Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Rome by A4A guest writer Marta Correale.
Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.
Overview of Rome
Rome is not only about history. The capital of Italy has a lot more to offer visitors than memories of the past. With a buzzing food scene, gorgeous weather for most of the year and stylish shops, Rome has something for everyone. How do I know? It is my hometown and while I now live abroad, I go back often and play tourist in my own city!
Top 5 places to visit
5. Colosseum and Roman Forum
One of the main landmarks in Rome is the ancient part of the city, made up of the world-famous Colosseum and the Roman Forum. It is possible to visit both sites purchasing tickets at the entrance (and if you like history or ancient sites, I highly recommend you to do so). What many people don’t know is that a stroll along ‘Via dei Fori Imperiali’, the street connecting the two, will offer gorgeous sights and photo opportunities! It’s the perfect way to get a taste of ancient Rome on the cheap.
If you choose this option, make sure you also climb up to the top of Colle Oppio, the small hill in front of the Colosseum, for great views over the area. Once you are there, venture to Piazza San Pietro in Vincoli and marvel at the sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo inside the church. Cross the square and stroll down the small arched staircase there to reach ‘rione monti’ on of the most authentic parts of Rome, full of vintage shops and places to have lunch.
4. St Peter Basilica
A site of great beauty and religious significance, the basilica is well worth a visit. If you are travelling on a budget, access to the main square and church’s impressive ground-floor is free, while the climb to the top of the dome isn’t. If you can go up, you will be rewarded with amazing views. When visiting St Peter, make sure you dress appropriately – shorts and mini-skirts are not allowed, shoulders should be covered and the guardians are very strict!
3. The Pantheon
Close to the Piazza Navona, both of these are iconic Roman locations and a must see place if you loved the book and film “Angels and Demons”! The best way to get immersed into the Roman charm is to take a stroll between the two. Don’t be afraid to get lost in the winding cobbled streets – they are the best part of the city! If you are here in the morning or late afternoon, head to Piazza Campo de’ Fiori. A bustling market in the morning and an amazing spot for an early evening drink.
2. The Spanish Steps
One of the most iconic corners of Rome. Romantic at all times of day, it’s especially evocative on a mild summer evening.
A fantastic neighbourhood for a meal out. Here you will find the best pizza in town, loads of dining options and a truly buzzing atmosphere.
Eating and drinking
In Rome, you must eat pizza and the best pizza is found in two neighbourhoods: Testaccio and Trastevere. Both areas are known for the quality of the food and the reasonable prices and are just outside the city centre. You won’t find a bad meal there!
A lesser know fact about Rome is that the city is famous for its Jewish cuisine, best tasted in the area called ‘il ghetto’, near Piazza Venezia. If you like artichokes, ‘Roman artichokes’ are the thing to order and the choices are endless! For smaller appetites, look for ‘enoteche’, wine bars that also serve small meals. Try ‘the 313’ in Via Cavour, and ‘l’enoteca’ on campo dei fiori.
The best gelato in Rome is allegedly the one served at gelateria named ‘I gracchi’. A must have experience in Rome!
Rome public transport is a bit of a nightmare. It is possible to travel by bus, metro or taxi but if you can, walk! Buses are cheap (tickets are 1.50 euro for unlimited rides within 100 minutes) but they are unreliable and crowded. The metro is a slightly better option and costs 1.50 Euro per journey. The good news is that the city centre is a pleasure to discover on foot and, even though large, easy to explore!
You can buy individual bus tickets but marginally better prices exist for 24-hour, 72-hour, and 7-day (24 Euro) tickets. All available at newsagents and metro stations.
Rome is served by 2 airports: Leonardo da Vinci (aka Fiumicino) and Ciampino. There is a direct train connected to Fiumicino called Leonardo Express (about 9 euro one way) and Ciampino is connected by bus (about 6 Euro).
In Rome, there are a plethora of accommodation options. While standard hotels, especially in the city centre, can get pricey, it is also possible to visit the city on a budget without compromising too much comfort and location.
A good budget option is to stay in Monasteries. Many Roman monasteries rent out lovely, clean, well-decorated rooms at low prices. Most of them do not operate curfews or enforce any rules different from a standard hotel or B&B, but be sure to check on the Monastery Stays website in advance.
The choice of hotels is endless and AirBnB is well established. The area around the Vatican and San Giovanni offer accommodation at reasonable prices, but if you can, try to stay near the Pantheon for both beauty and ease of movement.
Born and raised in Rome, Marta now lives in Ireland with her husband and 2 young children. A part-time traveller in love with coffee, food, and culture in all forms, Marta is the founder of Learning Escapes, a blog about slow family travel and cultural tourism.
All photos (excluding the feature image and vertical graphic) in this article are the property of A4A guest writer Marta Correale.
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