Travel Guide Rome: Tips & Advice

Rome is a 2,500-year-old metropolis with a remarkable civilization featuring ancient and modern feats. Visitors from all over the world go there eager to see the city's magnificent monuments and archaeological sites, world-famous cuisine and lively atmosphere. One might argue that a single visit is insufficient if you want to fully appreciate the city's beauty.

Are you considering a trip to Rome soon? We have put together tips and recommendations to help you plan your trip as efficiently as possible – like the best times of year to travel, the best places to stay, how to get around the city, and a few lesser-known must-see attractions to add to your itinerary in addition to the more well-known sights.

As one of the most visited places worldwide, Rome is best experienced between April and June or from September through October. The summer months of July and August are considered the tourist peak season, and you may likely encounter overcrowded sights if you decide to travel around this time. Travelling too early or too late in the year can be trickier because some tourist attractions are likely to be either closed or open with shorter operating hours.

When it comes to Rome’s weather, Spring and Fall are the seasons that offer the mildest temperatures, clear skies and pleasant winds. Summer months are likely to be hot and humid ,and during the Winter, the days are usually cold and rainy.

The Eternal City has thousands of lodging options spread across different districts. Depending on your style of travel, some neighborhoods may be more suitable than others. Areas to stay in Rome:

  • For first-time travellers – The Historic Centre area is close to major sights of the city, which can be easily reached by foot.
  • For families – Located around the area called Spanish Steps, this area is home to high-end shopping and luxury hotels. It is also close to the gardens at Villa Borghese.
  • For foodies – The charming neighbourhood of Trastevere, which is close to Rome’s historic centre, is distinguished by its small, cobblestone streets and vibrant restaurant scene.
  • For ancient history buffs – The Monti district, which is south of the Historic Centre, is known for its hip shops, cafes, and historic sites like the Roman Forum and the Colosseum
  • For Vatican enthusiasts – Tourists who intend to spend the majority of their time in Rome touring the Vatican museums and Basilica of St. Peter, or attending a papal mass tend to stay in the Prati neighborhood, which is adjacent to the Vatican City.
  • For budget travellers – For those who require a quick stay and departure from Rome, the Esquilino neighborhood, which is home to one of the busiest train stations in Europe, is a fantastic choice.
  • For long stays – The Testaccio district is a good choice for tourists who prioritize neighborhood exploration and local cuisine over visiting the city's attractions.

Although there is a lot in Rome that can be seeing on foot, if you need to reach out to different areas you may need to rely on the city’s public transportation system, which is affordable and easy to use. Subways, trams and buses are run by ATAC and ticket options range from single trips to unlimited trips over three days. Of these three modes of transportation, subway or metro is the quickest and easiest way to get around different parts of Rome and to its top sights.

Travellers can also opt for the hop-on/hop-off double decker bus if they want to take in the sights in a day or if they are short on time and only want to get an overview of the main city’s attractions.

After a long day or on particularly hot days, taking a taxi back to the hotel is another excellent choice. But, because of stories of tourists being taken advantage of by dishonest drivers, many tourists are hesitant to use this option. Search online for advice on how to avoid being ripped off if you intend to take a taxi to get around the city.

Another interesting choice for roaming from sight to sight is to rent an electric bike from a bike-sharing app, which takes just a few minutes. Because the bicycles are electric, getting around, even up small hills, is easy. Except where prohibited, you can park or leave the bike anywhere once you have finished using it. 

Rome is a city full of museums, squares, iconic Roman landmarks and other highlights. The Italian city has more to offer than just the mainstream tourist attractions like the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Spanish steps, Villa Borghese, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon, or, in the Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museum, and Sistine Chapel. Here are a few attractions you might not hear of but are worthwhile visiting to enrich your Rome experience even further.

Via Appia Antica & Catacombs – Built in 312 BC, the Via Appia Antica, also known as the Appian Way, was one of Rome's first paved stone roads. It was once a key entryway into the city. As burials were not permitted within the city walls, the road's initial stretch is lined with monuments and ancient tombs. More than 300km of tunnels are located underground, where early Christians used to bury their dead or hold covert church services during the worst times of persecution. Guided tours are available for the San Callisto, San Sebastiano, and Santa Domitilla catacombs.

Domus Aurea – If you like ancient art, history and architecture, check out this hidden gem. Also known as Nero's Golden House, after Rome's Great Fire of 64 AD, Emperor Nero had his residence rebuilt, transforming it into a sprawling palace complex with over 300 rooms surrounded by gold leaf walls, marble, and ivory. The site has been hidden underground for centuries, with most parts still below street level.

Castel Sant'Angelo National Museum – Emperor Hadrian planned and commenced construction of this castle around 123 BC. Its uses have changed over time, serving as an imperial burial site, asylum, a papal court fortress, a torture prison, and finally, a museum during its existence. Among the rich stories and legends attributed to this place, one states that the Archangel Michael appeared above the castle in 590 CE as a sign of the plague's end. Centuries later, a marble statue of Archangel Michael was placed atop the castle to commemorate the story.

Palazzo Colonna – A must-see in Rome is this hidden baroque treasure. This palace is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular of all the opulent ones in Rome. The palace houses one of the best collections of paintings, frescoes, and priceless items in its gilded halls.

Gladiator for a day – Enroll in the Gladiator School of Rome to experience what it's like to wield a sword like Spartacus. The two-hour private lesson, which takes place near the Colosseum on the Appian Way, includes clothing, weapon rental and admission to the Gladiator School of Rome Museum.

Tivoli Day Trip – Discover the sights in the picturesque surroundings of Rome. This includes the World Heritage-listed Villa d'Este and the Hadrian's Villa, which were constructed as retreats for the Roman elite.

Pompeii Day Trip – A trip to Rome can only be completed with this full-day excursion to Pompeii. Tour options include hiking to the crater of Mt. Vesuvius in summer and visiting the ruins of Pompeii.

Travel is an investment, so it may be a good idea to protect  your Rome trip with travel insurance. Trip Cancellation may reimburse your prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to a covered reason. Our emergency medical benefits can help if you have a covered medical emergency while traveling internationally.

Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.

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