Rome is one of the most photogenic cities on the planet and its beauty is a traveller's dream! From ancient monuments and buildings of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, to the squares of Rome, which are full of charm.
The capital of Italy must be enjoyed at your own pace and doing so from one of its viewpoints is the best way to capture the soul of the Eternal City with your camera. Take note, because contemplating it from the heights is one of the things to do in Rome.
1. St. Peter's Dome
One of the great attractions of the Vatican City is to visit St. Peter's Basilica and, of course, to contemplate the beautiful views from the immense dome of St. Peter's over the city of Rome.
An entrance fee is required to see the scenery from here, but I assure you that the experience is worth it. You can't leave without seeing the breathtaking view of St. Peter's Square, Bernini's sculptures on the Colonnade, St. Angelo's Castle, the orange rooftops of Rome and the dome itself inside.
The best time to climb St. Peter's dome is early in the morning, when it is quiet and the city is calm. The atmosphere is breathtaking and awe-inspiring!
- Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Vatican City. You can take advantage of the tour and discover the other attractions of the Vatican City.
- How to get there: By metro, line A to the station Ottaviano-S. Pietro station. Check out this guide to Rome's metro so you don't get lost in the city.
- Opening hours: St Peter's Basilica is open Monday to Friday, between 7am and 7pm (6pm in winter). Find out everything you need to know about St. Peter's Basilica in this post.
- Price: You can climb the dome of St. Peter's by booking a guided tour of the Basilica from €49.
2. Castel Sant'Angelo
From the upper terrace of Castel Sant'Angelo, a fortress near the Vatican, you will have spectacular panoramic views of the city, the Tiber River, St. Peter's Basilica, the "passetto" (the corridor that connects to the Vatican) and a different perspective of the castle itself from the one we normally have from the ground walking through the surrounding streets.
To access the viewpoint and the rest of the building you must purchase a ticket for the Castel Sant'Angelo. If you want to enjoy one of the best views of Rome from the terrace, I recommend you visit the monument on the way, as what was originally the Mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian has served as a military fortification, papal residence, prison and museum over the years. Behind its walls lies a lot of interesting stories!
When you leave Castel Sant'Angelo, I advise you to go to the Umberto I bridge (it will only take you 10 more minutes) because from there you have a very nice, but not so well known view of the Vatican with the great dome in the background and the Sant'Angelo bridge in the foreground. You will get some amazing pictures!
- Address: Lungotevere Castello, 50.
- How to get there: By bus, lines 23, 34, 49, 49, 64, 87, 280, 492, 926 and 990.
- Opening hours: Every day of the week, from 9:00 to 19:30. You can find more information about Castel Sant'Angelo in this post.
- Don't miss it because....: Castel Sant'Angelo is considered one of the best monuments in Rome.
3. The Pincio Terrace
The Pincio hill is one of the most visited in Rome thanks to its spectacular panoramic terrace that overlooks the monumental Piazza del Popolo and from which you can see not only this enclave in the front line, but also the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, Castel Sant'Angelo, the monument to King Victor Emmanuel II and some of the best monuments of Rome.
This viewpoint has one of the best views of the Eternal City! Already in the 19th century the Roman aristocracy loved to go to this park to enjoy the spectacular panorama of Rome, especially at sunset. In fact, watching the sunset from the Pincio hill in the company of someone special is one of the most romantic moments you can experience during your stay in Rome.
The Pincio hill terrace can be reached by climbing a monumental staircase from the Spanish Steps or through Piazza del Popolo itself, (north of Rome) taking the stairs on the left until you reach the beginning of the park of the Villa Borghese gardens. In fact, it is a good stop to make before visiting the Borghese Gallery.
- Address: Salita del Pincio, 00187 Rome.
- How to get there: Walk from Piazza di Spagna or Piazza del Popolo.
- What to do next: Visiting the gardens of Villa Borghese is the best plan after touring the Pincio terrace.
- Don't miss it because.........: The Pincio terrace is considered one of the most romantic moments in Rome.
4. The terrace of the Palatine Hill
From the terrace of the Palatine Hill, the most central of Rome's 7 hills, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Roman Forum- the same view the Roman emperors had!
The Palatine Hill is one of the oldest parts of the city and is considered the birthplace of Italy's capital. Take a look at this natural viewpoint to see the remains of these fabulous ancient buildings that have withstood the centuries and are still standing today.
Visit the terrace of the Palatine Hill to enjoy incredible views of the Colosseum, the Triumphal arches, the temples and basilicas or the House of the Vestals and imagine for a moment what Rome would have been like two millennia ago. Walking among those millenary stones is an indescribable emotion, you have to experience it!
- Address: Via di San Gregorio, 30.
- How to get there: By metro, line B, Colosseum station.
- Don't miss it because....: From the Palatine Hill you will be able to see the Colosseum and other impressive Roman archaeological remains.
5. The viewpoint of the Trinità dei Monti
Climbing the monumental staircase that leads to the church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti in the centre of Rome you will find a viewpoint that opens in front of the temple from where you will have a very cool view and a different perspective of the always busy Spanish Steps with the Fountain of the Barge in front of it. One of the most frequented places by tourists and Romans alike, you will be familiar with it from the many times it has appeared in the cinema.
It is almost a tradition to sit on the steps to observe the lively atmosphere of the square, take some photos and rest for a while.
A very interesting option to get to the Trinità dei Monti viewpoint is to hire a tour of Rome's fountains and squares, thanks to which you will not only be able to enjoy the beautiful views from this viewpoint, but also see the Trevi Fountain, the Barcaccia Fountain or the Quattro Fiumi Fountain, among others.
- Address: Piazza di Spagna.
- How to get there: By metro, line A, station Spagna, or on foot on the Fountains and Squares of Rome tour.
- Don't miss it because...: on the way you will pass by emblematic Roman squares such as Piazza di Spagna or Piazza del Popolo.
6. The Gianicolo
The Gianicolo hill is another of Rome's most special vantage points to enjoy the views of the city given the great height at which it is located (85 metres above sea level!). It is considered the eighth hill of the city and is a very pleasant area for a stroll.
Located above the Trastevere neighbourhood, its terrace ends in a great viewpoint from where you can contemplate all the beauty of Rome: from dozens of churches in the city to the monument to King Victor Emmanuel II and the dome of the Pantheon of Rome. Not even the statue of Garibaldi, located on the Gianicolo hill overlooking the city, wants to miss such magnificent views.
And while you go to the Gianicolo to enjoy the scenery, take the opportunity to visit other interesting sites at the top such as the church of San Pietro in Montorio, the Manfredi Lighthouse or the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola.
- Address: via Garibaldi, Salita di Sant'Onofrio, 00165 Roma
- How to get there: By bus, line 870
- Don't miss it because...: you will be able to see the Pantheon of Rome almost from a bird's eye view.
7. The terrace of the Monument to King Victor Emmanuel II
The Monument to King Victor Emmanuel II is a controversial building as its construction required the demolition of several buildings in an old Renaissance square and because of its colossal dimensions, the Romans felt that the "Vittoriano" did not fit its location.
However, it has now become a fantastic vantage point from which you will have some of the best views of Rome at a height of 70 metres. To go up to the upper terrace, at the level of the quadrigas, you will have to take one of the panoramic lifts that leave the terrace at the level of the colonnade.
From the top you will be able to see 360º panoramic views of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, the Trajan Column, the Imperial Forums or the Via del Corso.
- Address: via Garibaldi, Salita di Sant'Onofrio, 00165 Roma.
- How to get there: By bus, lines C3, 30, 80, 83, 85, 160 and 170.
- Don't miss it because ....: You will have spectacular views of the Roman Forum and The Colosseum.
8. The Campidoglio viewpoint
From the Campidoglio viewpoint you will have one of the best views of Rome and one of the most photogenic views of the Roman Forum from a different perspective with the Temple of Saturn in the foreground and the Colosseum on the horizon. Take your camera with you because you won't be able to stop taking pictures!
The Campidoglio viewpoint, behind the Palazzo Senatorio to the right of the Tabularium, is often crowded, especially in the late afternoon when the Roman Forum lighting is switched on, so try to go a little earlier to get a good spot.
- Address: Piazza del Campidoglio.
- How to get there: By metro, line B, Colosseum station.
- Don't miss it because...: you will be able to enjoy one of the most unique views of the Roman Forum.
9. The Orange Garden
Tucked away in a small corner of the Aventine Hill, the Orangery is a park tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the centre of Rome where you will find a haven of peace, ideal for a break to recharge your batteries while enjoying one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the capital.
Upon arrival you will find a beautiful entrance with a fountain and a path surrounded by pine trees will lead you to the panoramic terrace from where you will see the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, the Trastevere neighbourhood, Piazza Venezzia and the rest of Rome at your feet.
If you decide to visit the Orange Garden, I recommend you go at sunset because the atmosphere is magical. And don't forget to have a picnic because you will want to stay there for a long time contemplating the scenery and the beautiful play of colours that the sky of Rome is tinged with during sunset.
- Address: Piazza Pietro D'Illiria, 00153 Rome RM, Italy
- How to get there: By metro, line B, Circo Massimo station.
- Don't miss it because...: on the way you will see beautiful views of the Baths of Caracalla, the Forum with the Monument to King Victor Emmanuel II or the Tiber Island, which will delight photography lovers in the Eternal City.
10. The lock of the Order of Malta
Close to the Orange Garden, on the Aventine Hill, one of the 7 hills of Rome, is the seat of the Order of the Knights of Malta, which has one of the best views of Rome. It is the lock of the entrance gate to the estate of the Priory of Malta, through which there are very original views of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica at the back of a gallery of hedges.
Moreover, the curious thing about this peculiar viewpoint is that when you look out over the landscape, from this lock you will be seeing three states at the same time. Yes, just as you read it! From here you can see Italy, the Vatican and the Order of Malta (the only state without a country in the world). Isn't it extraordinary?
Unfortunately for tourists, the garden of the Order of the Knights of Malta cannot be visited, but at least you can get a unique view of St. Peter's Basilica. Come to this viewpoint after going to the Garden of Orange Trees - it will leave you speechless!