Rome, the Eternal City, is Italy’s most popular city for visitors. It offers an amazing amount of things to see and do. Rome’s most notable sites are the Colosseum and Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the fountains in Piazza Navona. However all over the city you’ll discover ancient monuments, Renaissance squares and fountains, and beautiful churches filled with art works.
Within Rome’s borders is Vatican City, a tiny independent country that’s one of the top places to go when in Rome. Vatican City is home to Saint Peter’s Square and Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the vast Vatican Museums complex.
Rome has a huge number of museums offering everything from ancient artifacts to modern art. Renaissance art lovers shouldn’t miss the Borghese Gallery, set in a sprawling park. The Capitoline Museums, established in 1734, were the world’s first museums open to the public. They’re located on the Capitline Hill, site of the grand Piazza del Campidoglio designed by Michelangelo. From the hill they are great views of the Roman Forum.
Modern Rome is a vibrant city with lively squares, great restaurants, nightlife, and shopping. Although the city itself is very large, the historic center is fairly small and easy to walk around. Non-residents are not allowed to drive in the city and walking is really the best way to experience all that Rome has to offer.
For times when you don’t want to walk you can use the metro, although it can be pretty crowded, or take a taxi. For a good overview of the city with transportation, take bus 110, the sight-seeing bus or book a Best of Rome Driving and Walking Tour that offers a little of both, led by a knowledgeable guide (5% discount with promo code ITALYMARTHA).
While there’s a lot to see, be sure to save some time to savor a gelato, enjoy people-watching, and maybe do some shopping or at least window shopping. You’ll find everything from souvenir shops and flea markets to high-end fashion boutiques. If you sit at an outdoor table for a drink or coffee, you will usually pay more for outside table service than for standing at the bar (as you’ll often see Italians doing). So make the most of it and stay awhile, soaking in the atmosphere and experiencing the dolce vita.
Note: Watch out for pickpockets in crowded tourist locations and on the metro. Keep your belongings where you can see them and carry your passport, most of your cash, and credit cards in a money belt or safety pouch beneath your clothes. Although nothing may happen, it’s best to be on the safe side. If your passport is stolen or lost, here’s what to do.
Traveling by train is the best way to go between Rome and other Italian cities. Driving is restricted in city centers, there’s lots of traffic, and parking is difficult. Find out about Rome trains, rail stations, and booking tickets on Rail Europe.
For more Rome travel planning and background (including when to go and weather), click on the tabs in the yellow bar or try one of these itineraries:
Rome can be visited year-round although spring and fall are the best times to go.
The minimum recommended time to spend in Rome is 3 days, however there’s plenty to do if you can stay longer.
Christmas and Easter seasons are the highest seasons, with big crowds and high accommodation prices. Although there are many tourists in summer, you can often find lower hotel prices. January 7 through early March is the lowest season.
Rome is hot in summer and can be pretty cold in winter with rain and even an occasional snow storm. See Rome’s typical weather and climate.
Easter week and the Christmas season, lasting through January 6, is a top holiday time, mainly because of Rome’s proximity to the Vatican. These dates during that period are holidays: Easter Sunday and Monday, December 8, 25, and 26 and January 1 and 6.
Rome can be fairly expensive, especially if you want to visit several of the top sights, stay in the historic center, or sit outside at a cafe in a popular piazza. It’s possible to save money by traveling outside high season and staying in a neighborhood outside the center, away from the top sights.
Prices often fluctuate depending on several factors including the season, exchange rate, changing prices, and deals. Therefore we don’t quote exact prices that could quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.
Price ranges are quoted in €.
See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
€ => Tickets less than €15 per person
€€ => Tickets €15- €30 per person
€€€ => Tickets €30 per person
Sleep — Out of town/rural
€ => Rooms less than €60 for a double
€€ => Rooms €60 – €100 for a double
€€€ => Rooms €100 for a double
Sleep — Large Cities
€ => Rooms less than €100 for a double
€€ => Rooms €100 – €150 for a double
€€€ => Rooms €150 for a double
€=> €5- €10 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€ => €10 – €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€€ => €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
N/A => Not applicable
€ => Tickets less than €25 per person
€€ => Tickets €25 – €50 per person
€€€ => Tickets €50 per person
Credit cards are accepted most places in Rome although American Express is not always accepted. Plan on getting some cash from a Bancomat with your ATM card (let your bank know before you go). See these tips for using credit cards and getting cash in Italy.
It’s not necessary to tip in restaurants or other eating places although you can leave a few coins or tip 5 -10 % for good service. You don’t need to tip taxis. If you’re staying in a higher end hotel with a porter, it’s customary to tip the porter and leave something for the maid.
Rome has good transportation options although they are usually crowded (so be on the alert for pickpockets). Here’s a guide to getting around Rome.
Rome has 2 airports but most international visitors will arrive at the bigger Fiumicino airport (FCO), also called Leonardo da Vinci airport. From the airport, you can take the express train straight to Rome’s main train station – Termini station.
Trains arrive in Rome from many Italian cities. Find out about Rome trains, rail stations, and booking tickets on Rail Europe.
The best way to see the sights in the center is on foot. There’s also a hop on/hop off sight-seeing bus that has stops near most major sights. Buses, the metro, and taxis can be used for getting around Rome, too.
Rome’s main transportation hub is Termini station, the main railway station. Many buses can be found outside Termini and you can access Metro lines A and B from the station.
There are several smaller train stations including Tibertina and Ostiense which are useful for more local trips although some long-distance trains use these stations, too.
These combo tickets and passes can often save you money, depending on what you want to see and do.
The Roman Guy, an excellent tour company, offers a 5% discount off most small group tours with promo code ITALYMARTHA
To avoid long ticket lines, buy these museum and site tickets before you go to Rome.
Roman cuisine is famous for pasta alla carbonara, carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-style fried artichokes), and the simple pasta cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper). Traditional working-class dishes often made use of discarded meat parts, offal (quinto quarto), with dishes like gnocchi con pajata (veal intestines) and tripa alla Romana – if you want to try these, head to the Testaccio neighborhood.
Recommended Books for Eating in Rome:
* Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City by Elizabeth Minchilli
* Eating & Drinking in Rome, 2nd Ed: An Insider’s Guide to the City’s Best Food & Drink
* 100 Locals in Rome: Reveal their favorite restaurants, coffee bars, and secret spots
Take a Local Foodie Tour in Trastevere – use promo code ITALYMARTHA for 5% discount
Rome guide books:
More recommended books about Rome including food books, sights beyond the usual tourist spots, and living in Rome.
Map of Rome’s neighborhoods with highlights and what to see.