In this Destination Guide you will find information for : 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 Italian cities without the need to pay for 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 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 can reach easily to 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. 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 option always comes to mind! The rich ingredients used together with 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).
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).
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! Best to avoid these 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, Coliseum, Roman Forum, San 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 largest archaeological area in the world, with a population of three million. It is also incredibly various, from offering the richest art collection in all Europe to a vast possibilities of entertainment 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:
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 some 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 to Rome, it's advised to stay for 4-5 nights, ideally combining cultural activities during the morning and the afternoon and later relaxing during the evening.