Top 7 Breathtaking Panoramic Views of Rome

October 21, 2014
Enrico Catani

The city of Rome exudes a magical and seductive atmosphere, not only thanks to its spectacular monuments and squares, but also in its hidden corners where the lesser-known attractions lie.
As Rome is spread over seven hills there are lots of panoramic points where you can admire the city centre from a privileged point of view: a unique way to have a glimpse of the glory of Rome and its treasures, with breathtaking scenery and spectacular picture opportunities, especially at sunset and sunrise...
So, here is a list, brought you by ItalyXP, of the best panoramic views of Rome, beloved by both tourists and locals!

Dome of the Saint Peter's Basilica

Located in the centre of Rome, the Vatican City is the world’s smallest sovereign state, but despite its tiny size it holds numerous treasures of incomparable value.  One of those is definitely the Saint Peter's Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world, which houses in its beautiful interior several art masterpieces such as theworld-famous Pietà, by Michelangelo.
If you’re not afraid of heights and you are in a good shape (it takes a little bit of effort) we highly recommend climbing the imposing Dome of the Saint Peter’s Basilica, designed by Michelangelo himself. From the balcony atop, you can get one of the most enchanting views of Rome. The Dome overlooks the elliptical Saint Peter's Square, and you’ll be able to admire from an exclusive perspective the two sides of imposing columns arranged in a prominent colonnade, symbolizing the embracing arms of Mother Church.
You can enjoy this fascinating eXPerience through a guided tour of the Vatican City, almost a prerequisite for any first-time visitor to Rome.

Visit Vatican City

Palatine Hill

Renowned as the home of the Emperors in ancient times, the Palatine Hill is a charming area that offers spectacular views on the archaeological remains of the Roman Forum.
Originally, the Palatine represented the lively centre of the political and administrative life of the city, where the high society lived. Also, according to Roman mythology this hill was the birth-place of Romulus and Remus, the twins breastfed and raised by a she-wolf, who were to become the founders of Rome.
Surrounded by legends and steeped in history, the Palatine Hill is a magical place, similar to an authentic open-air museums where to discover the mysterious origins of Rome, wandering around the ancient ruins and the former residence of the Imperial politicians.
Immersed in the green, the Palatine Hill represents a great destination for those who want to take a break from the hectic pace of the urban centre, enjoying an all-embracing panorama of the archaeological sites below.

Terrace of the Pincio Gardens

The Pincian Hill is probably one of the most romantic sights of Rome, beloved by both locals and tourists. It is the highest point in the historic centre, overlooking the Piazza del Popolo and the Villa Medici, and for this reason is often crowded by couples, musicians, painters and photographers who want to enjoy the view and take pictures of the panorama.
Over the centuries, this Pincian Hill has been inhabited by several important families who have built here villas and gardens. From here, in fact, you can reach the Villa Borghese, whose gardens houses several sculptures, fountains and buildings, including the world famous Borghese Gallery (which we recommend visiting through a guided tour).
From the Pincian Terrace you can also easily reach the church of Trinità dei Monti, which fiercely stands at the top the Spanish Steps, offering another wonderful panoramic view of the square below (Piazza di Spagna) and the rooftops of Rome. We suggest visiting this monumental staircase in the spring, when a floral decoration enhances the beauty of this location.

Orange Garden

Also known as “Parco Savelli”, this splendid park charmingly nestled atop the Aventine Hill, offering one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city. Legend says that Spanish Saint Dominic planted the first orange tree in Rome here, and named it accordingly.
Built in 1932 by architect Raffaele de Vico, the Orange Garden is (obviously) full of bitter orange trees, where you will find a nice resting spot in the shade. The park holds several statues, ancient ruins and an outstanding fountain that greets the visitors with its scowling face. The walkway leads to an idyllic terrace, which has always been a renowned spot to admire the sunset, among both tourists and locals. And although it’s not quite as famous as the panorama from Terrace of the Pincio (n°3 on this list), the Orange Garden is definitely more intimate: the perfect choice for a romantic evening!
Recently, this splendid place became famous for its appearance in a famous scene of " The Great Beauty" by Paolo Sorrentino, Golden Globes winner in 2014. Also, other main attractions of the Aventine Hill were used as location for this movie, and it's possible to visit them all through an exclusive movie-locations tour that will make you breathe the mysterious atmosphere of Sorrentino's mastepiece.

Panorama from Aventine Hill

Janiculum Hill

Rising behind the beautiful district of Trastevere, the Janiculum Hill is one of the most romantic places in Rome, offering nice walkways immersed in the green and breathtaking views of the city: from here, your gaze will be amazed, embracing the roofs, the ancient ruins, the monuments and the Baroque domes up to the surrounding hills.
Atop the Janiculum is the Fountain of Acqua Paola, which is considered among the most beautiful fountains of Rome, with its imposing façade decorated with high-reliefs of angels and demons. Just like the Orange Garden (n°4 on this list) also this fountain has appeared in the opening scene of "The Great Beauty" by Paolo Sorrentino.
Just a warning: if while you’re enjoying the view from the Janiculum Hill you hear a loud cannon shot, do not be alarmed! Since 1847, in fact, by order of Pope Pius IX, a special cannon was installed to shoot at noon as an alarm for all the bells of the Churches of Rome, so that they would all chime at the same time in unison. 

Monte Mario

Located behind the Olympic Stadium and the Foro Italiano (a sports complex), the Monte Mario is the highest hill in all of Rome. Although it is not exactly in the city centre, this place deserves a visit if you are a fan of panoramas.
Admiring the view on Rome from the Monte Mario is a tradition that Romans have been carried on until today since ancient times: from the peak of the hill the view is partial but picturesque, going from the Tiber River to the most famous monuments such as the Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican palaces.
On the top there is a very interesting astronomical observatory, and unlike other panoramic sights in Rome it is almost unknown by most tourists. The Monte Mario is a romantic place we highly suggest visiting, especially at sunset!

Terrace of Castel Sant'Angelo

Located adjacent to the Vatican City, the towering Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the most important monuments of Rome. Originally built as the ancient tomb of Emperor Hadrian, it was later used as a fortress and private residence of the popes.
Today, this fortified castle is a museum open to the publicthat has become increasingly popular thanks to the view it offers. Taking a guided tour of the Castel Sant’Angelo, you will have the opportunity not only to visit the Sant’Angelo Bridge (in front of the building), but also to visit the terrace,a great place for those seeking the best panoramic views.
At the top of the Castel Sant’Angelo is a giant bronze statue of an angel, placed there to be regarded as a visible symbol of Rome's Christian beliefs. From the terrace, immediately below the statue, you can enjoy fine views of the Tiber River, the bridges of Rome and the surroundings.
The terrace of Castel Sant'Angelo is not as high as the other panoramic points of Rome we have mentioned so far, yet it is located at the heart of Papal Rome and it allows close range views of its many magnificent domes.

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