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In this Destination Guide you will find information for : Rome

Essential Country Information:

Italy


♦Capital: Rome

♦Currency: Euro €

♦Zone: +1 GMT

♦Phone Code: +39


♦Best time to visit: April to June

♦Must eat: Italian Ice cream

♦Must drink: Limoncello

♦Don't miss: The Rome Colosseum


Number of times visited: 1

Getting there and transportation:  Located in Southern Europe, Italy is a very convenient destination to travel to from everywhere in the world, thanks to important air links from Europe, USA, South America, Asia and more recently the Middle East. 
Travelling to Italy from Europe has become very cheap thanks to the revolution in low cost airlines, airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet have an important presence at many Italian airports. You can now travel from Europe to much smaller cities without the need to pay for a ground transportation or expensive connections via Rome or Milan. When travelling from Europe you can enjoy direct services to many of Italy's renowned cities (Rome, Milan, Turin, Florence, Venice, Palermo, Bologna, Naples and Bari). 
The national airline of Italy is Alitalia, which has undergone a big transformation thanks to the investment of partner airline Etihad Airways. Alitalia offers a traditional full service with frequent flights to Italy's main cities and good connections at Rome and Milan. As well if you are flying from out of Europe, Alitalia offers the best alternative to arrive direct to Rome from the USA, South America and Asia. Other national airlines also offer direct services to Italy via their respective hubs. 
Once in Italy, travelling around is very practical via many transport options, South to North and vice-versa can take up to over 1 hour by plane, so it's worth checking flights if your time in Italy is limited. Ground transportation is affordable and convenient, Italy has well developed highways and a good infrastructure when travelling across the countryside. Trains are also popular when travelling between main cities, however smaller towns have limited train services and rely more on busses.
Weather and temperature:  Italy's weather can change substantially depending where you are in the country, as the country is spread in various longitudes. Most importantly, the best months for travelling in Italy are from April to June and September to October when temperatures are usually comfortable, rural colours are richer, and the crowds aren't too intense. For the best temperatures around Italy, travel Spring or Autumn for a comfortable 15-25C.
The high season, from from July to early September, you will find it expensive, very crowded, long queues to get into popular landmarks and a scorching heat which is only pleasant to be near the coastline. Summer's car reach easily 40C in the interior of Italy (Rome for example) whilst by the coast it can be close to 32C. The climate is Mediterranean, which means it's dry most of the time with light winds by the coast. On the other side, Winter's are fresh but only really cold the further North you travel to. Cities like Milan, Venice or Turin might not be pleasant to visit during the Winter but the south is popular year round. Winter's in the north can easily fall below freezing and it's no surprise to spot snow as the proximity to the Alps makes it ideal for those seeking winter sports.
Food and drink: When thinking of Italy you can't help to note the typical food which has made the country so famous, probably as much or more than it's landmarks! Italian food is renowned worldwide, it's one of the most sought after cuisines, when ever you feel like a meal, an Italian restaurant always comes to mind. The rich ingredients used together spices, seasoning and oils make the Mediterranean cuisine not only tasty, but also it's considered one of the healthiest diets in the world by the quality of it's products. The good weather factors and careful consideration for ripeness, texture and flavours are the secret to the Italian recipes.
Cooking concentrates mainly on vegetables and oils, like Olive Oil, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Cucumber etc but also meats and fish are widely used (salami, ham, pepperoni etc). Each region specialises in certain dishes and can find many variations of the most renowned dishes like pizza, , pasta dishes, cannelloni, lasagna etc when travelling from North to South.
Besides the more typical dishes mentioned, there are some regional specialities which we can highlight: Gnocchi alla Romana, known in English as Roman gnocchi, these dumplings are made from a rich semolina dough. Bagna càuda, a hot dipping sauce from the Piedmont region, made with anchovies, garlic, olive oil, butter and occasionally, cream too. Pesto, a classic Italian sauce combining basil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese. Parmigiano-reggiano, also known as Parmesan cheese, this hard cow’s milk cheese is often shaved over dishes. Ossobuco, a Milanese dish made with veal shanks cooked in a rich tomato and wine broth. Ragù, a thick, slow-cooked meat sauce from Bologna served in lasagne, with tagliatelle or other types of pasta. Porchetta, a succulent pork roast infused with herbs, garlic and fennel, and encased in a crackling skin.  Panettone,  a Italian Christmas cake with sultanas and candied fruit.  Ice cream, discover the birth place of ice cream in Italy and taste the many natural flavours and combinations which can be found in the dedicated shops selling ice cream along every city. 
As for drinks, Italians love their coffee. You will find many cafes and bars offering well made coffee, anytime is good to sit down and enjoy a cup of the dark aromatic flavours so characterised by Italians. Limoncello,   a lemon-flavoured liqueur from Southern Italy, drank cold as a digestif. Campari, a ruby-red coloured aperitif with a bittersweet flavour. Wines  are also very popular and are drunk in combination with meals or evening drinks. Celebrated Roman wines include frascati, pinot bianco and pinot grigio (whites); barolo, valpolicella, cabernet and pinot bero (reds).
oranges fruit
Orange tree

Author's Comment:

When travelling to Italy you can't avoid getting immersed with the local cuisine, world famous for it's pizzas and pastas amongst many more specialities which are always on hand to try through every street in Italy! But not only food comes to your head when going to Italy, there's one of the oldest civilisation remains in Rome from the Romans. Legendary historical sites which have been preserved extraordinary well, and now are available for thousands of visitors to see daily. They are really impressive and you can't avoid to think and imagine how did people live in those days. It's most impressive remains and buildings are to be seen in Rome, it's capital, the cultural centre of Italy which is a must start to any new visitor. However there are many more cities in Italy which are worth seeing for their historical value and famous landmarks. (Milan, Naples, Venice, Turin, Bologna..etc). 
If you like your food, are a fashion-victim and enjoy hot weather then Italy will blow you away! The country is also a heaven for shopping and naturally it's weather is a big factor to why it's so popular for tourists coming to unwind and relax by it's many resorts and beaches around the more southern part of the country. There is a lot of Italy to discover, so you you will need to plan a few trips in order to take everything in! On a personal note, it definitely left me with an appetite for more tourism and see other of the countries famous cities, monuments and attractions! 

Rome Tourism Information: 

Rome is one of the world’s greatest ancient cities. It is also the capital of Italy,  now a cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. Ancient ruins all over the city, like the Roman Forum and the Colosseum evoke the power of the former Roman Empire.  Rome is also the location of the Vatican City, declared an independent state in 1929 with it's headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, and St. Peter’s Basilica as the main attraction for tourism and pilgrimage. As well as many Vatican Museums around the area. Rome can't be seen in a hurry, there are dozens of locations where to admire the ruins, classic buildings, museums and landmarks worth visiting to learn and explore the life back in the Roman times. Fortunately, the city is full of places to take a break, enjoy a traditional ice-cream during a hot day or chill in an Italian Cafe and see life pass by. Whether you want to relax in the evening or party the night away, Rome has also a lively night scene where Italians love to show off their latest fashion trends and dine in style, the Italian way!

Transportation:  When arriving to Rome, there are two main airports which you can land at, Rome Fumucio (FCO) and Rome Ciampino (CIA).
  • Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, better knows by Rome Fiumicino, is the main airport and where most flights operate from. To get to the city you can take busses or trains. The trains are operated by Trenitalia, the quickest is the Leonardo Express. it's a non-stop service to/from Rome Termini railway station leaving every 15 minutes with a journey time of 32 minutes. It costs €14 for a single adult ticket. It's also possible to get the Regional FL1 trains to/from other stations in Rome, including Rome Tiburtina, which will cost €8 one way per adult. The busses provide the best affordable option, Busses depart from terminal 1 and 2, to the main train terminal in Rome. (Termini station, P.zza dei Cinquecento) The journey takes about 1 hour. Busses are operated by Terravision for €5 one way per adult. They leave every 30-45 min.
  • Cimpiano airport is the second biggest airport in Rome, served mostly by low cost airlines and a few national airlines. The airport does not have a direct train service however Terravision busses operate frequent services into the city centre. (Termini station, P.zza dei Cinquecento) The journey takes about 1 hour. Price is €5 one way per adult. They leave every 30-45 min.
Once in Rome, there is an extensive public transportation network consisting of busses, metro and trams. When staying in Rome for a few days it's advised to buy day passes. A 1 day pass is €7 EUR, 2 day pass is €12.50 and for 3 days its €18.  (Also available one week pass for €24).  If you purchase a single ticket, it's valid for 100 minutes and costs €1.50. As well you can buy the Rome Tourist Card which also includes Public transportation. You can purchase the travel passes from vending machines and manned ticket offices at metro stations and many newsstands / tobacconists. 
Below you will find the metro of Rome, it's a simple network consisting of only 3 lines. The fragile grounds which it circulates by,the rich archaeological value and many areas still in exploration for roman ruins are a few reasons why the metro system is so small for a city of this size. Also ready to download are the train-metro and tram map links. 

Rome Metro Map
 
Rome metro
Rome metro
 
Rome trams
Rome trams
Attention!:Traffic in Rome is famous for being difficult to drive through, easy to get congested due to the narrow streets and drivers don't often give way to pedestrians, even on crossings! Expect to find rush hour traffic in the morning and evening to see how congested it can get at times. Best to avoid this times if using ground transportation and take the metro instead. Taxis are very expensive, and when they pick up tourists they will often drive around in order to increase the fare, so it’s best to avoid them. Now a days, Uber, and other applications are a good alternative. 
What to see and do?: For the visitor, Rome is an incredible place to see monuments from the capital’s glorious past, from the ancient Roman remains to the beautiful baroque churches. There is no shortage of things to do in Rome,  you can relax in the city’s elegant squares, explore the narrow alleyways of the city centre, or stroll along the main shopping streets. The capital’s great historical landmarks, ColiseumRoman ForumSan Peter’s Basilica the Pantheon and the Trevi fountain, attract millions of tourists every year.  Rome boasts one of  the world’s largest  and various number of museums.
The roman city is the the largest  archaeological area in the world, with a population of three million. It is also incredibly various, offering the richest art collection in the all world and offers all kind of entertainments when the museums close and it's time to explore the city by night. The city’s restaurants, ”Osterias”, pizzerias, gelaterias, wineries  and pubs have always lots of joyful atmosphere, and naturally food is a major attraction too.
Below you can read the best things not to miss out on your visit to Rome:
  • Colosseum: Probably the highlight of your visit to Rome, the Roman Colosseum is a testament to the architectural skills of the ancient Roman people and offers insight into the culture that celebrated the gladiator games at this huge entertainment arena. The first bloody fight was reported back to A.D. 82, starting a tradition of battles between men and beasts in a public forum with crowds reaching 50,000. Outside of the Colosseum, you can see the Arch of Constantine, which was built in 315 to commemorate the victory of Constantine over Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius. It's advised that to avoid lengthy lines, you book online before going, at Coopculture.it, you can use them for 2 consecutive days and include admission to the nearby Forum and Palatine Hill.
 
rome Colosseum
The Colosseum
 
Inside the colosseum rome
Inside the Colosseum

  • Roman Forum and Palatine Hill: In ancient Rome, the Forum was the centre of city life, playing host to festivals, celebrations, funerals and rituals. The city grew around this grassy area that was empty marshland until the 7th century B.C. The area lost its fame and fell to waste around the 8th century and remained that way until excavations in the early 20th century. Currently you can visit the remains of the Forum with the ruins of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, the Emilian Basilica, the Curia, the Temple of Vesta, the Altar of Cesar, the Arch of Titus, the Arch of  Septimius Severus and more. Then climb to the top of Palatine Hill for amazing views of the city. According to ancient tradition, it was on the  Palatine  hill that the first settlement of Rome was made by Romulus in the mid eighth century B.C. The museum is located at the top of the hill  where, among the artworks collected from the hill site, various artefacts of the Iron Age tombs and decorations from the imperial buildings are exhibited. 

 
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
 
Roman Forum
Roman Forum

  • Vatican city: Even though it's located in Rome, the Vatican City has been an independent state since 1929 with its own flag, coins and stamps. It even has its own militia, the Swiss Guard, which protects this state, the Pope and the 800 full-time citizens and visiting residents. The first impressive site is St. Peter's Square designed in the late 17th century. As long as you're dressed appropriately (no bare shoulders or shorts or skirts above the knee), you may enter St. Peter's Basilica and see Michelangelo's Pietá, a beautiful and sad sculpture. You can continue up to the roof where you can take in the view of the large square and city beyond. Also contained in the Vatican's walls, are the Vatican Museums, which hold Italian masterpieces, including Michelangelo's painted ceiling at the Sistine Chapel. 

 
The Vatican City st. peter's square
St. Peter's Square
 
views from St Peter basilica
The views from St Peter's Basilica
 
vatican city rome
The Vatican City

  • Pantheon: Rome's temple to the gods is remarkably intact, a great feat considering that it was originally constructed in 27 B.C. and was later rebuilt in the early 2nd century A.D. after fire damage. An altar was later added for Christian worship after the country abandoned its pagan gods. After the Renaissance, the Pantheon took on yet another role as a designated tomb for some of the city's artists and elite including the painter Raphael and former kings of Italy. The Pantheon's architecture has inspired copycats around the globe with its tall columns reaching toward the sky, expansive interior and impressive dome with the sun shining through the oculus, a 27-foot hole in the centre of the rotunda.

pantheon rome
The Pantheon

  • Trevi Fountain: The famous fountain is more an attraction to visit to through a coin and wish for love or to return to the city more than the statues itself.  The fountains is built in a Baroque style showing the god Neptune riding in a shell-shaped chariot led by seahorses. All the money collected from the tourists ( Nearly $3.500 each day!) go to charities to support food programs for the city's poor and disabled. 

trevi fountain rome
Trevi Fountain

  • Piazza Navona: Rome is known for beautiful and charming squares lined with restaurants and open-air cafes. The best one is Piazza Navona, once centre of sporting events, the square contains 3 fountains, the most famous is Neptune fountain and Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers, with each of the 4 statues representing a river from different continents. 

 
piazza navona rome
Piazza Navona
 
neptune fountain rome
Neptune Fountain

  • Galleria Borghese: It's a beautiful building both from the outside to the inside, located in a prime location in the sprawling gardens at Villa Borghese. The park and gardens are a great location where to walk and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. It's also possible to rent bikes (2 to 4 people) within the grounds of the park. The rental company is Bici Pincio which provide the tandems or rickshaws from €8. (beware, never leave your credit card as deposit as there are other unofficial rentals which use this practice to scam tourists). If you visit the museum inside the gallery, you'll find Bernini sculptures including Apollo and Daphne and his take on young David preparing to take on Goliath. The impressive collection also includes works by master artists Correggio, Raphael, Rubens and Caravaggio. Tip: Get tickets days in advance, as the museum admits only 360 visitors every 2 hours. Buy tickets at Galleria Borghese, cost €15 per adult.

 
Galleria Borghese rome
Galleria Borghese
 
tandem rental in Galleria Borghese
Tandem bike to rent

  • Spanish Steps: Famous for being the longest and widest staircase in all Europe, but the best part are the views once you start ascending the stairs. A Barcaccia fountain bubbles at the foot of the steps while the Trinità dei Monti church rises above the crowds at the top of the steps. The best spot is somewhere in between the 2 to admire the views below. The area is full of boutiques, shops and stylist restaurants. 

 
Spanish Steps rome
Spanish Steps
 
spanish steps views
Spanish Steps views

  • Castel Sant'Angelo: This fortress on the Tiber River was originally designed by the Emperor Hadrian to be used as a mausoleum for his own family. Over the centuries, it moved beyond its original purpose and served as a military fortress in 401 and later a papal residence and even a prison. It's now a museum where you may tour the apartments and see the statue of the archangel Michael rising above the terrace.
  • Capuchin Crypt: Located under Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins celebrates the life of the religious order of the Capuchin friars. The friars arranged the bones of the deceased into displays and frames for Christian artwork in various spots throughout the crypt including the Crypt of the Skulls and the Crypt of the Resurrection. Not merely a macabre display, these creations tell the story of life, death and resurrection and show a unique interpretation of the church's teachings of good, evil and eternity.

 

  • The Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Veritá): this enormous marble mask, which carries a legend behind it, was said to bite the hand of those who lied. The huge legendary sculpture has a diameter of 1.75 meters and is dedicated to the God of the Sea, represented by a male bearded face with holes for the eyes, nose and mouth. The sculpture was once located in the Piazza della Bocca della Veritá until in 1632 it was transferred to the outside of one of the walls of the nearby Santa María in Cosmedin, where it remains today. Note, that's it's very common to see large numbers of people lining up to be photographed with their hand inside the Mouth of Truth., so going during the week, in the morning, is a good suggestion. It's free to enter and you can get there by metro, closest station is Circo Massimo, line B. 

 
The Mouth of Truth Bocca della Verita
The Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Veritá)
Accommodation:  Rome is a very varied city when it comes to accommodation and lodging. You can find plenty of 4-5* Hotels with all the luxuries associated to them to family run Hotels which offer basic amenities and facilities. When in the city you can easily find Hostels, Pension or Motels which are old renovated flats concerted into Hotel rooms or dormitories. Often they are better to be booked face to face than online as they are run by older generations which rely on telephone bookings rather than the internet. However it's easy to find a lot of them on sites like Booking.com where they have very competitive rates. (aprox 15€ to 25€ per person and bed). If you are looking for normal Hotels, you can expect to pay around €30 per night within walking distance to popular attractions or landmarks. It's also popular to arrange private accommodation via Airbnb and stay in local houses or flats in a more rural environment. 
Recommended duration:  Rome is a city of immense cultural history and beauty, it should be visited with plenty of time to spare to take in all the landmarks and sights. Not all attractions are in close proximity to one another, so it's essential you travel a little to be able to see everything. With the infinite amount of cultural places to visit it can take several visits to Rome till you can say you have seen everything it has to offer! For a first time visit Rome, it's advised to stay for 4-5 night, when combining cultural activities during the morning and the afternoon and relaxing during the evening.   

Rome Photo Gallery: