Rome Alone: 8 Things to Do Solo in Rome (+Photos)

There’s a sort of magic about a historic European city. Called the ‘Eternal City’ for its storied past, Rome is one of my favorite cities to visit.

With century-old buildings interspersed with baroque fountains and 200-year-old Roman ruins, there are few places that pack in as much history as this city. After all, it was the center of one of the world’s most famous ancient civilizations.

From the iconic Colosseum, where gladiators would once battle, to the imposing Pantheon, a temple dedicated to the Roman gods, the city echoes stories of its past. Unsurprisingly, tourism is Rome’s leading modern industry.

And let’s not forget about the food. The home of pasta, pizza, gelato, and tiramisu, there are few places with as rich a culinary scene as this one.

In this post, we’ll cover:

I spent three months living and studying in the city. Over this time, I explored the ins and outs of Rome, from the touristy areas to the local neighborhoods and everything in between. I took every opportunity to explore and uncover the secrets of as many churches, cobblestone streets, and piazzas as I could. Here are five of my favorite solo activities in the heart of Rome:

Visit the Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are an iconic backdrop for an afternoon in Rome. Now, once upon a time (before 2016), visitors could sit and eat on the steps. Today, you’re not allowed to sit on the stairs for hygiene and traffic reasons. That said, plenty of people don’t know about this law and do it anyway.

My recommendation is to find a bench towards the top of the stairs, where you can soak in the atmosphere and watch the bustling city life unfold around you.

Eat Tiramisu at Pompi


When it comes to tiramisu, few do the dessert as well as Pompi, a small shop just three minutes walk from the steps. You might need to wait in a bit of a queue, but trust me when I say, it will be worth it. Pompi has been brewing our favorite dessert since 1960, serving a range of tiramisu flavors along with other sweet treats, cakes, pastries, and gelato.

A single portion of tiramisu costs €5, and they come in unique flavors from banana and chocolate to strawberry to caramel and even a gluten-free option. Their pastries are just as delicious, with croissants costing around €1.50 and tarts starting at €3.50.

If you’re interested in a more substantial meal, Ginger is a health food restaurant just a five-minute walk from the stairs via Via Borgognona. After a few months of relentless pizza and pasta, this became a staple restaurant for me whenever I was in the city center. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 9:30 am to 11:30 pm, and a casual meal with a drink and tip might cost you around €25 per person.

Stroll Around the Roman Forum

Roman Forum

First things first. Whether you’ve visited Rome ten times before or it’s your first time in the city, you’re going to want to hit the classic tourist attractions in Rome. Luckily, they’re all pretty much within walking distance of one another.

Seriously, you could walk from the Spanish Steps to the Piazza Navona to the Trevi Fountain to the Pantheon to the Colosseum to the Roman Forum in just an hour and fifteen minutes (of course, not considering stopping to apprerciate the historical masterpieces in front of you). The city is small and walkable, which is a big reason why it’s one of my favorites as a solo traveler.

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is one of my favorite places to walk around. With wide roads and open green spaces, it feels a world away from the narrow cobblestone streets of the center.

What was once the center of the city, The Roman Forum, is basically a massive open-air museum offering a taste of what political and commercial life was like in the 8th century. It’s a sprawling archeological site between Palatine and Capitoline Hill, housing ancient structures, including the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Titus, and the Temple of Vesta.

Roman Forum

The ruins are pretty much interspersed throughout the city, which means you could stroll past a statue nearly three thousand years old while on your way for an Aperol spritz. I never ended up buying a ticket to access the Forum museums, and instead, I explored the ruins by just walking around the area.

Tickets to enter the Forum start from €18. However, it might be in your best interest to purchase a ticket that includes access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Arena, allows you to skip the lines, and includes a 90-minute walking tour of other parts of the city for around €40. There are plenty of ticket options available, which makes it easy to plan your perfect itinerary depending on how much time you have.

Navigate the Crowds at the Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

Now I have to admit, the Trevi Fountain is one of those places you need to visit once, and only once. As beautiful and romantic as it is, the fountain is crowded with tourists waiting in line to get a good photo and make a wish.

That said, no first-time trip to Rome is complete without a visit to this landmark, which is a masterpiece of Baroque art from the 1700s. It’s one of the city’s most iconic structures, made from the same material (travertine stone) as the Colosseum itself.

If you want to visit without crowds, it is best to get there first thing in the morning when other travelers are still indulging in their espressos. However, I like to visit during dusk, when the weather is cool, and lights illuminate the stone fountain.

Gelato in the Historic Center


There is no better way to manage the Trevi crowds than with a gelato in hand. Just two minutes walk from the fountain, Il Gelato di San Crispino is a small, unassuming gelateria with a big reputation. Mentioned in the novel ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ the gelateria has become one of the most famous in the city.

With a commitment to authentic gelato, San Crispino creates world-class gelato without the use of artificial coloring or preservatives. They even refuse to sell cones since they believe the cone can change the flavor of the ice cream.

Gelato in the Historic Center

Open between 11 am and 12:30 am and even later (1.30 am on weekends), this is the perfect spot for a refreshing dessert. One small scoop costs €2.70, while a healthy helping of four scoops costs €10.

For an authentic Italian meal, you’ll never believe Il Chianti Vineria is just a minute’s walk from the Trevi Fountain. Perfect for lunch on the terrace, this spot serves some of the best homemade pasta I have ever had. It’s pricey (with a main meal costing between €18 and €26) since it’s in the middle of the tourist hub, but it is well worth it for pasta that will change your life.

Visit the Capitoline Museums

Capitoline Museums

I love a well-curated museum, and The Capitoline Museums are just that. The museums are a group of art and archeological museums located on Capitoline Hill that house an impressive collection of ancient Roman art and artifacts.

Here, you could spend at least three hours strolling the exquisite halls donned with artistic masterpieces, fresco ceilings, and intricate sculptures.

Capitoline Museums

Conveniently, the museums are close to a central bus station, where lines 51, 75, 85, and 87 stop nearby. It’s also super easy to get to by foot and is about a fifteen-minute walk from the Trevi Fountain down the famous shopping street of the Via del Corso.

If you buy a ticket online in advance, entry to the museums costs €13, with a reduced price for EU citizens and Roman residents, as well as students and seniors.

Admire the Views at Terrazza Caffarelli

Terrazza Caffarelli

After soaking up the archeological and artistic wonders of ancient Rome, head up to the rooftop Terrazza Caffarelli for casual tapas and drinks with panoramic views of the city. Open between 9:30 am and 7 pm, the rooftop bar is a hidden gem that is surprisingly hardly busy. I recommend visiting towards sunset to watch the day draw to a close over some of the most iconic rooftops of Rome.

Set up a Picnic in Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese

The Central Park of Rome, Villa Borghese, is a serene green space covering 148 acres of land in the northern neighborhoods of the city. Originally used as private gardens by the Borghese family, the park opened to the public in 1903 and has since been the city’s main green space for outdoor exercise and picnics.

Lined with shaded spaces, landscaped lawns, and seasonally manicured flower beds, the gardens were a respite from the busy urban city while I lived in Rome. I would visit weekly to surround myself with nature and stroll the gardens for a breath of fresh air.

Temple of Esculapio
Villa Borghese gardens

Head to a local grocery store or deli to assemble your picnic, or pop past one of the mobile snack bars in the park for an on-the-go tramezini and a coffee. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a casual seated lunch.

From the Capitoline Museums, the park is a 35-minute walk up the Via del Corso. Alternatively, you could catch the Line 160 or 63 Bus from Ara Coeli/Piazza Venezia and travel between 15 and 25 minutes by bus. I must warn you that buses in Rome aren’t the most reliable. They are often late and, more often, overcrowded.

If you are willing to wait around, they will certainly get you from A to B, but I wouldn’t rely on them being on time. There is also a lot of roadwork and construction in the city center, a big bulk owing to the Line C metro, which will be completed in 2025. This means many buses have to take detours and can take even longer than expected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *