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 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 of Rome 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 of Rome. I will let you know if there is an access fee or if you can enjoy the beautiful views at no cost. All you have to do is make sure you take your camera with you to snap those panoramic views.
The 11 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, which were designed in 1932 by Raffaele de Vico are very pleasant to visit – and 100% free to access. The views of the Vatican you get from there are some of the best views in Rome, 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! So just make sure to add it to your itinerary.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The gardens are located in Via di Santa Sabina and open from dawn till dusk.
GOOD TO KNOW: 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. So make sure to make the extra effort (and pay the extra money) to go all the way up to St. Peter’s Basilica Dome for some of the best views of Rome. From up there you can see St. Peter’s Square, Via della Conciliazione, Castel Sant’Angelo and the Tiber River.
The only issue (other than the fact this views aren’t free) is that there may be a line to get tickets to access the Dome, so I would recommend getting tickets in advance. These are some good options:
- St. Peter’s Basilica with Dome Climb and Crypt – make sure to select the option that includes the Dome.
- St. Peter’s Basilica fast track + audio guide for the Dome – similar to the previous ticket, but self guided and without the crypt.
- Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter Small-Group Tour – this tour takes you all over the Vatican and includes the Dome climb. It ends up being great value for money.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: 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.
GOOD TO KNOW: There are 320 steps to get to the Dome if you take the elevator to the first level. If you only take the stairs, you have to count 531.
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 and some bloggers wouldn’t dream of placing it on their site, but I guess 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 is one of the places with the best views of Rome.
You can see 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.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Castel Sant’Angelo is open Mondays to Wednesday from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm and Thursdays to Sundays from 9.00 am to midnight.
Make sure to get your Castel Sant’Angelo skip the line ticket before going.
Along the Tiber river
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) are so pretty to look at that I thought I’d include them in a post about the best views in Rome. I am pretty sure you will agree with me when you go. Besides, it is free!
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 of Rome, 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.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: 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.
The bonus? It’s completely free!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Pincio Terrace is open 24 / 7.
Altar of the Fatherland
The Altar of the Fatherland is one of the most famous buildings in Rome. As it is 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.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Altar of the Fatherland is open daily from 9:30 am to 7.30 pm. The elevator to the terrace costs €7, but you can walk up the stairs for free.
The Palatine Hill overlooks the Colosseum, Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum so it obviously is a place where you will get some of the best views of Rome. 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.
You can access the Palatine Hill with the same ticket you use for the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, so make sure to keep it! The following are the best ticket options:
- Priority access Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – this GetYourGuide Originals tour is simply great!
- Colosseum underground tour with Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – run by The Roman Guy, this is another excellent guided tour and a popular one in Rome.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Palatine Hill is open daily from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm.
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!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: 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). Keep in mind 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 avoiding the crowds is what you want to do, make sure to 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.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: 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.
Further readings about Rome
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 A Day
- The Perfect Itinerary To See Rome In 2 Days
- The Perfect Itinerary For 3 Days In Rome
- 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
- A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Rome