Known as the Eternal City, Rome is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Italy with loads of interesting attractions. The Italian capital is a lively city, but the reminder of its once glorious past is present throughout the city. Rome is home to some of the best museums in Europe, numerous Renaissance buildings, and ancient monuments. It is a huge city complete with all the modern amenities like fine dining restaurants, cafes and a great nightlife.
Visas may be required to enter Italy but it depends on the country of your citizenship. US citizens can enter Italy without a visa for up to 90 as a tourist. However, a Declaration of presence will need to be completed. A number of other countries are also able to enjoy visa-free travel throughout Italy. Check out this website for more information on the Schengen Visa, and a list of countries that need to apply. Thankfully, you won’t need to apply for separate visas – holding a Schengen visa will allow you to travel throughout the Schengen area. One can apply for a tourist visa from the Italian consulate or from Schengen Visa services.
Note that visa-free travel in Schengen allows for 90 days in a 180 day period. Long travel in the Schengen Region will require additional planning and visa applications.
Best Time to Visit Rome
The best time to visit Rome is between the months of October and April. During this time the streets are almost bereft of tourists and the hotels offer massive discounts on room rates. However, hotel room rates in Europe do rise around Christmas and Easter. January is the coldest month in Rome as the temperature can drop to the mid 30’s Fahrenheit.
October – April are the best months to come to Rome.
If you want to have a look at the average daily temperature then you can click here.
Rome: City Tips
There are several choices to go from Rome airport to the city center. Fiumicino Airport, also known as Leonardo da Vinci Airport, is around 40 km from the Rome city center. A taxi ride will set you back around 50 Euros. This is a good choice if there are 3 – 4 people in your group but if you are traveling alone, or on holiday with your partner, then it makes sense to take the express train as the fare is only 14 Euros per person. The express train goes nonstop from Fiumicino to the City Center in around 30 minutes. A budget option would be to take a bus to the city. Buses in Rome will make many stops as they head to various parts of the city, great if you are not staying in the city center.
If you plan on renting a car I highly recommend you check out this epic Italy road trip. This itinerary will take you through the highlights of Italy, from the serenity of Lake Como to the iconic leaning tower of Piza. The best part is you can do it all at your own pace!
One thing to look out for in Rome are the salesmen on the street who sell umbrellas, scarves and, of course, the ‘free’ roses. Some will even put the rose in your shirt pocket and attempt to charge you for it! If you are not interested in buying anything, it’s best to avoid eye contact and just keep walking without paying any attention to them.
Tickets for the most popular attractions in Rome should be bought online so that the long, tiring queues can be avoided. If you stay in Rome for a few days it would be wise to invest in Roma Pass as it gives you entry to the main tourist sites like the Roman Forum and the Colosseum via a shortened queue. The Roma Pass also entitles the user to a 3-day metro pass.
When you are in Rome you should be prepared to walk a lot. The city has changed over the last 3000 years and it is no surprise that there are lots of side streets and alleys which need to be explored. These small alleys hold many surprises and will give you a true feel for the city.
While you are here you needn’t worry about restaurants closing early. Like other countries in Southern Europe, the Italians love to eat late. Many restaurants and bars are open quite late – and some eateries remain open even after midnight.
Hotels in Rome
There are lots of options ranging from cheap hostels in Rome to luxury hotels; so finding accommodation in the Italian capital is not a herculean task. It is a good idea to choose a hotel that is close to the city center so that you easily access all the major attractions in Rome. There are many websites that offer hotel rooms at discounted rates. My favorite site for hotel booking is always Booking.com due to their wide selection and price match guarantee.
Rome is one of those cities where you will find something interesting in every nook and corner. To make things easier here are some of the top attractions of Rome:
- The Colosseum is a massive amphitheater where the gladiator fights were held in Imperial Rome. The ticket queues for this attraction are usually very long but you can avoid it by buying the passes online here.
- The Pantheon is an ancient building that was initially a pagan temple but was later converted into a church. There is a huge piazza right in front of the Pantheon which makes it an ideal place for an evening drink. But, if you’re on a budget, the high prices on alcohol might just burn a hole in your pocket! I would recommend going for at least 1 dring though so you can take in the atmosphere!
- The Roman Forum is considered to be one of the most sought after archaeological sites in the city. The majority of the monuments here are more than 900 years old. You can buy a combination ticket for both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum online before your trip as well.
- Take a day tour out of the city. Rome is an amazing city that you could spend a lifetime in, but there are some very exciting locations outside of the city limits. Whether it’s visiting ancient ruins or connecting with nature, there will be a trip for everyone. Be sure to budget time for a day tour, or two, when visiting Rome!
- The Trevi Fountain is a massively popular spot for tourists. The fountain is one of the most spectacular in the world and draws in people from all over the world. You will know that you’re getting close when you can hear the bubbling of the fountain. Time to put down the map and let your ears guide you the rest of the way!
What to Eat in Rome
Roman cuisine is very simple but highly satisfying. The first thing that comes to mind when you utter the word ‘food’ in Rome is the Carbonara. It is a type of pasta which is showered with an egg-based sauce that has tasty pieces of pork jowl and a dash of black pepper that really helps to enhance the flavor. Roscioli is one of the most popular restaurants in Rome and they prepare many exciting variants of Carbonara.
How can you not have a slice of the famed Italian pizza while in Rome? Some people prefer the style of pizza found in Naples as the ones sold in Rome are actually a bit different. Roman pizza tends to have a thinner and crisper crust. To find the best pizzas head to Da Remo at Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice. You could go for a simple, yet delicious margherita pizza; or you could add flavorful ingredients like olives, mushrooms, and tasty meats.
What to Bring to Rome
Since you need to walk a lot on your trip to Rome the first thing that you should pack is a pair of comfortable walking shoes or runners. Walking on the uneven cobblestone streets can get tiring, as can the countless stairs at various sightseeing attractions. Comfortable runners are a must if you want to survive in Rome. Be sure to pack an additional pair of shoes for the evenings if you plan on spending your nights out or at the piazza.
The city of Rome is known for its enviable fashion sense. When you are packing for Rome do pack clothes that are in good taste. Travelers who plan on visiting the many stunning churches should remember that knees and shoulders need to be covered to enter the churches in Rome.
Lastly, remember that the city operates on 220V which is very different from the 110V that the Americans use. So do bring a power converter when you visit Rome so that your cell phone and laptop won’t run out of juice. Bringing hair dryers is not recommended as they can malfunction with the higher voltage.
Read our recent guides for an inside look at other exciting destinations!