Sunsets and the Seven Hills of Rome
Deciding which are the best sunsets in Rome can be a surprisingly difficult task. Collective tradition understands that the city was chosen to be formed atop the Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome, with the story of brothers Romulus and Remus playing the central part in the events which supposedly took place at around 750 BC.
In turn, Rome’s geographical peaks and troughs provide visitors with a plethora of stunning viewpoints across the city. Whether your preference is to catch the dwindling sun in full force until it drops behind the Tiber and beyond or take a moment to appreciate the crimson rays gently gliding over the Eternal City’s unique architecture, the sunsets in Rome are a must-see phenomenon.
So, in keeping with the theme of the seven hills of Rome, here are seven of the best sunset views across the city!
Pincian Terrace/Villa Borghese
Climbing the Spanish Steps is an unmissable Roman experience on its own. However, by continuing a little further you are rewarded with some of the most expansive views of the sprawling city below.
Acting as the entrance to the lavish Villa Borghese, which contains meticulously landscaped gardens and a lake, the Pincian Terrace (Terazza del Pincio) is the perfect spot to give your legs a rest and admire the scenery. With both the Piazza del Popolo below and St. Peter’s Basilica a little further in the distance sitting to the west of the terrace, the sunset here offers a prime backdrop to some of Rome’s most popular monuments.
Not all of the best sunsets in Rome have to take place at the top of a particularly grueling hill to climb. In fact, as the rays of light flash between the city’s winding streets, seeking out the endless nooks and crannies, the city center takes on a different tone than when sweltering in the heat of the midday sun.
One of the best squares to experience this final flurry of daylight before night takes hold is Piazza Navona. Here, the baroque accomplishments of Borromini and Bernini compete for attention, with the red rays of sunset sparking the works to life as they dance across the piazza.
→ Check out Walks Inside Rome’s private Bernini and Borromini tour!
Orange Garden (Giardino degli Aranci)
If a secluded respite from the often hustle and bustle of the city center sounds like your cup of tea, look no further than the Orange Garden (Giardino degli Aranci). Nestled on the opposite side of the Tiber to Trastevere, these west-facing gardens and terrace provide a perfect position to watch the sunset in Rome.
Situated upon the Aventine Hill, the southernmost of Rome’s seven hills, visiting the Orange Garden also brings the opportunity to peek through one of the city’s most unusual attractions; the keyhole of the Knights of Malta. Long queues can form as people wait their turn to peek through this intricately framed view of St. Peter’s Basilica, but a little patience can make it all worth your while!
Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio)
Ancient antiquity and the capital of the Bel Paese come hand-in-hand, and nowhere sums this up more than the Roman Forum. The beating heart of the Roman Empire now serves as one of the city’s most visited attractions – especially for those of us who are unashamed history buffs!
To see this beautiful muddle of Roman remains at any time of day is a fascinating experience, but by adding the simmer of the sunsets in Rome can turn it into a truly unforgettable moment. This is exactly what the view from another of the seven hills of Rome, Capitoline Hill, offers its visitors.
Aqueducts Park (Parco degli Acquedotti)
Our next entry sees us journey away from the city center for perhaps one of the most original sunsets in Rome. Many locals themselves make the short trip down the new Appian Way to enjoy an evening of peace and quiet at the Aqueduct Park (Parco degli Acquedotti).
Specifically during the summer months, taking a picnic or some drinks with your family and friends whilst waiting for the sun to drop between the arches of the famed aqueducts is the perfect way to explore the city’s ancient history in a truly relaxing manner.
Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo)
The city is famed for its seven hills, but it is the ‘eighth hill of Rome’ that makes for one of the most breathtaking sunsets in Rome. The Janiculum Hill is, in fact, the second tallest peak in the modern city. However, due to it sitting southwest of the original city and across the Tiber, the hill is not considered to have sat within the original city’s boundaries.
Its positioning means that the sun rises over the main city center. However, one should not discount the Janiculum from their sunset plans in the Eternal City. Overseeing Rome’s most attractive monuments with the setting sun behind your back, casting a pre-twilight glow, is as captivating as gazing directly at the sunset itself.
Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel)
Enjoying a sunset is often one of the best free things to do in Rome. Yet, it is worth considering paying the entry fee simply to visit this silent witness of the city’s expansive history. Discovering the history of this building that has previously acted as a mausoleum, fortress, papal residence, prison, and execution ground is a treat enough on its own.
Yet, alongside its fascinating history, the Castle of the Holy Angel (Castel Sant’Angelo) boasts some of the best sunset views anywhere in Rome. Glancing south down the Tiber and west towards the Vatican as day turns to night gives more than its value for money.