Rome! It’s a city that begs to be explored, whether on foot or on Vespa, you will be moved by the sheer amount of history surrounding you at every turn. I love nothing more than getting lost down cobbled side streets and stumbling into a local cafe, but when your vacation hours are limited, taking a tour can be a great way to explore the city with a local.
This post about the best tours in Rome was written by Italy travel expert Vanessa Hunt and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this website.
I know when I mention a guided tour group in Rome, you are probably picturing a loud American guide with a megaphone and a giant flag, ushering a group of 50 between main tourist attractions. This is not the kind of tour I’m recommending.
Taking small group or private tours with a knowledgeable local as your guide can add an element of education and connection to your trip that’s just not possible when exploring solo. Luckily for you, ancient Rome has many local tour options to enrich your visit. There are literally centuries worth of history and stories about this incredible city and you will be able to fully immerse yourself in the culture with the help of your guide.
There are several different types of tours offered in Rome. They are all great ways to get to know the city and I recommend taking a few if your schedule and budget allow.
This post contains affiliate links.
Don’t have time to read a bunch of reviews and blog posts? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Rome:
Our Favorite Hotels in Rome:
Our Favorite Tours in Rome
Our Favorite Tour Companies in Rome
There are hundreds of tour companies in Italy and it’s hard to know which ones to choose. Lots of smaller companies use larger booking sites for their booking platforms. So just because you’re using a bigger booking company like Viator or GetYourGuide, doesn’t mean that you’re not booking with a small local tour guide. The most important things to check when booking tours are tour size, and ratings. We always recommend sticking with small group tours so you don’t feel like you’re being herded like cattle in a large group. Here are some of our favorite places to find the best Rome tours:
Walks of Italy
Walks of Italy is a great company with good policies and connections to some of the best tours in Rome and the best tour guides. We’ve taken multiple tours and day trips with them and the service and quality have always been excellent.
WithLocals is a really great tour that connects tourists to everyday Roman locals that can take you on highly specialized tours. They do an awesome 10 Tastings of Rome tour, Make Your Own Italian Sandals Tour, and a Hidden Gems of Rome Tour. They’re really great and also private which I like, especially when we’ve got our kids, so we can go at our own pace.
Viator & GetYourGuide
You will probably recognize Viator and GetYourGuide as a larger booking sites, booking tours around the world. But I find the volume of reviews offered on these sites helpful for determining the quality of the tours. Plus they have good cancellation policies and guarantees if your tour gets canceled for some reason.
Welcome to Rome Tours
I always love starting my time in a new city off by taking a tour. It helps me orient myself, so I don’t get lost, and also it helps me add points of interest that I might want to see more in-depth later on my trip. There’s nothing worse than taking a tour on your last day and kicking yourself for not knowing about something earlier like a good restaurant or local park.
Rome In A Day Tour with Vatican, Colosseum & Historic Center
This is a good tour if you’re crunched for time and want to fit a lot into one day, or maybe get the main sites visited early on in your trip to allow for more time to relax. This Rome in a day tour will take you to the Vatican, Colosseum, and the historic center of Rome.
Highlights of Rome by Car
If you’re exhausted upon arrival and just don’t have it in you to do tons of walking, especially on your first day, you may want to consider doing a tour by car. We did this on a particularly rainy day in Rome and it was a great way to see the city and not get wet! This Highlights of Rome car tour will be a good overview for the rest of your trip.
Rome Walking Tours
Walking the city of the city can be a relaxing way to learn the history and culture of Rome. There are several great tours with locals that will give you that personal experience you’re looking for. Keep in mind that Rome was built on 7 hills! So bring your walking shoes and get ready for some walking.
Welcome To Rome: Twilight City Stroll & Gelato-Tasting
This walking tour of Rome will be a great introduction to the fabulous nightlife of the city. Begin just as the sun goes down and finish it off with a gelato tasting! You can’t go wrong when there’s gelato involved. If you want to do your own gelato tasting, discover the best gelato in Rome.
First Time Visitors: Private City Walking Tour of Rome
This tour led by Marida is a great introduction to the city for first-time visitors. You’ll get a glimpse of Rome’s most iconic sites. You will be met at your hotel and your tour can be customized. If there’s something specific you’d like to see, just let Marida know.
Rome As A Local: Hidden Gems & Ancient Wonders
If you want to get to know the city like a local, this Hidden Gem and Ancient Wonders tour will be a great fit. This is a great tour if you’ve already done the iconic sites in the city and want to see Rome in a whole new light.
This might just be the most fun you’ll have in Rome. This exhilarating tour will take you for the ride of your life on the back of an iconic Italian Vespa scooter. Discover iconic sites and hidden gems as your knowledgeable guides take multiple pit stops to tell you the history and myth behind the Eternal City. Your guides can meet you at your hotel and drop you off wherever you’d like, preferably at a restaurant of their recommendation!
One reason I love to visit Italy with my kids is that Italians are so welcoming and tolerant of children. Rome is a great city for families to explore, but admittedly, tours can be a little boring for kids who maybe aren’t as into learning about ancient history as some of us grown-ups are. These kid-tested mother-approved tours for kids in Rome are the perfect addition to your vacation and will keep little ones engaged and learning without even realizing it.
Roman Gladiator School
If you really want to make history come to life for the kids, Roman Gladiator School will be a blast (from the past)! Combine this with a trip to the Colosseum to see where the Gladiators really fought! This tour meets at the Gladiator School of Rome, a really awesome Gladiator museum.
Colosseum for Family and Kids
This skip-the-line Colosseum tour is tailored specifically for families and children. A local historian will bring the Colosseum and other notable locations in the fascinating city of Rome such as the famous St. Peter’s Basilica to life for your kids, pointing out interesting details and telling fascinating stories from the history of Rome.
Rome After Dark with Gelato & Pizza
If you want to beat the heat, avoid the crowds, or the kids are just jetlagged, this after-dark tour is a great option. Your guide will have quizzes, games, treasure hunts, photo contests, and more to keep kids engaged and learning! End the night with pizza and gelato. Does it get any better than that?
Pizza Making Class
If your little ones need a break from all the sightseeing and they’re up for working for their dinner while also learning a new skill, this pizza-making class will be just the thing!
What better way to explore a city than by tasting your way through it! These Rome food tours will delight all your senses, but especially your taste buds!
Rome: Street Food Tour with Pizza, Tiramisu, and Coffee
During this Rome food tour, you will explore the traditional cuisine of Rome, exploring the city’s most beloved shops and eateries.
Secret Rome Food Tour
Join Daniel on this secret tour of Roman food and eat like a local! This private tour will lead you to some of the best street food and hidden restaurants and shops in the city! Cookies, cheese, pasta, gelato, oh my!
Street Food Tour
One way to know a place it by trying the street food. Skip the fancy restaurants and eat on the go during this 3-hour tour with your tastebuds!
Where do Romans Eat?
Learn about the typical dishes of the Eternal City and learn what the Romans eat, and most importantly, what the Romans eat in this unique tour.
Rome: Pasta and Tiramisu Cooking Class with Wine
You cannot leave Rome without learning how to make your own pasta. That knowledge will be the best souvenir you bring home with you! This pasta-making class is a great way to hone those cooking skills and learn something new!
The Vatican is a must see in your Rome vacation for anyone interested in religion, history, or art. If you want to see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, then make this a priority. You can explore all our favorite Vatican tours here.
Vatican Museums Night Tour with Sistine Chapel
Seeing the Vatican at night can be a really special experience and there will definitely be fewer people.
Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Vatican Tour
I almost always recommend this specific Vatican tour to visitors. It’s an early access in the morning, but you will have the Sistine Chapel all to yourself which is pretty amazing!
Complete Vatican Tour
If you’re not particular about what time you see the Vatican and don’t mind the crowds, this Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel with skip the line tickets is a good option during normal hours.
You can’t visit Rome without seeing the Colosseum of course. Explore more of our favorite Colosseum tours here.
Skip the Line: Premium Colosseum Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
If you plan to visit the Colosseum while in Rome, I always recommend doing a skip-the-line tour. The lines at the Colosseum do get really crazy, so going with an approved guide is a great way to bypass this and also learn a lot!
VIP Colosseum At Night Tour With Underground & Arena Floor
Seeing the Colosseum after dark is a really cool experience. You’ll also beat the heat and crowds! Win-win.
If you’re looking for a tour in Rome that’s a little different, there are definitely some more interesting off-the-beaten-path options for you to choose from.
Crypts, Bones & Catacombs: An Underground Tour of Rome
Explore Rome underground while you explore Rome’s famous catacombs.
Jewish Community in Rome along the Centuries
You hear all about the ancient Romans, but learning about the Jewish community in Rome is just as fascinating. Learn the part that Jews played in the history of Rome in this Jewish community through the centuries tour.
Rome Fiat Tour
Explore the hills of Rome while driving an iconic FIAT 500. These tiny cars will allow you to park and explore some of the city’s most memorable sites. Plus how cute is a selfie with this adorable tiny car?!
Appian Way E-Bike Tour
If you love to bike and want to learn history along your ride, this Appian Way E-bike tour is a lot of fun and will help you get your exercise in during vacation.
I hope you were able to find a tour or two or three that will suit your needs. It’s always a great idea to let the locals help you orient yourself with the city and impart their knowledge. You know… “when in Rome!”