From the most beautiful viewpoints you can enjoy wonderful views of Rome from above. Enjoy the view over the archaeological area of ancient Rome, the Tiber Island, St. Peter’s Basilica and the city center to the Albano Mountains and the Apennines.
Lookouts are scattered all over Rome. Whether at St. Peter’s Basilica or the Capitol, there is always an opportunity to enjoy a beautiful view.
City center – Pincio
Monte Pincio rises north-east of the city center. It’s not part of the seven hills of Rome. For the ascent, you may use the Spanish Steps. From there, you can walk along the Viale della Trinità dei Monti to the left and look down on the city center.
The road goes past the French Academy Villa Medici and ends under the Casina Valadier, where you can go up on a pedestrian path. From there you have a nice view of the church of Trinità dei Monti and the city center.
Continue to the terrace of the Pincio, which is above Piazza del Popolo. It is one of the most beautiful and famous viewpoints in Rome. From there you can see straight over Piazza del Popolo and the shopping street via Cola di Rienzo up to the Vatican. Left is the medieval city centre with the “Trident”, the three streets leaving Piazza del Popolo, via di Ripetta, via del Corso and via del Babuino.
From Pincio you can go to the Villa Borghese or you can go down stairs to Piazza del Popolo.
If you want to photograph, in the morning the sun is above the Pincio and in the afternoon you have backlight.
A great way to look over the forums is to climb up to the Capitol. The most beautiful viewpoints on the Campidoglio allow you a view over the imperial forums and over the city and the ghetto.
The City Hall of Rome is located on the Capitol. There are three ways to get to the Capitol, two from Piazza Venezia to the right or left behind the Vittoriano and one from the Circus Maximus via Via Monte Tarpeo. If you pass the Vittoriano on the right from Piazza Venezia, climb up the wide staircase, the “Cordonata“, designed by Michelangelo, to the square, also designed by Michelangelo, with the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. In the square are the Capitoline Museums, on the right the Palazzo Conservatorio, on the left the Palazzo Nuovo and straight ahead the Senate Palace.
Once you get to the top you will see an archway on the right. Behind it is Piazza Caffarelli with a wonderful view over the ghetto. In the Conservator’s Palace is the Cafe Caffarelli with a terrace from which you have an even better view. The cafe is part of the Capitoline Museums, but there is an external entrance right on the piazza.
To the left of the Senate Palace is Via San Pietro in Carcere, which leads down to Via dei Fori Imperiali. There is a viewpoint over the Roman Forum on the right-hand side. You also have a beautiful view of the Forum from Via Monte Tarpeo.
However, you have the best view of the forums within the Capitoline Museums. An underground passage between the three palaces leads to a loggia under the Senator’s Palace, which offers a unique view.
At the Victor Emmanuel II Monument, usually called Vittoriano or Altar of the Fatherland, there is an elevator to the roof. From there you also have a beautiful view of the city. However, you have to climb a long way before you can get to the elevator. On the right-hand side of the Vittoriano there is a small entrance with an elevator for people with disabilities that will take you to the middle level.
Unfortunately, the passage between the Vittoriano and the Basilica Santa Maria in Aracoeli is closed.
The Palatine Hill is part of the Colosseum Archaeological Park. The Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Colosseum can all be visited with the same ticket. One entrance to the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum is on Via dei Fori Imperiali, the other entrance is on Via di San Gregorio, between the Colosseum and Circus Maximus.
There are a number of wonderful viewpoints on the Palatine Hill. In order to be able to visit them all, you have to calculate at least two hours. If you also want to visit the Roman Forum, you have to add at least one more hour.
For the Palatine, it is best to choose the entrance on Via di San Gregorio. You then climb left towards the Circus Maximus and come to the ruins of the Imperial Palace. From there you can see the circus in front of you and behind it the Aventine, on the right the synagogue and St. Peter’s Basilica and on the left the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and further to the left the Baths of Caracalla.
You can then turn north towards St. Peter’s Basilica and further east towards the Roman Forum and find a series of other vantage points that offer a view of the city, the Capitol, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Read the Colosseum in 3 hours with Forum and Palatine Hill.
The Colosseum climbs steeply. From the 2nd floor, which you can visit with the normal ticket, you have a beautiful view of the Arch of Constantine and the Roman Forum.
Above that there are three floors that are unfortunately currently closed. From the top you have a breathtaking panorama.
The Aventine rises on the south side of the Circus Maximus. It has three viewpoints there. If you are traveling by hop on hop off bus, you have to get off at Circus Maximus. With public transport you can get off at the “Greca” stop as soon as the bus coming from Piazza Venezia has turned left at Bocca della Verità. From Piazza Venezia you can take the bus routes 81, 160 and 628, on Sundays also the 118.
You climb up on via Clivo dei Pubblicii and further on via di Santa Sabina to the Basilica of Santa Sabina. In front of the basilica on the right is the entrance to the orange garden, “Giardino degli Aranci“. In the garden there is a lookout point with the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the center.
Behind the Basilica of St. Sabine there is another park, the Garden of St. Alexius. This garden also offers an interesting view of the city. Below you is the Tiber Island, on the left the Gianicolo with the lighthouse, on the right the Capitol and the Vittoriano.
If you then continue on Via di Santa Sabina, you come to the square of the Order of the Knights of Malta “Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta”. There you will find the famous keyhole in the entrance gate of the priory, through which you can admire the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. Read our suggestion for a hike to the Capitol, Aventine and Testaccio.
Orographically to the right of the Tiber and south of the Vatican rises the Gianicolo. Here you will find a beautiful park and some spectacular views. You can take bus lines 115 and 870 from the Ospedale Santo Spirito, on the banks of the Tiber south of Castel Sant’Angelo, to the Gianicolo.
The best way is to pass from the Vatican through the “Terminal Gianicolo” car park to the “Bambino Gesù” children’s hospital and from there continue up the street. You will pass a lighthouse donated by Italians who emigrated to Argentina, and the Villa Lante, Finnish embassy and cultural center. The constitution of the Roman Republic of 1849 is engraved on a wall to the right of the villa. Opposite is an equestrian monument of Anita Garibaldi with the baby in her arms, the young deceased Brazilian freedom fighter and wife of Giuseppe Garibaldi, whose equestrian statue is on the square of the same name above. From there you have a beautiful view of St. Peter’s Basilica on one side and the city on the other.
A cannon is shot there every day at 12 noon. The custom was introduced by Pope Pius IX on December 1, 1847, so that the churches would know when to ring at noon.
On the right you can see the Basilica of St. John on the horizon, further ahead the Vittoriano. In the center you can see the Pantheon and further up the church Trinità dei Monti above the Spanish Steps, to the left of it Villa Medici and Casina Valadier. Here you have backlight in the morning.
If you continue to the right from the square, you will come to the Museum of the Roman Republic dedicated to Garibaldi and further to Villa Pamphili. Left it goes to the beautiful fountain “Dell’Acqua Paola” and further down to Trastevere.
On the Monte Mario, there is a beautiful, popular viewpoint, especially at night, which however is not to reach with public transport. There’s an astronomical observatory and a restaurant, “Zodiaco”. For the climb up you must reckon little more than 30 minutes from Piazzale Clodio.
The look is very romantic and impressive. However, you can’t see St. Peter’s from here.
The optical illusion of Via Piccolomini
Via Piccolomini is known for a special optical effect: the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica appears smaller the closer you get. You can see it well as you drive towards the dome.
Take the 982 bus from Ospedale Santo Spirito, on the banks of the Tiber south of Castel Sant’Angelo, to Via Piccolomini.
If you want to see Via Piccolomini and Monte Mario, it might also be worth hiring a taxi or limousine for an evening.
The dome of St. Peter’s
You have a beautiful view over the city from the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica, from the Dome you can see in all directions. More information about St. Peter’s Cathedral and the dome
The roof terrace of Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo offers some interesting views. Especially from the roof terrace you have a nice view over the city center.