Rome City Guide - Rome Travel Tips
Reasons to visit
Over thousands of years, Rome has enriched with many wonderful churches, sculptures, artworks, buildings, palaces, gardens, fountains, and squares that are renowned.
The place sometimes can feel like it is enchanted if you are a first time visitor. Make sure that you have your camera ready and comfy shoes on as this is going to be one lifetime trip.
Exploring Rome is like a never-ending journey as there is always something new to see that is probably a thousand years old and that will take your breath away and leave you speechless.
Because Italy is surrounded by sea climate in Rome is Mediterranean with some elements of continentality. Roma has warm winter and hot summer. Perfect time for visit is between October to April because is less crowded and mild temperatures.
Rome Local Transport
In Rome you have plenty of option to move around. Perfect for a city break it’s a to buy a Roma Pass. You can chose between 2 options 48h or 72h and you have full access to public transportation, free admission to some museums and other discounts.
If you plan to visit Rome by car our advice is DON’T! Traffic it’s horrible, you can spend long time in car, finding parking spots, more time then here instead of visiting or enjoying your time.
Moving around by taxi it’s the most expensive way to travel and you can be unlucky if you find a fake taxi, so be aware!
A good choice is travel with local transport ( buses, trams, trolleybuses, metro, light railways) managed by ATAC. You can check here your options.
Main language spoken is Italian, and around 30 percent of the people do speak English, mostly in tourist areas.
Must Try Food
Italian cuisine is divers, rich, delicious, mouthwatering, sweet and savory. What you really need to try if you are walking down the streets of Rome and need a bite is arancini. You will not regret it. These are stuffed crunchy rice balls sprinkled with breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown served with a spicy tomato sauce with oregano and garlic.
If you are very hungry and need more than a bite lasagna is always an option. This well-loved Italian dish is made with minced meats, lasagna noodles, béchamel sauce, tomatoes and parmesan cheese.
If you are very indecisive when it comes to ordering food why not try three-way pasta where in one serving you get to try pasta bolognese with ground beef and tomato sauce, carbonara with bacon and a white cheesy sauce and last but not least amatriciana with olives and dried tomatoes. You have a sweet tooth? Rome has you cover with a creamy gelato or a sweet and light tiramisu. You can find some of these wonderful dishes in the restaurants listed below:
The 433 restaurant is praised by many. In the restaurant at Piazza Navona you can enjoy a delicious menu for 12 euros, which includes bruschetta’s, pasta or meat and dessert, plus wine and water. The dishes are delicious and the ingredients are fresh. For a great price, you get first-class quality (that is not the case with a few other menus offering this price), so it is one of Rome’s best value-for-money restaurants, which is also centrally located.
Ad Hoc is one of Rome’s finest restaurants in all respects: location, service, quality of food and taste are all of first class. The prices are not high as compared to other places and it is a very romantic, stylish, cozy, especially nice restaurant in Rome. Many say that Ad Hoc deserves even a Michelin star. The menu is abundant, famous about the dishes made with truffles and the great and wide selection of wines they serve.
ANTICA OSTERIA DA GIOVANNI
If you not looking for something fancy but something more family friendly the Antica Osteria Da Giovannp is a great traditional, authentic, Roman family restaurant, where local people prepare your meals. In this small restaurant you can have a great value for money lunch where in addition to cheap prices, varied and delicious menus can be eaten.
GELATERIA LA ROMANA
Gelateria La Romana is an ice cream parlor that is considered to be one of the best in Rome by very many people, along with tourists and locals alike. It is a large ice cream parlor that is present in several cities in Italy and offers the best ice cream in town. The ice cream is authentic, unique with great, clean flavors. In this ice cream parlor, besides the must try ice cream you can also buy biscuits, cakes and ice cream deserts limited by your imagination. However there is also a down side, the lines are almost always quite long but it is definitely worth the wait.
Wine the drink of Gods, what can be more adequate to drink in a city such as Rome? Well, sometimes a cool beer is also a good option so this is what we came up with:
AI TRE SCALINI – BOTTIGLIERIA DAL
A popular restaurant among locals and tourist in the Monti square is Ai Tre Scalini. Here you can find authentic Italian food specialties, and they offer over 100 kinds of wine.
Traditional Italian dishes are served, which are made from high quality ingredients. The ambience of the place is also enchanting and it is very popular. It is always a sparkling restaurant, but keep in mind that it is also a bar, so if you want a quieter, more relaxed dinner do not choose this restaurant. Due to its popularity, we advise you to go early or reserve a table. In addition, the price is only 10 euros for main courses, which is a very low price compared to the quality wines and foods they serve.
BAR SAN CALISTO
If you want to go for a drink in Rome, go to the Trastevere square, in the immediate center of the Santa Maria Trastevere Basilica. Bar San Calisto is a trendy, authentic bar of the locals where a beer is 2.50 euros, which is probably the cheapest in Rome. The place is always full as it is very popular, it is also simple yet the atmosphere is always great.
How to get there
Rome is a destination you must visit at least once in your life. If you plan to visit you must know Rome has two airports. “Leonardo da Vinci” Airport is used by the most of airlines companies and Ciampino Airport is used by low-cost airlines.
From Europe is pretty easy to fly here. Plenty of low-cost airlines have flights here, so if you catch a promotion, a discount, just take it! A plane ticket with carry-on baggage could be really cheap, like 10 euro.
So, in our opinion it’s perfect for a city break here, perfect escape. You don’t need to carry too many things, just enjoy your time here. If you want to check the best fly tickets you can trust kiwi.com. Kiwi can help to find also best fly on your way home.
If you have more time to spend you can also take an international bus like Flixbus. Prices are pretty good and you don’t have limits on your baggage.
Of course, take more time to get here but is perfect if you want to visit different cities around like Venice, Rome, Florence and so on. You can also use ride-share apps like BlaBlaCar for a cheaper ride.
You can spend good time in cars with locals and they can suggest you different places to visit which could be more useful then guides.
Things to know
Italy mostly functions under a cash economy so make sure that you have a few euros in your pocket as paying with a card is not always an option.
Watch your bags and valuables at all times, Rome is a safe city but petty crime is still pretty common.
Dress properly and avoid shorts, skirts, uncovered shoulders as you will not be allowed to enter in the churches if you do not respect a specific dress code.
Save time by buying online tickets to the Vatican Museums and avoid the long ques.
If you want to save money you can go on the first Sunday of the month when you can visit the Vatican Museums for free. However don’t say that we did not warn you that the mass is unbearable on these days.
Generally long queues can be avoided by buying tickets online or having a Roma Pass or Roma Archeology Card. In addition to online shopping, the tickets can also be purchased in person at the Colosseum’s Info Point.
Last but not least enjoy all that this magnificent city has to give and be grateful for it.
Where to stay
We highly recommend the Martini Rooms which you can book for only €10 or Termini Colosseum for only €12 but with free breakfast, also if you are looking for a 4 star hotel we highly recommend The Britannia Hotel for only €110 but including everything even a spa and airport transfer.
Rome has multiple options for finding a cheap or expensive place to stay. As I said, could be expensive but you can fit also on a budget. If you don’t have to worry about your budget can book plenty of hotels rooms and pensions where you like on www.booking.com or www.agoda.com.
It’s a huge city and must consider how much you will to walk, how close to the city center it is your place. If you like to hang out with a local you can book a room on www.airbnb.com and you can find a good price for your accommodation.
Also if you can stay with them for free using Couchsurfing app. You can use it also only if you want to meet with them. If you are traveling on a budget or not couch surfing seems to be a good idea. First of all, it’s a chance for you to talk with a native and learn about day by day life in new york city.
It’s a great opportunity for making new friends maybe for a week or maybe for a lifetime, you never know. Hostels are less expensive than a hotel room. Why spend 300$/night for a hotel room when you can spend 30$/night for a hostel room?! The culture of making friends never fails to amaze people.
If your plane landed to “Leonardo Da Vinci ” Airport you have two train lines to get to the city. First one is “Leonardo Da Vinci” Express and leaves at every half of hour and cost 14 euros. The journey takes 35 minutes to to Rome’s central train station, Roma Termini.
The second line is FL 1 line, the suburban train which doesn’t stop to Roma Termini but you can find different option travel where you need.
Also the most cheapest way to travel for this airport to Rome is by bus with Terravision Bus. The journey to Rome city center take around an hour and cost 7 euros one-way and 10 euro round-trip. Of course, if you are buying online you can be cheaper.
Of course you can try public transport buy you might be more complicated.
From Ciampino your choices to get to the city center are more easier. You can use public transport, buses, taxi and car rentals.
The cheapest way is bus no 520 and you can combine with other metro, depending on your need, of course. By bus you have three choices: Terravision Bus, Sit Bus Shuttle, or Cotral. Prices and hours you can check on their websites.
Now we are getting to our top. Here are some of the most beautiful sites Rome presents to its visitors. In other words, let’s start!
VATICAN, ST. PETER’S BASILICA
The Vatican is one of the few enclaves of the world that is a country that is entirely located in the territory of another country. Founded in 1929 this is the world’s smallest nation with 442 hectares of land and 801 inhabitants, according to the latest estimates. The main attraction of this small country is Saint Peter’s Square, Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Sixtus Chapel and of course the 14 magnificent Vatican Museums.
Basilica di San Pietro is one of the four great basilicas of Rome. The Renaissance-style basilica was built between 1506 and 1626. The basilica is the most prominent building in the Vatican.
The Basilica’s dimensions are astonishing.. Until 1989, it was the largest Catholic Church in the world, when it was preceded by a basilica in the capital of Ivory Coast, Yamoussoukro. It has an area of 2.3 hectares and has a capacity of more than 60.000 people. Its length is 211 meters, its maximum width is 186 meters and its maximum height is 132 meters.
Among the many important works of art found in the church, Michelangelo’s Pieta of 1499, must be emphasized as it is the only art piece of the artist between these walls. The statue depicts Mary holding Jesus after the crucifixion.
Saint Peter’s Basilica dome was designed by Michelangelo, after climbing 320 steps you can admire the splendid view of Rome and the dome. During the tour, you can also view the Basilicas ceiling with its magnificent artwork.
If you are walking on the Aventinus hill, do not forget to view Saint Peter’s Basilica through the “Keyhole of Rome” as an interesting, memorable, special experience. The famous keyhole is on the gate of the Roman Order of Malta.
One of the symbols of Rome is the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater built during the Roman Empire and one of the most important works of Roman architecture. It lies east, next to the Forum Romanum. Its dimensions are 48.5 m high, 156 m wide and 189 m long. It was commissioned by Emperor Vespassianus.
He was able to accommodate an approximate of 70.000 spectators. The audience was entertained by gladiators who were fighting each other or wild animals. It was also the scene of public executions. Its fading appearance is not only due to the harshness of time but to earthquakes and stone robbers as well.
Between the Capitolium and the Palatinus Hill, west of the Colosseum lies the center of ancient Rome, which is still being discovered, so locals and tourists can easily imagine the once lively bustle and the flourishing of Roman culture. Forum Romanum was the center of Rome’s, judicial and political life, and trade.
In addition to the houses there were shops, markets and churches. The Forum Romanum had a holy church dedicated to various gods such as Saturnus, Janus, Vesta and Concordia. The senate was also located here and the execution square. Today you can see ruins of basilicas, palaces and triumphal arches. There are also night tours you can attend to visit the Forum Romanum and admire the ruined remains of old times in the moonlight.
One of the most famous and beautiful fountains in the world the Trevi Fountain. Don’t forget to have a coin in your pocket as it is believed that he who throws a coin over his shoulder in the Trevi Fountain will one day return to Rome.
From coins daily, approximately 3000 euros are collected, though some fancied thieves occasionally use magnets to steal from the fountain. The baroque fountain was built on the plans of Nicola Salvi and was completed in 1762, and has since been restored several times. It is Rome’s largest fountain 26 meters tall and 49 meters wide. It has more than 100 lights installed so in the nightlight it is even more beautiful.
The Spanish Steps were built between 1723 and 1725 and lastly renovated in 1995. It is Europe’s longest and widest outdoor staircase, one of the favorite venues for the Romans and has 138 steps.
The name of the Spanish Steps is because the Spanish embassy is still located here, though it might be called The French Steps as well, as it is due to a French diplomat Étienne Gueffier, whose significant donation help in the building of the steps.
In addition to its beauty, its mood is impressive; it is always full of locals, tourists, young people, and couples in love, often playing guitar music and sitting on the steps. The staircase leads to the Trinitá dei Monti church, at the foot of the stairs there is a square with a Baroque fountain
The Pantheon is one of the best preserved ancient Roman monuments, and probably one of the earliest buildings of its time. It was built in honor of the seven gods of the Pantheon of the State of Rome, since the beginning of the 7th century, and today it is a Christian church. It also serves as a resting place for many famous people.
The dome is a miracle of engineering as in the 2th century it was possible to build a dome that was bigger than the dome of the Basilica of Staint Peter and by 1960 was the world’s largest freestone dome.
Saint Angels Castle was built it as a mausoleum by a Roman governor for himself and for his family. Basically it is a gigantic burial site. For nearly a thousand years it has been a fortress and a castle, and today it is a museum. You can also see the torture chamber in the cellar and a great collection of weapons.
The name of Angel was given by the angel statue at the top of the fort. From the roof you can see a wonderful panorama of Rome and the Vatican.
The bridge to the Angel Castle, Ponte Sant’Angel, is considered by many as the most beautiful bridge in Rome. The bridge is decorated with ten angels, but the angels were added to the bridge in the 17th century thanks to Bernini and his disciples.
There are many Christian and Jewish burial places in Rome, but only a few can be visited. The world’s most famous and most extensive catacombs are undoubtedly in Rome. There are 5 Catacombs in the city that can be visited dozens of martyrs and 16 Popes are buried here. There are about 20 kilometers of Christian catacombs that can be seen on a great guided tour.
TIBER ISLAND / ISOLA TIBERINA
The boat-shaped island on the River Tiber is very small: 270 m long and 67 m wide. Certain sources say it is the smallest inhabited island in the world. Once there was a large church here.
It is connected with Rome by two bridges; Pons Fabricius the oldest bridge in Rome, and Pons Cestius, connecting the island with Trastevere.
Sometimes it is a great experience to leave the hustle and bustle of Rome on the banks of the Tevere and watch the river and the birds. There are restaurants, cafes and ice cream shops on the island for you to enjoy.
Piazza Venezia is a nice square with good views and photo taking opportunities. For the most beautiful panorama, go up to the top of the monument where you can have a cup and enjoy the 360 ° view of the Colosseum, the Forum and all of Rome. The enormous 135 m high, 75 m wide monument, which many Roman and tourist love, but many people hate and say it is ugly because it is too big, can be seen from almost every part of Rome. The Romans call it a “wedding cake”. The memorial was given as a sign of gratitude to the first king of Italy, II. Vittorio Emanuele. In 1895 it was designed by Guiseppe Sacconi and finally finished in 1935 it is made of white marble from Bottinió. In the memorial, the tomb of an unknown soldier can be found, with a legacy, which was built after the First World War.
Outside the city
Calcata is beautiful, but it is dangerous. 47 kilometers from Rome, Calcata is an enchanting place that thanks to its unusual location, gives visitors a taste of the beauty of nature and the unusual historical atmosphere of the past.
The city has a rich history, but in the 20th century it was for a long time abandoned. In the 1930s, its inhabitants abandoned that place, fearing that the rock beneath the city will collapsed and the settlement would sink into the deep. Local people moved to Nuova Calcata, New Calca.
The danger, however, did not hinder the hippies and the artists who had settled in the abandoned buildings. Although in time they had persuaded the authorities that the city would not collapse and got housing permits, still many people consider it risky planning for long-term in Calcat.
The city is also looking forward to the special atmosphere of today’s tourists.
Restaurants, cafés and galleries also work between the old-fashioned walls. You may even visit some of the homes of some residents.
In the main square of the city there are three stone-carved thrones waiting for those who wish to rest. In the nearby woods you can view, Constantino Morosin’s stone statues and other status made by local artists. Calcata is a popular destination that gives an unique experience for however is interested in something new, different.
If you want to see a town frozen in time you can see Pompeii “thanks” to eruption of Mount Vesuvius from 79 AD. You can discover here how Roman live used to be. The architecture is very well preserved and it’s amazing have have done this huge ancient tragedy. You can see a whole town, with all the normal exuberance of city life, stopped in its tracks.
You can book a personalised guided tour, join a group tour or wander by yourself with a map in hand.
From Rome you can take the “slower” train and you can reach in three hours or you can take regular one and you will arrive at destination in one hour
If you are interested of old Roman history you can visit Etruscan sites from Cerveteri, Tranquinia and Vulci. In Cerveteri you can visit Etruscan Necropolis name “city for the dead” with plenty of tombs good to visit.
In Tranquinia you can visit the Etruscian Museum and also have a Necropolis with painted tombs, some of them pretty well preserved, some of them not so much. Also, don’t miss Etruscan Museum at Villa Giulia.
Vulci was pretty active because of Greek labours in production of ceramics, sculptures and bronze objects. Here you can visit Tomb of François and Tomb of Inscriptions.
Frascati is considered one of Castelli Romani built on top of a hill founded by Latins before Rome. It’s a nice place where you can eat good pizza and see a living history before eternal Rome. If you have the opportunity to visit don’t miss Villa Aldobrandini where you can see a nice view of Rome.
Scuderie Aldobrandinian archaeological museum with pieces from the ancient Roman town of Tusculum.