Looking for the best views in Rome? Look no further! Here’s the ultimate list of viewpoints to experience the Eternal City from above.
Rome is a glorious city and home to endless activities: a tourist’s dream destination! But sometimes we all need to take a break from walking and sightseeing, especially if you’re on an intense Italy itinerary.
The best way to catch your breath (or lose it, rather!) is to find the closest viewpoint and admire the beauty of Rome’s streets and landmarks from the heights.
Whether you’re looking for the best photo spot or to take in the magnificence of the Eternal City, here are 14 of the best views in Rome.
St. Peter’s Dome
Probably the most popular viewpoint in Rome, the Vatican top view from St. Peter’s Dome is one you definitely shouldn’t miss for an iconic perspective of Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square).
St. Peter’s Basilica is most likely on your Rome Itinerary already, so take the chance to go up after you visit the cathedral and of course the other attractions such as the Vatican Museums & the Sistine Chapel.
While entrance to the Basilica is free, you’ll have to pay to access the Dome, but trust me, the views are worth it! Worth the money and worth the effort, because the climb to the top consists of 551 steps. If you pay a little extra you can take an elevator to the first level and only climb the last 320 steps, but there’s no way of avoiding all of them if you want to get to the top!
⚠️ If you’re claustrophobic take note that, though there are windows on the way up, the staircase is rather narrow.
This vantage point is one of the highest in Rome, so the view from here is spectacular! You’ll see the Piazza San Pietro right below, as well as the obelisk and Via della Conciliazione, and a beautiful panoramic view of Rome in the distance. It’s doubtless one of the best panoramic views in Rome.
Tip: To avoid the crowds (trust me, the St. Peter’s Dome gets crowded) arrive first thing in the morning. If your goal is to photograph the sights at their prettiest time, then your best bet is in the afternoon or right before sunset, although that means longer lines and more people!
The entrance fee if you climb all the way is €8, and if you take the elevator is €10 at the time of writing.
➤ With the Vatican City: Basilica and Dome Climb tour you’ll enter the Basilica and the Dome with fast access and enjoy the expertise of your guide to learn all about the Renaissance era and the history of this iconic place. If desired, you can upgrade your ticket to a guided tour of the Basilica and Vatican Cryptus and make the most of your visit. The tour operates with small groups, making it a very personalized experience. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
St. Peter’s Dome: Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City Closest Metro Station: Ottaviano Opening hours: 7.30 AM to 5 PM
Janiculum Terrace (Gianicolo in italian) is a free viewpoint that will take your breath away! The Janiculum Hill is the second-tallest hill in Rome and its view is one of the most far-reaching, so you’re in for a panorama like no other.
Rome’s historical center lies right in front of it, and landmarks like the Pantheon, Castel Sant’Angelo, St. Peter’s Basilica and Altare della Patria contribute to creating a beautiful vista from the Gianicolo Hill overlooking Rome.
From here the sun sets behind the Basilica, so it’s a great lookout to see the sunset in Rome, right before you head to the famous Trastevere area for an aperitivo to close your day in Rome in the perfect roman style.
If you visit at noon, you’ll witness a long-standing ritual that has been going on for over 170 years, and that only stopped during the Second World War. Punctually every day at noon, a cannon goes off from Janiculum Hill to mark the time; while it was used to synchronize the bells of the churches back in the day, it still remains as one of Rome’s traditions.
Janiculum Terrace: Piazzale Giuseppe Garibaldi Closest Bus Station: Psg Gianicolo/Villa Corsini (Lines 115 and 870) Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
Altare della Patria
Altare della Patria, (Altar of the Fatherland) also known as Il Vittoriano since it’s a monument to Italy’s first King, Vittorio Emanuele II, is one of the best rooftops in Rome and the perfect place to get 360° views of the city.
The monument is in Piazza Venezia, and you can look down Via del Corso all the way to Piazza del Popolo, as well as catch sight of the Colosseum, Piazza del Campidoglio, Vatican City and the Roman Forum, among other landmarks. It’s definitely one of the best views over Rome.
The entrance to the building is free, and you can access the first terrace for some views over Vittorio Emanuele’s statue, but to get to the rooftop you need to take the panoramic lift. The lift fee is €10 for adults; there is a discount for people under 18 or over 65.
In Altare della Patria there are the remains of an unknown soldier, fallen in WW1, that represents all those lost in the Great War and his tomb is guarded day and night by a guard of honor and two flames that burn constantly. The Change of Guards occurs every day at 10.30 AM; it’s very simple and only lasts a couple of minutes, so if it’s something you’d like to see, be there on time!
➤ This ticket to Altare della Patria includes the ride in the panoramic glass elevator, an audio guide that you can access from your phone and access to the Palazzo Venezia National Museum and Museo Centrale del Risorgimento. ➥ BUY YOUR TICKET HERE
Altare della Patria: Piazza Venezia Closest Metro Station: Colosseo Opening Hours: 9.30 AM to 7.30 PM (last admission at 6.45 PM)
The Pincio Terrace lies within Villa Borghese park and is one of the best views of Rome that you can enjoy for free!
The terrace goes back to the 19th century and offers views of St. Peter’s Basilica, Piazza del Popolo, and a city skyline that is particularly gorgeous at sunset. It’s one of the most beautiful Rome scenic spots.
The park is also worth the visit, and I recommend sparing a few hours to stroll around the fountains and statues or to get a quick snack from the street vendors and enjoy it while checking out the views. If you like the idea of a relaxing afternoon, you can take a book with you or rent a bike to explore the park and its lakes. Definitely a different activity to do in Rome, and one you will remember!
Pincio Terrace: Salita del Pincio Closest Metro Station: Flaminio Opening hours: Open 24 hours
Terrazza Viale del Belvedere
Still in Villa Borghese, you’ll find equally stunning views of the Roman skyline from Terrazza Viale del Belvedere.
From this viewpoint you can see further east, spotting Altare della Patria and the ever-present Dome of St. Peter’s, as well as the top tier of the Colosseum.
You can walk here from Pincio Terrace, and if you’ve been there for sunset, you can then continue your walk along Viale della Trinità dei Monti toward Piazza Spagna; it’s a beautifully romantic walk that you can end at a trattoria for dinner. Is there a better way to wrap up a day in Rome than this one? I don’t think so!
Terrazza: Viale del Belvedere, Villa Borghese Park Closest Metro Station: Flaminio Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
Monte Mario is the tallest hill in the city and home to the university of Rome’s astronomical observatory; since it’s not in the centre of Rome, it offers a much broader panorama of the city than most viewpoints.
From the Zodiac Terrace at the top of the hill, you can see northern Rome while enjoying a coffee, and if you walk some meters down the hill you’ll find another lookout from which you can spot St Peter’s Basilica.
Monte Mario is part of the pilgrimage path Via Francigena that starts in Canterbury, England and ends in Rome, so it’s a place full of history and natural beauty. The park is one of the most beautiful in the city, and the magnificent views that surround it certainly contribute to it. If you’re looking for the best panoramic viewpoint in Rome, you can’t miss this one!
To get there you can take the 913 bus and exit at stop Medaglie d’Oro/Tito Livio. From here it’s a short walk through Passeggiata di Monte Mario to the park. Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
The Campidoglio, or Capitoline Hill, is one of the Seven Hills of Rome, and home to the Capitol Square, designed by the famous Renaissance artist Michelangelo.
From the lookout on Via Monte Tarpeo you can get the best view of the Roman Forum, mainly seeing the best-preserved parts of it, for free!
Not many people realize this when visiting the Campidoglio, so you won’t find it crowded, which is a great plus.
The Colosseum is also in sight, and if you’re craving for more skyline views you can head to the Caffarelli Terrace on the top floor of the Capitoline Museum building. There’s a café, Caffè Capitolino, where you can relax with a refreshment as you take in the panoramic views.
Piazza del Campidoglio Closest Bus Station: Teatro Marcello Opening Hours: Open 24 hours Caffé Capitolino Opening Hours: 9.30 AM to 6 PM
For more views over the Roman Forum, accompanied with some history, head to Palatine Hill. It’s one of the oldest parts of the city and, according to the legend, where the she-wolf raised Romulus and Remus and the basis of Rome’s foundation took place.
It used to be the wealthiest area in Rome and the most desirable to live in; today, you’ll find countless ruins and it’ll be like stepping out of a time machine.
The Palatine Museum showcases ancient Roman artefacts and remains of the homes of emperors, but if you’re not into history don’t worry! We’re here for the views.
Palatine Hill overlooks the Roman Forum and the Colosseum to one side, offering a different view from the one at the Campidoglio, and the Circus Maximus, an ancient chariot-racing stadium, on the other. This is one of the few viewpoints with no modern day city in sight, so you can really see the Rome of another era.
Tickets to the Palatine include admission to the Roman Forum and Colosseum. If you already bought tickets for these attractions combined, the Palatine is included.
➤ The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Priority Tickets grant you access to all these landmarks in a combined package through the fast track entrance, avoiding the lines. You’ll have to book a time slot for your visit, and you’ll receive a downloadable map of Imperial Rome to help you explore the sites. ➥ BUY YOUR TICKET HERE
Palatine Hill: Via di San Gregorio, 30 Closest Metro Station: Colosseo Opening Hours: 9.30 AM to 7 PM (last entry at 6 PM)
Orange Garden on Aventine Hill
The Orange Garden (or Giardino degli Aranci, if you wanna sound local) is considered by some the most romantic place in Rome. There’s gotta be a reason for it, right?
The Garden sits on top of the Aventine Hill, adorned with picturesque, tree-lined alleys that make for a quiet, gorgeous oasis away from the city’s vibrancy without losing sight of it. The highlight of the cityscape is St. Peter’s Dome, framed by the branches of the trees to make a unique view.
If you visit at sunset you’ll see why it’s considered the most romantic spot, with the city at your feet as the colors of the sky beautify everything around you. It’s truly a spectacle to remember!
While you’re in Aventine Hill you can also check out the view of St. Peter’s Dome through the Aventine Keyhole for one of the most original views in Rome.
Through this mysterious keyhole you can see Italy, Vatican City and Malta; quite a view considering the viewpoint! It’s a really marvellous experience, so don’t forget to look for the green door with the magic keyhole before you leave.
Orange Garden: Piazza Pietro D’Illiria Closest Metro Station: Circo Massimo Opening Hours: 7 AM to 9 PM
Piazza Trinità dei Monti
The Piazza Trinità dei Monti is well known by every tourist and citizen who wander to Piazza Spagna (Spanish Square) and look up to admire the Spanish Steps. But not many of them actually climb those steps to get to the small piazza, which offers lovely views of the city and the constant flow of people coming and going below.
This viewpoint is one of the easiest to access and it’s right in the center of the city; the perfect spot to admire Rome if you’re already in the area and don’t have the time to hit some other lookouts mentioned here.
Piazza Trinità dei Monti and the famous Spanish Steps have been the stage of runaway shows, events, concerts and even movies! So it’s a great idea to get a new perspective by climbing to the top and admiring the scenery.
Piazza Trinità dei Monti: Piazza della Trinità dei Monti, 3 Closest Metro Station: Spagna Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
Castel Sant’Angelo is probably on your Rome itinerary already, but how about its terrace?
The Castel and its bridge overlook Vatican City, bridges Ponte Sant’Angelo and Ponte Umberto as well as the river Tiber and the historical center of the city, showing you the city from an approach you hadn’t seen before; it’s an unmissable Rome top view!
There’s a café on one side of the terrace, great for having a drink with views of St. Peter’s Basilica. It’s particularly beautiful in the evening, when the lights of the city get reflected on the river and Rome, if it’s even possible, becomes more attractive.
➤ The entrance ticket to the castle gives you access to the terrace, and you’ll get to skip the lines to enjoy the stone passageways and magnificent views before everyone else (queuing at that time!) ➥ BUY YOUR TICKET HERE
Castel Sant’Angelo: Lungotevere Castello, 50 Closest Bus Station: P.za Pia/Castel S. Angelo Opening Hours: 9 AM to 7.30 PM
Ponte Umberto I
If you’re left wanting more after your visit to Castel Sant’Angelo, then Ponte Umberto I is your next stop for amazing views of the river Tiber. Located close to the Castle, Ponte Umberto I overlooks St. Peter’s Dome and, at sunset, you’ll be able to see the sun disappear behind the Vatican and turn orange both the sky and the river, offering one of the most iconic sights in Rome.
A view so magnificent is not easy to keep secret, so be warned of the photographers with their tripods and equipment, and fellow travelers wanting to capture the moment.
Ponte Umberto I Closest Bus Station: Zanardelli Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
View of the Colosseum
The Colosseum is an indisputable icon of Rome and even if you’re just taking a day trip to Rome, this is one of those things that NEED to be on your Rome bucket list. While a visit is a fantastic way of seeing it and learning about its history, you won’t be able to admire it wholly from up close.
For the best view of the Colosseum head to Via Nicola Salvi, a few steps from the Colosseo Metro Station, from where you’ll see the north side of the Colosseum, positively one of its best exterior views!
You can also get a breathtaking view of the Colosseum from the Roman Forum, that faces its west side.
If you want to relax and enjoy the sights without consciously standing on a street, you can find cafés and terraces with great Colosseum top views! These are some of the best restaurants in Rome with a view of the Colosseum:
➤ La Biga Ristorante Caffe is situated on a terrace directly facing the Colosseum on Via Nicola Salvi.
➤ Royal Art Café is a restaurant with a roof terrace that faces the other side of the Colosseum, offering slightly different views.
Rome has far more angles than the usual viewpoints show you, so if you’re still hunting for impressive views of this gorgeous city, here are the restaurants and bars you can visit for a drink and a view. Because if Italy’s the country of wine, you better have a glass on your hand while you admire its ancient city, right?
Mater Terrae Restaurant
This vegetarian restaurant sits on the rooftop of the 5 star Raphaël Hotel and it’s a classy option to enjoy the breathtaking views it offers while having dinner.
The Raphaël Hotel hosted Julia Roberts during the filming of Eat Pray Love and its terrace is featured in the movie during a lunch scene, so the visit is a complete experience for film lovers.
Raphael Hotel: Largo Febo, 2 Closest Bus Station: Zanardelli and Senato Opening Hours: 11 AM to 10.30 PM
The Court is a beautiful Garden Bar with a privileged view over the Colosseum. It’s situated on a platform in a ground-floor bar, providing one of the best rooftop views in Rome, all while enjoying good music and drinks. Prices start at around €20 per drink.
The Court: Palazzo Manfredi, Via Labicana, 125 Closest Metro Station: Colosseo Opening Hours: 6 PM to 2 AM
Divinity Terrace is possibly one of the most romantic rooftop bars in Rome, full of cozy corners to snuggle while checking out the breathtaking views of the Pantheon. This is one of the prettiest sunset spots in Rome and probably the one you’ll like most; drink in one hand, loved one in the other one. If you’re in the area when the sun starts to go down, this is the place to go.
Divinity Terrace: Pantheon Hotel, Via di Santa Chiara, 4/A Closest Bus Station: Rinascimento Opening Hours: 11.30 AM to Midnight
Best Views in Rome FAQ
There are many beautiful viewpoints in Rome, but the one offering the best view is probably Janiculum Terrace. Since it’s the second-tallest hill in Rome, the view from up there really is impressive, and it’s the most far-reaching one. You’ll get to see the Pantheon, Altare alla Patria, Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Basilica among other famous Roman landmarks.
The best view of the Colosseum is either from Via Nicola Salvi, from where you’ll see the north side of the Colosseum (definitely one of its best exteriors!) or from the Roman Forum, that faces its west side.
The prettiest pictures of the Colosseum (or of yourself in front of this iconic landmark!) can be taken from Via Nicola Salvi, a street that faces directly the north face of the Colosseum. To get here, climb the steps right outside the Colosseo Metro Station and walk until you find the perfect angle.