Rome is one of my favourite cities, and I will visit time and time again without being bored. There’s something about Italy that I find slower paced than life in the UK, in all aspects apart from the crazy Roman road traffic! Rome can be so busy yet so relaxed in a crazily contradictory manner. This post is all about the best viewpoints that I have found in Rome so far. Some of them you may know already, but hopefully some of them you are yet to explore!
Some of my photos date back to 2015 with an old Android phone, so I have had to do some digging on Instagram to grab some photos that do the places justice. Make sure you go and check out some of these fabulous Instagram accounts whilst you’re reading.
The Cupola di San Pietro, the Vatican City – 8 Euros
This one is probably one of the most famous and most photographed viewpoints within Rome. It was back in 2015 that we climbed the 551 steps to the top of the Duomo. This experience costs just 8 Euros; 10 Euros if you wish to skip 320 steps by taking the elevator. I wouldn’t recommend this visit if you don’t like heights or small spaces: the top can be a bit of a squeeze, especially when there’s traffic going in both directions! I have found a fabulous blog post here, where you can read more about reaching the top of San Pietro. Tip: make sure you take plenty of water – the 551 steps are a challenge in the best of times, let alone when adding the potential heat of the Roman summers!
The Upper Circle of the Colosseum – 22 Euros
If ancient Rome is your main interest when visiting, then the next two viewpoints are for you! From the upper circle of the Colosseum, you can gain a fantastic view over the Roman Forum. Not only this, but the ticket will also allow you to access the “underground” of the Colosseum – so you can really feel like Maximus Decimus Meridius (if you’re into that kind of thing).
I would recommend booking tickets in advance for this excursion, as it’s helpful for avoiding the bombardment of tour reps that crowd the entrance to the ticket office. The standard tickets to the Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill cost 16 Euros for a 24 hour period (2 Euros if you are an EU citizen aged 18-25). This doesn’t however, include access to the underground of the Colosseum (the “arena”), or the first floor/upper circle. You can pre book your tickets here. Tickets cost 22 Euros (also only 2 Euros for EU citizens aged 18-25).
We made the mistake of not doing much research and not pre-booking the first time we visited. When we visited back in 2015, the only available access to these areas was on an Italian tour. So, what did we do? Of course we booked onto an Italian tour and pretended to understand every word… We just made sure we weren’t standing to close to the front so we weren’t asked any questions!
Palatine Hill – included in the above ticket price
Leading nicely on from the last point, is the Roman Forum – and more specifically – the view from Palatine Hill. Entrance to the Roman Forum is included in the ticket price of the Colosseum, and you can grab a preview from the top on Google Maps here. This is a fantastic spot to watch the sunset over Rome or just get a better overview of the ancient Roman world.
Terrazza delle Quadrighe, Altare della Patria – 10 Euros
Now, this is one that that I don’t think is as well known as some of the other spots on this list. The grand marble monument of the Altare della Patria (translating to Altar of the Fatherland) is hard to miss, and also free to access. There are a lot of steps and you can reach pretty high without paying extra, but if you want to go all the way to the top it is 10 Euros per person (again, 2 Euros for reduced rate). And there is a lift!
It doesn’t look like you are able to pre book tickets, and their website is Italian only. However, when we visited on a sunny September afternoon in 2018 we were the only people up there – so I wouldn’t foresee any problems in getting a ticket when you are there. It was a total bargain in my opinion.
Terrazza del Pincio – FREE
If you have ever wanted to feel like you are in a Peroni commercial, then make sure you visit here for the sunset. Just a 10-minute walk from the Spanish Steps, this terrace provides a beautiful view directly over the Piazza del Popolo. The park surrounding Villa Borghese is the only real green space in Central Rome and therefore, I have found myself shamelessly taking an afternoon sun bathe/snooze here a few times. You can see almost every Duomo in Rome from this viewpoint, and there is almost always a busker to add to the atmosphere. The parks are generally perfect spaces for escaping the hot, bustling city.
Castel Sant’Angelo – 20.50 Euros
I can’t help but think of Dan Brown’s “Angels & Demons” when I think of this Castle – not to even mention the Netflix series Medici, which features this Castle so commonly. At the top of the Castle, you can grab a view of the Vatican on one side of the Tiber, and Rome on the other. There is also a pleasant café at the top to enjoy a good morning cappuccino in the sun.
The website for Castel Sant’Angelo doesn’t seem so advanced, so it doesn’t look like you can pre book tickets directly. I have however done a search for skip-the-queue providers, and this is the best one I found. Entry with skip-the-queue privileges will cost 20.50 Euros, or 7.50 Euros for EU students ages 18-24.
I hope you have enjoyed previewing these fantastic viewpoints… I have certainly enjoyed tracing back through my old travels to bring them to you. I can not wait to get back to Rome! I am always looking for new places, so if there are any viewpoints that I haven’t listed here, let me know I’ll have to check them out on my next visit.
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