Rome is a beautiful city with a rich history going all the back to 753 BC, it is a truly amazing place and must see destination for anybody who has the travel bug. Once you have your flights and accommodation booked, the next part is to figure out what to see and do for the duration of your visit. For those of you that struggle with the research and planning stage, we have created this little guide to help you explore the streets of Rome and not miss a thing, if you have already planned your trip to the Italian capital but are wondering if theres anything that you have missed then by all means read on, we hope this helps.
Make sure you wake up early and get your fill of breakfast to fuel the day ahead, to get yourself around the city the Metro is great, its the easiest and most convenient way to travel as most of its stations are near the major tourist attractions.
So jump on the Metro and ride line B to the Colosseo to begin your adventure, directly opposite the station is the Colosseum but hold back your temptations and don’t head straight for it, being Rome’s most visited attraction, it will be heaving with tourists in the morning so turn right and go towards the Roman Forum to skip the crowds. The forum is a fantastic place full of history and incredible architecture, it has plenty of sites to see including the Palatine Hill where the views of Rome leave you speechless. Entry tickets bought at the Roman Forum will also get you into the Colosseum and vice versa, prices are €12 full price or €7.50 for Europeans aged 18 to 25 years old. This will keep you occupied until midday and when you begin to feel hungry grab a slice of pizza or bowl of pasta from the nearby restaurants and cafes. Quick tip, make sure you venture down the backstreets to avoid those absurd tourist fees.
Now that you’ve had your first taste of Italian cuisine, the crowds surrounding the Colosseum will have died down and dispersed so now is the perfect time to step inside its vast walls. It will take you a couple of hours to get your fix of gladiator history and leave fully satisfied, after this explore the surrounding area of the Colosseum and head down the Street of Imperial Forums where you will discover Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) standing tall in the background.
After you visit here make sure you exit left and visit Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli located directly behind, once you have done this head through Piazza del Campidolgio and down the hill where you will find yourself at the edge of the Roman Forum in time for your first sunset in Rome. When hunger strikes in the evening, the Jewish Ghetto or Trastevere has a number of restaurants and is only a short walk away with a number of delicious food to keep you satisfied all night long. Once dinner is finished take a stroll along Tiber River where you can find a pop up market and grab a souvenir or two for family and friends back home. Finally to top off your first memorable day in Rome, head back down the Street of Imperial Forums where you will approach the Colosseum which will be lit beautifully amongst the hustle and bustle of the night.
Today you want wake up relatively early again to beat the rush of tourists, mid mornings/afternoons can be extremely busy periods as tour groups seem to arrive non stop at these times. Once you’ve treated yourselves to breakfast, jump on the Metro and ride Line A to Ottaviano where Vatican City is located. When coming out of the station head south along Via Ottaviano, don’t worry about taking any turns as the road leads you straight there and the walk takes no more than five minutes, ignore touts along the way as entrance into the Vatican City is free. Make sure your camera is ready as the view when you get inside is better than any postcard you can buy.
Once inside the walls of the Vatican there are plenty of things to see and do, firstly it is free to walk inside St Peter’s Basilisca but to see Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums there is an admission fee which you can find via the link here. These sites will probably keep you preoccupied for at least half of your day and when you get tired of the religious state and hungry for some more Italian food take a rest and find yourself a nice little neighbouring cafe, don’t be afraid to try the various types of food that the city has to offer because food should be one of the main reasons why you’ve come to visit Rome in the first place.
After lunch is finished head over to Castel Sant’ Angelo which is a short walk from the Vatican down Via della Conciliazione, last admission is 18:00 so give yourself loads of time because this mausoleum turned fortress turned museum is definitely worth your time.
For Dinner cross over Ponte Sant’ Angelo where a number of restaurants will be awaiting your taste, they’re all delicious so don’t worry about which one you pick our recommendation if you haven’t already order the gnocchi either with pesto or a delicious cheese sauce made from scratch. As the sun begins to set grab your bill and take a stroll up or down River Tiber and when you feel like your legs are getting tired make your way back up Via della Conciliazione towards the Vatican where it will be shining bright in the darkness and then for the Ottaviano Metro where you can make your way back to your hotel.
Today you will be taking yourselves on a ‘self guided’ tour around the city centre, so for your last 24 hours in Rome just relax and take in all the sites in one long leisurely stroll, if you feel like taking a couple of detours and doing a little bit of shopping along the way then feel free. After indulging in croissants and espressos for one last time, make your way to Piazza Novona, unfortunately there isn’t a Metro stop near here so you can either jump in a taxi or take a bus, more information below.
Once you had a look around Piazza Novona head towards the Pantheon, a former Roman temple. To help find your way follow the little brown signposts and use them as a guide throughout the day as it can be a little tricky trying to follow the signs in Italian. Entry into the Pantheon is free but you need to be respectful inside as it is now used as a church and many ceremonies still take place on a regular occurrence.
From the Pantheon make your way towards the Trevi Fountain, one of the largest Baroque fountains in the city and one of the most famous ones in the world, definitely worth stopping and grabbing a bite to eat followed by a scoop of Italy’s finest gelato, if you have spare change throw it into the fountain for a bit of good luck, take note of how to throw your coins as there is a little custom, try and take photos while you can as the tourist count is quite high here.
Now that you’re feeling a little bit luckier, head for Piazza di Spagna (again clearly signposted) and the beautiful white Spanish Steps, named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See that is nearby. This is a great spot to pause for a moment and lose track of time, just find a place on one of the 135 steps to park your bum and watch as the world passes you by.
For your second to last leg head to the top of the steps, hang a left and go past Villa Medici into Villa Borghese, here there are a number of buildings, museums and attractions that you can visit or you can just wander around the gardens for your own enjoyment.
By now the sun may be setting so make your way westwards to the edge of Villa Borghese where you will find yourselves stood on top of Passeggiata del Pincio (Pincian Hill) over looking Piazza del Popolo with vistas stretching as far as the Vatican. There will be one or two food trucks here serving pizzas, panini’s, sandwiches etc. with buskers/street musicians playing for your entertainment. For your last sunset over the Italian capital order some food, grab some wine and perch yourselves along the edge of the Pincio whilst you watch the sky turns red and the city come life.
Whenever you come to Rome and wherever you stay, you will have to pay a city tax. This is a mandatory tariff to be paid by tourists when visiting the city but will usually be included in the costs of your accommodation. To know more about the city tax and what you will have to pay click here.
How to get from the Fiumicino Airport to Rome City
By Train – The Leondaro Express is a direct service to the city centre and runs every 30 minutes costing you 11 euros, tickets are available from airport counters on arrival.
By Bus – Tickets are roughly 9 euros for a single or 15 for a return depending on which company you use. Different companies run throughout the day and the journey time is around 70 minutes with a few stops along the way, Roma Termini is the last stop,
By Taxi – These will be waiting outside arrivals at the airport, depending on traffic the journey will be around 45 minutes on a good day and costs you as little as 40 euros to the city centre.
Transport in the City
You can either ride a taxi or, for unlimited travel on buses and trains within the city, you can buy a Metrebus Card from any designated station/bus stop. The prices for tickets and duration of their uses are as follows:
One day – €7 valid for 24 hours
Two Days – €12.50 valid for 48 hours
Three Days – €18 valid for 72 hours
Buses to Piazza Novona
Get off at Senato, one of the following buses will take you there; 30, 70, 81, 87, 130F, 492, 628, N6 or N7.