authentic tour of the Vatican Gardens on a minibus. This is a very popular tour where you will not only get to learn a lot about the history of the place, but also get to admire the gardens with their stunning fountains, sculptures, and historic buildings.
Learn to make gelato – and eat it!
Italy’s ice cream is the best I’ve ever had in the world, and nobody can convince me otherwise. No matter where you choose to have it, it won’t disappoint.
Hey, we’ve had an ice cream we often think of, on the street leading from Genoa‘s train station towards town. There wasn’t anything special about this place, and you would sit watching the cars pass by. But the ice cream: heavenly!
The same holds true about gelato in Rome: you simply cannot go wrong! And when you want to make the best out of your experience, book an ice-cream making class and discover the secrets of making delicious ice cream.
Have dinner in Trastevere
Trastevere is a popular and lively Rome neighborhood known for its restaurants and nightlife. The name actually stands for “across from the Tiber River” and you can easily reach it by crossing the bridge from the Vatican.
When you plan for a romantic dinner or even if you are traveling with friends, make sure to stop at one of the many restaurants around.
At some point, while in Rome, I had someone trying to impress me with dinner and take me to one of these restaurants. I acted unimpressed, but man I like the food here.
Spend a day in Tivoli, at the Villa D’este
I honestly don’t remember how we managed to get to Tivoli or how we heard about it, but I’m sure glad we did.
Less than half an hour outside of Rome, this is a charming village, that offers so many attractions that you can easily spend one full day here.
How to get from Rome to Tivoli?
- take the COTRAL buses from the terminal at Ponte Mammolo stop and get off in Tivoli
- go on an organized day tour and forget about public transportation or anything else
- take the train from Rome Tiburtina train station all the way to Tivoli. Book your ticket in advance here.
See Villa Adriana, the summer retreat of Emperor Hadrian, get lost in Villa D’Este and its fabulous gardens with so many fountains, and don’t miss Villa Gregoriana with its romantic gardens and waterfalls.
Look through the keyhole at the Cavalieri di Malta
Maybe Rome’s best-kept secret, this place is one of the most romantic stops on an evening in Rome.
Look through the keyhole and allow your heart to melt with the stunning view of St. Peter’s Basilica lightened at the end of the hallway.
Another one of my favorite places in Rome, Villa Borghese has such a stunning interior, but also an utterly romantic garden.
Having a walk through the park before getting here, I was stunned to see how quiet it is this place, even though it is so close to the city center.
Book your ticket for Villa Borghese in advance and allow yourself a few hours to take it all in, because you’ll see lots of Caravaggio paintings and much more.
Be careful on the stairs of this villa, and don’t fall as I did because I was too absorbed by my surroundings.
Ride a Vespa for a half-day tour
I have a Vespa passion and I always take pictures with them whenever I see them. However, I’ve never used one in my life.
I know that’s strange since I’ve spent so much time in Italy, and that’s why I have that on my list for a future trip.
You can even book a half-day tour of Rome on a Vespa, with a driver so you won’t have to worry about the hectic traffic.
Drink a glass of wine and listen to musicians in Piazza Navona
That’s what we did on our last night before leaving Rome. We took a gelato and a glass of wine and we just sat down listening to the singers in Piazza Navona.
Years later, here is where I came back for lunch and another glass of wine with another friend. Why? Well, because this place is so iconic, it is worth paying the extra euros for the wine.
Spend the sunset on the stairs in Piazza di Spagna
I simply miss this place and the magic sunsets seen from these streets packed with people.
The whole area is super nice, and you must just sit and do nothing on these stairs and in this square (one of the most beautiful piazzas in Rome), while you rest in between seeing other sights in Rome.
Run from one shop to the other in Via dei Condotti
Before getting to Piazza di Spagna make sure to check out all the fancy stores in Via dei Condotti.
Make sure to go early, because they don’t usually have long opening hours. You cannot leave Rome without going shopping at least in a few stores, and Via dei Condotti is the place to do that in Rome.
Charming shops in old buildings, all waiting for you to explore them.
Enjoy the coffee
I’m a coffee sucker! I love it so much that I even have lists of the best coffee places in the places I’ve lived in, such as the ones in Hong Kong.
Coming back to the coffee in Italy, that’s where I’ve developed my taste for coffee, and that’s where I enjoy it the most. That strong espresso on a tranquil morning, the noise of coffee mugs hitting their saucers, it all screams Italy to me.
They even make perfect Italian gifts for Italy lovers, something they will appreciate to the fullest and use forever.
Just make sure not to ask for a cappuccino after lunchtime, never ask for coffee to go, know you will pay extra if you have your coffee at the table and not standing up at the bar, and know what to choose from the many varieties you get everywhere in Italy.
Take a picture with Pinocchio
While strolling along the streets in the old town of Rome we stumbled upon Pinocchio and his father Gepetto. Of course, we had to take a picture with him, something I cannot seem to find today.
The Pinocchio shop is actually called Bartolucci and it is very close to the Pantheon, offering all kinds of unique souvenirs you will want to bring back home to friends and family.
Go on a stroll in the Giardini dei Aranci and see Rome from above
Another place where you won’t find many tourists is the Garden of the Oranges (Giardino dei Aranci).
From here, you will get a very nice view of the whole of Rome from above, and you’ll walk straight down some narrow charming streets all the way to the Vatican.
Climb the Sant’Angelo Castle
Another one of the most iconic landmarks of Rome, the Sant’Angelo Castle is hard to miss since it sits right across the street from the Vatican.
Don’t leave without climbing its walls and learning about its history.
Put your hand in the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita’)
Another thing I still haven’t done but it is such a Rome cliche.
The Bocca della Verita’ is a marble mask that sits in the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church and it is famous because of the Roman Holiday movie starring Audrey Hepburn.
See the whole on the roof of the Pantheon
The world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome, this building stands imposing at the heart of Rome and shouldn’t be skipped.
It is also one of the best-preserved buildings dating from Ancient Rome.
Go at the market in Campo di Fiori
Wake up early on a Sunday and stroll along the many stalls with local produce at the market in Campo di Fiori.
I simply love watching all the fruit and vegetables, but especially the many cheese types and sausages and salami. You can taste some and bring home whatever you love most.
If you feel more comfortable with a local, book a street food tour and let yourself guided through the streets of Rome by someone who knows them well.
Have aperitivo on a rooftop
Italians love their aperitivo and that was one of my favorite times of the day while living in Italy.
You get to interact with friends, drink a glass of wine, and have a bite of some of the most delicious food. Everything to get you ready for dinner.
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