Visiting Rome is one of those dream-come-true trips, but it will take some planning and preparation before you go to make it incredible. The magic of Rome happens out on the streets, with the locals buzzing past on mopeds and that beautiful language wrapping itself around your ears. Rome should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. One thing you won’t be able to avoid is falling in love with Rome! So, if you plan to visit Rome don’t leave home without checking out these top Rome Tips!
Undoubtedly, Rome is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. I have been here twice a couple of years back, and plan to return shortly. It is not that easy to describe the magic in the air of Rome. The sites, the smells, the sounds and food, the electric energy in the air and always a feeling that the city is begging to be explored and experienced.
Do some reading first
To appreciate more the things you see, I encourage you to do some reading on the history of Rome before your visit.
Carry your hotel details along
After spending hours of walking and sight-seeing, you might need to get a taxi. Not all taxi drivers speak English, and you might not understand Italian. Show them the address written down, plus a google map’s screenshot.
Learn a few essential words
It is advisable to learn a few basic Italian phrases at least for the restaurants especially if you have specific dietary requirements. By saying ‘no meat’ don’t expect they understand you are ‘a vegetarian’!
Tips to Know Before Visiting Rome
Expect lots of tourists, and it is better to accept it too before you go, only to make your life more comfortable.
Rome is hot in summer
Be prepared and pack appropriate clothes. The first time we visited was August, and we reached a point of almost fainting from heat exhaustion. Of course, avoid moving around during the peak hot part of the day.
Tourist trap restaurants
Beware of crappy restaurants, found around the main touristy places. Do some research before you go, read reviews and spot the ones that worth your time and money. If you decide on the spot, try at least to scan the menu and see if they use fresh, seasonal, local ingredients.
The water fountain trick
Upon visiting Rome, you will come across several fountains around the city. The water is drinkable and free, so it is worthwhile to carry an empty water bottle along to refill. To make it easy for you to drink, find the spout with a hole in the top first, block the end of it with your palm to let the water shoot out of the hole. Purchasing water from restaurants or snack carts can prove to be a costly experience. Generally speaking, public watering spots are very safe in Rome. If you are not that sure, look out for the term ‘Non-Potabile’ which means non-drinkable water.
Dinner goes down much later
Locals don’t go out to eat earlier than 8:30 pm so don’t be surprised when you show up at 7:00 let’s say, and find the restaurant empty.
Gelato is super here
You will love it and you should aim to at least eat one per day while in Rome. How to tell which is the best? Avoid those that are in white tubs and go for the silver tubs. At least they are sterilized and re-used, but also if a gelato store offers fior di Panna, it is a sign that they have put in additional effort into maximizing the flavor of their dairy (cream costs more than milk) so it is good. If they only offer fior di Latte with chocolate chips, or with flavored syrup drizzled all over it, they could be covering inferior milk!
Comfy stretchable pants
Expect to gain weight when visiting Rome because the food is extra good. Pants with a stretchable waistband could perhaps be a good idea. Besides, the diet can wait, so don’t lose this joy of tastes while here. When back home you will have one more point to remember -the food memory will stay forever! Leave high heels at home. Seriously, a comfortable shoe will make your life easier here as you move around through the cobblestones, steps. Long distances between sites, is no joke at all.
Have a scarf along
You need to cover your shoulders when you enter a church to show respect. In case that you are wearing a mini skirt or shorts, you wrap the scarf around your waist to add length.
Gifts from strangers
Avoid accepting anything for free. You can easily find yourself in trouble if the person who has handed it to you starts demanding money. Don’t be fooled. The idea of giving anything out for free sounds too good to be true!
Skip Tourist Spots
Spend time just to wander…you will be surprised! Don’t be skeptical to wander the little back streets and let it take you on a journey while visiting Rome. Explore local boutiques and markets, stop in at bakeries and cafes, buy fresh fruit from a local farmers’ market and just let it all soak in.
Avoid carrying large amounts of money. You can’t always pay by credit card anyway! It is advisable to set a daily spend budget and carry along that amount only. If there are two of you, split it up between you. Because pickpockets are around, be aware and alert.
Beware of local scams and pickpockets
Avoid keeping valuables in pockets, never put your bag down or let it out of sight, or go around town flashing your cash. As with any major tourist spot, there are bound to be a few shady characters lurking about, hoping to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. Watch your bag carefully, never put it down or let it out of sight. Don’t keep any valuables in your pockets and don’t go around town flashing your cash. Be alert but not alarmed. Also, beware of scams, like restaurants trying to charge you $1,000 for dinner or something obscene. Never sign a petition on the street, giving private details to strangers.
The fastest and more economic options to reach the city from Rome’s main international airport known as Fiumicino or Leonardo Da Vinci is by the Express train to Termini station and it takes 30 minutes and runs every 30 minutes. The cost is around €14.00. Ciampino has a shuttle service ‘Terravision’ the cost is around €6 and takes up to 45 minutes.
Trams are a great way to navigate yourself around the city center of Rome. Depending on how long you will be staying, you can save money by purchasing a 3-day, 7-day, even a 30-day pass to be used on buses, metro, and trams as many times as you wish.
Free places to visit
Explore Villa Farnesina, Villa Borghese (Rome’s most famous park is an oasis of shaded walkways) go on a free tour –it runs daily walking tour of the historic center, marvel the mosaics in the Chiesa di Santa Prassede, watch the world go by on Piazza del Popolo, and so many more!
Attractions that are free at specific times
- Every first Sunday of the month: Colosseum, Palatino, and the Roman Forum
- Last Sunday of the month: Vatican Museums
- First Sunday of the month: All state museums
- Every Wednesday morning: Pope’s weekly audience
- Every Sunday morning: Porta Portese Market
- First Sunday of the month: Palazzo di Montecitorio
- May 1: May Day Concert
Hopefully, you can use some of these tips as you explore the enchanting city of Rome. You can share with us your suggestions and experience if you wish.
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