The 14 must-visit scenic spots for the best views in Rome

From the iconic dome of St. Peter's to a hidden gem in Monte Mario, this guide reveals Rome's best views.

In Rome, you will find ancient ruins, grand cathedrals, historic sites, and delicious cuisine. But did you know that you can find some of the most beautiful vistas in Rome? Italy’s Eternal City has a gorgeous landscape that can only fully be appreciated from all the various angles possible. So head to the iconic St. Peter's Basilica Dome for iconic views, and enjoy a beautiful meal in rooftop restaurants in Trastevere. Venture a bit further out for a quieter time in the Monte Mario Nature Reserve, which also offers unique views. But there’s more. Here are 14 of Rome’s most outstanding views.

Best rooftop views in Rome

1. St. Peter's Basilica Dome

Climb the winding staircase to the top of this iconic dome for a panoramic view that's second to none. From here, you can see the Vatican Gardens, the Roman Forum, and even the distant hills of Rome.

Highlights: Best time to go

Late afternoon offers softer light and fewer crowds, making your photos pop and the experience more intimate.

Address and opening hours

Vatican City. Open daily; 8:00 AM-6:00 PM.

2. Castel Sant'Angelo

Once a mausoleum, now a viewpoint with the Tiber River unfurling like a ribbon below. Attention, opera aficionados: this building was the inspiration for Tosca’s dramatic final leap.

Highlights

The nearby Ponte Sant'Angelo is perfect for a romantic stroll, especially during sunset.

Address

Lungotevere Castello, 50, Rome.

Unexpected places to get great views of Rome

3. Aventine Hill Keyhole

Peer through a simple keyhole in a nondescript door to reveal a perfectly framed view of the Vatican’s St. Peter's Basilica. Reach it easily by a convenient e-bike tour — it's a secret slice of Rome that many overlook.

Insider tip

The nearby Orange Garden offers another serene view, complete with a citrusy aroma.

Address

Via di Santa Sabina, Rome.

4. Monte Mario

The Monte Mario Nature Reserve is a local secret offering sweeping views and a touch of wild Rome. It's the city's highest hill and offers a unique vantage point.

Highlights: Best time to go

Spring brings lush landscapes and clearer skies, making it the perfect season for a visit.

Address

Monte Mario, Rome.

5. Trastevere Rooftops

Wander the labyrinthine streets of Trastevere, then find a high point. The jumble of terracotta roofs and narrow streets is mesmerizing.

Insider tip

Visit the nearby Santa Maria in Trastevere for a dose of history and a different view of the neighborhood.

Address

Trastevere, Rome.

6. Palatine Hill

Stand where emperors once stood and take in the majestic views. The Roman Forum sprawls below, and you can even see the Colosseum in the distance.

Highlights

Visit the nearby Colosseum to complete your ancient Rome experience.

Address

Via di San Gregorio, Rome.

Free places to get a great view of Rome

7. Janiculum Hill

A local favorite, Janiculum Hill offers one of the best free views in Rome. The city bathes in a golden glow during sunrise, and you can see landmarks like the Pantheon from here.

Highlights: Best time to go

Early morning is magical, and you'll mostly share the view with locals walking their dogs.

Address

Janiculum Hill, Rome.

8. Circus Maximus

While the site itself is well-known, the viewpoints from its surrounding hills are often missed. You can see Palatine Hill on a guided tour and even parts of the Roman Forum from here.

Insider tip

The nearby Palatine Hill offers another perspective on Rome's ancient grandeur.

Address

Via del Circo Massimo, Rome.

9. Pincio Terrace

A stone's throw from the Spanish Steps, and overlooking Piazza del Popolo, this spot has a postcard-perfect view of the Roman skyline. The dome of St. Peter’s and several other basilicas punctuate the view.

Highlights: Best time to go

Sunset is pure magic here, and the perfect time for spectacular photos.

Address

Pincian Hill, Rome.

10. Capitoline Hill

Michelangelo designed the square, but he left the view to Mother Nature. The Roman Forum and several iconic monuments can be seen from here.

Highlights

The nearby Roman Forum is a must-visit for history buffs.

Address

Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome.

11. Ponte Umberto I

Located near Piazza Navona, this historic bridge has stunning views of the Supreme Court building, the Tiber River, and Castel Sant'Angelo and the Vatican in the distance. Notice that, unlike almost every place in Europe, traffic crosses the bridge on the left side of the road here.

Best time to go

The bridge is less crowded in the early morning, after the rush hour, offering a peaceful viewing experience.

Address

Ponte Umberto I, Rome.

Things to do in Piazza Navona

12. Villa Borghese

Rent a bike, find a secluded spot, and watch Rome stretch out beneath you. The view includes several landmarks and the lush greenery of the park itself. Of course, don’t miss the views inside the gallery either — Bernini, Caravaggio, and Titian await.

Best time to go

Late afternoon offers softer light for photography and a less crowded experience.

Address

Villa Borghese, Rome.

13. Giardino degli Aranci

Also known as the Orange Garden, this spot offers a serene view with a citrusy aroma. You can see the Tiber River and several basilicas from here.

Highlights

The garden is especially fragrant during the orange blossom season. What better way to experience it than on a Vespa sidecar tour?

Address

Via di Santa Sabina, Rome.

14. Vatican Gardens

Book a tour, it's the only way in. Besides the glory of the Sistine Chapel, the elevated view of St. Peter's Dome is divine, and you can also see parts of Vatican City.

Highlights

The gardens are less crowded than the Vatican Museums, offering a peaceful experience.

Address and opening hours

Vatican City. Open only during guided tours.

FAQs

What are the best views in Rome?

For panoramic vistas that include landmarks like the Vatican, Roman Forum, and the Tiber River, St. Peter's Basilica Dome and Castel Sant'Angelo are hard to beat. For more unexpected angles, the Aventine Hill Keyhole and Monte Mario offer unique perspectives. If you're looking for free views, Janiculum Hill and Circus Maximus are excellent choices.

Where are the best views of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum?

The best view of St. Peter's Basilica can be seen through the Aventine Hill Keyhole. For the Colosseum, Palatine Hill offers a grand vantage point.

Where are the best free views of Rome?

Some of the best free views in Rome can be enjoyed at Janiculum Hill, Circus Maximus, and Pincio Terrace. These spots offer panoramic views of the city without an admission fee.