“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.”
-Giotto di Bondone, Renaissance painter
Rome is arguably the most beautiful city in the world and seems to be a never ending well of splendor and astonishment. A striking contrast between decadence and renaissance, antiquity and modernity, gives the feeling of a city made up of two halves. One half is the bustling, exciting capital of the present day, and the other is the shell of an ancient city drowned in history. Together they make up an exciting prospect for spontaneous travel!
Time: UTC + 1 (German time)
- Our first tip has to be night walks. Rome is a fantastic city, but as you’ll also realize, tourists flood it. The best time to visit Rome is actually at night. Most of the sites mentioned hereafter, are lit up at night and look even more spectacular in the crepuscular light and without the hoards of selfie-taking, selfie-stick wielding tourists. Most notable are the Trevi Fountain and view of the Forum on the Capitoline Hill.
- Our second tip is the Scalinata dell’Ara Coeli, situated right between the Capitoline Hill and Piazza Venezia. The height of these steps means that most people do not bother coming up, with only a church to visit at the top and this is what makes it so amazing. These steps are a calm within a storm, with great views and sunny steps, they are ideal for resting and people watching from above.
These and all following tips can also be found in our spontaneous travel map.
Where to go? What to do?
- The area around to the Colosseo Metro stop is a ruin gold mine. As you walk out, you’ll be greeted with the magnificent sight of the Coliseum. Walk down Via dei Fori Imperiali, and take a look at ruins on either side, with a view of the Forum and Palatino.
As you continue walking you’ll notice the Altare delle Patria on Piazza Venezia, a very big, very white monument dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele. You can see why most Romans consider it an obnoxious blemish on the skyline, but it is an astonishing feat, a building fit for the Gods.
Climb the steps to the Capitoline Hill, where you can access the Capitoline Museums, glimpse the famous Romulus et Remus sculpture, and catch a staggering view over the Forum.
- From Piazza Venezia, you can head down towards Teatro Marcello, and continue along until you get to the Bocca della Verità. Made famous by Audrey Hepburn’s “Roman Holiday”, the ‘Mouth of Truth’ supposedly bites your hand off if you tell a lie. Climb towards the Giardino degli Aranci. The Garden of Oranges is an amazing, quiet garden with panoramic views of the city, and a straight line towards St. Peter’s.
- From Piazza Venezia, you can also head down Via del Corso and straight into the Historic Centre. You can wander here for hours, visiting the famous Piazza Navona, with Bernini’s iconic fountain, or Trevi Fountain, famous for the scene in “La Dolce Vita”. The Pantheon is also in this area, and a bit further north you can find the Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti (Spanish Steps), covered in flowers in April, and Piazza del Popolo, with its majestic column. Climb the steps for breathtaking views from Pincio Hill Gardens, where you can also experience the pretty public park of Villa Borghese.
- Vatican City is a must see. St. Peter’s and its surrounding square is the most common attraction but there are also a number of museums. The Vatican Museums display 20 000 pieces, and don’t forget the Sistine Chapel!
Near the Vatican, you can visit Castel Sant’Angelo, a fantastic mausoleum on the riverside, which also houses a museum.
- If you are looking for some art that is a tad more modern then visit the MAXXI, which features a brilliant 21st century collection.
- Trastevere is a cute small-street neighborhood, just West of the historic center. Great for aimless wandering, glasses of wine with parmesan, and night walks. Villa Doria Pamphili is the largest public park in Rome and is home to a beautiful Villa and grounds, and is just north of Trastevere and right near the spectacular viewpoint from Fontanone Del Gianicolo.
On the opposite side of the city, San Lorenzo is another good area to walk around in, boasting street art and reputation for hip bars. Monti is also a very nice area to walk around in and make some vintage purchases in second hand shops.
Where to take a break? Where to eat?
- Take a walk around Campo dei Fiori, a daily market in a beautiful square in the historic center. In the corner of this square, you can find the Forno, a great pizza slice takeaway restaurant. Grab a slice and a beer, sit down in the square and enjoy the people watching. Try out Gelateria del Teatro, for a delicious ice-cream dessert.
- Been visiting the Vatican? Take a break and head towards Cipro Metro stop where you can find the Bonci Pizzarium, rated the top pizza place in Rome. Don’t miss out on trying their wonderful ‘Suppli’, a roman street food which are fried croquettes of rice and cheese.
- If you are around Monti, try out Fatamorgana, an ice cream place with an amazing selection of wild flavours. The Charity Café is also a hidden gem, with live blues and jazz Tuesday to Sunday.
- Visiting Villa Borghese? Take a break at the Piazza di Sienna, an ancient equestrian arena, with stands still in peak condition. Perfect for improving your tan and continuing your book.
- For a classic Roman dish, visit the Salumeria Roscioli, although may require an advanced booking.
- Spend an evening in the famous square of Santa Maria di Trastevere, or in Piazza Trilussa, drinking and lazing about, channeling your inner Roman.
How to get there and around?
There are two airports in Rome, Fiumcino and Ciampino.
- Fiumcino: It’s the main airport and is well serviced. There is a direct train to the main station Termini, called the Leonardo Express, and costs €14 each way. (25 minutes) Alternatively, you can also take a regional train, the FL1, which services several stations across Rome and costs €8. (35-45 minutes, depending on where you stop)
Bus services are available from the airport to Termini for much cheaper, but like most things in Rome, they are not very reliable.
The flat rate for a taxi to the center of Rome is €48, make sure you make this clear before you get in, the driver will jump at the chance to scam a tourist.
- Ciampino: It is not as well serviced but much cheaper to get to. Shuttle buses are available from Termini also but you can also take a combination of metro and bus.
Take the A Metro line all the way to Anagnina, and there is a shuttle bus every 40 minutes, which takes 20 minutes to get to Ciampino and costs a mere €1.20.
The flat rate for a taxi from Ciampino is €30.
Single metro tickets cost €1.50 and need to be stamped when entering any mode of public transport. A seven-day ticket costs €24, but remember Rome is meant to be walked through, not sped through underground.
Where to stay?
If you are looking for a cheap hostel, check out Hostel World where you can find a selection of hostels for €25 a night. We recommend going for one around Termini if you want to be walking distance from the center. Our favorite hostel in this area is the Sunshine Hostel – it’s colorful, friendly and one of the cheapest which is a rare combination in Rome. Another option, a bit more expensive but with an unbeatable location, is the EnvyItaly. If you are looking for a more hip and cool location, try the area around San Lorenzo. Our recommendation there is the Dreaming Rome Hostel, a modern and crazy place with international travelers.
If you are looking for something a bit fancier, try Hotel Italia near Termini, which offers rooms for around €90 a night.
Or if you want the true experience of living in Rome, try out Airbnb.
More blog articles and information on Rome can be found on Reise2PunktNull – your travel blog search engine!
That’s it. Now you’re ready to take on Rome!
Enjoy and don’t forget to be spontaneous.
Book today, fly tomorrow – Let’s Yalla.