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Best Instagram and Photography Spots in Rome (Including Vatican City)

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Rome (and the Vatican) is a city packed full of historic landmarks and as a result makes it a top city to visit for Instagram and photography. From well know landmarks such as the Colosseum, pretty public squares such Piazza Navona, and awesome viewpoints such as from St. Peter’s Basilica you’ll find plenty of fantastic opportunities to snap away. When exploring head out early to explore whilst it’s quiet and be sure to scout out and plan your photography around sunrise and sunset, when you might enjoy the best light during your trip.

Here are some of the best Instagram and photography spots in Rome and Vatican City.

You may also want to see some of our other Instagram and photography guides.

1. Piazza Navona

Throughout Rome you’ll find various Piazzas or public squares. These are often accompanied by historic facades and landmarks. Probably our favourite in Rome was Piazza Navona which has various fountains with fantastic statues and engravings. Head here at night to enjoy the atmosphere from the restaurants and small stalls, as well as to admire the fountains and architecture in a different light.

Best time for pics: Anytime
Cost: Free
Location: Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma (Google Maps link)

Piazza Navona at night

2. Colosseum

The historic Colosseum is probably one of the most iconic and well-known landmarks in the world. It is fantastic to photograph and also to admire. When taking pictures we’d recommend coming around sunrise, sunset, or the blue hour so as to capture it with different lighting conditions. Also be sure to look around the structure for cool angles including using leading lines such as below.

Best time for pics: Sunrise/ Sunset/blue hour
Cost: Free
Location: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma (Google Maps link)

See Tours for the Colosseum

Rome Colosseum

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3. Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is another big highlight and top photography spot in Rome. It consists of ruins and temples and is wonderful to explore. When taking photographs you’ll find various great angles, such as towards the Colosseum or in other directions (which are equally as good). The image at the top of this article is also of the Roman Forum.

Best time for pics: Day
Cost: Free
Location: Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 (Google Maps link)

Roman Forum in Rome
Image by Dominique Devroye from Pixabay

4. Altar of the Fatherland

The Altar of the Fatherland was built in honour of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of unified Italy as well as to honour first world war soldiers. It is a hugely impressive landmark and quite simply huge. Consider taking pictures directly from the front, as well as from the corners where you might find some good leading lines. At night the structure is also lit up, so if time is on your side then try and visit both during the day and at night to capture images in different light.

Best time for pics: Anytime
Cost: Free (exterior)
Location: Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma (Google Maps link)

Altar of the Fatherland at night

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5. Castel Sant’Angelo – Exterior

The Castel Sant’Angelo is another top structure and historic landmark. It is located along the River Tiber which runs through the city. You can capture great images directly from the front and using the bridge to lead your viewers eye to the building. Another great spot is along the path by the river, where you might get perfect reflections (such as below) if the water is calm.

Best time for pics: Anytime
Cost: Free (exterior)
Location: Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00193 (Google Maps link)

Castel Sant'Angelo
Image by Mauricio A. from Pixabay

6. Vatican Museums – Bramante Staircase

The Bramante Staircase staircase is a fantastic architectural gem located within the Vatican Museums. It winds down in a spiral from the top to the bottom and is highly photogenic. When taking pictures we’d recommend using a wide-angle lens such as 16mm or wider. This will allow you to capture as much as possible. If you’re wanting a more empty shot then try and get here as soon as it opens and then head straight to this location, or alternatively just use Photoshop or another editing tool to remove people you don’t want in the photograph.

Best time for pics: Day
Cost: Paid entry
Location: Vatican Museums, 00120, Vatican City (Google Maps link)

See Tickets for the Vatican Museums

Bramante (Momo) Staircase, Vatican Museum
Bramante (Momo) Staircase, Vatican Museum
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7. View from St. Peter’s Basilica

Undoubtedly one of the best viewpoints in Vatican City will be the dome of St Peter’s Basilica. From here you’ll get to enjoy breathtaking views over the main square as well as towards Rome. You’ll often find a queue to get into the basilica, so if this is a top place you want to see and photograph then make sure you plan ahead. The viewpoint also closes around one before the main basilica.

Best time for pics: Anytime (during opening hours)
Cost: Paid entry (for the dome, but not the main basilica)
Location: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano (Google Maps link)

See Tours and Tickets

St Peter's Basilica Viewpoint
Photo by Alan Liu on Unsplash

8. Interior of St. Peter’s Basilica

The interior of St. Peter’s Basilica is also worth seeing and is also great for Instagram and photography pictures. You’ll find grand and impressive architecture with lots of shapes to use in your composition. Try taking pictures angled vertically as this will help with your editing should you want to post online. Or if you just want to take pictures for other uses then a horizontal image might work better. Also as you will be taking pictures inside a wide-angle lens (such as 16mm or wider) will be handy as you will then be able to capture a lot more.

Best time for pics: Day
Cost: Free
Location: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano (Google Maps link)

St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica

9. Vatican City St Peter’s square

As well as the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica the exterior is almost impressive. Here you can admire the beautiful basilica as well as capture some great shots. If you visit at around sunset you’ll find it quieter (as the Basilica will likely be closed (or closing) by then. This therefore provides the perfect opportunity to capture some images with not quite as many people in them.

Best time for pics: Anytime
Cost: Free
Location: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano (Google Maps link)

Vatican Exterior at sunset - enhanced
Image by @mikecleggphoto
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10. Trevi Fountain

One of the most beautiful and famous fountains in Rome is the Trevi Fountain. This landmark can draw huge crowds though so we’d recommend coming early morning for your best chance if you’re after a more empty shot. Or if you prefer head there during the day or at night and capture the atmosphere as part of your photograph.

Best time for pics: Early morning (depending on the shot you want)
Cost: Free
Location: Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma (Google Maps link)

Trevi Fountain, Rome via Pixabay
Trevi Fountain, Rome via Pixabay

11. Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are very pretty and another top Instagram and photography spot in Rome. They consist of several layers of steps leading from Piazza di Spagna up to Piazza Trinità dei Monti. At the base you’ll find the pretty Barcaccia Fountain and at the top the Trinità dei Monti (church). This spot can get busy though, so think about the kind of shot you’d like to take. You could also come back at night where a long exposure in the blue hour could look especially pretty.

Best time for pics: Anytime
Cost: Free
Location: Piazza di Spagna, 00187 (Google Maps link)

Spanish Steps, Rome
Image by ptra from Pixabay
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12. Pantheon

The Pantheon is an impressive landmark in the central part of the city and surrounding it you’ll find a fountain and typical Rome architecture. You can actually visit the inside to take photographs as well or capture an image such as below. Should you visit the inside you’ll probably need a wide-angle lens so as to capture as much as possible and give yourself more flexibility in your photo.

Best time for pics: Anytime
Cost: Free
Location: Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 (Google Maps link)

Pantheon at night, Rome
Pantheon at night

14. St. Angelo Bridge (towards the Vatican)

From St. Angelo Bridge you’ll get some great views towards the Vatican. We’d recommend trying to capture an image around sunset into the night as you’ll probably get the best light. Depending on conditions you may also be able to capture some reflections in the River Tiber too.

Best time for pics: Sunrise/sunset/night
Cost: Free
Location: Ponte Sant’Angelo, 00186 Roma (Google Maps link)

Views along River Tiber towards Vatican
Image by Rainhard Wiesinger from Pixabay
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Rome and Vatican City Photography Tips

  • Rome and the Vatican can get very busy, so if you’re wanting more people-less photographs then be sure to head out early.
  • Keep in mind sunset and sunrise and be sure to head to your favourite photography spot around this time when you might get the best light.
  • If it’s been raining then keep an eye out for puddles that might allow you to use reflections in your images.
  • A warm light can often work well with photographs of Rome, so consider seeing if increasing the white balance (to a warmer setting) improves the image (when editing).
  • Use a decent tripod if you’re taking night and low light images so as to capture the highest quality image.
  • Finally, consider presets such as these Wanderlust Travel Photography Presets to quickly enhance your photographs.

More travel photography tips and techniques.

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Day Trip Ideas

To discover some of the other wonderful places near the city head to our article on day trips you could take from Rome. Including places such as Amalfi, Lake Turano, Capri, Florence and lots more, as well as how long it would take to get there.

Tours and Activities

In Rome you’ll find lots of great tours and activities available. Including tours around the city, skip the line tickets, and even day trips to nearby destinations in Italy. Below are a few options, or click the blue button to see lots more.


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Mike Clegg

Editor-in-chief at travelanddestinations.com
Mike is a traveller, photographer, WordPress developer and the creator of TravelAndDestinations.com. He started this website so as to share his experiences and tips with travellers. He is from the UK and has travelled to many places around the world. He loves to shares his pictures and stories through Instagram and this website... [Read full bio]
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