top of page
  • Writer's pictureSamantha Diaz

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Rome, Italy

Updated: May 6

Please note that if you make a purchase through the links I provide, I may earn a small commission. Rest assured, you will not be charged any extra fees, so it's a win-win situation for everyone!


Covid Restrictions & Requirements: Please click here for the latest updates as the requirements are always changing.


Rome, the Eternal City, holds an irresistible charm and stands proudly as one of Europe's top tourist hotspots. It boasts an awe-inspiring legacy as one of the world's oldest cities, where its remarkable preservation takes you on a captivating journey through time. Whether you're embarking on your first adventure in Rome or seeking fresh experiences as a seasoned traveler, this guide is your trusty companion, ensuring a seamless journey from point A to point B, and everywhere your wanderlust leads you.


Tip: To make the most of your precious time in Rome, I highly recommend arriving with a well-crafted plan in hand. This vibrant city can get quite crowded, so it's essential to secure advance tickets for attractions, as it's often a requirement. By doing so, you'll avoid any potential disappointments and ensure smooth access to the captivating wonders awaiting you.


Getting to Rome, Italy

When it comes to airports, Rome offers two options: Fiumicino (FCO) and Ciampino (CIA). Fiumicino, also known as Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, takes the spotlight as the primary international hub. It conveniently links Rome with a multitude of cities worldwide, including bustling destinations like New York, London, and Paris. On the other hand, Ciampino caters mostly to domestic and European flights, serving as a smaller-scale airport.


Tip: If you find yourself with a choice between the two airports, I'd recommend opting for Fiumicino. While it may be slightly farther from the city center compared to Ciampino, it offers superior connectivity to Rome, boasting a wider range of transportation options for a smoother journey.


Getting Around in Rome, Italy


On Foot

The most delightful way to explore Rome is by foot. Thankfully, the city center conveniently houses most of the attractions within walking distance of each other. By strolling through the charming cobblestone alleys and enchanting side streets, you'll not only stumble upon hidden gems but also feast your eyes on all the major sights Rome has to offer.


By Metro

In case your feet need a break, the Metro is a reliable option. Rome has three Metro lines: Line A (red), Line B (blue), and Line C (green). The Metro conveniently connects most of the tourist attractions, especially when visiting the Vatican, which is a bit of a distance from the historic center.


By Public Bus

While taking the bus is an option, I have to be honest and say that it's not the most ideal choice. Rome is notorious for its traffic, so traveling by car or bus can often feel like a never-ending journey. Moreover, the buses in the city center tend to be packed and crowded, making them a prime spot for pickpockets. For a faster and more efficient commute, I highly recommend relying on the Metro instead. However, do exercise caution and keep an eye on your belongings there as well.


To travel around Rome using the subway, buses, and trams, you'll need a BIT ticket. A one-way ticket costs €1.50 ($1.70 USD) and remains valid for 75 minutes for public transportation within Rome. Another option is the OMNIA Card, which offers free bus and metro rides. You can purchase BIT tickets at tabaccheria (tobacco shops), edicola (newsstands), or inside any Metro station in the city. Remember, you can't buy tickets onboard buses, so make sure to have them in hand before hopping aboard!





Things to Do in Rome, Italy


Colosseum

When in Rome, a visit to the Colosseum is an absolute must. This iconic monument, with its rich history spanning nearly 2,000 years, offers a fascinating glimpse into ancient Roman life. Built between 72 AD and 80 AD, the Colosseum quickly became the grandest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, hosting intense gladiator battles and captivating spectacles for over 500 years. Today, only a portion of this remarkable structure remains standing, but its significance as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and a top tourist attraction in Rome remains unchanged.


To make the most of your visit, it's crucial to plan ahead and avoid long queues. While online tickets are available, I highly recommend investing in a skip-the-line ticket, which typically costs an additional 3€. This small extra fee can save you hours of waiting, particularly during peak seasons. Aim to arrive at the Colosseum by 9 am when it opens, securing a specific timeslot with your ticket purchase. Arriving at least 30 minutes before opening time will allow you to breeze through the entrance and maximize your experience. So, don't miss out on the chance to explore this legendary piece of history in Rome—grab your skip-the-line ticket, plan your visit wisely, and prepare to be captivated by the timeless allure of the Colosseum.


Address: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy




Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona, located in the enchanting historic center of Rome, is a truly magical place, especially in the early morning when it's blissfully quiet. This square is renowned for its beauty and holds a special charm. Arriving before 8 am allows you to savor the monuments, fountains, and artistic vibes that will leave you breathless.


At the heart of Piazza Navona stands the awe-inspiring Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), crafted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1651. This magnificent fountain showcases a plethora of sculptures, which are best enjoyed while indulging in a delightful gelato—luckily, there are plenty of gelaterias to choose from around the square. In the past, Piazza Navona was a hub for festivals and sporting events, and today it draws street performers, artists, and musicians. During the day, the square comes alive with artists' stands where you can even purchase paintings.


Tip: As you explore Piazza Navona, you'll encounter many restaurants vying for your attention. However, most of these establishments tend to be tourist traps, offering both inauthentic experiences and exorbitant prices. I recommend venturing beyond the square to find exceptional and authentic dining options in other parts of the historic center.


Address: Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma RM, Italy


Pantheon

The Pantheon, a remarkable ancient structure in Rome, is a must-visit for anyone exploring the Eternal City. Dating back to 126-128 AD, this Roman temple originally honored pagan deities before being transformed into a Christian church.


Renowned as one of Rome's most iconic landmarks, the Pantheon is an awe-inspiring architectural marvel. As Michelangelo famously observed during his visit in 1506, it appears to be a creation of angels rather than humans. To grasp the magnitude of his words, step inside and marvel at the view from beneath the oculus, the central opening in the dome that reveals the sky above. Today, the Pantheon stands as a cherished Roman monument and popular tourist attraction. It also serves as the final resting place for notable Italian figures, such as Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy, and esteemed Renaissance artists like Raphael. Catholic Mass is held there on Sundays.


Tip: If you plan to visit the Pantheon on Saturdays, Sundays, or Italian public holidays, it's essential to book your visit in advance to secure entry.


Address: Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy




Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill)

Atop Rome's Capitoline Hill, one of the city's seven hills, you'll discover Piazza del Campidoglio. Designed by the renowned sculptor Michelangelo in 1538, this stunning square offers a peaceful retreat compared to the bustling attractions of Rome. The presence of magnificent sculptures like Marcus Aurelius and the she-wolf adds an extra layer of intrigue to the scenery.


For an incredible view of the Roman Forum, make your way to the rear of Piazza del Campidoglio. If you have a penchant for art, sculptures, and paintings, don't miss the exhibitions housed within the Capitoline Museums, which surround the square.


Tip: While Piazza del Campidoglio is worth a brief visit, exploring the Capitoline Museums will take approximately 1-2 hours, potentially conflicting with other activities. I suggest prioritizing the Galleria Borghese over the museums if you have limited time. In my opinion, the Galleria Borghese offers a more impressive experience.




Palatine Hill

Palatine Hill is where the story of the Roman Empire begins. From its humble origins in the 9th century BC to the residence of wealthy Romans and the palace of Emperor Augustus, this hill holds the captivating history of Rome. Legend has it that Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were discovered as infants in a cave on Palatine Hill and nurtured by a mother wolf. It's a funny thought—imagine if we were calling Rome "Reme" instead!


Once you set foot on Palatine Hill, you can explore the remnants of significant structures, such as Livia's House, Livia was a remarkable and patient woman who assisted Augustus in governing the empire. Don't miss the ruins of the House of Tiberius and the Temple of Apollo, and be sure to make your way to Domitian's Palace for a breathtaking view overlooking the Roman Forum.


Address: 00186 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy




Roman Forum (Foro Romano)

When in Rome, one of the first must-visit spots is the Roman Forum. Situated just a short distance from Palatine Hill, this expansive architectural complex houses a wealth of ancient wonders. Among the notable structures you'll encounter are the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Venus and Roma, Temple of Caesar, Temple of Romulus, Arch of Septimus Severus, Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, as well as various buildings like the Senate, King's headquarters, record office, and prison. An interesting tradition takes place each year on March 15th, known as the Ides of March, when people pay tribute to Caesar's death by leaving flowers and gifts at Largo di Torre Argentina, where his body was cremated, as well as at the Roman Forum itself.


Address: Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy




Piazza Venezia

A visit to Piazza Venezia is a must. This expansive square, nestled in the heart of the city, holds the distinction of being Italy's largest piazza. Interestingly, it was built atop an ancient Roman stadium, which accounts for its unique oval shape.


Piazza Venezia is home to some of Rome's most iconic landmarks. The Altare della Patria, also known as the Altar of the Fatherland, takes center stage. This monument pays tribute to Victor Emmanuel II, the visionary leader who played a crucial role in Italy's unification in 1861. Inside the Altare della Patria, you'll find a museum brimming with historical artifacts, offering fascinating insights into Italy's past.


Adjacent to the Altare della Patria is the Palazzo Venezia, a grand building once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte. Today, it serves as offices for Italian government officials. Keep an eye out for the magnificent bronze statue of Christ atop an elephant, a striking sight that graces the square. Additionally, you may notice colossal columns that once adorned Nero's Palace in Ancient Rome, adding to the square's rich history and allure.


Address: Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma RM, Italy




Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)

Take a stroll to the iconic Spanish Steps, a staircase that connects Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Trinità dei Monti. Start your morning with a delightful espresso while basking in the sunrise and the city's awakening.


In the heart of Piazza di Spagna, you'll encounter the Fontana della Barcaccia (Barcaccia Fountain), a beautiful fountain that adds to the square's allure. As you explore, you'll come across the former residence of poet John Keats, where he found inspiration for his renowned work "Ode to a Nightingale."


It's worth noting that the Spanish Steps gained global recognition through the classic film "Roman Holiday." So, as you tread these historic steps, take a moment to reminisce about Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck's unforgettable on-screen adventure in the Eternal City.


Address: Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma RM, Italy




Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)

Trevi Fountain is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions. The current fountain, dating to the 1700s, replaced an earlier version that had been constructed in ancient Roman times. It is said that if you toss a coin – with your right hand over your left shoulder – into the water, you will return to Rome soon. Thousands of Euros are thrown into Trevi Fountain each day, and the coins are collected for charity.


Tip: Don't be fooled by photos of Trevi Fountain. Usually, there is a huge crowd of people there, so it's best to arrive early to get the best picture moment and enjoy it.


Address: Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy




Vatican City (Citta del Vaticano)

If you're planning a trip to Europe, Rome should definitely be on your list of must-visit destinations. And even if religion isn't your thing, there's one place in Rome that you absolutely can't miss: Vatican City.


Established as the world's smallest country in 1929, Vatican City's boundaries stretch from the iconic St. Peter's Square to the Vatican Gardens and the Vatican Museums. Don't underestimate its significance, because the Vatican is home to some truly incredible sights. Let's talk about the Sistine Chapel. This place is a masterpiece painted by none other than Michelangelo himself. Trust me, it's one of those spots in Rome that I just fell in love with. If you're lucky enough to get inside (brace yourself for long lines), you'll be surrounded by world-famous paintings. But even if religious art isn't your cup of tea (I get it, I wasn't that into it either), the Vatican still has so much more to offer. One prime example is Saint Peter's Basilica, an architectural wonder that stands tall and proud, regardless of your beliefs.


Whether you're a devout follower or simply appreciate beauty and history, the Vatican City is an absolute must-see when exploring Rome. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.


Address: Vialle Vaticano, Vatican City, 00120




Trastevere

Discover the bohemian neighborhood of Trastevere in Rome. Its narrow streets exude a unique atmosphere. At night, experience the vibrant nightlife with cozy bars and lively clubs. Indulge in delicious Roman cuisine at authentic trattorias. Despite its popularity, Trastevere maintains an authentic and laid-back charm. Immerse yourself in local life, savoring the aromas and flavors as you explore. Join the locals in the evening, as piazzas come alive with laughter and lively conversations. Create unforgettable memories in Trastevere.


Villa Borghese

When I need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, one of my favorite places to escape to in Rome is Villa Borghese. This tranquil park is a haven of peace and beauty, offering a serene retreat from the busy streets.


As I stroll through the picturesque gardens, I can't help but feel a sense of tranquility. The well-manicured lawns, vibrant flowerbeds, and shady trees create a soothing ambiance, inviting me to relax and unwind. It's the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely walk, have a picnic, or simply find a quiet spot to read a book. One of the highlights of Villa Borghese is the Borghese Gallery, a true gem for art lovers like me. Housing a remarkable collection of masterpieces, the gallery showcases works by renowned artists such as Caravaggio, Bernini, and Raphael. From the breathtaking sculptures to the captivating paintings, each piece tells a story and captures the essence of artistic brilliance.


I can easily spend hours exploring the Borghese Gallery, marveling at the intricate details and exquisite craftsmanship. It's a unique opportunity to immerse myself in the world of art and witness the creativity of these visionary artists. In addition to the gardens and the gallery, Villa Borghese also features a picturesque lake where visitors can rent rowboats and enjoy a leisurely cruise on the tranquil waters. It's a delightful way to soak in the peaceful surroundings and appreciate the beauty of nature.


Whether I'm seeking a moment of serenity or a cultural experience, Villa Borghese never disappoints. It's a place where I can escape the city's hustle and bustle, reconnect with nature, and immerse myself in the timeless beauty of art. A visit to Villa Borghese is truly a rejuvenating and enriching experience that I highly recommend to anyone exploring Rome.


Address: 00197 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, Italy




Where to Eat in Rome, Italy

When it comes to dining in Rome, you'll find a culinary scene that is rich in flavor and variety. From traditional Roman trattorias to trendy bistros and upscale restaurants, the city offers a plethora of options to satisfy any palate. Here are a few noteworthy dining establishments in Rome:


Enoteca Corsi

Located near Piazza Navona, this classic Roman trattoria offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Indulge in hearty dishes like saltimbocca alla romana (veal with prosciutto and sage) or spaghetti alla gricia, while enjoying the warm hospitality of the Corsi family.


Da Enzo al 29

Tucked away in the Trastevere neighborhood, this trattoria is beloved by locals for its warm atmosphere and delicious Roman specialties. From homemade pasta dishes to traditional meat and fish preparations, Da Enzo al 29 showcases the simplicity and authenticity of Roman cuisine.


La Pergola

For a truly luxurious dining experience, head to La Pergola, located in the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria hotel. This three-Michelin-starred restaurant offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city along with an exquisite menu crafted by renowned chef Heinz Beck. Prepare to be dazzled by the innovative dishes and impeccable service.


Ginger

If you're looking for a healthy and satisfying breakfast in Rome, Ginger is the place to be. This fantastic restaurant offers a modern, inviting space with sleek, all-white interiors. Their menu features a range of options, including smoothies, breakfast bowls, and delicious plant-based meals. One dish that comes highly recommended is their organic flour pancakes topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries. The combination of fluffy pancakes and sweet, juicy fruits is simply delightful. And don't forget to pair your meal with a cup of their excellent coffee, which is known for its rich and flavorful taste.


Ginger is the perfect spot to start your day in Rome, whether you're craving a nutritious breakfast or a more filling meal. With its focus on healthy and delicious offerings, this restaurant is a great choice for those looking to fuel up with wholesome ingredients in a stylish setting.


Cafes + Bakeries in Rome, Italy


Sant' Eustachio Il Caffè

Sant' Eustachio Il Caffè, a beloved coffee shop established in 1938, offers a truly traditional experience. With a commitment to using only the finest ingredients, including carefully sourced beans and a meticulous roasting process, they deliver an exceptional cup of coffee. Their menu features an extensive selection of drinks and pastries to indulge in.



Among their offerings, the Monachella stands out as my personal favorite, but I highly recommend trying their espresso or the Gran Cappuccino. To avoid long queues, it's best to visit early as this popular spot tends to get crowded. While the coffee is undeniably amazing, it's important to note that the service can be a bit slow. The staff members are friendly, but efficiency may not be their strong suit. Getting your order taken and paying for it may require some patience and persistence. Nevertheless, the coffee experience at Sant' Eustachio Il Caffè is definitely worth the wait.


Mr. 100 Tiramisù

When I first discovered this charming café in Rome, it had no official name, so I affectionately called it "the place with no name." Now known as Mr. 100 Tiramisù, this cozy little spot has captured the hearts of both tourists and locals. It has become famous for its mouthwatering tiramisu, boasting an impressive array of over 100 delectable flavors.


The classic tiramisu, featuring layers of vanilla sponge cake soaked in coffee liqueur, velvety mascarpone cheese, and dusted with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings, remains a top favorite. But don't stop there—indulge in their numerous unique tiramisu variations. And that's not all; they also offer a delightful selection of cured meats, cheeses, and wines, creating a perfect harmony of flavors.

Nestled in a warm and intimate setting, this hidden gem is a must-visit. It's a place where you can unwind, savor the incredible food, and immerse yourself in a truly enjoyable experience.



Where to Stay in Rome, Italy

When it comes to accommodations in central Rome, you'll find a plethora of excellent hotels and Airbnb options. For the best experience, I highly recommend staying near the centro storico, the historic center. By doing so, you'll be conveniently located within walking distance of the city's top attractions. Here are my personal favorites for your consideration.


Otivm Hotel

This luxury hotel features a dreamy roof terrace with breathtaking views of the historic center. Guests can enjoy breakfast there with epic views. Most attractions are within walking distance, and the rooms are spacious, yet priced very affordably.


Hotel Termin

Hotel Termini is located a mere 15-minute walk from the Colosseum and only a few steps from Rome's main train station. Its rooms offer air conditioning, free WiFi, flat-screen TVs and gorgeous frescoed ceilings. The hotel's extensive breakfast buffet offers plenty of options to start your day off right.


Singer Palace

This boutique hotel is a 5-minute walk from the iconic Trevi Fountain, and it's just perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Their rooftop restaurant makes a lovely place to enjoy breakfast or dinner, and all the rooms have gorgeous décor.


Martis Palace

If you are looking for an amazing roof terrace with a view, then check out this stunning hotel next to Piazza Navona. The property also offers an on-site bar, free WiFi throughout the property, and soundproofed rooms each with a flat-screen TV. In addition, guests can enjoy a discount at a nearby spa!


Best Time to Visit Rome, Italy

Spring and autumn are indeed the best times to visit Rome due to the pleasant weather and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season. Rome is a highly popular tourist destination, and during the summer months from June to September, it can get quite crowded. If you have the flexibility, it's advisable to avoid these months to enjoy a more relaxed experience. During peak season, you might encounter long queues at museums and other attractions.


I visited Rome in December, and while it was a different experience from the typical spring or autumn visit, it had its own unique charm. The city was beautifully adorned with festive decorations, creating a delightful atmosphere. However, it's important to note that December can still be a busy time in Rome, especially closer to Christmas. If you prefer a quieter and less crowded experience, I would still recommend considering the spring or autumn months for your visit.


Rome truly lives up to its reputation as a captivating and timeless destination. From the ancient wonders of the Colosseum and Roman Forum to the awe-inspiring art of the Vatican and the serene beauty of Villa Borghese, this city offers an abundance of cultural treasures and unforgettable experiences. Whether you're indulging in authentic Italian cuisine, exploring charming neighborhoods like Trastevere, or immersing yourself in the rich history that permeates every corner, Rome never fails to leave a lasting impression. With its vibrant atmosphere, stunning architecture, and warm hospitality, Rome is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a journey of discovery and enchantment. So pack your bags, embrace la dolce vita, and embark on your own unforgettable adventure in the Eternal City.


0 comments

Comments


IMG_2021.JPG

Hi, Thanks for stopping by!

I'm Samantha! A photographer and I believe that every picture has a story. As a blogger, I share my travel stories with everyone. I think it's important to document my travels and share my experiences with others. I've been to some amazing places and I've seen some incredible things. I want to share my stories and photos with the world.

Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • TikTok
bottom of page