Finding the Top Five Views in the City of Rome
As travelers of the world, we want to make the most of our time in a new destination. When your stay is limited, learning the ins and outs of your temporary home through trial-and-error probably isn’t in your best interest. I would have been at a total loss without my guidebooks, Ulmon Rome phone app, and the advice of my professors and friendly locals. With these aids, my friends and I were able to plan our days around where we would go to find the best cup of coffee in the city (Sant’Eustachio’s), the best dish of carbonara pasta (Ristorante Al Moro), and the best nightlife (can’t go wrong with anywhere near Piazza Navona).
As for the best view in the city of Rome, I don’t even know how to go about picking a favorite. The view from the top of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele was unmatched until I climbed to the top of the Palatine Hill and looked out over the remains of the Imperial Forum. However, I don’t know if there was a more scenic view than that from the Orange Grove next to the Basilica San Clemente. Whether you choose to see all five of these stops or jump straight to number one on the list, I guarantee that these views will help you make the most of your time in Rome.
5. View from the top of the Janiculum Hill
I was lucky to experience a great view of Rome on my very first day in the city. Our professors insisted that the best way to ward off jetlag was to avoid sleeping, so our first excursion consisted of a (kind of) energizing walk up the Janiculum Hill by way of Trastevere. Despite how tired I was from the eight-hour flight, being able to look out over the city and anticipate how much fun the next two weeks would be made it all worth it. After the hike, make sure to revive yourself at Dar Poeta, an authentic Italian pizzeria located in nearby Trastevere.
4. Overlooking the Imperial Forum near Santa Maria in Ara Coeli
The area around the basilica of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli is another great stop for a fantastic photo op. This was where I saw the ruins of the Imperial Forum for the first time, and the sight completely took my breath away. Be sure to visit the nearby Tarpeian Rock, the supposed burial site of the Vestal Virgin Tarpeia. (According to legend, the Sabine Army crushed Tarpeia to death after Tatius Titus, the Sabine ruler, bribed her with gold jewelry to let his troops into Rome.)
3. View From the Top of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II
Though the monument itself sticks out like a sore thumb amid the charming antiquity of Rome, the view from the top of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele (often referred to as “the Wedding Cake” by the people of Rome for its gaudy appearance) is utterly spectacular. For an inexpensive admission fee, you can take an elevator up to the roof of the monument and experience the city in a way you never thought possible. There are no words to describe how amazing it is to see the city of Rome—in all its modern and ancient glory—from such a great height. I also highly recommend taking in the amazing view as you sip a Caffe Shakerato from the Wedding Cake’s rooftop café. (You’ll thank me later; it tastes like tiramisu in a cup!)
2. Overlooking the Imperial Forum from the Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill, one of the most ancient parts of city, has one of the best views of the Ruins of the Imperial Forum that I know of. Crumbling structures from the Imperial time period provide a glimpse of what the ancient city would have looked like in all its glory. The best place to look out over the Imperial Forum is from the gorgeous rose garden located near the summit of the hill.
1. View from the Giardini degli Aranci
As difficult as it is for me to pick my favorite view of Rome, looking out at the city from the Orange Grove near the Basilica of Santa Sabina was pretty much unbeatable. The tranquil atmosphere of the Giardini degli Aranci made the experience so much more enjoyable, and I think I spent more time photographing the city from this spot than from any other location. This was the last view that I experienced during my trip, and I couldn’t help but think that my professors saved the best for last. (I’ll also let you in on a secret: there is a locked gate fairly close to the Grove with a small peephole that lets you look directly at the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. I’m pretty sure photographs aren’t permitted, but I managed to snap one anyway.)