Travel

Rome Ultimate Guide – All You Need to Know about the Eternal City

7. February 2018

There is still one post missing to complete my Rome package. In addition to my Dining Guide and my guide about the best bars and clubs, you will also need a guide for the basic things – things to do and logistics. I hope this posts makes your trip to Italy fabulous!

Rome Guide Steps Piazza di Spagna

Since I was a child, I have been to Rome countless time. This is me at the Spanish Steps in 2014.

Things to Do

I do not want to focus on the obvious sights, I am sure that most of you know about the Colosseum or the Forum Romanum. And even if you do not, there are plenty of other bloggers who have covered the major tourist locations extensively. I would like to share my personal highlights here with you. Some are obvious places, and I hope most of them are not so obvious.

Museums

Before every trip to Rome, I check online for current exhibitions. There is no need to tell you that the art scene in Rome is amazing. There is pretty much everything – from ancient to contemporary art. If there is no exhibition which sounds interesting for you, the Vatican Museums are always a good idea. Even if you have visited, there are so many exhibits that it is very difficult to see everything in one day. Make sure to pre-book your ticket, lines are very long.

Rome Guide Colosseum

There are the obvious sights you have to see in Rome. However, I am focussing on my personal favourites in this post. 

MAXXI 

This museum designed by Zaha Hadid is dedicated to art of the 21st century. This museum does not only cover visual arts but also really cool topics such as physics or environmental issues. Last time, there was an exhibition dedicated to the future of urban planning.

Galleria Borghese and Park

The building itself is beautiful, decorated with marble and beautiful frescoes. But the exhibits are even more breathtaking. You have to see Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne sculpture.

Rome Guide Piazza del Popolo

View of Piazza del Popolo from the Park of the Villa Borghese.

After your visit, take a walk in the beautiful park of the Villa Borghese. It is such a beautiful green oasis right in the middle of Rome. Furthermore, you will get one of the best views of the city, looking down to Piazza del Popolo.

Walk in Trastevere

Trastevere means on the other side of the River Tiber. I really like the neighbourhood. You can explore the architecture, try small restaurants and cafés and hang out with the local crowd in one of the many hip bars. On weekends, there is a flea market.

Campo de’ Fiori

It is a very touristy place, but I do love the whole area around Campo de’ Fiori. Especially the small bakeries near the Campo offering “Baci di Dama” – a type of cookie made of hazelnut and “glued” together with chocolate.

Rome Guide Bridge

A relaxing walk on a winter day in 2016. Picture courtesy of Christian Niedermüller

Villa Farnesina

Just a stone’s throw away from Campo de’Fiori, there is the site which will make any architecture enthusiast skip a beat: the Villa Farnesina. Built in the 16th century for the Sienese banker Agostino Chigi it is a beautiful architectural example and also has stunning frescoes by Raphael inside.

Fun in the Sun

The beach is not too far – you can take the train to Ostia and the areas near it and enjoy a day at the place where Romans spend their weekend if they do not leave the city in summer.

Rome Guide Piazza di Spagna

No matter which season, the Piazza di Spagna is always one of the busiest parts of the city.

Shopping

Well, there is no trip to Italy without shopping. There are the busy streets of Via del Corso (international brands) and Via Condotti (luxury brands) but I usually do not spend much time there. I walk over to Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina and then walk towards the Pantheon area and Piazza Navona. From there, I explore the small streets until I reach Campo de’ Fiori. I like the small boutiques where I can find unique pieces I would not find anywhere else.

Rome Guide Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona on a winter day in 2016.

Relax

If you need a break from all the walking and carrying your shopping bags, I highly recommend the spa at the Hotel de Russie. You can book treatments even if you are not a hotel guest. (Via del Babuino 9)

Day Trip Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana

For all the art and history lovers, a day trip to Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana (Roman emperor Hadrian’s home) are a must. You should factor in a day. The sights are accessible by bus.

Rome Guide View

I hope I am not boring you with all the beautiful views!

Stay at

I absolutely love the BDB Luxury Rooms concept. They have multiple outlets all over the city centre. The rooms are in residential areas in nice houses and really stylish. Usually, they offer rooms with included breakfast. However, this breakfast is usually around the corner in a café. I really liked that concept. Depending on when you book, prices are in the medium range. I have stayed in the two branches near the Piazza di Spagna (Margutta and Spagna).

An alternative which is a bit more expensive is Roma Boutique Hotel  in Via Toscana. It is also in a nice area, a bit further than the two BDB rooms I stayed in. The rooms are super stylish.

Best Time to Travel to Rome

I highly recommend the time from September until December. It can still be very warm and sunny even in November. I would at all cost avoid the busy summer months from June until August – it is extremely hot and crowded and definitely not fun. Also, bear in mind that Rome is the capital for Roman Catholics. Hence, it can be very crowded around the major Christian holidays, such as Christmas, Easter or Whit Monday.

Rome Guide View Vittorio Emmanuele

Wherever you go, beautiful views are part of the atmosphere.

How to Get There

Rome has two airports – Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) and Ciampino. The former is used by the major airlines while the latter serves budget carriers.

From the airport, it is the best idea to take the train to the city centre. The airport is quite far from the city and traffic can be nasty. The express train costs EUR 14 (USD 17) and heads directly to Roma Termini station. You can also take the normal train, which is a bit cheaper (EUR 8, USD 10). The latter is the best idea if you are staying somewhere near Campo de’ Fiori or the Pantheon. It takes about 30 minutes to go to the city centre by train. It is very important that you do not forget to validate your tickets just before entering the trains. There is a small box in the platform area.

Rome Guide View Rooftop Gardens

I love those rooftop gardens!!!

There is a flat right for taxis from the airport to the city at EUR 48 (USD 60). It takes about 30-40 minutes, depending on the traffic.

Roma Termini is one of the biggest train stations in Europe and has many trains from all across Europe taking you to the Eternal City.

Currency

Italy is part of the Eurozone. Therefore, the currency is the Euro.

Language

In the major tourist spots, it will be ok to use English. However, if you venture out into more local areas, I recommend learning a few basic phrases in Italian. At least, how to say Hello, Thank you and order. Italians are very friendly and if they see you are making an effort, they will gladly help you.

 

You can find all my tips on this handy map:

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6 Comments

  • Reply Brittany 10. February 2018 at 3:54

    I love that you focused on more off-the-beaten-path spots! Trastevere is my favorite area of Rome!

    • Reply Liz 10. February 2018 at 8:29

      Trastevere is such a nice area. So many small restaurants and boutiques!

  • Reply Harmony, Momma To Go 10. February 2018 at 4:12

    I love Rome! Going to the beach on a day trip is a such a great idea. I lived in Trasetvere when I was studying abroad – I highly recommend it!

    • Reply Liz 10. February 2018 at 8:30

      Oh that must have been amazing to stay there while you studied there! I’m jealous!!!

  • Reply Kavita Favelle | Kavey Eats 10. February 2018 at 8:42

    It’s such a beautiful and historic city isn’t it? Lovely guide for first time visitors but also something for those who’ve been before too — I’ve added Maxxi to my list for my next visit!

    • Reply Liz 11. February 2018 at 4:20

      Thank you so much for your feedback! You will love Maxxi for sure, it is such a cool place. And I love the café in their garden!

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