Rome City Guide
The ancient city of Rome is a favored vacation destination with the tourists. This capital city of Italy, which was once home to one of the world’s greatest civilizations, offers numerous historic sites and encompasses the renowned Roman Catholic pilgrimage site, the Vatican City. Rome, which was the seat of one of the mightiest empires for over two thousand years, is believed to have shaped the face of art, architecture, law, literature and language of the Western world as we know it today. It is for this reason the city of Rome, whose city center is acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is often called the ‘cradle of Western civilization’.
Most enthusiastic travelers aver that if you enjoy travel, exploring cultures and ancient civilizations, a vacation to Rome should be considered a must-do on your list of places to visit.
Where to stay in Rome
Piazza Navona and the Pantheon
Tourists looking for a bit of atmosphere on their Roman vacation and wanting to immerse them in the culture and ambience of ancient Rome, often choose to stay in the hotels located around the city’s commercial Via Veneto area. The area is not well connected by transport links but it affords easy access to the Vatican and other ruins of the city.
Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps are an important landmark in Rome. The area around the Spanish Steps and the Piazza del Popolo hosts some of the most upscale hotels in the city though the area is also known for its many fashionable luxury goods stores. If you enjoy shopping or even browsing at such stores and have a passion for luxury hotel rooms then this area maybe a good fit for you. Luxury hotel rooms in Rome like elsewhere tend to cost an arm and a leg, but Fare Buzz can always secure an attractive hotel deal at a luxury hotel in Rome for you through the exclusive relationship it has with hotel properties located around the world.
Around Vatican City
If your main purpose of visiting Rome is a pilgrimage to Vatican City then you could choose to base yourself at one of the many hotels located in the area around the Vatican. However, it must be mentioned that this area doesn’t offer many dining or shopping options so if you don’t consider that an inconvenience you could base yourself at one of the Vatican city area hotels.
Via Veneto and Pizza Barberini
Via Veneto is Rome’s main shopping and dining district, so if you enjoy shopping then you should consider basing yourself at a hotel located within this upscale, commercial area of Rome.
This edgy area around Termini Station is currently in the throes of gentrification and is known for its many discount hotels and budget accommodation options and thus is quite popular amongst back packing tourists on a visit to Rome.
Places to see in Rome
The Colosseum was once the site of the famed gladiator battles in Rome, which were witnessed by thousands of enthusiastic spectators. The spectacular architecture of the Colosseum features Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns along with an underground network of cells and corridors. This grand structure continues to wow vacationing tourists until today though the ravages of nature have greatly eroded the Colosseum’s original structure.
The Pantheon is another world famous sight of Rome, which was original built as a temple of the Gods by Hadrian in 120AD. The Pantheon, which consists of a dome supported by Corinthian pillars, also contains a sundial with which the Romans used to measure time and the dates of the equinox. Other sites within this landmark include the Carafa Chapel and the tomb of Fra Angelico( the Italian Renaissance artist).
The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain, which was built for Pope Clement XII and is adorned with statues of Abundance, Agrippa, Salubrity, the Virgin and Neptune, is one of the most visited sites and well known sites in Rome for it is believed that if you toss a coin into the Trevi fountain you are guaranteed to come back to Rome.
So if you are thoroughly enjoying your vacation in Rome and hope to come back someday, a visit to the Trevi Fountain should be included in your visit Rome itinerary.
The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps were built in 1725 and extend from the Piazza di Spagna to the Church of Santa Trinit dei Monti and are a popular congregation spot in Rome. These steps afford easy access to the Via Condotti, a main shopping locale in Rome.
Capitoline Hill was the original capital of the city and continues to host the seat of Rome’s government until today. This hill contains several landmarks like the Michelangelo designed Piazza del Campidoglio, which is surrounded by three palaces, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the twin buildings of the Palazzo dei Senatori and Palazzo Nuovo. These buildings also host the Musei Capitolini, which is home to famous statue of the Wolf and Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers who are known to be the founding fathers of the city of Rome.
The Roman Forum is yet another important must-do attraction on any visit to Rome for the forum once functioned as epicenter of ancient Rome’s commercial, political and religious matters. The Forum lies in the valley between the Capitoline and Palatine Hills and this ancient section of the city contains other ruins like the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, and the Arch of Titus, which are definitely worth visiting on any vacation in Rome.
Some of Rome’s famous sights lay within the Vatican City, which is the Papal abode and a walled enclave located within the city limits of Rome. The Vatican City contains sites like the Sistine Chapel, which is world famous for its ceiling that features artworks, has by the celebrated artist: Michelangelo. Aside from its spectacular ceiling, the chapels also sport frescoes that were created by a whole host of other famous artists like Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Roselli, Pinturicchio, Signorelli and Della Gatta. The Sistine chapel also contains the famous painting of ‘the Last Supper’ which is another renowned artwork created by Michelangelo.
The awe-inspiring Vatican City also contains the landmark attraction of St Peter’s Basilica, which has been built over St Peter’s tomb and contains the renowned sculpture of Michelangelo's Pieta amongst many others. Other Vatican City landmarks of note include the Vatican Museums, which contain one of the world's greatest collections of art. The galleries of these museums extend over four miles (6km) and include the magnificent Raphael rooms, the Etruscan Museum and the Pio-Clementino Museum.
The Rome Zoo
An interesting family centric attraction in Rome is its historic zoo called the Bioparco, which is located in the center of Villa Borghese. The Rome zoo is home to approximately 198 different species of animals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The Bioparco was a conventional zoo when it was founded in 1908 but in 1998 it was converted into a Bio park and its traditional cages were replaced by pits. Conservation and education became the motto of this zoological park, which retains much of the zoo’s original building. The Rome Zoo should be considered a must-do if you are visiting Rome with your children.
Best time to visit Rome
Rome ,which is situated on the banks of the Tiber River experiences a climate, which is best described as ‘Mediterranean’ and the city accordingly experiences extremely hot summers that extend over the months of July and August, when average daytime temperatures over the city often touch a scorching 95 F(35C). The month of August should be avoided while planning your visit to Rome as city largely shuts down during this month as most residents of the city themselves go away on holiday.
The best time to visit Rome is during the season of spring, (April to June) when day time temperatures in this ancient city of the Caesars, tend to hover around 64F (18C) and are sufficiently pleasant for sight-seeing. Winters in Rome are typically cold and the average daytime temperature in January tends to hover around 54F (12C) though Rome is also known to receive much snowfall during its winter months that tend to extend from November to February.
Getting around in Rome
Most travelers access Rome via its Leonardo da Vinci airport, which is located 30 km (19 miles) to the south-west of central Rome and is commonly known as Fiumicino. This main Rome airport receives carriers from all over the world and if you are planning a vacation to Rome, sometime soon you may want to explore the various flight deals for Rome that Fare Buzz routinely has on offer.
Rome’s airport is well connected to the heart of the city via an express train that departs on the hour for the Termini Station. The airport is also connected by bus and taxis to the city center. A word of caution, you should always look to hail only metered taxis for transport from the airport. Unscrupulous touts and taxi drivers are a major problem in Rome and visitors are warned to be cautious while hailing cabs for their journey into the city.
Rome is also equipped with an extensive public transport system that is made up of a network of buses, trams, and the metro. The city is also equipped with a fleet of public taxis that can be quite expensive to travel in and are generally difficult to hail on the street.
Most tourists who choose to book a vacation to Rome don’t usually rent a car for traversing the city as traffic conditions in the city are quite nightmarish and car theft and accident rates are quite high. However often tourists choose to rent a car to travel to neighboring areas outside the city.
If you are desirous of renting a car on your vacation in Rome, then Fare Buzz can be of assistance as it offers affordable car rentals for Rome as a part of its travel portfolio and these Rome car rentals can be reserved at the same time that you make your other travel bookings for Rome.
Where to shop in Rome
Italian fashion labels are highly coveted all over the world. The Italian capital is home to several flagship stores of luxe brands like Fendi, Valentino and Bulgari amongst others. These stores along with outposts of other popular Italian brands like Prada, Ferragamo, Armani, Gucci, Cavalli and so forth are largely clustered around the city’s main upscale shopping district, Via Condotti. However, similar upscale shopping experiences are also available at various other streets in Rome like Via Borgognona, Via Frattina, Via Sistina and Via Bocca de Leone.
For more wallet-friendly shopping options do try Via del Corso, which offers a wide range of mid-market brands and department stores. Also recommended is Via Cola di Rienzom located within the city’s Prati neighborhood. If you have antique shopping on your shopping in Rome agenda then you will not be disappointed with Rome’s many choices of antique stores and districts. The city’s streets like Via del Babuino, Via Giulia, Via del Governo are littered with several antique stores which offer a variety of treasures bound to please most antiquing enthusiasts.
Another source for antique shopping in Rome, are its outdoor flea markets. Porta Portese, situated within the Trastevere neighborhood is Rome’s most important flea market. This market which is also one of Europe’s largest flea markets is held on Sundays from 7 am to 1 pm and features several vendors who offer desirables like jewelry, art, posters, furniture and a wealth of other curiosities. Another Roman flea market worth rummaging through is the one held at Via Sannio near Basilica of Saint John. The market is held throughout the week and hosts vendors of used and new clothing and accessories.
Most visitors to Rome are also curious about the designer outlet shopping opportunities offered in the city. Various consignment stores dot the city’s shopping landscape and offer designer samples as well as gently used designer wares. Many such stores can be found around Piazza Navona and Campo de Fiori, the Gente chain of stores which have several locations around the city, are also a good source for designer outlet shopping. However if you want the American experience of shopping at outlet malls then you have to head to the suburbs of Rome to visit outlet malls like Castel Romano and Valmontone Fashion Outlets, both of which host a multitude of outlet stores belonging to major Italian fashion brands like Bottega Veneta, Byblos and more.
Where to eat in Rome
Italian cuisine is much loved throughout the world. Roman cuisine however differs greatly from regular Italian fare of pastas and pizzas. Roman cuisine refers to a style of cooking that makes liberal use of ingredients that hail largely from the Roman Campagna region (the area around Rome). These include vegetables like globe artichokes, fava beans, peas, cheeses like Pecorino Romano and ricotta and meats like lamb.
Numerous ‘good’ restaurants line the streets of Rome, though some of its must-try eateries currently include hot spots like Osteria del Guida Ballerino, L’Asino d’Oro, La Gensola, Eataly, No.Au, Coquis and Coromandel.
Nightlife in Rome
Rome like most European cities is equipped with a vibrant nightlife scene. Romans tend to dine late at around 9 or 10 pm, after which they venture out for drinks or head to clubs. The city hosts numerous nightlife haunts like bars, pubs and clubs which are mainly concentrated around areas like Piazza Navona and Via della Pace, Campo de Fiori, Trastevere, San Lorenzo and Testaccio.