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What to Do in Rome During the Day

By Chris Boyle

The roman forum

It is impossible to see and experience everything on offer in this bewitching, and often bewildering, city during one short trip.

Bursting with the echoes, sights, smells, flavors and sounds of so much history, culture and civilization, Rome always has more to offer, and for all its frenetic chaos, is never boring. You can immerse yourself in the ruins and relics of an ancient empire, from grand palaces to haunting catacombs, delight in the splendor of the Renaissance, appreciate Rome’s capacity for immense natural beauty, and dive into the sporting obsessions of the city’s passionate modern inhabitants. But before you start your trip, take a look at our top choices for how to spend your time in Rome, an invaluable guide to the best in a city with far too much to show you.

The Colosseum

Rome One of Rome’s most iconic monuments, the Colosseum was the largest amphitheater to be built in the Roman Empire, and is one of the most impressive Ancient Roman structures still standing.

Images and descriptions of the Colosseum are in abundance – it has been painted, drawn, photographed, and had odes to its magnificence written by innumerable awe-struck visitors. However, nothing compares to seeing this 1,900 year-old feat of engineering in person – a very present and tangible reminder of the splendor, accomplishment and ostentatious bid for permanence of Ancient Rome. This unshakeable symbol of the city is mentioned more than once in this guide – you can marvel at it while dining at an elegant rooftop restaurant, or stay in a sumptuous hotel suite which looks out across it, but it can, and should, be visited in its own right. A leisurely stroll through Roman streets to the Piazza del Colosseo, to explore the interior of the amphitheater and marvel at its breathtaking silhouette, makes for a quintessential morning in Rome.

The Pantheon

Rome The Pantheon is an iconic symbol of both ancient and modern Rome.

It is an epic structure, built by Emperor Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods in the Ancient Roman pantheon. In continuous use throughout its 1,880 years, and a living, working Roman Catholic church today, it contains the tomb of Raphael, as well as those of two kings and a queen of Italy. This is a humbling, spectacular monument that embodies the innovation and reinvention of Rome’s cultural identity from ancient times through to the present day.

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+39 06 6830 0230

Piazza della Rotonda, 00186

The Vatican (including the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica)

No visit to Rome is complete without visiting Vatican City for St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.

Containing some of the most awe-inspiring religious architecture in Europe, the Vatican houses breathtaking structures, countless art treasures and centuries of riveting, epochmaking history. The Vatican Museums are an art-lover’s dream, displaying the Roman Catholic Church’s enormous collection of art, from fascinating ancient sculptures to masterworks of the Renaissance. The Sistine Chapel is one of the most visited attractions on earth, with visitors flocking from all corners of the planet to see Michelangelo’s legendary, overwhelming ceiling mural. Meanwhile, St Peter’s Basilica has a legendary status among the glorious cathedrals of Europe; its huge interior is one of dazzling splendor that encourages reverence and awe in the religious and the secular alike. For a truly exclusive way to experience these spectacular treasures, minus the large crowds queuing for hours each day, a private afterhours tour can be arranged with the Vatican Museum authorities.

+39 06 6988 4676; +39 06 6988 3145; +39 06 6988 4859 (private tours contact)

Viale Vaticano, 00165 Rome 


Just a two-and-a-half hour drive from Rome is the unforgettable experience of the ruins of Pompeii.

Once a thriving Roman metropolis, the ancient city of Pompeii was buried under volcanic ash by the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79, killing most of its flourishing community and destroying the city utterly. Two hundred years of archaeological excavators have filled in the clear, ashpreserved outlines of Vesuvius’s victims with a hardening plaster or resin, creating evocative true-to-life molds of ancient Pompeiians in the fleeing or hiding positions in which they died with expressions of panic and terror intact. These can still be seen today and they are what make Pompeii such an evocative and moving place to visit. One of Italy’s most beloved and visited tourist attractions, Pompeii appeals even to those uninterested in the grand and splendid monuments of history. Its moving tapestry of lives unfinished and final human moments is a sobering and humbling reminder of both the fragility and the nobility of human life. As with all the other major Italian tourist attractions, Pompeii is heaving with visitors all year round. For a truly exclusive way to experience this singularly memorable place, take a look at the various luxury and private tour options on offer from Rome. These can include chauffeur-driven travel, private access to specific archaeological sites and areas of Pompeii with trained archaeologists as guides, and gourmet food and wine options from the prestigious wine estates of the Naples region.

+39 081 857 5341

Borghese Museum and Gallery

This stately 17th century villa was built for Rome’s legendary Borghese family.

Today it houses a remarkable collection of ancient, Renaissance and contemporary art and antiquities. Within opulent interiors, stunning works by Caravaggio, da Vinci, Raphael and Titian jostle for room with fascinating classical and medieval sculptures, while outside the idyllic Villa Borghese park is home to other national museums and an amphitheater that hosts regular events. Private tours of the Borghese collections can be arranged on request.

+39 06 8413979

Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5, 00197 Rome

Circolo del Golf di Roma Ac quasanta

With so much to see and do, Rome can be a hectic place.

Amongst the rush of thrilling sights, museums and monuments, the exclusive Roma Acquasanta Golf Club offers a haven of relaxation and luxury for when you need to take a breather in style. Italy’s oldest golf club, Roma Acquasanta offers an experience of the city characterized by sophistication, beauty and luxury. You will find sumptuous, tranquil club grounds for teeing off and relaxing in pure bliss, and views of Rome’s ancient aqueduct arches, St Peter’s Basilica and the Appian Way. Extensive leisure facilities include a dedicated professional shop for serious golfers, an elegant restaurant and bar, a sauna, gym and massage rooms, soccer facilities, and a blissful outdoor swimming pool to cool off during those warm summer months.

+39 06 780 3407

Via Appia Nuova 716/A, 00178 Rome

The Markets of Trajan

Once the beating heart of the Emperor Trajan’s Imperial Forum (public square), the Markets are an immense complex of ruins right in the center of Rome, a bustling compound of shops, offices and apartments which 1,900 years ago would have formed the political and economic nexus of Trajan’s Rome.

These were built on the forums of earlier emperors, and earlier Romes, and over thousands of years the structures that survived fell into disuse – only to be later rediscovered, altered and reincorporated into Rome’s medieval and early modern city life. Today visitors can wander through preserved ancient offices, shops, hallways and libraries, see exhibitions of the archaeological treasures discovered on site and be immersed in the everyday life of Rome in its various guises over 2,000 years.

+39 06 0608

Via IV Novembre 94, 00187 Rome

Football (with Kuoni Destination Management)

SS Lazio and AS Roma in acti on

Football is one of Italy’s national passions, and Rome is no different, with the city coming alive with rivalry and celebration when the two largest teams, AS Roma and SS Lazio, play a match.

A football match at the impressive Olympic Stadium is an experience to savor for serious football-lovers, but even the layperson will be caught up in the frenetic and festive Roman spirit at a match – a thrilling, quintessentially Roman event that makes for an exciting and authentic way to experience the city. For a truly elite edge to your taste of football in Rome, try one of Kuoni Destination Management’s exclusive VIP packages, which include a private gourmet lunch or dinner in the AS Roma VIP lounge, opportunities to attend private player training sessions and prime VIP seats at a match in the Olympic Stadium.

Parco Appia Antica

An ancient aqueduct within the Parco Appia Antica

The Appia Antica Park makes for a stunning day out in Rome. It is a place of immense historical significance, yet also a green haven in the buzz and commotion of the city, bursting with strange and compelling sights and opportunities for new experiences.

This park contains the first ten miles of the Appian Way, one of the most ancient and strategic roads in the Roman Empire. It is also home to a wealth of archaeological sights and ruins dating as far back as the mist-shrouded Republican era, from ancient aqueducts and the tombs of noble Roman families to antique baths, catacombs and temples. Museums and monuments can be discovered in tandem with the park’s many beautiful natural trails for keen walkers. Alternatively, a number of riding clubs in the area offer a unique way to tread the millennia-worn Appian path, with a leisurely horseback amble while soaking up the green surrounds and ancient structures of the park. As well as being the perfect stop for an indulgent picnic, romantic stroll or ride, or fascinating archaeological discovery, the park is an atmospheric setting in which to sample homegrown Roman culture, as it hosts regular festivals and cultural events. This seamless tapestry of historical and modern experiences and sights makes a visit to the Appia Antica Park an ideal way to spend a day in this ancient yet timeless city.

Parco Appia Antica, 00179 Rome

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