If you’re planning a trip to Rome, but aren’t sure what to expect from Rome at night, you’ve come to the right place.
Having spent some time living in Rome, I can confidently say that the Eternal City becomes even more charming when the sun goes down.
When I first arrived in Rome and my then boyfriend took me on a scooter ride across the cobbled streets, taking in the sights of the illuminated Colosseum, Roman Forum and Altar of the Fatherland, I instantly fell in love with the city (and maybe a little bit with him too).
There is no denying that Rome is always a charming city. However, when the sun goes down, the streets light up and the tourist crowds melt away, it becomes even more interesting and romantic.
In this guide I have included everything you need to know about exploring Rome at night. Including how to get around, the best things to do, where to stay, how to make the most of it and more.
So without further ado, let’s dive in and discover the beauties of the nightlife in Rome!
- 1 General tips For Visiting Rome at Night
- 2 Best things to do in Rome at night
- 2.1 Walk along the river
- 2.2 Watch the sunset from Ponte Umberto I
- 2.3 Have an aperitivo & dinner in Trastevere
- 2.4 Have a sunset aperitivo at one of the many rooftop terraces in the city
- 2.5 See the famous tourist sights without the crowds!
- 2.6 Rome’s catacombs for a spooky experience
- 2.7 Eat at Mercato Centrale Roma
- 2.8 See the Vatican at night
- 2.9 Rome by night tours
- 3 How to get around Rome at night
- 4 Where to stay in Rome for nightlife
General tips For Visiting Rome at Night
First things first, you may be wondering about your safety. Not everybody would think that walking around a city at night is a sensible idea, but luckily Rome is a safe city.
Particularly in the busy city centre, most people don’t have any problems at all. Even by yourself, you’ll be able to wander around the Colosseum, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona with no problems.
If you are worried at all, it is a good idea to stick to well lit streets, stay in areas where locals and visitors are eating, drinking or strolling, and take all the normal precautions you would in your home country.
Of course, one of the best things to do at night in Rome is simply to eat or drink your way around certain parts of the city. That means going for dinner, and maybe kicking things off with an aperitivo (pre-meal drink).
Usually people head out for an aperitivo between 7 and 9 pm, but you may want to book your spot, depending on whether or not the venue takes bookings and how well known it is.
For dinner, I’d recommend making a reservation, especially if you’re heading for one of the more popular restaurants in the city.
Best things to do in Rome at night
Many of the best things to do at night involve simply enjoying the sky turning different colours at sunset, and then soaking up some ancient history lit by illuminations.
It’s a pretty magical time of day when the tourist crowds seem to dissipate, and the city takes on even a more romantic air.
Walk along the river
One of these romantic things is strolling along the Tiber. This is Rome’s major river, and it is particularly picturesque in the evenings. I would say it’s one of the best places in Rome to take an after-dinner stroll.
This is actually a classically Roman after-dinner tradition, especially during summer in Rome.
Both sides of the river become alive with restaurants, waterside bars, nightclubs and gelaterias. You’ll get real insight into local life as you stroll along with the other Romans down by the river.
Make sure you don’t miss stopping off at the Castel Sant’Angelo. Also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, it was first built around 134 AD.
Together with the Ponte Sant’Angelo, the bridge that runs to the former mausoleum, it is elegantly illuminated at night. You can actually visit the Castel Sant’Angelo at night time, during special evening opening times.
It offers the chance to take in nocturnal views of Rome. With the lights of the city glinting in the river, it’s an awesome place to take it all in.
Watch the sunset from Ponte Umberto I
For an iconic spot to watch the sunset in Rome, head over to the Ponte Umberto I.
Built between 1885 and 1895, and dedicated to Umberto I (the second king of a united Italy), this beautiful bridge connects Piazza di Ponte Umberto I to Piazza dei Tribunali in Rome.
From this renowned viewpoint you can see a particularly impressive sunset, with the river just in front of you – painted blushed orange and pink hues – and the features of the Vatican City and St Paul’s Cathedral rising out of the city sprawl. It’s a great way to start an evening in Rome.
It’s one of the most photographed spots in Rome, and it’s easy to see why!
Have an aperitivo & dinner in Trastevere
The colourful neighbourhood of Trastevere is another interesting place to kick off a night in Rome.
Separated from the historic centre of the city by the River Tiber, Trastevere has traditionally working-class roots – something that’s still evident to this day.
The district’s charming cobbled streets and timeworn trattorias offer up an alternative atmosphere to the more touristy parts of the city.
It has a well known reputation for being a good nightlife spot in Rome, with something of a stylish boho vibe going on in its labyrinthine streets.
It’s also a foodie favourite. At night, there are numerous trattorias that fill up with both hungry locals and visitors alike.
There are plenty of spots to sample a delicious aperitivo, or simply settle in for the night at one of its many restaurants. It’s the perfect place to end your day – or start your evening – in the city.
Have a sunset aperitivo at one of the many rooftop terraces in the city
Rome’s historic skyline is best seen from up high – ideally with a drink in your hand.
There are a whole lot of rooftop terraces where you can do this, places where you can sit and enjoy the gorgeous Rome skyline view while the sun sets in the sky.
One option is the Hotel Minerva Rooftop Bar: a swanky joint for a sunset aperitivo. It boasts 360-degree panoramic views out across the city.
There’s also the aptly named Up Sunset Bar. Located at the top of Rinascente shopping mall, it’s a polished option with views that include views of Rome’s churches.
Make sure to order their delicious Aperol spritz alongside some nibbles.
And despite what drinking on a rooftop might suggest, it’s not only a summer or spring in Rome activity. Most rooftops have outdoors heaters, so that you can enjoy a sunset drink also if you’re visiting Rome in winter.
See the famous tourist sights without the crowds!
As a bit of a travel hack, heading out after dark is a great way to see some of Rome’s big-hitter monuments and historic sites without having to wade through crowds of tourists to get to them.
You may not be able to go into many of them, but they have the added bonus of being nicely illuminated at night. When you plan your Rome itinerary, make sure to schedule some sight seeing also after hours!
These include the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Vatican, Piazza di Spagna and – of course – the Trevi Fountain. They all take on a different beauty at night time.
Rome’s catacombs for a spooky experience
Rome’s catacombs are super historic, dating back almost 2,000 years to the 1st century AD.
This network of underground tunnels comprises one of the oldest and longest burial tunnels in the world. Some of them are open to visitors – even at night.
One of the best things to do in Rome at night, if you’re looking for something spooky to do, would be to descend into the catacombs.
For example, you can opt to take a tour down into the burial site where the bones of 4,000 Capuchin monks are on display.
Eat at Mercato Centrale Roma
If you’re hungry at night in Rome, there’s arguably no better place to head to than Mercato Centrale Roma.
Located in the Esquilino district, specifically inside Termini train station, the large food hall features 80 artisanal food stands.
Here you can find a whole smorgasbord of traditional Italian food. Think pasta, trapizzini (triangular sandwiches served alongside beer and wine), and delectable deep-fried arancini rice balls.
It’s an affordable destination to grab a bite to eat, and a destination in itself. It’s open from Monday to Sunday, 7 am to midnight, so you don’t have to worry about arriving late.
See the Vatican at night
It may seem like a daytime pursuit, but you can actually visit the Vatican at night. Between April and October there are special opening hours on Friday evenings, making a trip to this microstate after dark very much a possibility.
Because it’s so popular and features on everyone’s Italy itinerary, it can get super crowded in the daytime. The tickets are more limited at night, so there are naturally fewer visitors with whom you have to share the Vatican.
However, that also means they get filled up quicker, so make sure you don’t miss out and purchase your Vatican by night entrance online beforehand!
Rome by night tours
If you want to explore Rome at night but you’re a solo traveller, or just generally aren’t comfortable doing it alone, a good idea would be to join a Rome by night tour.
One option is to make a beeline to the Colosseum on an evening tour that takes you to the underground vaults of the historic structure.
One of the best things about this tour is that you get to see the storied history of the Colosseum away from the throngs of daytime crowds.
If you’re more of a foodie than a history buff, then you may be interested in exploring the food scene of Rome.
Taking place across four hours, this particular food tour takes in some of the city’s best loved eateries, with over 20 different tastings included.
The best part? You get to meet the families and friends behind the various eateries involved. A fun thing to do at night in Rome for sure.
For yet more food (and a dash of wine – why not?) there’s the chance to see the city on an e-bike tour. You’ll be able to take in some of Rome’s historic sites at dusk, ending the adventure after nightfall with a bite to eat and wine.
A great way to both get to grips with Rome, and maybe make a few friends while you’re at it, is to head out on a walking tour. This is an ideal option for solo travellers looking to meet and mingle with fellow travellers.
You’ll get to hear stories about Rome’s history from a knowledgeable guide – all topped off with a visit to a cocktail joint.
How to get around Rome at night
Getting around Rome at night is one of the main things you should know about when it comes to exploring the city after dark. And the bus is a particularly great way to do it.
Buses connect up areas that the metro doesn’t, making it a good way to get to specific areas. There are more than 25 lines, with the main bus station located at Termini station. Buses run from 5:30 am until midnight.
For the night owls out there, worry not, as there are also night buses. These are marked with an “N” before the bus number. Night bus stops are signified with a single blue owl. Departures are around every 20 to 30 minutes.
Trams are also a fun way to travel around. These also run from 5:30 am until midnight, when certain tram routes are replaced by night buses.
As for the metro, it’s the quickest way to get around Rome, but it can be quite limiting. It doesn’t go everywhere, for one thing.
Trains run between 5:30 am and 11:30 pm on weekdays, but they run between 5:30 am and 1:30 am on Fridays and Saturdays making it good for party goers.
There’s no doubt that taxis are the best way to get around Rome at night time. Rome’s licensed taxis are white, and have the words “Roma Capitale” written on the door.
Fares are reasonable, but are more expensive than day time equivalents. You can hail one down, but it might be easier to call one, or wait at an official taxi stand.
If you’re only travelling short distances, then you could always opt for a Lime or e-scooter. It’s a fun way to get around, but is much less fun on the san pietrini (cobbled streets) that are pretty widespread in the Italian capital.
If you know how to drive a scooter, then you could also rent a scooter through the scooter-sharing service e-Cooltra.
You can pick one up close to your hotel, and then just park it wherever you’re heading, meaning if you’re planning to have one too many Aperol Spritz, you can then get a taxi back instead of worrying about having to drive your scooter back.
The simplest way to get around is to just walk everywhere. Depending on how used you are to walking, typically it’s a good way to get around.
Most central, nightlife or generally busy areas, are totally fine to walk around if you’re doing things in Rome at night.
Where to stay in Rome for nightlife
There are lots of amazing places to stay in Rome. When it comes to making the most of the nightlife in Rome, I suggest staying very central, so that it’s safer and you’ll have to travel less around the city at night.
Budget: Palladini Hostel – This hostel is super central, close to the train station and all the action of Rome, with spacious dorms and a lively atmosphere.
Mid-range: Tridente Rooms – The rooms of this bnb are simple but spacious, and it’s right next to Villa Borghese, my favourite park in Rome.
Luxury: Hotel Eden – Dorchester Collection – Perfect if you want to treat yourself, this hotel is beautifully decorated and very conveniently located in the centre of Rome.
Final thoughts on the best things to do in Rome at night
There you have it, the ultimate guide to visiting Rome at night! Have you been to Rome before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!
Like many famous Italian quotes say, the charm and attraction of Rome are unparalleled. Especially when the sun goes down and the streets light up, Rome becomes even more charming, for both tourists and locals alike.
In this Rome nightlife guide I tried to include everything you need to know about discovering Rome by night. I hope you find it useful in planning your trip to Rome!
Enjoyed reading my Rome nightlife guide? Pin it!