Instagram vs reality in RomeAfter sharing our first time in Rome, I thought I would take it one step further today to give you a look at what some of those popular destinations really look like. The unedited, Instagram vs reality versions of sites so that you can plan your trip a little better.

We went to Rome in April 2022 and I think it took me by surprised how many people were in the city at that time (definitely felt like pre-pandemic levels of tourists). If you’re like me and prefer to travel without crowds, but still want to see places on your bucket list, know that it’s all about timing. Because as you can see below, the later in the day you visit a place, the more people will be there.

Here’s the Instagram vs Reality for popular destinations in Rome:

Instagram vs reality in Rome1. The Colosseum 

As one of the wonders of the world, it’s really no surprise that The Colosseum was crowded when we went. There are vantage points where you can take a picture free of other people if put a few extra steps in when you’re exploring the area. I think what surprised me the most was the amount of construction. It’s not something I ran across while reading all the travel guides out there. So just as a heads up, here’s what the The Colosseum looks like unfiltered!

For that crowd free photo, head to the walls near Colosseo Metro (that’s where I am in the first photo). You’ll be at a higher vantage point and will be able to get better photos.

Instagram vs reality in Rome2. Trevi Fountain

Turns out people LOVE fountains! Who knew?! We were exploring the city on our first day and just happened to be by the Trevi Fountain in the afternoon. It definitely felt like being in Times Square and kind of took away from the enjoyment. You’ve probably read this advice a lot, but any popular destinations like this should be seen first thing in the morning instead of the afternoon. It’s the best way to miss these overwhelming crowds!

You can also explore the archeological aqueduct right around the corner that’s not nearly as crowded.

Instagram vs reality in Rome3. Spanish Steps

If you love crowds, then the Spanish Steps are for you! Because nothing says vacation like climbing up stairs while people push past you. The steps themselves are absolutely beautiful and the view from the top is great. I would still say keep this on your list, especially for your first time in Rome. Again, to make your visit much more enjoyable, get here at the start of the day instead of the afternoon.

Instagram vs reality in Rome4. The Pantheon

Truthfully this was one of our most enjoyable stops! I’m not sure if things have changed with Covid, but while we were there, they were doing timed reserved entry only. This was the group we were inside with and everyone had plenty of space to explore and enjoy. Entry is free, just be sure to check their website to see if you can book your entry ahead of time.

So that’s it for Instagram vs Reality Rome edition! If you’re traveling to Rome or Italy in general, let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help!

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