Easily one of the world’s most important and famous cities, Rome is Italy’s only must-see destination, although you should definitely make time for Venice as well. The Eternal City is filled with many of Europe’s most famous landmarks, and it’s also usually crowded with other tourists.
Why Visit Rome
Every traveler must see the Rome Coliseum in person at least once, and the archeological area known as Ancient Rome should also be on your list. A visit to the Vatican City with its amazing museum and St. Peter’s basilica is an almost-mandatory way to spend one of your days.
Rome is a gorgeous city with great food and nightlife, but it’s also quite hectic and most visitors are happy to leave after three days or so.
Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO)
Things To Do In Rome
The attractions in Rome are quite reasonable and many of them are actually free, so this isn’t a city that will cost a fortune every time you want to go see something. The few famous ones that do charge are well worth it anyway. Some attractions, most notably the Vatican Museum tour, have very long queues, and going early in the day is recommended. If you are in a hurry then you’ll probably want to look into the Rome & Vatican Pass, which allows you to skip the long queues and comes with a bus tour as well.
Our pick: The best cheap and central hostel in Rome
Where to eat and drink in Rome
Food and drinks in Rome can be tricky. The main hotel areas in the city are jammed with places well located for tourists, with English menus out front. These places tend to be noticeably more expensive than their more-local counterparts, so one of the tricks for saving money is to get away from the tourist districts and explore the local neighborhoods a bit.
Most hotels and hostels include a small breakfast. If not, you can find cheap options at local bakeries and cafes.
$4.35 - $8.70
Local neighborhood places will offer much better value than tourist restaurants.
$6.52 - $11.96
Assuming a sit-down multi-course meal, again the advice is to follow locals instead of fellow tourists.
$10.87 - $18.48
Beer (.33l bottle)
Local lagers are decent deals at most restaurants.
$3.26 - $6.52
House wine (glass)
Local wine can be very cheap in Rome, especially at neighborhood bars.
$2.17 - $3.26
Pizza to go
There are local pizza bakeries where you can get a large slice to walk with.
The hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus tours of Rome might sound cheesy, but they are a great way to see almost all of the most fam0us sights in just a few hours. Rome is very photogenic and you can take dozens of great photos if you get a seat on top.
The free (tips-based) walking tours of Rome are also very worthwhile and a great complement the bus tours since you’ll be able to see many things in detail on foot in just another few hours.
When to visit Rome
Temperature and rainfall
Rome Weather advice
June through August is the most popular time to visit Rome, and unfortunately the days can be very hot and steamy during this period. The humidity is rarely out of control, but the city does have that closed-in feeling during the warmest days. Most people agree that spring and fall have the ideal weather for visiting, with April, May, and October being the most comfortable months.
Winters in Rome can be unpredictable with warm sunny weather one week and near-freezing temperatures the following week. It’s best to pack layers if you are coming anytime other than summer, and even in summer it’s not a bad idea. For information on weather and crowds see our when to visit Italy article.
Rome is one of those must-visit cities and the Italians know it so things tend to be more expensive than you might expect. Hotels in particular are strangely pricey for this part of Europe, though some cheaper options are available in the slightly seedy area near the Termini train station. There are plenty of hostels so finding a bed is rarely a problem, especially if you book in advance. Check out our recommended Rome hotels and hostels for some great choices at very good rates.
Check Rome hotels
Rome Hotel Seasons
Hotels in Rome are at their most crowded and expensive from June through August, which is yet another reason to aim for the cooler and more pleasant spring or autumn if you can pull it off. Even though many Rome residents clear out of the city in July and August, the influx of tourists more than makes up for it, so book well in advance if you have a special place in mind.
The low season in Rome is from December through February, except for the winter holidays around New Year. Especially if you are coming in off season it tends to be a buyer’s market so finding a hotel once you arrive shouldn’t be a problem. But even if spring and autumn the cheaper and more popular places can become fully booked in advance so a reservation is a good idea. Hotels in Rome tend to be more expensive than one might think, so locking in a bargain is a good idea if you find one.
Visitors from places other than France or Italy will almost all land at Rome’s Fiumicino (FCO) Airport, which is sometimes known as Lenardo da Vinci Airport. This is Rome’s main airport and it handles almost all of the long-distance flights. Ciampino Airport (CIA) is Rome’s smaller option and it handles many of the low-cost flights from within Europe.
Rome is also easily accessible by train, although in most case it makes sense to fly into Milan or Venice and then head to Rome from there. You can reach northern Italy from Switzerland and France pretty easily, and the high-speed trains from Milan to Rome only take a few more hours from there.
Getting around Rome
Rome has a subway system that goes a few places that tourists will want to visit, but most of it is better suited for residents and commuters. You can and should walk between many of the key attractions. Local buses can be confusing for tourists, but taxis and ride-shares are reasonably priced compared to many other large European cities.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.