If you have been following my blog or my Instagram, then you know already how much I love viewpoints.

My itineraries are one of a kind because I carefully plan them keeping viewpoints in mind. Seriously, I am happy to miss going into historical buildings but instead watching the sunset from a nice viewpoint instead.

So, in June 2024 I visited Rome, keeping in mind that this eternal city is built on seven hills (like Istanbul and Lisbon), I researched the best viewpoints to maximize my time here. Not only sunset viewpoints but also cafes or cocktail bars with views.

Seagull on top of the Altar of the Fatherland with the view of Colosseum in the background
Seagull on top of the Altar of the Fatherland with the view of the Colosseum in the background

Rome needs no introduction, this ancient city is also Italy’s capital city and also the largest city of the country. It is often called “the eternal city” and has a historic center that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I’d say for me, Rome is a “vibe”.

Yes, the historical stuff is lovely but for me, the city charmed me especially during, and after sunset as I sat on one of the many viewpoints, and saw glittering domes of churches (Rome has more than 900 of them!), and smelt sweet night flowers, and heard romantic music of musicians busking.

So, let’s talk about Rome’s best viewpoints, these are spread all over the city and are perfect to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.

Janiculum Hill

On top of the Janiculum Hill in Rome
On top of the Janiculum Hill in Rome

I mentioned Janiculum Hill already in my Italy road trip itinerary which has just one day in Rome. That’s because Janiculum Hill is the easiest viewpoint, and is a part of Rome’s relaxed residential area Trastevere.

On Google Maps, it is sometimes marked as “Belvedere del Gianicolo” and is also called “Janiculum Terrace”.

I say it is easy to reach because one can easily drive to this place without worrying about going through the city center’s traffic. Moreover, it is accessible via public transport too. Once in, you don’t have to climb anything but just walk to the end of the terrace, which is at the top of Gianicolo Hill.

View from the top of Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo Hill), Rome viewpoints
View from the top of Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo Hill), Rome viewpoints

In my opinion it is the best viewpoint of Rome because you can see the dome of St. Peter’s, which is in the Vatican City. Unlike some other rooftops of Rome, this doesn’t have a closing time, so you can chill here after the sunset too.

Janiculum Terrace has a few drink and snack shops/carts so you have to carry nothing. Just bring a jacket so that you don’t feel cold after it gets dark.

Opening Hours for Janiculum Hill

Open at all hours

Cost To Enter Janiculum Hill

Free

Orange Garden / Giardino degli Aranci

Giardino degli Aranci in Rome
Giardino degli Aranci in Rome

Giardino degli Aranci or Orange Garden has some of the best views of Rome. It is called so because it is full of orange trees that smell amazing (but the fruit is unedible).

I visited Giardino degli Aranci as a part of my Vespa tour in Rome and I’m happy that I did because I wouldn’t have visited it on my own.

Situated along the Tiber River on top of Aventine Hill, Orange Garden is an oasis that’s visited by more tourists than locals. The atmosphere in the evenings is magical with laughter, music, artists, and just happiness.

Sunset views from Orange Garden in Rome
Sunset views from Orange Garden in Rome

There are medieval walls and an old Roman church and one can spend a few hours here taking in the breathtaking views.

The park closes after sunset, so plan your visit in such a way that you can at least spend the golden hour here. I was here during the summer months when the sunset was at 8:45 pm and right after that the guard arrived here and asked everyone to leave.

Opening Hours for Orange Garden

7 am to 9 pm.

Cost To Enter Orange Garden

Free

Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican)

View from the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican, Rome viewpoints
View from the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican, Rome viewpoints

We all know about the holy Vatican City, the world’s smallest country that’s accessible through Rome. If you’re visiting Rome, you will most likely visit the Vatican too, and it feels like it is a part of Rome. For the sake of this article, we will include one of the viewpoints if the Vatican in the list of best viewpoints in Rome.

Whether you visit the Vatican museums or not, I highly recommend you visit St Peter’s Basilica or Basilica di San Pietro. Not only is it out of the world stunning but the views are totally rewarding. If you don’t mind climbing the steps, then go to the top of the dome, it is called “Cupola” in Italian.

The Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
The Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

The only way to visit Saint Peter’s Basilica is to arrive here early morning. I did a guided tour where we started at 7:30 am and still stood in a line. There is no “skip-the-line” for St. Peter’s Basilica, so the only way to avoid the crowds of tourists is by starting early.

View of the Vatican City from top of the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica
View of the Vatican City from the top of the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

Eat breakfast because you have to climb 300-700 steps to reach the top. You can take a lift to reach halfway and skip the first 350 steps. But if sometimes there’s a long line for the elevator. I climbed all the steps because I didn’t want to wait for the elevator.

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

Halfway up, there is a resting spot with toilets, a water refilling station, and a viewing deck. If you want, you can take a break here.

The staircase at the end of the dome right before you reach the top gets narrow. If you tend to get claustrophobic, then this is something you should avoid.

Once on top, enjoy a stunning view of Rome and the Vatican City from the top.

Opening Hours for St Peter’s Basilica

7 am to 7 pm.

Cost To Enter St Peter’s Basilica (& Tours)

It is free, to enter the church but it costs to go up onto the dome or to take the lift. Climbing the dome costs €8 if you take the stairs or €10 by elevator. I suggest you go for a guided tour and see the top of the dome. I did a tour and it was worth it. Below are the tours I have handpicked for you:

I have had a very good experience booking tours with GetYourGuide considering their amazing app, clear meeting point instructions, and other information.

Pincio Terrace / Terrazza del Pincio

Pincio Terrace - Rome viewpoints
Pincio Terrace – Rome viewpoints

I met a tourism rep of Rome and told her that I would like to visit all the viewpoints and she suggested this particular one. It is in Rome’s North center.

Terrazza del Pincio or the Pincio Terrace is a belvedere a few steps above Piazza del Popolo and on the edge of the Borghese Gardens. Piazza del Popolo has arches from where you can enter the city. It’s close to the famous Spanish Steps. So it is a good idea to visit this viewpoint after seeing Villa Borghese and Spanish Steps.

Sunset view from Terrazza del Pincio, Rome
Sunset view from Terrazza del Pincio, Rome

From Pincio Terrace, you will not just see the Piazza del Popolo (that’s under it) but also the Vatican. The glimmering dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is visible from this panoramic terrace.

Arrive here an hour before the sunset because there’s a lot to see at Piazza del Popolo. Lion fountains, the obelisk, musicians, children, and stunning structures.

That’s not all, the Passeggiata del Pincio with 200 historic structures should be enjoyed. There is also a historical water clock here which is worth checking out.

Just like Janiculam Hill, there are plenty of food and drinks vendors here at Pincio Terrace, and thankfully it is also open 24 hours.

Opening Hours for Pincio Terrace

24 hours

Cost To Enter Pincio Terrace

Free

Altar of Fatherland (Victor Emmanuel II Monument)

View from the Altar of Fatherland or Victor Emmanuel II Monument
View from the Altar of Fatherland or Victor Emmanuel II Monument

This place has so many names that I got confused. It is called the Vittoriano, Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, Altar of the Fatherland, Altare della Patria and also Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II.

Victor Emmanuel II Monument or the Wedding Cake Building in Rome
Victor Emmanuel II Monument or the Wedding Cake Building in Rome

To make things confusing, this place is also called the wedding cake building. It is the highest point in the city center and also has views of Ancient Rome so you can see the Colosseum and Roman Forum from up here.

Arrive at Piazza Venezia and you will spot this building very easily. It is in the heart of Rome and is accessible easily via public transportation.

View of the Roman Forum from the Altar of Fatherland
View of the Roman Forum from the Altar of Fatherland

The opening hours to enter the wedding cake building are from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, but the last entry on the elevator was at 4 pm (when I visited) and that’s why I had to visit this place twice. So based on this opening time, sadly you can’t watch the sunset or sunrise from here.

So, it is a good idea to visit the Victor Emmanuel II monument in the late afternoon. Prebook your ticket to go on top of the building with the lift for magnificent views of the Roman Forum. The roof level is called the Altar of Fatherland.

On top of the Victor Emmanuel II Monument, Rome
On top of the Victor Emmanuel II Monument, Rome

In my opinion, the Altar of the Fatherland has the best views of Rome’s historic center, so don’t miss this if you’re into viewpoints.

When you are done with the views on top, come down with the lift to spend some time at the bar/cafe with amazing views of Ancient Rome. Drink a coffee or Aperol Spritz as you see the Colosseum in the distance.

Opening Hours for Victor Emmanuel II Monument

9:30 am to 7 pm, but the last entry for the lift was at 4 pm.

Cost To Enter Victor Emmanuel II Monument

You can enter the Victor Emmanuel II Monument area for free but it costs EUR 17 to go up the lift. Here are a few options for reserving the Altar of the Fatherhood lift slot:

It is a good idea to book the lift time slot well in advance.

Castel Sant’Angelo

View from the top of Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome
View from the top of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome via Unsplash

Castel Sant’Angelo is an imposing mausoleum near Vatican City. It is a cylindrical building that’s situated along the Tiber River.

Castel Sant’Angelo was initially built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family but was later used by popes as a fortress and castle – hence the name. It now functions as a museum building.

Fun fact: there is a fortified passageway that connects Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican City.

Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome
Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome via Unsplash

If you visit Castel Sant’Angelo, climb the spiral staircase to reach the terrace. From there, you can enjoy the panoramic view from the top of the ancient city core of Rome.

You will see the River Tiber, Sant’Angelo Bridge, and the Vatican. There is also a cafe / bar up here with wonderful views.

Opening Hours for Castel Sant’Angelo

9:00 am to 7:30 pm (last entry at 18:30)

Cost To Enter Castel Sant’Angelo

The normal ticket is EUR 17 but for EUR 20 – 22, you can get a “skip-the-line” entrance. Considering the crowds of Rome, this is highly advisable.

Palatine Hill (Rome Forum)

Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Viewpoints in Rome
Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Viewpoints in Rome

Palatine Hill is a part of the Roman Forum. If you are visiting the Colosseum, then your ticket will also include a visit to the Roman Forum.

Inside the Roman Forum is the Palatine Hill, this is where Rome was actually founded as a small village in the 8th century BC. The historical Palatine Hill is over the Circus Maximus.

Out of the seven hills of Rome, Palatine Hill is the centermost and also the most historic. This is why it is often called “the first nucleus of the Roman Empire”.

I will be honest, after spending the morning at the Colosseum and then entering Roman Forum, I was completely done and had no excitement for seeing the Palatine Hill.

View from Palatine Hill, Rome
View from Palatine Hill, Rome via Unsplash

The view from Palatine Hill is a little bit different because you are in the middle of the ruins of ancient Rome and that’s what you can see all around you.

Opening Hours for Palatine Hill

9:00 am to 7:15 pm.

Cost To Enter Palatine Hill

EUR 18 – for the Colleusum and Roman Forum. Again, I’d suggest you book a “skip-the-line” entry, it is completely worth the extra bucks considering that the Colosseum is the most popular attraction in Rome.

Belvedere Niccolo’ Scatoli / Fontana dell’Acqua Paola

Belvedere Niccolo' Scatoli - Rome viewpoints
Belvedere Niccolo’ Scatoli – Rome viewpoints

Now this is one of those places that only locals would suggest or those who happened to walk by just by chance. I discovered this spot as I was walking from Janiculum Hill to Piazza Trilussa.

Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, Rome
Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, Rome

This Belvedere has a nice view from above. I was here at night and I’m sure it’s a nice spot during the day too. There is a lovely fountain here – Fontana dell’Acqua Paola with interesting details.

Opening Hours for Belvedere Niccolo’ Scatoli

It is open 24 hours.

Cost To Enter Belvedere Niccolo’ Scatoli

Free.

Bonus: Rooftop Bars & Restaurants in Rome

Bonus point, if you are like me and like to incorporate a good view with every single meal, then consider the below restaurants and bars with a view in Rome.

Trevi Rooftop

Trevi Rooftop Rome - Bar with a view
Trevi Rooftop Rome – Bar with a view

We all know about Rome’s Trevi Fountain. Not only is it the most popular attraction in Rome but the entire country. But that’s exactly why it gets crowded.

So, one of the best places to enjoy a view of Trevi Fountain is by going to a place called “Trevi Rooftop”, and sipping a delicious cocktail.

I visited Trevi Rooftop before the sunset but it completely filled up within minutes. A cocktail here was around EUR 22-25, which is expensive because you are paying for the view.

Rooftop Lounge Trevi

Rooftop Lounge Trevi is a cocktail bar that’s a part of Hotel Fontana Trevi. I personally didn’t visit because I went to Trevi Rooftop instead (the one above) but this is also one of the options you can consider.

Court Cocktail Bar (Palazzo Manfredi)

Court Cocktail Bar (Palazzo Manfredi) - bar with a view
Court Cocktail Bar (Palazzo Manfredi) – bar with a view

Court Cocktail Bar has an amazing view of the Colosseum and you can enjoy how this historical structure lights up when the sun goes down. This bar isn’t cheap and expect to spend EUR 25 per cocktail.

Aroma Restaurant Rome

Aroma Restaurant Rome
Aroma Restaurant Rome

Personally I’d pick a bar with a view but if you are in Rome with your better half for a romantic trip, or on a date, then pick a fine dining restaurant like this one to have a magical night.

Closing thoughts: Rome Viewpoints

As mentioned before, Rome is a hilly city and has plenty of viewpoints. The ones that I have mentioned on my post are some of the ones that I experienced and in my opinion are definitely worth visiting.

If possible, I’d recommend you befriend a few locals and ask them for their best tips. Italians are very friendly and they would love to tell you about their beautiful city.


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