Holy Sites Walking Tour, Rome

Being the cradle of the Catholic Church, one of the world's biggest religions, Rome has a large number of valuable, sacred places of worship. Crowded with architectural splendors from different periods of time, each church and basilica represents a significant part of Rome's culture and history. Take the following tour to discover Rome's magnificent religious heritage.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Holy Sites Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Holy Sites Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Rome (See other walking tours in Rome)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 km
Author: audrey
Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran

1) Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran (must see)

The Basilica of Saint John Lateran was constructed in the 4th century BC and is the first church to be built in Rome. This cathedral is the official ecclesiastical seat of the Pope, and as such is the oldest and foremost building of the four Papal Basilicas. Although it is located outside the Vatican City, it has extraterritorial status because it belongs to the Holy See.

The basilica was built on the site of a fort put up by Septimus Severus in 193AD, the remains of which lie beneath the nave. During the early Roman Empire the rest of the site was occupied by the Laterani – the emperors’ administrators. When the Basilica was finished it became the seat of the Pope and known as the Mother Church of the whole Catholic world. It holds the Papal cathedra and is more important than St Peter’s Basilica. During the Avignon Papacy St John Lateran fell into disrepair and was twice damaged by fire. When the papacy returned to Italy, the basilica was in no state to receive the pope, in spite of renovations, and the Pontiff settled in the Palace of the Vatican.

The basilica has been renovated over the centuries and its present facade dates back to the 18th century. On the roof are statues of Christ and the Apostles. The central bronze doors come from the ancient Roman imperial forum. Beside the doors is a statue of Constantine I. The cosmatesque floor of the nave dates back to the 14th century and was fashioned by Colonna. The statues of the Apostles in the nave were sculpted in the 18th century. 17th century bas reliefs depict scenes from the Old Testament and the Altar of the Holy Sacrament is a table believed to have been used during the Last Supper.

Why You Should Visit:
Filled with the history of the early Catholic Church; splendid in its architecture, light, and artwork.

The archbasilica is free to enter.
There is also a cloister behind it, for which you'll be charged a small fee, but you will get to tour a random range of true antiquities dating to pre-Roman times, together with some odd Catholic relics.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-6:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Basilica of Saint Clement

2) Basilica of Saint Clement (must see)

The Basilica of Saint Clement (Italian: 'Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano') is a Roman Catholic minor basilica dedicated to Pope Clement I, one of the most richly decorated minor basilicas in Rome. You will find it not far from the Colosseum, on Piazza St Clement. Archaeologically speaking, the structure is a three-tiered complex of buildings: (1) the present basilica built just before the year 1100 during the height of the Middle Ages; (2) beneath the present basilica is a 4th-century basilica that had been converted out of the home of a Roman nobleman, part of which had in the 1st century briefly served as an early church, and the basement of which had in the 2nd century briefly served as a mithraeum; (3) the home of the Roman nobleman had been built on the foundations of a republican era building that had been destroyed in the Great Fire of 64 AD.

In the 1st century AD the house of the Roman Consul Titus Flavius Clemens stood on the site of the basilica. In the cellars of the house was a Mithraeum with an altar shaped like a sarcophagus bearing a relief of Mithras slaying a bull, a bust of the god Sol and a statuette of Mithras. These relics can still be seen in the crypt of the church. In the 4th century, the first basilica was built on the site of Titus Flavius’ house, dedicated to Pope Clement I. In 1084, the church was destroyed during the Norman sacking of Rome, and a second basilica was constructed in its place. The church has the second largest collection of early medieval wall paintings in Rome. The Episcopal Seat is to be found in the apse, which is extensively decorated in Byzantine arabesque mosaics. In the presbytery, a ciborium, supported by four marble columns, stands over a shrine of Clement, whose tomb is to be found in the crypt below. The beautiful stucco work, frescos and Ionic capitals, as well as the carved, coffered ceilings of the aisle and nave, date back to the 18th century.

Why You Should Visit:
A very interesting glimpse into the ancient past – below street level!

Bring a small flashlight to get a better look at the frescos and wall paintings.
Note that, like other churches, this one is closed from noon to 3pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
San Pietro in Vincoli

3) San Pietro in Vincoli (must see)

The church of San Pietro in Vincoli ('St Peter in Chains') is to be found on the square of the same name and is one of Rome’s many minor basilicas. In 432, a small church was built to house the relics of the chains that the Apostle wore while he was imprisoned in Jerusalem. According to the Acts of the Apostles, the Lord sent an angel who caused the chains binding Peter to fall and then the angel led him from his prison without waking the sleeping guards. Today, the chains are kept in a reliquary under the main altar.

The basilica was constructed around this shrine in 439 by Pope Sixtus II. The building was restored several times over the centuries: by Pope Adrian I in 790, again in the 11th century and once more by Pope Julius II. The front portico, created by Pontelli, was added in 1475. In 1493, Sangallo installed the cloister.

Once again restored in the 18th century by Fontana, the coffered ceiling with its central fresco depicting the “Miracle of the Chains” was executed by Parodi. You can admire two paintings by Guercino, one of St Augustine and the other of St Margaret, and the monument of Cardinal Girolamo Agucchi by Domenichino, who also painted the fresco of the “Liberation of St Peter” in the sacristy.

The item that makes this church one of the most visited minor basilicas in Rome is the magnificent statue “Moses”, sculpted by Michelangelo in around 1505. It was commissioned by Pope Julius II, who intended it to be part of his funerary monument, along with various other religious figures. Unfortunately for the syphilitic pope, the master artist was occupied with repainting the Sistine Chapel and the monumental tomb was never realized. San Pietro in Vincoli inherited “Moses” and Pope Julius II was buried in St Peter’s Basilica.

Why You Should Visit:
Understated exterior, incredible interior; a Michelangelo must-see.

Entry is free.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-12:20pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

4) Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (must see)

The Papal Basilica of St Mary Major is one of the four ancient major basilicas and the largest Marian church in Rome. According to legend, Mary, the mother of Christ, appeared in a dream to Pope Liberius in August of 356 and told him to build a church in a place where a miracle would take place. The next day, news of a strange snowfall on Esquiline Hill was announced to the Pope and he hurried to the top of the hill to sketch in the snow the design for the new church.

The present basilica was constructed nearly a century later, commissioned by Pope Sixtus III, and although the facade was renovated in the 15th century, the interior still bears the original 5th century mosaics in the nave, depicting Moses leading his people out of Egypt and the Egyptians being drowned as they tried to follow him across the Red Sea.

The Triumphal Arch, raised to Pope Sixtus III, dates back to the 5th century, but other decorations, such as the cosmatesque pavement by Paparone, the Nativity scene by Di Cambio and the coffered wooden ceiling by Sangallo, are from the 13th and 14th centuries.

The church has numerous chapels, commissioned by various popes, cardinals and noblemen. The most beautiful is the cappella sistina – not to be confused with the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City.

In 2001, Pope John Paul II inaugurated the Basilica Museum, dedicated to the history of the museum and the spread of Catholicism throughout the world. Here you will see ecclesiastical paintings, ritual vestments, scores from the choir and manuscripts detailing church events.

Why You Should Visit:
Ordinary outside and jaw-dropping inside.
Magnificent interior, especially the ceiling.

Make sure not to miss the small tours of the church’s treasures.
It is worth the money to go to the balcony loggia area as well, since you get to see more of this beautiful church.
At night, you can sit by the fountain and enjoy the view all lit up!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Maria degli Angeli

5) Santa Maria degli Angeli (must see)

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs (Italian: 'Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri') is a titular basilica church in Rome, built inside the frigidarium of the Baths of Diocletian in the Piazza della Repubblica. The basilica is dedicated to Christian martyrs, known and unknown. By a brief dated 27 July 1561, Pius IV ordered the church "built", to be dedicated to the Beatissimae Virgini et omnium Angelorum et Martyrum ("the Most Blessed Virgin and all the Angels and Martyrs"). Impetus for this dedication had been generated by the account of a vision experienced in the ruins of the Baths in 1541 by a Sicilian monk, Antonio del Duca, who had been lobbying for decades for papal authorization of a more formal veneration of the Angelic Princes. A story that these Martyrs were Christian slave labourers who had been set to constructing the Baths is modern. It was also a personal monument of Pope Pius IV, whose tomb is in the apsidal tribune that culminates the series of spaces.

Why You Should Visit:
A mysterious and fascinating place, which also houses some fine contemporary works.

Don't miss the chapel within the chapel, and the thornless rose garden with its interesting story.

Opening Hours:
Sun: 6:45am-12:45pm; Sun-Sat: 2:30pm-7:30pm; Mon-Sat: 6:15am-12:45pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains

6) Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains

The Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains (Italian: Chiesa di San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane also called San Carlino) is a Roman Catholic church in Rome. The church was designed by the architect Francesco Borromini and it was his first independent commission. It is an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture, built as part of a complex of monastic buildings on the Quirinal Hill for the Spanish Trinitarians, an order dedicated to the freeing of Christian slaves. He received the commission in 1634, under the patronage of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, whose palace was across the road. However, this financial backing did not last and subsequently the building project suffered various financial difficulties. It is one of at least three churches in Rome dedicated to San Carlo, including San Carlo ai Catinari and San Carlo al Corso.

The monastic buildings and the cloister were completed first after which construction of the church took place during the period 1638-1641 and in 1646 it was dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo. Although the idea for the serpentine facade must have been conceived fairly early on, probably in the mid-1630s, it was only constructed towards the end of Borromini's life and the upper part was not completed until after the architect's death. The site for the new church and its monastery was at the south-west corner of the "Quattro Fontane" which refers to the four corner fountains set on the oblique at the intersection of two roads, the Strada Pia and the Strada Felice. Bernini's oval church of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale would later be built further along the Strada Pia.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

7) Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola (must see)

The Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola at Campus Martius (Italian: 'Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola in Campo Marzio') is a Roman Catholic titular church dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, located in Rome. Built in Baroque style between 1626 and 1650, the church functioned originally as the chapel of the adjacent Roman College, that moved in 1584 to a new larger building and was renamed the Pontifical Gregorian University.

The church has a Latin cross plan with numerous side chapels. The building was inspired by the Jesuit mother church, the Church of the Gesu in Rome (finished in the late 16th century). The imposing order of Corinthian pilasters that rings the entire interior, the theatrical focus on the high altar at the rear of the broad eastern apse, the church's colored marbles, animated stucco figural relief, richly ornamented altars, extensive gilding, and bold Tromp l’oeil paintings in the "dome" at its crossing and in the nave ceiling all produce a festive, sumptuous effect. The church stages the triumph of its dedication most effectively.

The nave's west wall has a sculptural group showing Magnificence and Religion (1650) by Alessandro Algardi. Algardi also helped design the high reliefs in stucco that run on both lateral nave walls just above the entries to the chapels and beneath the nave's grandiose entablature. Other artworks in the church include a huge stucco statue of St. Ignatius by Camillo Rusconi (1728). A chapel holds a glass coffin with a portrait of Cardinal Bellarmino (died 1621).

Why You Should Visit:
A magnificent church with elegant altars, frescoes, sculptures, and a spectacular dome.
You will probably get a stiff neck from gaping at the ceiling for impressive amounts of time.

The church is facing one of the nicest piazzas in Rome, the Piazza di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola, which alone is worth visiting.

Opening Hours:
Sun: 9am-7pm; Mon-Sat: 7:30am-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

8) Pantheon (must see)

The Pantheon is one of Rome’s most famous buildings, and its dome and columns have been inspiring architects for centuries. The original temple, commissioned in 27BC by Marcus Agrippa, after the Battle of Actium, was destroyed in an earthquake. In 126 AD Emperor Hadrian commissioned a new temple dedicated to “pan theos” – all the gods. The temple was restored by Emperors Septimus Severus and Caracalla in the 3rd century.

The immense dome is over 48 meters high with a central oculus of 8 meters in diameter, which provided the only light in the circular temple below. The massive bronze doors weigh over 20 tons each. The portico has 16 white marble columns. The temple housed statues to the gods and animal sacrifices were carried out under the oculus.

As Christianity spread throughout Rome, the temple fell into disrepair, and in 356, when public pagan worship was outlawed it seemed that the temple might be destroyed as many others were. Luckily it was saved and it 408 it became a secular building. In 609 Pope Boniface IV had it consecrated as a Christian church – the first pagan temple to be transformed in Rome – and dedicated it to St Mary and all the Martyrs. An altar was placed in the apse, surrounded by golden mosaic depicting crosses.

Between 667 and the 16th century, the church was vandalized and robbed several times. The gold roof tiles were stolen and replaced by bronze tiles, which in their turn were removed for use in Bernini’s baldacchino in St Peter’s Basilica.

The walls of the Pantheon are filled with monumental tombs, including that of the artist Raphael. On the altar is an original 17th-century icon of the Madonna and Child; to the right of the apse are the remains of 2nd-century decorations and to the right of the entrance is Melozzo de Foli’s 15th century “Annunciation”.

Why You Should Visit:
Italian baroque meets Roman architectural excellence...
Among the world's most amazing free attractions?

Incredible at night (on the outside), especially if you enjoy musicians with talent and engagement... but be aware of pickpockets.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-6pm; Sat: 8:30am-7:30pm; 9am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Maria sopra Minerva

9) Santa Maria sopra Minerva (must see)

Santa Maria sopra Minerva (English: Saint Mary above Minerva) is one of the major churches of the Roman Catholic Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans. The church's name derives from the fact that the first Christian church structure on the site was built directly over (Latin: supra) the ruins or foundations of a temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, which had been erroneously ascribed to the Greco-Roman goddess Minerva.

The church is located in the Piazza della Minerva one block behind the Pantheon in the Pigna rione of Rome, Italy, within the ancient district known as the Campus Martius. The present church and disposition of surrounding structures is visible a detail from the Nolli Map of 1748.

The Minerva has been a titular church since 1557 and a minor basilica since 1566. The church's first titular cardinal was Michele Ghislieri who would become Pope Pius V in 1566 and raise the church to the level of minor basilica that same year. The current Cardinal Priest of the Titulus Sanctae Mariae supra Minervam has been Cormac Murphy-O'Connor since 2001, when he was Archbishop of Westminster, the senior position in the English Catholic church, from which he has since retired.

The church and adjoining convent served at various times throughout its history as the Dominican Order's headquarters. Today the headquarters have been re-established in their original location at the Roman convent of Santa Sabina. While many other medieval churches in Rome have been given Baroque makeovers that cover Gothic structures, the Minerva is the only extant example of an original Gothic church building in Rome. Behind a restrained Renaissance style facade the Gothic interior features arched vaulting that was painted blue with gilded stars and trimmed with brilliant red ribbing in a 19th-century Neo-Gothic restoration.

Among several important works of art in the church are Michelangelo's statue Cristo della Minerva (1521) and the late 15th-century (1488–1493) cycle of frescoes in the Carafa Chapel by Filippino Lippi. The basilica also houses many funerary monuments including the tombs of Doctor of the Church Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), who was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, and the Dominican friar Blessed John of Fiesole (Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, born Guido di Piero) better known as Fra Angelico (c. 1395-1455).

Why You Should Visit:
A real hidden gem just behind the Pantheon, packed full of art, funerary sculpture, and paintings.

At the front of the church stands one of the most curious monuments of Rome, the so-called 'Pulcino della Minerva' (or 'Elephant and Obelisk') designed by Bernini.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7am-7pm; Sat: 10:30am-12:30pm / 3:30pm-7pm; Sun: 8am-12:30pm / 3:30pm-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Great Synagogue of Rome

10) Great Synagogue of Rome

The Great Synagogue of Rome is the largest synagogue in the city. It houses the offices of the Chief Rabbi and also the Jewish Museum. It is a beautiful building and well worth a visit. Life for the Jewish community in Rome, as in so many other countries, was often terribly difficult. Jews started to settle in Rome in the 2nd century BC and established trading centres in the city. Between 63AD and 135AD many Jews were brought to Rome as slaves in the aftermath of the Roman/Judean War.

Made to live in the Roman ghetto for centuries, the Jews were allowed one rather small synagogue. In 1870, after the unification of Italy, the ghetto was demolished and the Jews were granted citizenship. They began to plan the site for their new synagogue and finally settled on Lungotevere Cenci, not far from the River Tiber. The synagogue was constructed between 1901 and 1904 following designs by Vincenzo Costa and Osvaldo Armanni, who chose an Art Deco eclectic style to make it stand out from surrounding buildings. Its aluminum dome is square and a well-known landmark. The interior of the synagogue is delicate and very beautiful, with graceful columns, stained glass windows, with the bimah and six menorahs under the open dome. In the museum you will see fragments of marble from the old synagogue in the ghetto, silver ritual items, jugs, bowls, 15th to 19th century textiles, 19th photos and historical art from the ghetto. There are plaques commemorating the local Jews killed by the Nazis and by the PLO bombing in 1982. Photos are not allowed to be taken inside the synagogue and you will be asked to open any bag you bring with you.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin

11) Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin (must see)

Located at Piazza della Bocca della Verita, the Byzantine style Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin (Italian: Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin or de Schola Graeca) was built in the 6th century, later rebuilt in 1124 and got a new facade in the 18th century. The current interior has a nave with two aisles: these are divided by four pilasters and eighteen ancient columns. In the side walls, some of the old columns of the Statio Annonae are included. Other fragments of the ancient building can be seen in the crypt. Its bell tower is the tallest medieval belfry in Rome.

The church is home to the la Bocca della Verita, an ancient sculpture thought to be a drain covering, located in its portico; but it is worth visiting primarily for its exceptionally well preserved early medieval choir enclosure and its very fine Cosmatesque pavement. The 1st-century sculpture is believed to represent an ancient god of the Tiber River and was originally part of a fountain. It was relocated to Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin in the 17th century.

The Mouth of Truth ('Bocca della Verita'), considered the funniest scene in the movie 'Roman Holiday', is where Joe Bradley puts his hand into the sculpture's mouth at Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin. According to legend, it would nip off the hand of a liar who'd put it in its mouth. In the film, Audrey Hepburn's reaction to the nipped Gregory Peck's hand was not an act, as he decided to pull a gag without telling her beforehand.

Why You Should Visit:
Most people come here to see the 'Bocca della Verita' (for a fee), but do take some time to visit the interior as well – you'll be amazed by the skill and beauty of the mosaic of tiles under your feet.
The exterior has a unique look, with its porches and slender bell tower.

Across from the church is more ancient architecture in a grassy park with a fine fountain.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rome is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" (1953) is a movie, filmed entirely in Rome and beloved by generations of people. Starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, the film won three Oscars, giving Hepburn a boost to her glorious film career. The main storyline centers around a day of freedom in the beautiful Italian capital for an otherwise duty-bound Princess Ann. Take the following tour to live the happiest day of her life in Rome!

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.9 km
City Orientation Walk I

City Orientation Walk I

Rome's glory didn't end with the fall of the Roman empire, it continued as a melting point of culture and creativity for centuries. Today, the city is a fabulous architectural patchwork, a living masterpiece, and a true tribute to its history. The say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and that undoubtedly implies appreciating the enormous historical and architectural richness of the city, often – and rightly so – referred to as “eternal”. Stretching from Colosseum to Trevi Fountain, this walk invites you to explore the most notable attractions of the Italian capital, including the Arch of Constantine, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill and more.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
City Orientation Walk II

City Orientation Walk II

The glory of Ancient Rome is known throughout the entire world and each year millions of tourists travel to Rome to visit its ancient sites. Rome's historic center is packed with so many landmarks and works of art, that it would take days to see it all. The following tour offers you a walk by the most remarkable, must see sites in Rome's ancient center.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Trastevere Walking Tour

Trastevere Walking Tour

Take this tour to explore Trastevere, the 13th rione (district) of Rome, located on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin "trans Tiberim", literally "beyond the Tiber". Although the rione was established during the times of ancient Rome, it grew and formed as a true part of the city in the Middle Ages, as a result it is characterized by narrow, cobbled streets and medieval buildings.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Souvenir Shopping Tour

Souvenir Shopping Tour

It would be a pity to leave Rome without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Rome, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.5 km
Pincian Hill Area Walk

Pincian Hill Area Walk

Pincian Hill, overlooking the Campus Martius, lies outside the original boundaries of the ancient city of Rome. It was not one of the Seven hills of Rome, but it' is located within Aurelian wall. The Hill is home to the Pincio Gardens, an impressive park with terraces offering great views of Rome. Take this tour to explore the Pincian Hill and visit such famous sites as the Galleria Borghese, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna and Bioparco.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

10 Best Food Markets in Rome Italy

10 Best Food Markets in Rome Italy

Of all the things Italy is most famous for (cars, music, fashion, movies, etc.), food is, undoubtedly, top of the list. Rome may well not be the whole Italy, but no Italy is whole without Rome... And the Romans, much as all their fellow-Italians, like it "fresco", hence the abundance of...
Souvenirs Shopping: 15 Authentic Italian Things To Buy in Rome

Souvenirs Shopping: 15 Authentic Italian Things To Buy in Rome

Rome is the Eternal City and, as such, the list of gift options available here is countless. Whether it's something edible, drinkable, wearable or pleasing to the eye that you want - you will find it all here in abundance. However, if time or budget is the factor, perhaps you might want to...
17 Best Gelaterias in Rome Italy

17 Best Gelaterias in Rome Italy

For ice cream lovers and dabblers this guide is a treasure chest of Rome’s best gelato shops. There are gelaterias everywhere. Many visitors to Rome only have a few days to explore the city. You owe it to yourself to make the most of your time and find the gelato locals eat. Often the authentic...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Rome for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Rome has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Rome's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Rome Tourist Card, OMNIA Card, Best of Rome Sightseeing Pass, or Omnia Vatican and Rome Pass.

A city pass combines all of or multiple Rome and Vatican City's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time. Some of them you don't even have to pick up but can scan straight on your phone at any of the city's major attractions/museums!

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Rome hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Corso 281 Luxury Suites, Hotel Cosmopolita, Hotel Piazza Venezia.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Rome, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Rome typically costs from around US$20 up to US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Rome and the Vatican City from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the route.

- Cruise along the river Tiber on a similar hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat to view Rome's top attractions from a different angle and be able to get on and off as often as you want at any of the stops along the Tiber riverbanks. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs) and may be upgraded to include a hop-on hop-off bus tour as well.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 3 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Rome on a 3-hour bike and food tour to visit the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the Eternal City from an informative group leader, plus savor some of the iconic food of the Italian capital.

- Come see all of Roman highlights at a great discount on the Rome Super Saver tour combining two best-selling guided tours for the price of one! Be guaranteed to skip the lines to all the major sights like Colosseum, Roman Forum, and more.

- Take a guided walk to explore Rome's renaissance after the demise of the Roman Empire, learn about the contribution of many popes towards the Eternal City's rise to its present glory. Along with viewing the iconic landmarks, on this tour you will also get a chance to taste Rome's famous gelato (ice-cream).

- Step back in time to the days of the Roman Empire on a 3-hour night tour of Rome to discover the city's top attractions in a different light. Experience Rome's nighttime ambiance amid the twilight and the evening lights adding a romantic touch to the famous sights.

- Explore the artistic trail of Caravaggio in the Italian capital on the Caravaggio walking tour of Rome paying tribute to the great artist's legacy manifested in numerous paintings throughout the city (churches and monuments). Ideal for those on a short visit to Rome and not sure where to start!

- Combine sightseeing with cooking on a 4-hour experience incorporating the “best of Rome” walking tour and the authentic pizza-making class led by a professional Italian pizza chef.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Rome, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like the chic island of Capri, ancient Ostia, Siena and San Gimignano, Assisi and Spoleto, Amalfi сoast, or the ancient city of Pompeii. For as little as US$70+ to US$170+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including gorgeous coastal scenery, historic seaport, charming medieval structures, birthplace of St. Francis, founder of the Franciscan religious order, ancient Roman ruins, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Rome, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned bus, boat or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.