Rome is a very popular tourist destination thanks to its historical, cultural and culinary delights. The capital of Italy is packed with attractions to entice any tourist – from Ancient Roman monuments to modern art galleries and experimental cuisines.
This popularity has, however, made the city incredibly touristy. One way to beat this is to organize a tour. These can often allow you to beat the enormous queues in Rome and often provide insight you will not get elsewhere.
Here are 15 of the best tours you can take whilst in Rome.
1. Rome: Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour
Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing buses are popular with tourists in cities across the world – and Rome is no exception.
Rome is a huge city, so rather than getting sore feet from walking too much or forcing yourself to navigate the complicated public transport system, let this open-topped double-decker whisk you around the most popular sites – from the Colosseum to Piazza di Spagna, and even onwards to the Vatican City.
All of the main hits are covered on this, making it a great option for your first day.
2. Crypts & Catacombs Tour with Bone Chapel Visit
Go on an amazing underground tour and explore the catacombs and crypts beneath the streets of Rome.
You will learn a lot about the ‘hidden’ history of the city and their people.
3. Skip the Line: Colosseum and Ancient Rome Walking Tour
Rome – once the center of the Roman Empire – is full of fascinating archaeological sites that are thousands of years old.
Unfortunately, because these sites are so popular with tourists, it can often take a while to get in. This tour allows you to skip the line and get into the Colosseum at a pre-arranged time.
It does cost a little extra than regular entry tickets, but it is well worth it to give yourself more free time to explore the rest of Rome.
After the Colosseum, you are also offered a walking tour of Ancient Rome, where you can learn more about the history.
4. Rome: 4 Hour Food Tour by Night
No visit to Italy is complete without indulging in the food. Italians are very proud of their local produce and have a strict set of rules that define how and when you can eat and drink certain things.
This tour takes you on a nighttime walk around some of the most interesting foodie havens in the city, as well as the more established restaurants. You are given samples of food and wine, as well as some of the local produce as it is prepared by locals.
With over 20 tastings, you are also imparted with knowledge on how to spot the best cuisine and what the rules are around eating it.
5. Rome: Pasta and Tiramisu Workshop with Dinner
Would you rather learn how to make your own Italian feast to continue the experience when you get back home?
There are hundreds of great pasta making workshops across the country and this is one of the best. Not only do you learn how to make the pasta from scratch – mixing and cutting it into the freshest noodles you will ever taste – you are also shown how to create tiramisu.
Once finished you can choose your own pasta sauce – which the restaurant prepares for you – and enjoy your creations with a glass of wine specially selected to compliment the sauce you have chosen.
6. Rome: Pantheon Express Guided Tour
The Pantheon is one of the most well-preserved monuments from Ancient Rome and is free to the public.
If you would like to get a better idea of the history behind the building and its place in modern Rome, you can book this forty minute tour that will guide you around the grounds of the building as well as give you detailed information once you are inside.
You will also be shown the tombs of some of the most important Romans in history, all of whom are laid to rest in the Pantheon.
7. Rome: Borghese Gallery with Optional Guided Tour
The Borghese Gallery is located inside the Villa Borghese Pinciana. The building itself is a fantastic example of Renaissance architecture, designed by renowned architect Flaminio Ponzio.
The building now hosts some of Italy’s most valuable artworks, including works by Caravaggio, Bernini, and Canova.
This tour gives you skip-the-line entry into the gallery, as well as a special guided tour to help you understand the works more in depth. You will also be given entrance into a special Bernini exhibition.
8. 35-Minute Rome Pantheon Audio Guide Tour
If you would rather explore the Pantheon at your own pace but still want additional information about the building and what lies inside, this audio guide tour is a fantastic option.
It talks about the ancient history of the building as a pagan temple and its eventual transformation into a Catholic church.
There are 15 different listening points around the Pantheon where you will be instructed to play your audio guide. This allows you to pick and choose the most important parts for you, and spend longer in areas that you wish to give more attention to.
9. Rome: Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition
Leonardo da Vinci is an incredible artist who is famous the world over. His works cover a variety of mediums, and this special exhibition aims to do justice to his multiple talents.
You get the opportunity not just to look at some of his pieces, but also to play with some of his inventions. The exhibition uses multimedia techniques to provide a real treat to the senses and help you gain an in-depth idea of the man himself.
This activity allows you to skip the line and also provides you with additional information about everything inside. There are options for fully guided tours.
10. Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Package
The area around the Colosseum is home to other interesting Ancient Roman sites – including the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
These all charge entry fees and usually come with large queues from tourists leaving the Colosseum, so booking a tour can be an excellent way not only to beat these queues but also to gain further information on the unique monuments.
This is one of the best options if your main reason for visiting Rome is to learn about ancient history.
11. Rome: Half Day Vespa Tour With Private Driver
There aren’t many things more romantic than winding through the streets of Italy on a Vespa.
This tour gives you your own private Vespa driver, as you ride through Rome and learn about the history, culture and, of course, cuisine. Your driver will pick you up from your hotel and drop you off.
You will sample some of Rome’s finest gelato, as well as have time for a small coffee break. Tours are fully licensed and a raincoat is included just in case the weather changes.
12. Rome: Food and Wine Half Day Tour
This day tour is another great way to experience Roman cuisine at its finest, with a particular focus on foods that go well with wine and what wine you should drink with them.
It takes you through two of Rome’s biggest food destinations – Campo de’Fiori and Trastevere. The first part of the tour focuses on local street food, while the second part allows you to experience a true Italian restaurant complete with wine pairings.
This tour focuses on local Italian eateries – called trattorias – so you know you are eating the way real Romans do. No food tour is complete, of course, without some authentic Italian gelato.
13. Rome: Cooking Class in Mama’s Kitchen
The best food in Italy is not in the restaurants – it is in the homes of real Italians.
As with other countries across the world, Italian mums have become synonymous with good food; this class focuses on teaching you how to cook like a real Italian Mama.
You will be taken to an authentic market, shown how to best prepare ingredients using recipes passed down through generations of Italians, and finally get the opportunity to enjoy your own creations at a leisurely pace. A glass of wine is provided with your food.
14. Opera Serenades by Night in Rome
Italy is also well known for its opera music; this experience gives you the opportunity to take in some of the best examples of the traditional music form.
Verdi, Rossini, and Puccini are all included, as well as some other composers which vary from night to night. Before the concert, you will be given a private tour of Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.
Here, you will discover the private art collection contained within the palace and gain an insight into the life of the princess who lived here centuries ago.
15. Rome: Capuchin Crypt & Museum Tour with Choral Concert
Get a more macabre insight into Rome’s history with a visit to the Capuchin Crypt. These fascinating burial sites are decorated with bones from over 4000 monks, creating a dramatic and eerie vibe.
It is also a surprising place to learn about the early history of Christianity – which was once thought to be a cult.
Finish off the tour with a look at artworks by Caravaggio and Domenichino, and then listen to a stunning choral concert in the neighboring basilica.