Rome—and especially its architecture—has become the subject of many famous photographs. Even though the city hosts many old attractions and architectural spots, new and modern additions to the city like the new Six Senses and Bulgari locations continue to add to Rome’s tasteful, intelligent look. Amidst luxurious, high-end additions, Rome mixes urban spaces with 18th-century environments for a unique travel and photography experience.
Because of this, Rome is a popular tourist and travel photographer destination. This means that taking the perfect dream shot of Rome’s many attractions can be a challenge among crowds of tourists and locals. In this article, we’ll look at where you can take the best shots in Rome and discuss essential equipment and the best practices for shooting there:
The best photo spots in Rome
1. The Pantheon
The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved and most copied ancient Roman monuments. The portico is reminiscent of the entrance to a Greek temple, bearing 16 columns that form a central passage into the architecture. The Pantheon also boasts the oculus — the only source of external light in the architecture. The light shines through an opening on the Pantheon’s dome, creating a reverse sundial effect, marking time with light. This makes for great practice for travel photographers who want to play with light in their shots.
2. Spanish Steps
An iconic setting from the film Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn, the Spanish Steps feature curvilinear segments that reminds one of a waterfall. The steps end in the Fontana della Barcaccia at the center of the square and has become a tourist favorite for photos. The stairway has low walls that allow you to sit on them and stone benches every twelve steps, providing many spots for you to find the perfect shot.
3. Castelnuovo di Porto
An ancient town in Rome, Castelnuovo di Porto provides a more rural travel experience. We’ve previously posted about the olive harvest in Castiglione in Teverina, which is a few hours away from Rome. Aside from also having its own olive harvest, Castelnuovo di Porto provides a beautiful photography backdrop. With the right framing, you can get snaps of the old architecture mixed with its surrounding greenery. Around town, cobbled streets and local cafes line your view — perfect for a warm, antique-inspired photoshoot.
Tips for Capturing the Best Photos in Rome
However, knowing where to take the best photos doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the shots you want. Below are some things you’ll need to have and do to make the most out of your trip to Rome through film:
1. Have the right gear
For top-quality photos you need more than your phone camera to capture crisp memories of your trip to Rome. Bringing a professional camera like the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 will give you more freedom to play with your shots, especially with the DSC-HX99’s portability and ability to take both extremely-detailed and larger-picture photos. To further boost these features and capture the enormity of popular architectural attractions like the Pantheon, invest in accessories like a wide-angle lens. There are many types of lenses available to photographers, with the lenses listed on Adorama showing the different specialty models available from the biggest camera brands. For example, the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM will fit most Sony full-frame cameras. Its Nano ART coating II suppresses reflections, flare, and ghosting which makes it great for photography on the go. The 12mm ultra-wide angle can help you emphasize distance and create dynamic perspectives to capture some of Rome’s beautiful attractions.
Bringing a trusty tripod can also help you get your dream shots. Quality tripods from Italy-based Manfrotto can suit all levels and types of photography and are durable, making them reliable to travel with. Models like the MK055XPRO3-BHQ2 are sturdy and can handle a heavy kit, which is good if you use different lenses or are working with older and heavier DSLRs. This model also introduced a new Easy Link attachment in its top casting, making it easier for you to add accessories such as a flash, LED reflector, and a mic for video recording. This makes it a versatile tripod that keeps you hands-free while you travel around Rome.
2. Know how to shoot
To get the best shots, make sure to research what your camera and accessories do so you know how to use their features to their fullest potential. For example you should know how to use the Eye AF feature on the New York Times recommended Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99, and how to attach lenses and tripods to it. From here, you can try the old-but-gold method (literally!) of taking your photos during the golden hour. This can give your snaps a warm, golden look that perfectly fits Rome’s intricate architecture and attractions. Look for sunlight during the early morning, late afternoon, or sunset — and watch how the natural light transforms your photography.
More importantly, follow local rules regarding photography. Most sites or museums in Rome may not allow selfie sticks or tripods, so if you aren’t sure about a certain attraction, do ask. Think of these rules as challenges for you to think out of the box as you photograph.