Tag: Rome Guide

Europe Travel, Featured, Italy

2 Days in Rome Itinerary

Planning a 2-day trip to Rome? You’re in for such an amazing experience! Of all the places we’ve been, the Eternal City is my absolute favorite and I usually can’t shut up about it!

Get ready to toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain and soak up all of the ancient vibes when exploring the beautiful city of Rome. From the Colosseum’s grandeur to the cozy corners of Trastevere, this city is a time capsule that’ll make your heart race and your taste buds do the happy dance. 

So, lace up those comfy walking shoes, read our Ultimate Guide to Rome and let’s roam around Rome together. 

You May Also Like: 15 Must-See Spots in Rome For First-Time Visitors

Things to Know Before You Go

If you’ve never been to Italy before, there’s a few norms and things to know before you go. None of them are a super big deal, but as someone that really likes to plan and prepare, I would have liked to know before being there!

At Most Places, You Don’t Tip

Something that is more common in Europe than the US (I don’t think I’ve ever seen it here, or ever will!), is the fact that most places you get a meal or a drink already includes the tip in their prices or charges a separate service charge/sitting fee. So make sure you check your receipt for a service fee or some language like “Service Included” to make sure you don’t double tip (unless you feel compelled to).

They Take Credit Card (And Ring You Up At Your Table)

When preparing for our trip, I made sure we had several credit cards that didn’t have international transaction fees so we could use them abroad. But I was still worried we’d need to use Euros a lot of the time. This absolutely wasn’t the case in Rome, everywhere we went took credit cards! The only exception was when we went to a smaller, less popular place and their card reader wasn’t working so we did have to use cash in that instance.

Additionally, unlike in the US, they ring you up right at your table. They bring the bill, ask if it looks alright, and instead of whisking your credit card away, they actually bring their little card readers to the table and check you out right there. It’s very efficient and I have to say, I liked keeping eyes on my card – you never know!

Italians Don’t Really Do Breakfast

As a big breakfast guy, this detail was not my husband’s favorite thing to learn while we were abroad. In Italy, they seem to only have a coffee or espresso, and a pastry in the morning before tackling their day. That being said there were a couple of breakfast places we did find sprinkled throughout Rome (you’ll see it written outside as “Colazione,” which is Italian for breakfast) that had more American breakfast options like eggs and omelettes, sausage and bacon, etc. 

They were few and far between, but after spending a few days in Venice where there was absolutely no option besides the coffee/pastry combo, it was nice to see that they had this option! 

Always Buy Tickets in Advance

I’ll say it again – always buy tickets in advance! I cannot stress this enough. Rome is a very, very busy city. They get almost 10 million tourists each year.

Even going in November, which is supposedly “low season,” the city was still jam-packed with tourists. Thinking it wouldn’t be so busy and because of my husband’s work schedule (we weren’t sure if we’d have to last-minute cancel our trip), I didn’t book tickets in advance to see the Vatican. Two weeks out, when we got the for-sure, green-light to go, I went to buy tickets online and they were sold out!

I was super bummed, and when we walked around Vatican City, I could see exactly why I had had trouble… there was a line to get in about 400 people long! I’ve never seen a line so long before. But that’s Roma for you!

While you can get around this hurdle with some creativity, like booking a guided tour that includes tickets/entry, you’ll still need to expect to pay a bit more for it and expect that tours may be filled up if you wait too long like I did.

The Perfect 2-Days in Rome Itinerary

While some will argue you should spend more time in Rome than two days (and you absolutely could), I think two days is great if you want to see all of the big sites and still feel immersed in the Eternal City, without getting to the point where things kind of start looking the same.

When we visited Rome, we spent 2 full days exploring the city (and a couple of hours that first night we got in), and it felt like perfect amount of time! Could we have spent a third day exploring every nook and cranny, or taking another tour? Absolutely. But for us, I really enjoyed the 2 full days and exploring it on foot made us feel like we really soaked up every second of it! Check out our self-guided walking tour we did here.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Day 1 in Rome:

Explore some of Rome’s most famous sites, like the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. Before strolling through Vatican City and experiencing all this Roman Catholic hub has to offer.

Trevi Fountain

Visit the amazing Trevi Fountain first thing, before the crowds so you can take a few minutes to just sit on a bench and soak it all in. As one of the most famous fountains in the world, and my personal favorite sight in Rome, it’s truly a stop on your list you don’t want to miss – it’s just magical!

Admire the beauty and intricacy of the fountain, snap a few pictures, and of course, toss a coin over your shoulder into the water while you’re there. Legend has it, if you ever hope to return to Roma, you need to toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain. It’s also a wish to find love in the Eternal City!

Pantheon

While you’re by the Trevi Fountain, visit the Pantheon. This ancient building is so stunning, with quintessential Roman architecture and columns that seem too big to be real! As the oldest building still in use, in the entire world, the Pantheon is a really unique experience.

Take a guided tour or enter on your own (it’s only about 5 Euros), to see the world-famous Pantheon dome, and incredible architecture that takes you back in time.

Skip the line (which can be super long, depending on what time of year you go) and get a guided tour so you better understand all that you’re seeing at the beautiful Pantheon! We recommend this tour.

Piazza Navona

As one of Rome’s most bustling squares, there’s always something to see at the Piazza Navona. Here, you can take a moment to enjoy the street artists and musicians, admire the three intricate fountains that fill this square, or just grab a spot at one of the cafes and restaurants that line the square for a drink and some A+ people watching!

Spanish Steps

Climb the Spanish Steps for a fabulous view of Rome and don’t forget to snap a picture on the way up! This iconic Roman landmark is truly special – there’s a reason it’s graced the covers of magazines and postcards for years. If you visit in the spring, you’ll even get to see it covered in colorful flowers!

Piazza del Popolo

Often overlooked by many tourists and itineraries, this large urban square is worth a visit in our opinion – we went to see it again at night after stumbling across it in the daytime!

The Piazza del Popolo, named the “People’s Square,” lies just inside the northern gate in the Aurelian Walls, which was previously a point of entry into the city. The huge doors that guard this square, within the Aurelian Walls, are so massive and ancient, they were so cool to see! It was like a little piece of history that blew us away and was ignored by everyone else walking by.

In the square, you’ll also find a beautiful fountain and have beautiful views of the twin churches built on the edge of the square. With unique architecture and dome-design, they make for a pretty backdrop in photos and are really neat to take a moment and enjoy!

Castel Sant’Angelo

Moving in the direction of Vatican City, our next stop is Castel Sant’Angelo. Originally commissioned by Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family, this fortress has transformed into a multifaceted monument, serving as a papal residence, prison, and now a museum, along the banks of the Tiber River.

Explore the interior and dungeons, or admire it outside from the Ponte Sant’Angelo bridge that connects Castel Sant’Angelo to the rest of Rome.

Saint Peter’s Square & Basilica, Vatican City

In the heart of Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica stands as a beacon of religious and architectural splendor. This magnificent Renaissance church, designed by Michelangelo, Bramante, and Bernini, is a testament to the grandeur of Vatican City and is a must-see for anyone visiting Rome.

The sheer scale of St. Peter’s Square, framed by a colonnade, large fountains, and cobblestone roads feels so magnificent, you can’t help but be in awe! It’s free to enter the cathedral, but once inside, we recommend grabbing a ticket to climb to the top of the dome. From there, you’ll be met with panoramic views of Vatican City and Rome!

Experience all Vatican City has to offer with a guided tour, we love this one!

Dinner & Gelato

Wrap up your day with a delicious Italian meal at one of Rome’s many delicious restaurants. We really enjoyed Il Chianti – Osteria Toscana near the Trevi Fountain. The prices were fair, the ambience spot on, and my Spaghetti Carbonara was to die for!

Then grab some gelato at one of the many nearby gelato shops and go admire the Trevi Fountain lit up at night. We sat there, devouring our gelato and just enjoying the fountain for awhile and it was a really nice way to end the day!

Day 2 in Rome:

Today, we’ll venture to see Rome’s most visited tourist sight, the Colosseum and surrounding ancient wonders.

The Colosseum

As Rome’s most popular tourist destination, the Colosseum is a must-see spot on your trip to the Eternal City! And one you should try to see first thing in the morning (or later at night) to avoid massive lines.

Whether you plan on just admiring this ancient arena from the outside, or you’re going to take a tour of the interior, arena floor or underground, don’t skip out on this iconic landmark.

While there are loads of places to take pictures from all around the Colosseum, we liked taking them from up the hill across from Oppio Caffè. There were a lot less people (at least when we went) and sitting on the wall made for a cute picture! There’s also a garden right next door to the cafe with beautiful views, called the Giardinetto del Monte Oppio.

Tour this legendary, 2000-year old landmark with a guided tour that shows you the secret underground (accessible only by guided tour) and allows you to step onto the arena floor and see how it felt for gladiators to stand out in front of the crowd before battling! We recommend this tour to see all of the awesomeness the Colosseum has to offer.

Or check out this night tour for a one-of-a-kind experience of the Colosseum, and to avoid some of the crowds.

Palatine Hill

Perched above the hustle and bustle of Rome, Palatine Hill is a wonderful, ancient spot to visit while being in the Roman Forum/Colosseum area of Rome. The panoramic views of the Colosseum on one side and the Roman Forum on the other create a jaw-dropping backdrop for your exploration. 

Wander through the remnants of imperial palaces, where emperors once strolled amid opulent gardens, and let the whispers of history transport you. As you trace the footsteps of emperors, you’ll feel the echoes of a bygone era, and the city below takes on a new perspective. 

Roman Forum

Located right next to the Colosseum, and included in most Colosseum tickets and tours, you’ll find the Roman Forum. This ancient site was at the heart of the Roman Empire and is pretty mind-blowing to see.

Explore the ruins on your own, or with a guided tour. We definitely recommend a guided tour so you can get the most out of your visit and provide the most in-depth background on what you’re seeing!

Once you’re done exploring the Forum, head up the hill to Terrazza sul Foro. This is a great place to take some stunning pictures, or just enjoy the ruins from above. While you’re up that way, walk through Campidoglio, the hilltop square designed by Michelangelo.

Capitoline Museums

As the world’s oldest national museum, the Capitoline Museums are worth a visit if your interest is piqued by medieval and renaissance art. Here, you’ll also find famous sculptures and archaeological treasures, spread out over three buildings.

Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore

This famous basilica is a great ending point for the day. The Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore is one of Rome’s seven pilgrim churches and is the largest church in Rome dedicated to the virgin Mary. It’s also still used on various occasions by the Pope today.

Enter the cathedral for free, and explore a stunning blend of baroque and renaissance architecture and colorful mosaics. 

Evening Food & Wine Tour of Trastevere

Explore one of Rome’s most popular neighborhoods with a food and wine tour that shows you the best (and most delicious options) in Trastevere. Once a hidden gem in Rome and more of a local scene, Trastevere has become increasingly popular with tourists for its unique Roman cuisine and culture. 

You May Also Like: The Ultimate Guide to Rome

Europe Travel, Featured, Home Page, Italy, Travel Hacks, Uncategorized

The Ultimate Rome Travel Guide: Rome Bucket List

From religious marvels like the Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, to iconic sights like the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum, Rome is one travel destination that has something for everyone. In addition to incredible landmarks and architecture, you’ll also fall in love with Roma’s cuisine and food-scene.

As one of Europe’s hottest tourism destinations, Rome doesn’t disappoint. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this beautiful city, as well as our recommendations on where to stay, eat, and see the sights – especially our favorite (secret) spot to see all the Roman Forum has to offer without paying for tickets!

Jump To:
What You Need to Know Before Visiting Rome
How Do You Get Around Rome? | Rome Transportation
What’s the Best Route For a Walking Tour of Rome?
What Are the Best Things to Do in Rome?
What Are the Top Tourist Sights in Rome?
What Tourist Mistakes Should You Avoid in Rome?
What Free Activities Are in Rome?
Are There Christmas Markets in Rome?
What Are the Most Important Rome Travel Tips to Know?
Where to Stay in Rome
Travel Essentials for Rome

While Rome is so stunning, you can easily find something exciting around every corner, it’s a large, tourist-filled city that is easier to see with a little planning! That’s why we’re writing the Ultimate Rome Travel Guide, to make your amazing Rome adventure just a little smoother and make sure you don’t miss out on any of the sights. 

Rather than cram all of this information into one post (and there’s a lot!), we’ve divided it into several posts covering different aspects of the city in-depth and compiled into this guide for easy reading. From food and photo spots, to tourist mistakes, this guide will cover everything you need to know about beautiful Roma! 

What You Need to Know Before Visiting Rome

When visiting Rome, you will typically arrive by train, bus or plane. There are many bus stations and several train stops throughout the city so you can find the one that is best suited for where you are staying. Rome also has two airports, which is surprising for a city of this geographical size, both a 30-40 minute drive depending on where your hotel/rental is. The most popular airport being the Rome Fiumicino International Airport, which you will likely be using if you plan to jump to another country from Rome.

Currency:

Like most of Europe, Rome uses the Euro. Credit cards are very widely accepted (we only had one instance where we had to use cash because their credit card reader wasn’t working). There are plenty of ATM’s throughout the city and it’s wise to have some euros handy, should your card not be accepted or there’s an issue on their part, as was our case. As a rule of thumb, we always had at least 50 euros on us in case we had a meal and there was an issue taking our card.

Climate:

Rome has a Mediterranean climate, meaning it has mild, rainy winters, and very hot, sunny summers. If you’re visiting in the summer, make sure your hotel or rental has air conditioning! We visited at the very beginning of November and it was still somewhat warm on sunny days, as well as many rain showers that moved out as quickly as they moved in.

If you’re visiting in the fall or winter, we recommend packing a rain coat or umbrella – it will not be uncommon for you to see the majority of people walking around with umbrellas for these somewhat-spontaneous rain showers the city gets periodically drenched in, in the fall months.

Languages:

Italian and English. Rome is an international city that is very accustomed to interacting with tourists from all over the world. Everywhere we went, we had no trouble speaking English and it being well-understood.

The only time it seemed to be slightly difficult to communicate was with our Airbnb hosts as they spoke some English but not as well as other places we frequented in the city like restaurants, transportation hubs, and tourist sights.

How Do You Get Around Rome? | Rome Transportation

No matter where you are in Rome, or where you want to go, there’s a bus for that. While we chose to walk everywhere (one day walking over 12 miles!), we saw many people riding the buses throughout the city.

The bus lines run everywhere you would need to go and can really save your feet from the walking. It’s not a very large city when considering the major tourist attraction locations, but it is congested, and you can expect it to take at least 20 minutes to get completely across it by bus. 

Another option for those who don’t walk to walk everywhere is the metro subway system. This underground subway is currently the smallest metro system in Europe, and we really didn’t see people taking it much. However, it is an option if you wanted to get from Prati all the way to the Colosseum in just a few minutes!

Lastly, you can take Ubers, private shuttles and taxis very easily in Rome. However, this is the most expensive option on the list! The bus system and metro system are much more economical, but I will say it was very nice just taking a taxi to the airport when it was time for our trip to end.

Direct and smooth, with no stops was our preferred way to stay on time for a flight! That being said, you could have easily taken a bus for the 40-minute ride to the airport.

What’s the Best Route For a Walking Tour of Rome?

Read: Rome Bucket List: A Self Guided Walking Tour of Rome

As I mentioned above, we exclusively walked in Rome. It was by far our favorite city to walk around because there was a beautiful fountain, sculpture, monument, or otherwise stunning building facade around every corner! We had never seen so much beauty and I feel like we would have missed a lot of the little sights if we were taking public transportation.

The best way to see Rome is by walking, at least as much as you can. It is mostly flat with some gentle hills sprinkled throughout, so it is not a strenuous walk at all. While you can join a paid walking tour, we recommend you follow our tour or create your own. Not joining a group is a great way to experience the city at your own pace, and allows you to stop into a shop or cafe along the way if you see something that grabs your attention! We loved touring the city on foot and then popping into a restaurant for lunch or just a mid-day Aperol Spritz!

See Rome at your own pace and don’t miss any of the best sights (and lesser known spots) by following our self-guided walking tour of Rome here!

What Are the Best Things to Do in Rome?

Read: 11 Best Things to Do in Rome (For First-Time Visitors)

There’s so much to do and see in Rome, it can feel overwhelming trying to make sure you don’t miss a thing! From shopping (local vendors and designer) to taking in the sights, to exploring the food scene, there are so many options. Read our top 11 things to do in Rome for first-time visitors here so you can make sure you enjoy all this beautiful city has to offer!

What Are the Top Tourist Sights in Rome?

Read: 15 Can’t-Miss Tourist Sights in Rome

Rome has many iconic tourist sights, and some stunning, but lesser known ones that are still very much worth a visit. To name a few, in Rome you have:

  • Vatican City
  • The Colosseum
  • Trevi Fountain
  • The Pantheon
  • Spanish Steps

Read our post the 15 Can’t-Miss Tourist Sights in Rome for more!

What Tourist Mistakes Should You Avoid in Rome?

Read: 10 Rome Tourist Mistakes to Avoid At All Costs

When you’re visiting Rome for the first time, there are definitely a few mistakes to avoid. There are many tourist traps in this city, as well as the very real threat of pickpocketing in crowded public areas (I felt someone try to grab my bag in a crowd in Rome). Be mindful and prepared for the city by reading our post on 10 Rome Tourist Mistakes and things to know before traveling!

What Free Activities Are in Rome?

Read: 21 Free Things to Do In Rome

Rome is such a beautiful, walkable city, and offers so much culture and experience just by walking around, looking at the sights! While you’ll have to pay for tickets if you’d like to go into any of the sights, viewing them from outside is completely free. There are also opportunities for free entrance to some of the museums and sights on certain days of the month, and we break that down in our post: 21 Free Things to Do In Rome

You can absolutely enjoy and experience Rome without breaking the bank!

Are There Christmas Markets in Rome?

Like many cities across Europe, Rome does have Christmas markets. The most popular Rome Christmas market is at Piazza Navona from December 1 until January 6 in 2023. This market was not held in years prior because of the pandemic, so it’s very exciting that it will be back in full swing this year!  You can expect lots of stands selling Christmas ornaments and trinkets, delicious food stands, and even a carousel in the Piazza Navona.

What Are the Most Important Rome Travel Tips to Know?

Read: 20 Essential Tips For Your First Visit to Rome

If you’re a first-time visitor to Rome, there are a few things to know to make sure your trip is as smooth sailing and enjoyable as possible! Prepare for your first trip to the Eternal City with the 20 essential tips we outlined in this post.

Where to Stay in Rome

If you’re looking to be in the heart of Rome and walk most places, we can’t recommend enough staying near the Trevi Fountain or Pantheon. This is the best, most central location that allows you to walk everywhere or easily access public transportation. There’s also loads of amazing restaurants (our favorite here was Il Chianti Vineria), cafes, and shopping here, so you have everything you could need!

Photo courtesy of Booking.com

U-Visionary Roma Hotel

4-star hotel offering room service, a 24-hour front desk, luggage storage for guests and free WiFi. This hotel also boasts air-conditioned rooms with a closet, a coffee machine, a minibar, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. Some rooms even have city views, and the hotel receives a rating of 9.1 out of 10 on Booking.com!

Photo courtesy of Booking.com

I Tre Moschettieri – D’Artagnan

An elegant building near the Trevi Fountain, offering free Wi-Fi and large, modern rooms with parquet floors, private bathrooms, and air conditioning. In the lobby, you’ll find it uniquely decorated with antiques!

Photo courtesy of Booking.com

Casa Fabbrini Fancy Suites

With air-conditioned rooms in the Spagna district of Rome, this hotel is just a 2-minute walk from the Spanish Steps. Rated 9.1 by guests on Booking.com, this hotel features private bathrooms, beautiful interior design, and an A+ location.

Travel Essentials for Rome

Cell Phone Power Bank

This is a must-have for any trip abroad, and one that we should have had on our trip to Rome! Using maps and apps on our phones all day severely drained the batteries, and we almost ran out of juice trying to find our way back to our Airbnb apartment! We had no idea where we were and we were running through the city trying to get back before our phones completely died! Don’t be like us, pack a power bank for your phone that you can easily tote around the city. We will never make that mistake again!

Pocket WiFi Device

Say goodbye to crazy roaming charges with a portable WiFi device! Stay in touch with loved ones, look up history or information on the fly, and easily share your pictures and travel adventures on social media. It’s also super handy if you need to do any blogging or work while you’re abroad, you don’t want to have to rely on public Wifi.

Slash-Proof Purse

As a woman traveling, I needed to carry a few things – including my collapsible selfie-stick (see next)! With pickpockets and thieves throughout Rome and the rest of your European travel hot-spots, you want to be very careful with the bag you choose to travel with. I chose a slash-proof purse that had zippers that clipped to the bag, making it more secure and less-likely to be pickpocketed.

When in Rome, I felt someone in a crowd grab at my bag, and was very thankful I had the zippers clipped so no one could quickly grab my wallet or other belongings inside. This is the bag I used and it was the perfect size to carry everything I needed – even a small water bottle! I’ll be taking it on all of my future travels.

Collapsible Selfie-Stick/Tri-Pod

We used this selfie-stick everywhere we went on our travels. You can make it as long or as short as you want, it has a remote that attaches to the base of the stick or you can pull off to make snapping pictures a breeze, and it also is able to be set up as a tripod if you want some further away shots!

Say goodbye to asking strangers to take your picture, you can easily do it on your own with this set-up. And it collapses nice and small so it can fit in your bag!