Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it is no wonder that it is on the top of everyone’s travel list. From ancient ruins to breathtaking art, the city offers an endless supply of entertainment, education and sightseeing. With all the city has to offer, and all the things you will likely want to check off of your bucket list, making sure you get to everything without getting burned out is very important. To help you out, we have gathered a list of everything you need to know before visiting Rome.
Expect to wait, and plan ahead
Of course, if you want to visit Rome, that likely means many (many!) other people also want to visit Rome. Year round, tourists can be found streaming in and out of historic sites, and waiting in long lines to see things such as the Vatican or the Colosseum. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead for this. For almost all of the sites – think Vatican and Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum – you can purchase tickets for timed tours. Purchase them ahead of time and be sure to arrive early. Timed tickets allow you to skip the very long lines and get right into the sites. Plus, it gives you the chance to explore the sites with a knowledgeable expert.
Avoid the summer time
If possible, do not travel to Rome in the summer time. This, of course, is the time when most people take their vacations, and it can be very crowded. But, even more importantly, the city gets incredibly hot in the summertime. If you have ever traveled in the summertime, you will know that it can be quite draining to spend all day walking around in the heat. You want this trip to be a fun experience, and being dehydrated and sunburnt will most certainly ruin your trip.
There is water everywhere
Because it gets so hot in the city, there are water fountains all around. Keep an eye out for these and take advantage of them at every opportunity. It is also a smart idea to carry a reusable water bottle with you, so that you can fill up at every chance you get. Of course, this will also help avoid catching any germs that might be on the mouthpieces of the fountains.
Pack and dress consciously
Rome is a walking city, and sneakers are going to be your best friend. Be sure to pack sneakers that you have already broken in (wearing brand new sneakers for the first time while traversing an entire city will certainly destroy your feet and will make your trip miserable). In addition to packing good shoes, pack a couple of scarves or sweaters that you can easily carry around. There are a number of areas in the city where it is unacceptable to have bare shoulders or over exposed legs, and having something to throw over your shoulders or around your waist will help avoid any issues.
Make gelato a part of your every day
Having gelato in Rome is absolutely necessary. Gelato is unlike any frozen treat you have experienced before, and nothing beats the fresh, homemade gelato from the tiny hole-in-the-wall stores. It is very important that you seek out fresh gelato, however. It is not always easy to tell which is fresh and which is not, but a good indicator of fresh gelato is if it is in stainless steel tubs (and not white tubs that look like you could buy them at the grocery store.) Of course, you need to find your absolute favorite gelato, and the only way to do so is to try as many different kinds from as many different locations as possible. So, make a gelato stop part of your daily routine.
Stay alert and aware
You likely already know this, but pickpocketing is a serious issue in Rome, as in many other locations in Europe. With so many tourists in and out every day, there are a lot of opportunities for pickpocketing, and you certainly do not want to become a victim. Be smart with your money and your possessions. Pack a lightly as possible, and if you need to carry a bag or a purse be sure it zippers shut or closes with a drawstring. Keep it as low profile as possible, and avoid flashy colors. Additionally, do not accept gifts from strangers on the streets. What may first appear to be a handout or a free sample will likely turn into the gift-giver demanding money from you. If it seems too good to be true, it certainly is.
Take advantage of public transportation
Planning ahead will save you a lot of headaches, time and money. Before you travel to Rome, research the public transportation opportunities. Utilizing public transportation will allow you to avoid traffic, and will get you easily from point A to point B. Public transportation also likely stops at all of the most popular sites, so it will help you avoid getting lost of spending excess time trying to figure out a map. You can buy passes for multiple lengths of time, so take a couple of extra minutes to figure out what option will be most cost-effective for you.
Hop on, Hop off
The Hop on, hop off bus tours are a great way to see the entire city at once, with the opportunity to get off the bus and visit any location you wish. The buses follow the same routes, but you have the opportunity to “hop off” at one location, take a tour, and then “hop on” the next bus that comes along. This will allow you to see the sites you would like to see while also allowing you to take the time at the spots that are really important to you.