Rome is an amazing destination for those seeking romance, adventure, and history. But although it’s popular for attractions like the Colosseum (which was recently closed to tourists due to an open sinkhole nearby!), there’s so much more to see in this Italian paradise.
Before you hop on your international flight, check out our travel guide to Rome, Italy. We have everything you need to know about the top attractions, places to stay, and when to visit.
Read on for our tourists’ guide to Rome, Italy, to help plan your trip.
Top Sights To See & Things To Do In Rome
You could visit Rome and not pay a single dime for entertainment, there’s so much to see. Even walking the streets offers plenty of culture and history. Still, there are a few top sights you need to put on your travel list.
The top historical sites that are must-visits include the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Square, the Sistine Chapel, and the Spanish Steps.
If you want to learn more about the city and its history, visiting a museum or art gallery is a must-do. The Vatican Museums are the most well-known, but the National Gallery of Modern Art is a highlight, too. The Museo Nazionale Romano is an excellent option as well, as it includes four collections in one admission price.
When’s The Best Time To Visit Rome?
Rome has a moderate climate, so it’s not one of those 365-tropical destinations. That said, you can expect a bustling tourist population just about anytime. The slower seasons, says TripSavvy, are fall and early spring. The weather is ideal between September and November plus April to May.
Make sure to bring a warm sweater for mornings and evenings, though, as temperatures can still get chilly in autumn and spring.
Top Hotels To Consider When Visiting Rome
You can do Rome on a budget or with the luxurious perspective of a millionaire traveler, you pick. Most hotels range between $55 and $166 per night, meaning you have plenty of options either way.
Palazzo Naiadi, The Dedica Anthology, Autograph Collection has over a thousand excellent reviews on Google. The hotel has dining, a rooftop bar and spa, and exceptionally elegant rooms.
The cheapest option with the best reviews is the Alessandro Palace & Bar, which has both private rooms and dorms. For backpackers or other casual travelers, this place might just fit the bill (literally).
You can also find apartments in the city center that rent for less than $100 USD per night. Check on sites like Booking.com to find the best deal for the neighborhood you want. Not sure where to stay? Read on for suggestions!
Best Areas To Stay In Rome
Depending on what you’re hoping to see and experience, one area of Rome might be better than another. This highly populated place means it can be a challenge to get where you want to go, especially at peak tourist times.
Of course, there are also various zones (called rione) throughout Rome that each house different attractions, says Wandering Italy.
R.XIII, Rione 13, is Trastevere, a spot with gorgeous views of the city. Campitelli, R.X, is where the Roman Forum is located. The Capitol and Palatine Hills are also in this rione.
Another hotspot is R.II, Trevi, which is where the iconic Trevi Fountain is (plus lots of hotels to choose from). But if a budget is on your mind, consider the lesser-traveled R.XXII, Prati. Per Wandering Italy, the food and lodging is more affordable there, and though it offers few attractions, it is home to the Vatican.
Rome’s Must-Try Dining Experiences
The food in Italy is to die for, honestly. Hello, they created pizza, after all. And when visiting Rome, you really can’t go wrong whether you stop in at a formal restaurant, a trattoria (a small family-owned spot), or pizzeria.
One highlight is the pizzeria al taglio, which is a restaurant that serves up pizza by weight. You can get just about any topping you want, which sounds ideal to us!
Try Forno Campo de ‘Fiori for top-rated pizza, plus sweets in the bakery half of the shop. It’s conveniently located near the Museo di Roma, too!
And of course, you can’t leave Rome without trying some traditional Italian desserts. Gelato, tiramisu, and panna cotta are just a few highlights. You’ll find these dishes, plus savory cheeses and Italian meats, at places like the Pantheon, Trastevere, or Piazza Navona.
How To Get Around Rome
Getting around Rome can be tricky. There are tons of people inhabiting the city, and tons of tourists flowing in and out. But one of the great things about Rome being so tourist-friendly is that the city offers a Roma Pass for transportation and discounts on attractions.
The Roma Pass is available in 72-hour or 48-hour denominations and lets you into museums for free, provides unlimited rides on the metro, bus, and tram, and offers discounts on events and attractions all around Rome.
The 48-hour pass is 28 euro (about $31 USD) while the 72-hour option is 38.50 euro (about $43 USD). You can buy a pass at the Ciampino Airport, at tourist information services at Fiumicino, and museums and monuments that participate in the program.
The Landmarks You Can’t Miss In Rome
Listing every single landmark that Rome offers would be nearly impossible. Here’s a sampling of the most famous landmarks, plus a grouping of alternative sites that are still of interest, albeit off the beaten path.
Your top priority will likely be the touristy spots in Rome. That means seeing the Colosseum (hopefully the sinkhole issue is patched up), where gladiator fights and other events were held. The Roman Forum, which was the central area of ancient Rome, and the Pantheon, the temple to all gods, are also noteworthy.
Trevi Fountain, AKA Fontana di Trevi, is a sight to see, but there’s also the Fountain of Four Rivers. Appian Way, an archeological park, also sounds like a sweet spot to check out. Of course, there are catacombs and ancient Roman tombs in the area, too.
You may also want to make a day trip to Mount Vesuvius to check out the ruins of Pompeii.
Navigating Currency A La Italy
Italy has used the euro since 1999, which makes it easy to plan an epic European vacation without swapping currency. Currently, one US dollar equals .90 euro. One Canadian dollar equals .69 euro.
Other helpful information on navigating cash in Rome includes some guidelines on tipping. Per Rome Vacation Tips, you don’t need to tip excessively at restaurants. The publication advises nothing over 10 percent.
When it comes to drinks at the bar or tipping housekeeping at your hotel, less is more, says Rome Vacation Tips. One euro per day is fine for housekeeping staff, they note, while the change from buying your drinks at the bar is a decent enough tip.
Tips For Booking Your Italian Adventure
Flying to Rome might not be cheap, especially coming from the US. But Cheap Flights says the cheapest time to fly to Rome is in February. That might not line up with the ideal travel season, of course.
However, if the budget is a priority, consider that the cheapest price averages $288 on Cheap Flights, with a peak price of $470 in July.
Planning ahead always helps with getting the best deal, though. You can also track flights with Google Flights (just sign up for notifications when your itinerary drops in price).
Roman History For Tourists
Everyone remembers seeing the crumbling Colosseum in their European history class, or the Sistine Chapel in art history. But the history of Rome has had a huge impact on our modern world.
The founding myth of Rome claims that the city was established in 753 BC by brothers Romulus and Remus, twins of royal descent. At its peak, Rome was an empire that spanned far more than the modern-day city.
The fall of the Roman empire was epic, but the city preserves much of the history that makes this Italian destination so enticing.
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