20 Best Views in Rome: Incl Map + Rooftop Bars

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Author:  Caroline

Come along and explore the very best views in Rome. Includes secret viewpoints, awesome rooftop bars and a few cheeky hotels with jaw-dropping vistas over the city. All that and more!

There is no such thing as a bad view in Rome, it is simply impossible. Roman ruins, beautiful galleries and gently crumbling palazzos hidden behind overzealous bougainvilleas are part and parcel of a trip to Italy‘s capital.

Some viewpoints over Rome are however a smidge nicer than others. After countless trips to Rome and many kilometers of walking, I put together my favorite photo spots in Rome. A mix of well-known landmarks, a handful of recommendations for sunset and a sprinkling of slightly more expensive views to be enjoyed with a cold Aperol Spritz from the comfort of a rooftop bar.

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15 Best Viewpoints in Rome

Roaming around the streets of Rome almost feels like there is a neverending stream of picture-perfect viewpoints on offer. Every time I explore the eternal city, new angles pop up and I end up with a hard disk choc-a-bloc full of images. Which well and truly answers the question if Rome is worth visiting.

Below you will find a few of my favorite photo spots in Rome. These 15 spots will help you capture the essence of the city or simply offer you a wonderous vantage point to take in the impressive Rome skyline. Enjoy!

READ MORE | You might also like 20 Day Trips From Rome by Train – Under 2 Hours

15. Vatican Gardens

The Vatican Gardens are a very closely guarded secret and not many know they are actually open to the public. On our most recent trip, my partner was lucky enough to visit the gardens and he was absolutely in awe, stating these were some of the best views in Rome and there was absolutely nobody.

While the Vatican itself is usually heaving with tourists, the gardens are a tranquil oasis filled with tile-clad fountains, age-old statues and an impressively groomed sprawling lawn. It is noteworthy to mention that the Vatican Gardens can only be visited on a guided tour.

A tour of the Vatican Gardens is best combined with the Vatican Museum itself, do yourself a favor and book a skip-the-line pass for the Museum and simply waltz right past the long queues. A tour of the gardens and the museum takes around 3.5 hours.

TIME SAVER | Take a tour of the Vatican Gardens including skip-the-line tickets for the Vatican Museum. Check rates & book.

Rome Photos

14. Top of Saint Peter’s Basilica

Opening Hours: Daily. April-Sept 7 am to 7 pm and Oct-March 7 am to 6.30 pm
Entrance Fee: Saint Peter’s Basilica itself is free, however access to the dome costs €8 (US$ 9) if you take the stairs and €10 (US$ 11) if you take the elevator.

At the very top of Rome’s most iconic landmark (well, aside from the Colosseum) you get an unbeatable view of Rome. Saint Peter’s Square gives way to Castel Sant’Angelo and the urban sprawl of Rome. Terracotta rooves give way to the majestic Sabine and Alban hills in the far distance.

How to get up: There are two parts to the climb. Part one takes you to the first viewpoint at the foot of the actual dome. This is accessible via stairs, or via an elevator. I highly recommend you take the stairs as halfway up a little doorway grants access to the additional (inner) viewing platform from which you get amazing views of the inside of the Saint Peters Basilica.

Part two leads you from the viewing platform at the foot of the dome, through a set of staircases spiraling upwards towards the final viewpoint. This part is only accessible on foot and is not suitable for visitors suffering from vertigo.

When to go: There is no skip-the-line ticket for Saint Peter’s Basilica, everyone needs to go through the mandatory security check, which in summer can sometimes take up to 2 hours. The dome opens 30 minutes after the opening hours of the church (07.00 am), make sure to be there right as it opens to avoid heaving crowds.

TOURS | Feel more comfortable with a guide? Book a tour that includes the Dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Basilica itself and the crypt. Tour takes roughly 3 hours in total.

Viewpoints over Rome

13. Aventine Hill & Orange Tree Garden

Opening Hours: Daily, April-August 7 am to 9 pm; March-September 7 am to 8 pm; Winter 7 am to 6 pm
Entrance Fee: Free

The Orange Tree Garden or Giardino degli Aranci is probably one of the most popular viewpoints in Rome to catch the sunset. And it’s not hard to see why! The park is lined with age-old bitter orange trees and little benches, perfect to sit down and people-watch.

I went one warm August summer night and watched the sunset from the gardens, there were a lot of fellow sunset lovers around me and the gates were still open. Therefore, take the closing times of the park in summer with a pinch of salt.

NEARBY | The famous Knights of Malta Keyhole is located a 3-minute walk from the gardens. It tends to get very busy, so come here first to snap your shot before heading out to the gardens.

TIP | If you want to get a nice photograph of the Roman skyline at sunset, you will need to bring a zoom lens. When I went I had only my mobile phone with me and regretted it immediately.

12. Castel Sant’ Angelo

Opening Hours: Daily, 9 am to 7.30 pm
Entrance Fee: €14 (US$ 16)

It took me many visits to Rome before I actually ventured inside the Castel Sant’Angelo itself. While I loved touring the various rooms inside the Castle and learning about its history, what really took my breath away was the panoramic rooftop. The very best views of the Vatican City are without a doubt from Castel Sant’Angelo.

Funnily enough, while the rest of the city was super crowded, there were noticeably fewer tourists inside Castel Sant’Angelo itself. We went in October around 11.00 am and it was wonderfully calm.

Hidden Gems in Rome Monti

11. Villa Aldobrandini

Opening Hours: Open from dusk to dawn
Entrance Fee: Free

Villa Adobrandini is located between Piazza del Quirinale, Via Nazionale, and Via Quattro Novembre, a stone’s throw away from the Roman Forum. It is slightly elevated, and surrounded by thick 16th-century walls which provide access from via Mazzarino.

The Villa itself is owned by the Italian Government and not open to the public, the surrounding gardens however are free to visit. I had walked by this little oasis multiple times, and always thought it was privately owned, that is until I saw a few tourists head inside.

This little park is perfect to escape from the summer heat! Bring a book and sit down on one of the many benches, overlooking the red-bricked 13th-century tower, also known as Torre delle Milizie and the magnificent white Altar of the Fatherland.

NEARBY | Make sure to pop into Trajan’s Market (Mercato di Traiano), a much lesser place to visit in Rome but 100% worth going to. It offers some wonderful views of the Roman Forum too.

10. Via della Conciliazone

Via delle Conciliazone is the main artery inside the Vatican City. It also offers the very best view of Saint Peter’s Basilica available on street level and is great to photograph using a zoom lens (the above-left picture was taken with a 300 mm lens).

When to go: The impressive boulevard leading up to Saint Peter’s Square is absolutely buzzing with tourists as early as 07.00 am when the Basilica itself opens. If you are on a mission to snap an iconic Rome image without the crowds either come before 07.00 am or head out at dusk.

GOOD TO KNOW | Saint Peter’s Square itself is only open from 06.30 am to 11.00 pm. That’s right, the square is closed off with large gates at night!

View of Colosseum Rome taken from the Palatine Hil

9. Palatine Hill

Opening Hours: Daily, 09.00 am to anywhere between 04.30 pm and 07.00 pm depending on the season
Entrance Fee: €18 – includes Colosseum and Roman Forum (no guide or skip-the-line service)

One of the best views over Rome can be found by clambering up the Palatine Hill which is located right behind the Roman Forum. Most tourists will choose to get a combi ticket and visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill together. Put on a pair of comfortable choose and bring plenty of water, we spent a good 3 hours walking around!

Start your visit by exploring the Roman Forum, then follow the little signs that read “Palatine Hill”. On the hill, you will find a sprinkling of ancient villas & palaces, ruins of age-old temples and magnificent arches as well as tiny little secret gardens.

Where to find the best view: Terazza del Belvedere del Palatino has uninterrupted views over the Roman Forum and a very good vantage point to photograph the Coloseum from (see above).

TIME SAVER | Get a combi ticket that grants access to the Palatine Hill, Colosseum and the Roman Forum with priority access to avoid the long(!) lines.

8. Circo Massimo

Opening Hours: Permanently Open
Entrance Fee: Free to visit except for the archaeological ruins

The Circo Massimo dates back over 2500 years ago when it was originally built to hold chariot races. Over the centuries it underwent various expansions, and renovations and was used for a large variety of entertainment purposes including gladiator combats, public assemblies etc.

Today the remnants of the race track can be visited for free and the archaeological ruins (pictured above) have a very cool if slightly pricy, VR experience that allows visitors to experience the ancient ruins and see how they were once brimming with local shops.

Where to get the best view: Aside from being a very cool monument to visit in Rome, the Circo Massimo also offers a stunning backdrop for photography. Simply walk along Viale Aventino around sunset to snap the above shot.

View of Rome taken from the Belvedere Tarpeo
View of Rome taken from the Belvedere Tarpeo

7. Capitoline Hill

Capitoline Hill, locally known as Campoglio, is the hill right that rises up at the far end of the Roman Forum. It houses the city hall of Rome and the Capitoline Museums which spills out onto a Piazza del Campadoglio, completely redesigned by Michelangelo during the 16th century for a visit of Emperor Charles V.

While the square is magnificent, the view itself can be found by walking down Via Monte Tarpeo. Google Maps indicated two viewpoints here (Terrazza sul Foro & Belvedere Tarpeo), the reality is this whole street offers amazing opportunities to capture those iconic Rome images with the forum.

NEARBY | Pop into the spectacular Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli

Via Piccolomini Rome

6. Via Piccolomini

Via Piccolomini is by no means one of the most iconic pictures of Rome, but it will probably make for the coolest experience. This unassuming street is renowned for the “Dome Illusion”, the closer you get to the dome at the end of the street, the further it seems to appear.

This effect is created by a well-thought-through alignment of archways that frame the basilica, creating an illusion of a distant, grand dome at the end of the long avenue. To really experience the full effect, you need a certain speed with which to approach the dome – Get yourself a step, bike, Vespa or a local friend with a car!

Pincio Terrace Rome

5. Pincio Terrace

Opening Hours: Open 24/7
Entrance Fee: Free

Pincio Terrace is one of the best viewpoints in Rome to enjoy the sunset. From here you can enjoy uninterrupted views of Saint Peters Basilica and Piazza del Popolo. The above image was taken from the viewpoint, although to be honest I did use a 300mm zoom.

Alternative Viewpoint: The terrace does get a little crowded, and when we were in May the number of pushy street vendors made for a slightly less fun experience. We opted to walk about 300 meters further toward the Terraza Viale del Belvedere which was practically empty.

NEARBY | The Pincio Terrace is located inside the extensive Villa Borghese Park. This park is home to the eponymous Villa and Art Gallery (Galleria Borghese) which are absolutely worth visiting. Make sure to book your tickets in advance, as they tend to sell out.

4. Best Views of the Colosseum

It might come as a surprise that some of the best viewpoints in Rome are actually right around the corner from the starlet of the city, the Colosseum. While the entrance of the Colosseum, the little steps leading down from Via Nicola Salvi and the Colosseum metro entrance are usually absolutely choc-a-bloc, the surrounding parks were notably quiet when we visited in May.

Parco del Colle Oppio

A slightly more busy park to the north of the Colosseum. When we visited, there were various groups of men “hanging around”. Be mindful of your valuables here.

Parco Celio

A tranquil little park south of the Colosseum. Walk inside 100 meters and turn around to get the perfect view of the Colosseum through the park gates.

Cafe Roma

Every time I come to Rome, I pop into this cafe to enjoy coffee with a view of the Colosseum. Pre-pandemic the café had a handful of outdoor seating options, these have since been removed. It is usually remarkably quiet, the coffee is good and decently priced (€2/espresso).

Giardinetto del Monte Oppio

This tiny little patch of greenery offers probably the best view of the Colosseum. I have walked past here in the middle of the day, and even then it is usually been void of snap-happy tourists;

Best views in Rome

3. Ponte Umberto I

If you have ever googled ‘Pictures of Rome’, this is most likely one of the very first images to pop up. Not surprising as this viewpoint is easy to find, accessible to everyone and offers an awesome Rome view.

When to go: Personally, I prefer to come here around sunset, as the sky behind Saint Peter’s Basilica turns all kinds of pink on a clear day.

Alternative viewpoint: Take the stairs down and walk along the Tiber River. The banks of the river offer tons of beautiful photography points of Castel Sant’ Angelo and Saint Peter’s Basilica, especially between Ponte Umberto I and the Sant Angelo Bridge.

2. Janiculum Hill

It took me 4 trips to Rome before I made the hike up the Janiculum. While it is slightly further out than the other viewpoints, it offers a long stretch of mesmerizing views from a variety of different viewpoints.

Where to go: The most popular viewpoint is the Belvedere del Gianicolo, continue left along the Passeggiata del Gianicolo towards a second viewpoint called Muro delle Constituzione Roman, continue walking down the Passeggiate del Gianicolo, past the Janiculum lighthouse and towards the Porta Santarelli.

Here you will find a small patch of greenery, with a few benches and a small kiosk selling refreshments. This is my absolute favorite spot in all of Rome! The above images were taken from this location, with a 300 mm telephoto lens.

When to go: Sunrise is the best time to go here as the sun will rise on this side of the hill spreading a beautiful soft glow over the city and the monuments.

NEARBY | The expansive botanical gardens are located at the foot of the Janiculum Hill and spread out until just under the Janiculum viewpoint. In fact, they also offer great views over the city, with much lesser crowds.

Viewpoint in Rome
Top view of Rome city skyline with Colosseum and Roman Forum in Italy

1. Top of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Altare della Patria)

Opening Hours: Daily 9.30 am to 07.30 pm (last entrance 6.45 pm). Hours subject to change in winter.
Entrance Fee: Free, unless you want to take the panoramic elevator to the top

That brings us down to number one. The gargantuan Altare delle Patria brings the most iconic landmarks of Rome together in one single view. Located on Piazza Venetia, the monumental white building is impossible to miss.

The best views are found at the very top of the monument (known as Terrazza delle Quadrighe). This part of the monument is only accessible by taking the panoramic elevator. Tickets are pretty pricy at €16 (US$ 17).

5 Rooftop bars with views of Rome

There are a lot of rooftop bars in Rome and it seems more and more pop up every time I visit the city. Please keep in mind that these views tend to come at a premium, expect to pay between €15 and €30 for a cocktail.

GOOD TO KNOW | Aperitivo time is usually between 5.30 pm and 9 pm

TIP | Make sure to book a table in advance, many of the more popular rooftop bars tend to fill up days in advance.

5. Terrazza delle 5 lune

Location: Via Giuseppe Zanardelli, 23 – 00186 – Rome
Opening Hours: Check rooftop bar website (Italian only)

The Terazza delle 5 Lune is a relatively unknown rooftop bar in Rome and this is clearly reflected in the competitive pricing. If you come after 6 pm, they offer an aperitivo menu which includes Aperol Spritz+ an assortment of sliced pizza for the competitive price of €18 (US$ 20).

We walked inside without a reservation and there were but a few tables taken. There was no elevator available when we visited, meaning this rooftop bar is not accessible for travelers with limited mobility.

Rooftop Bar rome
Otium Rooftop Bar. Image courtesy of Otium Hotel

4. Otium Rooftop Bar

Location: Via d’Aracoeli, 11 – 00186 Rome
Opening Hours: Check Rooftop Bar Website

We were invited for drinks at Otium Rooftop Bar by local friends and the views did anything but disappoint. The rooftop bar is located on the top floor of the Otium Hotel and provides panoramic views over the Altar of the Fatherland and the Campidoglio.

It provides great views of Rome, in a remarkably laid-back environment. Prices of drinks however are on the higher end starting at €25 (US$ 28) for a cocktail, they do tend to come with nibbles on the side. The Rooftop Bar is also open for non-hotel guests looking to enjoy breakfast with a view. Booking a table in advance is essential for both breakfast and aperitivo.

BOOK THE HOTEL: Otium (sometimes spelled Otivm) hotel is a small 4-star hotel smack in the center of Rome. Rooms have been recently renovated and guests have guaranteed access to the rooftop bar.

Hotel with View Rome
Image courtesy of Hotel Fontana

3. Hotel Fontana

Location: Piazza di Trevi, 96 – 00187 – Rome
Opening Hours: Check hotel website

Hotel Fontana is located right opposite the Fontana di Trevi and has recently become increasingly popular thanks to social media. On the third floor of the hotel, you will find a rooftop bar that offers a selection of cocktails and small bites to eat.

When we visited Rome in May, the panoramic rooftop bar was open for non-hotel guests for limited hours during the afternoon only (03.00 pm to 07.00 pm). It was not possible to reserve a table in advance.

Alternatively: If you want a little splurge AirBnb has an apartment available overlooking the Fontana di Trevi. You can book the accommodation and have probably the best view of Fontana di Trevi all to yourself.

BOOK THE HOTEL: The hotel itself is mediocre at best, but the views of the Fontana di Trevi make up a lot. It is also half the price of the above-mentioned AirBnb. If views and location are your priority for your stay in Rome, check out Hotel Fontana.

Restaurants with a view Rome
Image courtesy of Terazza Les Etoiles

2. Terazza Les Etoiles

Location: Via Dei Bastoni, 1 – 00193 – Rome
Opening Hours: Check Rooftop Bar Website

When one thinks of rooftop bars in Rome, Terazza Les Etoiles will oftentimes come up. Not surprisingly, the 360° panoramic views over the Vatican and Castel Sant’Angelo are absolutely unparalleled. The extraordinary good service is the cherry on top of the very good-looking sundae.

Prior reservations are a must and can be done online. Alcoholic beverages start around €18 (US$ 20) while the aperitivo menu (drinks & nibbles) is €45 (US$ 50) per person.

Rooftop Bars in Rome The Court Rome
Image courtesy of The Court Rome

1. The Court Rome

Location: Via Labicana, 125 – 00184 – Roma
Opening Hours: Check Hotel Website
Good to know: The cocktail bar has a dress code for guests (smart casual)

If you are looking for THE best view of the Colosseum in Rome it is without a doubt The Court. This very trendy cocktail bar is located on the ground floor of the Manfredi Hotel, which also houses the Michelin-star restaurant Aroma.

I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about Aroma (overpriced, impossible to book), therefore if you are looking for an iconic Rome view, I would suggest making a beeline for The Court cocktail bar instead. Drinks start at €20 (US$ 22) and are usually served with finger food for Aperitivo. Booking in advance is strongly recommended.

Hotels in Rome With a view

Want to wake up with views of the beautiful skyline, Rome has a few absolutely spectacular hotels that cater to that exact demand. It is noteworthy to mention that these hotels command a premium price.

Hotel with view over Colosseum Rome
Palazzo Manfredi
courtesy of Booking.com


The very best place to go in Rome with a view! Waking up to see the magnificent Colosseum right in front of your window. This is a boutique luxury 5-star hotel.

Hotels with a view in Rome
NH Collection Roma Fori Imperiali:
Courtesy of booking.com


This 5-star hotel has panoramic views over the Roman Forum from both its rooftop bar as well as the luxurious rooms. The perfect picture spot from Rome, right outside your bedroom window!

Hotel with View in Rome il Palazzetto
Il Palazzetto:
Courtesy of booking.com


Considerably more budget-friendly than the aforementioned hotel recommendations, but equally awesome location and views. This 4-star boutique hotel is tucked away right next to the Spanish Steps.

Map of the Various Viewpoints in Rome

Click on the interactive Google Map to find all these epic Rome views. The red pins are the viewpoints, the yellow pins indicate rooftop bars and the purple pins are the hotels with a view.

Map of best views in Rome
Best view in Rome mapped out

The Very Best Views in Rome

The best view over Rome really depends on what you are looking for. If you wanted an awesome (free) spot to catch the sunrise, head out early to Janiculum Hill.

The swankiest rooftop bar is Terazza Les Etoiles or the Court Rome, both wonderful for sunset. Or alternatively, buy yourself a Peroni beer in the local supermarket and watch the sunset from Belvedere Tarpeo on Capitoline Hill.

First-timers in Rome will not want to miss the views from Palatine Hill. Get yourself a combi ticket to visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and the sprawling Palatine Hill. The vistas you will see her look straight out of a postcard.

20 Best Views in Rome: Incl Map + Rooftop Bars


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20 Best Views in Rome: Incl Map + Rooftop Bars
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Caroline Muller

Thanks for dropping in! My name is Caroline, and I am a full-time writer & photographer. With this blog, I hope to harness the power of travel to do good in the world. Think connecting with local cultures, sustainable tourism, and in-depth guides to known and lesser-known adventures. Adventure awaits!

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