Everything you need to easily and simply plan your trip to Rome.
Rome! What’s not to love about the Eternal City? The ancient sites and cobblestone streets captivate and guide you from one adventure to another. The food is divine, the weather is perfect, and the people will charm you from the very first “Buongiorno!”
This easy guide to Rome will get you on the right path when planning your own Roman holiday. Only have a few days? No problem. With these tips, you’ll avoid lines, eat like a local, and soak in every moment.
We had an unexpected extra night in Rome and a few hotel points burning a hole in our pocket, so we spent our first night in Rome at Hotel Indigo. Our time at this beautiful boutique hotel was thoroughly enchanting. The decor and atmosphere are what dreams are made of. The staff is warm, welcoming, and helpful. Check-in was a breeze and the room was refreshing to walk into after an early morning of international travel.
Before we headed out to dinner, we enjoyed cocktails on the hotel’s rooftop bar and loved it so much that we returned after our excursion for a nightcap. I’m still swooning just thinking about it. My only regret is that we didn’t cancel our AirBNB, max out our credit cards, and book a room for the remainder of our trip.
Your lodging has the ability to make or break a trip. International travel to an unfamiliar city can be nerve-wracking if you’re not a frequent traveler. I cannot stress enough the importance of staying in a clean, welcoming, and stress-free environment.
Here are a few additional lodgings with great reviews and a friendly price tag for your trip to Rome.
- Hotel Santa Maria in Trastevere: https://www.hotelsantamariatrastevere.it/
- Rome Life Hotel: http://www.romelifehotel.com/
- Hotel Indigo: http://www.romestgeorge.hotelindigo.com/
- Eitch Borromini: http://www.eitchborromini.com/en/
- Hotel Lunetta: https://www.hotellunetta.com/en/
- Hotel Daphne: http://www.daphne-rome.com/en/about-us.htm
Avoid Airbnb in Rome
Avoid staying in an AirBNB when visiting Rome. My hosts were kind and helpful but that is where the hospitality stopped.
The photos and reviews were extremely misleading. What the apartment lacked in natural light in made up for in mildew, mold, once rejected furniture.
You simply cannot go wrong with food in Rome. Chances are, you’re planning to eat lots of pizza and cannolis while drinking copious amounts of limoncello and wine. Which you should! But don’t be afraid to mix it up. Here are a few other dishes that are worth giving a try:
Tortelli di Zucca (tortellini filled with pumpkin): Sounds a little crazy but it’s a local favorite. Usually served in a butter sage sauce, it’s a fresh, yet hearty dish. Trust me, you won’t be missing the meat or the red sauce.
Suppli: A combination of soft rice, fresh veggies, and delicious cheese, rolled into a ball and fried to crispy perfection. Ummm… sign me up. Literally, I adore everything about this mighty little appetizer.
Gelato: This might sound like a no brainer dessert in Rome but there is so much more. With flavors like ricotta stregata (fresh ricotta cheese, crunchy hazelnuts, citrusy lemon, orange peel, and a dash of Strega liqueur) and cioccolato con peperoncino gelato (hot pepper-infused dark chocolate gelato), there is plenty to push your taste buds. Try something new and know you can always go with something safer at your next gelato stop.
See and Do
Visit the Vatican Museum
I’ll be honest; aside from the Sistine Chapel, I did zero research on what else to see at the Vatican Museum. Upon arrival, we decided to take the standard walking tour that eventually ends at the Sistine Chapel. It was time-intensive and a bit crowded — but oh my word — it was beautiful. Rooms upon rooms of ancient sculptures, master artists’ paintings, and, the beautiful architecture that completely surrounds you. The Matisse Room and the Gallery of Maps was by far my favorites on the tour
Also, make sure to stop by the carriage house. The various modes of transportation that previous popes have used are on display and it’s pretty neat. Everything from horse and carriage livery, to the Popemobile, and a replica of Pope Francis’ Renault 4.
The Colosseum and Forum
I was skeptical, but these landmarks absolutely live up to every last bit of hype. There is something breathtaking and overwhelming about standing in the Colosseum. The magnitude of what the Romans achieved in architecture hits you. Additionally, the view of the city just cannot be beaten.
I would encourage you to hire a tour guide. There isn’t much around to explain what you are seeing, but with a guide, you can learn some exciting history and insights. Otherwise, you’re kind of just wandering around like, “Wow look at this crazy arch… I wonder what it’s for? Man those doors are pretty neat…are they important? Check out this rock!…. Oh wait, I think that’s just a rock.”
Also, plan to spend a solid half-day here and pack a snack. There are so many things to see other than the Colosseum. You’ll be disappointed if you have to leave early to catch another appointment.
Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza Navona
These are stops that are usually on everyone’s list, and with good reason. Each is breathtaking, and you could easily walk to all of them on the same day. Take your time, you are not in a rush. It’s not like Disney World where you’ve got to wait in line and there is a big ride at the end. The only “activity” at each of these sites is to simply take it in. So don’t rush. You are free to shop, drink, and eat along the way. Pace yourself.
A Few Tips
Like A Local
For detailed instructions on how to skip the lines, purchase tickets ahead of time, and see reviews on the best tour guides and restaurants, visit https://www.romewise.com/. Written by an American who now lives in Rome, She and her Roman hubby run a bed and breakfast. In addition to running the B&B, she finds the best restaurants, travel hacks and vendors in order to ensure her guests have the best experience possible.
Early Bird Gets the Photo
The crowds in Rome, while kind, are no joke. Locals, tourists, and the Vespas run wild through the streets. Unfortunately, I was unable to get anywhere close to the Trevi Fountain. And while the Spanish Steps were still beautiful, it felt like I was in a pack of dogs trying not to trip over legos as we all made our way to the top.
If viral-worthy photos are what you are after plan for a sunrise stroll or middle of the night visit to these ancient ruins.
My sandals were adorable but not the best for the copious amounts of walking. HERE is a link to an article with the best sandals for travel.
Something about the Eternal City sinks underneath your skin.
It will turn any skeptic into a romantic and soften the heart of any miser. You’ll visit Rome for the sites but you’ll want to return to Rome because you fell in love with the person you became while you were there. Have you had your own Roman adventure? Share the tips you’d like to pass along to fellow adventurers in the comments! Also check out some of my other travel adventures HERE.