Rome is located on the hills, and there are many places you can go to to admire the city. But where are the best views of Rome?
This is not an easy question to answer. As I have lived in Rome for some time, I do have my favorite places in town which I have discovered simply roaming around the city. But I appreciate that, if you are there for a quick weekend getaway or just a few days at the beginning or end of your trip across Italy, you may want to go straight to the point and get somewhere which will provide you incredible views and excellent photo opportunities at the same time.
Good news – you landed on the right page as here I will tell you exactly where to go to get the best views in town. Remember to take your camera!
The 17 Best Views Of Rome
My favorite panoramic views of Rome are easily those from the Orange Garden (Giardino degli Aranci). This is located on the Aventine Hill, at can be easily reached on an easy stroll from the Colosseum. The gardens, designed in 1932 by Raffaele de Vico, are very pleasant to visit – and 100% free to access. The views of the Vatican are breathtaking, and since you get to see other parts of the city you will literally be looking at two countries at the same time – Italy being the other one!
The gardens are located in Via di Santa Sabina and open from dawn till dusk.
If you are a photography geek, make sure to go to the now well-known keyhole on the Aventine Hill from where you can get some of the best views of Rome (and one of the coolest photos). It’s right by the Orange Garden.
St. Peter’s Basilica Dome
You will surely visit St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican during your trip to Rome. Make the extra effort of climbing the 531 steps to the Dome (only 320 if you take the elevator) and pay the extra money to go all the way up to St. Peter’s Basilica Dome for fabulous views. From up there you can see St. Peter’s Square, Via della Conciliazione, Castel Sant’Angelo and the Tiber River.
St. Peter’s Basilica Dome is open every day from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm in the winter months and from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm in the summer months. Admission is €8 for stairs-only access and €10 for stairs + elevator access. There may be a line to get tickets to access the Dome, so you are better off getting tickets in advance. You can get them here or here.
Via della Conciliazione
I took the photo you see above in 2006 with my first digital camera and when photography was hardly my thing. It probably isn’t the best quality but it gives you the idea of the beautiful views of the Basilica you can get from the very end of Via della Conciliazione, when you are on your way to Castel Sant’Angelo.
Of course I was lucky to catch a moment when there was no traffic and very few people, but honestly – give it a try. It’s one of the best views of Rome.
Castel Sant’Angelo is a massive fortress built around 139 AD. Initially meant to be a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian’s, it became a medieval citadel, a prison and subsequently a place of safety for popes during times of political unrest. What many don’t know is that it from its terrace you can get one of the best views of Rome, spanning all the way to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica and Dome, the Tiber river and the bridges and the historical center of Rome.
Castel Sant’Angelo is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00 am to 7:30 pm. Admission is €12. Remember to get your Castel Sant’Angelo skip the line ticket before going.
Check out my post A Complete Guide To Visiting Castel Sant’Angelo.
The Tiber River is the second longest river in Italy and a great place to go for a walk. Along the river you will find many bridges and some of them, such as Ponte Sant’Angelo (right outside Castel Sant’Angelo and with statues of angels sitting along the ramparts) and Ponte Umberto, just one bridge over, are so pretty to look at that I thought I’d mention them.
Ponte Umberto is a fantastic sunset spot – seeing St. Peter’s Basilica Dome, Castel Sant’Angelo and Ponte Sant’Angelo in the glowing light of sunset is a great experience, Besides, this is a fantastic photo!
Gianicolo (Janiculum Terrace)
The Gianicolo, or Janiculum, is the second highest hill in Rome and overlooks Trastevere, one of the most famous neighborhood. It’s a bit of a walk to get all the way up there but you will be rewarded with some of the best views in town, and they are completely free! You can have fun trying to recognize the various buildings you can see, and then explore the area – make sure not to miss the small Renaissance temple of Tempietto del Bramante and the 16th century Fontana dell’Acqua Paola.
The Gianicolo is open 24 / 7.
Chances are you will pass by the Pincio Terrace on your way to Villa Borghese, or Borghese Gallery as it is known to non-Italians. The Pincian Terrace is scattered with beautiful statues and is one of the nicest parks in the center of Rome. More importantly, you will get truly nice views of Piazza del Popolo, from where you will likely access it.
Pincio Terrace is open 24 / 7.
Not far from Pincio Terrace and right by Borghese Gardens, the views from Belvedere Terrace have a slightly different angle compared to those from the Pincio. You can easily stretch your walk to get there on your way to Borghese Gallery.
Altar of the Fatherland
The Altar of the Fatherland is one of the most famous buildings in Rome. Located in Piazza Venezia and on the way to the Colosseum, behind the Roman Forum, chances are you will pass by it quite a few times during your trip to Rome.
What many don’t seem to realize, however, is that the Altare della Patria (or Il Vittoriano, as we often call it here in Italy) will offer you some of the best views in Rome. From the rooftop you can see all the way to the Colosseum, the Palatine and the Roman Forum on one side, and Piazza Venezia and the historical center of Rome on the other.
The Altar of the Fatherland is open every day from 9:30 am to 7.30 pm. You can walk up the stairs to the terrace for free. The elevator to the upper level costs €12.
Make sure to read my post A Complete Guide To The Altar Of The Fatherland.
The Palatine Hill overlooks the Colosseum, Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum so it obviously is a place where you will get impressive views. The bonus is that the Palatine is a great place to visit in and of itself. This is the hill where, according to legend, twins Romulus and Remus were brought up by a wolf and where Romulus founded the city after he killed his brother. There are the remains of the residences of emperors and aristocrats.
The Palatine Hill is open daily from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm. You can access it with the same ticket you use for the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, so make sure to keep it! To get your tickets to the Colosseum, click here.
Make sure to read my post A Guide To Visiting The Palatine Hill.
Via dei Fori Imperiali
You will get one of the most impressive views of the Colosseum as you walk towards it from Piazza Venezia, along Via dei Fori Imperiali. Have your camera ready as this can be quite the perfect shot!
Located in Trajan’s Forum, close to Quirinal Hill, where it was erected in 113 AC, this is one of the most famous landmarks in Rome. The column measures 29.74 meters (97.5 feet) – which are actually 36 meters (118 feet) if you count its base too.
Incredible on the outside, where you can see a detailed representations of Trajan’s war in Dacia (contemporary Romania), many don’t know that inside the column there used to be an urn with Trajan’s ashes, and that there is a spiral staircase to access the top, from where you can appreciate one of the most unique views of Rome.
Trajan’s Column is actually only open on special occasions.
The wall overlooking the Colosseum
I stumbled upon this view years and years ago (I guess you can tell from the photo). Other than the Roman Forum, this is the best place in town for views of the Colosseum. The main difference is that this one is completely free to access!
To get to this viewpoint, walk out of the metro station and go on your left. You will find a short set of stairs (also on your left). It’s on the opposite side of the street from the Colosseum.
One of the issues with some of the places I have mentioned in this post is that they are popular, and therefore crowded. If you’d rather avoid the crowds, head to Caffarelli Terrace, on the Capitoline Hill (where the Capitoline Museums are located, to be clear!). From there you will get great views of the Jewish Ghetto, of Il Vittoriano (Altar of the Fatherland) and of a number of cupolas. Definitely one of the best views of Rome.
Terrazza Caffarelli is free to access and open 24 / 7. Keep in mind there is a nice café with the same name on the location, which is open from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm.
Piazza del Campidoglio
Another lesser crowded spots where you can get incredible views of Rome is Piazza del Campidoglio – you just need to walk past the square for a fabulous panorama.
Trinità dei Monti
Going up the Spanish Steps you reach Trinità dei Monti church, where you’ll find a lovely terrace offering nice views of the square below and the nearby streets.
Make sure to read my other posts about Rome:
- 37 Unmissable, Fun And Cheap Things To Do In Rome
- 18 Useful Things To Know Before Visiting Rome
- The Perfect Itinerary To See Rome In 2 Days
- A Fantastic Itinerary For 4 Days In Rome
- A Wonderful Itinerary For 5 Days In Rome
- A Great Itinerary For A Fabulous Week In Rome
- 31 Incredible Places To Explore Rome Off The Beaten Path
- 20 Great Day Trips From Rome
- All The Food In Rome You Should Eat: 25 Delicious Dishes
- Seven Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Colosseum And Skip The Lines
- How To Get Tickets To The Sistine Chapel And The Vatican Museums And Skip The Line
- 7 Ways To Get A St. Peter’s Basilica Ticket And Skip The Line
- A Complete Guide To Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica Dome
- Seven Smart Ways To Get Galleria Borghese Tickets And Skip The Lines
- A Guide To Visiting The Pantheon Rome + What You Should Know About Pantheon Tickets
- The Best Airbnbs In Rome
- The Best Movies About Rome