The best places to take photos in Rome, Italy!
Ah, Rome, the Eternal City - it’s just so incredible!
Are you planning a vacation or a business trip to Rome, Italy? Are you looking for the best places to take photos in Rome? Do you need some travel photography inspiration and ideas? Then this is your list!
Rome is a treasure chest full of history, architecture, churches, monuments and more. There are amazing bridges, fountains, piazzas (plazas), street scenes and landmarks. Rome is simply amazing, and there are literally millions of great photos just waiting to be taken there.
I recommend you bring a lot of memory cards and some extra batteries for your camera. Wear comfortable shoes, because you will walk a LOT. But, walking is half the fun, because when you are on foot you will find all sorts of interesting little streets that will grab your attention, and your camera will be happy (your spouse, not so much!).
If your schedule allows it, spend at least 5 days in Rome, but of course more is better. You can never see it all, but the fun is in the trying! There is just so much to see and do, and the city is rich with history. There are incredible museums to visit, too. Of course The Vatican is there, and the Vatican Museums. These are not quick stops. They deserve some attention and time. You will be rewarded for slowing down and enjoying it.
To be clear, this is not a stack rank of the best spots. These are not in order from best to worst. There is no worst - everything is interesting. These are simply in a bit of a random order. You will get great shots ranging from churches and street scenes to sunsets looking over the Vatican. Prepare to have the trip of a lifetime in Rome! Stop for gelato, too!
And to be clear, this list is NOT comprehensive, because that is virtually impossible. There is just so much to see and photograph there, and no one person could ever see it all. This is just from my experience wandering the streets and landmarks of the Eternal City - this is what I found interesting. There is plenty more there, too. Just get out and see what you can!
So without further delay, here are the Top Photo Spots in Rome, Italy:
1) The Vatican exterior
I’m not sure I can say much about the Vatican that hasn’t already been said, and if you are visiting Rome then you are already planning a stop here. Enjoy it, and shoot like crazy. It’s gorgeous inside and out!
2) The Vatican interior
See, I told you it’s gorgeous inside. This place is incredible.
3) The Vatican Museum Hallways
I took a tour that went in first thing in the morning, before the entry time for those not on organized tours. I’m not really a tour guy, but I am a guy looking for an advantage for shooting a place without a lot of people in it, and a “first thing in the morning” tour is how you do it. While crowds are unavoidable, starting early in the morning on a tour is a huge advantage. When we departed, these hallways were packed.
4) The Vatican Museum Spiral Staircase
Do not miss this! Our tour was almost over, and we were near a gift shop of sorts and nearing the exit. I knew this staircase was around here somewhere, so when the group stopped for a bathroom break, I took off and found this about 20 yards away - lucky me! Just ask around as I cannot possibly tell you exactly where it is, but trust me, you want to see it. It’s marvelous!
5) The Vatican Museum Sculpture Garden
You may or may not be into sculptures, but this part of the Vatican Museum tour was really interesting to me. Part of that was the guide was just so knowledgeable and brought the history alive for us, but if that is not your thing, at least the sculptures are beautiful.
6) The Bridge of Angels
This bridge is awesome, either straight on or from the side. With the imposing Castle Sant’Angelo at the end and all the amazing angel sculptures lining it, you need to spend some time here.
7) Sculptures on the Bridge of Angels
These are just amazing, and well worth investigating. There are 10 angels, all sculptured by Bernini, each representing a part of the suffering of Jesus Christ and his subsequent crucifixion.
8) The Vatican view from the Bridge of Angels
While you are here, be sure and aim at the Vatican in the distance, which is especially beautiful at sunset.
9) Castel Sant’Angelo
It’s hard to miss this huge structure, especially if you are on the Bridge of Angels, which leads right up to it. While I did not go in it, I did enjoy framing in from the incoming street at sunset.
10) The Spanish Steps
You’ve seen this in movies and pictures, so be sure and swing by. It will be crowded, but there is a nice plaza in front of it with a fountain and some lovely streets to wander nearby (and shop, if you are so inclined). The only reason you see no people in my photo is because it was closed, and I just reached over the fence to shoot it!
11) The Roman Forum
Ah, so much history here, it’s almost hard to take it all in! I visited the Roman Forum and the Colosseum together on a walking tour of Rome, and it was well worth it. I got great photos, and learned a lot of great history (which I have promptly forgotten!). Having a guide is a great way to see this area. It’s a bunch of ruins but it is just beautiful.
12) The Colosseum
Everyone knows this place and it’s a must see on a trip to Rome. My tour took us inside but also to the top tier, which is only accessible via tour. It’s really a great way to do a visit here, because it’s crowded anyway, so popping up to the top on a private tour works wonders!
13) Piazza Navona
This piazza is HUGE. Literally, it is very long but I love it here. Something about it just feels familiar and comfortable. Does that make any sense at all? There are cafes and restaurants lining it, and an incredibly gorgeous church at the center that you must visit (no photos were allowed in it, but that's ok).
14) Fountain of Four Rivers
This is my favorite fountain - anywhere - and it’s just incredible. If you read the book Angels & Demons by Dan Brown than you may remember this spot. I just love everything about it. It was designed by Bernini and has a river-god sculpture representing each of the 4 major rivers know to man at the time. One of them, which represents the Nile, has its head covered in cloth, indicating that the source of the Nile was unknown at the time. Such ingenuity!
15) The Pantheon
A former pagan temple converted to a Christian church, with an imposing architectural look that just begs to be photographed. Get there with the camera and have fun with it.
16) Trevi Fountain
While I prefer the Fountain of Four Rivers that I mentioned above, it’s hard to deny the charms of the Trevi Fountain. It is SUPER CROWDED though I will admit that my timing wasn’t great. We arrived one evening, fairly late, and it was several minutes before I could even get close enough to get a shot. However, it’s well worth a visit and a photograph.
17) Borghese Gallery
A former villa converted to an art gallery/museum, this place is stuffed with art. You can wander the beautiful halls and rooms here, and believe me you will be impressed at every turn. If you enjoy paintings and sculptures, this is the place for you.
18) Every church you come across
Ok, this isn’t a specific place as much as it is a suggestion. I had to Google how many churches there are in Rome, because it seemed like I saw them on every corner. Turns out there are over 900 churches in Rome. So yeah, you will never see them all but it is so interesting to pop into some random church on a side street and be floored by the architectural beauty. Just keep your eyes open and definitely stop in every chance you get!
19) Street scenes at every turn
Once again, this is not a specific location as much as it is to keep your eyes open for interesting little streets. I found them everywhere in Rome, although I will admit that shooting street scenes is one of my my favorite things, so I tend to look for them everywhere.
20) Wonderful cafes
I love Italian cafes, and there are a billion of them in Rome, and they all have something of interest to photograph. It could be an old sign, or patrons under the awnings, or something else that captures your attention, but trust me that you will find plenty of these to photograph. This one was on a side street near Piazza Navona. We ate there and it was incredible.
21) Scenes along the Tiber River
I’m a sucker for city shots with a river in them, and am naturally drawn to these things. In Rome, the Tiber River flows right through town and you will cross it many times, and likely at different points during your visit. Get the camera out each time.
As with most major cities in Europe, the subway system in Rome is worth shooting, at least to my eyes. I love the lines and the “street style” shots you can capture there. Plus, you will probably be in it a lot as you criss-cross the city. Take a few shots while you're there!