The best Rome tours

From sophisticated wine tasting to food market meandering, make the most of your trip with these rousing tours around Rome

Photograph: Courtesy Rome Illuminated

You can flounder with a city map (or multiple tabs on your smartphone) all you want, but everyone knows the best way to see the city is to be shown around by a local. So if you’ve sorted out where to stay in Rome and want to get to know this incredible city, check out our hand-picked selection of the best Rome tours. Whether you’re after seriously stunning (and usually out of bounds) views from the heady heights of attractions like the Collesium, a very cool day trip, or would rather just eat and drink your way around the culinary capital (we don’t blame you), there’s a tour for you. And you don’t have to waste hours scrolling online, just check out our guide to the best below. You know what they say, when in Rome....

The best tours in Rome

1
Early Access Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour with St. Peter’s and Sistine Chapel

Early Access Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour with St. Peter’s and Sistine Chapel

Avoid the hordes and hordes of camera-wielding Vatican visitors by booking this tour, which gets you a queue jump and access to the UNESCO-listed complex an hour before it opens to the public. The small group means you won’t strain to hear the guide and you’ll have three whole hours to marvel at the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and Michelangelo’s masterpieces. And no trip to Rome is complete without setting eyes on that lot. 

2
Borghese Gallery Tour: Feast your eyes on Baroque masterpieces

Borghese Gallery Tour: Feast your eyes on Baroque masterpieces

If classical art is your thing, don’t miss this the beautifully sculpted works of Bernini housed in the Borghese Gallery. As you ogle all that marvelous marble, your guide will be on hand to answer any questions you have about the collection. And listen, they really know their stuff. 

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3
Crypts and Catacombs tours: Visit secret Rome

Crypts and Catacombs tours: Visit secret Rome

Swap romantic cobbled streets for macabre skull-lined crypts on this tour of Rome’s ancient catacombs. It’s slightly gruesome, yes but totally fascinating – few of Rome's best tours will give you such an intriguing insight into the city's past.

4
Rome’s Ghetto and Trastevere tour: Explore medieval and Jewish Rome

Rome’s Ghetto and Trastevere tour: Explore medieval and Jewish Rome

Delve into Rome’s Jewish past on this tour that's pretty much perfect for history buffs and culture vultures. As well as wandering around the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere neighborhoods, you’ll visit the Synagogue and museum, while an art historian or religious expert (or both, if you're lucky!) fills you in on the important stuff. 

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5

Rome by the Glass: a fun wine tour through the city centre

Treat yourself to this booze-based tour, led by a wine-savvy sommelier, who will give you the lowdown on the culture, history and geography behind every bottle before getting down to the exciting part: swilling five varieties of grape. Plus there'll be food pairings to soak up the vino, which you'll probably appreciate when closing time hits. 

6

Just Gelato: The perfect tour for those with a sweet tooth

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it should be the motto of this family-run gelaterie, which uses the freshest ingredients to create its homemade gelato. It’s some of the finest you’ll try in the Italian capital and this tour you’ll be treated to a live demonstration – so you know exactly how it gets from udder to cone. 

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7

Walks of Italy: Tour the Colosseum and Forum

Make your trip to the Colosseum worth the journey it took to find it with this all-encompassing tour, which offers that all important queue jump (believe us, you’ll be thankful you did once you see that snaking line) and access to the third, fourth and fifth tiers of the ancient ruin. Translation: pretty spectacular views of the arena and beyond. 

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9

Best of Rome in five hours tour

Don’t you just wish you could squeeze all the best bits of a city into one super tour, that was also super cheap and conveniently quick? Well, you’re in luck as this tour takes you on a five-hour whizz around Rome’s sights: think, Saint Peter's Basilica, the Colosseum and Piazza Navona in the center. Don’t worry about getting tour-hangry, you’ll stop off for culinary treats along the way, too.

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Check out Rome’s top ’hoods

Where to stay in Rome

We’ve broken down the city’s five best neighbourhoods — including a favorite Bohemian ‘hood and the up-and-coming area considered to be Rome’s answer to Brooklyn.

By: Natalie Aldern

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