Many of us have long dreamt of Rome solo travel, and it’s certainly up there with Paris when it comes to culture and sheer beauty. The “Eternal City” has an impossibly rich history, with architectural remains from the Roman empire onwards.
Rome is the capital of Italy, and this is reflected in the delicious regional foods and wide range of dishes served throughout the city, from the mouth-melting gelato flavors to the typical Roman pastas served with such pride.
You can enjoy a light lunch in a small local café or treat yourself to an expensive dinner in a fancy restaurant. There are so many options in Rome that whatever your tastes, and however little you have in your pocket, you’ll always find something delicious. Here’s a wonderful write-up of the best places to eat and drink in Rome!
Rome is incredibly stylish but equally laid back, a contrast that adds to its unique charm. Its location on the banks of the Tiber River helps too.
Rome − or technically the Vatican City − is also home of the Roman Catholic Church and has been an important religious center for centuries. Whether you are religious or not, the ancient churches and awe-inspiring statuary and decor are nothing if not impressive.
Everywhere you look, it’ll be a feast for the eyes.
Is Rome safe for solo female travelers?
Rome’s vibrant nightlife and warm evening weather might just keep you out till the late hours, walking down quaint streets and sampling authentic cuisine. Luckily, you won’t need to worry about walking home at night if you’re enjoying solo travel to Rome. It’s likely there will always be people around as Rome bustles at all hours.
SAFETY TIP: If you’re ever concerned about being followed, lean against a wall and adjust your shoes. If anyone is following you, they’ll have to keep going (or be discovered). A simple, and effective escape. Click here for more travel safety tips.
I’ve been to Rome several times but haven’t explored it as I should − I seem to know the periphery (I’ve taken several day trips from Rome) better than the city itself. Also, my last trip inside the city dates back to many years ago.
In the spirit of providing you with the latest information, I asked several Rome-savvy travel bloggers to provide their own insights into the best places to visit if you travel Rome alone, and what follows below are their suggestions.
The best things to do in Rome as a solo female traveler
1. Visit St Peter’s Basilica
While technically not in Rome, you can’t say you’ve been to Rome without visiting Saint Peter’s Basilica. Located in Vatican City, it is an excellent example of Renaissance architecture and the largest Catholic edifice in the world.
As you might have guessed from its name, the basilica has a strong connection with Saint Peter, as it was built on his place of burial. Pope Julius II replaced the original church, designed by Donato Bramante, with the present building. The famous names who worked on the project over the years include both Raphael and Michelangelo who, by the way, designed its dome, the tallest in the world.
While the basilica undoubtedly looks impressive from the outside, it is the interior that overwhelms the visitor. Not only it is massive and stunning, but it is also of utmost cultural importance, housing many works of art. Among them, you’ll find “The Pity”, sculpted by Michelangelo, as well as the statue of St. Longinus, the “Baldacchino”, and the “Chair of St. Peter” by Bernini.
Saint Peter’s Basilica is free to visit, but a guided tour would be helpful to better understand its history and cultural significance. You’ll need a ticket to visit some parts of the basilica, like the dome or the crypt. Also, make sure you set aside at least 1 to 2 hours to explore it. For fewer crowds, try visiting during the low season (November to March) or early in the morning/late in the evening.
—by Andreea Ioana of Andoreia Travels the World
2. See the Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums, home to masterpieces by artists whose names are known all around the world, should be near the top of your list of what to see in Rome. This is one of the largest art collections on the planet, with seven kilometres of gallery space to explore.
Guided tours are available for those who want to make the most out of their visit, but you can wander around independently too.
You’ll discover giant tapestries and wall hangings depicting medieval scenes, as well as ceilings that sparkle in gold with colourful frescoes bringing Biblical scenes to life. There are marble sculptures too, and paintings by the likes of Raphael, Da Vinci, and Caravaggio. The galleries are vast, so allow yourself at least a couple of hours to wander around.
The main event is of course the Sistine Chapel, with its famous Renaissance frescoes by Michelangelo adorning the ceiling. The opulent papal chapel is one of the most iconic places to see in Rome as this is where the cardinals meet for conclave to elect new popes.
The Vatican Museums are notorious for being crowded, but if you want to enjoy a relatively quiet visit where you won’t be jostling for space, go on a Wednesday at 10 AM. This is when the Pope traditionally gives his General Audience, and most Vatican visitors will be in St. Peter’s Square to see him and receive his blessing.
—by Heather Cole of Conversant Traveller
3. Take a trip to the Colosseum
The Colosseum is a testament to Ancient Rome’s greatness and definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Rome. It was constructed as a place of amusement for the citizens by the Flavian dynasty of Roman emperors.
The first three floors of the building were built in around ten years, from 71 to 81 C.E. This amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site was the biggest amphitheater in the ancient Roman world, and in its glory, more than 50,000 people filled its stands, eager to watch gladiator fights and dramatic spectacles.
Today, more than six million people visit the ancient arena each year.
If you want to get a good look at the Colosseum from the outside, head towards it via the Via Dei Fori Imperiali, where you’ll have a fantastic view of the monuments’ best preserved façade.
Next to the Colosseum, you’ll find two other important Roman sites. Palatine Hill, one of Rome’s seven hills, is home to the ruins of several ancient Roman structures and temples. The Roman Forum is where you can still find remnants of the vast public area where the ancient Romans carried out all aspects of life like government and celebrations.
The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill are all within close walking distance in the center of this ancient city. One of the best tips for visiting the Colosseum is to schedule a guided tour that includes skip-the-line entry to all three of these sites. There’s no question that this group of landmarks are some of the most iconic in Italy and a must-see on any traveler’s list.
If you’re a night owl and you’d rather visit the Colosseum without the loud crowds and long queues, you might want to investigate taking a night tour.
—by Lyndsay Crescenti of The Purposely Lost
4. Visit the Roman Forum
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Rome is definitely the Roman Forum. It is located right in the historical center, which, by the way, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the Colosseum and Palatine Hill.
The Roman Forum in Rome is the oldest of its kind, once the center of political, economic, cultural and religious life. Here, among other things,
When you visit the Roman Forum, you’ll step back in time to Rome’s ancient city center. The ruins were once vibrant markets, with numerous stores and stalls, and with important administrative and religious buildings from which the city, and the empire, were governed. This is where elections were held and where speeches took place.
Today you can visit the remains of the Forum during an interesting tour. You will be amazed by the numerous excavation sites, the historic monuments and the former temples. Among the most important sites are the Via Sacra – the main street that passed through this forum, the Temple of Antoninus the Temple of Pius and Faustina, the Temple of Saturn and many many more.
The Forum is located right between the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum. Palatine Hill is supposedly the site where Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, two brothers from ancient Roman mythology who were said to be raised by a wolf. You can visit the cave where the mother wolf supposedly found and nursed the two young boys and see the remains of the first Roman emperor’s residences.
You can save money with a combined ticket, which includes all three sights. A visit is recommended in the early morning, because then you can enjoy this impressive attraction away from the crowds.
—by Martina of PlacesofJuma
5. Visit the Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps is one of the top sights in Rome, and for good reason. Standing since the 18th century, this Baroque staircase climbs the slope from Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Trinità dei Monti, leading to the beautiful Trinità dei Monti church, and has served as a meeting place for countless Italians over the years.
The beauty of the steps has been featured in many movies including the famous “Roman Holiday” from 1953, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. While the steps have long been a favorite attraction amongst Europeans, this movie is perhaps what brought fame to the Spanish steps amongst a greater international audience.
The area around the Spanish Steps is also a great place to stay in Rome if you are looking to enjoy a luxury experience as you will be able to walk to many delicious fine dining restaurants in the area while being surrounded by designer shops such as Gucci, Dior, and many more.
Accessing the Spanish Steps is made very accessible by the Spagna Metro stop, located just at the top of the stairs. It’s recommended that you arrive before sunrise if you wish to take magical, uninterrupted photos here as during the day, this attraction is often crowded with tourists and locals alike.
—by Yulia Saf of Miss Tourist
6. Drop by the Villa Borghese
After ascending the Spanish Steps, turn to your left and keep walking to reach the sprawling gardens of Villa Borghese, a Rome must see.
While not the largest park in Rome, it is one of the most beautiful. The green spot offers welcome shade in the heat of summer and even though it is at the top of the Pincian Hill, it is relatively level and not undulating.
It was remodelled into an English-style garden in the 19th Century and features lakes, fountains, a replica of a Roman temple (housing an ancient statue of Aesculapius, the god of medicine). From the Pincian Terrace, there is a fantastic view of Piazza del Popolo below and of St Peter’s Basilica in the distance that draws visitors at sunset.
Art lovers should make a beeline for the Borghese Gallery, which houses sculptures and paintings by the likes of Bernini, Caravaggio, Raphael and more. Don’t forget to look down and admire the Roman-era mosaics on the floor!
One could spend practically an entire afternoon in the gardens and the Borghese gallery alone, and it would be wise to budget more time for some of the other attractions on the site.
For art that is more contemporary, head to the Carlo Bilotti Museum in the former orangery, or the Galleria Nazionale. The other buildings around Villa Borghese include a museum of Etruscan artefacts, a replica of the Globe Theatre, a sculptor’s former studio and even a cinema that shows international films.
—by Nicholas Lim of Rambling Feet
7. Visit the Pantheon
If you’re looking for incredible sights, one of the best places to visit in Rome is the Pantheon.
Located in the city centre, the Pantheon is one of the best-preserved buildings of Ancient Rome.
It’s thought to have been built to honour the gods, as its name literally translates to “of all the gods”.
The Pantheon is known for its spectacular architecture, outstanding beauty, and it’s 2,000-year-old history. Not only is it linked to the gods, but it’s thought to have been the first-ever temple built for the common people.
As you head inside you’ll get to see the highlight of this incredible building – the eye of the Pantheon.
There are no windows within this iconic structure, so the only light beams through the eye (or oculus as it’s sometimes known).
So, if you want the best experience then head there towards midday. This is when the rays shine through the eye right down into the centre of the Pantheon.
You won’t have to worry about the rain either, as the building’s drainage system allows the water to flow away.
It’s free to visit the Pantheon, although if you’re planning to visit on the weekend or during public holidays you’ll need to make a reservation.
If you simply want to explore by yourself you can, but there are a couple of other options.
You can reserve an audio tour of the Pantheon or take an actual guided tour if you’d like to learn more.
The Pantheon is one of the most popular attractions in Rome for a reason, and a trip to the city isn’t complete without paying this site a visit.
—by Jack and Abbie of A Couples Calling
One of the most famous and iconic places to visit when in Rome is Piazza Navona, perhaps the most beautiful of the many squares in Rome. Piazza Navona has no less than three absolutely beautiful fountains, along with the 9th-century baroque church, Sant’Agnese in Agone.
The square was built on the site of Emperor Domitian’s former stadium in 86 C.E. The stadium, which had a larger area than the Colosseum, was used for festivities and sports competitions. The fact that Navona Square was built on the former statium’s site also explains the oval shape of this square.
The stadium was known as Circus Agonalis and it is believed that over time, its name changed to “in agone” and then to “navone” and eventually to “navona”. In the 15th century, the stadium was paved to give birth to Piazza Navona.
The main attractions in Piazza Navona are the three fountains. The central fountain and the largest of them is Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (fountain of the four rivers), created by Bernini. The fountain has four figures, each representing a river on a continent – the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube and the Rio de la Plata.
Today this piazza is an excellent place to take a break. On its edges, you can sit at one of the terraces for lunch or just to enjoy a glass of Prosecco. The square is also known as a meeting place for artists, who exhibit their drawings and paintings around it.
—by Corina Preda of Another Milestone Travel Blog
9. Explore Quirinale Hill
Dating back to the 2nd century, Trajan’s Market offers a unique glimpse into ancient Roman life and is one of the important places to see in Rome. The market was built as part of Trajan’s Forum complex to conceal the scars of excavation made on Quirinale Hill to build Trajan’s Forum.
Even though known as Trajan’s Markets, or Mercati di Traiano in Italian, the name can be misleading because this was actually a multifunctional center serving the adjacent Trajan’s Forum. It wasn’t a place for selling fruits and vegetables or trading cattle but mainly a series of offices where the emperor’s public functions were arranged.
Trajan’s Markets consist of several buildings structured in six layers on the slopes of Quirinale Hill. One of the largest areas is called the Great Hemicycle, due to its concave shape. It touches Trajan’s Forum, the large archaeological site you can see from Piazza Venezia.
Today, Trajan’s Markets are home to a stunning museum showcasing the findings from the Imperial Fora, the five fora along Via del Fori Imperiali, the road connecting Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum.
As you walk through the market, you can’t help but marvel at the engineering feat required to build such a complex, a testament to the ingenuity of the Roman people and a fascinating look at how they lived and worked.
As an added perk, you can access the actual Trajan’s Forum from the markets.
—by Angela Corrias of Rome Actually
10. Admire the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II
One of the most famous landmarks in Italy that was built to honour Victor Emmanuel II, a masterpiece built between 1885 and 1935. Today, it is one of the country’s national symbols, together with the flag of Italy.
This famous historical site has the largest statue in Rome representing Victor Emmanuel II. As well as two beautiful fountains at the front: Fountain of the Tyrrhenian and Fontana dell’Adriatico. There is a painting and sculpture museum inside, along with a café.
Victor Emmanuel II was the first king of a united Italy. He was famous for the First Italian War of Independence between 1848 and 1849 and his achievements were honoured abroad. He was the recipient of a number of national honors, including the Medal of the Liberation of Rome and the Gold Medal of Military Valour.
Victor Emmanuel II’s monument is located in Piazza Venezia and stands out due to its decorations, colonnade, and impressive stairway of Vittoriano. During the hour of the siesta in Italy, when most places are closed, tourists walk up the stairs to admire the great panoramic views of Rome.
Victor Emmanuel II Monument is next to Campidoglio and is only a 15-minute walk from the Colosseum. Its central location makes it easy to explore, and it is also surrounded by many other famous landmarks such as Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara coeli or the Roman Forum.
—by Paulina of Ukeveryday Travel Blog
11. Stroll around Trastevere District
While most first-time visitors to Rome typically stick to the historic center of the city, those who venture to Trastevere will find this an incredibly rewarding neighborhood. Located on the other side of the Tiber River (hence the name!) and easy to reach on foot from places such as Largo di Torre Argentina (you’ll cross the river at Tiber Island) and an easy walk from St. Peter’s Basilica, Trastevere is packed with history and interesting sights.
Unmissable places to visit include the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere – you’ll find it on the very central Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere. While the church dates back to the 12th century, it is actually built on the site of another church from around 340 C.E. and of an even older sanctuary (221-227 C.E.). Another church you should not miss is Santa Cecilia, a 5th-century church located on the site of Saint Cecilia’s martyrdom in 230 C.E. – that’s where you’ll also be able to see a 1289 fresco of the Last Judgement by Pietro Cavallini.
Other interesting places to visit in Trastevere are Villa Farnesina, where you can spot Raphael’s work in the Sala Galatea; the Porta Settimiana, one of Rome’s most ancient gates. If you actually walk through this gate and past Villa Farnesina and then up the hill, you will reach the Janiculum, where you can admire the impressive Acqua Paola fountain. From the terrace, you can catch one of the best views in Rome that spans all the way to the Altar of the Fatherland.
Finally, Trastevere is famous for its many trattorie and bars and is, in fact, one of Rome’s nightlife hubs.
—by Claudia Tavani of Strictly Rome
Rome solo travel: how to get around in Rome
You can explore most of Rome, especially the city center, by foot. There’s so much to see in Rome that walking from place to place will likely be one of your highlights, as you’ll discover hidden gems along the way.
However, don’t neglect public transport in Rome. You can also use the Rome Metro, known locally as the Metropolitana, which runs daily from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm, and a little later on the weekends.
If you get tired or you’re heading home late at night you can easily book an Uber. They tend to be cheaper than cabs and allow you to sit and finish your drink without haste instead of rushing off to try and flag down a cab.
As always, cabs are an easy (if more expensive) option you can fall back on. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding one around Rome either.
Public transportation in Rome
By Mayuri from Canada Crossroads
There are a variety of options for getting around Rome. The city has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and metros. You can also choose to walk or ride a bike.
Rome’s public transportation system is reliable and efficient. The main train station is the Roma Termini, which connects you from the airport to the heart of the city, and beyond.
From the Roma Termini, you can catch a bus or train to your final destination in another Italian city or town.
Rome’s city center is relatively small and easy to navigate on foot. You’ll find that many of the popular tourist attractions are within walking distance of each other.
When it comes to sightseeing you can visit various neighborhoods in Rome and Vatican City using buses, trams, and metros as they run on a regular schedule and can get you around the city quickly.
You can buy tickets for public transports in Rom at any newsstand or tobacco shop. In order to save money on transport for a longer visit, we recommend buying a Rome Pass (for 48 to 72 hours) to ride free on public transportation (and also save money on attractions tickets).
This card allows free use of the city’s public transport network like buses and trains; including underground lines, within the territory of the Municipality of Rome.
Where to stay in Rome
Blogger Mayuri from ToSomePlaceNew.com recommends the Prassede Palace Hotel, a beautiful mid-budget accommodation option, located in the heart of the city of Rome. It is about a 15-minute walk to the iconic Colosseum and many other popular photo spots in Rome.