Tips when Planning a trip to Rome
Are you planning your trip to Rome? Here’s everything you need to know to make your visit to Rome perfect: from the best time of the year to visit Rome, to getting around Rome and information on museums and restaurants!
The best time of the year to visit Rome
Let’s face it, Rome is spectacular, so it’s spectacular any time of the year. Also, its Mediterranean climate really helps! But if you want to live the Eternal City to its fullest, the in-between seasons are the best.
Everyone tends to come during the summer – I get it – it’s when you get holidays! But spring, autumn or even Christmas time may be a better choice. All the shops are open (except on Christmas Day and on January 1st), the weather in spring and autumn is lovely (some rain, especially in November)! May, June, September and October are probably the best months of the year to visit Rome.
Forget about Ferragosto!
While you might be tempted to come to Rome during the summer, and in general in Italy in August, it’s best that you think again! If you want to come during the summer I would recommend June or July, as in August many restaurants and shops will be closed for Ferragosto, the Italian national holiday celebrated on August 15th. But if you intend on visiting the beautiful costal towns or islands near Rome (or in general in Italy), then that’s a different story and August is a good time of the year to visit the coastal towns and islands (just expect higher prices and way more people)!
When planning, make sure you know the site’s opening hours
Who doesn’t want to come to Rome and visit the Vatican Museums, the Colosseum, the spectacular Borghese Gallery and all the other one-of-a-kind museums and monuments? As you’re planning your trip, always make sure that you know when these sites are open! Also, make sure to make a reservation in places where it’s mandatory! Check out the See & Do section for information on my favorite museums and art galleries!
Keep in mind the cobblestones!
Before you get all dressed up to go out, don’t forget about the famous sampietrini! Rome’s historic center is full of cobblestones, so if you’re going to be walking a lot after dinner, lose the heels! Of course, if you’re going to dinner in cobblestone-free areas, then no worries! And if you’re going to dinner someplace and later to dance, that’s a completely different story! During the day remember to wear comfortable shoes that you can walk in!
Dress code in Rome
During the evening, including dining, drinking and clubbing, locals tend to stick to a smart-elegant dress code. Of course, this also depends on the type of place you’re dining at, but in general, Italians dress stylishly to go out (but they don’t over do it)!
For clubbing, girls wear stylish outfits (dresses, skirts with tops, elegant pants) with heels, while guys, make sure you have a shirt, dark pants and nice shoes. Nobody should wear FLIP FLOPS! I was in Gilda once, and there was a group of foreigners wearing flip flops (ok, it was like really hot outside) who got into a fight with the bouncer because he wasn’t letting them in. Like why are you wearing flip flops to go clubbing?
Remember that when you’re visiting churches or the Vatican you will need to be dressed appropriately otherwise you won’t be able to get in. That means that shorts are not okay, that shirts need to have sleeves and skirts or dresses need to be an appropriate length!
Bring your Student ID!
If you’re a university student, don’t forget your student ID. You will be able to get discounts in some museums and also at the Vatican! And if you’re 18 or above and feel like grabbing a drink in the center, some bars such as the Drunken Ship at Campo de’ Fiori provide student discounts!
Careful when choosing your restaurant
Yes, Italian food is fantastic. But in order to try it, you actually need to make sure you’re in an Italian restaurant and not in a tourist trap! I cannot stress this enough: really be careful when choosing your restaurant – especially if you’re in the center – many restaurants will give you the worst food for a ridiculous price.
If you pass by restaurants where they try to get you inside with special offers, or those restaurants that have their dishes on display, DO NOT ENTER, I repeat DO NOT ENTER! The rule of thumb is usually that if you see locals you’re in the right place! Anyhow, to choose among the best restaurants visit the Restaurants section!
Where To Stay in Rome
When visiting a foreign country, deciding where to stay can be one of the hardest aspects of planning your trip. And Rome is no exception! Here is my guide to help you choose the right neighbourhood for your visit to Rome.
Medical care: English-speaking doctors in Rome
I definitely hope you won’t need this, but in case anything were to happen, I think it’s always good to be prepared. If you were to have the flu, or feel sick, or need a doctor to come to your apartment/hotel, I definitely recommend Medinaction. It’s an on-demand, English-speaking medical service that sends a qualified doctor to wherever you are, 24/7! All you have to do is either download their app, call them or go to their website at any time of the day and night and book the doctor. If hospitalization or additional examinations are required—lab tests, X-Rays, MRIs, CT-scans, Ultrasounds, Fit to Fly Certificate, etc.— MedinAction’s reliable network of trusted clinics and hospitals can assist with all your medical needs in a timely manner. If you have any questions or issues, you can also use the free chat for consultations.
Overcoming the language barrier in Rome
Sometimes, speaking English isn’t enough to get yourself understood. And this is something that may happen to you during your trip to Rome. The last thing you want is to miss out on some amazing experiences because you’re not able to make yourself understood. You may think that getting yourself accustomed to Italian language basics will make your Roman holiday perfect. But it’s best you get prepared, because that may not be the case! Don’t panic, there’s no need for you to enrol in an intensive Italian language course, instead, just download this easy to use Italian Translator & Dictionary + app by Vidalingua to never miss out on great experience. It has some great features including:
- Pronunciation: text-to-speech pronunciation of all dictionary entries
- Phrasebook: 20 categories such as Conversation, Asking Directions, Eating Out, Flirting and Making Friends. Search on key word.
- Learning companion: only VidaLingua allows you to add notes, images, phrases and audio to your entries.
Getting around in Rome
Driving a car in Rome: know about the ZTL restrictions
I’ve heard lots of stories of tourists renting a car to visit Rome and then receiving fines that range from €85-€330 because they entered the ZTL with their cars when it was active. What is a ZTL? ZTL stands for Zona a Traffico Limitato, which means limited traffic zone. Limited traffic zones are all around the historic center, which means that if you want to drive through certain areas of the historic center, you need to make sure the ZTL is not active.
Only taxis, cars with disability placards, and residents who live or work in the area can enter the ZTL zones when they are active. This is done in order to restrict traffic in the historic center, decrease traffic and maintain monuments. So, if you’re planning on driving a car in Roe, here’s what you need to know. The ZTL zones will always be marked by a square electronic sign with orange text that says either “Varco Attivo” or “Varco non Attivo”.
Varco Attivo: it means “ZTL active” which means you cannot enter with your car
Varco Non Attivo: it means “ZTL not active” which means you can enter the area with your car
Once you are in the ZTL zone, you can freely move around with your car as long as you want, even if the ZTL is active. But if you get out of the ZTL area, you cannot re-enter it until the ZTL is not active again. So as long as you have entered the ZTL area when it was not active, and as long as you stay inside it, you will not have any issues. For more in depth information click here.
Public Transportation in Rome
Rome’s underground is X-shaped and consists in three lines – A, B and C as well of an extension of the B line that goes from Bologna to Jonio called B1. The A and B lines cross at Termini, so if you need to change line this is where you want to stop! Line C is still under construction and it’s not of interest to travellers who come to see Rome. Since there are only three metro lines, there are lots of people that commute, especially during the weekdays and during rush hour, and you can get really squeezed at times! The stops are also announced in English.
Line A/ Line B:
Monday – Thursday from 5.30am – 11.30pm
Friday – Saturday from 5.30am – 1.30am
Sunday and Holidays from 5.30am – 11.30pm
Monday – Sunday from 5.30am – 11.30pm
Bus / Tram:
Rome has an extensive network of buses/trams that make up for the lack of underground lines. The down side is that at times you will have to wait a long time for the bus to come due to traffic or strikes, and there will be lots of people squeezed inside the buses during rush hour! If you get off at Termini from the metro, you will find a bus station with buses that go do different parts of Rome.
Remember to validate your ticket as soon as you get into the bus/tram.
100 Minute – 1.50 Euros
Week-long Metro/bus pass (CIS) – 24 Euros
Day pass – 6 Euros
Three-day pass – 16.50 Euros
Children less than 10 years of age – Free (need to travel accompanied by an adult that has a ticket)
Roma Pass – 36 Euros , 3 days of Metro/bus travel + discounted museum admissions
Roma Pass 48 hours – 28 Euros
Call 063570 and tell the operator where you’d like your taxi. You can also reserve taxis if you are going to the airport/train station etc. You can also download the app Radiotaxi3570 if you prefer and if you will have Internet on your phone.
If you specifically call 063570 you can also pay with any credit card, including American Express.
The highest fare to be applied by the Taxi Service is a single, progressive taximeter fare, valid across the entire municipal district, which increases in accordance with the kilometres travelled and the completion time of each individual service. Furthermore, fixed fares are set for journeys to/from airports. Taxi license holders are obliged to issue receipts of payment.d
ENJOY – Pick the nearest car, use it and leave it where you want. What more do you want? Click here for more information on Enjoy’s tariffs and how to use it!
If you’re a fan of Uber, then you’ll be happy to know that you can go around Rome with Uber too! They have three different options, UberBLACK, UberLUX and UberVAN.
These are the fixed fares from Fiumicino Airport to the city, and vice versa:
UberBLACK: 60 EUR
UberLUX: 75 EUR
UberVAN: 75 EUR
Click here for more information on Uber