Your Ultimate Guide to

Rome

Ciao Bella and welcome to one of the most romantic cities in the world.

 

Reminders of Rome’s golden age as caput mundi (capital of the world) are everywhere, whether you’re squeezing against a Roman wall to let a Vespa buzz by or sipping an aperitivo in the shadow of St Peter’s Basilica. And don’t even get us started on the food …

 

So where to start when planning your Roman adventure?

 

Here are our picks of the best things to see and do in Rome.

 

When to Visit Rome

With so many world class attractions in Rome, there is no bad time to visit.

 

Summer is fantastic for a buzzing atmosphere and plenty of excuses to cool off with freshly-churned gelato. However, August is when the local schools are on holiday so some hotels, shops and restaurants close.

 

The weather in spring is warm and sunny and there are fewer crowds at the most popular tourist attractions in Rome. You can also expect plenty of traditional celebrations around the Vatican at Easter.

 

Autumn brings a host of cultural events and beautiful foliage to Borghese Park, while winter is one of the cheapest times to visit. Be aware that some attractions will be closed or operating reduced hours however.

How to See Rome

Whether you’re keen to shop in the artisan boutiques of Monti or learn about 3,000 years of history in a single stroll, there are so many top things to see in Rome that careful planning is key.

 

Locating your nearest tourist point and asking for a walking map of Rome’s attractions as soon as you arrive is a good idea. If money is a concern, buying a Roma pass is also worthwhile. It gets you free or discounted entry into most museums, as well as free public transport.

 

Find more top tips for getting around and the best ways to see Rome’s attractions with our five minute guide to the city.

Popular Tourist Attractions in Rome

With Renaissance frescoes and works of art by great masters seemingly in every courtyard, it can be hard to navigate Rome’s tourist attractions. Narrow it down with our curated guide.

Vatican city is the smallest independent state in the world, yet it’s a treasure trove of art by the likes of Michelangelo and Bernini, making it one of the top cultural attractions in Rome. Step inside the Roman Forum to feel as if you’ve travelled back in time 2,000 years and spot the oldest mosaics in the city at the Santa Maria Maggiore.

Other key attractions include the Pantheon, the Basilica of St. John Lateran and the Piazza Navona.

Tours & Packages Rome

Rome may not have been built in a day, but you can get a decent sense of it in 24 hours with the right tour.

There are countless walking tours in Rome, from food tours to street art and Roman history options. The best part? Many of them are free.

Alternately, cover more ground with a vespa or segway tour of Rome.

Other unmissable options include delving into the Roman catacombs, the perfect place to escape extreme weather, and tours of the Colosseum, the scene of brutal gladiator fights in ancient times.

A tour of the lost city of Pompeii, frozen in time beneath a shroud of ash, is one of the top things to do in Italy and it’s doable on a day trip from Rome. If you don’t fancy braving the roads yourself, try Enjoy Rome’s round-trip shuttle bus.

 

Top Things to Do in Rome

So you’ve craned your neck at the Sistine Chapel and explored Palatine Hill. What should you do with the rest of your time in Rome?

As the saying goes, when in Rome make like the Romans do by starting your day with a coffee as strong as an ox in a traditional espresso bar such as Roscioli Caffe.

Does a stroll through the citrus groves of the Orto Botanico sound appealing? How about a tour of the Galleria Doria Pamphilj’s art collection at night, accompanied by live performances of Baroque instruments?

Whether you’re looking to walk in the footsteps of the emperors or discover modern Rome’s stylish, fun-loving culture, you’ll never run out of exciting things to do in the Eternal City.

Best Places to Shop in Rome

Shopping is practically a religion in Rome. Whether you’re looking for typical sweets (panpepato and pangiallo romano are both tasty options) or a new outfit from the likes of Fendi and Moschino, Rome has the answer.

If your pockets are feeling deep and the word Fendi got your pulse racing, explore Via Condotti, the city’s home of labels. Alternately, head to San Lorenzo for thrift shop bargains (and cheap beers), or rise with the sun and join the city’s hippest shoppers at the La Soffitta Sotto I Portici vintage market.

Where to Stay in Rome

Rome’s hotels are as stylish as its residents and there are as many types of accommodation as there are tiles in the mosaics of the Santa Prassede Basilica.
There are any number of historic townhouses on offer, as well as five-star international chains, sleek design options and buzzing hostels. The best part? In a country with as much pizzazz as Italy, you don’t need to break the bank to guarantee style.

Take a look at our curated guide to Rome’s top places to stay.

Hotels

For a room with a view of the Pantheon, you can’t beat Hotel Abruzzi, which has an unbeatable location. Read our in depth review here.

Anyone with an interest in food should check into the H’All Tailor Suite, an eye-wateringly chic haven that’s owned by two of the city’s most celebrated chefs, while the Villa Laeticia combines bargain prices with gloriously decadent Roman furnishings. Thing chandeliers, lashings of gold leaf and heavy silken curtains.

Airbnb

Buy your own delicious slice of the Roman dream by booking an Airbnb.

Not only do they tend to be more budget friendly than hotels, they also offer an authentic glimpse into Roman homes and the chance to interact with locals. Because nobody knows where to find an area’s best pizza like the people who live there …

You’ll find rooms for rent all over the city. Try romantic Aventine Hill for Art Nouveau villas and sweeping views, Monti for a cool, boho vibe and close proximity to the Colosseum and Trastevere to wake up in the midst of medieval Rome.

Best Restaurants in Rome

From family trattorias to Michelin-starred legends with celebrity chefs, there are no shortage of restaurants in Rome. Indeed, the city lives to eat.

The best restaurants in Rome tend to be away from the main tourist drag, filled with Italians and never, ever with frozen food on the menu. If you see an asterisk beside any of the dishes, it’s time to get out of there.

Once Rome’s main trading hub, the Testaccio area is becoming a mecca for foodies thanks to shops such as Volpetti and the bustling market. A stroll will reveal cellar restaurants doing a mean line in amatriciana and hole in the wall cafes serving mouth-watering pizza by the slice.

Looking to eat for cheap in Rome? Many of Rome’s best restaurants offer aperitivo hour from around 6, including free buffets of finger food. Try Ai Tre Scalini, which has been one of the city’s leading wine merchants since 1895, Freni e Frizioni, where the buffet is mostly vegetarian and sip negroni’s in Saba Caffe e Cucina’s flower-scented courtyard.

Still thirsty? check out our handy guide to Rome’s best bars, where the drinks are every bit as impressive as the views.

Michelin star restaurants

While we love a dark, rowdy neighbourhood trattoria as much as the next person, sometimes you need something a little bit special.

Rome’s Michelin-starred restaurants offer the most accomplished cooking in the city. Heinz Beck’s La Pergola burns bright with a whopping three stars, while Per Me Giulio Terrinoni is lovely for lunch. Book a table on the terrace beneath trailing ivy and watch life on the cobbled street pass by as you tuck into seasonal ingredients such as white truffles.

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