One of the most iconic cities in the entire world, Rome is on most travelers’ bucket lists. This city has played such an important role in shaping the world into what it is today, and remnants of its historical prowess can still be seen. From striking architecture to some of the best food in the world, a trip to Rome is simply deluxe. This post will outline everything you need to know for your trip to Rome.
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Best Things to Do in Rome
1. Go Sightseeing
Rome is absolutely packed with sightseeing. In fact, if you Google the “best things to do in Rome,” everyone else will just list the places to go sightseeing. I covered that fully in my post on the best sightseeing in Rome, so make sure to read that before planning out your day to day itineraries! But with places like the Coliseum, the Vatican City, and the Roman Forum, you could literally spend days just looking at things. Rome is really, really, cool.
2. Grab Gelato at Giolitti
While the sightseeing is really great and important in Rome, there are other experiences that make the city very unique. The first of those is gelato, and in my opinion there is no better place to go than Giolitti. Located within walking distance of the Vatican City, Giolitti is a very old school, locally famous gelato shop that makes their stuff fresh every day. They might not have some of the bells and whistles of other new shops (like zero carb gelato made with pea milk), but their gelatos are unmatched in quality and the place feels like a step back in time. Their pistachio flavor is a real hit, but they’re all incredible.
3. Sip a Fine Cocktail Underground at the Barber Shop
I love the concept of Speakeasies. I have been to a few in places around the world, like the Library Distillery in Shanghai, but nowhere I’ve been is as cool as the barber shop. The place is just so ritzy, and the cocktails are very high end. This is a hidden secret to travelers and is a favorite of locals. The bar is located in the basement of a functioning barber shop, and it is fully 1920’s themed. While the drinks are a bit pricey, they’re not absurdly priced for the quality of the drink and experience. This is located in a bit of a less-traveled Roman neighborhood too, giving you a much more local and unique experience.
4. Pair a Beer with Macaroons at McDonald’s by the Vatican
Call me crazy, but the concept of either of these things being sold at McDonald’s is just wild. If you didn’t know, McDonald’s changes their menu based on country and location. In the United States, McDonald’s selling alcohol or nice desserts is unheard of. In Germany, beers flow like water. In Morocco, you can get a pita sandwich called the McArab. In Italy, alcohol in McDonald’s is very normal. There is a specific McDonald’s that is just a few blocks away that I remember having a deluxe macaroon bar (they take McCafe to a whole different level) and a couple of beers on the menu. If you’re visiting the Vatican on a hot summer day, this is a great way to cool off!
5. Wine and Dine on a Tiber River Dinner Cruise
I love dinner cruises, and they’re a favorite thing of mine to do whenever I am in a city that is split by a river. There is just something very unique about the city views you can get in the evening from on a boat. In Rome, this is taken to a whole new level. Imagine sailing down the Tiber river, steak in front of you and wine in hand, with views of the Coliseum and St. Peter’s Basilica passing you by. It is marvelous. Dinner cruises give you a great excuse to go out for the evening and dress up, and they also make for a fantastic date!
How to Get to Rome
Rome is the biggest city in Italy, and its main airport is the busiest in the entire country. I mentioned that when I ranked it as the best airport to fly into in Italy. Rome Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino Airport (FCO) is Rome’s main international airport, and getting into the city from the airport couldn’t be any easier. You can take a train directly from the airport to any of Rome’s stations, and tickets can be bought at the kiosks at the airport’s train station.
As I mentioned in my guide to finding cheap flights, utilizing hub airports is often the best way to find great flight routes and airfare. Fiumicino is by far the best hub airport in Italy. If you can’t find a great flight option into Fiumicino Airport, it doesn’t hurt to try out Rome’s other airport, Rome Ciampino International Airport (CIA). Ciampino isn’t nearly as busy as Fiumicino, but there’s always a chance you can find a great deal!
While the train works well to get into the city from either airport, the best way to get from the airports to your hotel in Rome if you have luggage is by booking a private transfer with our partners at Welcome Pickups. Welcome Pickups offers personalized, private, comfortable rides from the airport into the city for about the same price as a standard taxi. They monitor your flight status while you are in the air, and a driver will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name on it as soon as you arrive.
In many of my travel guides, I give recommendations for alternative airports in other nearby cities. Often, you can find a better flight deal into one of those other airports and then conveniently take a train to your destination. With Rome, that is just not necessary. Fiumicino will almost always have the best flight deal for you, and there is little need to look anywhere else. If you were to try and fly into anywhere else, though, I’d recommend Naples International Airport (NAP) as it is best option within a few hours of Rome.
Italy has one of the best connected train systems of any country I have ever visited. If you have the time, getting around Italy by train is always a great choice. You get to see great views of the countryside while riding in very high quality train cars.
If you are coming to Rome from any other part of Italy and would like to look into taking a train, it could not be any easier. Trenitalia (the national train line) has a fantastic website and it is fully functional in both Italian and English. You can simply plug in your origin city, set Rome as your destination, pick a date, and see the options that are available! For further information, I wrote a whole post about the Italian train system.
Prices vary based on the amount of stops that the train makes. Local trains (regionale) are the cheapest but take the longest. InterCity is the middle option, which costs more than the regionale but arrives much faster. On the high end is the Freccia (arrow) series of trains, which run very direct routes and arrive in a fraction of the time that a regionale takes, but for significantly more money.
How to Get Around Rome
METRO | TRAM | BUS | REGIONAL RAIL | TAXI
Rome has an extensive system of trams, metro lines, buses, and regional rails. The public transportation in Rome can get you close to pretty much anywhere you want to go. While the metro system is not very extensive at only three lines, the combination of means of transportation is very effective.
While you can buy daily, multi-day, and weekly passes, they tend to not be worth the price. A regular ticket costs €1.50 and gives you 100 minutes of unlimited public transportation on all buses, metros, trams, and light rails. These tickets can also be purchased at the Tobacco Stores as well as metro stations. Note that the ticket includes unlimited use of any means of public transportation for 100 minutes with the exception that you can only go on one metro trip per ticket.
What Is the Best Time of the Year to Visit Rome?
The answer to this question depends on what you are looking for. There is an answer to the worst time to visit Rome, though – July and August! The peak of the summer is very hot and it is also jam-packed with tourists. You will have a good time, but your trip will be significantly impacted by those two things.
If you are looking for peace and quiet, including the ability to tour all of the major tourist sites without waiting in massive lines, consider visiting in the early winter, around November. The weather will require you to wear a jacket, but it will probably not be freezing. If you can tolerate the cooler weather, this is easily the best time to visit Rome.
If you really want warmer weather, at least to the point where you don’t need to wear a jacket, consider visiting in the fall or spring. September to October and March to May are fantastic times to visit, where the weather is beautiful but the crowds still aren’t up to their massive levels like in the summer.
Is Rome the Best City to Visit in Italy?
Honestly, I think Rome is by far the best city to visit in Italy. I have visited just about every major city in Italy, and I think Rome blows them all away. Italy is an amazingly vibrant country, and Rome is its beating heart. The history and architecture that Rome has to offer is unmatched, the food is just as good as anywhere else in the country, and the central location of Rome makes it very easy to go on day trips to some of the other best cities in Italy.
After all, no other city in Italy contains another country, a wonder of the world, and 23 restaurants with Michelin stars within its borders. I mean, Naples does have one more Michelin star restaurant than Rome, but it can’t claim the other two things! I fully recommend Rome as the first city that you visit on your first trip to Italy.
Thanks for reading my Rome travel guide! Honestly, Rome is one of my favorite cities in the whole world, and it is one of few places that I would truly love to pack up and move to. If you have any more questions, be sure to drop a comment
If you’re planning a trip to Rome, let us know! We’d love to chat ahead of time and answer any questions you have. Otherwise, have a wonderful day and stay present!