How To Plan Travel To Rome

# How to Plan Travel to Rome
Rome, the eternal city, is an enchanting destination known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. Planning a trip to Rome can be an exciting yet overwhelming task, as there is so much to see and do. To ensure a memorable and stress-free experience, it is important to carefully plan your travel to Rome. In this article, we will provide you with essential information, expert perspectives, and valuable tips to help you navigate and make the most of your time in Rome.
## Background Information
Rome, the capital city of Italy, is located in the central-western part of the country. It serves as the political and administrative hub and has a population of over 2.8 million people. Rome boasts a fascinating blend of ancient ruins, such as the Colosseum and Roman Forum, alongside spectacular Renaissance and Baroque architecture, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Trevi Fountain. The city is also renowned for its delectable cuisine, with pasta, pizza, gelato, and espresso being Italian specialties that should not be missed.
## When to Go
Rome experiences a Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild winters and hot summers. The high tourist season in Rome typically falls between April and October when the weather is warm and pleasant. However, this also means larger crowds and longer queues at popular attractions. If you prefer fewer tourists and lower prices, consider visiting Rome during the shoulder seasons of March to May or September to November. The winter months of December to February offer mild temperatures but higher chances of rain.
## Getting There
Rome is well-connected internationally, with two major airports: Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino Airport (FCO) and Ciampino – G.B. Pastine International Airport (CIA). FCO is the main airport, conveniently located 16 miles southwest of the city center. Multiple airlines offer direct flights to Rome from major cities around the world. Once you arrive, various transportation options are available to reach the city center, including taxis, private transfers, or public transportation such as trains and buses.
## Where to Stay
Rome offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. From luxurious hotels near the city’s iconic landmarks to boutique bed and breakfasts tucked away in charming neighborhoods, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay. Consider the proximity to major attractions, access to public transportation, and the atmosphere of the neighborhood when selecting your accommodations. The Navona district, Trastevere, and Monti are popular areas among travelers, providing easy access to attractions and a vibrant local atmosphere.
## Exploring the City
To make the most of your time in Rome, it is essential to plan your itinerary strategically. Start with the must-see attractions such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Vatican City. To avoid lines and save time, consider purchasing skip-the-line tickets or booking guided tours. Apart from these iconic sites, make time to explore lesser-known corners of the city, such as the stunning Borghese Gallery and the charming Jewish Ghetto. Rome is best discovered on foot, allowing you to stumble upon hidden gems and savor the city’s unique atmosphere.
## Dining and Cuisine
One cannot visit Rome without indulging in its mouth-watering cuisine. From traditional trattorias to high-end Michelin-starred restaurants, the city offers a wealth of dining options. Sample authentic Roman dishes such as Cacio e Pepe, carbonara, and supplì (fried rice balls). When dining out in Rome, keep in mind that tipping is not customary, as a service charge is typically included in the bill. However, leaving a small gratuity for exceptional service is always appreciated.
## Safety and Tips
While Rome is generally a safe city for travelers, it is important to exercise caution and be aware of common tourist scams and pickpocketing. Stay vigilant in crowded areas, avoid displaying valuable items, and keep your belongings secure. It is also advisable to dress modestly when visiting religious sites and to respect local customs and traditions. Finally, remember to stay hydrated and wear comfortable shoes, as exploring Rome often involves a significant amount of walking.
#1. Hidden Gems in Rome
## Trastevere: The Charming District
Trastevere, located on the west bank of the Tiber River, is a picturesque neighborhood known for its narrow cobbled streets, colorful buildings, and lively atmosphere. Away from the hustle and bustle of central Rome, Trastevere offers a more authentic and local experience. Explore its charming streets, visit the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, and indulge in delicious Roman street food at one of the local trattorias or pizzerias.
## Villa Borghese: A Tranquil Oasis
Escape the bustling city and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Villa Borghese, a vast public park offering a peaceful retreat in the heart of Rome. Wander through its landscaped gardens, rent a rowboat on the lake, or visit the Galleria Borghese, home to an impressive collection of art, including masterpieces by Caravaggio, Bernini, and Raphael.
## Appian Way: Step Back in Time
Take a journey back in time along the Appian Way, one of the ancient world’s most important roads. Walk on the same cobblestones that were once traveled by Roman emperors and experience the grandeur of ancient Rome. Along the way, you’ll encounter ancient tombs, catacombs, and impressive ruins, providing a glimpse into the city’s rich history.
## Markets of Rome: A Culinary Adventure
Embrace the vibrant local culture and flavors of Rome by exploring its markets. Campo de’ Fiori, Mercato di Testaccio, and Mercato Trionfale offer a wide array of fresh produce, local products, and street food delights. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of these bustling markets while sampling local delicacies.
#2. Day Trips from Rome
## Tivoli: Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa
Just a short distance from Rome, Tivoli offers a perfect day trip for those seeking a break from the city’s hustle. Explore the opulent Villa d’Este with its magnificent Renaissance gardens and intricate fountains. Nearby, visit Hadrian’s Villa, the sprawling ruins of Emperor Hadrian’s countryside retreat, showcasing the grandeur of ancient Roman architecture.
## Ostia Antica: Ancient Roman Port
Step into an incredibly well-preserved ancient Roman town at Ostia Antica. Located on the outskirts of Rome, this former bustling port boasts an array of intact buildings, including apartments, temples, and theaters. Stroll through its labyrinthine streets, imagining life during the days of the Roman Empire.
## Orvieto: The Jewel of Umbria
Embark on a journey to the beautiful city of Orvieto, perched on a volcanic hilltop. Known for its stunning Duomo, impressive medieval architecture, and picturesque views, Orvieto offers a peaceful escape from the crowds. Don’t miss the chance to explore its underground caves, which date back to Etruscan times.
## Pompeii: Ancient Ruins Preserved
For history enthusiasts, a visit to the ancient city of Pompeii is a must. Approximately three hours from Rome, Pompeii was famously buried under ash and pumice when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Today, the remarkably preserved ruins provide a captivating insight into daily life in the Roman Empire.
#3. Roman Cuisine Delights
## Gelato: Cool Sweet Treat
No trip to Rome is complete without savoring gelato, Italy’s famed frozen treat. Indulge in a scoop (or two) of creamy gelato, available in a multitude of flavors from classic pistachio and stracciatella to unique combinations like fig and ricotta or rosemary and olive oil. Seek out renowned gelaterias such as Giolitti, Fatamorgana, or Il Gelato di San Crispino for the ultimate gelato experience.
## Roman Pizza: Crispy Thin Crust
Different from its American counterpart, Roman pizza features a thin and crispy crust with a delicious variety of toppings. Try the classic Roman-style pizza, known as “pizza al taglio,” sold by weight and cut into rectangular slices. For an authentic experience, head to famous pizzerias such as Pizzarium or Forno Campo de’ Fiori, where you can enjoy a mouthwatering slice.
## Roman Street Food: Supplì and Panini
Embrace the hustle and bustle of Rome’s food scene by sampling its street food delights. Bite into a supplì, a deep-fried rice ball filled with oozy mozzarella and ragù sauce, or savor a freshly made panino filled with local cured meats and cheese. Popular street food markets such as Mercato di Testaccio and Trionfale offer a wide selection of these tasty treats.
## Aperitivo Hour: Sip and Savor
Experience the Italian tradition of aperitivo, a pre-dinner ritual that combines a drink with small plates of snacks. In Rome, head to popular spots like Freni e Frizioni or Salotto 42, where you can enjoy a refreshing Aperol Spritz or Negroni accompanied by a selection of delectable appetizers. Immerse yourself in the buzzing atmosphere while sipping your drink and people-watching.
#4. Roman Traditions and Events
## Rome Film Festival
For cinephiles, the Rome Film Festival held annually in October is a must-attend event. Showcasing a wide range of national and international films, the festival attracts renowned directors, actors, and film enthusiasts from around the globe. Enjoy movie premieres, special screenings, and lively debates as you immerse yourself in the world of cinema.
## Street Art in Ostiense
Ostiense, a vibrant neighborhood in Rome, has become a hotbed for street art and urban culture. Take a stroll through its streets and witness impressive murals, graffiti, and artistic installations created by local and international artists. Ostiense offers a unique perspective on contemporary Roman art outside the traditional museum setting.
## Roman Carnival: Carnevale Romano
While Venice may steal the spotlight when it comes to carnival celebrations in Italy, Rome has its own festive traditions. The Roman Carnival, or Carnevale Romano, takes place in February and features lively parades, masquerade balls, and street performances. Immerse yourself in the spirited atmosphere as the city comes alive with color, music, and revelry.
## Christmas Season in Rome
There is something truly magical about spending the Christmas season in Rome. The city is adorned with lights and decorations, and various events take place, including Christmas markets, concerts, and religious celebrations. Don’t miss the iconic Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square and the life-size nativity scene, attracting visitors from around the world.
By carefully planning your travel to Rome, you can ensure a truly unforgettable experience filled with fascinating history, mouth-watering cuisine, and captivating traditions. Immerse yourself in the charm of the eternal city, and let its sights, flavors, and culture leave an indelible mark on your journey.
Donald Nitta

Donald D. Nitta is a freelance writer and travel blogger who has been living in Italy since 2009. Born in Hawaii, he has been passionate about Italian culture since childhood. Donald has written numerous articles and essays about Italian culture, travel, history, and cuisine.

Leave a Comment