There’s no place like Rome! This magnificent city has so much to offer, but it can be hard to navigate the extensive neighborhoods, various attractions, and leagues of incredible restaurants. Use this guide to discover your best options for seeing the greatest parts of Rome.
Top 3 Neighborhoods
If you’re seeking both adventure and classic European charm, check out Trastevere! In the daytime, you can explore fountains and baroque palaces as you wander through narrow cobblestone streets. There are many excellent restaurants with bohemian atmospheres. At night, though, the energy shifts. Trastevere is home to a multitude of popular bars and has a buzzing nightlife. This hidden corner of Rome is a delightful spot to stay, explore, and make memories in.
The oldest district of Rome contains many gems for you to discover. With a beautiful atmosphere created by ivy-covered buildings and romantic orange homes, you’ll never want to leave this creative area. Unique cafes, antique shops, and artsy bars abound! To make the most out of your trip, check out the Mercato Monti urban market or have a drink in the popular Piazza della Madonna dei Monti.
If you’ve come to Rome for iconic sights and classic tourist attractions, look no further than Tridente. The district is home to the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and many incredible churches. Explore the beautiful architecture, wine and dine at one of the many exquisite restaurants in the area, and don’t forget your wallet— the streets are lined with shops and boutiques, from American brands like Nike and Levi’s to upscale Italian brands such as Gucci, Fendi, and Valentino.
Top 3 Attractions
1. The Colosseum
As the world’s largest and oldest standing amphitheater, there’s not a more iconic tourist destination in all of Rome. While you won’t be able to see gladiators fight, you will get to have a close look at this spectacular structure. Consider taking a tour to learn more about the brutal history of the Colosseum, and be sure to explore the labyrinth running underneath it while you’re there! Tickets can be purchased online.
2. The Sistine Chapel
For world-famous art and a jaw-dropping experience, visit the Sistine Chapel. While you’ve likely seen pictures of the arched ceiling adorned with Michelangelo’s artwork, photographs don’t do justice to this exceptional historic building. To get to the famous chapel, you’ll first have to explore the Vatican Museums, which feature a vast collection of art assembled by the Catholic Church. Whether you’re taking a tour or exploring Michelangelo’s work on your own, you’re sure to be amazed by this iconic historical building. Tickets can be purchased online.
3. The Trevi Fountain
This famous Baroque fountain is a stunning piece of architecture located near the equally-iconic Spanish Steps. While you’re not permitted to traipse around in the fountain as the lead character does in “La Dolce Vita,” you can still get up close to admire the architecture and take photos! While you’re there, consider tossing a coin— or three— in. The legend goes: if you throw one coin in, you’ll return to Rome. If you throw two coins in, you’ll fall in love. If you throw three coins in, you’ll marry the person you fell in love with!
Top 3 Restaurants
1. Seu Pizza Illuminati
You’ll likely need a reservation to get into this popular pizzeria, but it’s well worth it. With mouthwatering toppings heaped on the delicious fresh dough, you won’t find a better slice of classic Italian pizza anywhere else! The menu offers a range of pies, from classic margherita pizza to more inventive creations, with toppings such as carbonara pasta, smoked salmon, and lemon. Be sure to check out their dessert menu as well, which is simply more pizza— with decadent, sweet toppings like chocolate and mint!
2. Colline Emiliane
This incredible restaurant boasts the most authentic Italian food in the region, with the chefs valuing traditional recipes above all else. The restaurant has been open since 1931 and serves appetizing egg-based homemade pasta with a variety of tasty sauces. If you don’t feel like tucking into a dish of fresh tortellini, there are a variety of meat-based options available, including fried liver for the more adventurous diners!
3. Salumeria Roscioli
This isn’t just a restaurant— it’s also a wine bar and deli! Munch on some flavorful cheeses and meats with a glass of wine from their extensive drinks menu, or dine on delicious handmade pasta. The expansive menu also offers fresh fish (raw, cooked, or smoked), as well as oysters, meat dishes, and a range of mouthwatering appetizers. Make sure you save room for dessert, as Salumeria Roscioli offers delicious sweets like tiramisu and fragole con panna.
Best Ways to Get Around
The best way to get around Rome depends precisely on what you’re doing. If you’re exploring the major attractions, you can likely get around on foot, as many of them are located in the city center.
If you’re going further, like to Vatican City, or your accommodations are far outside the city center, consider public transportation! You can take the metro, which has two lines that cross at Stazione Termini, the main transportation hub. Stazione Termini is also the main bus station. There are 25 bus lines, with departures occurring every 15–30 minutes. Rome also has a tram network and a train network.
It is typically not recommended to drive in Rome, as the country’s unfamiliar rules and crowded streets make commuting by car difficult. Taxis are often available when ordered, but know that when you call a cab, the meter starts as soon as the driver receives your call!
Best Time of Year to Visit & Weather
The best time of year to visit Rome is from September–May. In the fall months, the city cools and the crowds dissipate, making hotel prices lower and attractions easier to see. Temperatures range from lows of 44ºF (7ºC) to highs of 79ºF (26ºC).
In the winter, temperatures hover around from 38ºF (3ºC) to 55ºF (13ºC), but many sights may have shorter hours and locals are prone to taking more breaks.
The springtime temperature ranges from 41ºF (5ºC) to 64ºF (18ºC), with a spike as high as 73ºF (23ºC) come May. This season also allows visitors to wander the streets of Rome with fewer crowds than in the hot, crowded summer.
Italian is the official language of Italy, so you’ll find most everyone in Rome speaks it. If you only speak English, don’t worry— there’s a fair amount of Roman locals who speak some amount of English, particularly in the most touristy destinations. It’s still a good idea to pick up at least a little Italian before going, though!
Currency & Tipping Customs
In Rome, euros are used. If you’re not from a country that uses euros, you’ll want to convert some of your native currency.
Unlike Western countries, you have no obligation to tip for service in Italy, with the exception of tour guides. At restaurants, if you have received above-and-beyond service or have dined at a particularly upscale establishment, consider rounding up your bill or tipping 10–15%. If you receive table service at a bar or cafe, it is appropriate to round up the bill or leave the change from it behind.
As for hotel staff, it is expected you tip housekeepers one euro per night, bellhops one euro per bag, and the concierge five to ten euros if you use their services.
Emergency Information & Local Pharmacies
The number for an ambulance is 118, for police it’s 113, and for fire call 117. The number for a general emergency is 112.
There are many pharmacies in Rome that sell medications. They are called farmacias and are open 24 hours a day.
If you have Covid-19 concerns while in Rome, the city offers multiple types of Covid-19 tests for travelers. Those tests can be booked here.
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