What to Expect in Rome
Rome is a big city with a large transportation system and friendly locals. I would recommend knowing a few key phrases in Italian but you will find many English speakers around.
Language: Modern-day Romans speak Italian, of course, which is widely recognized as a language of love and romance.
Currency: Italy uses the euro, so bring your euro notes.
Credit Cards and Banks: Cards are used all over Rome, especially Visa, but it’s more common to use cash for small items. Some museums and market sellers only accept notes. As a general rule of thumb, bring a few euros in cash with you wherever you go.
Climate: Resting just off the Mediterranean Sea, Rome enjoys warm and temperate weather with averages of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Expect much more rainfall during the winter and hot and sunny days in the summer.
Getting To Rome
All roads lead to Rome, even airport runways.
Dozens of airlines fly to and from Fiumicino Airport daily, so you can pick and choose based on your point of origin. You can also wheel into Rome by train—most lines run into Roma Termini, Rome’s central train station.
Getting Around Rome
Driving in Rome isn’t advisable—the traffic is chaotic in the best of terms and drivers are insane. Opt for wandering around by foot—the most romantic way to discover the hidden corners of the city—or use the impressive public system of buses, trams, trolleys, metro, and light railways.
If you’re in town for at least three days, try the Roma Pass—just 36 euros will get you full access to public transportation, admission to two museums, and discounts on performance and exhibition tickets.
Where to Stay in Rome
Funny Palace Rome Hostel:
Funny Palace is just a five-minute walk from the Termini metro stop. This new and charming hotel offers dorms and private rooms for budget travelers with hassle-free internet and laundry service.
Four Seasons Hostel Rome:
Although its probably not the Four Seasons you’re imagining, this hostel is near the Termini station, and although the rooms are quite basic, each features free internet, a mini fridge, and a TV.
Legend RG Hostel:
The Legend is a clean and bright budget hostel with free Wi-Fi and 24-hour reception. The rooms are adequate and have a warm, cheery atmosphere with a hint of old Roman elegance.
Orsa Maggiore Hostel (Women Only):
The Orsa Maggiore is a delightful B&B with architecture dating back to the sixteenth century. It used to be a convent and now (appropriately enough) hosts only women
. It is just half an hour from the Vatican and each of its 13 simple rooms features two to eight beds, a bathroom, and a hot shower. Enjoy a continental breakfast in the outdoor garden under a centuries-old Magnolia!
NH Collection Roma Giustiniano:
The luxurious and sleek Giustiniano is a four-star hotel that exudes classic chic. Rooms have a laid-back feel and some offer balconies and pullout sofas.
Hotel Dei Mellini
: The Hotel Dei Mellini has a modern look and offers a relaxed yet contemporary decor. All rooms offer free internet, a smart TV, a minibar, and a seating area—some even feature a balcony and a separate living room.
: The Tango is a cute boutique hotel that dates back to the nineteenth century. Though small in square footage, the suites are two stories high and sleep up to four people. Great for a fun weekend with friends!
Where to Eat in Rome
Rome is a melting pot of cultures, so in addition to authentic Italian food, you can find cuisine options from all around the world.
Angelina a Trevi (best on budget)
: A quiet and cozy spot to pick up your lunch. Angelina a Trevi serves risotto, gnocchi, and antipasto and is a great place to eat on a budget. Be sure to try the prosecco!
A lovely osteria
specializing in classic Roman dishes. Choose from buffalo mozzarella, an impressive selection of prosciutti
, and an array of fresh pastas.
Flavio al Velavevodetto (best ambience)
: Popular with locals and visitors alike, Flavio is an elegant yet cozy place to take friends and family. Dishes are 100 percent traditional with specialties like lightly fried vegetables reminiscent of tempura.
La Pergola (most luxurious)
: If you really want to experience all the luxury Rome has to offer, book a table at La Pergola, the only restaurant in town with the impressive rating of three Michelin Stars and a spectacular view from Monte Mario. The menu is set with a nine-course meal and ingredients such as white truffles and foie gras—but there is also an olive oil menu, a coffee menu, and even a water menu. At 290 euros per person, it’s one of the most costly (but worth it!) meals you’ll enjoy on the continent.
Fish Market Trastevere:
Pick up your fresh seafood fare at the Trastevere Market, a fun and rustic location with grilled squid, fried sardines, red prawns, and fried baby octopus.
Da Cesare al Casaletto (best trattoria):
Da Cesare al Casaletto is by far the best trattoria in town. You can’t go wrong here. The pasta alla gricia
is cooked to perfection, the spicy polpette di melanzane
(eggplant balls) are a delicious, and the fried gnocchi is delicately prepared—and most dishes come in hefty proportions.
Gelato at Giolitti:
A visit to Rome isn’t complete without gelato! Scoop up some fresh delights at Giolitti, a famous café and pastry shop and the oldest gelateria in Rome. Opt for one of the unusual flavors like champagne, cassata siciliana
, rice, or marsala custard.
What to Do in Rome
There is so much to do in Rome and the Vatican City, you could easily fill 4-5 days full of activities. Be sure to map out your must-do’s before you go so you don’t miss a thing!
Food and Pizza-Making Tour: On my latest trip to Rome, I joined a culinary-themed tour
and boy was it worth it! You get to explore the streets of the city all while trying delicious food. You’ll stop by a bakery, a market, a coffee shop, and a traditional pizzeria where you get to make your very own pizza pie!
Visit the Vatican: The Vatican is closely tied with Rome’s heritage, and there is a wealth of art and history to explore in its Vatican Museums. Start early to beat the crowds.
Spanish Steps: The Spanish Steps, a lively staircase of 135 steps, were made famous by Audrey Hepburn’s 1953 film Roman Holiday. They are a great place to people watch and start your window shopping.
Trevi Fountain: Throw a coin in the iconic Trevi and legend has it that one day you’ll return to Rome. The fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and depicts the sea god Oceanus with his seahorses. It was also featured in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and is still popular with the crowds who make the pilgrimage to admire it.
Trek up to Gianicolo Hill: Rome is best explored on foot through all the winding streets and hillslopes. You can find a fun and free walk on Via di Gianicolo, which runs from the Piazza della Rovere up to one of the tallest hills in Rome. The panoramic view of the city from the top is one of the best, and though the steep hike is a bit challenging, there are several benches and cafés along the way so you can take a breather.
The Pantheon: If you have only a few hours in Rome, you should absolutely visit the Pantheon. It’s the only ancient Roman temple that survives virtually intact.
Villa Borghese: The beautiful Villa and grounds were built in the sixteenth century as a “party villa” for Cardinal Scipione Borghese. It now houses the impressive Galleria Borghese and the villa’s gardens.
Roman Forum and Colosseum: Second on your list should definitely be the Forum, which houses Trajan’s market, the relatively intact ancient Via Biberatica, and, of course, the iconic Colosseum.
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II: This magnificent monument was built to commemorate Victor Emmanuel, the first king of unified Italy. Located between the Piazza Venezia and Capitoline Hill, it was pieced together by famous sculptors from all over the new nation.