“Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.” – Anotole Broyard
Best things to do in Rome to live a local
In the Eternal City, simply look up and you’ll see Ancient Rome looking back down at you. The magical city of Roma seems to be frozen in time, but when you bring your gaze back down to the streets, you’ll see nothing but life. The Catholic influence is strong here, and whether you’re religious or not, visiting stunning and intricately designed churches like the 17th-century Sant’Agnese or the famous St. Peter’s Basilica could fill an entire trip.
We’re here to do as the Romans do, with tips from our Rome Flytographers on how to live like a local. Where to start? Espresso, gelato and a Vespa will do the trick! 🛵
Photo: Roberta in Rome for Flytographer. Nioke celebrates their trip to Rome with a birthday photoshoot at the Pantheon.
Photo: Roberta in Rome for Flytographer. Amy and their partner celebrate their anniversary in Rome with a couple photoshoot at the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.
Where are the best places to eat in Rome?
“If I’m in Rome for only 48 hours, I would consider it a sin against God to not eat cacio e pepe, the most uniquely Roman of pastas, in some crummy little joint where Romans eat. I’d much rather do that than go to the Vatican. That’s Rome to me.” – Anthony Bourdain
While we’d still visit the Vatican too, we’re taking a page out of Anthony Bourdain’s book. Pasta, pasta, pasta! 🍝
- Mordi e Vai inside of the Testaccio Market – “Among the best sandwiches in town. All sandwiches are filled with traditional Roman recipes. I recommend going early so as not to queue up too much. The place is located inside the Testaccio market which alone is worth a visit.” One of Rome’s oldest markets is one of the best places to see two of the most vibrant parts of Rome — the people and the food — mixed in a symphony of noises and mouth-watering smells. – Guido
- Rione 13 – In the heart of Trastevere is where you can sample the typical Roman cuisine “with a touch of innovative spirit.” Where tradition meets gourmet, each room has its own style and mood, and in true Roman fashion, a large social table at the end of the restaurant. – Francesca
- Velavevodetto – Nestled in the hills of Monti di Testaccio, Chef Flavio’s incredible pastas are renowned throughout — which may just be the highest praise in Italy. Oh, and don’t forget to order “the can’t-miss tiramisu.” – Guido
- Pizzeria Loffredo – The mouth-watering pizzas have become a local favourite. You could eat the fresh dough alone and be satisfied! Despite having just a few tables and located a bit of a trek from the bustling city centre, just a single bite of their famously delicious Neapolitan pizza might just have you rearranging your itinerary for a second or third visit. – Francesca
- Trattoria Da Teo – Tucked away in the picturesque neighbourhood of Trastevere, you should order the squid with artichokes (or pasta cacio e pepe with lime for the squeamish, anti-tentacle people) from this locals-approved trattoria. – Guido
Photo: Guido in Rome for Flytographer. James and their partner capture memories in Rome with a couple photoshoot at the Capitoline Hill and the Pantheon.
Photo: Guido in Rome for Flytographer. Debbie and their partner celebrate their anniversary in Rome with a couple photoshoot at Trinità dei Monti.
Photo: Guido in Rome for Flytographer. Carly and their family capture memories in Rome with a family photoshoot at the Pincio & Villa Borghese.
Photo: Roberta in Rome for Flytographer. Ashley and their partner capture memories in Rome with a couple photoshoot.
What are the best places to go for drinks in Rome?
It is “absolutely forbidden” (Guido is very firm on this) to order a cappuccino after lunch. He didn’t brief us on the social or criminal ramifications of such actions, but best to be on the safe side. ☕️ There are many unspoken rules around coffee in Italy, but never fear, you’ll have the hang of it in no time. Alongside only enjoying a cappuccino in the morning, coffee is typically enjoyed quickly while standing up at the bar. If you do as the Romans do, order a caffe (a single espresso shot with crema) and drink while standing. However, you’re on vacation! If you take your coffee “al tavaolo” — which means sitting at a table — to give your feet a break from exploring, many cafes will charge a slightly higher price for the service.
- Sant’Eustachio Caffe – While we have a soft spot for tucked-away cafes, one of the best cafes is hidden in plain sight! Just around the corner from the Pantheon, you can refuel with delicious coffee and croissants (which Italians call cornettos). Here, the coffee is famed for home-roasted beans and water from an ancient aqueduct; taste the history! – Guido
- Tram Depot – “A very nice place in the historic district of Testaccio. It is open from morning for breakfast until late evening. It is especially frequented by young people and also by many expats.” As the name suggests, you can enjoy coffee or an aperitif served from an actual tram! This funky cafe is perfect for watching the bustling Roman scenes unfolding nearby. – Guido
- Pianostrada – As a female-founded company, we’re partial to this all-female owned restaurant where you can enjoy a classic orange Aperol Spritz with their stellar street food snacks, including a homemade focaccia with prosciutto and figs, in a charming garden space. When in Italy, don’t miss out on at least one aperitivo. It’s the time before dinner (usually around 6pm) when you can enjoy a buffet or assortment of tasty snacks with the price of your drink!
- Bar del Fico – Despite the proximity to the busy Piazza Navona, Bar de Fico is locally loved for a drink at any hour of the day. After sunset, there is plentiful outdoor seating, strong cocktails, a lively crowd and equally lively music that all cater to Rome’s trend-setters. We recommend the Italian classics — a spritz or Negroni — for an authentic experience.
- Litro – If cocktails aren’t your style, you’ll find the best selection of natural wines in Rome at Litro … although their cocktails are fantastic too! In the residential area of Monteverde, this is the spot for a slow-paced, romantic afternoon of day drinking as the warm afternoon light spreads across the outdoor patio before you explore the nightlife.
Photo: Guido in Rome for Flytographer. Teresa and their family capture memories in Rome with a family photoshoot at the Trastevere & Tiber Island.
Photo: Flytographer in Rome. Luz captures memories in Rome with a Modern Headshot photoshoot at Piazza del Campidoglio.
Photo: Roberta in Rome for Flytographer. Areti and their partner celebrate their pre-wedding in Rome with a couple photoshoot at The Roman Forum.
Photo: Guido in Rome for Flytographer. Malaisha and their partner celebrate their honeymoon in Rome with a couple photoshoot at the Roman Forum.
The Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Navona, Castel Sant’Angelo — yes, you should see as many ancient Roman monuments and tourist attractions as possible, but Guido’s pro tip is to do so at dawn. 🌅 You might think the monuments are closed, but press on and that experience of being there on a solo walking tour of your own is going to be priceless. Don’t forget to buy tickets early for the museo to see the works of famous artists like Raphael and Caravaggio. 🎨
Plus, here are a few of our favourite, off-the-beaten-path places to explore beyond the world-famous sightseeing spots.
What are the best things to do in Rome?
- Janiculum Hill – As the second tallest hill in Rome, Janiculum Hill, or Gianicolo as it’s known to the Italians, is one of the best, if not the best, place to get a dazzling view of Rome. Get there with plenty of time to see the sunset wash the city’s domes with rich, golden light. It will be a sight your camera phone can never do justice to, so don’t even try. – Guido
- Take a guided tour – So much of Rome is lost on the casual observer who doesn’t know the history. That’s why it’s imperative that you take a tour, on foot, on bike or on a Vespa, and make sure your route takes you to the charming and cobbled street of Via Margutta. Guido says this is one of the streets of “la dolce vita” and it’s where Audrey Hepburn lived in the timeless cinematic travel classic, Roman Holiday. A food tour is another great way to connect with the heart of Rome. – Guido
- Centrale Montemartini – An unusual museum built inside one of the first hydroelectric plants in Rome. The electrical machines and industrial space is somehow in perfect harmony with the historic sculptures and art. – Guido
- Fondazione Pastificio Cerere – This unique spot is home to artist and design studios, artist ateliers, galleries and even a photography school, plus the Pastidicio San Lorenzo restaurant, but this building has a history all its own. Its roots are as a pasta factory built in 1905, which helped feed Rome during two World Wars, and was in service for over 50 years. Although pasta production has since ceased, the space is perfect for enjoying the modern art scene in Rome.
- Cooking Classes in Rome – There are countless cooking classes available across the city, ranging from high-end classes in world-renowned culinary schools to small group, at-home affairs. However, we’re partial to this class in a local Roman kitchen taught by Chef Andrea Consoli. How else can you enjoy a 4-course meal in the heart of Rome that you helped create yourself? (Psst, he even offers online classes if you want to bring Rome to you!)
Honourable mentions: Pantheon, Roman Forum, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, Colosseum, Vatican City, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Galleria Borghese, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Venezia, St. Peter’s Square, Catacombs of Rome, Capitoline Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Raphael Rooms, Palatine Hill, Piazza del Popolo
Photo: Francesca V. in Rome for Flytographer. Suzanne and their family capture memories in Rome with a family photoshoot at the Colosseum.
Photo: Roberta in Rome for Flytographer. Elizabeth and their partner celebrate their anniversary with a couple photoshoot at The Roman Forum.
Photo: Roberta in Rome for Flytographer. Marie Forleo and her partner celebrate a birthday in Rome with a couple photoshoot at the Roman Forum.
Photo: Roberta in Rome for Flytographer. Silvana and their partner celebrate their anniversary in Rome with a couple photoshoot at Gianicolo Hill.
Barret’s Travel Tip for Rome
“The best advice is to wake up early and go to see the main attractions (Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, etc) as the sun is coming up. There are very few people out and you will be able to capture beautiful sunrise photos.” – Barret
View more Rome Travel Tips from our community of travellers.
Where are the best places to go shopping in Rome?
- Trionfale Market – This is a massive indoor market in Rome’s downtown off the Via Andrea Doria with more than 270 stalls of food, fruit, cheese, meat, veggies and vino (what else do you need?). This is most definitely where the locals shop. Be prepared to gesticulate while bargaining and keep at least one hand free for sampling olives and salami. Speaking of hands, there is no way you could come out empty-handed. “Walk, get lost, don’t rush!” says Guido.
- Campo de’ Fiori – The market is truly our favourite way to shop through Rome because it’s how you can experience the city and day-to-day life the way the locals do. This vibrant flower and vegetable market, plus a few souvenir stalls, is also the perfect Instagrammable photo spot! Pick up some local snacks and a bottle of wine for a midday picnic.
- Via Urbana and Via del Boschetto in Monti – The Monti neighborhood is known for its ivy-covered buildings, winding streets, funky storefronts and hip locals. These two streets run perpendicular to each other and have vintage shops, accessory stores, retro furniture shops and chic boutiques to find a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Even if there’s no room in your suitcase, window shopping with a fresh scoop of gelato is still the way to go.
- Via dei Coronari – For high-end luxury antiques, small artisan jewelry shops, perfumeries, and local designer stores, this is the street for a true Roman shopping experience. Only the most stylish stores make it here, and it’s the place to invest in pieces you won’t find just anywhere.
- Eataly – If you want a one-stop shop for the best of Rome’s food shopping scene, the many aisles of Italian-sourced foods and ingredients will wow even the most hard-to-please foodies. Located in the old Ostiense Railway Station, Eataly’s largest store is not just a beautiful supermarket, but also offers an array of restaurants, tasting opportunities and cooking classes. Leave room in your suitcase to take home a taste of Italy with you.
Photo: Roberta in Rome for Flytographer. Rosie and their partner celebrate their honeymoon with a couple photoshoot at the Trastevere & Tiber Island.
Photo: Francesca V. in Rome for Flytographer. Charles captures memories in Rome with a Modern Headshot photoshoot.
Photo: Guido in Rome for Flytographer. Jennifer and their family capture memories in Rome with a family photoshoot at the Pantheon & Trevi Fountain.
Photo: Roberta in Rome for Flytographer. Caitlin and Dave capture memories in Rome with a couple photoshoot at the Imperial forum.
Rome Photo Spots
“My favourite place to shoot is the Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome. It’s a semicircular square designed by Michelangelo,” says Guido. “In the morning at dawn, there is a magnificent light. In such a small space there are many possibilities on where to shoot—columns, terraces, statues, stairs. Then when you stand looking out of one of its terraces and dominate the entire Roman Forum, with the Coliseum in the background, for me there is no doubt that this is one of the most beautiful places in Rome.” 📸
Best places to take photos in Rome
- The Roman Forum
- The Pantheon & Streets of Rome
- The Vatican
- Monti Neighbourhood
- Trinità dei Monti, the Pincio & Villa Borghese
View all expertly-curated Flytographer routes through Rome.
Capturing memories in Rome
Larger-than-life historical sites sit next to small, charming streets, and this contrast is where the magic of Rome truly shines. ✨ Renaissance and baroque architecture house modern-day life, and frescoes dating back to the Roman Empire still wow the modern-day visitors. While you won’t see a real-life gladiator, you can easily imagine one walking through the arches of the Colosseum. Capture the unparalleled magic of Rome with a Flytographer shoot with one of our amazing local photographers. Celebrate with a cappuccino after a sunrise shoot or a glass of vino at sunset to top it off. 🍷