Things to do in Rome at Night Time

By Stuart Bak

A sightseeing Shangri-La during the day, Rome is arguably even more exciting after dark, when lights illuminate its spectacular ancient ruins, swoonsome fountains, imposing statues and vast Roman amphitheaters. It’s also a lot less hectic in and around the main attractions as the majority of tourists have already retired, footsore, to their hotels and apartments. Read on for our guide to all the best things to do in Rome at night time, including:

  • Colosseum night tours
  • People-watching on the piazzas
  • Trevi Fountain
  • The Catacombs of Rome
  • The best rooftop bar views
  • A night at the opera
  • Gelato!

Up on the Roof

Couple drinking wine in a bar at sunset

Let’s start our tour of night time Rome as we mean to go on: with a Campari cocktail at sunset in one (or two) of the Eternal City’s excellent rooftop bars. The sixth-floor terrace at Eitch Borromini Hotel is just about as good as it gets, with panoramic 360-degree views across the rooftops of Piazza Navona and beyond, and a list of cocktails as long as your arm. Watch the sun set over the Pantheon’s iconic dome from atop Hotel Raphael, see the illuminated Roman Forum from (where else?) Hotel Forum, and hit up the art-deco Bettoja Hotel Mediterraneo for some of the finest rooftop views in Rome. Do be aware that you’ll be paying for the view as well as the drink so expect significantly higher prices than at most street-level Rome bars.

The Colosseum by Night

The Colosseum in Rome at night

Fewer tourists, shorter queues, cooler temperatures, better views… there’s literally no downside to making your pilgrimage to the Colosseum at night, when light floods the world’s largest (and best-preserved) ancient amphitheater and you can almost hear the roar of the crowd baying for gladiator blood. Night tours need to be pre-booked and usually kick off around 9PM, so plenty of time to scarf down a pizza before you get there. Night tours are also a great way to get into the guts of the Colosseum and unleash your inner Russell Crowe as you step out onto the arena floor, activities that are traditionally waaay oversubscribed during the daytime.

People-Watch on the Piazzas

Campari cocktail and tapas on a piazza in Rome

The evening atmosphere on Rome’s piazzas is second-to-none. This is the magic hour, when the sun sets, bars bustle, and street entertainers come out in force. Hit up Piazza Navona – home of the beautifully illuminated Bernini fountain – grab yourself a gelato and find somewhere to perch as you admire the fairytale churches and palazzos and, well, just watch the world go by. Piazza di Spagna is no less enchanting and has the added bonus of lying at the foot of the Spanish Steps, while the lesser-spotted Piazza Trilussa over in Trastevere is an unsung hero beloved of locals who meet and mingle by the fountain here, overlooking Ponte Sisto and the Tiber, nightly.

A Night at the Opera

Woman holding opera glasses at the theater

For the quintessential night time Rome experience, book a performance of one of the greats at the historic Teatro dell’Opera. We’re talking nothing less than the likes of Turandot, La Traviata, Madame Butterfly and La Bohème, right here in Italy, the birthplace of opera. Between its grand opera-house setting and extraordinary open-air summer home at the Baths of Caracalla, the Teatro dell’Opera has hosted performances by Maria Callas, The Three Tenors and Joan Sutherland, as well as the world premier of Puccini’s Tosca way back in 1900. Quite the pedigree, then.

The Catacombs of Rome

Inside the San Pancrazio catacomb in Rome

Night time activities in Rome don’t come much spookier than a tour of the Catacombs. Brace yourself for thrills, spills and chills as you descend deep beneath the city streets for a blood-freezing meet-and-greet with the city’s oldest permanent residents. For down here in the Catacombs lie the mortal remains of thousands of ancient Romans, often arranged in bizarre and macabre displays. These creepy underground ossuaries are spread across the city, but most tours will include a stop at the famous Capuchin Crypts, where the bones of countless friars are displayed in weird, wonderful and frankly shiver-inducing ways. Chapels down here include the Crypt of the Pelvises, Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thigh Bones, and Crypt of the Three Skeletons, and are very much not for the faint of heart.

Trevi Fountain Photo Shoot

Evening view of the Trevi Fountain in Rome

Nothing says romance like an evening stroll to the Trevi Fountain. I mean, can you even say you’ve been to Rome if you haven’t flipped a coin into its waters at some point during your visit? No, dear reader, you cannot. And there’s really no better time to make your Trevi pilgrimage than at night after the crowds have dissipated, and when your chances of nabbing that essential ‘alone in Rome’ selfie for your Insta feed are at their highest.

Pizza and Beer in Trendy Trastevere

Vine-clad pizzeria in Trastevere, Rome

Bohemian Trastevere is one of Rome’s coolest neighborhoods, a medieval labyrinth of cobbled lanes and colorful piazzas chock-full of artisan stores, independent trattorias and hip brewpubs. The district really comes alive at night as locals gather for aperitifs on Piazza Trilussa before heading on for dinner and drinks at some of the best bars and pizza joints in town. Hit up local fave Pizzeria ai Marmi for a slice of the good stuff: wafer-thin, wood-fired and ultra-crispy with a kaleidoscopic range of toppings to choose from, then make for the likes of Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà or Bir & Fud for craft brews that go above and beyond the ubiquitous Peronis and Birra Morettis favored by less adventurous travelers than you, dear reader.

Gelato!

Friends eating ice cream

It doesn’t matter a jot whether you’re visiting Rome during summer or in the depths of winter: Italian gelato should be considered an utterly essential part of your experience. Still in Trastevere? Hit up Otaleg for some of the city’s more unusual flavors (artichoke sorbet, anyone?). Or head back over the Tiber, where the chestnut flavor at Ciampini near Piazza Navona, and tiramisu from Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè may prove life-changing. Gelato parlors stay open well into the evening for all your night-time frozen snack needs.

And Finally… McDonalds

A classic McDonalds burger

Bear with us here. In the event you get an attack of the late-night munchies that only a Big Mac can satisfy, make for the branch at Termini station, where your burger and fries come with a large side order of Roman history. For inside this otherwise identikit restaurant you can view a section of the Servian Wall that defended the city against invading Carthaginians and Gauls in the 4th Century BC. We're lovin' it.

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Rome Sightseeing - The Best Instagram Spots in Rome

Enjoy a spot of Rome sightseeing and add a dash of culture to your social media with the best Instagram spots in Rome below! Rome, the eternal city, has centuries of history, culture and art thanks to being the heart of the Roman Empire. With a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and spiritual landmarks, Rome sightseeing is second to none! While wandering around town, you'll want to keep your camera handy because we've put together a list on some of the best photo spots around the city. Pack your portable charger because you're set for some serious Rome sightseeing with our guide to the best Instagram spots in Rome. 세계에서 제일 크다는 성베드로대성당 정말 크고 멋있다 그나저나 로마 날씨 넘나 좋은것.. 트렌치 코트 가져올껄 😢 #rome#가족여행 A post shared by 유채 (@yoochae_) on Feb 27, 2017 at 6:31am PST St Peter's Basilica As the heart and soul of the Roman Catholic faith, St Peter's Basilica is renowned for its stunning architecture, distinctive dome and marble detailing. It happens to be the largest church in Rome and there's always something breathtaking to photograph both inside and out, whether you're snapping photos of its tall pillars or Bernini's bronze pavilion. Filled with sculptures and mosaics, it's also an inspiring place of artistic expression and boasts an incredible view of the city from the top of its towers. ❣️ A post shared by Leila Beruchashvili 🕴 (@lelusinio) on Feb 26, 2017 at 7:28am PST Sistine Chapel Best known for its captivating ceiling fresco The Last Judgement painted by Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel is one of the most visited sites within the Vatican City and also most frequently photographed. Part of the Vatican Museums which contains a prolific collection of art and details the history of Catholicism in the city, the 15th century chapel also features murals by Botticelli. Stand in the centre of the cathedral and point your camera directly upwards at Michelangelo's masterpiece for the ultimate Instagram shot. 내 눈앞에 콜로세움이 있는게 왠지 그냥 어이가 없었다 A post shared by 이경진 (@lkj____1115_21) on Feb 26, 2017 at 11:12am PST The Coliseum Add a splash of ancient history to your Instagram feed with a shot of the Roman Coliseum, where gladiators, wild animals and emperors once roamed. More than 2000 years later, it's now frequented mainly by tourists and the gigantic amphitheatre's distinctive arches, pillars and steep, tiered seats are impossible not to photograph. Scale to the top of its seating area and its walkways to get a full sense of the structure's sheer size, as well as a breathtaking view over its crumbling ruins. #roma sotto un cielo così è uno spettacolo! 🌤😍 #ig_world #ig_rome #loves_united_lazio #loves_united_roma #loves_united_europe #loves_italia #loves_united_italia #buongiornoroma #longexposure #super_italy #loves_madeinitaly #yallersitalia #igfriends_roma #kings_alltags #kings_villages #yallerslazio #italiainunoscatto #ig_italia #loves_landscape #ig_italy #italianlandscapes #best_italiansites #don_in_italy #castelsantangelo #worldbesthdr #living_europe A post shared by Cristina Proietti (@cristinaproietti_photo) on Feb 26, 2017 at 12:15pm PST Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo This stark structure cuts an imposing figure amidst Rome's skyline and the former fortress stands sentinel over the nearby River Tiber. Now a popular ancient Roman museum and the mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian, it's always a hit with history buffs and travel photographers. According to legend, a holy vision depicted the Archangel Michael sheathing his sword on top of the building to signify the end of a plague wracking the city and this has been recreated in an impressive bronze figure, overseeing the city. The opulent Papal Apartments are rich with stunning details and the Courtyard of the Angel is perfect for well-lit photographs. A mais bela e conhecida fonte barroca italiana ⛲ . 📍 Fontana di Trevi | Roma 📸 @royalcaribbean A post shared by Teste o Mundo (@testeomundo) on Feb 26, 2017 at 3:00pm PST Trevi Fountain While it may be a struggle to get a photo of the Trevi Fountain without crowds of tourists in your shot, it's an iconic Roman sight with beautiful Baroque sculptures. Get someone to snap a photo of you tossing coins into its glittering waters (a popular tradition that is said to ensure a return trip to Rome) or sitting on its low walls with the marble structure arcing over you, much like Hillary Duff in the Lizzie McGuire Movie.
Megan Hills
rome safe
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Is Rome Safe?

Safety can be one of the biggest concerns when planning a vacation. 'A stranger in a strange land', as the saying goes. That's why it's always important to know what to expect when visiting a new city and country. Take Rome, for instance. It's one of the most popular tourist spots in Europe, but how safe is it? Read on, and find out as we explore how to stay safe in Rome, what to look out for, and neighborhoods to avoid. Including: How safe is Rome? Common threats to safety in Rome Neighborhoods to avoid Is public transport safe in Rome? and more! How safe is Rome? Rome is one of the most historic cities in Europe, so it's no wonder countless people flock there every year. In fact, Rome plays host to around 10 million tourists every year, making it one of Europe's most popular destinations. Some come for the ancient architecture and history-soaked streets. Others visit for the nightlife, food, and shopping. But how safe is Rome? Rome is considered a relatively safe city, ranking 29th in The Economist's Safe City Index 2021. Many factors make up this ranking, including personal safety, environmental safety, and even digital security. Those factors don't make a huge difference here, as Rome's 'personal security' ranking has it at 29th too! So, what should you look out for on your trip to Rome? Common threats to safety in Rome Rome's most frequent crimes are petty theft. And, like many travel hotspots around the world, tourists are usually targeted. So let's talk about the types of theft you should be aware of on your vacation. Pickpockets During peak tourist season in the summer, you should be aware that many pickpockets operate in Rome. Focusing on the most popular spots as well as trains, they target tourists because of the large amount of vacation cash they may have on them. This is relatively common in any big city that welcomes a lot of tourist traffic, so you may already be aware of the dos and don'ts. If not, or you just need a refresher, here are our tips to keep your belongings belonging to you! Keep your bag, purse, or clutch close to you at all times. Try and avoid carrying large amounts of cash - most places will accept card, even if it's from a different country. Don't leave coats, jackets, wallets, or phones unattended when you're having a drink, getting a bite to eat, or going up to the counter to collect your order. Be aware of distraction techniques. Thieves often work in pairs, so while one may strike up a conversation, ask directions, or 'accidentally' fall into, the other may well be attempting to swipe your cash or camera. Avoid using paper maps when out and about. If you know where you want to go, use your phone's GPS and then stick an earbud in and listen for directions. You'll blend right in. Muggings Though chances of a violent mugging are much lower than being pickpocketed, it's still worth being mindful when walking around Rome. Public transport, especially at night, can make you an easy target. If you want to avoid a mugging, do the following. Avoid public transport at night when possible - book a taxi from a reputable company instead. Check online to find one, though you may pay more than a local. Alternatively, go through a taxi app, if you're comfortable. At night, try and travel in groups of two or more. Plan your route around your daily plans and know when and where you're going to avoid unnecessary loitering - you may draw the attention of ruffians. Scams Scams have become one of the most popular forms of crime in many cities. Rome is no different, with a number of scams operating throughout the city. Unfortunately, taxis are one of those. As we mentioned above, taxi drivers may be tempted to charge tourists higher rates than locals. Always make sure your driver is on the meter, and if they offer you a flat fee or 'forget' to put the meter on, they're likely trying to scam more money out of you. Politely ask them to put the meter on or request to leave the vehicle. You may also be approached in the street and offered a free charm or trinket. Ensure you do not accept this, and be firm if necessary. If you take it, they will loudly and aggressively demand payment. Another common scam is fake charity petitions. While not every one is fake, it may be difficult to discern which is not. We'd advise you to avoid these where possible, and give through a charity's website instead. Even signing a petition might lead to an aggressive demand for a donation, and that donation is going straight into the scammer's pocket. Make sure you check ATMs for tampering, as scammers target those too. Most places in Rome will allow card payments, so if you're lucky, you won't need to use one at all. Neighborhoods to avoid Rome's most crime-riddled neighborhoods include Tor Bella Monaca, Romanina, San Basilio, and Corviale. As these are predominantly residential areas, you may have no reason to ever visit them. However, if you do, try to avoid them at night. If that's not possible, make sure you travel in a group to avoid being targeted as much as possible. Is public transport safe in Rome? As we mentioned, there are some things worth bearing in mind regarding public transport. We've talked about taxis at length, so be vigilant of those. Regarding other forms, they are generally safe, especially during the day. Do bear in mind that some train stations such as Termini are pickpocket hotspots, especially in the evening. As a general rule, try and avoid using public transport at night if possible. That way, you lower your risk of potential muggings or pickpocketing. And that's our guide to staying safe in Rome! Want to make the most of your vacation? Check out Go City. With us, you can see all of Rome's best bits when and how you want.
Dom Bewley
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Can't-Miss Cultural Attractions in Rome

Bask in the glory of Roman creativity with the best cultural attractions in Rome below. With thousands of years of history, including being the centre of the Roman Empire, it's no surprise that Rome is full of incredible architectural structures, each with their own story to tell. We've scoured the city to find some of the capital's best landmarks you won't want to miss, from mausoleums and historical museums to ancient Roman sites and more, National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo Castel Sant'Angelo has had many lives as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, a papal fortress, prison, and now finally as a historical museum open to the Roman public. This stark structure owes its name to a vision that Pope Gregory the Great had, in which the Archangel Michael appeared to him on top of Hadrian's tomb, sheathing his sword to signal the end of a plague. A sculpture of the Archangel now sits atop the museum. With an impressive permanent collection of medieval relics, paintings and sculptures, it's a great way to experience and learn about Rome's long tradition of culture and military excellence. Capitoline Museums Seen in films such as The Talented Mr. Ripley, these archeological museums are testament to the enduring power of ancient Roman art. Spread across three buildings and a piazza designed by Michelangelo, it has persisted as a significant site of Roman creativity since 1471. It features many beautiful works such as a symbolic bronze statue of The She-Wolf, who plays an important role in Rome's origin myth in which she raised the city's founders Romulus and Remus. The Coliseum This gigantic circular structure has captured the imaginations of people worldwide, with complex theatrical performances alongside violent gladiator battles taking place on its stage. At 2000 years old, the landmark continues to stand and remains a must-visit for visitors to Rome who can learn about its history and dive into its network of underground tunnels for more exhibits. MAXXI While Rome might be best known for its historical architecture and Renaissance works, the contemporary art museum MAXXI shines a light on the best in Italian contemporary art. Designed by famed architect Zaha Hadid, its exhibits showcase the best in modern art and architecture and is a refreshing break from centuries-old works. Sistine Chapel Venture into the Vatican City and make your way to one of Michelangelo's greatest artistic accomplishments - the Sistine Chapel. With breathtaking hand-painted ceiling frescoes depicting The Last Judgment and works by Botticelli lining its walls, it's not only a significant religious site but a cultural one worth seeing. Roman Forum See the legacy of ancient architecture at the Roman Forum, which was formerly a collection of buildings including a marketplace, the House of Augustus (home to Julius Caesar's heir) and the Temple of Romulus. While it's mainly in ruins, the remains of its frescoes, pillars and architecture still remains incredible to witness. Borghese Gallery See the works of artistic virtuosos Caravaggio, Botticelli and Raphael at the Borghese Gallery, a converted villa which now serves as one of Rome's most beautiful museums. Comprised mainly of the Borghese family's personal collection which includes hundreds of sculptures and paintings, it's an oasis of calm away from the hustle of Rome and its grounds boast stunning gardens. Vatican Museums Located just a stone's throw from the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums are a site of great importance for the Catholic tradition as well as the art world. With exhibits dedicated to the history of the Vatican City as well as a 9 mile long collection of artwork dating all the way back to ancient Egypt, its most noted for its sublime Raphael rooms by the entrance with frescoes by Raphael and Michelangelo. Museum of Rome Discover the artistic history of Italy's capital at the Museum of Rome, located in the halls of the Palazzo Braschi. Not only is the structure a stunning example of Roman Baroque architecture, its exhibits chart the course of Rome's continually evolving creative scene from the Middle Ages to 20th Century. Keats-Shelley House Take a break from art history and dive into the world of literature. Rome was beloved by the famous Romantic poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats, the latter of whom made Rome his final resting place at the age of 25. Keats' modest dwellings have since been transformed into a museum with the most extensive collection of works, letters, paintings and memorabilia relating to the two literary greats in the world.
Megan Hills

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