Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you’ll need far more than a few days to explore all the wonders of this ancient city. Delve into the sights and sounds of Rome with these recommended tours handpicked to help you discover the heart of Italy’s capital.
The centre of Rome is a pleasure to walk through, and there’s no better way to discover the city’s character than on foot. This two-and-a-half-hour walking tour leads you through the enchanting piazzas and cobbled alleys of central Rome, visiting the top sights as your guide regales you with tales of ancient Rome. You’ll encounter the ornate architecture of the Trevi Fountain and the popular Spanish Steps before finishing up at the historic Pantheon. During the tour, you’ll also get to stop for an espresso and finish with gelato – this is Italy, after all.
This three-hour walking tour wraps up important ancient Roman sites in a neat package, catapulting you back into ancient Rome. With tickets that let you skip the line, you’ll start your tour with a visit to the Colosseum, Rome’s famous arena where gladiators battled. Then it’s on to the Roman Forum, an expansive set of ruins that was once the heart of ancient Rome. After exploring the remnants of the archaeological site, your guide will lead you up Palatine Hill to share tales about Remus and Romulus, the mythological twin brothers said to have founded Rome.
The Vatican boasts an incredible collection of fine art and is the perfect historic setting for the masterpieces on show. On this guided tour, you’ll skip the famously long queues to experience all the highlights on one visit. Beginning with visits to the Gallery of Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries and the Gallery of the Candelabra, you’ll then proceed to visit the Sistine Chapel, the site of Michelangelo’s famous frescoes. The tour continues into St Peter’s Basilica to admire the altar and Michelangelo’s sculpture, La Pietà, before wrapping up outside in St Peter’s Square.
Beneath Rome’s sun-soaked streets lie dark catacombs, crypts and shadowy tombs that offer a different look at ancient Roman civilisation. This spooky tour starts by delving into the expansive catacombs, where almost 2,000 years ago persecuted Christians practised their faith in secret. Next is a visit to the Basilica of San Clemente, where you’ll explore the remains of ancient basilicas and a cult temple. The journey then moves onto the Bone Chapel, where ancient monks decorated the walls with the bones of their brothers, and a chilling location to wrap up the tour.
With a sunny Mediterranean climate and balmy temperatures, exploring Rome on a bike is a great way to enjoy the city while taking in all of its sights. Feel the breeze in your face as you swing by all the important sites such as the Colosseum, Vatican City and the Pantheon on this three-hour journey. You’ll proceed to pedal towards the Roman Forum and finish at Circus Maximus, the home of chariot racing in ancient Rome.
This food-focussed tour is a foodie’s dream. From roaming the open-air food market in Piazza Campo de’ Fiori to ordering your own takeaway pizza and local gelato, this guided tour is a great introduction to Italian cuisine. Wash it all down with a selection of wine along with an assortment of cheeses and prosciutto at a traditional Roman tavern, where the tour ends.
Channel your inner chef and learn the secrets of making homemade pasta with this sensational Roman cooking class. You’ll visit a nearby market to pick up your fresh ingredients before retreating to the kitchen to learn how to make fresh pasta so good it’ll have your friends and family coming over to your house for dinner every weekend. After preparing your meal, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour paired with wine.
Take a break from the historic sights of Rome and explore a more modern side of the city with a tour of its street art. The city has always been somewhat of an open-air museum, and even more so now that the city’s artists and galleries have embraced the contemporary art form. This tour will lead you through the Ostiense District, an area outside the city centre that’s filled with the best Italian street art. If you’re lucky, you might even see some works by a modern-day Raphael or Michelangelo.
If you’ve ever dreamt of driving around Rome in a vintage car, then this tour is for you. Taking command of the wheel of a feisty Fiat 500, you’ll zoom around the streets while taking in some major sights like the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine and Circus Maximus. Soft tops let you soak up the sunshine and fresh air while leaving room for plenty of stops for photo opportunities. You’ll eventually drive around the narrow streets of the Trastevere neighbourhood before stopping at a café for an espresso or ice cream.
In a city with as much history as Rome, there’s bound to be some dark secrets and mysteries floating around. Intertwining facts with famous urban legends, you’ll discover a darker side to the Eternal City on this tour, all the while exploring the beautiful piazzas and alleys of the historic centre illuminated at night. The imposing Roman architecture takes on a different character in the darkness, and the legends of executions, hauntings and grisly murders will be sure to send a chill up your spine even on the warmest evenings.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Melissa Pearce.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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