Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Rome Guide: All You Need to Know About Traveling to Rome

January 1, 2024

Rome is Italy’s capital and largest city, with a population of nearly 3 million. It is consistently ranked among the 20 most visited cities in the world. This is not surprising, because Rome has a rich historical, cultural and architectural heritage.

Rome is a great place for those who want to see ancient buildings, learn about ancient Roman history, and enjoy the busy city life. In Rome, you can try amazing Italian food, walk around the city center, see incredible attractions, and experience the Italian way of life.

Plus, Rome is not only rich in history and charm but also offers plenty of romantic activities. Amidst ancient wonders, delightful Italian cuisine, and the vibrant city life, there are numerous romantic things to do in Rome.

In this article we go through, point by point, what a tourist should know about Rome when planning a holiday in Rome. We write about transport options and other useful information. We also show you the most important sights and tell you about the photo spots we have discovered. Moreover, we also present our personal experiences, which might be useful for those who are not yet familiar with Rome or even Italy.

So here are some travel tips for Rome to consider if you are planning a trip to the Italian capital.

How to get to Rome

There are many ways to get to Rome, but the two most common are by plane or by car. The train may also be a good option for travel from other Italian cities. If you are coming from abroad, however, we would recommend either a plane or a car. The latter only if you are from neighboring European countries.

Flying within Europe to Rome is relatively cheap and there are many flights. The big disadvantage of the international airport is that it is far from the city, so you will need to arrange a special shuttle to get to the city center. However, the cheapest way to get to Rome is to fly with one of the budget airlines and then take public transport within the city.

If you are traveling by car, the A1 highway is the quickest route. It is important to note that Italy has the most expensive highway tolls in Europe. There is a gated toll system where huge sums are charged for road sections. Fuel is also relatively expensive in Italy. Unfortunately, the car is still the most flexible way to travel, so it is our choice in most cases.

Also, worth mentioning is the Italian driving style, which is at its peak around Rome (and Naples). Italians have a rather specific way of interpreting traffic rules, which means that most of the time they don’t care. But while in northern Italy this amounts to not indexing, in Rome you have to be prepared for anything. They don’t give way, they honk, flash their horns, are impatient and rude. The only place more difficult than Rome is Naples, where it’s almost impossible to see a car that hasn’t been wrecked. They may say that this is just our opinion, but the many months we have spent in Italy so far prove us right again and again. So car travel in Italy is only recommended for experienced and quick reacting drivers.

Transport within Rome

The cheapest way is to use public transport within the city. You can buy a so-called Roma Pass for a good price, which gives you access to attractions and unlimited public transport in the city for 48 or 72 hours. Buses run very frequently in the city center and there are good connections. The only problem is that the buses are very overcrowded. We have not tried the metro, but we suspect the same situation.

It is also important to know that Rome has very strict ZTL (limited traffic zone) rules, which make driving in the city quite difficult. If you enter Rome’s ZTL area without authorisation, you can expect heavy fines. When planning a car journey, this should also be taken into account. In our case, it worked for us to book a hotel outside the ZTL, leave the car in its car park and then walk or take the bus around the city. Or we parked the car outside the historic area (the most restricted) of the ZTL and continued our journey on foot.

Alternatively, a flexible but a bit expensive way to get around Rome is to take taxis. Taxis can enter ZTL streets, so this is probably the easiest way to get around the city quickly. No parking and no crowds on the bus.

Services and costs in Rome

Italian service standards are roughly in the middle of the European average, or slightly below. Admittedly, we have never experienced the enormous hospitality that we hear about Italians in the media, even though we have travelled a lot in Italy. However, it is still a place worth visiting.

On the positive side, services are generally not expensive and everything is easily accessible. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants in Rome, catering for all needs, usually at good prices, although prices have gone up quite a bit recently.

What Rome is famous for, apart from its architecture and ancient heritage, is definitely its restaurants. On almost every corner there are dozens of restaurants with the best food. Like in many cities, there are also wonderful rooftop restaurants and bars in Rome, where you can enjoy delicious Italian cuisine with a beautiful view.

Pro tip: Just be aware that many places are closed for a few hours in the afternoon.

In terms of quality and ratings, restaurants with more than 4 stars on Google Maps have not really disappointed us in Italy.

Other services, such as masseurs, spas and gyms, are easily available in Rome, as in any big city. Overall, Rome is not an expensive city and there is a wide range of services in almost all areas.

The only expensive thing, as we have written, is the car, for which tolls and fuel are also expensive.

When to visit Rome

Rome is a good destination all year round because of its good climate. The winters are mild, making the city easy to get around in winter. In summer, however, it is perhaps a little too hot. We would recommend spring and autumn, which are the most pleasant times to visit almost any European city.

How long to spend in Rome

There is no time to feel bored in Rome, there are so many tourist attractions.

The ideal amount of time to spend in Rome is around 3–6 days, during which time you can see most of the sights.

If you can only spend a short time in Rome, we recommend the 3-day Rome itinerary provided in the link.

Best places to visit in Rome

These are the must-see places to visit in Rome:


The Colosseum is the huge amphitheater of ancient Rome, and today it is the main attraction of the city. The Colosseum is considered by many to be one of the must-see places to visit once in a lifetime.

Construction of the Colosseum began during the reign of Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD at the southeast end of the Roman Forum. It was completed in 80 AD. The Colosseum is an elliptical ground plan, 188 m long, 156 m wide and 48.5 m high, a complex structure built of limestone, tufa and brick. The rows of seats are divided by exits and pedestrian corridors, which ensured the presence of about 50-75 thousand people in the amphitheater.

It was a site of animal and gladiator fights in ancient Rome.

Pro tip: with a Full Experience ticket, you can explore more parts of the Colosseum, like the arena.

Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

The Roman Forum was the main public square of ancient Rome, the square between the Capitolium and the Palatine Hill, which was the meeting point of the commercial and political world. Despite its small size, there were many buildings and monuments here. For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections, the venue for public speeches, and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great men.

Palatine Hill, the most central of Rome’s seven hills, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called “the first nucleus of the Roman Empire”. Today, the site is mainly a large open-air museum, while the Palatine Museum houses many finds from excavations here and other ancient Italian sites. Imperial palaces were built there, such as that of Emperor Augustus.

Today, only the ruins of the statues and buildings can be seen, but it is definitely worth a look if you are in the area.

Pro tip: the museum on the Palatine can only be visited with a Full Experience ticket.

Altare della Patria

Also known as II. Victor Emanuel Monument, an Italian national monument. It is located in the center of Rome, next to Piazza Venezia. II. Victor Emmanuel was the first king of united Italy. It is of great importance from an architectural and artistic point of view, and is considered one of the important national symbols of Italy. The building’s terraces offer fantastic views of the surrounding streets and Piazza Venezia. It is free to visit, but you need to book an entrance ticket to the museum.

Vatican City

The Vatican is the world’s smallest independent state with the smallest area and population, which is completely surrounded by Rome. The head of state is the Pope. During a visit to the Vatican, one of the two main attractions is the Vatican Museum, where you can see an amazing collection of art treasures, and you can also enter the famous Sistine Chapel. You have to book a ticket to the Museum, it’s worth it in advance online.

The other, and at the same time the most famous, is St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s Basilica is the number one sanctuary of the Roman Catholic Church, one of the four major basilicas. Its capacity is approximately 60,000 people. The basilica and the square in front of it can be visited free of charge. In the case of the basilica, pay attention to your clothing.

Castel Sant’Angelo

The Castel Sant’Angelo is the tomb of Emperor Hadrian in Rome. It was built in the 2nd century. It stands on the right bank of the Tevere, and is connected to the city by the Ponte Sant’Angelo. There is a museum in the castle, for which you have to buy a ticket.


The Pantheon is one of the most significant works of ancient architecture, which still stands today in its former form in the center of Rome. In front of the cylindrical main building is a colonnade with sixteen Corinthian columns made of granite. The rotunda itself is covered by a concrete ceiling with a circular opening nine meters in diameter in the middle. Almost two thousand years after its construction, the dome of the Pantheon is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. The Pantheon is free to visit.

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is one of the largest and most famous fountains in Rome. The baroque fountain was built in the 17th century. There is a legend attached to the Trevi Fountain, according to which whoever throws in a coin will surely return to Rome. The coin must be thrown into the water with the right hand, over the left shoulder. It is believed that two coins thrown into a well bring luck in finding a spouse, while three coins help in divorce. Thousands of euro coins are thrown into the fountain every day. These are collected at night and used to help the poor people of Rome.

Pro tip: if you don’t want huge crowds at the Trevi Fountain, go out early in the morning, at sunrise.

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are a series of decorated outdoor stone steps in the center of Rome that lead down from the Santa Trinita dei Monti church on the hillside to the Piazza di Spagna. The monumental decorative staircase consists of 135 steps. It is one of the most famous attractions in Rome. Since 2019, it is forbidden to sit on the stairs, but many tourists still do it.

Optional activities if you want to see more of Rome

Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla are Roman Emperor Caracalla’s bath building in Rome. It was built at the beginning of the 3rd century and was used until the middle of the 6th century. Its floor plan consisted of a hall system of round and polygonal rooms connected to each other, covered with a cross vault and a dome.

The Baths of Caracalla are one of the best-preserved Roman baths. The interesting thing about the place is that you can get 3D glasses, which you can use to see what the original building looked like in ancient times.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a square in the historic center of Rome, decorated with three baroque fountains. The square was originally a Roman arena. Today, Piazza Navona is one of the busiest squares in the Italian capital, lined with cafés and restaurants.


Roman catacombs are underground burial places in Italy, some of them are long, deep tunnels of former travertine or natural cement mines. More than 40 Roman catacombs are known, and some have only been discovered in recent decades. The total length of the catacombs is about 150 km. The most famous of them are the early Christian underground cemeteries and shelters, which are in separate catacombs or even connected to each other. The most popular in Rome are the Catacombs of St. Callixtus and The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian. The catacombs are usually only accessible on guided tours. The famous Via Appia, the ancient Roman road, is also easily accessible from these two.

Other information to know about Rome

We try to present the city objectively, but it is very difficult. We love Italy, but we have a lot of ambivalent feelings. As we have noticed until now, this is true for many tourists. There are many beautiful parts of Italy, which are nicely shown to tourists, but there is also enormous poverty and very dirty, smelly areas. This becomes more prevalent the further south you travel. So forget what you have seen in the movies about Italy. The beautiful landscapes are truly magical, the Italian food is delicious, the weather is fantastic in most places. But in fact, there are many rules and prohibitions that make life difficult for tourists. And partly because Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, there are almost constant traffic jams, queues and sometimes you almost have to fight for a good photo.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning public safety. Rome, like many large European cities, has a high crime rate. This mainly means pickpockets and petty robberies. So always take care of your belongings.

As this article shows, Rome can have a very ambivalent effect on tourists. Many love it and return, many visit only once and never become fans. We believe that Rome is a must-see because it has a historical heritage that no other European city has. If you are thinking of organizing a holiday in Rome, we hope this article has helped you.

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