As a city that develops on different small hills on the left and right banks of the River Tiber, Rome has quite a number of panoramic viewpoints. It will take you a while to discover them all, and that’s why I’ve created this guide to the best views in Rome. Have a look at the positions of the viewpoints, get to know a bit of history about each of them and the urban architecture involved, and decide which one suits your itinerary and tastes better. Hillocks were a favorite element of the landscape for the founders of Rome, and for the cultures that have inhabited central Italy for millennia. Let me give you more details about this info in the following paragraph talking about the paramount of Rome’s viewpoints. Do your best to include some of these on your Rome bucket list!
Best views in Rome – panoramic viewpoint in the historical center
1 View on the Roman Forum from the Capitol Square – Campidoglio
The Capitoline hill represented the center of political and religious powers in the first phase of Rome’s history, and since then, it has been considered as the heart of the city. The temples of the most important Roman deities were located on the hill, and the one to Jupiter Optimus Maximus was considered the abode of the state’s power. What you can see now, is the evolution into the impressive Ara Coeli Catholic Church and the Renaissance Square, which was designed by Michelangelo, with the statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius at its center. The latter is what today is known as the Capitoline Square.
How to get here:
Once you’ve climbed the stairs to the Capitol Square and admired the fountain behind the statue, slide right to the balcony with the most captivating view of the Roman Forum (without need for ticket!!!) and Temple of Vespasiano. These are some of the must-see Rome monuments!
The Roman Forum from the Capitoline Hill
2 Terrazza Caffarelli – Caffarelli Terrace
Just behind the no. 1 from this list of the best views in Rome lies The Terrazza Caffarelli, which is the other balcony that overlooks the roofs and domes of Rome’s historic center from the Capitoline Hill. Bonus: a few people go here, it’s incredibly an off-track location right in the heart of Rome.
How to reach there:
From the top of the stairway to the Capitoline Hill, go right without accessing the square along a pleasant rise to the side entrance of the Capitoline Museum, which gives you free access to the terrace. Climb the two stories to the Caffetteria Caffarelli, which owns a part of the terrace. Once you’ve filled your eyes with the view on Rome, and your face with the sunlight, you might want to stay longer and have a coffee at the café which, for its magnificent position, is considered as one of the best coffee places in Rome.
3 Gianicolo Hill – Janiculum Hill
The Gianicolo terrace on the top of the Gianicolo Hill is the iconic spot for the best view in Rome, and undoubtedly local’s favorite! It is easily accessible with a walk from the historical center, but you’ll also find it a really calm and off-the-beaten-path-location. Locals, a few travelers, and cars rarely pass by here. I used to come here as a kid to see and hear the volley cannon fire which shot every day, at exactly at 12, right under the terrace. This is a very romantic spot and perfect for your sunset gazing. There are also a couple of small stalls selling coffee and drinks nearby.
How to get here:
The easiest way to access this location is to walk from Piazza Trilussa in the Trastevere neighborhood through the tree-lined “Passeggiata del Gianicolo” (roughly about 1 km or 0.62 miles). You can also get on bus 115 from Piazza Trilussa to the viewpoint (14 minutes). Besides enjoying the panoramic view, don’t forget to have a look at the Acqua Paola Fountain, at the line of busts portraying Italian patriots. The statue of a soldier on a horse at the center of the square with the terrace represents Giuseppe Garibaldi, a fundamental figure in the period leading to the unification of Italy in 1861.
Monte Mario Hill’s panoramic viewpoint in Rome | Best views in Rome
4 From the Vittoriano Terrace – Altar of the Fatherland
It’s impossible to miss the Vittoriano or Altar of the Fatherland in Rome. The enormous monument occupies one side of the Piazza Venezia and borders the Roman Forum. Don’t be disguised by its classical look; the Vittoriano is often compared with other buildings in Rome’s historic center. The construction works started in the last decades of the 19th Century and celebrated the unification of Italy. There are statues dedicated to the Italian regions and seas and to the virtues. The main attractions are the Galleria del Vittoriano, which hosts major exhibitions, and the three elevators that bring you to the most impressive panoramic terrace in Rome. You’ll have to get a ticket for €10. The elevators are at the 3 entrance gates of the monument in Piazza Venezia, from Via di San Pietro in Carcere, and from the side with the Ara Coeli church.
Curiosity about this monument | The locals don’t like the appearance of the Vittoriano. More ancient buildings were swept away to place the new monument at the heart of the historic center. The name “Vittoriano” comes after Vittorio Emanuele, the 2nd, first king of the unified Italy. But today we usually refer to it as “the typewriter”, because of its shape.
5 View from the Scuderie del Quirinale Terrace
Here, you’ll have another chance to walk off the usual tourist path, and quietly enjoy a panoramic view on Rome’s rooftop and monuments. The Quirinale Palace is the seat of the President of the Italian Republic. You can access the Quirinale Square on the Quirinale Hill (one of the legendary 7 hills of Rome) climbing the wide stairway in Via Dataria, which is only a 5 minutes walk from the Trevi Fountain.
6 View from the Scuderie del Quirinale Museum and Gallery
If you’re feeling like taking a stroll inside one of the best art galleries in Rome and seeing one of the best views in Rome, take it further and get a ticket to the Scuderie del Quirinale, which are accessible from Via XXIV Maggio, 16. Once you have gone through the exhibitions that are usually top-notch (currently they’re having a display of Raffaello’s works), climb down the stairs on the third floor, and take in a panoramic view from the wide windows of the aisle.
7 From the Pincio Terrace
The locals regard the Pincio Terrace as one of the most romantic spots in Rome. If a local invites you for a walk in Piazza del Popolo and then lets you climb the tight and slippery stairs leading to the Pincio Terrace and gardens, there’s a good chance he doesn’t see you only as a friend! What will you get at this panoramic viewpoint? Another perspective on People’s Square, one of the most beautiful piazzas in Rome, on the domes of the Twin Churches, and on the roofs of many other buildings you’re going to pass by on your walk in Rome.
How to get there:
From the obelisk at the center of People’s Square, with your back at the Twin Churches, go on your right and follow the other explorers through a marble stair to the Terrace. It’s a 2-minute walk. You can’t be wrong!
8 Panoramic view from the Orange Garden and the Aventine Hill keyhole
Most of the first time travelers to Rome arrive at the Colosseum exhausted after having walked all the way from the Vatican along the countless monuments of Rome. However, to see yet another one of Rome’s viewpoints, you need to walk from the Colosseum for an extra 30 minutes to reach the top of the Aventine Hill. Here, two views are awaiting you. The first is from the terrace of the Orange Garden, which is one more romantic place you can pay a visit to in Rome. The other one is for travelers that love curiosities… Past the Orange Garden, walk to Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. Standing in front of the gate of the Villa del Priorato di Malta, look through the keyhole and… Well, usually locals don’t tell you what you would see from here, only the foreign travel writer would spoil it!
360 view from the St. Peter’s dome | Rome panoramic viewpoint
9 From St. Peter’s Dome
Difficult to beat the 360 degrees visual you’ll have from St. Peter’s Dome. To reach one of the most popular domes in Rome, which the locals call the “cupolone”, you need to climb 551 small steps and pass through a few claustrophobic galleries for an €8 ticket. For €10, you can save yourself 200 steps and take an elevator that brings you half the way up to the dome. Be prepared to pass the check-in counter and to stay in a queue that starts under the columns of St. Peter’s Square, since you’ll have to wait together with the travelers that want to enter the Basilica.
10 View on the Colosseum From the Colle Oppio Park
From the terrace of the Parco del Colle Oppio, you’ll have a view of the Colosseum that not many travelers have an idea of.
11. Best view of the Colosseum
This is absolutely my favorite view of the Colosseum. The terrace lies at the cross of Via Nicola Salvi and Via Degli Annibaliani, and you can access it by climbing a few steps from the gate of the Colosseo Metro station or by taking a 5-minutes from the lovely Monti neighborhood.
12 From Saint Angel’s Castle
This exquisite view is from the Loggia of Giulio II inside St. Angel’s Castel, which faces the river Tiber. The perspective is directed on the Sant’Angelo bridge, one of the pedestrian bridges of the Tiber decorated with the sculptures by Bernini’s disciples.
13 From the Trinità Dei Monti Terrace
Since you’ll probably visit the Spanish Steps, why not climb them all the way to the airy terrace facing the Trinità dei Monti Church? Rome’s urban architecture is better understood from the top! Even the tiny church is undoubtedly worth your time. Elevate yourself from the crowds of the shopping hub Via Frattina and honor your camera with this panoramic view.
Best views in Rome outside the historic center
Congratulations on getting here! The post is quite long, as it encompasses all the best views of Rome, which is a big city. If you go further and visit the following spots, you’ll get to see something that only the locals and some passionate lovers of Rome see.
14 Rome panoramic viewpoint: the Monte Mario Park
Beyond the trendy Prati district, which borders the Vatican, and going North, it begins a slightly steep climb to the Monte Mario Hill (139 meters above sea level). The Parco di Monte Mario is part of the pilgrimage path Via Francigena and, thanks to the majestic view of the city, one of the best nature parks in Rome. Here are some essential notes to help you reach there without much of a hassle; read on.
How to get there:
You could walk up the hill through Via Trionfale from Largo Trionfale or Via Delle Medaglie D’Oro from Piazzale degli Eroi, however, if you’re going to walk the 30 minutes up to the viewpoint, choose Via delle Medaglie d’Oro. The other choice is more panoramic but actually dangerous because there’s no sidewalk and cars wouldn’t expect pedestrians there. If you opt to take the public transport, take the 913 directed to Stazione di Monte Mario in Via Andrea Doria, 20, get off at MEdaglie D’Oro/Tito Livio, and then walk through the Passeggiata di Monte Mario to the park.
The best sunset view in Rome is from the Monte Mario Park
15 Most romantic view in Rome: the Zodiac Terrace on the Monte Mario Hill
Past the Parco di Monte Mario and the stunning views, you can climb further to the Zodiac Astronomical Observatory and the Zodiac Terrace, another romantic spot in romantic Rome. The view is more constricted than the one you’ve just enjoyed at the Monte Mario Park, but here you’ll find a restaurant, a small coffee shop, an imitation of the Bocca della Verità, and binoculars. Limited parking options here… but I’m sure you have zero desire to drive in Rome, am I wrong?
16 Quirkiest among the best views in Rome: the belvedere of Via Nicolò Piccolomini
Only a few know about this gem hidden a short walk away from the impressive Villa Pamphili Park. Again, the protagonist is the cupolone, or St. Peter’s dome. Nothing is a coincidence in relation to the main dome in Rome. What Michelangelo projected has been honored by later urban architects, and in the Via Piccolomini, you will see a quirky example. Once you access the Via Piccolomini, you will notice that it aligns with the St. Peter’s church from a distance. You will see a dome. As you progress walking toward the belvedere at the end of the street, the dome will gradually get smaller and smaller. After you’ve reached the viewpoint and admired the view at the back of the Vatican and on the nature surrounding it (quite amazing for being in a metropolis like Rome), walk back from the starting point of the street. Every few steps, look back at the dome and see how it surprisingly gets bigger and bigger until it will be huge! This optical effect is best enjoyed at night when the dome is lit up.
How to get here:
From Via Ottaviano (metro station Ottaviano), get on the bus 982 directed to Stazione Quattro Venti and get off at Piccolomini N./ Albani, then walk for 2 minutes.
17 View from the Pineto Regional Park
Here, we are on a hill that dominates the northwestern part of the city. Out of the historical center, one hundred years ago, there used to be farms and fields over here, and now it’s a highly populated district. The Regional Park of Pineto is one of the incredible green lungs of Rome. It’s a vast, undiscovered park inside the city. You won’t be able to overlook the beautiful pinewood bordering Via della Pineta Sacchetti. Leave Rome’s traffic outside and enter the park. One of the two old villas, you’ll see that it has been restored and converted into an elegant two-story library. The other one is abandoned. If you walk past the pinewoods on the plateau, you’ll have one more panoramic view of the famous dome and on one of the districts bordering the Vatican.
How to get here:
Take the subway line A to Cornelia station, then walk for about ten minutes to the Casa del Parco Library.
18 View from Rome’s panoramic viewpoint at the the Monte Ciocci Park
If you love an easy and safe hike, run, or bike in Rome, you need to visit the recently built jogging/ biking trail called “Pista Ciclabile di Monte Mario”. This is one of the ways to discover Rome off the beaten path. 10 km or 6.2 miles of track from the Monte Mario train station to the Panoramic Point in Monte Ciocci and then down to the historical center near the Cipro subway station. You can explore it both ways, but I would suggest you start from the Monte Mario side, so it’s slightly downhill. Perfect for bringing your kids along and do some sport while you explore Rome like a local!
19 Best Sunset view in Rome
And where do Rome locals go for sunset gazing? All the panoramic points described in this post are suitable for a sunset view; however, when sunset is involved, the experience can be accentuated by water. The most romantic sunset views in Rome you can have by one of the pedestrian bridges on the Tiber like Ponte Sisto, Ponte Fabricio, and Ponte Sant’Angelo. If you want the longest sunset view in Rome, you’ll have to reach the jetty in Ostia, which is one of the best beach towns near Rome, a short train ride from Roma Ostiense station.
I hope you’ve got enough time to see all the best views in Rome! Let me know in the comments what is your favorite panoramic viewpoint in Rome.