Rome is with no doubts one of the most beautiful cities of the world. In fact, I will never get tired of getting lost in its narrow streets and still find beautiful places to shoot in Rome. As born and raised here, I want to advise you the best places you must visit in Rome to take beautiful photos. By walking around those places, I grew up as a photographer. I promise you, it is lots of fun to experiment perspectives with those majestic monuments or practising street photography for example.
Can I visit these best places if I am only for 1 day in Rome?
Yes, you will be able to visit all the 10 advised best places to visit in Rome also in only one day, since the total walking distance is less than 10 km.
Walking in a such an open air museum is always a great idea. Besides the impressive monuments and sightseeing that I mention in this post, you will also encounter endless streets, piazzas, churches, bridges, terraces that will make you immersing even more in the history and vibe of the Eternal City (as well as, burning the few extra calories of the amazing food you will taste). So depending on your available time, you should allow yourself some deviations and getting lost in the city.
As you can see from the map, there are actually 10+1 places. In fact, the 11th is a sweet bonus for the ones who want to see something different as mainly only locals know this spot. It is slightly out from the centre, but it is always magical to see this optical illusion every time I drive by. Therefore, depending on where you are staying, you might need to purchase public transportation tickets (overview of different tickets).
The 10 best photo spots to visit in Rome
One of the most iconic places in Rome is certainly the Colosseo (the Colosseum): the largest standing amphitheatre in the world. We will start our tour from here. This spot is easy to reach via underground, just stopping by to Colosseo station of Metro line B. As soon as you get out from the station, just across the street, you will find a beautiful photo point where you can take a picture as the one I took. Note that when it has just rained, typically some area of the floor will be floated with water, which you can use to add some beautiful reflection to your shot.
On the other hand, if you want to capture the full scale of the Colosseo, you could climb up via Nicola Salvi and enjoy the view from above.
2. Altare della Patria
Just a few minutes walking from the Colosseo, you cannot miss Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland). In fact, this is an immense architecture masterpiece, in front of which a busy road passes by. This is the best combination to try out for instance some long exposure shots: modern traffic lights trails vs the majestic monument behind. Given the size of it, I advise you to stand a couple of streets far from it, from piazza Venezia, or alternately using a very wide angle lens.
If you are there during Christmas time, you will find also find a beautiful Christmas tree in front of it, which you could use for your composition.
The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a Catholic church. Besides getting in and exploring the inside of the church, even more interesting is using the fountain in front of it for your composition. You can find below one example on how I utilized the fountain, putting it in perspective with the Pantheon.
4. Piazza Navona
When you say ‘open air museum’, my mind goes immediately to Piazza Navona. It is a vast square, full of Baroque Roman architecture and art. You will have endless spots from where to take pictures of your favourite sculpture or fountain. The surrounding narrow streets are also very interesting to see, since you might find a great inspiration for some street photography or simply enjoy a delicious snack in one of the bars or restaurants.
5. Piazza di Spagna
Just next to the most famous shopping streets of Rome, there is Piazza di Spagna. From here you can of course take the well-known Spanish Steps to get a higher view of the square. Alternatively, you could compose your photo by using the fountain in the middle of Piazza di Spagna: Fontana della Barcaccia. For instance, for the shot below I put the fountain in the foreground and I used some long exposure to get smoothly the motion of water (you can apply the same principles of waterfall photography) and to be able to keep a low ISO (since it was already night that day).
6. Villa Borghese
As one of the largest parks in Rome, Villa Borghese is an ideal place where to take a break and relax out of from the busy city. Within this park is also housed one of the most famous art gallery of Rome: Galleria Borghese.
There is no better spot to capture awesome photos of Piazza del Popolo than this terrace. In fact, just below “Il Pincio” there is Piazza del Popolo. If you walk around the terrace you will also find other beautiful spots from which you can capture the city from above. I challenge you to count how many domes you can see from there – I promise you, there are many! More interesting information about this terrace (as well as its promenade) can be found here.
8. Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo is one of my personal favourite best places to visit in Rome. Anywhere you turn from this place, you will be amazed from the endless opportunity to take a nice picture. In fact, the castle itself is situated only 2 minute walking from the “Basilica di San Pietro”. Hence, you can take advantage of the beautiful dome on the background to capture this castle.
9. Ponte Sant’Angelo
If you just walk in front of Castel Sant’Angelo you will end up on its famous bridge: Ponte Sant’Angelo. The statues on top of it make the bridge even more majestic. All in all, it is just such an iconic place where you could take a portrait photo or maybe capture the castle by centring it in the middle of the frame and using the bridge as guiding lines for instance.
From the same bridge you can also see the Basilica di San Pietro and Tevere river. Therefore, for the photo below I used one of the chain block on the side of the bridge for natural framing the photo. Particularly in the evening, the reflection of the water could also be another beautiful element to use in your composition.
10. Basilica di San Pietro
I could not choose a better finish line than Vatican City, its square and the Basilica di San Pietro. When I end up here, I always like to experiment all the different angles and subjects to shoot: taking pictures of the square from ground level, long exposure on the fountains, different perspectives of the “Basilica” and the list could go on endlessly. For instance, check out the few examples below.
Extra: The optical illusion of “Belvedere di via Piccolomini”
Last but not least, the cherry on the cake of the tour: Belvedere di via Piccolomini. In fact from this street, you can see an optical illusion of the dome of “Basilica di San Pietro”. The first time I drove there, I have got speechless: the closer you go to the dome, the further it looks, and vice versa the further you go to the dome and the closer it seems. This is due to a perspective optical effect, that “trick” our eyes. Try to believe.
Below you find the exact location of this street and terrace, from which you can take a unique picture.
To summarize, we went through the 10 (+1) best places to visit and to take photos in Rome (as well as the most Instagrammable places). These are based on the location convenience (walking distance from each other) and my personal experience as a photographer born and raised in Rome. Therefore, feel free to check out my portfolio, you will find other photos of Rome I took.
Do you know other best places to visit in Rome?
Of course these are not the only places where you can shoot beautiful pictures in Rome. In fact, by the nature of the city, there are endless photo spots you will find. So I am looking forward to hearing in the comments what additional places you discovered and to see the resulting photos. Feel free to tag me on those shots on Instagram @fraesposto.