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There’s no place quite like Rome. The cosmopolitan city is a refreshing mix of ancient history, culture, fantastic food and wine and a lively nightlife. From iconic historical sites like the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Cathedral and the beautiful Trevi Fountain to day trips to the beautiful Italian Tuscan countryside, there’s plenty to do on a trip to Rome. Feeling a little overwhelmed and not sure where to start? We hand-selected some of the best tours in Rome to give you a taste of what the city has to offer. Expect incredible photo ops, authentic, well-spoken tour guides and a big dose of culture as you cook, sip and bike your way through the effervescent Italian capital.
Best Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Walking Tour
Rome is full of iconic tours that many travelers want to experience, and as a result, many people end up spending most of their time waiting to get in. The three-hour “Skip the Line Tour” of the Vatican, which includes St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, is your “fast pass” to a special entrance to see some of Rome’s most amazing art and architecture. The guided tour explores the tapestry room, Gallery of the Maps and Raphael’s Rooms, as well as the Sistine Chapel to admire The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo. Explore St. Peter’s Basilica on a fully-guided Vatican walking tour (with headsets to clearly hear the guide) and see the famous La Pieta sculpture.
Best Cooking Class: Small Group Pasta Making Class with a Local Chef
Italy is famous for its fabulous cuisine and travelers can get a hands-on experience with the Small Group Pasta Making Class with a Local Chef. The intimate, 3.5-hour cooking class takes place in an airy loft in Rome and covers the basics of different types of pasta. While the chef explains Italian cooking, prosecco and appetizers are served to travelers. They’ll teach students how to make pasta from scratch and after the pasta is ready you can enjoy it on the outdoor terrace for wine and conversation as the chef answers questions about Italian cuisine. Viator members said that the small group size and casual atmosphere made it easy to get to know other travelers.
Best Food Tour: Roman Food Tour
If you’d like to mix sightseeing with plenty of dining, the Private Roman Food Tour is a great option. The three-hour tour includes a whopping 10 tastings in 10 stops — including classic Roman foods like suppli, a favorite street snack consisting of fried rice and tomato sauce. Foodies can try fresh fruits at the local market, an original Jewish ricotta pie in the Jewish district, Italian coffee at the most authentic coffee maker in Rome, chocolate, a Roman meat and cheese platter and a Sicilian patisserie. The tour guide will lead the walking tour on a route along the Pantheon, Museo di Roma and the Largo di Torre Argentina with commentary along the way.
Best Day Trip: Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour
If you’d like to take a break from the city and get out and explore famous regions near Rome, the Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour is an excellent way to do so. The 12-hour tour begins with transportation from Rome in an air-conditioned coach through the dazzling Italian countryside to the Val d’Orcia region. From there, you'll take a walking tour around the medieval hill-town of Montepulciano where they’ll visit Sant' Antimo Abbey and soak in views over the vineyards of Montalcino. Then, a three-course lunch is served at a Tuscan farm with regional wines, including the famous Brunello di Montalcino. After lunch, there's leisure time in Pienza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site before returning to Rome.
Best Behind the Scenes: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Underground Tour
If you’re the type of traveler who wants to explore in more depth, the Ancient Rome and Colosseum Underground Tour with Third Tier can help you do just that. The three-hour guided tour visits parts of the Colosseum that are off limits to the general public, like the underground chambers were wild animals were caged, passages used by gladiators before the games and even the arena floor — as the knowledgeable guides tell all about past battles that took place. From there, the tour heads to Roman Forum to see the temples and learn about daily life in ancient times, politics and religion of Imperial Rome.
Best Bike Tour: Rome City Small Group Electric Assist Bicycle Tour
Electric bicycles can be a fun way to get around town without missing the scenery and sights and the Rome City Bike Tour is a great way to make it happen. The three-hour tour is limited to 12 people and meets in Central Rome where you’ll board your electric bike. Soon, the guide leads the way past iconic sights like the Colosseum and the Pantheon on less-congested roads, as well as Campo de' Fiori, Piazza Navona, Venezia Square and the Capitoline Hill. You can also expect a great view of the Roman Forum. The guide will share interesting narrative as you also explore lesser-known passages and ancient walls with plenty of stops for photo opportunities.
Best for Teens: Roman Gladiator School: Learn how to Become a Gladiator
For a truly unique tour that’s especially good for teens and tweens, consider spending two hours at Gladiator School. This one-of-a-kind experience includes a hands-on lesson with instructors from the Historic Group of Rome. Participants will learn how to fight with authentic weapons of the Imperial Roman era while wearing traditional gladiator tunics and belts. After learning the techniques of the gladiator, travelers can join in an optional gladiator tournament and compete with a prize for the victor. All participants receive a certificate of accomplishment at the end of the experience. The gladiator instruction also includes entrance to the Gladiator School of Rome Museum to learn even more about life in Roman times.
Best Night Tour: Rome by Night with Pizza and Gelato Tour
Night owls looking for a casual and entertaining evening tour should consider the Rome by Night with Pizza and Gelato Tour. The four-hour, small-group tour is a great way to mingle and begins with a stop at a classic Roman restaurant for pizza, drinks and gelato, followed by a chance to see the ancient sites and monuments. In addition to the Pantheon, travelers will stroll through the lovely Piazza Navona, home to three fountains, including Bernini's famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers). During the day, the Trevi Fountain is crowded with people, but in the evening the crowds thin out and it becomes a pleasant place to unwind. The tour includes round-trip transportation in an eight-passenger minibus.
Best Sightseeing: Rome Segway Tour
For a fun twist on a classic sightseeing tour that doesn’t require a bus, consider the Rome Segway Tour. The guided, three-hour tour explores ancient Roman sites such as the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus — where chariot races were once held — and the Colosseum for photos and tales of gladiator battles. The small group experience (just eight people) begins near Piazza Venezia, where you’ll get a brief introduction to Segways before zipping off around the area — covering more ground than a walking tour. Groups also stop at the Church of Santa Maria to check out Bocca della Verità (the Mouth of Truth), a carved piece of marble made famous in the film, Roman Holiday.