Sights & Museums

Note: USO does not sell tickets for the following places but only guided tours with tickets included. Click here for USO tours


Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel (Viale del Vaticano)

Admission: €17; reduced €8 (Pre-sales 4 per person)

Hours: Mon-Sat 08.30-16.00; Sun closed (except last Sun of month, open 08.30 - 12.30, admission free)

The Vatican Museum provides access to the famous Raphael rooms and Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.  During high season, we suggest that you go in the afternoon, when the crowds are much lighter, and if possible, to avoid Saturday entirely! 
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Basilica San Pietro

Admission: FREE
The most famous church in Christendom, St. Peter's is dedicated to the Apostle St. Peter, believed to have been the first Bishop of Rome.  The site of the church is thought to be the very spot where St. Peter was martyred in 64 or 67 AD.  The Emperor Constantine built the original basilica over St. Peter's tomb in 319 AD, and this original lasted for nearly one thousand years

Colosseum (Piazza del Colosseo)

Admission: €12 (includes entrance to Roman Forum) Ticket Valid for 2 days

Hours: 08.30 - until 1 hour before sunset

The granddaddy of all Roman monuments, this arena known to the ancients as the "Flavian Amphitheater" hosted 450 years of gladiatorial contests and wild beast hunts... "games," as they were called in antiquity. You can get a pretty good sense of the Colosseum just by walking around the outside, but going inside will give you a better idea of the seating areas, the structures beneath the arena floor, and the general enormity of the building.  

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Roman Forum

Admission: €12 (includes entrance to Roman Coliseum) Ticket Valid for 2 days

Hours: 08.30 - until 1 hour before sunset
This was the downtown area of the ancient city, where you could cross paths with Cicero or Caesar himself on their way to the political, religious, and commercial buildings which are still visible here today, 2000 years later, in various states of preservation.   Very evocative of the power of Rome in her Golden Age. Entrances at Largo Romolo e Remo 5-6, Piazza S. Maria Nova (Arch of Titus), and Via del Monte Tarpeo (Capitoline Hill).  

Trajan's Markets and Forum (Via IV Novembre)

Admission: €12.50
This area immediately east of Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill was developed in the 2nd century AD and included a massive basilica, Greek and Latin libraries, a temple, Trajan's column, and a sophisticated marketplace.  The column, widely regarded as one of the greatest works of Roman art, and the markets, kown to archaeologists as the world's first shopping mall, and in excellent states of preservation today.  You can get a free view of the complex from Via Alessandrina (off Via dei Fori Imperiali), but there is an admission fee to get right down in the ruins and wander around the markets.


Spanish Steps

Admission: FREE
This monument hardly needs an introduction as it enjoys a great reputation as the place to go in Rome to meet those handsome young Italian men.  Foreign women can almost certainly expect to be offered a rose and/or marriage proposal here.  Go at sunset when the light is divine and most of the bus tour groups have left.


Trevi Fountain

Admission: FREE
A delightfully extravagant Rococo creation with travertine palm trees, tritons, seahorses, and Neptune himself.  Throw one coin over your shoulder for a quick return to Rome, two for a fling with an Italian, and three to marry an Italian!  Best experienced in the evening.

Pantheon  (Piazza della Rotonda)

Admission: FREE

Hours: Mon-Sat 08.30 - 19.30; Sun 09.00 -18.00; Holidays 09.00-13.00
The Pantheon is by far the best place in the city to experience the true splendor, harmony, and elegance of Roman architecture, inside and out. This 2nd century AD pagan temple to all the gods was converted into a church in 608 AD and today, nearly 1900 years after its construction, is still almost completely intact.  From outside in the piazza, feel the solidity and permanence of the rectangular portico; inside, marvel at the vault of the hemispherical concrete dome, pierced by a 9m oculus open to the sky, and take in all the colors of the marbles that line the walls.  Open: .  Entry is free

Baths of Caracalla (Via delle Terme di Caracalla)

Admission: €6, Free for those 17 and under

Hours: Mon 09.00-14.00; Tue-Sun 09.00 - 18.30

The best preserved of the imperial bath complexes. Follow the path of the ancient bathers from the changing rooms to the caldarium, tepidarium, and frigidarium, then out to the exercise areas and libraries.  The massive brick walls and mosaics still in existence help you imagine what a grand experience bathing in Rome would have been, even though the water hasn't been running here for about 1500 years. 


Mouth of Truth (Piazza Bocca della Verita)

Admission: FREE

Winter Hours: Daily from 09.30 - 17.00

Summer Hours: Daily from 09.30-18.00 
The so-called "Bocca della Verita'" in the portico of the church of S. Maria in Cosmedin.  Put your hand in the mouth of this ancient sewer cover--legend has it that liars' hands will be bitten off.  Good touristy photo opportunity.


Castel Sant'Angelo (Lungotevere Castello)

Admission:  €8

Hours: Tue - Sun 0900-1930
This complex started out as the Emperor Hadrian's mausoleum, then in the Middle Ages was made into a fortress, and in the Renaissance was outfitted with papal apartments. A funerary, military, and domestic monument all in one!  Great views over Rome from the top. 


St. John Lateran (San Giovanni)

Admission: FREE
The 17th-century Borromini-designed basilica you see here today was built over the spot where Constantine built Rome's very first church in 318 AD.  Because of its primacy, San Giovanni NOT St. Peter's is in fact the technical seat of all that the Pope and the Catholic church do worldwide.  Bonus feature: the heads of St. Peter and St. Paul are housed above the baldacchino.

Keats-Shelley Memorial House (Piazza di Spagna, 26)

Admission: Adults -  €5; Children (under 18) and Seniors (over 65) - €4

Hours: Mon-Sat 10.00-13.00 and 14.00 – 18.00; Closed Sunday

Keats spent the last months of his life in this apartment, dying here in 1821. This memorial house is dedicated not only to Keats but also to the other Romantic poets who wrote in Rome, like Shelley, Byron, and Hunt.  


Santa Maria in Trastevere (Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere)

Admission: FREE
Though this basilica has been added onto multiple times over the centuries, the basic floorplan and wall structure of Santa Maria in Trastevere dates back to the 340 AD. The granite columns that line its nave were pillaged from the by-then defunct Baths of Caracalla in the 9th century. The apse features gorgeous and important mosaics by Pietro Cavallini.

Piazza Navona

Admission: FREE
There are many malls or "piazzas" in Rome, and one of the most beautiful is the Piazza Navona.  Built on the ruins of Emperor Domitian's Stadium, Piazza Navona reflects the joy of being alive that was the prevalent feeling in Rome in the 17th century.  The square is huge, and open, and surrounded by ancient palaces and contemporary buildings, busy streets. But once you're in the piazza, taking in the sunshine or the cool evening breeze, you can hear life around you.


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