This is the eighth post in my Travel Tips series where I provide travel tips for specific city destinations. My Travel Tips guides aim to give you some of my top tips for exploring a new place and hopefully help you to save a bit of money, maximize your sightseeing time and find the most convenient ways to get around. You can find posts in this series under Destinations – Travel Tips in the menu bar. Today I’m featuring Rome, the Eternal City.
Travel Tips: Rome
Food & Drink
- Try some quintessential Roman dishes when you’re in Rome: spaghetti carbonara, espresso, supplì (a deep-fried filled risotto ball), Roman-style pizza, pecorino romano cheese, and more. (Check out my Must Try Foods in Rome post for more inspiration).
- Make sure to sample the best gelato offerings in the city. Avoid huge piles of brightly coloured gelato, a sure sign it’s been made from a mix. Look for small batches in natural looking colours for authentic, unforgettable gelato.
- If you want an introduction to some of the best food in Rome while getting the chance to explore a popular foodie neighbourhood, sign up for a food tour. S and I had a blast on our Trastevere food tour with Eating Italy – it sparked my new obsession with burrata cheese and roman-style pizza!
- The main airports in Rome are Fiumicino and Ciampino. There are several transport options from each of these airports into the city centre such as train, bus, car, taxi, or shuttle; I recommend visiting these websites for specific details depending on your arrival airport: Fiumicino or Ciampino.
- We arrived at the Ciampino airport and took a shuttle into the Rome Termini central train station. There are several shuttle companies with tickets ranging from 4-5 Euros one way. Try to find the shuttle company with the next departing bus. However, note that the bus will stop accepting passengers when the bus is full so you may have to switch to another shuttle company if you’re out of luck and don’t make it onto the bus. We jumped to about 3 different lines before finally getting on a shuttle. Don’t be too picky with the company, just try to get on a shuttle! Return tickets are cheaper than buying two one-way tickets.
- Rome can be reached by train from other cities in Italy. The main station is Termini train station on the northeastern edge of the city centre. From there, you can connect to public transportation with the metro or bus. This website offers a helpful overview when planning your arrival by train in Rome.
- While we were in Rome, we walked and took the bus and metro everywhere. The buses and metro were safe and easy to use, though (as in any big city, but especially in Rome) you should keep an eye on your belongings on public transit and watch out for pick pockets.
- There are 2 metro lines in the city (lines A and B ) as well as buses and trams which make it easy to get around. Rome is split by the Tiber River (Tevere) which snakes its way through the city. Most of the historic centre lies to the east of the river. The Vatican and Trastevere lie to the west of the river. This website offers a helpful overview of the layout of Rome by neighbourhoods and areas.
- Transit is quite affordable, even when you buy single trip tickets each time. We purchased a few individual tickets at ticket machines in the metro, used them, and bought more as needed. Note that you need to buy your tickets in advance from a ticket machine in a metro station or at a newsstand; you cannot buy a ticket on board a bus, for example. Refer to this helpful website to learn more about transportation tickets in Rome.
- We used a taxi one time in Rome when there was a delay on the metro and we were running late for a guided tour. We hailed a taxi on the street, but there are also designated taxi stands around the city. Our taxi cost about 10 Euros to cross town. Tipping for a cab ride is not required or expected, but you can round up to the nearest Euro if you like.
Sights & Attractions
- There are some world-renowned sights in Rome: the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, the Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and many others.
- There’s so much to see and do in Rome, it’s impossible to fit it all in. Consider what you are interested in seeing – art, museums, architecture, churches, etc. – and pick places according to your interests.
- If there are particular sights that you really want to learn about, I highly recommend taking a guided tour. We had a fantastic tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica with The Roman Guy – it was far and away the best tour we had in Rome and worth the price in my opinion. Our tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum with another company was not as good, but I still suggest taking a tour to get the most out of these sights.
- If time allows, I highly recommend making a day trip to Pompeii. For detailed instructions on how to travel from Rome to Pompeii via Naples on your own, visit this helpful website. There are two main train lines you can use; Italo (privately-run) or Trenitalia (state-run). Fares can be low as 19 Euros one way per person if you book your ticket far enough in advance. Once you arrive at the Naples central station, take the Circumvesuviana train (a commuter train) to Pompeii Scavi, roughly 30 minutes away. For full details on how to plan your trip from Rome to Pompeii, check out my helpful post full of tips and recommendations.
My Top Activity Recommendations
- There are so many things you can do in Rome all year round. Top tourist attractions include the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Arch of Constantine, Villa Borghese, and more. Check out my Rome Sightseeing Guide for more ideas.
- Marvel at Michelangelo’s frescoes, throw a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, sip an evening aperitivo before dinner, enjoy a cone of gelato on the Spanish Steps, stroll through the Roman Forum where the ancient Romans lived, and twirl some spaghetti and share a carafe of red wine in a checkered tablecloth trattoria. When in Rome, do as the Romans do!
What are your top Rome travel tips? Please let me know in the comments below!
P.P.S. For more Rome travel tips, check out my Rome Sightseeing Guide, my review of our Eating Italy food tour, my must-try foods when in Rome, my top gelaterias in Rome, and how to plan a day trip to Pompeii from Rome.