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View of the Roman Forum and Colosseum from tha Altare della Patria, one of the best viewpoints in Rome

15 Best Views of Rome (+ How to Visit!)

Italy

Famously built on seven hills, built over a couple of millennia, and incredibly layered: there’s nowhere like the Eternal City for seeking out epic views–and because of that, narrowing down the best views of Rome can be a bit of a challenge!

We’ve rounded up the highlights here, starting with our personal favorite, but there’s no doubt that from famous monuments to peaceful parks to quirky spots, there are plenty of beautiful viewpoints in Rome to choose from.

View of Teatro Marcello from the top of the Altar of the Fatherland, with the monument visible in the bottom right foreground of the photo

Best Panoramic Views of Rome

Altar of the Fatherland

The view from the top of the Altar of the Fatherland is, hands down, my favorite of all these best views of Rome.

Despite the fact that the (massive) monument overlooks Piazza Venezia and most visitors to Rome pass it at least a few times when they’re near the Colosseum and Roman Forum, only a small percentage of visitors visit the top–and that’s a shame.

From the roof of the Altar of the Fatherland, Ancient Rome stretches out on one side, with the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and several forums visible.

From the other side, you can view the (relatively speaking) more modern section of Rome, including gorgeous views of Piazza Venezia.

You can climb to the 5th floor of the monument for free, however, it’s definitely worth the 10 Euro (cash only) fee to take the elevator all the way to the top when you’re seeking out the best views in Rome.

Jeremy Storm standing on the Altar of the Fatherland, overlooking one of the best views of Rome Italy

Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

The dome crowning the top of St. Peter’s Basilica is home to one of the most iconic views of Rome and is well worth the several hundred steps it takes to reach the top.

While there is a lovely panoramic view of Rome in the distance, the best part of visiting the dome of St. Peter’s is the stunning view of St. Peter’s Square below.

While the basilica itself is free to enter, there is a price to climb to the top–8 Euro for those willing to climb all 551 stairs, and 10 Euro for those who want to shave off 320 of those steps by taking the elevator. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid all stairs when seeking out this viewpoint in Rome.

Also, fair warning: if you tend to dislike crowded, cramped, hot, or narrow spaces, this probably isn’t the best Rome viewpoint for you.

Piazzas in Rome: Piazza San Pietro

Castel Sant’Angelo

The terrace of Castel Sant’Angelo overlooks Vatican City, the gentle curve of the Tiber, beautiful bridges like the Ponte Sant’Angelo and Ponte Umberto, and Centro Storico as a whole.

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It’s an absolutely gorgeous spot and doesn’t cost anything additional beyond your entrance to the castle.

There’s a cafe on one side of the terrace, and the coffee prices are decent considering the location, so if you can, snag a table overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica and enjoy the view!

View of part of the castle and St. Peter's Basilica from Castel Sant'Angelo, one of the best views in Rome Italy

Pincio Terrace

Set high above Piazza del Popolo, Pincio Terrace is one of the best views of Rome that doesn’t cost a penny to enjoy.

Between its lack of a price tag and convenient location that you’ll almost certainly be passing by during your trip to Rome, it’s definitely not a spot worth missing when seeking out the prettiest viewpoints in Rome!

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Orange Garden

Peaceful and lovely, Rome’s Orange Garden is an excellent place to retreat to when you want a Rome view that’s quiet and encourages you to pull up a seat and stay awhile.

Head to this shady corner of the Eternal City when you want to rest and relax for a bit.

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Janiculum Terrace

Set above Trastevere, Janiculum Terrace boasts an incredible view of Rome, with most of its most famous monuments visible–but be warned, it’s a bit of a workout to get up there… especially right after binging on some epic food in Trastevere (ask us how we know).

It’s worth the climb, though: Janiculum Terrace is among the most popular of all these Rome viewpoints, and for good reason!

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Palatine Hill

Perhaps the most iconic and well-known with tourists of all these best views of Rome, Palatine Hill overlooks the Roman Forum and the Colosseum to one side and Circus Maximus on the other.

Entrance to Palatine Hill is included with your ticket to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, so if you’re headed there already, it’s definitely worth the climb.

Plus, the view is far from the only interesting thing at the top: you’ll find the remains of the homes of emperors and other wealthy Ancient Romans here. 

Palatine Hill is also the legendary location of Rome’s formation, where the story of Remus and Romulus is said to have taken place.

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Piazza Trinità dei Monti

Nearly every visitor to Rome stares up at the Piazza Trinità dei Monti, but not everyone ascends to the top of the Spanish Steps to see the view from the top… and they should!

This small piazza boasts lovely views of the Roman skyline, and its location near the Spanish Steps makes it one of the easiest to access of all these viewpoints in Rome.

View of Piazza di Spagna from above, one of the best viewpoints in Rome

Belvedere Terrace

Located a quick walk away from Pincio Terrace on the edge of the Borghese Gardens, Belvedere Terrace offers beautiful panoramic views of Rome at a bit of a different angle than its neighbor, making it well worth a visit when you’re already visiting Pincio Terrace or the Galleria Borghese!

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Other Cool Viewpoints in Rome

While panoramic views of Rome are stunning to admire, more niche views of the city–that offer a view of a specific place or monument–are also incredible and well worth adding to your list of the Rome viewpoints to visit.

Here are some to consider visiting!

Wall Overlooking the Colosseum

This famous Rome viewpoint is absolutely worth visiting, and in our opinion is home to one of the two best exterior views of the Colosseum (the other being from the Roman Forum, facing the Colosseum directly).

To find this spot, exit the Colosseo metro stop, turn left and then climb the steps that will be on your left as you stroll along the north side of the Colosseum (but the steps are on the opposite side of the street, of course).

Couple standing in from of Colosseum, One Day in Rome -- Rome in a Day

Campidoglio Hill

If you stand in the center of the (beautiful) Piazza del Campidoglio and walk in the direction of the Roman Forum, past the piazza itself, you’ll come to a gorgeous view of the Roman Forum, remarkably similar to the one visible from Palatine Hill… but this one is both far less crowded and free to access.

Aventine Keyhole

Take a peek through the tiny Aventine Keyhole (yes, an actual keyhole!), and you’ll come face-to-face with one of the best views in Rome: the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, framed perfectly by a series of hedges.

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Keats-Shelley Memorial House

Want to enjoy a view of the Spanish Steps from an angle that you haven’t seen 1000 times?

The windows in the library at the Keats-Shelley Memorial House boast an incredible and unique view of the steps (and the windows in Keats’ bedroom have a fabulous view overlooking Piazza di Spagna).

Rome off the beaten path: LIbrary at the Keats-Shelley Memorial House

Ponte Umberto

Located just one bridge over from the famous Ponte Sant’Angelo that leads directly to Castel Sant’Angelo, the Ponte Umberto is the perfect place to capture one of Rome’s most iconic photos, with the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Castel Sant’Angelo, and the Ponte Sant’Angelo grouped together in one spot.

If you’re looking for one of the best views of Rome to enjoy a sunset from, you can’t go wrong with this one!

Photo of Ancient Rome from above Black text on a white background reads "Where to find the best views of Rome"

2 Comments Write a comment

Kate has been traveling the world full-time for more than 3 years. She tries to keep a balance between going on new adventures and exploring favorite destinations (like Italy!) in depth, and is always on the lookout for the next beautiful overlook and delicious meal.

2 Comments

  • chris November 5, 2019

    Another helpful article, thanks Kate.
    If you wish to take a photo through the Aventine Hill keyhole I recommend using a standard camera with a good zoom lens. An SLR would work but a simple compact “point-and-shoot” camera will be fine provided that it magnifies without distortion.
    The day we were there, most of the 100 or so people in the queue had smartphones and unfortunately their photos just focused on the internal barrels of the keyhole and blurred out St Pauls.

    • Kate Storm November 6, 2019

      Definitely a bit tricky to photograph–and 100 people, wow! We visited in November and must have gotten lucky–only a couple of people were there at that time.

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