There is something incredibly special about Rome. Not only is it the Ancient Capital of the Roman Empire, but it’s the second most visited city in Europe – and for good reason.
Home to some of the finest artwork by Renaissance artists Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Pippo, it’s a culture vulture’s haven. But even if you’re not clued up on art, anyone can be awed by the impressive feats of Roman engineering.
It’s where you’ll find the Seventh Wonder of the World, and is the gateway to the Vatican City – the smallest country in the world (and one you don’t need your passport stamped to enter). Needless to say, you can never run out of exciting things to do in Rome.
Whether you plan to stay for a weekend or a week, the sheer amount of attractions in Rome can make deciding on what to do incredibly difficult, as the likelihood is, you just can’t do all of them.
If you’re not sure what to do in Rome, this guide to the most memorable things to see and do in Rome will help you map out your itinerary.
Spend a day Exploring The Vatican City, Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
The number one thing to do in Rome is to spend the day in another country. No, you don’t need to board a plane or pass through immigration, the Vatican City is within walking distance of Rome’s city center and is considered the smallest country in the world.
Though it’s small in size, it’s packed full of unmissable attractions. It’s most famous for being home to the Pope , leader of the Catholic Church, but it’s also home to several important landmarks you mustn’t miss.
The Vatican Museum is just one of them. The museum is an art enthusiast’s haven. With over 1,000 rooms , each decorated with the finest pieces of Renaissance art and frescos, you could actually spend a whole day here and not see it all.
As well as exhibiting some of the most famous paintings such as The Last Judgment by Michaelangelo and St. Jerome by Leonardo Da Vinci, the Museum is an architectural gem that has been beautifully designed in Roman, Baroque, and Gothic styles.
It also connects to The Sistine Chapel , which is most famous for its fresco paintings that adorn the walls and ceiling. These paintings were created by the famous Renaissance artist and sculptor, Michelangelo. It’s where you can see the original of his most famous painting – The Hand of God.
Visitors to The Sistine Chapel are not allowed to take photos inside , and if you do try you can expect to hear the booming voice of an angry Italian security guard which will turn a few heads your way.
However, there are plenty of benches against the walls so you can sit for as long as you want and admire the paintings on the ceiling.
The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel are possibly the most popular and consequently busiest attractions in Rome, seeing 40,000 visitors a day . To make sure you can get a ticket, and avoid a three-hour wait in a long queue, book a ticket beforehand.
If you want to avoid the crowds, go as early as possible.
Admire Renaissance Fresco’s in St Peter’s Basilica
As the home of the Catholic church , you can expect Rome’s basilicas (or churches) to be some of the most ornately detailed and beautiful in the world. The crown for the most beautiful has to go to St Peter’s Basilica or Papal Basilica of Saint Peter.
Though it’s technically not in Rome, it’s in the Vatican City, it’s certainly one of the most unmissable attractions in Rome because of its stunning fresco paintings inside.
The paintings, and even the architecture, were designed by some of the most famous classical artists such as Donato Bramante (who designed its facade), Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
One of the most famous paintings in the basilica is Michelangelo’s Pieta . While admiring the paintings, please be quiet and respectful. St Peter’s Basilica is often regarded as the holiest Catholic shrine and many people come here from all over the world to pray. So please keep noise levels to a minimum.