10 Recommended Tours in Rome

Discover the many facets of Rome on a specialised tour
Discover the many facets of Rome on a specialised tour | © S.Borisov / Shutterstock
James Taylor

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.

1. Get your bearings with a walking tour around the city centre

Historical Landmark

Trevi Fountain, Rome
© Nikada / Getty Images

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.

2. Tread in the footsteps of gladiators

Historical Landmark, Archaeological site

Colosseum in Rome and morning sun, Italy
© Venuestock / iStock

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.

3. Visit the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica

Building, Historical Landmark

Vatican Staircase
© Lukas Bischoff / Getty Images

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.

4. Delve into ancient Roman crypts and catacombs

Historical Landmark

Italy, Rome, Capuchin crypt
© Richard Ross / Getty Images

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.

5. Explore Rome’s streets on two wheels

Historical Landmark

Tourist colosseum in Rome, Italy at sunrise.
© Federico Tocchella / Alamy

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.

6. Sample the best of Roman cuisine on a food tour in Trastevere

Restaurant, Italian

Chef placing sausage onto Pinsa Romana base, a Roman style pizza blend
© Monty Rakusen / Getty Images

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.

7. Learn the secrets of Italy’s kitchens with a cooking class

Restaurant, Italian

© Yulkapopkova / iStock

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.

8. Discover the street art of the Ostiense district

Art Gallery

© Alberto Pizzoli / Getty Images

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.

9. Zip Through Rome in a vintage car

Historical Landmark

Red Fiat 500 parked in front of a souvenir shop.
© Romaoslo / Getty Images

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.

10. Delve into Roman legends and explore the city lit up at night


SantAngelo Bridge and Castel SantAngelo at night
© Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images

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.

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