With a spectacular skyline full of iconic landmarks, Italy’s beautiful capital city has some of the best views in the world.
While it’s a lot of fun exploring the historic streets of Rome on foot and seeing the historic buildings up close, there are many brilliant viewpoints to really appreciate the beauty of the city from a distance.
From the top of buildings or across the River Tiber, there are many places where you can find the best views in Rome. After all, the city is known for its 7 hills.
1. Castel Sant’Angelo
A historic landmark in Rome that offers spectacular views of the city is Castel Sant’Angelo.
This castle has served as a mausoleum, prison, and important fortification, so there’s plenty of history to discover as you explore and work your way up to the top, where you’ll find one of the best viewpoints in Rome.
Being situated right next to the river, it’s a great place for taking memorable photos as you’ll be able to capture much of Rome’s spectacular skyline in one image.
With the iconic Ponte Sant’Angelo below, you’ll see landmarks like the Altar of the Fatherland in the distance, and even see the Pantheon tucked away within the city. Look west and you’ll have a brilliant view over to St Peter’s Basilica.
While the viewpoint at the top of Castel Sant’Angelo is incomparable, you’ll also find many other great views as you’re ascending the castle. This includes from Caffetteria Ristorante Le Terrazze, a cafe near the top that’s one of the best restaurants in Rome.
2. The dome of St Peter’s Basilica
Although it’s in Vatican City (so technically in a different country to Italy!), heading to St Peter’s Basilica is a great way to get some of the best views in Rome.
From the top of the dome, you’ll get incredible views down to the famous oval-shaped St Peter’s Square, with Castel Sant’Angelo further east, while in the other direction you’ll be able to see other areas of the Vatican like the gardens.
With no cost to enter the church, visiting St Peter’s Basilica is one of the best free things to do in Rome. So, while you’re there, it’s well worth paying the fee to climb the dome.
You can either walk all the way up or pay a little extra to take a lift part of the way up and save yourself some of the effort!
3. Top of the Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome, and making the climb up these 138 steps rewards you with an underrated view back across the city.
At a height of 29 metres, these may not provide the highest viewpoint in the city, but they do offer a surprisingly great view of the skyline. You’ll even be able to see St Peter’s Basilica in the distance.
Better yet, you can climb the Spanish Steps for free, so you don’t need to spend a penny to get one of the best views in Rome.
4. Altar of the Fatherland
The Altare della Patricia (Altar of the Fatherland) is a spectacular marble monument in the centre of Rome that rises over the Palazzo di Venezia.
Located on the Capitoline Hill, one of the 7 hills in Rome, the monument offers some great views of the city if you make the climb to the top.
The altar is a fascinating place to visit regardless of the view and includes the famous shrine of the Italian Unknown Soldier as well as a gallery inside.
5. Terrace of the Quadrighe
Once you’ve climbed up the Altar of the Fatherland and seen some of the best views in Rome for free, there’s also the option to get to an even more impressive viewpoint.
The panoramic terrace, or terrace of the Quadrighe, is right at the top of the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II and can be accessed via a lift.
This observation deck provides unrivalled 360-degree views of Rome at 70 metres above the city. All of the city will be in sight, and you’ll have a great vantage point over the Forum and the Colosseum.
6. Scalinata dell’Ara Coeli
Also located on Capitoline Hill is the Basilica di Santa Maria, a beautiful church that’s free to enter and well worth a visit.
The most interesting feature of this church is the impressive set of stairs that leads all the way up the hill to its entrance, the Scalinata dell’Ara Coeli.
These 124 marble steps can be tiring to climb, especially on a hot day, but the reward is worth the effort. At the top, there are lovely views back down across the city, and you can always head inside the church to take a seat and rest for a while.
7. View over the Fori Romani from Campidoglio
Capitoline Hill offers some of the best views in Rome due to its position in the heart of the city, as already seen with the Altar of the Fatherland and Scalinata dell’Ara Coeli, and another fantastic viewpoint is located on the eastern side of the hill.
Located just behind Campidoglio, this vantage point offers one of the best views of Fori Romani (the Roman Forum).
The Roman Forum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome, and during the day these ruins are packed with visitors. While paying to enter is definitely worth it, seeing the ruins from afar is a great way to visualise their scale and significance.
8. The Terrazza sul Foro
Another vantage point over the Roman Forum can be found slightly further around Capitoline Hill, at the top of Via Monte Tarpeo.
It’s such a popular viewpoint, in fact, that it’s labelled Terrazza sul Foro on Google Maps, and many locals and tourists alike congregate here to relax in front of one of the best views in Rome.
9. View from Terrazza Belvedere del Palatino
On the other side of the Roman Forum is another of Rome’s seven hills, the Palatine, on which you’ll find an observation deck (called Terrazza Belvedere del Palatino).
From here you’ll have some of the best views down into the Roman Forum, and the iconic status on top of the Altar of the Fatherland will be visible in the distance.
This location is a great place to get incredible photos of Rome and the ruins below, although it’s so popular that you may have to be patient to find space out of the crowd.
You’ll be able to access the Palatine as part of a ticket that gets you into the Forum, so make sure not to miss this fantastic viewpoint!
10. Giardino degli Aranci
South of the Palentine and Capitoline and right by the River Tiber is another of Rome’s hills, the Aventine Hill, on which you’ll find the Giardino degli Aranci (the Orange Park).
Named after the oranges trees that grow here, this park is a beautiful spot to visit, not least because of the amazing views westwards across Rome.
Giardino degli Aranci is well-known as being one of the best places to watch the sunset in Rome, especially with the Tiber flowing below and the dome of St Peter’s visible on the horizon.
11. West from Ponte Umberto I
Not all of the best views in Rome are from high vantage points, and one of the most iconic images of the city can be seen from one of its bridges – Ponte Umberto I.
Located straight north of Piazza Navonna, walking across this bridge allows a great view west along the river where you can see Castel Sant’Angelo and St Peter’s Basilica together.
Just remember the bridge has a busy road, so make sure to watch out when crossing!
12. Pincio Terrace
One of the best things to do in Villa Borghese, a beautiful park in Rome, is to head to Terrazza del Pincio (Pincio Terrace).
With such a scenic backdrop of the peaceful park and greenery around the terrace, this vantage point offers one of the best views in Rome as it looks over the magnificent Piazza del Popolo.
You can either access the terrace from Villa Borghese or follow a winding road up from Piazza del Popolo. Because it looks west over the city, it’s also a great place to watch the sunset, making a trip here one of the most romantic things to do in Rome for couples.