Visiting Rome for the first time may be an overwhelming experience. Not many cities in the world can rival Rome’s historical and art heritage. The magnificent historical buildings, inspiring art and vibrant street life will enchant you immediately and make you want to come again.
Before your first trip to Rome, it’s important to get well acquainted with the essential details about this city and make a good plan what to visit. In this guide, we included everything you need to know before your first-time visit to Rome.
Arriving in Rome
If you’re arriving by plane, most probably you will land on Leonardo da Vinci airport, also known as Rome Fiumicino airport. It is the largest airport in Italy, located 35 km from Rome city centre. You can use public transport, airport taxis or arrange private airport transfer to get from the airport to your destination. There is a train station at the airport and the Leonardo Express train departs every 30 minutes. There are few bus operators offering Rome bus transfer from the airport, departing every 30-50 minutes. Airport taxis are located in front of the Arrivals area at the taxi ranks, but in peak hours it might get crowded and you will need to wait in a queue. For a comfortable journey, you can arrange your airport transfer in advance by booking the service online with a Rome airport transfer provider for a low cost, fixed price.
Ciampino airport is a smaller airport, located 12 km from the city centre. You can take a bus to Termini station or the historic city centre while there is no direct railway connection. Airport taxis are located at the taxi ranks, but make sure to negotiate the price and avoid any unpleasant surprises. Online Rome airport transfer providers offer private transfers from Ciampino airport to your destination at a fixed price and you should book the service prior your trip.
Unlike some other cities where all attractions are concentrated in the city centre, Rome is a bit different with historical sites and landmarks spread all over the city. Before your trip, it’s necessary to get well acquainted with the transportation system in Rome, just to make sure you don’t miss some important things on your itinerary.
The public transport system in Rome includes metro, bus and tram lines. The metro has only two lines because most of the Rome underground has archeological value, and because of that, it is a little bit limited. Tourists may not find it that useful unless your accommodation is near a metro stop or you’re visiting the Colosseum or Vatican which are on the metro map.
There are seven tram lines which are listed on Rome bus maps along with the bus lines. It’s convenient to take a tram if you’re visiting Travestere neighborhood, as well as, the Pantheon, the Colosseum and Vatican. Buses, on the other hand, are the most convenient public transport type for getting around Rome. Before you arrive in Rome, make sure you find the right bus numbers and the bus stop near the places you’re visiting.
Rome taxis may be extremely handy if you want to get quickly from one place to another. In a crowded city with tourists like Rome, a smart decision would be to pre-book a Rome taxi in advance with some of the Rome taxi online providers.
At first glance, it may look like a confusing sprawl of ruins, but the Roman Forum was once the center of the Roman Empire and today is one of the most significant archeological sites in the world. With a little bit of imagination, you can travel back in time and see how Ancient Rome citizens lived over 2,000 years ago. This site was established in 500 BC and was enlarged several times by several emperors including Julius Cesar and Trajan.
The most recognizable symbol of Rome is definitely the Colosseum. The imposing stadium was built in 80 AD and has a long, bloody history. It is believed that this large amphitheatre could hold up 50,000 people and hosted the battles of the gladiators with animals and between each other.
The Basilica of Saint Peter is the centerpiece of Catholics and with its grandiose architecture attracts millions of art lovers as well. It was built almost 2,000 years ago in honor of one of the first apostles and first pope, St. Peter. The location of the basilica is not by chance as that was the place where St. Peter was killed and buried. Throughout the centuries, it was rebuilt and razed to become the world’s largest church. The interior is as magnificent as the exterior, with the exceptional altarpiece – built by Bernini and the Pieta by Michelangelo.
Where to eat
Just like in every big city, the restaurants in the centre are usually more expensive and it’s really easy to get caught in a tourist trap. However, if you know where you’re going, there are few really good places in the Rome historic centre. One of them is Armando al Pantheon, a family owned restaurant which has been one of the top choices for more than 50 years. Here you will find the best Roman specialties, carefully prepared with local, fresh ingredients. Among the wide range of dishes, you should try spaghetti alla gricia and to experience the real taste of Roman food.
Another restaurant with good price and quality near Campo De Fiori is Osteria della Quercia. This is a great place to try traditional Roman cuisine and you should order pasta Carbonara or Amatriciana, along with their house wine which tastes really good and is a lot cheaper.
You can’t leave Rome without trying the famous gelato. You can find it on every corner, and it’s really hard to choose the best place to buy it, without overpaying it. One of the most famous places to buy tasty gelato is Gioliti, located near the Pantheon. Choose three flavors in a medium cone and you’re ready to go. Another good place is Fatamorgana, where you can get gluten-free gelato. They have four stores in different locations, including one in Travestere.