Rome, the capital of Italy, and one of Europe’s most famous cities, is a central tourist attraction that draws travelers from all over the world. While there, you can discover Italy’s rich historical past like in Tuscany, eat plenty of gourmet Italian food, make new friends like the locals, and much more! If you’re planning to visit Rome soon, then this guide is definitely for you.
Rome attracts tourists from everywhere. Undoubtedly, the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain (the one you see on Instagram every now and then) are Rome’s most famous sights. Find more about them down below.
The iconic Roman Colosseum is an ancient Roman monument that still stands today and it is what Rome is mostly famous for. Built in 80 CE, the emperor Vespasian didn’t live to see it finished. The Colosseum gathers millions of tourists yearly.
Whether you are studying history, archeology, or are just keen to discover Rome, then the Colosseum should be your number one destination. It’s open from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, from Monday to Friday, and it closes on Saturday and Sunday. A ticket to tour the Colosseum is available for 24 hours, and it won’t cost you much, approximately $20 and you can also buy it online.
Trevi Fountain, or Fontana di Trevi, is another beautiful monument of Rome, and one of the most famous fountains in the entire world. Located in Piazza Di Trevi, Rome, and due to its marvelous architecture and crystal clear blue waters, the fountain is loved by every tourist that visits Rome.
A legend says that when you throw a coin in the river you’ll definitely revisit Rome one day. Although very beautiful, the monument can however get really crowded so make sure you go early if you plan on taking some souvenirs. It’s also surrounded by restaurants.
Churches and Museums
The Romans have a background of putting a great emphasis on religion and faith historically speaking, which is why Rome is full of beautiful churches and cathedrals everywhere.
With Catholicism being the most common religion in Rome, and all around Italy, still quite a percentage of the churches are still having mass and services, or are also open to the public for mediation and viewing.
Talking about history, Rome also has some of the world’s prettiest and most historical museums that you can visit.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Located in the Vatican City, an independent city-state, Saint Peter’s Basilica is one of the most sacred places in Rome, Italy, and the world. It’s also a highly important pilgrimage site. Saint Peter was the leader of the twelve apostles of Jesus, and he was the very first Pope.
The church receives thousands of tourists yearly and even accepts people of different religions, with some rules. You should certainly mind the dress code if you choose to visit. In order to get to St. Peter’s Basilica, you can take the metro from Rome which takes around 11 minutes and should cost you between $1 and $4.
The Capitoline Museums
The Capitoline Museums are a series of art and history museums in Piazza del Campidoglio. If you want your trip to be a bit knowledgeable, you should pay these museums a visit. The world’s oldest museums were founded in 1471 and they are made of two buildings, with the Palazzo dei Conservatori as the main entrance.
The museum is open from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm and it’s even open during the weekend. An attraction pass to locations like these can vary in price, so it’s best to check the official websites of the museums for the best deal. In order to avoid waiting in a long queue for the tickets, make sure you buy them online.
Nightlife in Rome
Nightlife in Rome is very exquisite. There are plenty of bars, lounges, clubs, and night markets that you can discover and end your night the right way. Rome at night becomes a lively city and the typical Roman night would start at 7 pm, your dinner time, where you can have a delicious Italian meal and enjoy some local wine.
Clubs and lounges
Italian coffee isn’t the only known drink in Italy, so if you are a wine enthusiast, Rome has much to offer. Bars and nightclubs in Rome are very common and you wouldn’t have a hard time finding one. A local pub in Rome is called Birreria and the most popular ones are found in Piazza Navona and Campo de Fiori.
Jerry Thomas Speakeasy, for instance, is a private social club in Ponte for those who love vintage vibes. The club offers good cocktails and good company.
You can also visit Alcazar Live, a hub for live music events, art exhibitions, theater, and jazz bands. The club used to be an old cinema, now it serves good drinks and is the place where you can have fun safely as the club is secured.
There are many night markets in Rome where you can enjoy street food, buy souvenirs, and fall in love with Rome’s nightly atmosphere: the vibrant colors, lights, and cheerful people. These include Riverside Market and Mercato Campo de Fiori.
Riverside Market is the right place for foodies, especially during summer. It is by the river and you’d find more than food. The market also sells souvenirs, clothes, and even vases in case you’re interested in home decor.
Mercato Campo de Fiori is another market located near Piazza Navona and it welcomes tourists at night too. It is one of the oldest markets in Rome. During the day, it sells veggies, fruits, fish, meat, and homemade pastes, and during the night, you can have drinks, cocktails, and street food.
Restaurants and Bars
Rome is famous for authentic Italian pasta and dishes. If you’re familiar with the movie Eat, Pray, Love (2010), you’d understand exactly why Elizabeth Gilbert chose Rome for her foodie journey.
You can find restaurants in every corner of Rome and they all compete to be the best, offer the best food and ambiance, and attract the most customers. As you start the day, you should get the Roman espresso and pastry, which wouldn’t cost you more than $5.
Gelato in Rome can be eaten anywhere, anytime, and during any season.
The most recommended restaurants in Rome would be Ostria Da Fortunata and Stefano of Rome, serving all kinds of pasta and traditional Roman foods including Pasta alla Carbonara, Maritozzi, and Coda alla Vaccinara.
Prices of food in Rome vary between $9 and 30$ and they can go all the way up to $50 so make sure you check the menus before ordering and choose the restaurant that aligns with your budget. There are many restaurants perfect for a tourist on a budget.
Roman Drinking Culture
Drinking, especially wine, is a way of life in Rome and drinks are a crucial aspect of the Roman food culture. Plus, having wine in moderation can be really good for your health. Typical Romans rarely eat without drinking wine so it’s something very common that you’ll encounter.
Aperitivo is a word you’d definitely hear in Rome, and it means a pre-drink drink. This is a habit of Romans and they usually tend to ask for wine, for instance, as an aperitivo.
To have it in bars or clubs, you get to have crackers and snacks alongside it. Every meal you get to have is better with wine in Rome and it’s mostly common to order a liter, or half, of wine when dining out.
Tips to Consider
Rome is a massive city where you get to have plenty of fun and meet many new people. There are certain global tips that you just keep in mind so your trip doesn’t get spoiled.
Beware of Scammers
Scamming is very common in Rome due to its centrism and the fact that it attracts people from every corner of the world. Certain tourists are an easy target to scam so you should always act smart and avoid suspicious situations. Thieves are everywhere, so in order to secure your wallet, make sure you avoid wearing a backpack. Anti-theft bags and purses would be your ultimate savior or you can wear a money belt and carry less stuff with you. Also, make sure you avoid sticky situations and never give your personal information to strangers.
Dress Appropriately at Religious Sites
If you’re going to include churches on your tour of Rome, make sure you dress properly and respect the place. The dress code is very simple. You’d just have to cover your knees and shoulders, and not walk barefoot.
Most churches in Rome have their rules on signs on the door but it’s great to be aware of such rules beforehand. It shows that you’re respecting the culture of the place you’re visiting.
Always Ask for the Menus in Restaurants
Some restaurants in Rome are usually in danger of being overpriced. Not to generalize across all, as most of them offer really good food, but restaurants with no menus are potentially overpriced and designed as ‘tourist traps’.
Sometimes, staff take advantage of tourists and increase the price after they assume you’re not one of the locals. You don’t want to get into a heated argument, so it’s better to avoid such situations or to ask for menus with prices. If the waiter/waitress refuses to do so, then it’d be best to leave and find other restaurants.
Rome is one of the most beautiful and culturally-rich cities in Europe. There are endless things to do as a tourist, or someone planning to live there. You get to enjoy all aspects of the city, its attractions and sights, cultural side, food, drinks, and people! It will leave an impact on you and your travel bucket list would be grateful.