Rome sightseeing: The top 5 attractions

There is no shortage of amazing things to do and see in Rome, but if you had to pick just five, you wouldn’t want to miss these popular — and a few lesser-known — attractions in the Italian capital.

The Eternal City remains an eternally sought-after destination, which can often mean waiting in long queues to see its top sites. Plus, some venues have limited visiting hours or mandatory online booking. To help you avoid unnecessary headaches, our partners at Tiqets are offering Skyscanner users an exclusive 7.5% discount (applied at checkout) when booking via the links in this article. That way, you can skip the wait and spend more time sightseeing and enjoying Rome’s treasures and pleasures, such as its delicious food and wine.

Things to do in Rome

Rome’s unmissable attraction: Colosseum

Price with exclusive discount for Skyscanner readers: From £19.46*

As a symbol of the brutal power and architectural genius of the Roman Empire, the ancient and world-renowned Colosseum still stands tall despite earthquakes, lightning, neglect, and plunder. At 48 metres high, it is the tallest structure to survive from classical antiquity. The Roman Empire is said to have built more than 200 theatres, which were used as entertainment venues to host events such as gladiator fights. However, none of those that remain today come close to the Colosseum’s state of preservation and majestic beauty, which uses an estimated 100,000 cubic meters of travertine from quarries nearby Tivoli. Constructed from roughly 72-80 AD by the Flavian Emperor Vespasian (and completed by his sons Titus and Domitian), the Colosseum was known as the Flavian Amphitheatre for centuries. Of all its tourist attractions, the Colosseum is the must-see in Rome.

As a top-rated Rome attraction, you will want to book your visit in advance. When you book your spot with Tiqets (at an exclusive discount!), you’ll take advantage of priority morning access (before the crowds and intense sun) to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. The tour also includes a digital audio guide that reveals the Colosseum’s (often bloody) history and secrets.

Want the best views of the Colosseum? Then, book your stay in Rome at Palazzo Manfredi, and you’ll have front-row seats.

Aerial view of the inside of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
Photo courtesy of Tiqets

Rome’s most underrated attraction: Palazzo Colonna

Price with exclusive discount for Skyscanner readers: From £17.03

This palatial building, home to one of Rome’s most influential families, is often overlooked, but it is well worth the visit. Palazzo Colonna is an important part of Roman history, having produced royal and political figures, cardinals, and even a pope (Martin V). Rumour has it that the great Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, was a guest here. Michelangelo, a close friend of the poetess Vittoria Colonna, was also a frequent visitor.

Built over five centuries, with the help of architects such as Rainaldi and Marucelli, the standout feature is undoubtedly the Colonna Gallery (one the most significant private art collections in Rome), housing works by Italian masters Ghirlandaio, Bronzino, Tintoretto, and Carracci, with ceiling frescoes by Gherardi and Chiari, among others. But you’ll find the gardens, halls, and rooms equally fascinating. Though it’s open to the public, it remains the official Colonna family home.

Palazzo Colonna is open to the public on Friday and Saturday mornings only. So don’t miss out on this stunning attraction. Your discounted reservation includes admission to the Gallery, Princess Isabelle’s Apartment (only if selected), and Gardens.

Stay at the tasteful Fifteen Keys Hotel, a restored five-story villa in the ultra-trendy Monti district. The breakfast spread and daily afternoon tea with cookies alone will make you feel like royalty.

The main Gallery in Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy
Photo courtesy of Tiqets

Price with exclusive discount for Skyscanner readers: From £16.22

Compared to other museums in Rome, the Borghese Gallery is relatively small, but that’s part of its appeal. Visitors can enjoy a highly concentrated collection of antiquities, paintings, and sculptures by some of the world’s most renowned artists in an intimate, uncrowded space inside Rome’s loveliest public park, Villa Borghese. Spanning 20 rooms across two floors, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, an avid collector of Bernini and Caravaggio, started this unique collection. Unsurprisingly, some of these artists’ most significant works can be seen here. Other notable artists with works displayed in the gallery include Titian, Canova, Raphael, Parmigianino, and Bellini, as well as paintings by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens. And don’t miss the 4th-century mosaic panels depicting hunts and gladiator fight scenes. 

If you plan to visit the Borghese Gallery, prebooking tickets is a must — you can’t just show up the day of. Instead, book your visit with Tiqets at an exclusive discount to get guaranteed, hassle-free access to the Borghese Gallery and any temporary exhibitions. Don’t miss out on this spectacular Rome attraction!

Spend the night at the Tribune Hotel, Hyatt’s latest venture in Rome, and you can go for long walks in Villa Borghese whenever the whim takes you.

Image of the marble statue Abduction of Proserpina by Bernini in Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy.
Photo courtesy of Tiqets

Rome’s most haunting attraction: Capuchin Crypt

Price with exclusive discount for Skyscanner readers: From £32.44

This attraction is not for the faint-hearted. Located beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, the Capuchin Crypt comprises several underground chapels. Inside, you’ll find ossuaries that hold the skeletal remains of around 3,700 monks who died between 1500 and 1870. Bones, skulls, and complete skeletons are arranged on the walls like works of art.

Theses displays are not meant to frighten. Instead, they reminds us that our time on earth is temporary. And perhaps even in death, one can still find meaning, if not beauty. A sign above one of the chapels reads: Quello che voi siete noi eravamo, quello che noi siamo voi sarete (What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be). Of all the interesting things to do in Rome, a visit here will surely be haunting — in a good way.

Purchase tickets in advance to avoid standing in queues. These discounted Capuchin Crypt tickets include admission, an informative 45-minute guided tour, and an English-speaking guide.

Stay at Casa I Cappuccini, a cosy and affordable spot that puts you in the middle of Rome’s top attractions, including the Capuchin Crypt.

A view inside the Capuchin Crypt, lined with bones and skeletons of monks in Rome, Italy
Photo courtesy of Tiqets

Rome’s most memorable attraction: Vatican Museums

Price with exclusive discount for Skyscanner readers: From £35.48

There is only one place to see world-class art and rare artefacts while learning about the remarkable history of Rome and the papacy — the Vatican Museums. And it’s not just Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel at the end of the museum that makes this attraction a must-see in Rome. The Vatican Museums’ extensive collection spans millennia from all reaches of the world (to say nothing of the seven kilometres you need to walk to see it all). From antiquity to modern times, among the treasures are Egyptian sarcophagi, Etruscan jewels, Flemish tapestries, and Van Gogh and Matisse paintings. In addition, 1,400 lavish rooms in 54 unique galleries accommodate the extraordinary (and ever-growing) array of priceless artwork collected by the church.

You’ll know you’re close to the museum’s entrance by the snaking queue moving at a snail’s pace. Avoid it by booking your visit in advance. Not only will you skip the wait and get an exclusive discount, but your booking also includes a two-hour tour of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, and Pio Clementino Museum, granting you access to all open rooms and galleries. Operated by the Vatican, tour groups never exceed 30 people and include audio headsets, so you will always be able to hear your guide.

Immerse yourself in history and little intrigue by spending a few nights at Palazzo Cardinal Cesi, the stately home of first Cardinal Francesco Armellini and later the Cesi family, whose ties to Roman popes and politics run deep. 

An excerpt from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums in Rome, Italy.
Photo courtesy of Tiqets

*Please note that ticket prices may change due to demand and availability. Prices are accurate at the time of publication, February 8th, 2023. Also, when you purchase a ticket for a Tiqets attraction through our site, we earn a commission. But rest assured, this does not affect our views on the quality of these activities!

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