Our recent trip exploring Rome was one filled with much excitement and a lot of gasping in awe at the beauty of this magnificent place. If you are planning a trip to the eternal city of love, see the 8 essential tips to exploring Rome that I have put together below for some guidance.
For a more in depth guide on Rome you can view my previous post here. Or perhaps you would like to explore more of Italy, as we would loved to have. Then check out this awesome guide from Worldsmith for tips to craft an epic Italy Itinerary.
Below are the tips that I put together after our recent trip
1. Exploring Rome is expensive: In comparison to a lot of other European cities Rome is expensive (especially for South Africans since the exchange rate is so horrible). But if you travel just outside the main piazzas and touristy areas you will find local spots that are far more budget friendly. Restaurants post menus outside so you can check prices before deciding on where to dine.
2. Be aware of the 15% table charge: Many restaurants automatically add this to your tab. However there are also many who don’t. It makes a big difference when travelling on a budget. Always make sure to check before entering a restaurant if you would prefer to dine at those that don’t include this cost. Many restaurants advertise outside when there is no table charge applicable.
3. 24 hour travel pass: The travel pass allows you to make use of all trains, buses and trams and will only cost you 7 EUR for the 24 hour pass. We found the Rome metro to be an absolute dream. It’s cheap and all the main attractions are accessible from the train.
4. Walk: Rome is also one of the best cities in the world to walk around in. Everything is in close proximity. In fact if you wanted to you could walk from the Colloseum to the Vatican and stop at the Trevi fountain and capitol hill along the way. If you have at least 3 days in Rome you can really explore all that this city has to offer on foot.
5. Dress appropriately when planning to visit st Peters Basilica. Men must wear long trousers (no shorts) and cover their shoulders, women must not have either bare shoulders or skirts shorter than knee length.
6. It’s a good idea to visit the Vatican museums and st Peters Basilica in the same day. It is worth noting that the Vatican queues are usually much longer than St. Peter’s at all times during the day. It’s advisable to start your day at the Vatican Museums, ending up in St. Peter’s in the afternoon.
7. The Rome attractions have many ‘packaged deals’ available online but I would not suggest purchasing any of these. We were tempted but after researching and asking around we realised that it’s not feasible. The only ticket I advise purchasing in advance is for the Vatican museums. The rest can be purchased at the various sites on the day. Depending on the time of year you may experience queue’s at the Colosseum. We only queued about 15 minutes when we were there in May but from research it seems there could also be long queues for the Colosseum. If travelling in peak season it might be a good idea to pre-book Colosseum tickets.
8. See Rome by night: Rome is one of the most incredibly beautiful cities when lit up at night. The city seems to take on a whole new persona after dark and the best part is the crowds are gone! Sunset in Rome brings an element of magic that you won’t feel during the day.