There is a reason why Rome is called the Eternal City. Behind every corner, there are secrets to be discovered and things to see. This article is for anyone looking for the best Rome tourist attractions and local things to do in Rome during a 4-day trip.
The city that inspired philosophers, writers, and poets, is also a city that has rightfully earned its place in our hearts.
Why You Should Visit Rome at Least Once
Rome is one of the most visited cities in Europe, if not in the world. Italy’s capital city is packed with tourist attractions and things to do, and its beautiful cobblestone streets contain over 3000 years of history and are fascinating to explore.
With incredible monuments, gorgeous art, and excellent food, Rome is worth visiting at least once, even though it would probably take a lifetime to see everything it has to offer. I fell in love with this city and can definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a long-weekend trip.
Here you will be able to embrace la dolce vita, dine on Roman cuisine, visit Vatican City or simply admire the timeless architecture.
So, what are the best Rome tourist attractions and local things to do?
1. Vatican City
During my first day in Rome, my mother and I decided to visit Vatican City. It’s definitely one of the best Rome tourist attractions and I would recommend dedicating the entire (or almost entire) day for this tour. It does depend, of course, on what you want to see.
I don’t think I understood how massive the Vatican Museum truly was until I was there. It consists of different rooms and it houses some of the most important Roman artworks.
For those who want to save a few dollars, keep in mind that the Vatican Museums are open and free for everyone on the last Sunday of every month (please, double-check before).
If you are already in the Vatican City, don’t forget to take a walk through St. Peter’s Square, or to go inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Both attractions are free and St. Peter’s Basilica happens to be the second-largest basilica in the world.
As you can see, Vatican City is truly one of the best local things to do in Rome during a 4-day trip!
The Colosseum is a symbol of Rome and it is one of the most incredible monuments in the world! It is also considered one of the best Rome tourist attractions. This iconic amphitheater symbolizes the power of ancient Rome and is still in remarkably good shape.
You won’t be able to miss it as it really stands out from the skyline, but it’s also definitely worth visiting from the inside.
To avoid the crowds (and it can get quite crowded, especially during the summer), be sure to visit it early in the morning or late afternoon. Also, consider booking your tickets online to secure the spot.
Many travelers choose to book a combined ticket for Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, and the prices are quite affordable.
3. Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous fountains in Europe and one of the best local things to do in Rome.
Not only is the fountain a true masterpiece, but it’s also famous for its legends. One of them dictates that you should throw 2 coins: one to make a wish and the other one to make sure you come back to Rome. When you get to the fountain, you will notice plenty of coins at its bottom!
For the best experience and photos, I recommend getting to Trevi Fountain early in the morning, the place is packed with people during the day or at night.
4. The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
As mentioned before, tickets to Colosseum also include entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and I highly recommend those.
The forum used to be the center of the city and you can see many ruins of ancient buildings there. Palatine Hill, according to mythology, is a place where the city was founded by Romulus and Remus.
Those who are interested in history should opt for a guided tour to get the most out of this experience and one of the best local things to do in Rome.
5. The Pantheon
One of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome, the Pantheon, is surely worth a visit and you can enter it free of charge. There you can admire the dome and oculus, and see the tombs of Raphael and Victor Emmanuel II.
Just outside of the Pantheon, there is also a beautiful Pantheon fountain, a 16th-century work of art commissioned by Pope Gregory XVIII.
6. Castel Sant’Angelo
The Castel Sant’Angelo was built to serve as a mausoleum. Over the years, however, it played a military role and was used by the popes as a fortress and a castle.
Today, it can be visited as a museum. You can access the castle through the Sant’Angelo bridge, decorated with 10 statues representing angels, and gorgeous artwork by Bernini.
The view from the bridge is truly magnificent, and I totally recommend it as one of the best local things to do in Rome.
7. Roman Food Tour
For whoever comes (or comes back) to Rome to taste its delicious cuisine, I recommend booking the Roman Food Tour. It was the highlight of my trip!
We visited a few different venues tasting at least 15 different varieties of food and drinking at least 6 different glasses of wine, all while admiring the beauty of the Eternal City.
One of the special things about this tour was the Trapizzino, a delicacy that can only be found in Rome or New York (where they are opening a branch). If you want to learn more about Trapizzino, be sure to watch my ‘Tourist Attractions and Local Things to do in Rome’ video.
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Other Tourist Things to do in Rome
There is no shortage of things to do in Rome. The ones listed above are probably the best tourist things to do in Rome and a must-see for the best Rome experience.
I would, however, like to add a few more to consider if you have some time left in the city, although you will probably pass by most of them when exploring Rome:
Shopping in Rome
Those who can’t leave the city without a little bit of shopping will find that Rome has a lot to offer. I particularly enjoyed vintage shopping and here are some of my favorite vintage shops in Rome:
For more traditional shopping in Rome, I recommend visiting the area of Piazza di Spagna, Trastevere area (for one-of-a-kind stores selling clothes, shoes, and gifts), Via del Corso, Porta di Roma (the multilevel commercial center), or Eataly (megastore full of Italian food specialties).
Rome was everything I hoped for and more. It’s a city where you will never be bored as there are so many things to do, see or taste.
It’s a place you can come to for a long-weekend trip, or a place you can make a part of a longer trip to Italy as there are plenty of day trip options from Rome (my mom took a day trip to Tuscany and absolutely loved it).
Although it was my first trip to Rome, it’s definitely not the last one.
I hope you liked my recommendations for the best local things to do in Rome and if you would like to add some must-see spots, feel free to drop a comment and share!
Do you love Italy? If you would like to move to Italy as an American, I recommend checking out my blog post here.
If you are considering moving abroad, feel free to have a look at some of my resources that will help you prepare for your move (visas, preparation, finding a job abroad):