When the sun sets in Rome, a whole new world awakens. The ancient streets and ruins take on a different kind of beauty, one that is steeped in mystery and enchantment. Often hailed as the Eternal City, Rome unravels a tapestry of wonders that extend far beyond the daylight hours. The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, and many other historical sites, bathed in a soft, ethereal glow, evoke a sense of awe that is distinctly nocturnal. Yet, the magic of Rome at night extends far beyond its iconic landmarks. From the enigmatic depths of catacombs to the romantic allure of rooftop bars, each corner reveals a layer of the city’s history, culture, and modern vibrancy. Here are some wonderful tours and things to do in Rome at night that are perfect to experience the city’s unique charm after dark!
Things To Do in Rome at Night
Strolling Through Rome’s Landmarks at Night
As the night falls, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon light up, offering a mesmerizing view of these ancient wonders. Take a leisurely walk through these sites, relishing in the ambiance and appreciating their timeless splendor without the hustle and bustle of the daytime crowds. A visit to the Trevi Fountain at night is an enchanting and romantic experience. The sound of the flowing water and the play of light on the sculptures create a truly magical atmosphere. Nearby, the Spanish Steps provide an ideal spot to sit and soak in the lively atmosphere.
Colosseum Illuminated on a Night Tour
Visiting the Colosseum at night offers a more intimate and awe-inspiring experience. With smaller crowds and better views, an evening tour provides a fresh perspective on this ancient marvel. Opt for a VIP Colosseum at Night Tour for the chance to step onto the arena floor and witness the Colosseum’s grandeur up close.
Trastevere, a picturesque neighborhood on the Tiber River’s west bank, comes alive after dark. Its narrow, cobbled streets are lined with cozy trattorias, chic bars, and street performers. Enjoy a traditional Roman meal at one of the local eateries or book a night food tour and then join in the lively atmosphere for a night filled with music and laughter.
Exclusive Catacombs Tour by Night
Various tour operators offer nighttime tours of Rome, providing a fresh perspective on the city’s history and legends. Some even offer special access to certain sites after hours. For those in search of a truly unique experience, the Catacombs at Night tour by Walks offers a captivating journey into Rome’s underground world. This tour begins after the public has left, allowing guests to explore remarkably preserved burial sites and learn about ancient Roman history in an eerie and enchanting setting.
Sunset Views from Romantic Rooftops
Dressing up and heading to one of Rome’s romantic rooftop bars for a sunset drink is an unparalleled experience. There are so many incredible rooftops, restaurants and hotels offering stunning views of the city. The Eitch Borromini Hotel, with its sixth-floor rooftop terrace offering a 360-degree panorama of the city, provides an exceptional vantage point. For special occasions, an aperitif at the Eitch Borromini, complete with an open-air opera show, is a memorable option.
Piazza People Watching
The simple pleasure of people-watching takes on a special charm in Rome’s vibrant squares. Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona, and other bustling squares offer prime spots for observing street performers, artists, and the ebb and flow of daily life. After dusk, these squares become ideal places for planning a photoshoot at iconic locations like the Trevi Fountain or Spanish Steps.
Night Markets and Shopping
Rome’s markets take on a special charm under the moonlight. Explore the Mercato di Campo de’ Fiori, which transforms into a bustling night market, offering everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts. Whether you’re strolling through Rome in the evening or heading out to dinner, consider picking up your souvenirs during this time. For those seeking fashion and luxury goods, the Via del Corso and Via Condotti are lined with high-end boutiques that stay open late. The former offers a mix of renowned local and international brands, while the latter is renowned for its luxury boutiques.
Savor Roman Cuisine
Rome is celebrated for its culinary delights, and indulging in Roman cuisine at night is a must. When planning your trip, securing reservations at these coveted spots is crucial, especially for those with specific restaurants in mind. Pair it with a glass of local wine and round off the meal with a scoop of gelato for an authentic Italian experience. If you’re looking for a special fine dining experience paired with local wines, I highly recommend Le Jardin de Russie. It’s a wonderful place to dine outdoors with a lot of greenery around!
Here’s a list of some of the city’s finest rooftop dining establishments that promise an unforgettable experience:
- Ristorante Aroma at Palazzo Manfredi: With a Michelin star to its name, Aroma Restaurant boasts not only exquisite cuisine but also one of the most spectacular rooftop views in Rome. Gaze upon the Colosseum in all its glory while relishing an ideal setting for a romantic celebration or a refined lunch with friends.
- Le Jardin de Russie at Hotel de Russie: Tucked away within the enchanting Hotel de Russie, Le Jardin de Russie offers a dining experience that seamlessly marries elegance with natural beauty. Set against the backdrop of the hotel’s lush private garden, this rooftop oasis provides a tranquil escape in the heart of Rome. With delectable cuisine and impeccable service, it’s the perfect spot to savor a meal while enjoying the serene surroundings. Don’t miss the opportunity to dine here for a truly memorable Roman evening.
- Hotel Forum Restaurant: As the name implies, Hotel Forum Restaurant treats guests to an extraordinary vista of the Roman Forum. This rooftop garden has witnessed countless romantic moments, including engagements that become cherished memories for couples.
- Settimo Roman Cuisine and Terrace: Perched on the seventh floor of the Sofitel Roma Villa Borghese, Settimo Restaurant provides breathtaking views of the sunset next to the enchanting Villa Borghese gardens. It’s an experience that promises to etch itself into your memory forever.
- Terrazza Borromini: For an unobstructed view of the lively Piazza Navona, make sure to secure a reservation at Terrazza Borromini. Plan your visit during the golden hour, coinciding with sunset, for an extra touch of magic to accompany your culinary experience.
Indulge in Rome’s Finest Gelato
Gelato, a quintessential Italian treat, is a delight no matter the time of day. After dark, a visit to a local gelateria becomes an enchanting experience.
For those on a quest to sample the finest gelato in Rome, here are some of my personal favorites:
- Frigidarium: Situated near Piazza Navona, Frigidarium offers an authentic introduction to Italian gelato. While a short wait in line may be necessary, the experience is well worth it. I highly recommend trying their signature frigidarium flavor, a delightful blend of caramel, hazelnut, and Pan di Stelle cookies, or the pistachio option.
- Come il Latte: Though slightly removed from the tourist hubbub, many consider Gelateria Come il Latte to serve the best gelato in Rome. Don’t miss out on their ricotta apple and cinnamon flavor, a true culinary delight.
- Gelateria del Teatro: Conveniently located near the river, this gelateria provides a perfect pit stop while exploring Rome’s historic sites. Be sure to sample their uniquely infused herbal flavors.
- Old Bridge Gelateria: If a visit to the Vatican is on your Rome itinerary, Old Bridge is an excellent choice for a pre or post-visit treat. Widely regarded as the finest gelateria near Vatican City, it promises an exceptional culinary experience.
- GROM: With multiple locations across Rome, GROM is easily accessible and offers a wide array of flavors. Additionally, they provide gluten-free options for those with dietary preferences or restrictions.
During the summer months, consider catching a film at one of Rome’s open-air cinemas, set against the backdrop of historic ruins. Under the canvas of the Roman night sky, open-air cinemas offer a cinematic experience unlike any other! Nestled in historic courtyards, charming gardens, or terraced hills with breathtaking city views, these outdoor theaters infuse every screening with a touch of magic. The blend of captivating films and the unique Roman atmosphere creates an unforgettable evening, where viewers are transported not only by the stories on screen but also by the surroundings that breathe life into each cinematic tale.
Live Music and Aperitivo
Rome’s music scene is lively, with numerous venues offering live performances, ranging from classical to contemporary. Enjoy a night of opera, jazz, or rock in one of the city’s atmospheric venues. Before the show, partake in the Italian tradition of aperitivo, where you can enjoy a pre-dinner drink alongside an assortment of complimentary appetizers. Personally, my favorite place for an alfresco cocktail and aperitivo in Rome is the Stravinskij Bar at Hotel de Russie with live piano music. Book here if you’re planning to stay with them!
If you need more ideas on where to go for an aperitivo in Rome, consider making a stop at one of these enchanting rooftop bars for a drink:
- Terrazza Cielo at Rocco Forte Hotel De La Ville: While the prices may reflect a taste of New York City, the awe-inspiring sunset view from this rooftop terrace near the Spanish Steps more than justifies it. As an added bonus, savor complimentary appetizers that perfectly complement your cocktails, making for an unforgettable experience.
- Tiziano Terrace by Monti View: Perched atop the Monti Palace Hotel, Tiziano Terrace boasts craft cocktails and a sweeping 180-degree view of the charming Monti District. Whether you visit on a weekday or Saturday evening, expect exceptional service and a selection of drinks that promise to delight your palate.
- Singer Palace Hotel: Offering not one, but two rooftop gems—The Terraces Restaurant and Jim’s Bar—this historic hotel rooftop provides a vantage point to behold Via del Corso and Piazza Venezia. The 20th-century palace setting adds an extra layer of charm, inviting guests to savor classic cocktails or perhaps even one of the property’s signature concoctions inspired by the glamorous cocktails of the 1920s.
Hop onto a Segway Tour
Riding a Segway through the timeless streets of Rome at night is an exhilarating way to experience the city’s most renowned landmarks. With the guidance of an expert tour leader and the security of a helmet, you’ll effortlessly glide from one iconic site to another, all while the city comes to life under the evening sky. This alternative mode of exploration allows you to cover more ground than on foot, ensuring you make the most of your nocturnal adventure. While you won’t be on foot, it’s still advised to wear comfortable shoes to fully enjoy this unique and memorable journey through Rome’s illuminated wonders.
Rome’s nighttime offerings are as diverse as the city itself. Whether you’re captivated by ancient history, enchanted by romantic vistas, or seeking a lively night out, Rome has something for everyone after the sun sets. So, embrace the magic of the Eternal City after dark! Select one of these fun things to do in Rome at night from my list, and let its nighttime allure leave you with memories to cherish forever.