The Eternal City of Rome is a cradle of an ancient civilization that once ruled the entirety of the Mediterranean and was a center of the Christian faith. Combine this with the warm climate of Italy, plenty of delicious food, and you’ll get a city unlike any other, attracting tourists from all around the world. Many travelers fall in love with this city. Italy’s capital has so much to offer to its guests, that sometimes it can be quite hard to decide which places and activities are the best, so additional travel tips listed in this blog might be necessary for those new to this glorious city.
Tips for sightseeing in Rome
Rome is the definition of a picturesque city. Its sights are indeed legendary, and, more importantly, extremely diverse. From the buildings of Ancient Rome to the complex and truly marvelous structures of the Renaissance Era and fountains filled with crystal-clear water, the architecture of Rome is one of the trademarks of this city. All of those wonders can feel overwhelming, so more precise planning of your trip explained in this blog will prove helpful.
Don’t try to see the Vatican Museums and Colosseum on the same day.
Each time Rome is mentioned, people automatically think of the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, or the Forums. All of those attractions are undoubtedly worth seeing, however, visiting all of them at once is a time-consuming task, and crowds of fellow tourists and long queues (which you can skip by buying museum tickets online) don’t make it any easier. The best thing to do would be to visit fewer sightseeing spots a day, and then switch to other activities, like tasting pasta. And don’t you even try to visit the Vatican and Colosseum on the same day - your mental health will thank you later.
Don’t forget about dress codes when sightseeing in Rome.
Proper clothing is a thing often overlooked by tourists, but an important one nonetheless. Wherever you go, it is often the best thing to respect local customs and traditions and be grateful for the hospitality shown to you, and Italy is no exception. Some places in Rome, especially churches and cathedrals of the Vatican, have a religious significance, so you’ll need to wear modest clothes. The same applies to restaurants. No one demands that you wear an expensive suit or a fancy dress, but decent clothing is a sign of good manners. You most certainly don’t want to leave a negative impression.
Tips for eating in Rome
The first thing you need to know about food in Rome and Italy, in general, is that meals are like an entire event, and events attract lots of people, meaning sometimes it’s impossible to find a free table. So if you’re looking for a meal at a restaurant, the best course of action is to take some time to reserve a table in advance if you don’t want to skip dinner. Water is another important aspect: Rome can be rather hot, so carrying a bottle of water is a necessity. But if you feel thirsty, you can safely drink water from public taps. Not only does Rome provide an astonishing amount of different food, but there are also options to learn some basics of the Italian cuisine.
Eat where locals eat.
The city of Rome is filled with all sorts of restaurants. But those restaurants in proximity to the sightseeing spots are aimed at tourists, which means prices are higher. A simple trick to know if a certain restaurant is for tourists or locals is to look if an omelet is present. If this is the case, you are most likely at a tourist restaurant. So the best thing you can do is spend some time figuring out where the local inhabitants eat. Eating where locals eat provides not only a good option to save money, but a way to experience the truest taste of Italian food and skip the queues of “mainstream” restaurants. Finding a free table is also easier in such lovely places. However, if you don’t feel like eating at a restaurant, street food is always a reliable option, and Rome has much to offer. There are even tours dedicated entirely to street food.
Tips are not mandatory but appreciated.
In Italy, tips are already included in your check, but you are more than welcome to express additional gratitude to the waiter if you want to.
Travel tips for getting around Rome.
The Italian capital possesses a well-developed and organized public transportation system. Metro and buses will be there to make your trip easier.
Avoid driving at all costs.
However, traveling around Rome by car is not recommended. The traffic jams in the city are crazy, and finding a parking spot can take forever, so don’t waste your time. Buses, on the other hand, are a preferable method both for traversing the Eternal City on your own and as a part of organized tours. Rome has more than 300 bus lines and more than eight thousand bus stops. Some night-time routes are present as well. Public transport in Rome is cheap and accessible, with one trip on public transport costing just €1.50. It is essential to buy tickets in advance since you can’t buy one directly on the bus. To buy a ticket, simply visit one of the many Tabacchi shops that dot the city, signified by the black and white letter T. Metro is also a valid option, since it covers most of the city, with Centro Storico being an unfortunate exception. For those seeking to enjoy the wonders of Rome’s center, the bus remains a reliable alternative, alongside traversing the city center on a golf cart.
Be vigilant when watching for pickpockets.
To avoid “mysteriously losing” your money or your phone in Rome, you better follow a few simple rules. First and foremost, don’t carry excessive amounts of cash with you. Of course, cash is essential, since cards are not accepted everywhere. But planning your expenses in advance largely prevents you from losing all your money in case of thievery. Another useful tip is to forget about your back pockets while in Rome - an unsuspecting tourist stunned by the magnificence of the Eternal City is the best target for pickpockets, and you don’t want your trip to end with your phone or money being stolen.
Paying for things in Rome.
Travelers rely mostly on credit cards. While this is undoubtedly a convenient and time-saving method, it’s not the best when it comes to Rome. Huge businesses and international retailers situated in the city are likely to accept payments by card, but small local businesses tend to work with cash.
Always carry cash.
Many small local restaurants, souvenir shops, and convenience stores accept payment in cash only. Keep currency of different denominations. Managing all those coins and notes can be quite tricky, especially for those preferring to travel with only a handful of things, but there are also positives. For example, some shop owners may offer a discount to those guests paying in cash, so you can even save some money.
Where to stay in Rome?
Rome offers a great variety of places to stay while resting in-between your travels. You may book a hotel or rent an apartment.
Centro Storico is the most central place to stay in Rome.
If you want to stay in a location closest to the center of Rome, Centro Storico is your choice. It’s a beautiful district in proximity to many attractions, but this renders Centro Storico a quite expensive location to stay in.
Trastevere is also incredibly popular.
If you’re looking for more affordable accommodation in the Italian capital, you should consider booking a room in Trastevere. It’s not as crowded with tourists as Centro Storico, and its streets are not as filled with cars as the rest of Rome. It’s also not devoid of things to see - a famous 12th-century construction Basilica di Santa Maria is located here, so you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful time.
If you’re staying further out, check for metro stops near your hotel.
An obvious piece of advice for fellow travelers, but still an important one. Make sure to learn what transportation routes are nearby to your hotel, so you won't get lost.
Leaving your room key at the hotel is common.
A long-standing tradition requires tourists to leave their room keys at the hotels in Italy, especially in Rome. Some visitors may find this custom a bit odd and be rightfully worried about their belongings left in the room. Cases of stealing are uncommon, so there’s no need to panic.
Your passport information will be taken when you check in.
A simple security measure you should be aware of. A hotel needs to know who is checking in, so taking your passport information isn’t something you should be mad about.