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* [http://www.grimaldi-ferries.com Grimaldi Lines]. Provides ferry service to/from [[Barcelona]], [[Tunis]], [[Toulon]] (France), [[Porto-Vecchio]] ([[Corsica]]). Many ferries run as much as 4 hr late causing problems with onward connections such as the train to Rome. The last one leaves Civitavecchia at midnight and can leave you stranded overnight.
 
* [http://www.grimaldi-ferries.com Grimaldi Lines]. Provides ferry service to/from [[Barcelona]], [[Tunis]], [[Toulon]] (France), [[Porto-Vecchio]] ([[Corsica]]). Many ferries run as much as 4 hr late causing problems with onward connections such as the train to Rome. The last one leaves Civitavecchia at midnight and can leave you stranded overnight.
 
* [http://www.moby.it/ Moby]. Provides service to/from [[Olbia]], [[Sardinia]].
 
* [http://www.moby.it/ Moby]. Provides service to/from [[Olbia]], [[Sardinia]].
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===By car===
 
===By car===

Revision as of 19:16, 30 April 2013

Contents

For other places with the same name, see Rome (disambiguation).
The Colosseum
Rome is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.

Rome (Italian: Roma), the Eternal City, is the capital and largest city of Italy and of the Lazio (Latium) region. It's the famed city of the Roman Empire, the Seven Hills, La Dolce Vita (the sweet life), the Vatican City and Three Coins in the Fountain. Rome, as a millenium-long centre of power, culture and religion, having been the centre of one of the globe's greatest civilizations ever, has exerted a huge influence over the world in its c. 2500 years of existence.

The Historic Centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With wonderful palaces, millenium-old churches and basilicas, grand romantic ruins, opulent monuments, ornate statues and graceful fountains, Rome has an immensely rich historical heritage and cosmopolitan atmosphere, making it one of Europe's and the world's most visited, famous, influential and beautiful capitals. Today, Rome has a growing nightlife scene and is also seen as a shopping heaven, being regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world (some of Italy's oldest jewellery and clothing establishments were founded in the city). With so many sights and things to do, Rome can truly be classified a "global city".

Districts

Central Rome

Rome can be divided into several districts. The so-called historical centre (centro storico) is quite small, only around 4% of the city's area. This is mainly made up of the area inside the Roman walls. Districts are explained below:

Rome's central districts
Modern Center
Where many of the hotels are, as well as shopping and dining galore along the Via Veneto; home to the Quirinale, Trevi fountain, Barberini, Castro Pretorio, and Repubblica areas.
Old Rome
The center of the Roman Renaissance period, with beautiful squares, cathedrals, the Pantheon, and plenty of laid-back dining; includes the Navona, Campo de' Fiori, and the Jewish Ghetto neighbourhoods.
Vatican
The Papal City State and its endless treasure troves of sights, relics, and museums, as well as the surrounding Italian neighbourhood.
Colosseo
The heart of ancient Rome, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Forum of Augustus, the Forum and Markets of Trajan, the Capitoline and its museums.
North Centre
Situated in the north part of Rome, home to the Villa Borghese, the Spanish Steps, and the elegant neighbourhoods of Parioli and Salario.
Trastevere
The land to the south of the Vatican, on the west bank of the Tiber River, full of narrow cobbled streets and lonely plazas that served as the inspiration for artists such as Giorgio de Chirico. Now arguably the center of Rome's artistic life.
Aventino-Testaccio
Off-the-beaten-path neighbourhoods of Rome with plenty of surprises waiting for interested travelers, as well as some truly great food.
Esquilino-San Giovanni
South of Termini, with an indoor market, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, and the Cathedral of Rome Saint John in Lateran.
Nomentano
Municipio III, the neighbourhoods "behind" the train station. Vibrant night life in San Lorenzo.

Outskirts

North
the vast suburban areas to the north of the centre (Municipi 4, 15-20)
South
home of the Appian Way park, several catacombs, fascist monumental architecture at EUR and extensive suburbs. (Municipi 5-13)
Ostia
Rome's beach resort and the impressive ruins of Ancient Rome's harbour.

Understand

The Pantheon

Situated on the River Tiber, between the Apennine Mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea, the "Eternal City" was once the administrative centre of the mighty Roman Empire, governing a vast region that stretched all the way from Britain to Mesopotamia. Today it remains the seat of the Italian government and home to numerous ministerial offices. Rome has 2.8 million inhabitants while the metropolitan area is home to around 5 million.

Architecturally and culturally, Rome has some contrasts - you have areas with pompously huge majestic palaces, avenues and basilicas, which are then surrounded by tiny alleyways, little churches and old houses. The centre of Rome is mainly ancient, and modern buildings are usually concentrated in the suburbs, unlike Milan (where new and old architecture is combined both in the centre and the outskirts). You may also find yourself walking from a grand palace and tree-lined elegant boulevard, into a small and cramped Medieval-like street.

The abbreviation "S.P.Q.R" is ubiquitous in Rome, short for the old Latin democratic motto Senatus Populusque Romani ("The Senate and People of Rome". A humorous variation is "Sono pazzi questi Romani" (these Romans are crazy).

For two weeks in August, many of Rome's inhabitants shut up shop (literally) and go on their own vacations; many stores, restaurants and other amenities will be closed during this time. The temperature in the city centre at this time of year is not particularly pleasant. If you do travel to Rome at this time, be prepared to see Chiuso per ferie (Closed for holidays) signs on many establishments. Even in these weeks the city is very beautiful and if you are looking for a less overcrowded vacation in Rome, this is not a bad time. You will always be able to find somewhere to eat.

History

Roman Forum
The artsy Piazza Navona.
The Vittorio Emanuele monument, considered a symbol of modern post-Risorgimento Rome.
The Quirinal Palace, the official residence of the President of Italy.

Rome's history spans over two and half thousand years, which have seen its transformation from a small Latin village to the centre of a vast empire, through the founding of Catholicism, and into the capital of today's Italy. Rome's history is long and complex. What follows is merely a quick summary.

Rome is traditionally thought to have been founded by the mythical twins Romulus and Remus, who were abandoned as infants in the Tiber River and raised by a mother wolf before being found by a shepherd who raised them as his own sons. Rome was founded as a small village sometime in the 8th century BC surrounding the Palatine Hill, including the area where the Roman Forum is found. Due to the village's position at a ford on the Tiber River, Rome became a crossroads of traffic and trade.

The settlement developed into the capital of the Roman Kingdom, led by a series of Etruscan kings, before becoming the seat of the Roman Republic at around 500 BC, and then the centre of the Roman Empire from 27 BC on. For almost a thousand years, Rome was the largest, wealthiest, most powerful city in the Western World, with dominance over most of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. Even after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Rome maintained considerable importance and wealth.

Beginning with the reign of Constantine I, the Bishop of Rome (later known as the Pope) gained political and religious importance, establishing Rome as the center of the Catholic Church. During the Early Middle Ages, the city declined in population but gained a new importance as the capital of the newly formed Papal States. Throughout the Middle Ages, Rome was a major pilgrimage site and the focus of struggles between the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy.

The Santa Maria in Trastevere church, a symbol of early medieval Rome.

With the Italian Renaissance fully under way in the 15th century, Rome changed dramatically. Extravagant churches, bridges, and public spaces, including a new Saint Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, were constructed by the Papacy so that Rome would equal the grandeur of other Italian cities of the period. In the 19th century, Rome again became the focus of a power struggle with the rise of the Kingdom of Italy, which wished to see a reunification of Italy. The Papal States remained in control of Rome under French protection, but with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, French troops were forced to abandon Rome, leaving it clear for the Kingdom of Italy to capture. Rome became the capital of Italy, and has remained such ever since.

Rome today is a contemporary metropolis that reflects the many periods of its long history - Ancient times, Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Modern Era. With the rise of Italian Fascism following World War I, Rome's population grew. This trend was stopped by World War II, which dealt relatively minor damage to Rome. With the dismantlement of the monarchy and the creation of the Italian Republic following WWII, Rome again began to grow in population and became a modern city. The city stands today as the capital of Italy and one of the world's major tourist destinations.

Background reading

At last count there were close to 1700 novels set in Rome in days gone by. [1] Most easily available in bookshops are those by Lindsey Davis and Steven Saylor. Both are good storytellers and excellent at portraying life in Ancient Rome. Particularly interesting if you are visiting Rome may be Saylor’s “Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome”, which traces the first thousand years or so of Rome’s history by following the fictional fortunes of two families. Each chapter begins with a map showing the state of Rome’s development at the time of the chapter.

The classic work on Ancient Rome remains Edward Gibbon’s “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. This was written in 1782 but is still being reprinted. A marvellous book that covers Rome’s fortunes from Romulus and Remus to the 1970s is “Rome: The Biography of a City” by Christopher Hibbert (Penguin). An excellent guide book, too, although perhaps a bit too heavy to carry around.

English-language bookshops in Rome are:

  • The Lion Bookshop, Via dei Greci, 36, close to Piazza di Spagna. Lots of books and a small cafe.
  • Anglo-American Bookstore, Via delle Vite, 102, also close to Piazza di Spagna. A large store, with specialist sections. Strong on non-fiction.
  • The Almost Corner Bookshop, Via del Moro 45, Trastevere. Small but very well-stocked store on the other side of the river.

Some Italian bookstores also have English-language sections. Try the large selection of English books (but also French, Spanish and more) at Feltrinelli International in Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando - or the smaller in Largo Argentina.

Get in

By boat

Most cruise ships dock in Civitavecchia, some to begin or end a cruise, some to stay a full day to allow passengers to "day-trip" to Rome.

For "day-trippers", many ships arrange shuttle buses to and from the pedestrian port entrance. From there you can walk 10-15 minutes along the shore to the Civitavecchia train station. A B.I.R.G. round trip train ticket for Rome costs approximately €9 (as of Spring 2011), and also entitles you to unlimited use of Rome's Metro/underground and city bus lines. Trains for commuters leave every hour or so, more often during rush hours, and take about 80 minutes. For Rome, you can get off near St. Peters (Trastevere station), or continue to the Termini station right downtown, where countless buses and the Metro await.

If starting or ending a cruise using the train, you'll likely want to take a taxi between the ship and the train station. Because some train platforms can only be reached by underground walkway/stairs, plan ahead for transferring your luggage. At certain times of day, there may be porters to help. See also "About luggage" in "By train" above.

It is now possible for modest- to large-sized yachts to dock in the new Porto di Roma, Ostia marina, located 20 km from Rome and linked by train and metro. Their stations are not within practical walking distance of the marina or riverside boat facilities.

Ferry services

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By car

Driving to Rome is quite easy; as they say, all roads lead to Rome. The city is ringed by a motorway, the Grande Raccordo Anulare or GRA. If you are going to the very centre of the city any road leading off the GRA will get you there. If you are going anywhere else, however, a GPS or a good map is essential. Signs on the GRA indicate the name of the road leading to the centre (e.g. Via Appia Nuova, Via Aurelia, Via Tiburtina) but this is useful only for Romans who know where these roads pass.

By train

Rome's main railway station is Termini Station which is located between 00:30 and 04:30. Most long-distance trains passing through Rome between these times will stop at Tiburtina station instead. See also "By boat" below.

Other main stations include Ostiense, Trastevere, Tuscolana, Tiburtina.

About luggage: When travelling between major cities or to/from another country, trains will be designed for passengers and luggage. Most others (e.g., between nearby towns and cities) are often designed to serve commuters.

  • For enroute stations, they stop for only 1-2 minutes.
  • Most cars have a middle platform close to the station's boarding level, but with a significant gap. Seating areas may be at levels different from the middle platform, with narrow/clumsy steps for moving large luggage and little space to store them. Large pieces must often be left on the middle platform; have someone guard them...thieves try to grab them just before the doors close.

By plane

Rome (IATA: ROM for all airports) has two main international airports:

  • Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport (Rome Fiumicino, IATA: FCO, tel.: 65631) - Rome's main airport is modern, large, rather efficient, and well connected to the center of the city by public transportation. However, late-night arrivals may limit you to an irregular bus into town unless you can afford a taxi.
  • Ciampino International Airport [2] (Rome Ciampino, IATA: CIA, tel.:0794941) - Located to the southeast of the capital, this is the city's low-cost airline airport, serving Easyjet, Ryanair and Wizzair flights, among others (see Discount airlines in Europe). This small airport is closer to the city centre than Fiumicino but has no direct train connection. There are plans to move the low-cost airport much further out of Rome, but this is unlikely for some years. Note that at Ciampino cash machines are available only in the departures area. This is a relatively small airport and it closes overnight. You will be locked out of the airport until it opens again for the first check-in around 04:30 or 05:00. Flying into Ciampino try to sit on the right of the plane, which will fly just to the east of the centre of the city. Reaching Rome you first see the River Tiber and then the Olympic Stadium, Castel Sant' Angelo, St Peter's and the Vatican and the Colosseum. Before touchdown you fly parallel with the old Appian Way, the tree-lined road on a slight incline about 1km to the right of the flightpath.

Public transport to/from Airports

By train

From Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino airport, there are two train lines to get you into Rome:

  • Leonardo Express trains leave every 30 min to the central train station Roma Termini (35&nbspmin trip). Beware that these trains arrive at Platform 25, which is a 400 m walk from the main station. Tickets cost €14 and are available (within 7 days of departure) on line. Tickets sold at the departure platform are €15. So if there are three of you it is cheaper to take a taxi and you get delivered to your door. You can't buy a ticket for a specific train; it's just a general ticket for a specific route (Termini), but it's good for any time. Get your ticket stamped in a yellow validation machine just before using it. The ticket will expire 90 minutes after validation.
  • The Metropolitan train does not stop at Termini. Get off at Tiburtina Station or, before that, at Ostiense Station where you can connect to Line B of the Rome Metro, or get off at Trastevere Station and from there take the '8' tram (direction 'Argentina') to go to Largo Argentina and Campo de' Fiori. Tickets are €8, plus €1,50 for a metro/tram ticket. The extra cost of the Leonardo Express is for the convenience of a direct ride to Termini. If you are going somewhere else close to a Metro station, Tiburtina and Ostiense stations are as convenient. Get your ticket stamped in a yellow validation machine just before using it.
By bus

Terravision is probably the easiest and cheapest connection between Fiumicino airport and Rome city centre, but the journey takes 55 min. You can either book online (€4 one way) or buy the tickets there (€6 one way, €11 round trip). It departs near Terminal 3 of the airport and arrives in Termini station (and the same applies for the reverse route). There are other buses that go to Termini station there, and during the off-season, you can hedge your bets and see which one leaves earlier.

COTRAL/Schiaffini operates buses from both airports to the city. Don't forget to mark your ticket after getting on the bus. The timetables for its services can be found here: [3]

Fiumicino-Rome buses

From Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino, the bus stop is located outdoors at ground level, at the bottom of the Terminal 1 (Domestic Arrivals). You can buy tickets at the tobacco shop in the Terminal 1 baggage area, with the blue sign (Tabaccheria). Lines from Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino are:

  • Aeroporto-Termini-Tiburtina (€4.50)
The schedule for Aeroporto-Termini-Tiburtina is:
from Fiumicino: 1:15, 2:15, 3:30, 5:00, 10:55, 12:00, 15:30
from Rome Tiburtina station: 00.30, 1.15,2.30,03.45, 09.45,10.30,12.35,17.30

The night Fiumicino timetable is not kept very well. The bus may be half an hour late or not arrive at all. Perch on the bus stop, do not give up, it will probably come,eventually.

  • Aeroporto-Roma Cornelia (metro A) (€2.80) (schedule [4])
  • Aeroporto-Roma Magliana (metro B) (€1.60) (schedule [5])
  • Aeroporto-Ostia Lido (€1) (schedule [6])
  • Aeroporto-Fregene (€1) (schedule [7])
  • Aeroporto-Fiumicino (città) (€0.77) (schedule [8])

An inexpensive choice from Fiumicino is to take the bus (COTRAL) to EUR Magliana (stops directly at the metro station, which belongs to line B) and then take the Metro. It's the cheapest way to get to the centre (€2.50 bus + €1 metro). The sign on this bus reads "Fiumicino-Porto-Magliana".

Ciampino-Rome buses

From Ciampino airport, you can take the bus from the stop located outside the terminal building to Metro Line A Anagnina station (ticket: €1.20). A metro ticket to central Rome costs another €1,50. This bus stops also at Ciampino local train station (price is also 1,20€); from there there is a train (app. 3 connections per hour) to Rome Termini station (ticket: €1,50). The buses operate roughly every hour or 30 minutes during the Italian work day (8-12 and 16-20), and you should count on at least 45 minutes travel time for either route. The Metro can get very crowded. Timetable booklets are available in some information booths. It's not possible to walk the 4 km distance to the local train station as there are no footpath on the way.

There are a few direct bus services from Ciampino, all of which go to the Termini in Downtown Rome:

  • Sit bus shuttle runs a line that costs €6 one-way or 10€ with return (approx. 40 min, with about 25 services a day).
  • Terravision. Please note that this is a dedicated airport-city transfer only for the major low cost airlines. The price is €6 one-way or €12 return when booked on-line (approx. 40 min, with a service every 30 min). It is advised that passengers on the return trip from Termini to board the bus 3 hours before their flight's departure time.

On most Ryanair flights and at the counter at the airport, you can buy a ticket for 4€.

  • COTRAL's direct line costs €5 one-way (approx. 40 min), but has far fewer departures than Terravision. These buses are not mentioned on the airport website yet, but you can find them on Schiaffini's own site. This bus may be useful if you arrive at a time when the Metro is closed.
By taxi

Taxis should charge the fixed price of €48 for the ride into town at night time, but they often try to charge more.

Taxis in Rome are white. There is a fixed fare of €48 from Fiumicino Airport to downtown (within the city's ancient Aurelian Walls) and vice versa. Occasionally taxis in the queue at the airport are not from Rome but from the town of Fiumicino. These are not bound by the fixed fare rule and are best avoided. Ciampino Airport to the City centre and vice-versa costs €30. Between the two airports is €50. For most other destinations fares are not fixed and are based on the meter. In the main Rome taxi drivers are hard-working honest people. But there is a hard core of crooks, and these tend to work the airports and the main station. Do NOT negotiate the price for the city centre and be sure your driver activates the meter (all regular taxis have a meter) when he/she starts driving to any destination not covered by a fixed fare. Drivers at the airport may try to talk you into paying more than the fixed fare, saying that your destination is 'inside the wall' or 'hard to get to'. If they try to overcharge you at your destination ask them to call a policeman. They will probably back down. Licensed limousine drivers may approach you at the airports, particularly Fiumicino where there are several companies (mainly cooperatives) with booths close to the exit. A drive with them to the centre could reach as high as €80 but if you are in a group a large limousine or "van" could be cheaper than two taxis. Be aware as well of unlicensed "taxi" drivers. Go directly to the taxi stand and ignore touts.

At Ciampino there is supposed to be an organized taxi queue but the drivers will often negotiate amongst themselves if you are going somewhere the cab at the front doesn't want to go to. There are reports that late at night licensed cab drivers in the rank at Ciampino are asking €100 to take you into town, so try to avoid late flights or take the bus that connects with the flight. If you have to take a cab just pay the legal fare at your destination. If you have no stomach for the resulting argument then you can phone a cab from one of the numbers listed under Get Around.

Another option, is to book a licensed limousine in advance on-line. The prices are often cheaper than a taxi especially for minivans and in Fiumicino even for sedans. One disadvantage however is that you normally need to book at least 24 hours in advance so you need to plan ahead.

  • Easy Private Taxi has Fiumicino/Ciampino Airport to Rome at €45 for a sedan, €55 for a minivan
  • Holiday Taxis has Fiumicino Airport to Rome at £57.11 for a sedan, £95.13 for a minivan

A shared airport shuttle can be hired for around €15 per person to take you from Ciampino airport. However, since the shuttle is shared, it may take longer to reach your destination if other customers are dropped off before you are.

Rental cars are available from all major companies at both airports. Providers can be reached easily in the Arrivals Halls at both Fiumicino and Ciampino.

Get around

Get a map from your hotel or go inside a hotel to ask for directions to a place. Every accommodation seems to have a stack of these sponsored by a variety of businesses. The roads can be confusing and directions can be hard to follow without a map to reference.

Roma Pass

If you'll be staying in Rome for at least 3 days, consider purchasing the Roma Pass [9]. The cost is €30 and entitles holders to free admission to the first two museums and/or archaeological sites visited, full access to the public transport system, reduced tickets and discounts for any other following museums and sites visited, as well as exhibitions, music events, theatrical and dance performances and all other tourist services.

Rome ComboPass® is also available as a combo pass deal that includes the Roma Pass and hop on/off bus and boat.

By car

In a nutshell: Don't do it. Well, some people actually enjoy it. Roman traffic is chaotic, but it is possible to drive there. However, the roads are not logical and the signs are few. It will take a few weeks to understand where to drive, to get where you want to go. When driving in Rome it is important to accept that Italians drive in a very pragmatic way. Taking turns and letting people go in front of you is rare. There is little patience so if the light is green when you go into the intersection and you are too slow they will let you know. A green light turning to amber is a reason to accelerate, not brake, in part because the lights usually stay amber for several seconds. If you brake immediately when the light changes you are likely to get rear-ended. Parking is scarce. Rome is plagued with people who demand money to direct you to a space, even on the rare occasions when there are many places available. While in Rome, it is far better to travel by bus or metro, or (in extremis) take a taxi.

If you are driving in the center, note that many areas are limited to people with special electronic passes. If you go into these areas (which are camera controlled and marked with the sign ZTL) you may end up with a fine, particularly if your car has Italian plates.

Beware that when turning right across a pedestrian crossing you might have a green light at the same time as the pedestrians.

By taxi

Fake taxis
Some private citizens dress up their cars to look like cabs. These people strategically locate themselves at airports and railway stations waiting for travelers. Beware of operators who don't display a licensed meter and ID. Use only authorized taxis (white vehicles with a taximeter) that are available in the arrivals areas of the terminals. Also, some airport employees may direct you to a 'Taxi' driver if you ask where you find them when you are inside the airport terminal. The 'Taxi' could end up being a Mercedes limo, costing you double the fare of a real taxi, and a tricky situation to get out of as your luggage is locked away in the limo's trunk.


Taxis are the most expensive way to get around Rome, but when weighed against convenience and speed, they are often worth it. Roman taxis run on meters, and you should always make sure the driver starts the meter. Taxis will typically pick you up only at a taxi stand, which you will find at all but the smallest piazzas, as well as at the main train station or when called by phone. Flagging down a taxi (like in London) is possible but quite rare as the taxi drivers prefer to use the stands. When you get in the cab, there will be a fixed starting charge, which will be more for late nights, Sundays and holidays. Supplements will be requested for bags that the driver has to handle, typically €1 per bag. So, if you have a limited amount of luggage that wouldn't need to go in the trunk, you may decline when the driver offers to put your bags in the trunk. Drivers may not use the shortest route, so try to follow the route with a map and discuss if you feel you're being tricked.

Be warned that when you phone for a taxi, the cab's meter starts running when it is summoned, not when it arrives to pick you up, so by the time a cab arrives at your location, there may already be a substantial amount on the meter. A major problem is that taxi drivers often leave the previous fare running on the meter. So you may find the cab arriving with €15 or even more on the meter. If you are not in a hurry you should tell him (there are very few female cab drivers in Rome) to get lost, but if you are desperate to get to the airport it's a different matter. You can get a taxi pretty easily at any piazza though, so calling ahead is really not required. A trip completely across the city (within the walls) will cost about €11 if starting at a cab rank, a little more if there is heavy traffic at night or on a Sunday. Taxi drivers can often try to trick customers by switching a €50 note for a €10 note during payment, leading you to believe that you handed them only €10 when you have already given them €50. The main taxi companies may be called at 063570, 065551, 064994, 066645 and 0688177.

On foot

Directions for pedestrians on a wall near Piazza Navona

Once you're in the center, you are best off on foot. What could be more romantic than strolling through Rome on foot holding hands? That is hard to beat!

Crossing a street in Rome can be a bit challenging. There are crosswalks, but they are rarely located at signaled intersections. Traffic can be intimidating, but if you are at a crosswalk just start walking and cars will let you cross the street. While crossing watch out for the thousands of mopeds. As in many European cities, even if the cars and trucks are stationary due to a jam or for another legal reason, mopeds and bikes will be trying to squeeze through the gaps and may be ignoring the reason why everyone else has stopped. This means that even if the traffic seems stationary you need to pause and look around into the gaps.

Beware that unlike in other countries where a lit "green man" indicates it is safe to cross the road, in Italy the green man is lit at the same time as the green light for traffic turning right, so you can often find yourself sharing the space with cars.

By public transport (ATAC)

Tickets must be bought (from a 'Tabacchi' - look for the big 'T' sign, these shops are plentiful, or from a kiosk selling newspapers), before you board the bus, Metro, or tram. Metro stations have automated ticket kiosks, and major Metro stations have clerked ticket windows. Some of the rare trams have single ticket machines as well. Tickets for regular ATAC buses, Metro, and trams are the same fares and are compatible with each other. Options as of March 2010 were the following:

  • a single ticket ride ('Biglietto') - €1.50 - you can change buses or into and out of the metro on one journey (valid for 100 minutes)
  • Integrated Daily Ticket ('Biglietto Giornaliero') - €6 (Valid until midnight).
  • Integrated Tourist Ticket ('Biglietto Turistico') (3-day) - €16.50
  • Integrated Weekly Ticket ('Carta Integrata Settimanale') (7-day) - €24
  • Monthly Pass ('Abbonamento Mensile') - €35
  • Annual Pass ('Abbonamento Annuale') - €250

When you board the bus or metro you should validate the ticket ('convalidare' or the red-tape 'obliterare') in the little yellow machine ('obliteratrice'). The last four types of ticket on the list above must be validated the first time you use them only. On the whole, the integrated passes are not economical. Unless you take many rides spread all over the day, the single ticket ride option is preferable. Calculating if a pass is worth it is easy since a single ticket ride costs €1.50. For example, for a daily ticket (€6) to be worth it, you would have to make 5 or more trips at intervals greater than 100 minutes apart on a single day. Many visitors just walk through the city in one direction and take a single ride back.

ATAC [10] polices the buses, Metro, and trams for people riding without tickets. Inspectors can be rare on some buses, although they tend to increase their presence in the summer. Inspectors are present on the Metro as well, and you should keep your validated ticket throughout your journey as proof-of-payment. If you don't have sufficient money on you to pay the fine, they will actually escort you to an ATM to pay the fee. If you don't have an ATM card to withdraw money, you will be asked to pay by mail, and the fee goes up to €140. Inspectors can also fine you for getting in and out of the wrong door, even if the bus is empty! The entrances are the front and rear doors and the exit in the middle. Many Romans ignore this distinction.

Bus

Roman buses are reliable but crowded. They are the best way to get around the city (except walking). Free maps of the bus system are available. Others can be purchased (€3.5 at Termini). Signs at the bus stop list the stops for each route. Ask for assistance. (In Rome, there is always somebody nearby who speaks English — or tries his best with some self-explanatory gesticulations).

Some bus lines have arrivals every ten minutes or so. Less popular routes may arrive every half hour or less. If heading outside the center beware that bus schedules can be seriously disrupted by heavy traffic. Quite often trips just get cancelled.

Useful bus lines are:

  • 23 San Paolo - Ostiense - Piazza Risorgimento (Vatican Museums)
  • 40 Stazione Termini - St. Peter
  • 64 Stazione Termini - Corso Vittorio Emanuele II - St. Peter
  • 75 Stazione Termini - Forum Romanum - Colosseum
  • 81 Piazza Venezia - St. Peter - Piazza Risorgimento (Vatican Museums)
  • 116 Via Veneto - Campo de Fiori - Piazza Navona
  • 117 San Giovanni in Laterano - Colosseum - PIazza di Spagnia - Piazza del Popolo
  • 119 Piazza Augusto Imperatore - Piazza della Rotonda (Pantheon), minibus
  • One of the most popular and useful lines is the 40, which arches from the Termini station through the historic center and then up to the Castel Sant'Angelo, near the Vatican. It is considered an express route, so its stops are spaced about 1/2 mile (2/3 km) apart; but it is also very frequent, very convenient for most places that the Metro does not go to, and very fast moving, especially compared to other routes.
  • The 64 also goes from Termini to the Vatican. Beware, it is a favourite with pickpockets.
  • The 116 and 117 are little electric buses which wind through the Centro Storico.
  • Night buses could be useful due to the closing of the Metro stations at 23:30 and the stopping of regular lines of buses and trams at midnight. During the summer (until 23rd September) and on Fridays and Saturdays, the frequency of the rides is halved, which can vary among 10, 15, 30 and 35 minutes depending on the line. In any case they are much more punctual than during the day, as traffic is much less jammed. This makes the drivers drive at high speeds, allowing passengers to experience a strange mixture of adrenaline and (the city's) classical views. Hubs of the night buses are Termini and Piazza Venezia.

Hop on / Hop off Buses

A popular alternative to city and pre-planned tour buses are the hop-on/hop-off (Ho-Ho) buses...open-top double-decker. In the last few years there has been a veritable explosion in the number of such buses, and at the last count there were seven different companies. An all-day ticket runs about €18-20, can be purchased as you board at any stop, and provides unlimited access to available seats (the open-air upper deck highly preferable in good weather) and earbud headphones to plug into outlets for running commentary on approaching sights. Commentary is offered in nearly every European language. Most companies follow more or less the same route, starting in sight of Termini station but there are also two different tours of "Christian Rome" and the Archeobus, which will take you to the catacombs and along the Appian Way.

One good tactic for first-time visitors is to ride a complete Ho-Ho loop, making notes of what interests you. Then stay on until you arrive at each point/area you wish to visit, do so, then hop back on another bus (for that bus line) for the next point/area of interest. Even with a prompt morning start, seeing/doing all that's available with some thoroughness can easily consume the whole day. If you're there more than one day and like the approach, on subsequent days look for different bus lines that take different routes, e.g., most of the same points/areas but in different order.

Taking pictures from the upper-deck while in-motion is tricky but doable (but not recommended by the bus lines) by those with good balance who can also recognize approaching limits on camera and lighting angles. An early start will also help choice of seat location to help camera angles. Watch out for the sales guys hanging outside of the big train station Termini who have leaflets for all the companies, they often actually work for just one and drag you to a ticket office which is a waste of time as you can just get a ticket on a bus.

The different bus companies offer vastly different service levels. Please help by writing about them:

  • GLT or the Green Line (but the buses are actually grey). No A/C on the lower deck and the audio of the tour is done by multiple different recorded voices and not activated by GPS so it's very disjointed and random, sparse and unhelpful. For example it tells you too late about things you just went past. There is very little audio content, it's mostly silence (in the English audio anyway) Also they don't have many buses compared to the other companies as far as I could see.
  • Rome Open Tour: green and yellow colours. 'Bus 'N boat' available for the Tiber navigation combined with the bus sightseeing during spring and summer.
  • Roma Cristiana: stops in the main basilicas, including St Peters.
  • City Sightseeing Roma: red with some yellow logos.
  • Trambus Open (A.T.A.C., the Rome transportation company): '101' is the red bus (city center) and 'Archeobus' is the yellow one dedicated to the archaeological tours.

Tram

Rome's metro network

The Tram routes mostly skirt the historic center, but there are stops convenient for the Vatican, the Colosseum, and the Trastevere area. The number 8 does run into the center to Largo Argentina, not far from the Pantheon. If you want to catch a soccer game at one of the stadiums in the north of the city, catch the tram (2) just north of the Piazza del Popolo. Number 19 links the Vatican with Villa Borghese.

Metro

There are two (or two-and-a-half) lines, crossing at Termini station. Line A (red line) runs northwest past the Vatican, and southeast. Line B (Blue Line) runs southwest past the Colosseum and northeast in one direction, but also splits at the "Bologna" station to go due north until Conca d'Oro. On the weekdays line A and B last trains start running from the end stations at 11:30PM. On Fridays and Saturdays the last trains of Line B leave from the end stations at 1:30AM and the line closes at 2AM to re-open at 5.00. The Metro is the most punctual form of public transportation in Rome, but it can get extremely crowded during rush hour. See safety warning in the Stay Safe section.

Actual WIPS

Consider that in 2011 a lot of work in progress will disturb your journey in Rome. Trains to Ostia Lido won't arrive at the seaside of Rome, being three stations under renovation. Ostia Antica is fully served until 9pm. Since 9pm (except weekend) the train will stop at Acilia station. Termini metro station is under renovation and changing Line A to B and reverse will be frustrating.

By commuter rail

There is a network of suburban rail lines that mostly connect to smaller towns and conurbations of Rome. Tourists are unlikely to use these, except when arriving from Fiumicino, but they can be very convenient if you fancy a day-trip out of Rome (see Get Out)

On a moped

There is the possibility to hire motor bikes or scooters. Many Romans prefer this way of transportation, even in winter you can see them driving scooters equipped with raincoats, blankets, and rain boots. Motorbikes are not particularly safe in Rome and most accidents seem to involve one (or two!). Nevertheless, Roman traffic is chaotic and a scooter provides excellent mobility within the city. Scooter rental costs between €30 and €70 per day depending on scooter size and rental company. The traffic can be intimidating and the experience exciting but a bit insane.

Some of the main rental shops:

  • Scoot A Long noleggio scooter, via Cavour 302, tel: 06 6780206
  • Centro Moto Coloseo, strada statale Quattro, 46, tel: 06 70451069
  • Eco Move Rent, Via Varese 48/50, tel: 06 44704518
  • Rent & Rent, v. Capo d'Africa 33, tel: 06 7002915

On a bicycle

There is the possibility to hire any kind of bike in Rome: from tandem, road bikes, children bikes to trekking bikes. Some shops are even specialized only on high quality ones while street stands will hire you cheaper and heavy ones. Bicycling alone can be stressful because of the traffic. The best way is to discover first how to move around and avoid traffic and stress with a guide thanks to one of the tours offered by almost all rental shops. There are different itineraries offered from the basic city center, panoramic Rome tour to the Ancient Parks (from €29 for 4h). The experience is well worth it and you would reduce also your impact on the city environment and on the traffic.

The Appian Way as seen from two wheels

Even moderately experienced cyclists, however, may find that cycling through Rome's streets offers an unparalleled way to learn the city intimately and get around very cheaply and efficiently. While the Roman traffic is certainly chaotic to someone from a country with more regimented and enforced rules of the road, Roman drivers are, generally speaking, used to seeing bicycles, as well as scooters and motorcycles, and one may move throughout the city relatively easily. If you are in a car's way, they will generally let you know with a quick beep of the horn and wait for you to move.

A particularly spectacular, and relaxing, cycle trip is to pedal out along la Via Appia Antica, the original Appian Way that linked much of Italy to Rome. Some of the original cobblestones, now worn by over 2 millenia of traffic, are still in place. With exceptionally light traffic in most sections, you can casually meander your bike over kilometres of incredible scenery and pass ancient relics and active archaeological sites throughout the journey. (Rome/South)

Some of the many rental shops:

  • Punto Informativo, Via Appia Antica 58/60. From Monday to Saturday from 9.3AM to 1.30PM and from 2.00PM to 5.30PM (4.30 in wintertime) and on Sundays and holidays from 9.30AM to 5.30PM non stop (4.30 wintertime). Price: €3/hour and €10/day (info tel. 06 5126314)
  • Comitato per la Caffarella (Largo Tacchi Venturi). Sundays from 10AM to 6PM. Price: €3/hour and €10/day (Info and reservations, tel. 06 789279)
  • Catacombe di San Sebastiano. Every day except Sundays; Price: €3/hour and €10/day (Info tel. 06 7850350).
  • TopBike Rental & Tours. Via Quattro Cantoni 40 (between Termini Station and the Colosseum). Everyday from 9.30 to 19 non-stop (For info or reservations tel. 06 4882893)
Bikesharing point in Rome's center
  • Bici & Baci. Via del Viminale, 5 (Termini Station). Tel. 064828443
  • Collalti. Via del Pellegrino, 82 (Campo de’ Fiori). Tel.0668801084
  • Romarent. Vicolo dei Bovari, 7/a (Campo de’ Fiori). Tel.066896555
  • Bikeaway. Via Monte del Gallo, 25 A ( Stazione FS S. Pietro). Tel.0645495816
  • Bikesharing. Rome's public transport company, ATAC, operates a bike sharing scheme. The bicycles, which are green, are available at numerous locations in the downtown area and further afield. Tickets cost €10, which includes a €5 inscription fee. In the downtown area electronic cards can be obtained at the Metro ticket offices of Termini, Lepanto and Spagna. The rental cost is €1 an hour. The application procedure is a bit cumbersome and you have to give credit card details but this is a good system if you want to move around Rome quickly and with minimal exhaustion.

By Segway Pt

It is now possible to rent a Segway in Rome. It is a fast, convenient, and eco-friendly way to get around in the city center. In Rome, a person on a Segway is considered a pedestrian, not a motorist, so Segways are only allowed on the sidewalks, not in the streets with vehicles. Segway rental costs between €25 and €50 per hour, or between €70 and €100 for an accompanied tour of 2-4 hours.

Some of the main rental shops:

  • Rome on Segway, via Labicana 94, tel: 06 97602723, 39 3486121355
  • Rex-Tours and Rent, Via dei Balestrari 33, tel: 06 87690040
  • Ecogo Segway, Piazzale Ammiraglio Bergamini 10, tel: 39 3409345441

See

Campidoglio Rome

Italians are very fond of their landmarks; in order to make them accessible to everyone one week a year there is no charge for admittance to all publicly owned landmarks and historical sites. This week, known as "La settimana dei beni culturali", typically occurs in mid-May and for those 7 to 10 days every landmark, archaeological site and museum belonging to government agencies (including the Quirinale presidential palace and gardens, the Colosseum and all of the ancient Forum) is accessible and free of charge. For more information and for specific dates see [11] or [12].

In general, Rome's main attractions are free - for example, it doesn't cost anything to enter the Pantheon or St. Peter's at the Vatican, although you'll have to pay to visit the museums and so forth.

You are able to buy full day passes for €12 or a 3-day pass for €30. This pass gets you in to the Colosseum (Colosseo), Palatine Hill (Palatino Hill), the Baths of Caracalla (Terme di Caracalla), and the catacombs as well as the Terme di Diocleziano, Palazza Massimo alle Terme, Crypta Balbi, Palazzo Altemps, Villa dei Quintili, and the Tomb of Cecilia Metella.

Ancient Rome

Coffers and Oculus of the Pantheon

The main area for exploring the ruins of ancient Rome is in Rome/Colosseo either side of Via dei Fori Imperiali, which connects the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. Constructed between 1931 and 1933, at the time of Mussolini, this road destroyed a large area of Renaissance and medieval buildings constructed on top of ruins of the ancient forums and ended forever plans for an archeological park stretching all the way to the Appian Way. Heading towards the Colosseum from Piazza Venezia, you see the Roman Forum on your right and Trajan's Forum and Market on the left. To the right of the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine and the beginning of the Palatine Hill, which will eventually lead you to ruins of the Flavian Palace and a view of the Circus Maximus (see Rome/Aventino-Testaccio). To the left, after the Colosseum is a wide, tree-lined path that climbs through the Colle Oppio park. Underneath this park is the Golden House of Nero (Domus Aurea), an enormous and spectacular underground complex restored and then closed again due to damage caused by heavy rain. Further to the left on the Esquiline Hill are ruins of Trajan's baths.

In Old Rome you must see the Pantheon, which is amazingly well preserved considering it dates back to 125 AD. There is a hole constructed in the ceiling so it is an interesting experience to be there when it is raining. If you are heading to the Pantheon from Piazza Venezia you first reach Largo di Torre Argentina on your left. Until 1926 this was covered in narrow streets and small houses, which were razed to the ground when ruins of Roman temples were discovered. Moving along Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle and crossing the Tiber river into the Vatican area you see the imposing Castel Sant' Angelo, built as a Mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian. This is connected by a covered fortified corridor to the Vatican and served as a refuge for Popes in times of trouble.

South of the Colosseum are the Baths of Caracalla (Aventino-Testaccio). You can then head South-East on the old Appian Way, passing through a stretch of very well-preserved city wall. For the adventurous, continuing along the Appian Way (Rome/South) will bring you to a whole host of Roman ruins, including the Circus of Maxentius, the tomb of Cecilia Metella, the Villa dei Quintili and, nearby, several long stretches of Roman aqueduct.

Returning to the Modern Center, the Baths of Diocletian are opposite the entrance to the main railway station, Termini. The National Museum of Rome stands in the South-West corner of the Baths complex and has an enormous collection of Roman scultures and other artifacts. But this is just one of numerous museums devoted to ancient Rome, including those of the Capitoline Hill. It is really amazing how much there is.

Catholic Rome

The Renaissance/Baroque opulent exterior of St. Peter's Basilica

There are more than 900 churches in Rome. Probably one third would be well worth a visit!

In Catholic tradition, St. Peter is said to have founded the church in Rome together with St. Paul. The first churches of Rome originated in places where early Christians met, usually in the homes of private citizens. By the IVth Century, however, there were already four major churches, or basilicas. Rome had 28 cardinals who took it in turns to give mass once a week in one of the basilicas. In one form or another the four basilicas are with us today and constitute the major churches of Rome. They are St Peter’s, St Paul’s Outside the Walls, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni. All pilgrims to Rome are expected to visit these four basilicas, together with San Lorenzo fuori le mura, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, and the Sanctuary of Divino Amore. The latter was inserted as one of the seven at the time of the Great Jubilee in 2000, replacing San Sebastiano outside the walls.

Take a look inside a few churches. You'll find the richness and range of decor astonishing, from fine classical art to tacky electric candles. Starting with several good examples of early Christian churches, including San Clemente and Santa Costanza, there are churches built over a period of 1700 years or so, including modern churches constructed to serve Rome's new suburbs.

Some churches in Rome deny admission to people who are dressed inappropriately. You will find "fashion police" at the most visited churches. ("Knees and shoulders" are the main problem - especially female ones.) Bare shoulders, short skirts, and shorts are officially not allowed, but long shorts and skirts reaching just above the knee should generally be no problem. However, it's always safer to wear longer pants or skirts that go below the knee; St. Peter's in particular is known for rejecting tourists for uncovered knees, shoulders, midriffs, etc. (You also generally won't be told until right before you enter the church, so you will have made the trek to the Vatican and stood in a long security line for nothing.) The stricter churches usually have vendors just outside selling inexpensive scarves and sometimes plastic pants. But relatively few churches enforce dress codes and you can wander into most wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts, or pretty much anything without problems. It is, however, good to keep one's dress conservative, as these are still churches and houses of prayer for many people. (Older Romans might comment on your attire and perhaps harass you if it is particularly revealing.)

The Seven Hills of Rome

The original seven hills and the Servian wall

To the modern visitor, the Seven Hills of Rome can be rather difficult to identify. In the first place generations of buildings constructed on top of each other and the construction of tall buildings in the valleys have tended to make the hills less pronounced than they originally were. Secondly, there are clearly more than seven hills. In Roman days many of these were outside the city boundaries.

The seven hills were first occupied by small settlements and not recognized as a city for some time. Rome came into being as these settlements acted together to drain the marshy valleys between them and turn them into markets and fora. The Roman Forum used to be a swamp.

The Palatine Hill looms over Circus Maximus and is accessed near the Colosseum . Legend has it that this was occupied by Romulus when he fell out with his brother, Remus, who occupied the Aventine Hill on the other side of the Circus. Also clearly recognisable as hills are the Caelian, to the southeast of Circus Maximus and the Capitoline, which overlooks the Forum and now hosts the Municipality of Rome. East and northeast of the Roman Forum are the Esquiline, Viminal, and Quirinal hills. These are less easy to distinguish as separate hills these days and from a distance look like one.

The Servian Wall outside Termini Station

The red line on the map indicates the Servian Wall, its construction is credited to the Roman King Servius Tullius in the Sixth Century BC, but archaeological evidence places its construction during the Fourth Century BC. Small bits of this wall can still be seen, particularly close to Termini railway station and on the Aventine hill. As Rome expanded new walls were required to protect the larger area. These were built in the Third Century AD by the Emperor Aurelian. Lengthy sections of this wall remain all around the outskirts of Rome's center. Much is in very good condition.

Among other hills of Rome, not included in the seven, are that overlooking the Vatican; the Janiculum overlooking Trastevere, which provides excellent views of Rome; the Pincio on the edge of the Borghese Gardens, which gives good views of the Vatican, and the Monte Mario to the north.

Museums

If you are in Rome for the Arts there are several world-class museums in the city. The natural starting point is a visit to the area of Villa Borghese in Campo Marzio, where there is a cluster of art museums. Galleria Borghese houses a previously private art collection of the Borghese family, Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia is home of the world's largest Etruscan art collection, and Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna houses many Italian masterpieces as well as a few pieces by artists such as Cézanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh. The Capitoline Museums in the Colosseo district opens their doors to the city's most important collection of antique Roman and Greek art and sculptures. Visit the Galleria d'Arte Antica, housed in the Barberini palace in the Modern center, for Italian Renaissance and Baroque art.

A visit to Rome is not complete without a trip to the Vatican Museum. You need to go to the museum if you want to see the Sistine Chapel, but there is an enormous collection. You cannot miss part of this, such as tapestries, maps and the rooms painted by Rafael, as they are en route to the Sistine Chapel, but there is much, much more to explore, including a stunning Egyptian collection, and the Pinacoteca, which includes a Portrait of St. Jerome by Leonardo Da Vinci and paintings by Giotto, Perugino, Raphael, Veronese and Caravaggio, to name just a few.

Rome's National Museum at the Baths of Diocletian in the Modern Center has a vast archaeological collection as does the national museum at Palazzo Altemps, close to Piazza Navona. Further afield, the Museo di Civilta Romana (Museum of Rome's Civilization), in EUR is most famous for an enormous model of Imperial Rome, but also has an extensive display of plaster casts, models and reconstructions of statues and Roman stonework.

If you have plenty of time there is absolutely no shortage of other museums covering a wide variety of interests. Examples include the Museum of the Walls (see Rome/South), the Musical Instrument Museum and a museum devoted to the liberation of Rome from German occupation in the Second World War (Rome/Esquilino-San Giovanni).

Check museum opening hours before heading there. Government museums are invariably closed on Mondays, so that is a good day for other activities. The Rome municipality itself operates some 17 museums and attractions. Info at [13]. These are free to European Union citizens under 18 and over 65. Web sites for other museums are listed on the relevant District pages.

The Keats-Shelley House is recommended for fans of second-wave British Romantic poets (Keats, Shelley, Byron etc). This is the house in which John Keats died of tuberculosis at the age of 25 in 1821; it is now a museum dedicated to the English Romantic poets. It is located at 26 Piazza di Spagna, right next to the Spanish Steps. For more information, visit [14].

Just walking around

The lovely Piazza della Repubblica.

Much of the attraction of Rome is in just wandering around the old city. You can quickly escape from the major tourist routes and feel as if you are in a small medieval village, not a capital city. If you can do so while watching for uneven cobblestones, keep looking upwards. There are some amazing roof gardens and all sorts of sculptures, paintings and religious icons attached to exterior walls. Look through 2nd and 3rd floor windows to see some oak-beamed ceilings in the old houses. Look through the archway entrances of larger Palazzos to see incredible courtyards, complete with sculptures, fountains and gardens. Take a stroll in the area between Piazza Navona and the Tiber river in Old Rome where artisans continue to ply their trade from small shops. Also in Old Rome, take a 1km stroll down Via Giulia, which is lined with many old palaces. Film enthusiasts will want to visit Via Veneto (Via Vittorio Veneto) in the Modern Center, scene for much of Fellini's La Dolce Vita.

The Piazzas

The Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous and popular sights in the city.

The narrow streets frequently broaden out into small or large squares (piazzas), which usually have one or more churches and a fountain or two. Apart from Piazza Navona and Piazza della Rotonda (in front of the Pantheon), take in the nearby Piazza della Minerva, with its unique elephant statue by Bernini and Piazza Colonna with the column of Marcus Aurelius and Palazzo Chigi, meeting place of the Italian Government. On the other side of Corso Vittorio Emanuele are Piazza Farnese with the Palazzo of the same name (now the French Embassy) and two interesting fountains and the flower sellers at Campo dei Fiori, scene of Rome's executions in the old days. All of these squares are a short distance from each other in Old Rome. The enormous Piazza del Popolo in the North Center, which provided an imposing entrance to the city when it represented the northern boundary of Rome, is well worth a visit. A short walk back towards the center brings you to Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the Spanish Steps. Yet another fascinating fountain here. The area was much used as backdrop for the 1953 film Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

Piazza Navona

On the other side of the river is, of course, the magnificent square of St Peter's at the Vatican. Further south, in Trastevere is Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, a great place to watch the world go by, either from one of the restaurants or bars that line two sides of the square or, if that is too expensive, from the steps of the central fountain. The square attracts many street entertainers.

Moving back to the Modern Center you have to see the Trevi Fountain, surely a part of everyone's Roman holiday. Visitors are always amazed that such a big and famous fountain is tucked away in a small piazza in the middle of side streets. Take extra-special care of your possessions here. Further up the Via del Tritone you will come to Piazza Barberini, now full of traffic but the lovely Bernini fountain is not to be missed.

Overlooked Places

The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana is an example of Fascist Architecture in Rome. It contains a building often referred to as "the Square Colosseum." It was designed by Benito Mussolini to honour the historic Colosseum but also show his taste in cleaner architecture. This would be an interesting place to visit after seeing the Colosseum itself to compare their differences and similarities.

Viewpoints

On the Pincio above Piazza del Popolo's a good viewpoint.

One of the best views is at the top of the Il Vittoriano. This can be reached by climbing to the mid level terraces of the building and then paying €7 to ride the lift up to the very top of the building. This gives breathtaking views over the entirety of Rome with informative diagrams to help you understand just what it is that you can see. Views of the city can also come from climbing the many hills, either the original "seven hills" of Rome, or others that surround them. The two most popular views of Rome are from the Janiculum hill overlooking Trastevere and the Pincio at the edge of the Borghese Gardens. The former, best reached by car, has sweeping views of the center of Rome, as long as the authorities remember to prune the trees on the hillside in front of the viewpoint. Cross over the piazza for an excellent view of the dome of St Peter's. The Vatican is the main sight from the Pincio (metro Line A, Piazza del Popolo, and then a good climb). Less popular, but just as nice, is the orange grove at Parco Savello on the Aventine Hill.

Rome for kids

If you are planning some serious sightseeing then leave the kids with their grandparents! They don’t take kindly to being dragged from ruin to ruin and church to church. A common sight in Rome is miserable looking kids traipsing after their parents. Also, push chairs/buggies are difficult to use because of the cobbled streets. If you are a family, do not try to do too much. It will be a big strain on kids and in the end everyone will be tired.

Apart from the major attractions Rome has relatively little to entertain kids. If you noticed a big Ferris wheel on your way in from Fiumicino Airport, think again. Lunapark at EUR was closed down in 2008. A few of the other ways to bribe your kids, however, are:

  • Children's Museum. Via Flaminia 82. Just north of Piazza del Popolo. Controlled entrance at 10:00, 12:00, 15:00 and 17:00 for visits lasting 1 hour 45 minutes. Closed Mondays and for much of August. Best to check the web site for up-to-date info and to book in advance. Hands-on science, mainly for pre-teens, housed in a former tram-car depot.
  • 3d-Rewind, Via Capo D'Africa 5 (just behind the Colosseum), [15]. 09:00-19:00. provides a three-dimensional look at what the Colosseum and the Forum were like in the days of the Romans. Kids really like it but parents beware that you have to brave a large "merchandising" area after leaving the show, with overpriced souvenirs. €15 for adults and €8 for kids. .
  • Bioparco. The renamed Rome Zoo. On the edge of the Borghese Gardens. 09:30 to 17:00 or 18:00 depending on the month. They try hard, but San Diego this isn't. If you are a regular zoo-goer you will be disappointed.
  • The Time Elevator. Via dei Santi Apostoli, 20 on a side street between Piazza Venezia and the Trevi Fountain. Daily 10:30-19:30. "Five-dimensional" shows on the Origins of Life and on the History of Rome, plus "The House of Horrors". Not for the faint-hearted: your seats move all over the place. Kids love it.
  • Rome's Wax Museum. 67 Piazza di Santi Apostoli, next to Piazza Venezia. Few good reports about this museum. Comments invited.
  • Planetarium at EUR. This also has an excellent astronomy museum and is conveniently next to the Museum of Rome's Civilization [16].
  • The Vatican is, by and large, not a great idea for kids although they often enjoy the Sistine Chapel and are impressed by the beauty and the fact that it was all done in just four years. However, the Sistine Chapel is very crowded and getting there through the corridors of the Vatican Museum is even worse. It is easy for families to get separated so determine a meeting point. The best part of St. Peter's Basilica is that kids can go to the top of the dome. It is 500 steps but you can take the elevator up to the third floor. From there there are another 323 exhausting steps. So it is fun for older kids who can both climb up all the stairs and walk down as there is a huge line for the elevator.
  • Zoomarine. Dolphins, sea lions, exotic birds, splashy rides and swimming pools, some 20 km south of Rome near Pomezia. A good day out, but is this really why you came to Rome? Free transport from EUR and Pomezia railway station.

Do

  • Take in a show. There are lots of theatres, but you will need to know Italian to enjoy them. The main concert venue is the Auditorium in Viale Pietro de Coubertin to the north of Rome.[17] The Auditorium at Parco della Musica is a large complex composed of three separate halls whose shapes are inspired by musical instruments. These are positioned around an open air amphitheatre, that is used nearly every night in the summer for concerts. The Parco della Musica hosts a constant stream of classical, popular, and jazz music, featuring national as well as international musicians and groups. Really big names perform outdoors in the summer; usually in either the Olympic Stadium or in Stadio Flaminio, which is next door to the Parco della Musica. In winter the Palalotto in EUR is an important pop concert venue.

To get full details of what is on, buy a copy of the La Repubblica newspaper on Thursdays, when it has an insert called TrovaRoma. There are a couple of pages in English but even with no Italian you should be able to decipher the main listings. This is not published in late July and August, when half of Rome heads to the beach. Both La Repubblica and Il Messaggero have daily listings.

  • Walk and feel the energy of Rome; sights are everywhere waiting to be discovered.
  • Explore the Trastevere neighbourhood for some great cafes and trattorie, and a glimpse at a hip Roman neighbourhood.
  • Take in a game of soccer at the Olympic Stadium. Rome has two teams, A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio and they both play at this stadium.

Events

  • Estate Romana Festival (Roman Summer Festival) - from late June through early September offers various musical events of jazz, rock, and classical music, and film, sport, theatre and children’s fun.
  • White Nights (Notte Bianca), [18]. In early to mid-September, various events until dawn, plus shops and restaurants, museums stay open while the Roman Notte Bianca stages music, dance and theatre events. Expect enormous crowds; buses and trams will be packed to the brim.
  • Opera at Caracalla, [19]. Performances start at 21:00. If you are in Rome during summertime don’t miss the chance to experience a lyric opera in the truly unique setting of the Caracalla Baths (see Rome/Aventino-Testaccio). Programs have included Tosca, Carmen and Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • Primo Maggio - 1 May is a national holiday; Romans either leave town or attend a big rock concert in Piazza San Giovanni. On this "day of the worker" much will be closed, but you may find parades and festivals all over Italy. Expect big crowds in popular areas.
  • Vatican guard swearing in 6 May is when new groups of Swiss Guards are sworn in, marking the sack of Rome in 1506. Guards are sworn in by the San Damaso courtyard, Vatican City. The public is not invited, but you may steal a glimpse if you book a private guided tour of the Vatican.
  • Italian Open Tennis Tournament, [20]. For two weeks in May, Rome hosts one of the most important European clay-court tournaments, a warm-up for the French Open.

Learn

Rome is replete with foreign language and cultural institutions. Of course, learning Italian is a worthwhile activity if you plan to stay for any length of time. If you plan to combine a stay in Rome with academic study, there are several English-language universities.

  • The regional government and two historical societies are offering free Latin classes to tourists. [21].
  • The Historical Group of Rome runs a gladiator school. 18 Via Appia Antica. ph 00396 51607951. [22].

Work

If you want to work ask around at the hostels, hotels and restaurants. There are differing views on how easy it is to get a job in Rome, however. There is high unemployment and most jobs seem to go on a family - friends - other Romans - other Italians - white EU - other foreigners pecking order. Knowing Italian helps. And be wary about making any financial commitments before you've actually been paid -- late and non-payment is common here, and you may find as a non-Roman you are more likely to be seen as an easy target for this. You will also need a permesso di soggiorno, whether or not you are an EU resident. Legally, you are required to have a working visa, although it is very easy to work and live without one.

There are numerous schools to teach the English language in Rome and if you are a mother-tongue this may be the best opportunity of picking up part-time work.

Talk

In Rome, obviously, the population speaks Italian. The road signs are mostly in Italian (except for "STOP"). If you are staying in the city there are plenty of English alternatives to be found. Seeing as Rome is a popular place to visit there are maps and information in many languages available. Police officers and transit drivers are more than willing to help you get around and usually provide easier ways to get around.

Some residents still speak the ancient local language romanesco; nowadays, however, Italian is the more common mother tongue.

English is widely spoken in Rome by the younger generations and by people working in the tourist industry. Since many people have a limited knowledge of English, it is wise to speak slowly and simply. Among 40+s the chance is a lot less, and with 60+s as good as zero. Romans always try to be helpful with the tourists, giving some basic indications with big meaningful gestures.

Romance languages other than Italian, especially Spanish, French and Portuguese, are also fairly widely understood (better the Spanish, less the Portuguese) due to their similarity to Italian, although not necessarily spoken. The Romanian is not well understood, although is a Latin language.

Buy

snapshot of a Roman market

Rome has excellent shopping opportunites of all kinds - clothing and jewellery (it has been nominated as a top fashion capital) to art and antiques. You also get some big department stores, outlets and shopping centres, notably in the suburbs and outskirts.

Main shopping areas include Via del Corso, Via Condotti, and the surrounding streets. The finest designer stores are around Via Condotti, whilst Via del Corso has more affordable clothing, and Via Cola di Rienzo, and the surroundings of Via del Tritone, Campo de' Fiori, and Pantheon are the places to go for cheaper items. UPIM is a good shop for cheap clothing of workable quality. Some brands (like Miss Sixty and Furla) are excellent, some are not as good - be sure to feel garments and try them on. There are also great quality shoes and leather bags at prices that compare well with the UK and US. But when shopping for clothes note that bigger sizes than a UK size 16/US 12 aren't always easy to find. Children's clothing can be expensive with basic vests (tank tops) costing as much as €21 in non-designer shops. If you really need to buy clothers for kids try the Oviesse chain. Summer sales in many stores begin around July 15th and Rome also has New Year sales, usually in the second week of January.

As mentioned above, Via Condotti is Rome's top haute couture fashion street (equivalent of Fifth Avenue in New York City, Via Montenapoleone in Milan, or Bond Street in London). Here, you can find big brand names such as Gucci, Armani, Dior, Valentino and Hermès, and several other high-class shops. However, the streets around the Via Condotti, such as Via Frattina, Via del Babuino, Via Borgognona and the Piazza di Spagna also offer some excellent high fashion boutiques, including Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Prada and Givenchy (and several others). So once in the city, the big boutique names aren't absent. In these luxurious streets, however, you needen't only do clothing shopping - there are some really good and funky jewellery (e.g. Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffany's & Co.), pen and accessory (i.e. Mont Blanc) and artsy stores peppered here and there in these streets.

If you want to spend a day in a large shopping mall, there's the Euroma2 with about 230 shops (mainly clothes and accessories) and restaurants, to be found near the EUR district. Take Metro B line from Termini to EUR Palasport station, cross the road and take the frequent free bus (ride takes 5-15 minutes) to the mall. In addition to many shops and food, the conditioned air and free toilets may be a welcome relief if you are in Rome during mid-summer.

Cinecittà Due is located in via Tuscolana, metro A, stop Subaugusta. You can combine a stop in this mall after a visit to the Cinecittà studios, one metro stop after.

La Rinascente, Rome's first department store, having been opened in 1887, is also a good retail department store, selling fashion, design, houseware and beauty products. If you like Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister, you have an Abercrombie & Fitch Italia store in the Via Collatina.

There are lots of fake plastic 'Louis Vuitton' bags being sold at the side of the road. Be aware, that buying of fake products is illegal in Italy. Fines up to €1000 have been reported. If you are happy to take the risk, make sure you haggle; unsuspecting tourists pay up to €60 for them.

If you want to buy souvenirs or gifts, a museum would be the worst choice since there are many stalls along the streets of touristic areas that offer reasonable prices. It is likely that the same item in the gift shop of any museum will cost much more.

Factory outlets

  • Castel Romano, near Rome, along the Via Pontina highway, [23]. A very large Factory Outlet with more than 100 branded shops. A car is needed to reach the place but a 30% discount in a designer shop is surely worth the 20km trip.
  • Valmontone, [24]. A little further away from Rome than Castel Romano, you can find Valmontone outlet on the motorway towards Napoli just 50 Km far from Rome. Valmontone itself is a delightful little town - 30 mins by train.

Eat

Individual listings can be found in Rome's district articles

Rome is full of good restaurants, many in attractive settings, particularly when you sit outside in the evening. No one location can be recommended to search for a good restaurant: some of the best places to eat are in the most unpromising locations while well-situated restaurants can often live on their reputation rather than the quality of their food. Restaurants in guidebooks can be good but prices can be inflated because it is more than likely a "tourist trap." To find an authentic restaurant that wont break the bank try to find a place in a more residential area or somewhere that isn't in the middle of the tourist locations.

Eat like a Roman
In Rome you can ask for:

  • Carciofi alla romana - Artichokes, Roman style.
  • Carciofi alla giudia - Artichokes, Jewish style (fried).
  • Puntarelle - Chicory salad with olive oil and anchovies.
  • Bucatini all'Amatriciana - A pasta dish with cheek lard, tomato and Pecorino Romano (Roman sheep cheese).
  • Spaghetti (or Rigatoni) alla Carbonara - A sauce made with egg and pancetta (bacon).
  • Abbacchio "alla scottadito" - lamb chops.
  • Scaloppine alla romana - Veal sautéed with fresh baby artichokes.
  • Coda alla vaccinara - Oxtail stew.
  • Cornetto & cappuccino - Sweet pastry (croissant) and cappuccino (coffee and creamy milk).
  • Pizza al taglio - Pizza by the slice.
  • Panino - Generic word for a stuffed sandwich.
  • Trippa alla romana - Tripe, Offal is a roman tradition, e.g. osso buco, bone marrow.
  • Fiori di Zucca fritti - Zucchini flowers, prepared in a deep fried batter.


Many of the good restaurants in Rome are hard to find, but a good tip is to go where Italians live and eat. On the top of the green, old mountain (Monteverde Vecchio) there are some trattorias with authentic Italian cuisine at an affordable price. Rome also has many beautiful spots to eat, so buying some delicacies to make up a picnic can be a great experience. In Via Marmorata you find Volpetti's which is known for its amazing selection of cheese, prosciutto and delicious pastries (and also for its prices!). A more affordable choice is to go to a local supermarket which will also have good fresh foods for lunch.

Pizza

Most pizza restaurants serve it only in the evening. Try some of the fried things like baccalà (battered salt cod) for a starter, followed by a pizza for a really Roman meal. Roman pizzas tend to be very thin crusted — quite different from the classical pizza made in Naples. Avoid the tourist areas where you'll often pay double the going rate just to get a badly reheated frozen pizza.

Pizza al taglio is pizza with a thicker crust, cooked in a large pan. This is served by the piece, usually to take away, and is a good cheap way to get something to fill you up. Point to the one you want, indicate if you want more or less than your server is indicating with the knife. It's sold by weight (the listed price is usually per 100 gm, known in Italian as an un etto, a hectogram).

Ice cream

Look for a gelateria. Remember that it usually costs extra to sit inside. You pay for your ice cream first...take your receipt and go fight your way through the throng to choose your flavors. You will be asked "Panna?" when it's almost made - this is the offer of whipped cream on top. If you've already paid, this is free. Some gelaterie require a small additional charge in order to get your cream — mostly half or one euro.

There are a few signs to keep in mind: "Produzione Propria" (homemade - our own production), "Nostra Produzione" (our production), "Produzione Artigianale" (production by craftsmen). If the colors seem dull and almost ugly it is probably natural, the bright colors being just a mix. Keep in mind, Italians usually won't queue, but if they are in line for gelato, get in line yourself: you may have hit the jackpot. Producers to try include Gelato di San Crispino [25]; Giolitti [26], very famous, also Obama's family likes it [27]; La Palma [28] with a huge choice of tastes; Pompi bars [29], famous for their wonderful Tiramisu, a semi-frozen dessert made of mascarpone cheese, chocolate ans some secret ingredients; Fassi [30], the oldest gelateria located near Manzoni station with a wide variety of flavors for cheap.

Vegetarians and Vegans

Vegetarians and vegans should have an easy time finding food in Rome (and Italy in general). Buffets in many restaurants usually have a good range of delicious vegetarian stuff - eg gratinated roast peppers/aubergines, etc. Also, pizzas don't always have cheese - a Marinara for example, is just tomato, garlic and oregano, and one can always ask for a pizza without cheese. Italian servers and chefs tend to be accommodating. Vegans need to watch out for 'pasta fresca' (fresh, homemade pasta) however, which is made with eggs. There are also vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Rome.

Kosher dining

While there is not much choice, at least Rome's Kosher cooking is truly excellent. Try "La Taverna del Ghetto" and "Yotvata" both in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.

Pricing

You can get cheap food in Rome, the problem is that if you don't know the city well or are forced to eat out in the centre, the prices go up.

  • €3.5 - You buy the pizza and eat it walking around, since it's a bread shop with no sitting area. You can choose how much you want to eat, but you'll be spending about €2 per slice + about €1.50 for a can of soda or €1 for water. As an alternative, you can drink the free water directly from one of the countless fountains in the city: it's very fresh and good. And you save your money refilling your bottle.
  • €15-20 - At lunchtime if you go to a restaurant you'll be spending between €15 for a set menu (not always good, try to go where you see Italian office people having their lunch as your best bet) and €20. For this you should get a pasta dish and a second course (meat) ending with coffee. Obviously if you have special wine the price will increase.
  • €20 - At night you can spend about €20 at a pizza restaurant or if you have only one main course. Again, if you have special wine it will cost more.
  • €20+ - For a sit down lunch or dinner in a restaurant €20 is cheap and if you want you can go up to €200 a head.

Chinese restaurants are still quite cheap but other ethnic restaurants (Thai, Indian) are generally expensive (think €30 upwards per person). Sushi is very expensive (€40 minimum per person).

Waiters have been known to take advantage of patrons by bringing more expensive items than what was ordered or asking for a tip although it's not mandatory and should be included in the price by law.


Drink

Coffee

Starbucks has so far avoided Rome. And no wonder: Italian coffee is, unlike Starbucks, actually good so our friends from Seattle would face a lot of competition. Moreover Italians don't like eat meals or having their coffee while strolling. A coffee is actually a break (if not a little ceremony), even for few minutes.

A latte in Italian is just a glass of milk. If you're expecting coffee in that glass, you should ask for a caffelatte. A latte macchiato (meaning "marked") is steamed milk stained with a smaller shot of espresso. Espresso or normale is just that, but more commonly just referred to as caffè. Espresso doppio means a double shot of espresso, while espresso macchiato is espresso 'marked' with a dab of steamed milk, like a small cappuccino. Americano — the one to order if you like filter coffee — is espresso diluted with hot water and not drunk much by Italians. Decaffeinato is self explanatory, but often referred to by the common brand-name Caffè Hag. A caffè corretto is an espresso with some alcoholic drink, like sambuca (distilled from the elder tree, similar to the anisette), anisette, brandy, cognac, grappa (grape spirit) or whatever. Usually the barmen add about a spoon of the correction.

Cappuccino is well known outside of Italy, but be warned: it is considered very un-classy, and somewhat childish, to order one after 11AM (and certainly after a meal). Italians think cappuccino doesn't help the digestion as an espresso is supposed to do, — also because it's too heavy, especially after a large meal.

Wine and water

House wines (vini della casa) are almost always drinkable and inexpensive (unlike, say, in the UK). Most trattorie would not be caught dead serving poor wine. You may often find a bottle of wine on the table for you. Believe it or not: this bottle will be less expensive than a glass would be in the US or UK, possibly only €4 or €5. This does not always apply to those places that look really tourist-trap-like! Slightly better quality wines are usually sold at a relatively small mark-up on shop prices. The best wines are marked as D.O.C. (Registered Designation of Origin) or D.O.C.G. (Registered and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) — they are not necessarily expensive.

Most Romans drink bottled water with their meals. In restaurants it normally comes in 1 liter bottles and can be had normale or liscia (still water) or gassata (sparkle water). No ice is usually served in the water, even in the summer like American customers can expect. Few restaurants offer the free water in the pitcher or the in-house "purified" water in the pitcher usually customized with their logo.

Water is free at designated water fountains, called nasone (big nose) or simply fontanelle (small fountains). Some of these date back to ancient times, and the water is still very good. It's fresh spring water coming from the famous underground springs of Rome and is safe to drink. If you carry an empty bottle, fill it up for the rest of the day. Look for the drinking fountain with constant running water, plug the bottom hole, and cool water will shoot up from a smaller hole on top of the tap. Don't put your lips round the hole at the bottom, as stray dogs tend to like to get a drink.

Before dinner

Pre-dinner drinks (aperitivi) accompanied with small hors d'oeuvres (antipasti) are very popular with Romans: 1) chic yuppies in their 20s-30s crowd the area around Piazza delle Coppelle (behind the Parliament) and Piazza di Pietra (near the Chamber of Commerce); 2) younger generations sprawl around the square and streets of Campo de' Fiori; 3) everyone sits to drink in the narrow streets behind the Pantheon (Piazza Pasquino and Via del Governo Vecchio).

Clubbing & Night Life

Campo del fiori is a popular drinking spot

Given a heart for exploration, Testaccio is the place to wander for after-dinner partying on the weekends. Head down there around 11PM (take metro Line B and get off at Piramide station) and listen for music. There are usually loads of people simply walking through the streets or looking for parking. Be brave, walk in, meet some wonderful Romans. This area is best in the winter. In the summer, the dancing moves to Ostia and Fregene, 45 minutes by car from Rome, at the seaside. Many clubs in Rome close in the summer months.

Many visitors like to go on Roman pub crawls. The Colosseum Pub Crawl[31] for example, has been throwing parties since 1999.

To the east of Termini Station, and near the first University of Rome "La Sapienza", is the San Lorenzo district, where you will find many pubs and clubs where university students and young Romans in their twenties spend their nights. On Saturday night the streets are crowded with people moving from one pub to another. On the city side of the railway, near Santa Maria Maggiore Cathedral, are some great Irish pubs, i.e. the Fiddler's Elbow [32], the oldest in Rome, where many English-speaking residents and Italian customers like to sip their pints. It's a good place to meet Romans who speak English. Also nearby are the Druid's Den and the Druid's Rock [33] .

On Via Nazionale there's a huge and beautiful pub called The Flann o'Brien [34] , one of the biggest in Rome. On the same street near Piazza Venezia there is another cluster of pubs including The Nag's Head Scottish Pub [35]. After 22.00 it's very expensive as it becomes more like like a disco. Entrance with first drink costs €13 and drinks cost €8. Before midnight they sometimes host live music concerts. In the same area, at the beginning of Via Vittorio Emanuele II you can find The Scholar's Lounge Irish pub [36] with nice music. This is definitely worth a look but there is no room to dance. During winter American colleges students residents in Rome end up their highly alcoholic nights here. Also nearby there's the Trinity College Irish Pub [37]. Drinks are quite expensive there.

Also on Via Vittorio Emanuele, near Piazza Navona, there's the Bulldog's Inn English pub. DJs play very good music there and there's room to dance, although few do. Nearby in Campo dei fiori there are several crowded pubs. Beware, there have been huge and serious fights there. In the narrow streets behind Piazza Navona there are also many places to go. Try Jonathan's Angels in Via del Fico. Also the Abbey Theatre Irish pub [38]is a good place in Via del Governo Vecchio.

On the other side of the River Tiber (Tevere) is Trastevere district where there are many places to eat and drink. This is also a good place where to enjoy a walk in crowded streets at night. In summer time on Isola Tiberina, the island in the Tiber, temporary bar are built and there are all sorts of things to do.

Far from the center there are some other good places. The Palacavicchi in a small suburban town called Ciampino is a multi-dance room area where they play different kinds of music, mostly Latin American. You definitely need to get a cab to get there and it won't cost less than €20. South of Ciampino Airport there is The Ice Palace [39] for ice skating, and the Kirby's[40] and the Geronimo pubs. All of them are nice places. At the Geronimo[41] pub before midnight there usually are live music concerts with many bands covering different genres. On Friday and Saturday nights after the concert they play disco music. Entrance is free and you may drink and eat as you feel. Very cool place and for every budget. Unfortunately you need a cab to get there.

Those Romans who speak fluent English usually have a great deal of confidence with tourists, so just offer them a beer and they will be glad to share with you their tip & tricks about night life in Rome.

Discos: There are many beautiful discos. Unfortunately the city is huge and it's not very easy to find them, unless you have a very good guide.

The best way to start is from the most established ones: Piper, Gilda, Alien, all of them run by the Midra Srl [42]. Their website is nothing to write home about but can be used to discover telephone numbers and addresses. Gilda is near the Spanish Steps, and the others not too far from Termini station. During summer they close to move to the seaside of Fregene (north of Fiumicino and Ostia) where Gilda on the Beach can be found.

A pint of beer in pubs usually costs around €6, entrance in discos around €20 with first drink included. Drinks in discos cost around €10.

Gay travellers

One of the places to be on Friday nights is Giardino delle Rose in via Casilina Vecchia 1 (rather central but reachable only by taxi): a luxurious garden with open-air bars and tables. Two large discos are Mucca Assassina in via del Gazometro and Classico in via Ostiense. During the week the main meeting place after dinner is Coming Out (a bar right in front of the Colosseum) where crowds of gay Romans and tourists gather in and outside, all year round but overwhelmingly crowded during the summer or late-night clubs such as Hangar in Via in Selci (Metro Line A, get off at Manzoni station). The best sauna (open 24 hours during week ends) is Europa Multiclub in via Aureliana (behind Piazza Esedra, Metro Line A Repubblica station). A meeting spot for gays day and (especially) night is Monte Caprino, the park on the Palatine hill behind the City Hall (Piazza Venezia) with spectacular views over the temples and ruins of ancient Rome.

Sleep

Rome by night

Note: As from the beginning of January 2011 Rome's city council now levies an accommodation tax. This is €2 per night per person for campsites up to three-star hotels and €3 a night for four- and five-star hotels. This fee is supposed to be for the restoration of Rome's crumbling ruins. Apparently it can only be paid in cash.

The area to the southwest of Termini railway station has numerous large hotels; these are used in particular by groups and coach parties. On the other side of the station are many smaller, fairly inexpensive, hotels that are popular with individual travellers. Perhaps the best choice for a first-time visitor is to stay right downtown, (such as near the Pantheon). Most attractions are walking distance from there, and you will save much transportation time and leave more for enjoying the city. Hotels in the downtown area are costly, but a good apartment is a decent alternative, especially for couples and if you don't mind cooking yourself from time to time: it will save even more of your budget.

Offering of short term apartment rentals is enormous. Many apartments can be booked directly through the owner, but most owners make arrangements via rental agencies, both large and small. When looking for a hotel or an apartment in Rome, take note that the price of accommodations varies significantly from month to month, depending on typical amount of tourists—always check prices at your accommodation for your specific dates.

Being as it is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, there are tons of choices for where to stay, and you will have the choice of whatever type of accommodation you wish.

Warning! Rome hotel touts
This Rome guide is heavily frequented by business owners keen on adding their own hotel or rental agency. While the worst of them are removed on a regular basis, you should always check other reviews before commiting. Many unscrupulous hotel owners are also busy creating false reviews of their accommodation on sites like Tripadvisor and Hotels.com - so tread carefully!


Note Hotel listings can be found in the appropriate districts, and should be added there. Please do not add listings here.


Camping

There are at least three campsites near Rome, they are:

  • Camping Tiber, Via Tiberina Km. 14, Prima Porta (On Rome's ringroad, take exit No 6 Via Flaminia, if arriving by public transport, take the ground-level Roma-Nord Subway leaving from Piazza Flaminia towards Prima Porta, from there there is a free shuttle service to the Camp Site), 06 33610733 (fax: 06 33612314). On the bank of the river from which it draws its name. To the north of the city. There's a minimarket, a pool, a restaurant and a bar.
  • Happy Valley, (In the hills north of the city at Via Prato della Corte 1915, Prima Porta-Cassia Bis, Roma. Take exit no 5 from Rome's ring road and head towards Cassia-Veientana. If you take public transport, take the ground-level Roma-Nord Subway leaving from Piazza Flaminia towards Prima Porta and wait for the free shuttle bus service.), 06.33626401 (fax: 06.33613800). It has a pool, a bar, a restaurant and a minimarket.

Contact

  • Tourist information [43], Via Parigi 5, tel.: 0636004399, open Mon to Sat 8AM to 7PM.
  • Tourist information points (PIT), open daily 9AM to 6PM.
  • 060606: Rome City Hall Call center daily (24 hours), also available for generic and tourist information. Italian, English e Romanian spoken. Mon-Fri, from 7AM to 7PM and Saturday from 8AM to 1PM available in French, German, Spanish, Albanian and Polish as well.


- Via del Corso, Largo Goldoni, tel.: 0668136061

- Castel Sant'Angelo, Piazza Pia, tel.: 0668809707

- Fori Imperiali, Piazza Tempio della Pace, tel.: 0669924307

- Piazza Navona, Piazza delle Cinque Lune, tel.: 0668809240

- Via Nazionale, Piazza delle Esposizioni, tel.: 0647824525

- Trastevere, Piazza Sidney Sonnino, tel.: 0658333457

- San Giovanni in Laterano, Piazza San Giovanni, tel.: 0677203535

- Santa Maria Maggiore, Via dell'Olmata, tel.: 064740995

- Termini (arrivals), Piazza dei Cinquecento, tel.: 0647825194

- Termini, Galleria Gommata, Terminal 4, tel.: 0648906300

- Fontana di Trevi, Via Marco Minghetti, tel.: 063782988

Respect

Romans regularly interact with foreigners and tourists; it shouldn't be hard to find friendly help provided you know some Italian. As for most every place in Italy, just be polite and you won't have much trouble.

If you hit someone with your luggage or shoulder while walking on a street, say "sorry" (Mi scusi or simply Scusi). Despite being busy like New York and London, bumping someone and going ahead is considered bad behaviour; a little apology will be satisfactory.

In buses or trains, let older people have your seat if there's no space available. The gesture will be appreciated. Romans, and Italians as well, are very chaotic while in a queue, and often "clump" without any particular order: it's considered impolite, but they do it anyway. Be careful while driving, as Romans often drive frantically and bend the rules to cope with the heavy traffic.

If you are a young lady, you may get "shutouts" or wolf whistles. Although this is offensive, don't react to it. If this happens to you, just stick your nose up and walk by.

Stay safe

Rome is generally a safe place, even for women traveling alone. However there have been rape cases around the Roma Termini train station, so be careful especially at night time. There is very little violent crime, but plenty of scams and pickpocketing that target tourists. As in any other big city, it is better if you don't look like a tourist: don't exhibit your camera or camcorder to all and sundry, and keep your money in a safe place. Consciousness and vigilance are your best insurances for avoiding becoming a victim of a crime in Rome. Remember, if you are pickpocketed or victim of another scam, don't be afraid to shout, "Aiuto, al ladro!" (Help, Thief!) Romans will not be nice to the thief.

Members of the Italian public are likely to be sympathetic if you are a crime victim. Police are also generally friendly if not always helpful. Carabinieri (black uniform, red striped trousers) are military police, and Polizia (blue and grey uniform) are civilians, but they both do essentially the same thing and are equally good, or bad. If you are robbed, try to find a police station and report it. This is essential to establishing a secure insurance claim and to replace documents: the chances of it resulting in the return of your possessions are, however, fairly remote.

Rome is home to two rivals Serie A football clubs, A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio, and there is a history of conflict, and even rioting, between the two. Never wear anything that shows that you support either of them, especially during the Rome Derby (when the two clubs play each other): avoid even wandering into groups of supporters of the other club, or you may be subject to heckling or even confrontation. Play it safe and refrain from openly supporting either club unless you are very familiar with the rivalry. If you are a fan of a foreign team that is playing in Rome, be very careful as a number of supporters have been stabbed over the past few years. Roma's colours are yellow and red (more precisely, orange and garnet-colored, the same you can see on the buses logos 'S.P.Q.R'). Lazio's livery is composed by white and light blue (azure). Other tee-shirts not appreciated: Juventus (black and white vertical stripes), Milan (red and black), Inter (blue and black) — but they are twins with Lazio. But don't take these tips too seriously, especially in the central areas.

Pickpocketing

Since Rome is incredibly popular as a tourist destination, a great deal of pickpocketing and bag or purse snatching takes place, especially in crowded locations, and pickpocketers in Rome can get pretty crafty. A 2010 study found that Rome was second only to Barcelona for pickpocketing of tourists.

As a rule, you should pretty much never carry anything very valuable in any outside pocket, especially the front pocket of your pants is one of the easiest and most common targets. Keeping your wallet in your front pocket or in your bag is far from safe. You should consider using a money belt and carry only the cash for the day in your pocket.

Also, beware of thieves — one popular technique that they use is to ride by you on a moped, slice the strap of a handbag with a knife, and ride off. They might also try to cut the bottom of your bag open and pick your wallet from the ground. Others will use the old trick of one person trying to distract you (asking for a cigarette or doing a strange dance) while another thief picks your pockets from behind. Bands of gypsy kids will sometimes crowd you and reach for your pockets under the cover of newspapers or cardboard sheets. It is generally a good idea to be extremely wary of any strange person who gets too close to you, even in a crowd. If someone is in your personal space, shove the person away. As one frequent traveler put it, "Don't be afraid to be a dick in Rome." It is better to be rude than to be stolen from.

Termini (the main railway station), Esquilino, bus line 64 (Termini to San Pietro) and the Trevi fountain are well-known for pickpockets, so take extra care in these areas. On the Metro especially, pickpockets are extremely skilled.

Remember that hotel rooms are not safe places for valuables; if your room has no safe, give your valuables to the hotel staff for safekeeping. Even if it does have a safe, hotels normally warn that they have no liability unless items are deposited in the main safe. Remember that it's not true, because it's against the Italian law on the hotel responsibility.

Be aware of the danger and take the usual precautions and you should be all right. You don't need to be paranoid, just open your eyes.

Tourist scams

Read up on the legends concerning tourist scams. Most of them occur regularly in Rome and you will want to see them coming.

A particular scam is when some plainclothes police will approach you, asking to look for "drug money," or ask to see your passport. This is a scam to take your money. You can scare them by asking for their ID. Guardia di Finanza (the grey uniformed ones) do customs work.

A recent scam involves men working near the Spanish Steps, around Piazza Navona, and outside of the Colosseum. They approach you, asking where you are from, and begin to tie bracelets around your wrists. When they are done they will try to charge you upwards of €20 for each bracelet. If anyone makes any attempt to reach for your hand, retract quickly. If you get trapped, you can refuse to pay, but this may not be wise if there are not many people around. Carry small bills or just change, in your wallet, so if you find yourself in cornered to pay for the bracelet, you can convince them that €1 or €2 is all you have.

When taking a taxi, be sure to remember license number written on the card door. In seconds, people have had a taxi bill risen by €10 or even more. When giving money to taxi driver, be careful.

Around tourist sites like the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum and the Spanish Steps there are groups mostly of men trying to sell cheap souvenirs. They may also carry roses and say they are giving you a gift because they like you but the minute you take their 'gift' they demand money. They are often very insistent and often the only way to get rid of them is to be plain rude. Do the best you can to not take their "gifts" as they will follow you around asking for money. Simply saying "no" or "go away" will get them off your back until the next vendor comes up to you.

Be wary of places to change currency. Read ALL signs before changing money. Often times places set up just for currency exchange will add as much as a 20% service fee on all money being traded. The shops near the Vatican have especially high service fees, whereas places near the Trevi Fountain will be more reasonable. The best bet is to change enough money before you leave your home country. There are few places around the city that are under the table and are just interested in American money. These places charge no service fee. Or simply go to a bank.

Be careful of con-men who may approach you at tourist sights. The best advice to avoid scams is to get way from anyone that you have never seen before who starts talking to you. For eg., a man would approach you asking for directions to a bar, strike a convincing conversation and invite you for a drink at that bar. He would take you to the bar with some (call) girls, offer you a drink (for which he doesn't mind paying). A (call) girl will approach you and make you agree to pay for a champagne for her. Eventually, you will end up being asked to pay hundreds of euros for that bottle of champagne when billed.

A car may pull up next to you, and the driver asks you for directions to the Vatican. He will strike up a conversation with you while he sits in his car and tell you he is a sales representative for a large French fashion house. He will then tell that you he likes you and he would like to give you a gift of a coat worth several thousand euros. As you reach inside his car to take the bag the coat is in, he will ask you for €200 for gas, as his car is nearly empty.

Emergencies

In an emergency, call 112 (Carabinieri), 113 (Police), 118 (medical first aid) or 115 (firemen). Carry the address of your embassy or consulate.

On anything else you may need for your rome holiday, you can contact the official help line of the Minister of Tourism 039.039.039. From Monday to Sunday, from 9.00 to 22.00, in seven languages, seven days a week.

Cope

  • Police. To report theft you should generally go to the Carabinieri station or the Police station (Polizia di stato or simply Polizia) nearest where the theft occurred. Ask people at the scene of the crime where to go.
  • Left Luggage Termini. You can leave luggage at Termini but they have a lot of security and only one X-ray machine so there can be a +100 people queue. It costs about €4 per bag (of any size) for the first 5 hours, €0.80 per bag for each hour thereafter. There's a sign limiting bags to 20kg each, but no facility for weighing them (that I saw) so it's probably not enforced.
  • Splashnet laundry, internet, left luggage, Via Varesi 33, 100 m west of Termini. €2 per luggage left (and 15 min of internet included).

Embassies

  • As-flag.png Australia, Via Antonio Bosio 5, +39 06 85 2721 (fax: +39 06 85 272 300), [44]. M-F 8:30AM-4PM.
  • Au-flag.png Austria, Via Pergolesi 3, 068440141 (fax: +39 06 85 43286), [45]. M-F 9AM-noon.


  • Bu-flag.png Bulgaria, Via Pietro Polo Rubens 21, +39 06 322 46 40, +39 06 322 46 43 (, fax: +39 06 322 61 22), [47]. M-F 9AM-5PM.
  • Ch-flag.png China, Via Bruxelles 56, +39 (0)6 8413458 (fax: +39 (0)6 85352891), [48].
  • Ca-flag.png Canada, Via Zara 30, +39 06 44598 1 (fax: +39 06 44598 2905), [49].
  • Hr-flag.png Croatia, Via Luigi Bodio 74/76, +39 06 363 07650 (, fax: +39 06 3630 3405), [50]. M-F 09.30-12.30.
  • Da-flag.png Denmark, Via dei Monti Parioli 50, +39 06 9774 831 (, fax: +39 06 9774 8399), [51]. M-F 8AM-5:30PM.
  • Eg-flag.png Egypt, Via Salaria 267, +39 06 8440-1976 (, fax: +39 06 855-4424), [53]. M-F 9:00 AM - 17:00 PM.
  • En-flag.png Estonia, Ambasciata di Estonia, Viale Liegi 28 int. 5, +39 06 844 075 10 (, fax: +39 06 844 075 19), [54]. M-F 9AM-12PM.
  • Fi-flag.png Finland, Ambasciata di Finlandia, Via Lisbona 3, +39 06 852 231 (, fax: +39 06 854 0362), [55]. M-F 8AM-5:30PM.
  • Fr-flag.png France, Piazza Farnese 67, +39 066 86011, [56].
  • Gm-flag.png Germany, Ambasciata di Germania, Via San Martino della Battaglia 4, +39 06 49 213-1 (, fax: +39 06 445 26 72), [57].
  • Gr-flag.png Greece, Ambasciata di Grecia, Via S. Mercadante 36, +39 06 853 7551 (, fax: +39 06 841 5927), [58].
  • Hu-flag.png Hungary, Via Messina, 15 00198 Roma, +39 06 442 49938, 06 442 49939 (, fax: +39 06 442 49908), [59].
  • In-flag.png India, Via XX Settembre, 5, 00187 Rome (Italy), +39 06 4884642/3/4/5 (fax: +39 06 4819539).
  • Ie-flag.png Ireland, Piazza di Campitelli 3, 00186 Rome, +39 06 6979 121 (fax: +39 06 6979 1231), [60]. M-F 10AM-12:30PM / 3PM-4:30PM.
  • Lh-flag.png Lithuania, Viale di Villa Grazioli 9, 00198 Rome, +39 06 855 90 52, +39 06 854 04 82 (fax: +39 06 855 90 53), [61]. M-F 07:00AM-05:00PM.
  • Mk-flag.png Macedonia, Via Bruxelles 73/75, 00198 Rome, +39 06 8419868, +39 06 84241109 (, fax: +39 06 84241131). M-F 9AM-5PM.
  • Mt-flag.png Malta, Lungotevere Marzio 12, +39 06 6879990.
  • My-flag.png Malaysia, Via Nomentana, 297, +39 06 8415764 (, fax: +39 06 8555040). 09.00AM-16.00PM (no lunch break).
  • No-flag.png Norway, Via delle Terme Deciane 7, +39 06 571 7031 (, fax: ++39 06 571 70326), [63].
  • Flag of Serbia (state).png FlagOfMontenegro.png Serbia, Via dei Monti Parioli 20, +39 06 320 07 96, +39 06 320 08 90, +39 06 320 09 59, +39 06 320 08 05 (all night) (, fax: +39 06 320-08-68), [64]. telex 616-303
  • Pk-flag.png Pakistan, Via Della Camilluccia 682, 00135, +39 06 36 1775 (, fax: +39 06 36 301 936), [65]. M-F 9:30AM-4:20PM.
  • Ro-flag.png Romania, Via Nicolo Tartaglia, 36, +39 06 808 45 29, +39 06 807 88 07, +39 06 808 35 37 (, fax: +39 06 808 49 95), [67]. M-F 8.30 - 13.00; 14.00 - 17.30.
  • Ru-flag.png Russia, (Via Gaeta 5), 06/4941680, 06/4941681 (fax: 06/491031).


  • Sf-flag.png South Africa, Via Tanaro 14, +39 06 85 25 41, [68]. M-F 8AM-4:30PM.
  • Sp-flag.png Spanish Embassy, Palazzo Borghese, Largo Fontanella di Borghese 19, +39 06 684 04 011.
  • Tu-flag.png Turkey, 28, Via Palestro 00185, +39 06 445 941.
  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Via XX Settembre 80, +39 06 4220 0001, +39 06 4220 2603 after hours (fax: +39 06 4220 2347), [69]. M-F 9AM-5PM.
  • Us-flag.png United States of America, Via Vittorio Veneto 119/A, +39 06 4674 1 (fax: +39 06 4882 672, +39 06 4674 2356), [70]. 8:30AM-5:30PM.

Get out

  • Especially if you have a rail pass, making Pompeii a day trip, while it is a very full day, is very doable. To reach Pompeii from Rome will take about 3 hours.
  • Head to Frascati, one of the historic hill towns to the South East of Rome known as the Castelli Romani. This town has been a popular destination for centuries away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, and this is still true today. Famous worldwide for its white wine, Frascati is a relaxed hill town with a slower pace of life. Just 21km from Rome, Frascati is accessible by bus or train. Trains run from Roma Termini approximately every hour, take about 30 minutes, and cost around €2. Also in the Castelli is Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence of the Pope. The town overlooks Lake Albano, a popular weekend trip for Romans in the summer. Also accessible by bus and train but there are several interesting towns and villages in the Castelli so hiring a car for the day would be well-rewarded.
  • Head to Ostia Antica, the ancient harbor and military colony of Rome. It is accessible by tube every 30 minutes from Stazione Piramide (near the Piramid). It is a monumental area a bit like the Roman Forum. But in Ostia Antica you can get an impression how a Roman city really looked. The entry price has skyrocketed to €8.50 [as of Oct 2012].
  • Consider a day trip to Tivoli to see the Villa d'Este with its famous and glorious fountains. Check out the Emperor Hadrian's Villa while you are out there. Hourly trains from Tiburtina; fewer on Sundays.
  • Understand the Second World War in Italy by visiting the Anzio beachhead area and Monte Cassino.
  • Discover the papal city of Viterbo, well-known medieval and thermal destination (about 1 and half hours from Rome). The sea is quite far, but don't forget your bathing suit. After the visit, especially during the winter, you must dive in the Pope's thermal baths [[71]]. The spring's water reaches 58 °C (136 °F)!
  • Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, is the point of arrival and departure of hundreds of ships, cruises, and ferries travelling all around the Mediterranean. From here it is possible to reach Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, Spain, France, some other small islands, and even north Africa. A good transportation system links the port to the Eternal City, e.g., see "Get in" "By train" above.
  • It isn't a bad idea a half-day or one-day trip to Florence by train, specially if you stay in Rome more than three days. There are several high-speed trains connecting the two cities in about one hour and half:

- Trenitalia's Frecciarossa [72], departures from Rome Termini railways station.

- Italo [73], departures from Rome Tiburtina or Ostiense railways stations. You can visit Florence in few hours if you skip the Uffizi museum.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!








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