The eternal city never sleeps. When day turns into night, the lights come alive, streets fill up with curious travelers and the shades start to play on the famous monuments and fountains. In summer time, after dark is the best time to be outdoors. The heat becomes less torturous, nothing can beat a good, long walk in the dark alleys, lit up streets and mysterious old town.
During my visit last year I arrived in Rome in the evening and had to leave the next morning. So, I literally saw the city at night and never regretted it. This is your personal guide on things to do in Rome at night!
Vatican City is a must see, no matter day or night. Even if you won’t get a chance to visit the famous Vatican Museum, you should still take a walk to St. Peter’s square and Basilica, enjoy the massive Bernini fountains and feel the majestic energy of the place. You may close your eyes and imagine yourself traveling back in time, when religion played a huge role in people’s everyday lives and pilgrims from all over the world came here to see Pope.
When you look up, you can see numerous sculptures – Bernini’s colonnade. Each detail of the square is designed with religious views in mind and sense of perfection. This spiritual place is where people find peace, especially during night time. Visiting Vatican is one of our favorite things to do in Rome at night
Castel Sant’Angelo is one of my favorite objects for photography. I love the history behind this building – it was initially built for Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. Later, the building was used by the Popes as a fortress and castle, as well as a prison.
At night, the castle is illuminated along with the pedestrian bridge Ponto Sant’Angelo leading to front gates. You will discover many interesting photo angles, especially from nearby Ponto Vittorio Emanuele II. Take note of the beautiful angel statue on the roof of the castle.
Majestic Colosseum is impressive both at day and nighttime. It is very well lit during dark hours and will be a great photo spot. If you wish to avoid crowds and see the famous arena from a slightly different angle, consider booking a Colosseum & dungeons night tour as your next option for things to do in Rome at night. Remember, that the underground section can only be visited with a guided tour, so this opportunity is quite unique!
The mother of all Roman fountains – Trevi – is so much better at night than it is by day. Somehow, each time I visit, it never gets less crowded. In the dark hour the lights start to play on the water, drawing mysterious shades and figures on the walls. The scene depicted on the marble comes alive. The water is refreshing and sparkling. The whole impression of this masterpiece is completely different than it is by daytime.
Moving on, my next favorite fountain in Rome is the beautiful Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi at Piazza Navona. The square has actually 3 fountains to admire, with the one mentioned being the largest and most famous one. Unlike Trevi with it’s closed space, Piazza Navona is much larger, with lots of fresh air. if your budget allows it, enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine at one of the outdoor cafes along the perimeter of the square. If not – just grab an ice cream (gelato) and seize the moment.
One more fountain that I really like in Rome is located in PIazza di Spagna (at the foot of Spanish steps) and is called Fontana della Barcaccia. Sculptured by Bernini and his son, it has a shape of a half-sunken ship.
When you get hungry
If you are staying anywhere around Colosseum and/or Termini train station, you can easily hop in La Base restaurant. The place is open every day until 04:30 AM. Address: Via Cavour 274/276. Their menu is a mix of typical Italian PIzza as well as steaks and drinks. Thanks to its great location, La Base draws many hungry visitors, late night party-goers and theater people.
Quite close to Vatican city and Castel Sant’Angelo, this tiny cake shop is a heaven on Earth when you get your late night sugar rush. The place is famous among locals and tourists for excellent pastries and for being open 24/7. Don’t miss your chance and hop in for a late night snack. Address: Via Barletta, 27.
When your late night walk takes you a bit further, out of old town Rome, to the famous party district Trastevere, this simple pizzeria may be your best bet at late hour. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, top quality pizza and decent prices, all in one place! Address: Viale Trastevere, 53
Getting around Rome at night
If you feel exhausted, but don’t feel like taking a cab, a night bus may be an option. The bus between Vatican and Termini station operates every 15 minutes, so you can relax and take a quick ride back to your hotel anytime you need.
Unless you are going to stay in a very distant area, I recommend getting around Rome by foot. Walking is both refreshing and rewarding – you may spot some hidden gems, like building carving, small fountains, memorials and other cool things. It’s quite safe, too, especially in the touristy areas. Termini station and around may seem a bit sketchy, but takes time to get used to. Violent crime is rare, pick pocketing may be a bit of a problem. Just use your common sense and ignore anyone trying to approach you for whatever reason.
Last but not least, traditional taxi and Uber are also available and are the most comfortable ways to travel in Rome at night. However, you should be careful and check the price before you go with either option. Taxi prices in Rome are rather high and Uber is only offering premium cars. The best way is to check beforehand how much the Uber quote is, then approach the cab and ask for their estimate.
Vespa night tour
This tour will give you a chance to feel like a real Roman. Visit Rome’s most beautiful squares, fountains, and monuments without straining your legs – on a scooter! Vespa is the most famous Italian scooter brand, easy to use and very fun to drive. The guide will show you best of Rome and tell all the facts. In addition to all the usual sightseeing, you will have a chance to experience true Italian driving culture!
Sunset bike tour
This is a great way to explore Rome on your first visit. Hopping on a bike gives you a chance to explore larger areas of the city. You will see historic sights and parks, bridges and monuments. Having a guide with you makes it more enjoyable, entertaining and safe.
If you enjoy jazz music, would like to have a dinner and see some of Rome at the same time, this tour may be for you. The journey length is 3 hours. You will be served dinner, wine and the whole thing is accompanied by live musicians. The tour costs 70 Euros, so if you are on a budget, you may get better deal at a stationary restaurant + a walk afterwards.
Night photography tour
Do you enjoy snapping good photos? Then this tour is for you – 3 hours photo tour of the best photo spots in Rome after dark. The city is very well lit at night, making it an ideal photo object for millions hobby photographers every year. Your guide will help you with composition and give advice regarding settings, so don’t worry if you are not an expert yet. You will be after this tour!
Ghost an mystery tour
Do you enjoy ghost stories that are both scary and funny? The tour is full of historical information, where you will learn a lot about Rome from a completely different angle. Guaranteed you will have a good time with informative guide who will keep you entertained throughout the whole tour.
This is one of the least known tours, but so worth it. Learn about the underground secrets Rome is keeping for centuries. The tour will take you to Capuchin Crypt and Museums, and afterwards to The Catacombs of Priscilla. You will have a chance to explore the Roman underground dating back to 2000 years with secret, hidden passageways.
Things to do in Rome at night – conclusion
It’s up to you to decide, whether you would like to experience the eternal city by day of night. Both have their own charm and are special. Night time is perfect in summer months, when the heat is unbearable during the day. However, if your internal clock doesn’t enjoy staying up late, early morning may be just as good. I have experienced Rome at both times and enjoyed them in a different way.
Either way – Rome is beautiful and exciting at any time of the day and any month of the year.
Do you prefer Rome at day or night time? Why?
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