Rome is the capital of Italy. A city rich in history and home to the Roman empire. Today it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
In this blog, I highlight what I believe are the most common travel questions and answers, as well as a suggested 4-day itinerary.
When is the best time to visit Rome?
I’ve been to Rome in both July and August previously. These summer months are very hot making sightseeing somewhat unbearable. Earlier this year we visited Rome in mid-April and the weather was close to perfect. The city also seemed less crowded. Therefore, I would suggest visiting Rome just before or after the popular summer months.
Where we stayed in Rome and would I recommend it?
As it happens, I stayed in the same area on both trips to Rome, mostly due to affordability, but also for convenience. On my previous trip, I stayed at Hotel Morgana. Earlier this year, we stayed at the Radisson Blu. Both hotels are located near the Termini Station. Although traveller reviews suggest that this area should be avoided, I prefer staying here for the following reasons:
- The two main metro lines in the city (subways) intersect at Termini Station – the red and blue lines;
- The cities bus terminal is situated just outside the Termini Station; and
- Termini Station is the main railway station in Rome connecting you to multiple cities in Italy.
However the area around the Termini Station is unkept and may been seen as somewhat unsafe after dark. I dont suggest walking around the area at night. If you are heading out, rather call a cab instead. Please note some restaurants offer a shuttle service when dining with them.
How much spending money do you need?
An average meal for one with a drink costs approximately €15-20. Prepare to spend nothing less than €2 for a cappuccino. The 72-hour metro ticket costs approximately €20. If you on a budget, consider buying a few breakfast items and pre-packed meals from the local grocery store.
How to get from the airport to the city?
A taxi from Rome FCO Airport to the city costs approximately €50. It makes sense to use the taxi service if you sharing the cost with 2 or more people, travelling with heavy luggage or when you arrive late at night.
If you looking for a more affordable option, the bus station can be found on the right-hand side as you exit the airport. The bus stops at Rome’s Termini Station. A single trip costs €6. Tickets can be pre-booked online or on the bus. The journey to the city lasts just under an hour.
From what I recall, one can also travel by train into the city. The Leonardo Express is a first class rail service that runs from the airport to Rome’s Termini Station.
How to get around the city?
There is no shortage of public transport options. One can get around the city via bus, taxi or the metro. I would suggest travelling via the metro as it conveniently stops at most tourist attractions. If you are spending a few days in Rome, consider purchasing the multi-day metro ticket. Tickets for the metro can be purchased at the newspaper/tobacco stands or alternatively at the station. This ticket can also be used to travel by bus.
Day 1 – Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
Tickets can be pre-booked online for a specific date. This allows access to all three sites over 2 days. Please note there are security checks at most tourist attractions which sometimes results in long queues. Palatine Hill is a long way up but the views are incredible.
Just across the street from the Roman Forum, there are loads of restaurants and shops when you ready to take a break from the sightseeing.
Don’t miss the chance to see the majestic Colosseum after dark when it’s all lit up.
Day 2 – Vatican City and St Peters Basilica
Tickets for the Vatican City can be purchased online for a specific date and time. Book tickets ahead of time to avoid any disappointment and the long queues. Head directly to the entrance with your printed ticket. Due to heightened security concerns, please note there are restrictions on backpacks allowed in the museum.
Access to St Peters Basilica is free. You can count on there being a queue. Please note these are religious sites and an appropriate dress code applies.
Metro: Ottaviano-S. Pietro
Day 3 and 4
The tourist attractions highlighted below are situated in close proximity to each other so I suggest taking a leisurely stroll and keep a look out for them.
Metro: Spagna or Barberini
The Spanish Steps remains a popular meeting place amongst the locals. Its 138 steps connects the Piazza Spagna to the church at the top.
The Piazza Spagna is a famous square in Rome, surrounded by popular historic landmarks including the Spanish Steps and the Fountain of the Ugly Boat. It is bustling with performers and tourists all day. Be weary of pick-pockets.
The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is another attraction that must be seen both during the day and at night. It is a popular tourist landmark and the area has a great vibe. And the best gelato can be found here too. There are quite a few restaurants in and around this area where you can stop for either lunch or dinner.
The Pantheon was once a Roman temple built between 118 – 128 AD. Today it is a church. There is no fee to enter.
A short walk from the Pantheon, you can find the Piazza Navona. The Piazza Navona is a large open space surrounded by beautiful buildings, fountains, and charming little cafes and restaurants. The area is full of street performers and artists giving it such a lovely atmosphere. Great spot to enjoy a cappuccino and watch the world go by. Just a word of caution – It may just be the most expensive cup of coffee you’ve ever had.
The best part about walking towards the Piazza , is the cute, boutique and owner-managed stores along the way.
Shopping in Rome
Via Del Corso is lined up with the best retail and high-end brand names in the world. Two words. Shopping heaven!
For curios and gifts, try the area around Termini Station as they were most affordable.
Food in Rome
Of course, every pasta and pizza on the menu. Followed by Italian dessert.
Italian coffee and cappuccino are a must-try. Not forgetting the delicious gelato.