Aside from the 2,770-year-old history, the world-renowned food, and the impossibly charming streets, there is one more reason to visit Rome: the sunsets. You may have heard that Rome is a city of seven hills, well this allows for great viewpoints to observe all of the city’s layers. And if there was a time in which it becomes even more beautiful, it would be at sunset.
Something special happens to Rome as the sun goes down. The already impressive monuments light up in a warm glow that illuminates the entire city. Off in the distance you hear church bells, which we’ve come to recognize as the song of Rome. Then, the entire sky is set on fire while the contrasting lines of monuments create a perfect outline. In short, sunsets here are perfection. Here are my favorite 5 places to watch the sunset in Rome.
1. Ponte Sant’Angelo
Roman Emperor Hadrian completed this bridge in 134 AD to connect the city center to his mausoleum, now Castel Sant’Angelo. Luckily for us, it doubly functions as the front row to the best sunset around.
You have an unobstructed view of St. Peter’s dome which, with the pink glow of the setting sun is transformative. There are always birds gliding in the sky, often to the rhythm of the church bells in the distance. Essentially you’re in every scene from every movie made in Rome.
Another benefit to this location is the Castel itself. It sits directly at the end of the bridge and its natural golden color becomes warmer and brighter with the setting sun. If you want to get a higher vantage point you can even go to the top of the Castel to watch the sun set and get a larger view of the Vatican. Tickets cost €14.
If you’ve ever googled “Sunset in Rome” a lot of the images are from this location.
2. Minerva Roof Garden
I ask you this: What is better than watching a sunset in Italy with a cocktail or glass of wine in hand? Nothing.
This rooftop bar/restaurant of Grand Hotel della Minerva offers almost 360 degree views of the Eternal City, while making sure you’re relaxed with your refreshments. In the front, you have the Pantheon. And let me say this, no matter how many times you see the Pantheon from ground level, it takes on a completely different form from above. Then, on the side of the rooftop you see Piazza Venezia with the iconic white Vittoriano Monument – this is where you can really see the layers of the city.
Note: during the winter months, the roof garden area may be closed.
3. Il Vittoriano
Il Vittoriano, or “the wedding cake”, is the giant white building that dominates Piazza Venezia. It is a large monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of unified Italy. However, because of its enormous size, it is controversial amongst many Romans today.
Regardless, it blesses us with a panoramic view of Rome so no complaints here. On top of the monument is an incredible view point, reachable only by taking an elevator up for €7. By doing so, you can hold all of Rome in the palm of hand at its most gorgeous hour.
To reach the elevator, walk around the right of the building. You will come across two set of steps, you want to climb the steep ones on the left, up to Basilica di San Maria in Aracoeli (This church is also worth a visit). At the top of the steps, turn left and you’ll see a small entrance for the elevator.
Address: Piazza Venezia | Hours: Mon-Sun 9:30am-7:30pm (last entrance at 6:45) | Price: 7 euros
4. Pincio Terrace
This terrace is located in the equally stunning Villa Borghese park and is often considered the most romantic place in Rome. From this terrace you have the iconic Piazza del Popolo below, Piazza Venezia to your left, and St. Peter’s dome off in the distance.
To add to the natural romance of the setting, there is always a musician singing or playing an instrument. Not to mention the snack cart should you want to add any overpriced refreshments to your sunset. As you’re already in the park, take a stroll around. It’s an unmissable place in Rome.
Consequently, the Pincio terrace is a popular spot among Romans and visitors, so if you don’t want rows of other cameras in your way, I’d recommend to be there a bit before the sun starts to set.
Address: Terrazza del Pincio| Price: FREE
5. Trinità dei Monti (Top of the Spanish Steps)
Every person has their favorite sunset spot in Rome. This is mine. Trinità dei Monti is actually the name of the church that sits above the Spanish Steps. Right outside the church is a large open square that gives you a sweeping view of Rome. I often start at the Pincio Terrace and then end here, as the two are connected by a pedestrian path (if you just continue walking left from Pincio you’re good to go).
There are a couple of reasons why this is my favorite sunset spot in Rome.
- The first is that you have an unobstructed view of the many domes that dominate Rome’s skyline. As many belong to churches, you can often hear the musical bells ringing in the distance.
- Second, you see straight down the city’s most luxurious shopping streets.
- And third, because you are on top of the Spanish Steps, you have a bird’s eye view of the steps and thus Piazza di Spagna below.
All in all, it’s a view that gets me any time of day, but sunset leaves me speechless.
Address: Piazza della Trinità dei Monti | Price: FREE
Each of the places mentioned offers something special. Regardless of the one you choose, sunsets in Rome are magical and unpredictable, just as the city itself. Enjoy!
- Find more tips, and share your experiences with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube!
- Up next: Explore the top train trips from Rome!