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Visiting Rome for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do


Visiting Rome for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do
Hi, I'm Rebecca!

Rebecca’s first visit to Italy was a coup de foudre and her affection for Il Bel Paese has only grown over almost 30 years of living here, during which time she has mastered the art of navigating the sampietrini cobblestones in heels but has yet to come away from a plate of bucatini all’amatriciana with an unsullied blouse. She covers Italy travel, culture, and cuisine for a number of print and online publications.

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The Eternal City dazzles with iconic Roman ruins, a wealth of art and architecture, and lively historic squares, but Rome can also overwhelm first-time visitors who want to see as many highlights as possible in a limited amount of time. Here are our recommendations for taking in local treasures on your first trip to Rome.


Opt or skip-the-line tours

And save time at top attractions.

Rome is home to some of the most visited monuments in the world, and waiting in long lines to enter highlights like the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums can steal precious hours from your day. Prebooking skip-the-line entry is essential if you want to maximize your time admiring the magnificent amphitheater where gladiators once fought, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, and other unforgettable sights.

Skip the line in Rome

Explore on wheels

And cover more ground.

Rome is a sprawling city, and it can be a hike to get from one attraction to the next on foot. Hop aboard a Vespa, a vintage Fiat 500, an Ape Calessino tuk-tuk, a bike, or even a Segway, and zip from square to square to take in the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Pantheon. If you want to do some walking, a hop-on hop-off bus tour is ideal.

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Tourists enjoy the sights from the back of a Segway in Rome, Italy
Take to the streets of Rome by Segway. Photo: Zoe Vincenti / Viator

Sightsee from dawn to dusk

And see Rome in all lights.

Opt for early entry or night tours to stretch your day to the max, and enjoy the added benefits of fewer lines and crowds (and cooler temperatures, if you're visiting in the summer). Experience the peaceful atmosphere of the Vatican at dawn, the la dolce vita vibe of the historic center at dusk, and the timeless romance of the Colosseum by moonlight.

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Explore the neighborhoods

And get an insight into local life.

Rome offers more than world-famous landmarks and museums. This historic city is a patchwork of unique neighborhoods, each with a distinct character. Discover bohemian Trastevere, chic Monti, and the storied Jewish ghetto.

Take a walking tour
People crowd around the streets of Rome's Jewish Ghetto district
Locals and tourists alike take in the Jewish Ghetto, Rome. Photo: Zoe Vincenti / Viator

Browse the markets

And pick up some local produce.

Rome has a proud culinary tradition, and its outdoor food markets are centers of community life. Take a morning walk through stalls selling seasonal produce, artisan cheeses, cold cuts, and other specialties. Foodies can opt for a cooking experience that combines a market stroll with a hands-on lesson.

Find a cooking class

Get out of town

And make the most of the region.

Rome’s delights aren’t confined to its urban center. Just outside the city walls, you can bike along the ancient Appian Way, head to the Castelli Romani for a wine tasting, or see where popes have summered for centuries at Castel Gandolfo.

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Hi, I'm Rebecca!

Rebecca’s first visit to Italy was a coup de foudre and her affection for Il Bel Paese has only grown over almost 30 years of living here, during which time she has mastered the art of navigating the sampietrini cobblestones in heels but has yet to come away from a plate of bucatini all’amatriciana with an unsullied blouse. She covers Italy travel, culture, and cuisine for a number of print and online publications.

Keep exploring
See all Rome tours
6,986 tours & tickets
Things to do in Rome
See all things to do in Rome
Women of World War II statue in London, England
10 Tours That Celebrate Women’s History in Europe