I am still in shock! Last week’s Italy Travel Guide on Positano went over so well that I decided to create one for Rome as well. The eternal city has stood the test of time and is home to some of the world’s greatest history. I believe Rome is somewhere you have to go at least once in your life. This was my first city across the pond and I wouldn’t change that for anything. Without further ado, here is my Italy Travel Guide for Rome.
How to Get There/Transportation Options
- The best way to arrive in Rome is by plane to Rome–Fiumicino International Airport (FCO). It is also known as the Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport.
- Once you arrive you can either hire a car service, rent a car, grab a taxi or take the train. I recommend hiring a car service because, after a long haul Transatlantic flight, I wasn’t in the mood to fuss around with taxi stops or train maps. The train is a very inexpensive option though but can take up to an hour to get into Rome where via car takes about 30 minutes.
- If you live in Europe and are interested in going to Rome, you can take a flight to Fiumicino, the bus or the Eurorail to Roma Termini Station.
- When you are in Rome, the best way to get around is by walking, taxi, or Uber. The prices between taxis and Uber were about the same. If you are looking for a taxi, you will need to go to a taxi stand. They are not allowed to pick up outside of a stand. You can find one on Google Maps or just by asking a store owner.
Rome Area Overview
- The biggest thing you need to consider in Rome is where to call home base. You need to figure out what attractions and goals are of your trip and pick lodging near there.
- My favorite area was the Campo de Fiori neighborhood. I wanted a more local Italian experience and when I saw pictures of the fresh market here I knew this would be perfect. This area is near the Pantheon, Piazza Novano, and the bridge to the Vatican. It was a great area for more nontourist style restaurants and shops. Check out my list of favorites dishes in Rome. Most of these spots were in the Campo de Fiori neighborhood.
- There are so many amazing attractions in Rome to see. I recommend buying your tickets ahead of time with a tour operator with “skip the line” access. Make sure you book your ticket times for early admission. Rome is pretty busy year-round but the major crowds usually come out closer to 10 am. By going to these sites early right before they open, you get the best experience with fewer people.
- Rome is a destination where you can just walk out of your hotel front door and be amazed. I took time every morning before my travel party woke up and just walked around the Campo de Fiori neighborhood with my camera. Check out one of my vlogs here. Go and explore!
Dining Recommendations and Tips
- Here’s the thing, you can eat really well in Rome for $25 a day including a glass of wine! Breakfasts are usually light with a pastry or cornetto (Italian crescent) and a coffee. Lunch is usually a sandwich or pizza on the go and dinner is topped off with a nice pasta dish. I would spend 3-4 euros at breakfast, 5-7 euros for lunch, 10-12 euros on dinner and 2 euros on Gelato. Rome is the best bang for your buck when it comes to food.
- Water is not free in Italian restaurants. It is purchased by the bottle for 2-3 euros on average. It is normally a larger glass bottle that is designed for sharing.
- Wine is cheaper than water sometimes! I had many glasses of wine for 2 euros while I was in Italy. They drink it like water so why not indulge. I loved every wine I tried there.
- Italy has the best coffee that I’ve ever had. One thing to keep in mind is that cappuccinos are not ordered after breakfast time by the Italians. You may get some weird looks if you ask for one later in the day. Coffee is served a bit differently there. Here is this list from Luxe Traveler about the 8 primary types of coffee in Italy.
- Rome is known for a few different dishes. My favorite Roman Dishes were Cacio e Pepe pasta, Porchetta Sandwich, Jewish Fried Artichokes, Maritozzi breakfast pastries, and of course Roman-style pizza. Check out my list of which restaurants you need to get these lovely dishes from.
- You are going to see a lot of “Bars” in Rome. A Bar is not a place just for alcohol. YOu can stop at a Bar to get your morning coffee, a soda mid-day, and sometimes even a light snack. They do have alcohol but I don’t want you to be shocked when you see one open at 6/7 am in the morning.
- Fornos are bakeries. So when you see this, you can get pastries, loaves of bread and coffees there normally.
Currency and Money Tips
- Italy uses the Euro. You can purchase some ahead of time through your bank. Make sure you purchase at least 2 weeks prior to departure.
- ATMs are going to be your best exchange rate to pull out cash.
- Always have cash on you in Rome. Some of the little shops do not take cards. It is honestly easier to leave a few coins on the counter for your morning coffee versus waiting for your credit card to be run.
- Visa and Mastercard are the primary credit cards that are accepted. American Express was hit or miss here.
- Take a credit card that does not have foreign transaction fees. Not sure if your card has fees? Give them a call before you travel!
Hotels & Rentals
- If you have a big party, I recommend this AirBnb. I stayed in this one with a group of 6 adults and 1 child. It wasn’t the fanciest place but it was great to have two small kitchens, two bathrooms and awesome Italian street views. The location of this place is what made it perfect.
- If you are going to stay in a hotel, book it ahead of time. Based on my recommendation of the Campo de Fiori neighborhood, I would recommend Hotel Campo de Fiori or Hotel Lunetta. The next time I go to Rome without a big group, I will stay at one of these.
- Remember bed sizing in European hotels are typically smaller and more unique than in US-based hotels.
My Personal Recommendations:
- Consider going on the shoulder season which is Mid-April/May or September/October. The weather is still beautiful and there are fewer tourists.
- Get in moderate cardio shape prior to arriving. It is easy to do a lot of steps in one day while you wander.
- If you cannot decide which attractions to do, try a hop on/hop off bus to get your bearings of the land. This is also a great option if you have people in your party who struggle physically. Our grandmother loved being able to just ride around Rome and seeing this beautiful city that way. I recommend the Grayline hop on/hop off bus for this.
- Learn some Italian before you go. I recommend Rosetta Stone since they have a great Travel oriented program. It is Italy so be respectful and learn a few phrases.
- Rome is a great stop for 2-4 days. If you are going to be cruising, I highly recommend staying a few days here before or after your sailing.
- If you want the best photos, get up for sunrise and head to your favorite attractions. By getting up early I was able to get photos without people at the Trevi Fountain and Colosseum!
- Rome is full of history. I recommend checking out the Ghetto and looking for the stumbling stones. These are gold memorial stones placed in front of doorways to pay respect to Jewish individuals who were murdered at concentration camps that previously lived in those residences. It is extremely humbling.
Thank you so much for your support and checking out this Italy Travel Guide for Rome. Italy is one of those destinations that is just beckoning me to come back. Rome is a great city if you want to visit Europe on a budget.