Enjoying a Roman holiday is on many travellers’ bucket lists.
Rome, also known as the Eternal City, is a cultural bedrock that has a wide range of different landmarks and activities that continue to fascinate visitors. From ancient ruins and breathtaking urban monuments to some of the hippest bars and restaurants in modern Italy, Rome offers so many different possibilities. This can make planning a trip a little daunting. In the spirit of simplifying the process for first-time visitors to Rome, here’s a guide to help you get the most out of your time in one of the most famous cities in world history.
When should you go?
Rome’s summer months tend to be the peak of tourist season. This can make it difficult to navigate through some of the busiest of the city’s many attractions. One of the biggest misconceptions, however, is that all of Rome shuts down in August. This mistaken belief often creates even more of a rush to see Rome in the months of July and September. Although some public transportation can be shut down in August, the tourist-heavy areas tend to remain open for business making August as good as any other summer month for Roman travel.
If you can make it to Rome outside of the Italian summer, April is a great option for active visitors thanks to average daily highs around 20°C. April offers perfect walking weather. It also tends to have the least amount of rainfall outside of the peak of summer. April’s great weather limits the chances that you’ll end up having a wet and frustrating holiday. October is another excellent month to visit Rome, allowing you to escape the heat of tourist season while still being warm enough to enjoy the outdoor sites.
Where to stay:
If you’re really excited to see the main attractions in Rome (e.g. Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Colosseum, etc.), the best spot to stay is just east of Vatican City across the Tiber River. By staying near the vibrant urban centre Piazza Navona, the Pantheon will require only a very short walk. Also, both Vatican City and the Colosseum are less than 2.5 kilometres away, with plenty of great places to stop and check out along the way. You’ll also be a quick and inexpensive cab ride away from Station Termini, connecting you with various other regions around Rome and the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport. The central bus system is also fairly user-friendly and can be an easy way to get around, though most sights should be within walking distance or a short cab ride away (note: Uber is available, but only the more expensive Uber Black).
Like many major urban settings, it’s also advisable to mostly plan your walking routes and methods of travel beforehand. This will allow you to stay on major roads and walkways and avoid the potential safety concerns of less secure areas. Although you certainly can find some upscale hotels in the area near Piazza Navona, there are also quite a few boutique hotels that come with a much more reasonable price tag for those adhering to a budget. Whichever price spectrum you lean towards, the epicentre of Rome will be right out your front door, which will allow you to make an easy trip back to enjoy an afternoon siesta during the heat of the summer.
To ensure that you make it to everything you came to see, you might need to actually write down your own list of must-see attractions while looking over a map. This will help you get a game plan to maximize your time. For history lovers, the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine and the Roman Forum are not to be missed. Yet other attractions like Caesar Augustus’ home on the Palatine Hill and the Forum of Trajan can also be terrific stops along the way. More recently built mainstays like the sprawling white stone monument Vittoriano also tend to draw plenty of visitors and we haven’t even made it to the long list of ancient baths and ruins that you could spend days trying to see. While Trevi Fountain will likely leave you in awe, slightly less popular sights like the Fountain of the Four Rivers, Fountain of the Naiads and the so-called Turtle Fountain are all striking in their own way. Many also don’t want to leave Rome without seeing the incredible sights of the Vatican, including one of the most famous displays of art in the world, the Sistine Chapel.
Dining and entertainment:
If you stay anywhere near central Rome, there will be no shortage of food options. Although, you do have to be careful not to fall into the occasional tourist trap. If you want to catch a glimpse of the Colosseum during lunch, expect to pay through the nose to do so without necessarily finding the most authentic Roman food. Instead, aiming for the area near the famous Spanish Steps will give you a wealth of terrific options that should be able to satisfy anyone craving Roman favourites. For a more romantic and relaxed atmosphere, shooting across the Tiber to the Trastevere area offers a bevy of quiet restaurants nestled into the many alleys on the west bank of the river. If you’re looking to stay within a stricter budget, there are also plenty of smaller, counter-order restaurants in the city’s centre that come with a fraction of the price and just as much taste as the more expensive, full-service options.
One of the best things you can do in Rome is to get up early and get moving. This is especially true during the hot summer months when tourists will be swarming around the same sites that you’re looking to enjoy. Beating the heat and enjoying unobstructed views of your favourite Roman hot spots can be an invaluable part of your trip. A little afternoon rest at your hotel can be a great way to cool and recharge after an early start. It’s also important to know that tipping in general is not required in Rome thanks to surcharges that are part of your bill. Although, rewarding exceptional service is obviously still much appreciated. By forming a plan that also allows some built-in time just to enjoy some of the unanticipated sights, you will be well on your way to having an unforgettable Roman escape.
Rome is a great destination with so much to see, do and experience. Now you’ve got some great ideas for your trip to Rome, don’t forget to arrange travel insurance as soon as you’ve made a booking. Get a quote today or call one of our friendly team on 1300 819 888 to discuss your requirements.
Categories: Travel Advice