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5 Things to Do Near the Vatican in Rome Blog

5 Things to Do Near the Vatican in Rome

A trip to Rome, Italy, wouldn’t be complete without exploring the many marvelous treasures of Vatican City. On a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, you’ll delve into the fascinating history of the papacy while discovering world-renowned artworks and architecture. The Vatican’s timeless allure makes it an unmissable destination for any seasoned traveler.

The adventure doesn’t have to stop after your tour of Vatican City, however. Read on as we uncover the top 5 things to do near the Vatican in Rome so that you can make the most out of your next visit!

1. Stroll Down the Picturesque Street of Borgo Pio

The scenic street of Borgo Pio is located just steps away from Vatican City

Borgo Pio is an enchanting avenue nestled just a few streets over from Via Della Conciliazione, the imposing road leading up to St. Peter’s Basilica. Having been inhabited since antiquity, this charming area boasts a captivating past. Over the centuries, several popes contributed to Borgo Pio’s development due to its close proximity to Vatican City. Traces of the quarter’s storied legacy remain visible today with the remnants of an elevated escape route used by popes, known as the Passetto di Borgo, that connected the Vatican to Castel Sant’Angelo.

Beyond its historic origins, Borgo Pio is famed for its breathtaking beauty. As you meander down the picturesque street, you’ll encounter ivy-covered facades, enchanting architecture and unique fountains. It’s home to a splendid variety of shops and restaurants as well, making it the perfect place to experience the vibrant essence of Rome just steps away from the Vatican!

2. Enjoy a Traditional Italian Lunch or Gelato in the Charming Prati Neighborhood

Rome’s Prati district boasts a variety of delightful restaurants and gelaterias

Prati is an elegant and trendy neighborhood bordering the walls of Vatican City in Rome. Here, you’ll find gorgeous buildings dating to the early-20th-century alongside chic cafes and bars. Before or after your Vatican tour, it’s an ideal spot to enjoy an authentic Italian meal or snack.

Unsure of where to eat in this delightful district? For Roman-style pizza, we recommend Isola della Pizza or L’Archetto. If you’re craving delicious street food, opt for Trapizzino or Bonci. To enjoy traditional Roman cuisine and pasta, you can’t go wrong with Osteria dell’Angelo or Trattoria Cacio e Pepe.

Prati is home to some amazing gelaterias as well such as Gelateria dei Gracchi, Neve di Latte and Old Bridge, which just so happens to be located right around the corner from our office!

3. Discover the Bustling Square of Piazza del Risorgimento

Along the walls of Vatican City, you’ll find the grand square of Piazza del Risorgimento

Paying a visit to Piazza del Risorgimento is certainly one of the best free things to do near the Vatican. This bustling hub is situated just down the road from St. Peter’s Square. From here, you can marvel at a colorful assortment of residential palazzi and a larger-than-life-size equestrian statue dedicated to the Carabinieri, the national military police of Italy. From some points in the square, you can even take in spectacular views of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. Piazza del Risorgimento also hosts several seasonal events throughout the year, including a chocolate festival and ice skating!

4. Go Shopping along Via Cola di Rienzo or Via Ottaviano

Via Cola di Rienzo and Via Ottaviano are fantastic places to shop for clothes and souvenirs near the Vatican

Searching for a fabulous place to go shopping near the Vatican? Look no further than Via Ottaviano or Via Cola di Rienzo! These two streets are home to an abundance of stylish boutiques and designer stores. There are even market stalls set up along the alleyways where you can browse through a variety of goods. From clothes, shoes and bags to typical Italian souvenirs, this area has got it all. You’ll also find better prices and far fewer crowds here compared to Via del Corso, the most famous shopping street in Rome which is located in the heart of the city.

5. Visit Castel Sant’Angelo and Take in Views of the Tiber River

Castel Sant’Angelo is an ancient mausoleum turned museum nestled along the banks of the Tiber River

Just down the road from Vatican City, you’ll find Castel Sant’Angelo. This incredible structure is positioned along the scenic Tiber River and was originally built as a Mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian during the 2nd century. Over the course of its existence, it was used by the papacy as a fortress and was even converted into a prison at one time. Today, it houses a remarkable museum known as the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’ Angelo.

Inside, you’ll find an impressive collection of historical artifacts alongside marvelous frescoes and antique furniture. You’re also able to venture to the very top of the castle to take in unobstructed vistas over Vatican City, the Tiber River and the many rooftops of Rome! The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30AM to 7:30PM. Note that tickets to Castel Sant’Angelo cost €16.

As you cross the river toward the city center, you can also admire the sculptural masterpieces adorning Ponte Sant’Angelo. Along this bridge, you’ll find ten exquisite angels designed by the Baroque mastermind, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, during the 17th century. Make sure to observe the unparalleled views of St. Peter’s Basilica from this vantage point as well—it is truly a sight to behold!

Discover the Wonders of Rome & Vatican City on Tour with us!

Thanks for reading our guide to the top things to do near the Vatican in Rome. Wandering through the elegant halls of the Vatican Museums, witnessing the iconic frescoes of the Sistine Chapel and uncovering the masterpieces of St. Peter’s Basilica are definitely must-do activities in Vatican City, but there is a lot more to see and do nearby as well!

Planning to visit Vatican City soon? We’d love to welcome you on one of our top-rated Vatican tours! For an exclusive and personalized experience, we recommend embarking on our Vatican Early Access Tour at Opening or our VIP Vatican Private Tour. To make the most out of your next trip, be sure to also check out our list of the best tips for visiting Vatican City, our expert-led guided tours of Rome and our skip-the-line tours of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill!

If you have any questions or require assistance with booking one of our tours, kindly reach out to our team via email at info@whatalifetours.com or by phone at +39 06 89 111 009 and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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