Packed with ancient archaeological sites, historical structures and mouth watering gelato, Rome was undeniably named one of the most visited cities in the world. Visiting Rome is like stepping back in time where you can take a glance into ancient Roman life. Rome was never out of my top visit destination list in Italy. In this blog, I will show you my Rome Travel Guide and recommend some best places to visit in Rome.
1. Everything you need to know about Rome
There is an old proverb saying that “All roads lead to Rome”. So do all roads really lead to Rome? Over 2000 years ago, the Roman Empire covered a vast stretch of territory from Mediterranean Sea to Middle East. For better administration and traveling over the vast territory of land, a huge road network was established connecting the centre of Roman Kingdom – Rome to other regions within the empire.
Rome is overcrowded, for sure. For spectacular architecture and tasty food, Rome tops the world’s most visited city which receives an average of 25 million tourists every year. So keep in mind that you will have to compete for places to take photos, or even to stand.
2. Best time to visit Rome
2.1. Rome weather overview
Rome experiences Mediterranean climate with warm weather, which makes this city a year round destination.
Over the course of the year, the temperature varies from 4°C to 12°C during coldest winter months and 21°C to 32°C during hottest summer months.
2.1. Best time to visit Rome
The best time to visit Rome is during April, May, September and October. Besides comfortable weather (not too hot and not too cold), these aforementioned months experience less crowds, but more affordable prices.
Summertime (June – August) is not a good time to travel since everything reaches its peak. Scorching heat (up to 40°C), big crowds and sky-rocketing prices are what to describe Rome during this period.
Traveling to Rome during the middle of August allowed me to experience all these characteristics. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen and keep hydrated if you plan to visit Rome in summer.
3. Where to stay in Rome
Rome is a huge city which comprises a total of 15 municipio (administrative area). Most of the historic buildings and sightseeing spots are located within Municipio I.
Among 11 localities of Municipio I, Termini is considered to be the most tourist-friendly neighborhood for many good reasons. Much of Rome’ budget accommodation is in this area (for about 30 USD/night/pax). And one thing makes Termini the best place to stay in Rome as Termini is the main transport hub of the city.
However this is not the most attractive part of the city since there are no main tourist attractions nearby. You will need to go 15 – 20 more minutes to get to Colosseum, Trevi Fountain or Vatican city.
As most hotels in Rome are renovated from old houses, it will not be as comfortable as newly-built hotels. My hotel (Hotel Marcantonio) would be an example. It has a very small and old lift which can only allocate 2 adults at the same time. So we have to carry our luggages to the fifth floor and vice versa.
4. How to get around Rome
4.1. How to get around Rome
As a top-visited city in Europe, Rome has an urban transport network which consists of buses, trams and metro.
a. Metro: Rome’s metro system comprises 3 lines: A (orange), B (blue) and C (green) – a small number compared to other big cities in Europe. And you will need to walk it 5 – 10 more minutes to get to main tourist attractions.
During my trip in Rome, Line A was suspended for maintenance without any notice. So it may not be convenient to get around Rome by metro.
b. Bus: As the limited operation of the metro system, bus is another budget-friendly option to travel around Rome.
Rome has a total of 338 bus lines that connect the city with main tourist attractions and airports. However, keep in mind that Rome’s bus is not always punctual and comfortable.
c. Taxi: We only used taxis for short-route journeys or airport trips as it will be costly and inconvenient to use.
4.2. How to get to airports
There are two airports in Rome: Fiumicino Airport and Ciampino Airport. And I will tell you how to get to these airports from Termini station.
a. Fiumicino: Leonardo da Vinci or Fiumicino International Airport is the major international airport of Rome and the largest airport of Italy. You can reach this airport by many ways including Taxi (48€), Bus (5,8€), Leonardo Express train (14€).
b. Ciampino: Being the secondary international of Rome, Ciampino Airport served mainly low-cost carriers and general aviation traffic (mostly operated within Europe). You can reach this airport by Taxi (30€) or bus (5,8€).
And Ciampino airport is not a choice for airport layovers. As I landed in Ciampino at 9 pm and had an early flight back to the UK at 6 am the next day, so I planned to stay overnight at the airport.
I was watching some series on Netflix when the security suddenly went inside and told everyone to get out. So me and other people had to stay outside and wait until the departure hall opened at 4 am. And this was one of the most unforgettable layover experiences. So keep in mind that this airport doesn’t open 24 hours.
4. Rome Best Places to Visit
It will be difficult to decide where to go in Rome since the city filled with a wide range of sightseeing spots. Among those, Rome’s best places to visit include Colosseum, Vatican city, Trevi Fountain.
No trip to Rome is complete without visiting the most iconic monuments of the city – the Colosseum.
Being built by the Vespasian Empire in 72 AD, Colosseum is the greatest ancient amphitheatre ever built with a capacity of around 70,000 people. Used to host gladiator fights, animal hunts and public executions, the Colosseum becomes Rome’s most favorite tourist attractions in modern day which attracts 6 million people on a yearly basis.
4.2. Vatican City
Located entirely in the heart of Rome was the sacred Vatican city. Vatican city is an independent city state which is governed as an absolute monarchy with the pope at its head.
Despite being named as the smallest fully independent nation-state in the world, Vatican city houses the centre authority over the Roman Catholic Church. Within a total area of only 0,44km², there are numerous amazing attractions to visit, namely St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums.
4.3 Trevi Fountain
Among all fountains in Rome, Trevi Fountain (or Fontana di Trevi) is arguably the most famous one. But there’s a lot more than just a famous Baroque masterpiece.
This fountain comes with a myth which originating from the movie “Three Coins in the Fountain”:
- If you throw one coin: you will return to Rome.
- If you throw two coins: you will fall in love with an attractive Italian.
- If you throw three coins: you will marry the person that you met.
However, in order to achieve the desired effect, you should throw the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder.
This is the reason why there are always a huge number of people throwing coins into the water. Yes, at first I didn’t believe the myth. I just reluctantly followed my friends and threw one coin into the fountain.
However, it turned out to be true. One month later from that day, I had a chance to go back to Rome on a connecting flight from Athens to London (transit in Rome). So don’t forget to throw a coin into the fountain to make your wish come true.
What’s next after visiting Trevi Fountain, Colosseum and Vatican city? Trastevere would be literally a good option?
Trastevere is such a hidden gem of Rome despite not having any historical structures or archaeological sites. This charming medieval neighbourhood is home to local-love restaurants and traditional bars. But you can find some scenes of daily life nestled inside narrow cobbled streets.
And don’t forget to take a small walk up to the Gianicolo Hill to admire the spectacular view of Rome.
4.5. Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps are a giant stone 138-step staircases which connects the lower Piazza di Spagna to the Trinità dei Monti Church at the top.
Designed in 1723 by Francesco De Sanctis, the Spanish becomes such an endless inspiration for artists, painters and filmmakers thanks to its elegance design. And do you remember ‘Roman Holiday” starring Audrey Hepburn. This iconic film made the Spanish Steps famous on a global scale.
Spanish Steps is such a great place to just sit down and admire the eternal beauty of Rome. However, ít’s not only you who want to admire that spectacular beauty but thousands and thousands of tourists also. Keep in mind that you will have to compete for places to sit at these famous steps during sunset.
Being built between 25 and 27 B.C, Patheon is one of the best-preserved buildings from ancient Rome. It is a cylindrical building with a great dome rising from the walls and with large granite Corinthian columns under a triangular pediment.
For over 2,000 years, the Pantheon has experienced several functional changes from a Christian church, poets and notable Renaissance figures to a popular tourist attraction in the 21st century.
5. Rome Travel Budget
Rome is more affordable than London or Paris even when I travelled during the peak season. Believe me, it took me about 45€ to for one night stay in London (even not in high season), but that of Rome was only 30€.
However, accommodation still accounts for more than half of my Rome Travel Budget (60€ for 2 nights stay includes breakfast).
You can find my Rome Travel Budget below (and this table is for reference only)
|1. Taxi Termini – Rome Ciampino||7,5€||30€ / 4 people|
|2. 2-night stay at Hotel Marcantonio||60€|
|3. Roma Pass 48-hour||28€||* Buy in advanced here|
|5. 3-day eating cost||75,8€|
6. Rome Travel Itinerary
Spend at least 3 days exploring the city as you need more than half a day to visit Vatican city or Colosseum. And traveling during summer makes it more exhausted and time-consuming as you need to charge some energy during hours under the Mediterrean sun. Don’t forget to buy Skip-the-line tickets or go early to avoid big crowds.
Besides Rome, I visited other places during my trip to Italy such as Milan, Cinque Terre, Lake Como, Venice.
You can see my Rome travel itinerary below (and please note that this itinerary is for reference only).
08:00 – 11:45: Train Venice St. Lucia – Rome Termini
12:00: Lunch at Rome Termini
13:00: Hotel Check in (at first, we only plan to store our luggage at the hotel however they let us early check-in)
14:00 – 18:00: Visit Vatican city
19:00: Dinner at Trastevere
20:30: Sunset at Gianicolo Hill
08:00 – 11:30: Visit Roman Forum
14:30 – 15:30: Fontana di Trevi
16:00 – 17:00: Piazza Venezia
17:30 – 19:30: Sunset at Spanish Steps
09:00 – 11:30: Patheon
13:00 – 14:00: Castillo Sant’Angelo
14:30 – 15:00: Piazza Navona
19:40 – 21:30: Flight Rome Ciampino – Nottingham
7. Rome Travel Guide & Tips
7.1. Rome Travel Tips
– Keep an eye on your belongings as Rome tops the city with a high pickpocket rate (according to TripAdvisor).
– Buy Roma Pass to unlimitedly access public transportation and skip-the-line tickets to tourist attractions. You can buy Roma Pass in any tourist information point, museums and underground station. Or you can buy Roma Pass in advanced to save time (see this link for more information)
– Public Tap Water is available throughout the entire city of Rome, you will find valves with not only safe to drink but also delicious water. This will be the best way to recharge your energy.
– Buy Skip-the-line tickets or go early to avoid long-lasting queue
7.2. Summary: Rome Travel Guide
This is my recommendations for Rome Travel Guide and Tips, if you need any further information related to traveling in Italy, kindly see other posts below:
– MUST-USE WEBSITE TO PLAN YOUR NEXT TRIP –