Beautiful Rome, the romantic, historical and picturesque capital of the land of the boot, is one of the oldest cities in the world. It was established in the eighth century BC and was the base of the vast empire of the ancient world, which more than any other influenced Western culture as we know it today. Government upheavals, crazy emperors and wars that passed over the city over the years, influenced Rome and turned it into a diverse, vibrant city, full of attractions, beautiful and fascinating.
Millions of tourists visit it every year and come to visit the famous sites, eat gelato – the finest Italian ice cream, taste the Italian dishes in the version unique to Rome and experience the intoxicating atmosphere of this amazing city. So what is the best way to enjoy all that Rome has to offer? You are welcome to continue reading.
How to plan a trip to Rome?
Rome is considered one of the most visited cities in the world. The millions of tourists who come to it every year do so to see up close the magnificent works of art, scattered among the museums and squares, famous films that were filmed in Rome and made it an attraction for film lovers, history-loving tourists come to see with their own eyes the historical places, where events took place, which influenced fate The humanity, shops of international boutique designers, excellent Italian coffee and a picturesque and beautiful environment – all of these describe Rome in the truest way and explain, in a nutshell, what is the tremendous attraction of this special city.
Rome offers so many wonderful attractions and possibilities, that you can make a trip of any kind – you can travel there for weeks without getting bored, you can come there for a short weekend and see all the important sites, or decide on a relaxed and calm trip, choose one central focus for the trip and travel Among the cafes and shops, you can travel in Rome with children and give them a trip full of magical and exciting experiences and you can also go out as a couple and choose a romantic itinerary.
Before you start planning your trip to Rome – you will need to decide a few things:
- What kind of trip do you want?
- How much time do you have available?
- What is your budget for the trip?
- What season are you planning to travel?
- Do you want a dynamic trip full of attractions, or a calm and relaxed trip, without running from site to site?
After you choose the style that suits you best, you can start planning. Here are some suggestions for different travel styles in Rome:
A leisurely trip in Rome – to relax between attractions
When traveling in Rome, more than other places – it is important to choose the right location of your hotel. The closer the hotel is to the attractions that interest you, the easier it will be for you, because it is highly recommended to travel in Rome on foot.
Although the public transport in Rome is high quality, efficient and comfortable, it is important that you have the opportunity to travel around the city without being dependent on it.
In order to plan a trip, which will allow you to mainly wander on foot, it is important to know the structure of the city: the city of Rome was originally built on seven hills and in the valleys between them. Today the city and its suburbs have spread out and spread over a larger area. The Tiber River crosses Rome from north to south and divides it into an eastern and a western part, although the eastern part is considerably larger than the western part of the city.
Rome has several major hubs, each of which can easily fill several wonderful days of travel. Two such centers for example:
The historic center of Rome
The most visited area in the city, where the famous sites of the city are concentrated at short distances from each other, including:
- The beautiful piazzas built in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance – Piazza Navona, Piazza Venezia for example.
- Ancient and impressive cathedrals
- the pantheon
- Campo de Fiori market
- The old Jewish ghetto
- Via Condotti shopping street
- Trevi Fountain
- The Spanish Steps
- The Colosseum
- the forum
- Capitol Hill
- The Capitoline Museums
All these attractions are concentrated in one relatively small area and you can stay between them in a hotel that suits your budget and level and travel between them on foot. It is important to remember that most of the tourists who come to Rome are interested in visiting these sites and almost throughout the year they are packed with tourists, so you should expect a crowded and highly touristic environment in advance, with all that implies. Among other things, it is important to take into account that although the area is full of restaurants, cafes and bars and it is very easy to find everything you need – it is a central tourist area and therefore the prices are accordingly and the level of food served in the restaurants does not always meet exactly the Italian standards, although even in this tourist area you can find restaurants excellence
A short drive from the bustling and busy tourist center of Rome, lies the beating heart of the Christian world – the Vatican. Precisely in the western part, the least populated part of the city, is the smallest country in the world, where you can find interesting museums, which display, among other things, the Sistine Chapel and other masterpieces.
A short walk from the Vatican, you can visit the Trastevere neighborhood, full of beautiful galleries, specialty shops, restaurants and bars with a unique character and a young and pleasant atmosphere. Staying in the Vatican is not recommended, mainly because the Vatican is full of Christian pilgrims who come there for religious reasons and stay in the area in large groups. Those who wish to concentrate their trip in the Vatican area, but not inside the Vatican – can spend the night in the Trastevere neighborhood.
Must visit sites in Rome
Whether you have a considerable and sufficiently long period of time at your disposal or whether you have decided that it is important for you to concentrate as many attractions as possible in one short trip, you should get to know the main attractions in the city. You can choose among them the ones that interest you the most and plan a route full of adventures:
The Colosseum – an amphitheater from the time of the Roman Empire, was built over ten years, under the rule of three different emperors and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. More than 50,000 people would gather in the Colosseum in its heyday to watch brutal gladiator fights to the death. Nowadays you can see one wall, which remains intact from the original structure and it is an impressive structure, which is an important remnant of the great and influential empire of the ancient world.
The Forum – the ancient center of social and political life of the Roman Empire, located between two hills. The area of the forum was used for victory processions, the reading of eulogies immortalized in the pages of history, ceremonies, trials, commerce, public assemblies and above all a stage for political and religious speeches, which the inhabitants of the empire used to come to in droves. You can continue walking near the Forum and see basilicas, temples and magnificent gates, all of which together are living evidence that the entire area served as the center of Rome’s life in the old days.
Vatican City – the smallest country in the world and the heart of the world of Catholic Christianity. Less than a thousand citizens are registered in the Vatican, most of whom are clerics, including the Pope.
The Vatican is home to the Holy See, which is considered the center of Catholic leadership in the world. Millions of Christian pilgrims come to it every year and apart from the religious attraction to the place, it is possible and worthwhile to take a walk and see St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican Gardens, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and more.
St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world, which has room for no less than sixty thousand worshipers, who can occupy it at the same time for joint prayer. The church is one of the most sacred and important centers for Christians around the world, where, according to tradition, Saint Peter – one of the important successors of Christ, considered the founder of the papal dynasty, the first bishop of Rome – was buried. Its construction began in the fourth century AD and since then it has undergone renovations and expansions by wonderful professionals and artists, including Michelangelo and Bernini.
Piazza Navona – considered the most beautiful square in Rome, the square is built over the remains of a stadium and surrounded by palaces. In the area of the square you can find 3 fountains, among them the Four Rivers fountain, which was designed by Bernini. In addition to the baroque palaces, the square is also surrounded by pizzerias and ice cream parlors, cafes and restaurants, which are mainly aimed at tourists and whose prices are particularly high.
The Spanish Steps – a huge staircase, which connects Piazza di Spagna – Spain Square, and the square and the church – Trinita di Monti. The original purpose when building the famous staircase was to connect the Spanish embassy with the church and the Vatican. Nowadays, hundreds of tourists come every day to see the stairs, take pictures in their background and maybe also climb up the huge gram. It is important to know that over the years, for practical reasons, the municipality of Rome decided not to allow sitting and eating on this staircase and those who break the law risk fines. It is worth going through the Spanish steps for a short visit and visiting the square at their foot, to see the magnificent sculptures that are scattered around it, among them by the artist Bernini.
The Pantheon – a temple from the second century BC, which has been preserved almost intact and is considered an important architectural treasure. In its glory days, the temple was the seat of the Roman gods, but when Rome became a Christian empire, the Pantheon also became a church. Several kings are buried in the Pantheon and also the famous painter Raphael.
Fontana di Trevi – the Trevi Fountain, aka the wishing fountain, where it is customary to throw a coin into it, as a virtue to promise that you will return to visit Rome again one day and that all your wishes will come true. The same belief is also prevalent regarding drinking the fountain water, but for obvious reasons this is a much less common practice than throwing the coins. It is important to note that representatives of the Municipality of Rome realized that it is better to collect the coins and put them in the municipal coffers than to leave them inside the fountain and let them accumulate without limit, but the experience remains the same and after throwing a coin and making a wish, it is worth staying and witnessing the beautiful statue in the center.
Piazza Venezia – Venice Square is indeed one of the many squares scattered throughout Rome, but befitting a square located near the Palace of Venice, close to the Forum and the Capitoline Hill, it is considered the central square of modern Rome. Although it is not particularly decorated with sculptures and works of art, the square attracts many visitors who come to watch the traffic policemen, who direct the traffic with their hands covered in white gloves, because the square has no traffic lights and serves as an important hub for several main transportation routes in the city. In the Palace of Venice you can see works of art displayed in the museum. The visit to the square and the palace can be combined with a route that includes the important sites nearby.
Via del Corso – the main shopping street of the city. Shopping enthusiasts will be able to find all the well-known clothing chains there, join the crowds of shoppers that regularly crowd the street and continue along it until it becomes a pleasant and intimate pedestrian street, compared to the more touristy and commercial part, where you can stroll among small and well-designed boutique shops.
Boca de la Verita – the mouth of the truth. A statue with an open mouth, which it is customary to insert the hand into in order to distinguish between truth tellers and liars – those who insert their hand into it and lie will, according to belief, receive a painful bite. The statue is located near the ancient Roman theater and the Jewish ghetto of Rome.
Ponte Sisto Bridge – is on the banks of the Tiber River and provides a romantic and magical environment for couples in love, or an exciting and interesting environment – for travelers with children. Either way, walking along the river and climbing the bridge guarantees you a lovely and special trip, an interesting view of the river area and at the end of the bridge you can continue your walk in the Trastevere area – a place that is particularly pleasant to walk in the evening and even stay there for a meal in one of the neighborhood’s restaurants.
A few more things you shouldn’t miss in Rome
Besides visiting the historical and famous sites of the city, Rome offers many other experiences, which should not be missed. Here are some of them:
Dinner with local Romans at home – on sites like Like a Local, or Eat With you can choose dinner with locals, who host a quality and expensive home-cooked meal (for a fee, of course). The experience is recommended on any trip to a foreign country, but especially in Rome – which is full of restaurants for tourists, which do not always provide real traditional Italian food. Therefore, it is highly recommended to eat with the locals, if it is possible.
Visiting the Vatican in the evening – between the months of April and October, on Fridays only, you can go on an evening tour of the Vatican. You can choose an organized tour, or travel independently and earn a magical trip, in an interesting site, outside of rush hours and in the hours of darkness, when everything seems a little more special and mysterious.
The Rose Garden – a spectacularly beautiful garden, with benches scattered along it and you can walk along the staircase, sit on the benches scattered along it, have a picnic there and enjoy the view of the city spread out before you.
The Orange Garden – at a 10-minute walk from the Rose Garden, there is the Orange Garden, the main attraction of which is the view of the city. Both gardens are quite close to the Colosseum and it is possible to combine a visit and rest in them into a day that includes a tour of the historical site.
Guided walking tour of the city – companies that offer walking tours of the city, allow you to experience the city through local eyes, in small and intimate groups and to hear interesting stories about the nature of the city and its history from fresh and interesting perspectives.
Campo de Fiori market – there are several markets in Rome and all of them are interesting and beautiful, but Campo de Fiori is the most famous of them. It has stalls of all kinds and it is especially recommended to buy supplies for a picnic in one of the city’s gardens, or on the side of the street. The local ingredients are fresh and of high quality and a light meal after a tour of the charming market is an experience not to be missed.
Palatine Hill (Colle palatino) – the central hill out of the seven hills of Rome. It is among the oldest areas where there was a permanent settlement in Rome. The hill is located between the Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum. The remains of some of the palaces of the Roman emperors still exist on the top of the hill and you should go to the top and gain a beautiful view of Rome.
An unplanned walking tour – Rome is full of beauty and at every step through the streets of the city you can see something beautiful, eat something delicious, or buy something nice, stop and rest in a cute corner, witness works of art and meet the locals, so it’s worth devoting at least a few hours to an unplanned stroll between The streets of the city, to discover things that cannot be planned in advance. Mainly because even if you really want to – it is difficult to find out in advance everything that Rome has to offer. Such a trip can combine one central attraction, a tour of one of the markets and a free walk through the alleys, preferably in the less touristed areas of the city, so that you can also discover the kept secrets of the locals and be a bit like Romans in Rome.
Ice cream – even those who are not particularly fond of ice cream should try the Italian gelato, which is considered the ancient father of ice cream and the best quality and tastiest ice cream in the world. You should choose an ice cream parlor that the locals come to and enjoy the excellent taste.
General information for travelers in Rome
- The common language in Rome is of course Italian, which the inhabitants of Rome usually speak in their own special dialect.
- The currency used in Rome, as throughout Italy, is the euro. Prices in Rome are expensive compared to other parts of Italy.
- Recommended seasons to come to Rome – in the fall and spring the weather in Rome is pleasant and allows for a hike without special interruptions, but these are also the busiest and most touristic months throughout the year and this means long lines, high prices and crowds of tourists everywhere.
- Transportation in Rome – two airports are located near the city, train stations are scattered along it and you can easily travel by bus or train, but it is mainly recommended to travel on foot.
In conclusion – all roads lead to Rome
Whether you choose a day trip, a weekend trip, or you dedicate two weeks to the trip – Rome is a wonderful city that offers countless attractions of all kinds. Everyone can find what they are looking for and enjoy a stormy vacation full of attractions and entertainment, or a quiet and romantic vacation, good food and excellent ice cream.
Any trip you choose will become more successful if you plan it properly, but also remember to leave one day, or at least a few hours, for a spontaneous and unplanned tour among the alleys, where you will get to know the less touristed Rome and the locals.