Are you getting too caught up in the hustle and hassle of making your way through Rome? Do you need a moment to get the big picture? We would love to help you get a new perspective! Here’s our list of the 5 best views in Rome! Take some time out, rise above the busy streets, see where you’ve been and enjoy the “belvedere” of our Eternal City!
Boom! That’s the sound of the canon at midday that has given Romans all the way to Esquilino (they say) – proof that in Rome some things do run on schedule!
Climb up the Salita Sant’Onofrio towards the Anfiteatro Quercia del Tasso, where the uncrowned king of Italian poetry, Torquato Tasso, would sit and gaze at the city. But keep walking along the Passeggiata del Gianicolo, there’s more! One of the best views in Rome is waiting for you!
On the way up you’ll see a lighthouse and Villa Lante, designed by Baldassare Turinia who was a student of Raphael. At the top of Gianicolo Hill is the Piazziale Giuseppe Garibaldi, who fought here in his attempts to unify Italy. And then there’s the view! You can take time and explore the Gianicolo Park, the promenades featuring important Italians and the botanical garden.
Further along the Passeggiata is one of the fountains that inspired the Fontana di Trevi, Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, nicknamed Fontanone – the big fountain. After the climb up the hill it could be tempting to take a dip in the fountain’s pool as Romans used to until some spoiled sport banned public bathing in 1707.
The views will take your breath away whether you climb up during the day, watch the sunset and starlings do their amazing aerial ballet routine, or on a clear starlit at night. We think this is a great way to see the grand scale of Rome after our one of our Tour of Trastevere and Villa Farnesina or one of our Food Tours or as a self guided adventure through the winding upper levels of Trastevere.
The Pincian Hill
If you get the feeling that there is something a little French about the Pincian Hill, with its discrete stairways leading from Piazza del Popolo to the terrace view, you would be right! Welcome to the Hill of Gardens, as it was once known and see how the ancient Roman vineyards that once grew on this hill have become a little example of Napoleon’s grand, urban visions. From the terrace, of of our 5 best views in Rome, you can see a panorama of church domes and the Vittoriana’s wedding cake white marble: defenetely one of the best views in Rome! Piazza Napoleon sits at the top of the stairs and close by is the Villa Medici which became the French Academy in 1802. Order and grace rule here, right down to trees chosen by Giuseppe Valadier – he also planned Piazza del Popolo. Everything has a place and the purpose is to lead your eyes or feet toward something more to see. There’s a clever hydrometer (water clock) and a Roman obelisk, a walkway dedicated to important Italians and seating so that you can contemplate the artful design or just give your feet a rest. If you want to stay longer, it’s an easy amble on to the Borghese Garden, the green heart of Rome (literally! it is shaped like a heart on the Garden’s map!). Or stick around and watch the sunset over Rome then stroll along the park to the top of the Spanish Steps. Exploring the Pincio is the perfect thing to do after our Borghese Galleries Tour, our Sense of the City Tour or our Highlights of Rome Tour.
Giardino Degli Aranci – Parco Savello
This inner city park covers the ruins of a medieval fortress. It’s tucked away between Circus Maximus and Testaccio – a great neighbourhood to explore and take a bite to eat. From here you get a view over the Tiber across the church domes and all the way to the Victor Emanuelle the Second monument. The Knights of Malta are close by if you want to see if they will let you peak through their keyhole to St Peter’s. The park entrance has a Roman bathtub “upcycled” into a masked fountain. They say Saint Dominic brought the first orange tree planted in the park, a small souvenir from Spain. The Dominican Basilica Santa Sabina, which borders a part of the park, is well worth a look – if just for to give you a contrast between its simplicity and the ornate artistry of ost other churches in Rome – can you imagine that most of them began as the same clean slate?
Parco Savello is in the middle of different tourist sights, very close to Circus Maximus, the Piramide of Sestio and Testaccio’s broken crockery hill, but you will get the feeling that the area is more residential.
You’ll not only get a beautiful view over the city, but also a slice of ordinary Rome. We think Giardino Degli Aranci is a great way to take in the city and digest all you’ve heard after our Bread and Circuses Tour or our Ancient Rome Extended Tour. Speaking of best views in Rome, this deserves a place in our top 5!
This view is part of the Capitoline Museums complex and it’s the place to go if you prefer enjoying your views over lunch or with a glass of wine. Since we are writing about best terraces with views of Rome, the Caffarelli terrace cannot be missed!!! The Caffareli family, having so many palazzi in Rome decided to sell this one to the Prussian Ambassadorship in 1854 and they had the place until 1918, the end of World War One. The building was partly demolished in a hunt for what was left of the Temple of Jupiter and then rebuilt in the 1920s to include the Terrazza Caffarelli, a banquet hall and a very tasty view. Take the time to visit the café and enjoy an aperitivo-with-a-view after our tour of the Capitoline Museums or our Jewish District Tour.
Via Della Consolazione
Would you believe that up until the 1980s this street ran right through the Forum? If you’re walking from the Capitoline or Marcellus Theatre you will walk along the street dedicated to Luigi Petroselli who thought it was a good idea to start respecting Rome’s heritage and ultimately united the entire Roman Forum into one of the world’s largest outdoor museums. As a result Via Della Consolazione was torn up and you can now only see traces of it as you walk along the Palatine Hill areas of the Forum, but the street gives you a view over the whole Forum complex. There are 3 churches in the area, San Giorgio in Velabro, built in the 7th century, San Giovanni Decollata and the Basilica Santa Maria Della Consolazione. There is also Rupe Tarpea, a cliff where the condemned were thrown to their deaths. The basilica, in fact, is named after an icon of the Virgin Mary a condemned nobleman bought to console those about to die. Close to Circus Maximus this view is a perfect thing to see after our Imperial Parade Tour or Ancient Rome Extended Tour.
All these spots will all give you a different perspective on Rome and a real sense of its size as a city. The romance of watching the sunset or the sparkle of the city lights make these belvedere an absolute must see – even if you only have time to fit one in. We would love to know what you think of our top 5 best views in Rome? Do you have any other places you like to sit and enjoy the city from?