Rome | The City Guide
The incredible thing about Rome is, when we walk around, we’re walking step through history. Down narrow streets or roadways, there are ruins from the Roman era in the middle of the city which are visible to all – just like an open-air museum. Rome is easy to walk and it is a real pleasure to get lost in it. Here are, in a few lines, what you can’t miss in the Roman city.
**City Sightseeing Bus** :
We recommend City Sightseeing buses as we think this is a good way to get a general view of the city before (or even after) you visit it. They offer tours around the city highlighting its main monuments while giving some historical information, which is always good to receive whether you’re a seasoned or new traveler. It is also a good way to take pictures or videos from a different angle. You can get your City Sightseeing Bus ticket HERE !
To sleep :
There are very good hostels in Rome at very reasonable prices, however for a double room, aim for no less than 80 €. AirBnb can be a good option depending on the season and location. The town is nice to walk around but I still recommend to stay in the center in order to have easy access to everything. Bars / restaurants will charge you 1.5 / 2€ per person for the service and the bread is also an extra charge. Besides reasonable prices at the bar (1€ coffee), it can double when you consume it at a table, meaning a pastry or a drink worth 2.5 € could cost you 5 €. Be warned!
Colosseo / Palatino / Foro Romano - Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II - Campidoglio & Musei Capitolini.
The Colosseo, symbol of the city, is the largest gaming arena ever built in the Roman Empire, dating back to 80 AD. J-C. There were between 50,000 and 75,000 spectators who would watch wildlife combat, gladiators and other public performances. The Palatino and Foro Romano are just opposite, where you can admire vast ruins of the ancient palaces of Roman emperors, surrounded by relaxing greenery. Located on one of the seven hills of the city, you can also enjoy a view of the surroundings. A little further north you will find Piazza Campidoglio and Capitolini, the oldest museum in the world, which exhibits the largest collection of statues of emperors and philosophers. The Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II offers an impressive panoramic view of Rome. The entrance is free and you can climb its steps for a first impression but the access to the terrace is by elevator (7 €). It offers the best view of Rome both on the south with the Colosseo as on the north with the city center. For those interested, the museum of Risorgimento dedicated to the unification of the country is located inside the monument. Roman ruins such as Domus Aurea, Foro Traiano, Foro di Augusto or Foro di Cesare are located in the middle of the city and can be visited just walking around by day or night.
** Tips **: Colosseo / Palatino / Foro Romano tickets are twinned (12 €) and I advise you to buy it at the entrance of the Palatino where there are far fewer people, than accessing the Colosseo more quickly. Save time!
Villa Borghese – Piazza di Spagna – Via del Corso – Fontana di Trevi – Pantheon – Piazza Navona.
The Villa Borghese is a park located on one of the hills of Rome, overlooking the city and it has a collection of Roman museums and cultural institutions including the Villa Medici (Academy of France in Rome). It is next to the Piazza di Spagna and Piazza del Popolo in the chic areas of Rome where you will find all the famous boutiques along Via del Corso and the surrounding streets. Why not stop for a coffee and a canoli at the bar before continuing ?! When descending the city, the Fontana di Trevi, the largest fountain in Rome, whose definitive appearance dates back to 1762 but whose origins date back to -198 BC. J-C. You will see a lot of people throwing a coin over their left shoulder, because according to the legend from the film "The Fountain of Love" (1954), if we throw the coin once, we will return to Rome. A religious building in Piazza della Rotonda, the Pantheon was once a temple dedicated to all the divinities of ancient religion. It is today the Basilica Santa Maria Ad Martyres and supports the largest dome of Antiquity, still in perfect condition (free entry). Piazza Navona was originally a stadium built by the Emperor Domitian in 86 for running, javelin throwing and discs... Having been preserved in it’s exact form, with its fountains and church, it is one of the most beautiful ensembles of baroque architecture in Rome. All along the historical center of the city is dotted with narrow streets, small squares, churches, palaces and other monuments to discover on your way. There is the Largo di Torre Argentina where there’s a sanctuary of cats resting among the ruins, Templo Adriano with its giant beams, Campo de Fiori or bridges such as the Ponte Vittorio Emanuelle II. Rome, I repeat is an open air museum and between each of your visits, it will continue to find ways to surprise you.
** Tips **:
It is sometimes advisable to visit a museum after 5PM therefore avoiding long queues. Save time, once again !
As the name suggests, it is on the other side of the Tevere. Cross the Ponte Sisto or Garibaldi to reach this fashionable district with many colorful and pleasant streets. There are many artisans, traders and foreign artists. The square of the church Santa Maria in Trastevere is the most remarkable and the most touristy. To the north, the streets rise on the hill of Gianicolo, where you can admire another view of Rome and various monuments such as the Monumento a Garibaldi, the Faro al Gianicolo, the churches San Onofrio and San Pietro in Montorio. This immense park also separates Trastevere from the Vatican.
Musei Vaticani - Piazza Pio XII - Basilica of San Pietro.
The Vatican is a state in the city and there is always a huge line to access it. It is home to one of the most important art collections, the incredible geographic gallery and the renowned Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. Be prepared and get your tickets online before departure. There are also cut-line tickets that can save you a lot of time. The Vatican Gardens are not so surprising but can offer a pleasant setting for a walk while eating on the premises. The Basilica of St. Peter is accessible from outside the Vatican at the end of Via della Conciliazione and Piazza Pio XII. So you don’t need to book a ticket but there is a long queue to get there. Inside huge and sumptuous but the most spectacular remains the visit of the dome, which I recommend arriving by elevator (8€) because otherwise you will have to climb many narrow steps to reach the summit. The arrival at the dome offers a view of the interior of the Basilica giving one dizzying views and the summit offers an external view of Rome. DO IT !
And even more !
Take the opportunity to retrace your steps because this labyrinth city is dotted with monuments such as the Quatro Fontana, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Exhibition Palace), the Porta Pia, the Mausoleo Augusto... You can also leave for a long day to enjoy an excursion to the ruins of Pompei and the Vesuvio volcano, offered by local tour operators.
Heartbreaking moments assured for Rome. The city is a true crossroads of art, religion, culture and history of old civilizations and the ancient era. Italian tasty pastries and ice-creams, thousands of coffee shops, pizzas and pastas of all kinds. When in Rome... do it like the Romans !