Travel tips

Best photography locations in Rome

Rome is an extremely photogenic travel destination and has photo stops practically around every corner and in every piazza.

With a history dating back to 753, there are plenty of historic structures to capture on film, as well as good opportunities for lifestyle and food photography – hello, pizza and gelato!

I always take a billion photos when Rick and I travel but I think I got two billion when we went to Rome. There’s always something beautiful to photograph and no shortage of unique locations to get great views of the city from.

The Eternal City is such a gem for travel photography and no matter where you go in Rome or what you see, you’re sure to return home with incredible photos.

But, if you want to make sure you capture the must-sees as you check off the must-dos in Rome, here are some of our suggestions for the best spots in the city to snap your pics.

10 most Instagrammable locations in Rome


1. Colosseum

First up is the most photographed location in Rome: The Colosseum. There are endless photography opportunities at the Colosseum, both inside and out. Plus, the way the light falls through the arches makes this a natural photography subject.

You might want to bring a wide angle lens or a smartphone lens clip to snap wide shots to get the whole Colosseum when up close. You can also get other historic structures in your shot by including the Arch of Constantine in the foreground or background and from inside, you can get cool views of the Roman Forum. Shooting both inside and out of the Colosseum will leave you with plenty of cool shots.

If you want to avoid the crowds and get great light, go at sunrise or wait until the blue hour and catch the Colosseum lighting up for the night. Plus, you’ll enjoy cooler temperatures while you shoot.

2. Roman Forum

Close to the Colosseum is the ruins of the forum or marketplace of Rome, an important part of everyday life of ancient Rome. See where vast temples once stood as you photograph the crumbling pillars set against modern Rome.

No matter what time of day you shoot the Roman Forum, you’re sure to be able to get shots that are people-free. We went mid-day and the light was perfect for our shots, but early morning would be another ideal time to capture this Roman icon.

View from Castel Sant'Angelo

3. Castel Sant’Angelo

One of my favorite places to get panoramic shots of Rome is at Castel Sant’Angelo. Originally built as a mausoleum for Roman Emperor Hadrian, then used as a papal fortress and residence (there’s a secret corridor between the Vatican and Castel Sant’Angelo), and finally becoming a museum, the castle is a must-do if you want exceptional photos of the city.

There are stone windows to get unique framed shots from as well as the rooftop viewing deck to get great shots of Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica from above. You might have to battle the crowds for a window shot, but when snapping pics of the city from above, it’s easy to make sure no one else is in your shot.

I also love taking shots of the bridge, Ponte Sant’Angelo, heading to the castle and of the angels standing guard. Go early in the morning or in the early evening to get a people-free bridge and good light. I actually like shooting this location at night with a deep blue sky and the golden hues lighting up the castle.

4. Vatican City

Ok, yes, technically the Vatican is its own country but it still counts as a Rome photography location! Between the courtyard outside and the facade, to the stunning interior, you better bring a portable charger or an extra battery for your camera while photographing St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican museum.

Be sure to pay attention to the signs and listen to security when they say you can’t photograph certain artwork. It’s not worth getting kicked out over as there are so many other chances to get exceptional shots of the Vatican and St. Peter’s. I love how much detail you can capture at this location.

Fan-favorites include the ornate ceilings, works of art, and the spiral staircase. You might not be able to get a people-free shot, but you can always take a series of shots and try to layer them in Photoshop to edit out the people.

Another option for an amazing view of Rome is from St. Peter’s Cupola, either a 551-step climb or a 7€ elevator ride. See the city stretch out endlessly in front of you and enjoy a unique, panoramic view. Go early in the morning or wait for sunset for incredible light across the Eternal City.

Trevi Fountain

5. The Trevi Fountain

From tossing a coin in to guarantee your return visit to photographing this iconic fountain, there’s plenty to enjoy when visiting the Trevi Fountain in Rome! Visiting at night is a popular choice as the fountain is all lit up and the water sparkles in the light, but you can also easily photograph this landmark during the day – just expect crowds at all times, especially at night.

I have seen some photographers get lucky by shooting it at sunrise to avoid the people, but I don’t mind capturing the crowds or zooming in to crop them out.

6. Pantheon

Head to the Pantheon for incredible photos of its exterior and exquisitely ornate interior. Once a temple, church, and now a tourist icon, the Pantheon beckons photographers with unique shots, fantastic colors, and great shots if you bring a wide angle lens.

A great thing about the Pantheon is the oculus in the center which lets in natural light and can make for fun shots of the interior.

Piazza Navona

7. Piazza Navona

Fantastic for everyday life and tourists, stunning fountains, and historical buildings and quirky bars, Piazza Navona is a must-see anyway so why not capture some cute photos while you’re at it?

The most popular subject in the square is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), which represents the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges, and the Rio de la Plata. If you bring a wide angle lens or smartphone lens, you can get the whole fountain and the obelisk in frame.

If you really want to see something special here, go during Christmas when there’s a holiday market set up in the square.

8. The banks of the Tiber

For interesting city and people shots, head to the banks of the Tiber. Snap the bridges, get unique angles on the impressive landmarks of the city, like St. Peter’s Basilica and Castel Sant’Angelo, and find framing opportunities as you walk along the riverbank.

This area is also fun for street photography and seeing the everyday life of the people that call Rome home. Plus, there are many street vendors and artists that stay along this area to sell to tourists, so you can get some art within your work of art!

Spanish steps in Rome

9. Spanish Steps

Another favorite is the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna. You can shoot photos of the steps themselves, climb the 135 steps for great street photography and lifestyle shots, or shoot up from the fountain at the base of the plaza, done by Bernini.

The Spanish Steps date back to 1725 and are a popular meeting place and ripe with the hustle and bustle of Roman citizens and tourists. Go at sunset to capture people waiting for dinner reservations, enjoying a nice summer breeze, and a soft light dappling over the steps. If you want zero crowds, go at sunrise!

10. Altare della Patria

While touring ancient Rome and the Capitol Hill, you can’t miss the white marble building nearby. The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument or the Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) is a monument dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of unified Italy. It’s a national symbol, and a beautiful building to boot, and is another option for a stunning 360-degree view of Rome!

Not only can you snap pics of the gorgeous exterior with its columns and horses, but a quick ride to the top (especially at sunset) offers amazing views above the city.

Want more travel photography tips? Read our best practices for capturing the perfect shot on vacation!

What was your favorite photography location in Rome? Tell us on Twitter or in the comments below!

Piazza di Spagna

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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