Rome is one of the most iconic and most-traveled cities in Europe, with a long history to match. With a mixture of cultures from around the world, Rome has it all. Wander the cobblestone street with gelato in hand, spend some time people watching from the Spanish Steps, spend hours in the museums, and take in all of the stunning architecture the city has to offer. Rome is also a foodie's heaven, from the world-class cuisine to casual trattorias and takeaway pizzas. Here's my ultimate Rome travel guide!
What to Expect in Rome
Rome is a big city with a great transportation system and friendly locals. I would recommend knowing a few key phrases in Italian but you will find many English speakers around in case you need assistance. I’ve compiled a full list of Tips for Your First Trip to Italy!
Language: Modern-day Romans speak Italian, of course, which is widely recognized as a language of love and romance. There are a lot of English speakers around Rome as well.
Currency: Italy uses the euro (EUR).
Credit Cards and Banks: Cards are used all over Rome, especially Visa, but it’s more common to use cash for small items. Some museums and market sellers only accept notes. As a general rule of thumb, bring a few euros in cash with you wherever you go.
Climate: Resting just off the Mediterranean Sea, Rome enjoys warm and temperate weather with averages of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Expect much more rainfall during the winter and hot and sunny days in the summer. Read more about the Best Time to Travel to Italy!
My Experience as an Asian Traveler in Italy
I’m an Asian-American living in Italy and locals have overall been nice towards me. But I’ve experienced people staring as they nudge their companions and point my direction. Someone even argued with me recently in Rome that I was from China. While I haven’t been refused services, I sometimes feel unwelcome in Italy as xenophobia increases. My tips are to stay calm, be kind, set boundaries, and educate.
Getting Around Rome
Getting to Rome: Dozens of airlines fly to and from Fiumicino Airport daily, so you can pick and choose based on your point of origin. You can also wheel into Rome by train—most lines run into Roma Termini, Rome’s central train station.
Cars in Rome: Driving in Rome isn’t advisable— the traffic is chaotic in the best of terms and drivers are insane.
Rome Taxis: Taxis are an option but tend to be more expensive.
Public Transport: Opt for wandering around on foot (the most romantic way to discover the hidden corners of the city) or use the impressive public system of buses, trams, trolleys, metro, and light railways.
If you’re in town for at least 72 hours, try the Roma Pass— just 38 euros will get you full access to public transportation, admission to two museums, and discounts on performance and exhibition tickets.
Where to Stay in Rome
Rome is so popular for tourists, so there are many accommodation options. In my opinion, there is no “best” district to stay in, so you should base yourself around what you’re most interested in seeing and doing.
If you’re looking for more budget options and proximity to trains and buses, then you’ll want to look for hotels around Termini Station! However, you will be on the outskirts of a lot of the sights and the Vatican city area. Bed & Breakfasts are great options if you’re looking for a comfortable and affordable stay, and are very common around the city!
If you’re on the lookout for a luxury hotel experience during your stay, try the Via Veneto district near Villa Borghese. Here you’ll find Rome’s most expensive and exclusive hotels! Lastly, if you’re after the Vatican, look no farther than the Prati hotel district, a quiet residential area just a few minutes walk to the Holy City.
Here are my favorite places to stay in Rome!
With a delicious complimentary breakfast, comfortable beds, and a super helpful staff, this 4-star hotel is a winner in Rome’s city center. Plus, it is only about a 15-minute walk to Termini, Colosseum, Trevi, and Spanish Steps.
Located near Termini Station and near the Borghese Gardens, this family-owned hotel offers personalized service and is in the perfect location to explore.
With beautifully designed rooms, this modern guesthouse is a cozy sanctuary away from the city bustle. It’s within walking distance to the Colosseum (500m) and multiple parks. It is highly rated for its staff, value, and location—you can’t go wrong staying here!
With a terrace and views of the city, Rarity Suites is in the heart of Rome—just steps from Piazza del Popolo. The rooms are cozy and clean and come with tons of amenities. Amazing hospitality awaits you!
Located in an area full of shops, restaurants, and bars—and only a 5-minute walk from Re di Roma Metro Station—RomAntic Dreams B&B has the cutest themed rooms at very affordable prices. It’s a great value for your money and very highly rated!
This intimate boutique hotel is in the heart of Rome’s greatest sites, just minutes from the Forum & Colosseum. Splurge for one of their secret garden rooms, and enjoy complimentary breakfast and happy hour on a stunning terrace overlooking the city.
Where to Eat in Rome
If it’s your first trip to Italy, don’t miss my ultimate guide to eating like a local in Italy for everything you should know, before you go!
A trip to Rome wouldn’t be complete without delving into local delicacies, old-school traditions, and truly authentic cuisine! Stop by a local market for some fresh produce and goodies, visit a local pizzeria for pizza al taglio (by the slice), dine on a stunning dish of cacio e pepe, and of course, treat yourself to a daily cappuccino and gelato.
Below, I’ve compiled some of the top restaurants in Rome!
Campo dei Fiori MarketMarket
This open-air market is said to be the oldest market in Rome and sits in the beautiful Camp de Fiori piazza! It’s open every day except Sundays, and you’ll find tons of fresh, local ingredients as well as food for takeaway. Surrounding the square, you’ll also find shops, bakeries, and restaurants, perfect to hang out a while and people-watch.
A lively food market with 100+ stalls that sell both raw ingredients, baked goods, fresh produce and takeaway food every day of the week except Sundays. What makes this market special? It’s made with a glass roof on a Roman archeological site!
This casual street-food-inspired spot on the ground floor of a Renaissance building in the city center brings fried specialties and signature finger foods to the masses.
Baguetteria del FicoDeli
Friendly service, delicious sandwiches, and an extensive beer list—what else could you want? Stop by for a satisfying and affordable lunch!
Dar Filettaro a Santa BarbaraSouthern Italian
This southern-Italian restaurant is just a few minutes’ walk from Campo de Fiori and has been serving its traditional fried fish, local dishes, and snacks for decades. It’s a small place, but the decor oozes old Italian charm and makes you feel like a local.
A must-stop for gelato in Rome! Located next to Santa Maria in Trastevere, Otaleg uses all-natural ingredients to make their rich and creamy gelato. You won’t regret it!
Flavio al VelavevodettoRoman, Italian
Popular with locals and visitors alike, Flavio al Velavevodetto is an elegant yet cozy place to take friends and family with dishes that are 100% traditional. Be sure to try the local specialties and carbonara!
Pizzeria Remo A TestaccioPizzeria
While you’re in Rome, you have to do like the Romans do—with their pizza! The Roman style of pizza is thinner than what you might be expecting, and Pizzeria Remo is a great place to get that authentic, wood-fired pizza experience. I usually opt for the traditional Margherita pizza, but dress it up to your heart’s content!
If you’re traveling on a budget, you have to try the triangular-shaped, popular tramezzino sandwich here (for about 4 euros) at one of the three Trapizzino locations around the city. Delicious sandwiches filled with goodies like oxtail simmered with tomato and celery, chicken with bell peppers, and a full bar with local wines.
What to do in Rome
Rome is *the* destination when it comes to food, romance, history, and culture. I’ve touched on my favorite sights and must-dos in my three-day Rome itinerary and solo female traveler’s guide to Rome, but when in Rome… don’t forget to check out the highlights below. And keep in mind, all of these sites are even better with a coffee or gelato in hand.
Here are the best things to do in Rome!
The Vatican is closely tied with Rome’s heritage, and there is a wealth of art and history to explore in its Vatican Museums. Start early to beat the crowds, and climb to the top of the dome of St Peters basilica for an epic view!
Rome is best explored on foot through all the winding streets and hillslopes. You can find a fun and free walk along the Passeggiata del Gianicolo, which runs from the Piazza Della Rovere up to one of the tallest hills in Rome to the Belvedere del Gianicolo viewpoint. The panoramic view of the city from the top is one of the best, and though the steep hike is a bit challenging, there are several benches and cafés along the way so you can take a breather.
If you have only a few hours in Rome, you should absolutely visit the Pantheon. It’s the only ancient Roman temple that survived virtually intact.
The beautiful Villa and grounds were built in the sixteenth century as a “party villa” for Cardinal Scipione Borghese. It now houses the impressive Galleria Borghese and the villa’s gardens.
Throw a coin in the iconic Trevi and legend has it that one day you’ll return to Rome. The fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and depicts the sea god Oceanus with his seahorses. It was also featured in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and is still popular with the crowds who make the pilgrimage to admire it.
On your list should definitely be the Roman Forum, which houses Trajan’s market, the relatively intact ancient Via Biberatica, and, of course, the iconic Colosseum.
The Spanish Steps, a lively staircase of 135 steps, were made famous by Audrey Hepburn’s 1953 film Roman Holiday. They are a great place to people watch and start your window shopping.
This magnificent monument was built to commemorate Victor Emmanuel, the first king of unified Italy. Located between the Piazza Venezia and Capitoline Hill, it was pieced together by famous sculptors from all over the new nation.
I joined a pizza-making and food tour with Take Walks and a culinary-themed tour and they were so worth it! You get to explore the streets of the city all while trying delicious food. You’ll stop by a bakery, a market, a coffee shop, and a traditional pizzeria where you get to make your very own pizza.
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