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Travel Guide Europe Italy Latium Rome

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Introduction

il Colesseo

il Colesseo

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Rome is the capital and largest city in Italy. It is one of the most important cities in the world in terms of history and culture, as it was at the heart of the Roman Empire and is the centre of one of the world's major religions. Although it has relatively 'new' attractions like the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, the city is mostly known for its older magnificent buildings and ruins, like the Colosseum, Pantheon and the Forum Romanum. And if that is not enough, you can always visit another country, right in the middle of the city: Vatican City, the residence of the Pope, which is known for its huge basilica, St. Peter's. Of course, like any other Italian city, you can enjoy good cappuccinos, pizza and pasta in Rome as well. Or just sit down and relax for a while enjoying a fresh beer or good vino (wine!), after walking from one highlight to the other, because that's what Rome is all about.

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Neigbourhoods

In ancient times, Rome as we now know it was built on seven hills - the Capitoline, Palatine, Celium, Aventine, Quirinal, Viminal and Esquiline. This led to neigbourhoods growing, with very distinct identities and character. Today, the main Roman neighbourhoods include:

  • Near Stazione Termini - The main train station
  • Via Veneto & Piazza Barberini
  • Piazza del Popolo & the Spanish Steps
  • Piazza Navona & the Pantheon
  • Ancient Rome - Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Imperial Forums, and Circus Maximus, called the centro storico or historic district
  • Campo de' Fiori
  • The Jewish Ghetto
  • Trastevere
  • Around Vatican City
  • Testaccio & the Aventine
  • Aventine Hill - south of the Palatine.
  • Prati
  • Parioli
  • Monte Mario

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Sights and Activities

Colosseum at Night

Colosseum at Night

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Colosseum

The Colosseum is not the oldest, nor the biggest Roman arena (the Circus Maximus could hold 5 times as much people), but it is the most famous Arena and one of the biggest landmarks in Rome for sure. It was opened in 80 A.D., and the inauguration of the arena lasted for a 100 days. The stadium could hold up to 50,000 people, who came to watch the fights between man and animal, and man versus man. In general the fighters were slaves, prisoners of war, but also volunteers. The floor of the arena could be flooded for the occasional sea battle.

In the middle ages the Colosseum, was transformed into a fortress. During the centuries it was damaged a couple of times by earthquakes, and it was also used as a quarry for marble, that was used in the construction of several palaces and churches in Rome. It also became a holy site that served as church, monastery and general place of worship. In the last century the traffic, the metro and concerts also caused damage. To this day though it was one of the most recognized images in the world and any visit to Rome is not complete without a trip to the Colosseum.

Pantheon

Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon, Rome

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The Pantheon is the best-preserved ancient building in Rome, the building we see today dates back to 120 A.D. The original building was older, but was destroyed and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian. On the outside you see 16 columns that were made in one piece in Egypt, and transported to Rome. Inside the most impressive sight is that of the dome. Until the renaissance it was the biggest dome in the world, and it was the bases for the dome that Michelangelo built for the St. Peter's. In the middle of the dome, you will see a big hole, which is the only source of light for the building. When it rains holes in the floor make sure that the water, makes it way out.

The floorplan of the Pantheon is still the same as in Roman times, and most of the inside of the building is still the same, except for the statues of Catholic saints, the tomb of Raphael, and the tombs of 2 kings of Italy. (Victor Emanuelle II and Umberto I.)

Roman Forum

To many the Roman Forum may just look like a huge field littered with rocks, but you have to remember that this once was the focal point of an empire that lasted a thousand years. Entrance to the Forum used to be free, but is now included in the ticket for the Colosseum and the Palantine Hill. The Forum was layed out along side the Via Sacra, which leads from the Colosseum to Capitol Hill.

In the Forum you will find several sights of interest :

  • The Arch of Titus
  • The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine
Rome - Roman Forum

Rome - Roman Forum

© All Rights Reserved Herr Bert

  • The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
  • The Temple of Julius Caesar
  • The Temple of Vesta, and the house of the Vestal Virgins
  • The Temple of Caster and Pollux
  • The Curia or Senate house
  • The Arch of Septimius Severus
  • The Rostrum
  • The Column of Phocas
  • The Temple of Saturn.

The entrance to the Roman Forum used to be free, and you will still find it listed as free in many of the guidebooks, but a visit to the Roman Forum is now included in the combined ticket for the Colosseum and Palantine Hill. It also means that if you buy a ticket at the Forum, you can skip the long lines at the Colosseum.

More detailed information of this site, can be found on the page about the Roman Forum.

Capitoline Museum

The Capitoline museum (Musei Capitolini) was created in 1471 when Pope Sixus IV donated a group of bronze statues to the people of Rome. These statues are still and important part of the collection. This collection includes the statue of the she-wolf, with under it the twins Remus and Romulos (although the boys were added later.) that symbolises Rome. A copy of this statue can also be seen on the square. A new part of the museum was created to hold the famous statue of Marcus Aurelius on a horse. This statue was the focal point of the Piazza de Campidoglio, but it was moved inside to perserve it better. The rest of the collection mainly focusses on statues and paintings. The are exhibitions usualy on the second and third floor of the Palazzo del Conservatori. (sometimes dubbed: Palazzo Clementino).

The museum is situated in two buildings: the Palazzo Nuovo and the Palazzo del Conservatori. These two buildings are on the left and right side of the Piazza de Campidoglio. Entrance to the museum is at the Palazzo del Conservatori. The buildings are connected under the ground by the Tabularium, where you can find remains of Roman temples, and a small exhibition. From here you also have a nice view over the Roman Forum. The museum is opened from Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00am to 8:00pm (last admission at 7:00pm).

Vatican City

IMG_2062

IMG_2062

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While Vatican City is an independent sovereign state, it happens to be located entirely in Rome, on the west bank of the Tiber. You don't need to show a passport to enter, but you will have to pass yourself and your bags through X-ray scanners. And be prepared to queue.

Even ignoring the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums are some of the most important museums in the world. The Vatican has a superb gallery, excellent Roman and Etruscan collections, and plenty more. Be sure not to miss the appartments that were decorated by Raphael. There is too much to see if you plan on going to the museums for one day. If you go one day, you just have time for the highlights. The highlight of the visit to the museums is the The Sistine Chapel known for Michelangelo's two most famous masterpieces: the ceiling, depicting numerous scenes from the Old Testament and the Last Judgement, occupying the entire wall behind the altar.

St Peter's Basilica is the centre of the Catholic faith, the richest and most important church in the world. Built on top of the remains of St. Peter. The views from the top of the Dome, 130 metres above St. Peter's Square, are wonderful. The entrance to the stairs and the elevator are on the rightside of the Basilica, were you will also find the entrance to the Vatican Grotto that holds the remains of many popes including John Paul II, who died in 2005.

You can find more detailed information about the sights in Vatican City in the article about Vatican City.

Baths of Caracalla

Rome, Terms of Caracalla

Rome, Terms of Caracalla

© All Rights Reserved Herr Bert

The Baths of Caracalla was a huge complex of Roman public baths, or thermae, built between 206 and 216 A.D. The name comes from Emperor Caracalla, the oldest son of Septimus Severus. Today the ruins that are still standing gives you an impression of how big this complex must have been. It is guessed that it could hold 1,600 visitors at the same time, and it would have had around 7,000 to 8,000 visitors each day. The baths were decorated with some beautiful sculptures. Many of these ended up in the Farnese collection, and can still be seen in several museums. The most famous one is the so called Farnese bulls, that is at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. The Ruins are opened on weekdays from 9:00am till 7:30pm (last entrance at 5:30pm, on Mondays from 9:00am to 2:00pm).

Museums and Galleries

Ancient Rome

  • Palatine Hill is where Augustus, Cicero and Romulus and Remus lived
  • Trajan's Market, Trajan's Column and the Forums of Nerva, Julius, Augustus and Trajan
  • Museo Nazionale delle Terme has a brilliant collection of Roman art, sculpture and mosaics
  • Baths of Diocletian is a good example of a traditional Roman baths
  • Domus Aurea was Nero's Golden Palace, currently undergoing renovation.

Other

  • Castel Sant'Angelo was built to be Emperor Hadrian's mausoleum, it was used by the medieval Popes as a castle and prison.
  • Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore: With mosaics dating from the fourth century.
  • Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano is Rome's cathedral and the seat of the Bishop of Rome.
  • Church of Santa Prassede has good ninth century mosaics.
  • Piazza Navona is still in the shape of a Roman circus.
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Piazza del Campidoglio was designed by Michelangelo, it stands between the two buildings of the Capitoline Museum.
  • Villa Borghese

For Kids

Passes

  • Archaeologia Card is a 7-day pass valid at Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi, Baths of Diocletian, Colosseum, Foro Romano and Palatino, Baths of Caracalla, Villa dei Quintili, Mausoleo di Cecilia Metella. Adults: €20 + €2 (For exhibitions). Reduced Fee: €10 + €2 (for exhibitions).
  • Roma Pass is a pass that allows a traveller unlimited access to public transport, free access to the first 2 sites and half price at the rest. There are two versions. The Roma Pass Basic costs €23 for three days access to Rome public transport, first 2 sites free and half price at the others. The Rome & Più Pass costs €25 for three days access to the public transport system of the province, first 2 sites free and half price at the others.

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Events and Festivals

  • Republic Day (02 Jun 2013) - The day when Italians celebrate the formation of the republic in 1946. A military parade takes place on Via dei Fori Imperiali. Most shops are closed on this public holiday.
  • Opera at Caracalla - Every summer season, Rome's opera performs at Caracalla Baths, turning the archaeological site into a stage.
  • Estate Romana Festival (June - September) - Estate Romana Festival (Roman Summer Festival) - offering various musical events of jazz, rock, and classical music, and film, sport, theater etc.
  • Roma Jazz Festival - First organized in 1976, the Roma Jazz Festival attracts well known Italian and international jazz musicians to the city. This festival comes to Rome every November.
  • Italian Open - After the French Open, this is the most prestigious red clay tennis tournament in the world, held annually at the Foro Italico. The men's competition is an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event while the women's competition is a Premier 5 event.
  • International Rome Film Festival - Set up in 2007, the film festival attracts large crowds, showcasing some great films from Italy and overseas. This festival occurs every fall in October/November.
  • Derby della Capitale - Football teams AS Roma and SS Lazio clash twice a year at Stadio Olimpico. It is considered the fiercest derby in Italy. This hometown rivalry has been going on for many years, making this event known for its lively and highly competitive crowds.
  • Rome City Marathon (Maratona di Roma) - Rome hosts their city marathon once a year on a Sunday in March. The race passes by the famous landmarks like St Peter's Basilica and the Colosseum.
  • Holy Week - The week of Easter is understandably a big deal in Rome, right at the epicentre of the Catholic faith. The Pope himself leads several masses and a a candle-light procession on Good Friday that travels from the Colosseum to Palatine Hill. Price: Generally the events are free, but some require tickets for seats which can be hard to come by.
  • Birth Of Rome (21 Apr 2014) - Legend has it that Rome was founded on the 21st of April 753 BC by brothers Romulus and Remus (whose father was the god Mars). On this day each year, enthusiastic citizens of Rome dress up in historic attire and take to the streets to celebrate the occasion. Concerts, fireworks, and other parties are held in the city centre.
  • Sagra dell'Uva - This Festival of the Grape Harvest is one of the city's most popular events. Held annually in September at the Basilica of Constantine, many gather to hold parades, parties, and food events in honor of the grape. Visitors will have the opportunity to buy the season's best wine and grapes (if they'd like to try to make their own wine).
  • Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (03 Oct 2013) - A festival commemorating this Saint is held every October 3, which is the day Saint Francis died in 1226. This religious festival is celebrated by a wreath-laying ceremony near the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. Devotees can also view ceremonies commemorating this Saint at the church of San Francesco a Ripa in Trastevere, which is where he stayed in hospice before he died.
  • Festa della Primavera - A grand festival, held every March/April, celebrating the Spring season. This event is a celebration of food, wine and music held at the San Francisco’s Historic Ferry Plaza Building. This festival is known for it's spectacular concerts and beautiful floral decorations on the Spanish Steps.
  • Settimana della Cultura - Rome's most popular museums and historical sites offer free admission during Settimana della Cultura, or "Week of Culture". Visitors can expect to see many different exhibits, some not typically open to the public, all for free.
  • Expo Tevere - This popular arts and crafts fair, held every fall (August/September), can be seen along the banks of the Tiber from Ponte Sant'Angelo to Ponte Cavour. Visitors can expect to see a variety of stands selling artisan foods, wines, olive oils, breads, and much more! Those looking for gifts or souvenirs are sure to find some unique, local offerings at this event.

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Weather

Rome has a typical Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters. Temperatures average around 30 °C from June to September with warm nights, mostly around or above 20 °C. Winters are around 10 °C or 12 °C during the day and around 5 °C at night. Most of the rain falls in autumn and winter and summers are almost completely dry with just a few showers sometimes. The best times for a visit and avoiding the wettest or hottest weather and the most crowds, is from late March to May and mid-September to early November.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max12.9 °C13.7 °C15.3 °C18 °C22 °C25.6 °C28.6 °C28.7 °C26 °C22 °C17.2 °C13.9 °C
Avg Min3.7 °C4.4 °C5.8 °C8.3 °C11.9 °C15.6 °C18.2 °C18.4 °C15.8 °C12 °C8.1 °C5.1 °C
Rainfall80.7 mm74.9 mm65 mm54.7 mm31.8 mm16.3 mm14.7 mm33.3 mm68.2 mm93.4 mm110.5 mm89.6 mm
Rain Days9.18.37.974.42.41.62.84.579.99

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Getting There

Rome - Termini

Rome - Termini

© All Rights Reserved Herr Bert

By Plane

1. Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) is located 26 kilometres south-west of the centre and is the city's primary international air hub. It is the busiest airport in Italy and in the top 30 worldwide and is the home of the national airline Alitalia. Dozens of airlines serve Rome, with some main destinations being New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Miami, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Bangkok and Buenos Aires. Easyjet has some budget flights as well to Fiumicino.

To/from the airport

  • The airport is connected by train to the Termini station. Check Italy's national railway carrier Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) for more information about schedules and prices. The trip takes 30 minutes (no stops) to Termini Station in Rome - there are two such connections per hour. Alternatively, local trains leave once every 15 minutes, stopping at all stations. Passengers may have to change at Trastevere, Ostiense (Metro Piramide) or Tuscolana
  • The airport is well served by the 6-lane motorway A91 Roma-Fiumicino and numerous buses and taxis travel between Rome and the airport.

2. Rome Ciampino Airport (CIA) is the city's second airport, located about 15 kilometres southeast of central Rome. It provides charter flights and regional European flights. Budget airlines, including Ryanair and Easyjet use Ciampino Airport.

To/from the airport
Buses from either Terravision or Bus Shuttle bring you to the Termini station in around 40 minutes. The costs are €4 for a one way ticket. Tickets can be bought on the right when you exited the restricted area at the airport. By taxi a ride costs around €30. You can also book a private airport transfer in advance. The cost of a ride is approx. €45-50.

By Train

Termini Station is Rome's rail hub, providing connections throughout Italy and to neighbouring countries. Intercity train services in Italy are good, and the eurostar services are very good. Services leave very frequently to other cities such as Milan and Naples. Check Italy's national railway carrier Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) for more information about schedules and prices.

By Car

If you plan to drive into Rome, it is advisable to leave your car somewhat outside of the city centre because congestion and Italian driving habits can make it a challenging city to navigate for anyone from out of town. The A1 highway runs north-south across Italy, passing Rome.

By Bus

For connections to/from Rome, check the following companies:

By Boat

The city of Civitavecchia might be located over 50 kilometres away from Rome, it does function as it's port. There are numerous connections to and from Rome's port throughout the Mediterranean.

France

Spain

Tunesia

Sicily
Mainland Italy and Sardinia

Sardinia

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Getting Around

By Car

Attempting to navigate Rome by car is a brave (or stupid) move. Italians drive like madmen and use their horns a lot.
Instead, trust on the driving skills and knowledge of taxi drivers. To book a taxi by phone, try the following:

  • Cosmos (06 8 81 77)
  • La Capitale (06 49 94)
  • Pronto Taxi (06 66 45)
  • Radio Taxi (06 35 70)
  • Samarcanda (06 55 51)
  • Tevere (06 41 57)

If you are desperate to rent a car, try companies like Sixt, Hertz, Avis or Budget.

By Public Transport

Rome's metro has two lines; the red A line and the blue B line. Both go through Termini Station, which is the hub of Rome's rail and metro network. The metro is a convenient way, depending on your starting point, to get to the Forum Romanum and Colosseum. Trains run approximately every five to 10 minutes between 5:30am and 11:30pm (one hour later on Saturday).

ATAC runs buses and trams in Rome. The central bus station is just outside Termini Station. You can pick up a map from the kiosk in the bus station, but you have to pay for it. Buses (and trams) are frequent, and much of Rome's population uses buses to commute. There is also a night network. Tickets are valid on buses and the metro. You can get tickets from metro stations or tobacconists. If you are there for any length of time, get a weekly or monthly card from a tobacconist.

On buses, you don't buy tickets. If you have a single ticket, you should validate it in one of the stamping machines on the bus, otherwise you will be considered to be travelling without a ticket.

Some useful (bus)lines are:

  • 8 (tram): Largo di Torre Argentina - Trastevere - Stazione Trastevere - Monteverde Nuovo
  • 23: Piazzale Clodio, Piazza Risorgimento, Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, Lungotevere, Ponte Garibaldi, Via Marmorata (Testaccio), Piazzale Ostiense and Basilica di San Paolo
  • 40-Express: Stazione Termini - Via Nazionale - Piazza Venezia - Chiesa Nuova - Castel Sant Angelo - St. Peter's
  • 64: Stazione Termini - St. Peter's (same route as the number 40, bus slower)
  • 170: Stazione Termini, Via Nazionale, Piazza Venezia, Via del Teatro Marcello and Piazza Bocca della Verità
  • 175: Stazione Termini - Piazza Barberini - Via del Corso - Piazza Venezia - Via dei Fori Imperiali - Colosseum - Via di San Gregorio - Circus Maximus - Stazione Ostiense
  • 492: Stazione Tiburtina - San Lorenzo - Stazione Termini - Piazza Venezia - Piazza Cavour - Piazza Risorgimento - Cipro (Vatican Museums)
  • 660: Largo Colli Albani, Via Appia Nuova and Via Appia Antica (near Tomba di Cecilia Metella)
  • 714: Stazione Termini, Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore, Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano and Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
  • 910: Stazione Termini, Piazza della Repubblica, Via Piemonte, Via Pinciana (Villa Borghese), Piazza Euclide, Palazzetto dello Sport and Piazza Mancini.

By Foot

Much of Rome can easily be navigated on foot and many of the major sights are confined to the Centro Storico area, which makes this a very pleasant way of getting around. It also gives you a break from the vast crowds that storm the major sights every day, and a chance to really get a sense of the atmosphere of this amazing city. If you are short on time in Rome and want to see most of the tourist sights and don't mind a day or two on your feet, you might like to try this walking tour. It covers most of the main sights in the Vatican City and Centro Storico.

  • Start early at Vatican City – St Peter's opens at 7:00am and the museum opens at 9:00am so there is time to get the Grottoes and the Basilica ticked off before heading to the Vatican Museum (about a 5 to 10-minute walk away). The Metro A-Line to Ottaviano will get you there.
  • Give yourself at least three hours for the incredible museum even if you are not overly interested in art and Christian history. Fine arts and history aficionados could easily write off a whole week in here so don't underestimate the time you need. There are easy to follow routes through the museum, all of which lead to the Sistene Chapel.
  • After the museum walk back to St Peter's square and marvel at the sheer number of people queuing for their turn in the Basilica.
  • Walk down the obelisk-lined Via della Conciliazione to the Castel Sant'Angelo (you'll recognise the archangel statue on top from the movie “Angels and Demons”.) There is a museum inside the Castle which you may want to check out, and you can walk up to the top.
  • Walk over the Ponte del Sant'Angelo and turn left, walk along the river until the next bridge, then turn right onto Via Zanardelli. Walk down the road until the very end and a quick left, then right will have you standing at the northern end of the Piazza Navona.
  • Walk through the piazza and turn left at the end which will take you to Corso Rinascimento, which runs parallel to the length of the piazza, turn left and then take your second right (beside the Palazzo Madama) which will take you to the Piazza del San Eustacchio.
  • Keep going straight which should take you to street that runs around the back of the Pantheon.
  • To continue the walking tour, go right as you exit the Pantheon and find Via del Seminaria.
  • As you walk along V. Seminaria look out for the Church of St Ignazia, which has an optical illusion painted on its roof - the dark dome is actually painted on a flat surface.
  • Continue along until you reach Via del Corso. Once there if you look to your right you will see the Piazza Venezia where you will find the monument of Vittoreo Emanuele II and the tomb of the unknown soldier - but first a small detour to the Trevi Fountain.
  • Cross the road and find your way to Via dell'Umilla (it should be on your right) and follow the brown signs to the fountain.

Bail out option – if you've had enough at this point, go north from the fountain to Via del Tritone, turn right and walk along to the Piazza del Barberini, where you will find a Metro Station.

  • If you are still wanting more, back-track from the fountain to Via del Corso and head towards the Piazza Venezia.
  • The Piazza del Campidoglio or Capitol Square is just south of the Piazza Venezia. The statue of Marcus Aurelius in the square is a copy, the original was moved to the nearby Capitoline Museum for protection.
  • Once you have finished with those two spots, walk back to the Via del Corso and find the Via del Fori Imperiali which leads directly past the Forum and Palatine Hill to the Colosseum for the final stop on the walk.

The Colosseo Metro stop (B-Line) is nearby to get you where you need to go.

This tour could also be split over two days; the first day for the Vatican City and Castel Sant'Angelo (especially if you intend to linger in the galleries), and the second day for the rest.

By Bike

Bikesharing is offered by Rome's public transport company, ATAC. The green bicycles are available at numerous locations in the downtown area and further afield. To be able to make use of this system you need to buy a card first. This card can be bought at a couple of places, including at the Termini station. It costs €10, which includes a €5 inscription fee. The rental of the bikes is €1 an hour. There are dozens of rental companies offering bikes including Top Bike Rental, Bikeaway, Romarent, Bici & Baci, Collalti and many more.

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Eat

In Rome, tourists ask for a menu but locals ask "what are you serving today" (but in Italian of course). This is the only way to guarantee that you are eating what is fresh and recommended by the locals. If you only have time and money to eat at one place in Rome it must be Sora Margherita (Piazza delle Cinque Scole 30). Don't blink because you will miss it. Also, it doesn't have a sign on the outside - only blue ropes hanging in the doorway. It is open for lunch from 12:00pm until 3:00pm and then for dinner on Friday and Saturday night but reservations are required. Eat everything they give but especially do not miss their Roma-Jewish style artichokes, meatballs, zucchini quiche and whatever they recommend for dessert (it is guaranteed to be delicious).

Having said that, food in Rome can be very expensive, especially if you are eating near any of the city's many tourist attractions. Restaurants (and sometimes bars) often impose a cover charge (between €1-2) per person as soon as you sit down, and drink prices are arbitrarily inflated close to tourist attractions which can bring a nasty surprise along with your bill. Make sure you know what cover/bread/service charges are levied before you order and always order drinks from a menu so you know how much it costs - an example would be one cafe near the Vatican that charges €6 for a 500ml Coca Cola!

Be aware that there are strange rules governing what is served in different establishments in Italy. A restaurant will impose a cover charge and may not let you just sit down for dessert and coffee if you have not eaten the rest of your meal there - you may be told to go and find a bar instead. It becomes really confusing when you order apertivi at a bar/restaurant only to be informed that they have stopped being a bar for the night and are now only serving sit down meals (with cover charge, of course). As a general rule, a bar serves drinks and quick snacks like sandwiches, an osteria is similar to a bar but generally serves more interesting food, and a restaurant serves only sit down meals.

If you are travelling on a budget, self-catering is a fantastic option in Rome. Most supermarkets stock large ranges of fresh meats, cheeses, fruit and vegetables. A lot of it is available in small, economical portions, or per kilogram from the delicatessen area, that make it very cost effective if you are only shopping for one or two people. With the large range of prepared antipasti and meats like prosciutto and salami available, it is not even necessary to have access to an oven or hotplate.

Also, try to find out where the local fresh food market is. It will enhance your experience of any foreign city to get amongst the locals as they do their daily shopping. You will be able to see what they buy and the produce will generally be a little fresher and cheaper than what you can get in the supermarkets.

Once you've got all your fresh local ingredients, grab a bottle of local wine to compliment the meal. Italy is the world's biggest producer of wine which means there are a lot of very drinkable wines on the shelves for excellent prices, often under €5!

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Drink

Coffee

The beverage most commonly associated with Italy is definitely coffee. If you love coffee, Italy is the place to be. You'll find good coffee almost everywhere, but follow the locals to the best joints. Expect to pay about €1 for an espresso, and around €1.40 for a cappuccino. Simply asking for a coffee will generally get you an espresso (especially if your barista is in a bad mood), so be specific. Also, if you ask for a latte as opposed to a caffe latte, expect a plain old glass of milk.

Wine

As mentioned above, Italy is (at the time of writing) the worlds biggest producer of wine. It is far beyond the scope of this guide to minutely examine the different styles of wine in Italy, but here's a quick idea of some of the most commonly known varieties:

  • Spumante/Asti/Prosecco - Sparkling white, often quite sweet;
  • Soave - crisp, light-medium white;
  • Pinot Grigio - crisp, dry white from northern Italy;
  • Chianti - very dry, red wine from Tuscany, Chianti Classicois usually the best;
  • Valpolicella - dry, medium red wine with moderate tannins (great with grilled meats).

Often the most economical way to buy wine in restaurants is to order vino della casa (house wine), which can usually be ordered by the litre, half (mezza) or quarter (quatro) litre. It's not going to win any awards but if you are travelling on a budget, it can be a very good way to go. Head to the Piazza Navona and check out the small streets surrounding it for great little bars and restaurants. The cocktails are amazing at Cantina e Cucina on Via del Governo Vecchio (head right from the south western corner of the Piazza). Happy hour is from around 6:00pm-9:00pm - all drinks are €5 and come with a selection of apertivi.

Be careful of buying bottled water in Rome near major tourist attractions, the prices can be quite ridiculous. It is often better to buy a bottle of water from a supermarket and carry it around with you as opposed to buying water from “conveniently” located vendors. There are hundreds of fresh water fountains around Rome where you can fill a water bottle. The tap water in Rome is safe to drink.

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Rome or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Learn

The three main universities in Rome are:

If you are the type of traveler who enjoys learning about the history, legends and scandals of the sites you are visiting, then you may want to check out Roman Candle Tours. A number of tours are offered and conducted in English by English mother tongue guides throughout the City of Rome and Vatican City.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.

Post

Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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Quick Facts

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Population
2,722,907
Local Name
Roma
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 41.895466
  • Longitude: 12.482324

Accommodation in Rome

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Rome searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Rome and areas nearby.

Contributors

as well as RobandEve (12%), Peter (6%), Wardsan (4%), chandie702 (3%), Lavafalls (3%), Erin.Devin (2%), dr.pepper (2%), Sander (2%), AmicoTravel (1%), KellieBarnes (1%), zz411 (1%)

Rome Travel Helpers

  • Kate T.

    I visited Rome last June 2011. I will go back again June this year, this time for a longer period. Hopefully I can help other travelers by answering queries about transportation, hotels, food, and places to see. While locals would definitely be more knowledgeable, its nice to hear feedback from tourist like me :)

    Ask Kate T. a question about Rome

This is version 161. Last edited at 1:31 on Aug 3, 17 by Peter. 284 articles link to this page.

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