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Rome Travel Guide

About Rome

Ah, Rome! A city that needs no introduction, but let us take you on a little journey. Imagine strolling through the enchanting streets of the Italian capital, surrounded by picturesque historical buildings that fill your heart with wonder. As you walk, the sweet aroma of Pasta alla Carbonara and rich espresso wafts through the air, tempting you to indulge in the delightful cuisine of this charming city. If you’re looking for free things to do in Rome, there are plenty of options to explore alongside the enticing culinary experiences.

How could you resist? If this is something that intrigues you, you are not alone. The city is the third most visited destination in Europe and one of the most famous cities in the world. And not without reason. There are countless things to do and see in Rome, and no matter how much time you spend in the eternal city, you’re bound not to see everything. For this reason, it is vital to prioritize and strategize before visiting. This guide will take you around the city, through Rome’s storied streets, providing essential information to guide you to its hidden gems, leading you to the finest eateries and watering holes, and taking you on a tour of the city’s most awe-inspiring ancient landmarks in Rome.

Rome has been the political capital of Italy since its foundation and has a rich and notable history dating back millennia. According to tradition, Rome was founded by the legendary brothers Romulus and Remus, who were raised by a wolf or “lupa.” Romulus established the city of Rome, from which it derives its name. While this story is based on mythology, it is an integral part of the city’s historical legacy. It can be found in one of the city’s symbols, the famous bronze sculpture representing the two brothers being nursed by the wolf, called the Lupa Capitolina statue.

The city’s architectural style is very recognizable yet eclectic. The historical city center features buildings, statues, and fountains in different styles, encompassing different eras – from the Roman or Classical style to the Renaissance style, Neoclassical Baroque, and more. While the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, is an undefeated symbol of the city, Rome cannot be reduced to just the Colosseum. Other ancient Roman monuments and landmarks you must not miss are the Roman Forum, the Baths of Caracalla, the Ara Pacis, the underground catacombs, the Mouth of Truth, the Pantheon, and the Tranjan’s Markets. There are also many museums worth visiting. Galleria Borghese and Musei Capitolini are must-visits in Rome, while the Vatican Museum can be found within Vatican City.

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Best Time To visit

Rome is beautiful year-round but can be cold and rainy in the wintertime. While sunny days in January and February are few, for the best possible experience, we recommend visiting Rome when the weather is more comfortable. A great time to visit the city is in the spring when temperatures are mild all day long, and the weather, while it can be a bit rainy, is usually good.

The summer, from June through August, is also a great time to visit, as you’ll get amazing weather conditions and high temperatures. The only downside is that Rome during the summer is at its peak tourist season and can be very crowded in tourist landmarks and popular locations.

If you dislike big crowds, consider visiting Rome in late fall or spend Christmas in Rome, Italy, for a unique experience to your usual holiday celebrations. The city, the cradle of the Catholic religion, comes alive around Christmas with gorgeous decorations and illuminations around the city center. To fully appreciate the city, consider spending at least 7 days in Rome. However, 3 days in Rome should be enough to cover your bases and check out most of the more famous landmarks while still enjoying the city.

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What to expect

Want to make your holiday in Rome more organized and cost-effective? Then, check out the Roma Pass Cards. Specifically beneficial for people visiting Rome for the first time, the cards grant you access to multiple landmarks, museums, etc., with significant discounts compared to purchasing single tickets and sometimes provide a lesser wait time and queuing. There are 2 Roma Passes available, the 48h-pass for 32 euros per person and the 72h-pass for 52 euros per person. Both passes include free entry to one or two landmarks and museums, discounts, and free access to the Rome public transport for your whole stay.

Are you on the hunt for an authentic Italian restaurant or authentic gelato spot in Rome? You might be wondering where is the best coffee in Rome or where is the best pizza in Rome. While locals may have a knack for identifying the real deal, tourists may find it more challenging to differentiate between genuine establishments and tourist traps. Fear not; here are a few tips to help you choose the right place to dine and avoid falling into the “trappole per turisti” or tourist traps.

Start by checking out the menu, usually displayed outside the restaurant. A green flag is if the menu features a limited number of dishes, all of which are local or Roman recipes. Conversely, a red flag would be a restaurant in Rome offering popular Italian dishes from different regions, like lasagna from Bologna or arancini from Sicily. Another sign to watch out for is a man outside the restaurant calling for people to sit down and order. A genuine restaurant or eatery in Italy typically doesn’t have someone soliciting customers in this manner. Lastly, it’s worth noting that Italian restaurants that cater to locals and not just tourists have specific opening hours. In Italy, restaurants are usually not open before noon, and the kitchen typically closes at 3 pm before reopening for dinner. So if a restaurant serves lunch at 4:30 pm or dinner at 6 pm, it’s likely catering to tourists rather than locals. Keep these tips in mind to help you find an authentic Italian dining experience in Rome.

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Things to know

Rome is the central political power and a culturally significant hotspot. For example, Rome is the home of the Cinecittà Studious, where most Italian movies and tv shows for television are produced. Although not every Italian movie is filmed or set in Rome, the city has served as the backdrop for countless popular Italian films, such as Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Even Hollywood movies have been set in Rome, including classic films like Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Have you ever heard of the 7 mountains of Rome? Known in Italian as the Sette Colli di Roma, the hills within the capital are called Palatino, Campidoglio, Aventino, Quirinale, Viminale, Esquilino e Celio. The city was built on these hills, which do not constitute different areas of the historical city center. While they might be known as “mountains,” they are not taller than 50 meters. 

Roman cuisine has a lot to offer, and especially if you’ve never been to Rome, you should try at least some of the more popular traditional dishes. A few examples of what constitutes a typical Roman meal are artichokes, Saltimbocca alla Romana (veal), and Spaghetti alla Carbonara, which is pasta with egg and a cheese-based sauce, topped with guanciale (a type of high-quality bacon). Whether you’re dining in a fancy restaurant or a local trattoria, you’ll find these dishes on the menu, so be sure to try them for a taste of Rome’s culinary heritage.

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how to get around

To get to Rome from other countries, the most common method of transportation is by plane or train from other cities within Italy. The Leonardo da Vinci International Airport serves the city in the nearby city of Fiumicino rather than directly in Rome. The primary train station in Rome is Roma Termini, which will bring you right to the city center. This station provides direct access to Rome’s main tourist attractions and landmarks. However, to travel to other cities in Italy, the fastest option is to use the Roma Tiburtina station, which provides connections to the Italian high-speed rail network. With this option, you can easily travel to other major cities in Italy, such as Florence or Naples. 

Exploring Rome’s city center on foot can be a comfortable way to get around, with public transportation serving as a useful backup option when needed. Due to the high number of tourists and residents, navigating the city’s traffic can be quite challenging, and finding a parking spot can be nearly impossible. For this reason, we suggest taking a taxi with an experienced driver to get from point A to point B or utilizing a combination of buses and the underground subway if you don’t mind being in a crowded setting. 

Rome has a working underground metro system, which only has three lines. This might sound underwhelming for a large city like Rome, but it makes perfect sense when you realize it is almost impossible to do any underground work in Rome without finding UNESCO-protected sites. The crew hired to work on the new metro lines work alongside archeologists, who must be on-site to review findings and artifacts found along the way. Something that only happens in Rome? Probably so!

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Where to stay

Via Nazionale, 22, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

This luxurious accommodation is located in the City center of Rome, in a historical building from the 1800s. The hotel is situated just 20 minutes away on foot from the Colosseum, while the Spanish Steps can be 

reached within a 15-minute stroll. The hotel boasts modern, noiseless chambers with Wi-Fi and mini-fridges, a trendy eatery with a rooftop veranda, and an elegant lounge. Guests can also indulge in the spa’s hot tub or marvel at the magnificent stained-glass dome in the reception hall.

Via Labicana, 125, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

Palazzo Manfredi Hotel is located in a 17th-century villa turned refined hotel, and it boasts picturesque views of the Colosseum in selected rooms. Only a short walk from the Colosseo metro station and the  . . . .

iconic landmark, this is one of Rome’s best centrally located hotels. The interiors are curated, and the rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and luxurious marble bathrooms stocked with designer amenities. Some suites feature terraces, whirlpool baths, and living areas. There is also a trendy restaurant with a rooftop terrace overlooking the Colosseum. 

Via del Traforo, 133/134, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

The One Boutique Hotel is a great choice. The hotel is elegant and centrally located, but the best feature is undoubtedly its spa, which includes, among others, a Finnish sauna, a Turkish bath, emotional showers, . . . .

massages and rooms for couples massages, essential oils, herbal teas, a pool with hot tub and even an ice cascade. Make the spa and relaxation areas at THE ONE Boutique Hotel Wellness & SPA Roma an integral part of your holiday.

Where to Eat + Drink

Ma Va' ? Restaurant Roma

Via Euclide Turba, 6/8, 00195 Roma RM, Italy

Ma Va’? Restaurant offers traditional Mediterranean cuisine but turned vegan, with organic and locally-sourced ingredients to minimize environmental impact. The venue is small yet cozy and charming and  . . . .

features an open kitchen. This means you’ll be able to observe the Chef and team prepare the various dishes. Ma Va’? is an ideal spot for foodies, especially vegans, and vegetarians, but it is also an excellent location for those with dietary restrictions and allergies. Some exciting recipes made vegan include two local dishes: Amatriciana pasta with tomato and smoked tofu and Carbonara Pasta with Zucchini.

Via Nazionale 239, 00184

Verde Pistacchio Gelateria in Rome offers a delightful experience beyond just indulging in their high-quality, locally-sourced artisanal gelato. For those looking to get hands-on, you can learn how to make gelato like a  . . . .

pro with their expert-guided classes that welcome adults and children alike. Classes last one hour and cost 45 euros per person.

Col-Cavolo-Vegan-Bistrot

Via Cesare Bosi, 7, 00198 Roma RM, Italy

Col Cavolo is the perfect choice for a healthy meal, whether you’re grabbing a quick lunch or enjoying a leisurely dinner. This charming vegan bistro sources fresh, locally-grown vegetables from nearby  . . . .

farmers’ markets and changes its menu frequently to highlight seasonal ingredients. You can keep up with the latest changes by checking out their Instagram page, where they post their new offerings.

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Piazza di Porta S. Paolo, 6/a, 00153 Roma RM, Italy

Located in the trendy Trastevere neighborhood, this sustainable restaurant serves various organic and vegetarian dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. From fresh salads and sandwiches to  . . . .

hearty soups and pasta dishes, there’s something for everyone on the menu. Be sure to try the house-made desserts complemented by coffee, cocktails & wine at this down-to-earth cafe, all made with natural and organic ingredients. You can experience the cozy and welcoming atmosphere from Monday to Sunday.

Via Acciaioli, 13, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Nestled in the heart of Rome’s charming Trastevere district. Ecru is a cozy and inviting cafe that offers a delightful respite from the bustling city streets. Its warm and welcoming atmosphere and lovely  . . . .

decor make it the perfect spot to unwind with coffee or tea and a freshly baked pastry, including croissants, cakes, sandwiches, and more. So if you want to grab a quick bite on the go or relax with a good book, Ecru has you covered. Aside from that, the menu features a range of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, all made with high-quality ingredients and served with a smile, and the restaurant is closed every Tuesday and Wednesday.

Via Borgognona, 43-46, 00187 Roma RM, Italy – Rome Spagna / Piazza Sant’Eustachio, 54-55 Roma RM Italy – Rome Pantheon

This sustainable restaurant in Spagna and Pantheon is cozy one offering a unique culinary experience. The Mediterranean diet inspires the menu, focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from local  . . . . 

producers. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with rustic decor and a lively open kitchen. Diners can choose from vegetarian breakfasts, lunches, quick snacks, dinners, and carefully selected organic wines. So whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner for two or a casual meal with friends, the restaurant is at your service every day.

Via Urbana, 130, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

Grezzo is a hidden gem in the heart of Centro Rome. This charming bakery offers a mouth-watering range of plant-based treats that are not healthy but also indulgent. From signature ice cream and creamy  . . . .

cashew cheesecake to delectable chocolate truffles, each dessert has the finest quality organic ingredients and is free from refined sugars, dairy, and gluten. The cozy atmosphere and the nutritious aromas of freshly baked goods make Grezzo the perfect spot to satisfy your sweet cravings. For a truly delightful experience, the bakery is open daily.

Via Germanico, 59, 00192 Roma RM, Italy

This cozy restaurant near St.Peter Basilica prides itself on using only fresh, locally-sourced, and organic ingredients to create nutritious Italian cuisine. So naturally, the menu changes frequently, depending  . . . .

on what’s in the season. Still, you can expect to find a variety of homemade pasta dishes, vegetable-based mains, and gluten-free choices that are both satisfying and sustainable. Rubio is open from Monday to Saturday and opens every last Sunday of the Month.

Via Tirso, 34, 00198 Roma RM, Italy

Tierra Organic Bistro, located in the heart of Rome, is a must-visit for a healthy and sustainable dining experience. This charming bistro offers a menu featuring organic and locally sourced ingredients, . . . . 

ensuring each dish is fresh and flavorful. From vegan soups to gluten-free pasta, there is something for everyone at Tierra. Also, take advantage of the delicious homemade desserts, which are all made with natural sweeteners. Tierra Organic Bistro is closed every Sunday and is a true gem in the heart of Rome for those seeking a mindful and eco-conscious dining experience.

Via Urbana, 112, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

Trieste Pizza is a delightful pizzeria in the picturesque coastal city of Trieste, Italy. The restaurant is known for its authentic, Neapolitan-style pizza, made of Italian Organic Certificated flour with the certified organic  . . . .

and cooked to perfection in a traditional wood-fired oven. Trieste Pizza’s menu offers various classic and creative pizza options, including vegan and gluten-free. Trieste Pizza is open daily and a must-try for any pizza lover or whether you are a local or a visitor to the city.

Via Modena, 15, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

Rosemary Terre is a charming restaurant that offers a unique culinary experience. With a focus on traditional Roman cuisine, the restaurant uses only the farm-to-table freshest local ingredients to create authentic . . . .

dishes. This restaurant offers a breakfast menu and lunch menu that is gluten-free and vegan; also, the menu pairs well with coffee, cold-pressed juices, and organic wines. Indulge with vegan dishes, as the restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday only.

Via del Tritone 6th floor, 61, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

The restaurant is located in the charming Villa Pamphilj Park in Rome and offers a delightful and healthy dining experience. The cozy and rustic setting makes it a perfect spot for a relaxing meal or snack. The menu . . . .

features an extensive selection of delicious organic light brunch, organic side dishes and appetizers, salads, healthy bowls, and juices made from fresh and locally sourced ingredients. In addition, the serene atmosphere makes it a grand palace to unwind and enjoy a healthy meal every day amidst the beauty of nature.

Via Giovanni Lanza, 118, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

Nestled in the heart of Rome, Italy, focusing on natural, healthy ingredients, Zensi offers a refreshing twist on traditional Italian cuisine. This innovative restaurant is dedicated to creating nutritious that celebrate  . . . .

 the natural flavors of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. With a menu that regularly reflects the season’s best offerings, you can expect to find an exciting array of inventive dishes that showcase the very best of Italian.

Via Volturno, 39/41, 00185 Roma RM, Italy

Rifugio Romano is a famous Roman trattoria that serves a 100% vegan menu inspired by local cuisine. Not only do they offer delicious food, but the restaurant owners are socially-conscious and regularly participate in  . . . .

vegan and anti-speciesist festivals in the city. Rifugio Romano provides an inclusive experience and elegant dining experience with beautifully presented dishes in a welcoming setting. 

Organic Wine + Spirits

Via di Ripetta 162 Roma

Il Marchese is a unique combination of restaurant and cocktail bar that offers a rich and varied menu showcasing Italian and Roman cuisine. Guests can indulge in traditional dishes such as Carbonara,  . . . . 

Matriciana, Cacio e Pepe, and risotto. The cocktail menu boasts five different Aperol Spritz, a typical Italian cocktail based on Prosecco, and an extensive list of creative cocktails to pair perfectly with your meal.

Organic Markets

Via Francesco Crispi, 80, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

Crispy – Bio Market in Rome is a haven for health-conscious foodies seeking organic and natural products. The market boasts an impressive array of fresh fruits and vegetables, locally-sourced meats and cheeses,  . . . . 

artisanal bread, and a wide selection of gluten-free, vegan, and other specialty items. The market’s commitment to sustainable and ethical practices is evident in its emphasis on minimizing waste and supporting local producers. Shoppers can also indulge in a delicious range of baked goods, smoothies, and snacks made with wholesome ingredients. With its friendly staff and inviting atmosphere, Crispy – Bio Market is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for the best natural, sustainable cuisine.

WELLNESS

Via Tiburtina Valeria, km 22,700, 00019 Tivoli Terme RM, Italy

Terme di Roma, located outside of Rome’s city center in the direction of Villanova, is a long-lasting wellness institution for locals. The terms rely on the so-called Acque Albule, a natural thermal water source near . . . .

Rome. The water contains sulfur which is known to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The wellness and spa area includes saunas, steam baths, hydromassage, flavored showers, emotional and vascular paths, and different pools at different temperatures.

Viale dell’Oceano Pacifico, 83, 00144 Roma RM, Italy

QC Terme is a luxurious and elegant wellness facility located in Fiumicino, just outside Rome and close to the city’s international airport. Between massage treatments, pools, and water-based healing  . . . .

treatments, you can also enjoy a healthy snack at QC Terme. The wellness center serves breakfast, lunch, and aperitivo, with dishes meant to be filling and flavorful but made from wholesome, genuine ingredients. 

Via Lucilio, 11 – 00136 Rome (RM)

If you have ever wondered what it would feel like to practice yoga immersed in nature in Rome’s beautiful parks and gardens, this is your chance. You can book a session with TrainerLab Italia and experience the  . . . .

benefits of outdoor yoga guided by professional instructors. The possible locations for classes include stunning parks such as Tor di Quinto, Villa Gordiani, Villa Pamphili, and Villa Torlonia.

WHAT TO EXPERIENCE

Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

Known as Piazza di Spagna in Italian, the Spanish Steps are a monumental stairway that counts precisely 138 steps. This steep stairway is located in the city center; a few minutes walk from other landmarks like  . . . . .

Ara Pacis or Villa Medici. The Spanish Steps are a popular tourist attraction and an excellent spot for people-watching. Right under the Spanish Steps, you’ll find one of the most elegant tea rooms in Rome, Babington’s tea room, which is one of the few touristy spots in the city that is just as appreciated by the locals. At the feet of the Spanish Steps, there’s also Fontana della Barcaccia, a gorgeous fountain you’ve probably seen in countless pictures in Rome, although only a few visitors know its name. 

Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

Probably the number one photo opportunity in Rome, the Trevi Fountain is a monumental marble fountain featuring an elaborate set of statues themed on the Sea and the gods of the Sea. The fountain has been  . . . .

popularized in media worldwide because of that-one scene in La Dolce Vita where Ekberg and Mastroianni bathe in the fountain and share a romantic moment on film. The scene prompts visitors every year to try and recreate it by bathing in the fountain, which, unfortunately, is not permitted. However, there is one thing you absolutely must do at the Trevi Fountain:

  • Face away from the fountain.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Make a wish.
  • Throw a small coin in the fountain behind your back.

Legend has it that the fountain can make your wish come true.

Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Now one of the largest archeological sites in Rome, the Forum was once the center of political and social life in ancient Rome. Effectively the city center of the empire, the Forum was a public square where people  . . . . 

gathered to discuss public matters, attend political speeches or discuss the city’s economics. It is located directly next to the Colosseum and is an absolute must-see. While some exhibits provide thorough explanations, joining a tour truly brings the place to life in the eyes of visitors.

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Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

One of the most famous churches in Rome, the Pantheon is a massive and incredibly ancient temple. The plans to start building this temple date back as far as 31 years Before Christ, proposed by the  . . . . 

then-general and architect Marcus Agrippa. The Pantheon was finally realized about 200 years later. The temple is built in a classical Greek and Roman style, with a monumental set of columns in the front and a vast and unique dome as the centerpiece and focus point of the building.

Catacombs of San Sebastiano – Via Appia Antica, 136 – Rome

A tour of the Catacombs will give you an insight into what Rome looks like beneath the surface. This archeological site features a series of underground tunnels, many of which are walkable, leading to  . . . .

the burial chambers of the first Christians in Rome. Some believe this was a burial site and a place of worship where Christians could practice their religion in times of persecution under the early Roman empire. 

Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

The Colosseum is a spectacular arena in the heart of Rome, Italy. Built nearly 2,000 years ago, the Colosseum is one of the most famous landmarks in the world and is considered one of the most remarkable  . . . .

engineering feats of ancient Rome. In addition, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests, public spectacles, and other events that entertained the old Roman populace. Today, visitors can explore the Colosseum’s massive interior and marvel at its impressive architecture and history. With its fascinating past and stunning beauty, the Colosseum remains a must-see attraction for visitors to Rome.

Vatican City

The Vatican, also known as the Vatican City State, is a sovereign city-state surrounded by the city of Rome, Italy. It is the world’s smallest independent state and the Roman Catholic Church’s spiritual and  . . . .

administrative center. Home to some of the world’s most renowned art and architecture, the Vatican houses St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo, and the Vatican Museums boast an impressive collection of masterpieces from ancient Roman sculptures to contemporary art. Visiting the Vatican is a must-see for any traveler interested in history, art, and religion.

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