It’s no secret that the city of Rome is one of the most historic and beautiful in the world. One moment you’ll be walking the small cobblestone streets and the next you’re standing in front of 2000+ year old ruins! So are you ready to explore this massive outdoor museum? We have all the tips for traveling in Rome you’ll need for an amazing visit to Italy!
15 Helpful Tips For Traveling in Rome
1. Take a Shuttle from the Airport
The first of our tips for Rome is to skip the high cost of a taxi! Instead, jump on the bus from the airport directly to the city center. Rome actually has two airports named Fiumicino International and Rome Ciampino. You can book your flight based on the best price and time that works for you as both airports have easy access to the city.
When leaving the airport there are counters displaying the next bus time. You will have the option to take a bus to the closest subway, but there is a shuttle that goes to Rome Termini which is the main station. If it’s your first time in Rome the below shuttle options will be the simplest way to get to the city center.
- To save money we recommend pre-booking a direct bus transfer from Fiumicino Airport to Roma Termini for just €6.
- For just one Euro more, you can also book a bus that takes you from Fiumicino airport with stops at Roma Termini, the Vatican, and Circonvallazione Aurelia. Check as these may be closer to your hotel.
- Additionally, there is a direct shuttle bus to and from Ciampino airport that will save you time and money.
2. Fill Up at the Water Fountains
Sick of spending money on water in Europe? Good news! There are endless places to fill up around Rome Italy. You will see both locals and tourists using the many public fountains around town.
We used to travel with a large Nalgene Water Bottle but have since moved to sustainable collapsable bottles that have a ton of space. We loved how even on a hot summer day you will never be thirsty traveling in Rome!
3. Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes
If you didn’t know, Rome Italy is absolutely massive! While you can get to all the major attractions with taxis and public transit, the best way to explore is by walking. On our recent visit to Rome, we walked almost 50,000 steps over two days. Yes, that is basically the equivalent to walking the distance of a marathon!
We enjoy walking in cities and opted not to use any public transport once we dropped our bags at our hotel. Needless to say, we were thankful that we had good sneakers on! There was no way we could have seen so much traveling in Rome without them. If you’re not up for so much walking consider taking the Rome hop on hop-off bus to get around to the city’s best sites.
4. Stamp Your Bus Ticket
If you plan to ride the public bus there is one very important thing to know. You have to stamp your ticket when you get on! Don’t wait until the end either. This is because the ticket isn’t valid until you have a date and time stamp on it.
We met a family who bought three tickets but didn’t know they had to stamp them. So when they got off the bus they were questioned and told they had to pay 50 Euros each for not validating them. Ouch! No matter how much they argued it, they ended up having to pay the fine.
Another essential thing to know is that you can’t buy the tickets on the bus. You need to buy them at a local Tabaccheria (tobacco store) or from the main bus terminal. Just make sure to stamp the ticket to validate it! If you know you will be riding the bus a lot you can also buy multiple tickets at once.
5. Pre-Book Tours & Entries
If there are only a couple of Rome Tips you take away from our article make sure this is one of them! Rome is one of the most visited cities in Europe so of course, everyone is excited to see the historic sites. From the St. Peters Basicala to the Roman Coliseum, there is so much to do in this amazing city!
Due to their popularity, as soon as you know your dates we recommend pre-booking whatever you can. This includes guided tours, museums, or any skip-the-line entry passes you may want. Know that if you wait until you’re already traveling in Rome you’ll be taking a gamble. Specifically, in the peak summer months, you may spend hours in line or things can even be sold out.
Popular Rome Attractions to Book Ahead
- Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket
- St. Peter’s Basilica Guided Tour
- Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Entry Tickets
- Borghese Gallery Masterpieces & Gardens: Skip-the-Line Tour
- Rome Street Food Tour with Local Guide
6. Rent a Car AFTER Traveling in Rome
One of the best ways to explore Italy is by car. However, for many travelers, the capital city will be their first stop as that is where they’re flying into. If this applies to you it would be wise to wait until the end of your stay to pick up a rental car.
Trust us when we say that having one Rome is so not worth the trouble! You’ll have a much more enjoyable experience walking or even using the bus. If you are renting a car it is better to do so as a day trip or on your way out of the city as part of a larger itinerary.
Always book your vehicle in advance for the best deal. Check the one-way fee as well as it might be better to drop off in another city instead of backtracking to Rome.
7. Rome Tips For Ordering Coffee
When in Rome, do as the Romans do! One of our best tips for Rome is to order your coffee standing up at the bar. Surprisingly, in Italy, it’s sometimes cheaper to stand at the bar than to sit down. That’s right! There are often two different prices based on if you take up a table (prime real estate in Rome Italy) or if you stand.
While the table will only set you back a couple of extra Euros, it’s just something to be aware of when traveling in Rome on a budget. If you’re going for a cappuccino and croissant then sit down. Yet, if it’s just a quick espresso stop then head up to the bar.
8. Watch Your Bags in Rome Italy
Petty theft isn’t a shocker and should in no way discourage your trip to Rome Italy. Still, like in any major city around the world from New York to Bangkok, pickpockets and thieves will target tourists. The subway and buses are the main places you need to watch out for this. Unfortunately, there are experts who work in teams to distract you!
On our recent trip, we saw a woman whose bag got jammed in the door as she was trying to get on the train. About 10 to 15 seconds later she noticed her phone had been taken. This gave us a flashback to 5 years earlier when the same thing happened to us in Athens! It happens so fast and sometimes there’s nothing you can do.
One of the best Rome tips to avoid this is locking your bags. Any time we are traveling with our luggage in big cities we lock it out of habit now. Before your trip, order small padlocks for your luggage, day bags, or even purse.
9. Be Aware of the Vatican Dress Code
One of the more random Rome tips to think about when packing is that some places in Rome Italy have a dress code. Now, this specifically applies to Vatican City as you won’t see this at many historic landmarks. Technically, it is supposed to go for all churches in Rome but it is only strictly enforced on Vatican property.
While we don’t see too much of this in Europe, it’s common in temples around Asia and other parts of the world. Remember, the Vatican is technically its own religious state! Below are the basic rules to follow inside the Vatican buildings, museums, and gardens.
- Cover your shoulders
- No shorts, skirts, and dresses above the knee
- No offensive tattoos or religious symbols
- Remove all hats or caps
10. Free Museums on First Sundays
If you’re lucky enough to visit Rome on the first Sunday of the month you’ll be happy to know that museums are free. Yes, you heard that correctly! This is a tradition in other cities around Italy including famous sites like Pompeii and several famous art galleries.
Keep in mind this does not include ALL entries around the city. When it comes to the Vatican museums, those are separate from Rome. Check out a list here for some of the best free museums on the first Sunday of every month.
11. Make Dinner Reservations
Something every foodie should know about traveling in Rome is this city is big on reservations. That means if you’ve found a special spot for dinner you’ll want to definitely call or email ahead!
Also, remember that Rome has some of the best restaurants in the entire world. Hungry travelers are known to make reservations months in advance at the most famous eateries. Don’t make the mistake of waiting to lock in a time to eat the Italian food you’ve been dreaming about.
Another fantastic way to taste some of the best dishes and drinks in Rome is to take a guided tour. Check out our epic food tour in Rome’s Prati neighborhood below!
12. Grab a Sim Card When You Arrive
Rome isn’t known for having the best public wifi so a sim card can definitely come in handy. If you’d rather not buy a sim card, an offline app like maps.me can be sufficient to get around.
While many travelers opt to pay their local carrier’s international fees, the sim card is usually way cheaper! For 20-30 Euros you can get a month-long sim card with basically unlimited internet.
These can be purchased at Roma Termini station, tabaccheria’s, or even right at the airport. If you are in Italy for a longer holiday this is definitely the way to go!
13. Don’t Overpack Your Day
No matter how hard you try it is impossible to see Rome in just a day or two. While you will be able to see many of the historic sites and get a feel for the city, it is just too large to experience everything!
Try to plan to do the more popular attractions first thing in the morning. This applies to places like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and other photo opportunities that will be swarmed with crowds by the afternoon.
As we mentioned earlier in our Rome tips guide, pre-booking the sites you have to pay for is key! Enjoy yourself in the Eternal City, have a glass of wine, and don’t wear yourself out.
14. Visit the Local Markets
All over the city on different days of the week are amazing street markets. Some are daily while others only happen on certain days of the week. Our personal favorite markets are the ones involving food!
Yet, there are plenty of others that showcase art, jewelry, and souvenirs to take home with you. there are even local flea markets where you can buy secondhand items for cheap!
Here is a solid list of the best markets in Rome to check out. We’ve also included our four favorites below.
- Nuovo Mercato Esquilino
- Mercato dell’Unità
- Mercato Trionfale
- Campo de’ Fiori
15. Pay the Tourist Tax
The last of our tips for Rome isn’t a fun one! A tourist tax will be charged of €3.50 per night per person for up to 10 days at an accommodation. From our experience, this needs to be paid in cash before checking out. However, some hotels may take it upfront.
Obviously, if you’re a large family or staying in Rome for the full 10 days it can add up. Overall, it’s not a huge deal with the hefty prices of accommodations already in Rome. Just something to know before you go so you’re not surprised!
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own tips for traveling in Rome Italy? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where to Stay in Rome Italy
Rome Center – Otivm Hotel – High-end hotel directly in the heart of Rome Italy. Amazing rooftop bar with views of the city and steps from Palazzo Venezia.
Ultra Luxury – Vittoriano Luxury Suites – Perfect for travelers looking for luxury accommodations with slightly more spacious suites.
Unique Decor – Navona Grand Suite – This hotel feels more like you are staying in a Roman villa than a luxury hotel in Rome! Enjoy its unique and timeless decor in the capital of Italy.
Trastevere Neighborhood – Horti 14 Borgo Trastevere – Modern hotel with a stylish garden design. Also, located within walking distance of all the best bars and nightlife in the Trastevere neighborhood.
Hostel Stay – The RomeHello – One of the most popular hostels in the city and in the perfect spot next to Roma Termini station. Great for meeting others who are traveling in Rome as well. Just make sure to book in advance as it sells out quickly.
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More Italy Tips
- Planning a Trip to Italy: 10 Step Easy Travel Guide
- 15 Fun Things to Do in Venice on Your First Visit
- Northern Italy by Train: A Magical 10 Day Itinerary
- Portico di San Luca: The Scenic Walk You Can’t Miss in Bologna Italy
- 10 Things to do in Milan Italy on Your First Visit
Italy Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic Italian road trip!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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