- Airport – Leonardo da Vinci—Fiumicino Airport (FCO)
- Language – Italian
- Population – 4.3 million
- Currency – Euro (€)
- GDP (Italy) – $1.8 trillion (8th Overall)
Introduction to Rome
If you want to indulge in delicious Italian food & wine, while also experiencing history filled with elaborate baroque art of all forms and religious tales, visit Rome! It’s no wonder this European city consistently attracts over 4 million visitors each year who are eager to satiate their curiosity of Italian art, architecture and culture. Be prepared to have your breath taken away by colossal ancient ruins, works of Michelangelo and Bernini, and of course, the mouth-watering and authentic Italian food!
Getting to Rome from Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) Airport
- Train – This is our recommended option to make the 20-mile trip from FCO to city center. It will take approximately 40 minutes and cost $15-$20 USD. You can buy your tickets when you arrive in Rome.
- Bus – There are five bus services that offer transportation. A one-way ticket will usually cost 4 – 8 € and it will take anywhere from 40-70 minutes depending on the number of stops and traffic
- Taxi – Outside the arrival terminals you’ll be able to catch a taxi to take you to the city center. The official ones are white and marked “Comune di Roma”. The flat fee for taxi transportation from the airport to the city center is 40 €, other destinations are charged by the meter. It will take about 30 minutes depending on traffic.
For ungrounded plugs (2 pronged, not 3), the traditional European Type B plug will suffice. However, for grounded plugs, you will need the Italian Type L plug. Here’s what you’ll need. While on the topic of electronics, we recommend getting a SIM card at the airport so you have access to affordable data including Google Maps to get around. You can find ones for as cheap as $10-$20 USD.
Check Out the Famous Colosseum!
The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is undoubtedly a true trademark of Rome. Made from concrete and sand, the Colosseum was the largest amphitheater to ever be built and could hold anywhere between 50,000 to 80,000 spectators. Today, people can go and witness the historic marvel themselves, anywhere between 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Entrance is free for European citizens under 18 or over 65. Otherwise, different tours can range from 52€ – 99€ ($59 – $112).
Explore The Vatican
This Vatican is the smallest state in the world in regards to both area and population and is a walled enclave within Rome. It contains famous religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.
St. Peter’s Basilica is an Italian Renaissance church located in Vatican City in Rome. This church holds a particular significance and holiness in the Christian world and has been referred to as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom.” From April to September, the Church is open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from October to March the hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance to the main St. Peter’s Basilica is free but other parts may require a fee.
The Sistine Chapel is the official residence of the Pope and is home to some of the world’s most famous, beautiful and valuable artwork. You might recognize the ceiling of the chapel, painted by Michelangelo. Unfortunately, pictures are not allowed to be taken inside. Visitors must wear clothes that cover their shoulders and legs as well as close-toed shoes. The earlier you buy your tickets, the cheaper! They usually start out at around 50€ ($57) and go up from there.
Visit The Trevi Fountain
A majestic fountain located in Rome’s Trevi district, the Trevi Fountain was designed by Italian artist Nicola Salvi in 1762. As one of the most famous fountains in the world, it is also the largest Baroque fountain in the city. You’ll often find other tourists throwing coins into the fountain, which is definitely a fun tradition you should partake in! Each day, an estimated €3,000 is thrown into the fountain. This money goes to a supermarket for the less fortunate in Rome.
Another very famous tourist attraction, the Pantheon is the burial place of several significant Italians, such as the artist Raphael, and also remains an active church. Its name comes from the Greek word meaning “of or relating to all the gods.” Like much of the other architecture in Rome, the Pantheon is a true work of art and you will immediately be overwhelmed by its opulence. This is a fairly easy place to visit – it’s open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (excluding Sundays), admission is free, and there is no security screening. However, the Pantheon is closed on some national holidays or if a mass is taking place.
The Piazza Navona
Built on what used to be the Stadium of Domitian, the Piazza Navona is now a lively square in Rome filled with ornate fountains, jaw-dropping Italian mansions, and locals and tourists alike. Its most popular site is, of course, Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi – a gorgeous fountain featuring personifications of the Nile, Ganges, Danube and Plate rivers. The Piazza Navona is also a popular spot for local artists to sell their work.
The Spanish Steps
Since the beginning of the 18th century, this spot has always been popular with tourists and is a great place to take a break from all the walking and people-watch. The Spanish Steps, or Piazzi di Spagna, was named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See. At the foot of the stairs is the famous Barcaccia Fountain, created by Pietro Bernini and his son, Gian Lorenzo, the same guy who designed St. Peter’s Basilica. The spring is a particularly good time to visit the Spanish Steps as that is when the steps are colored with beautiful, delicate flowers.
A great place to visit at night for a nice walk along the river is in the Trastevere area. When you finish your walk, you can check out one of the nearby restaurants to relax over some wine and delicious Italian food. This area is also bustling with people and a fun hang out for people.
Eating in Italy is a dream many of us share, and Rome certainly lives up to the expectations. From pizza and pasta to cheese and wine, the Italians know what they’re doing when it comes to food. The capital is crowded with delightful restaurants, big and small, ready to serve you the best Roman food you’ve ever had, which is somehow simple, yet generously flavorful and rich. So rest assured that you’ll never go hungry on this trip nor will you be disappointed.
One dish worth trying is Cacio e Pepe: is a simple, but delicious pasta dish which originated in Rome. Cacio e Pepe translates to “cheese and pepper”, and can be considered the original “Macaroni and Cheese.” Made with black pepper and Pecorino cheese, Cacio e Pepe is a mouthwatering Roman classic, and when in Rome…you should definitely give it a try!
A fancier Italian restaurant, Marzapane is a popular choice for both visitors and locals. A common selection for most people when they go is the restaurant’s tasting menu, which is reasonably priced and filling. Even though you may be paying a little bit to dine here, you’re getting quality food accompanied by a relaxing setting.
If you’re craving pasta, Pastificio is the place to go – it’s quick, inexpensive and delicious. A tiny, hole in the wall restaurant located right near the Spanish Steps, Pastificio is a favorite because of their fresh, handmade, 4€ pastas. Most people will get their food to go and continue to explore the city or simply stand among the other people gleefully enjoying their pasta. Definitely check it out.
Mordi e Vai
This place isn’t so much a restaurant as it is an over-the-counter sandwich heaven within the Testaccio Market. For 5€ a pop, these will be some of the best sandwiches you’ll try in Rome. They’re bursting with delicious flavor, yet are still simple and fresh. You can’t go wrong with Mordi e Vai.
Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi
When in Rome, find the best place to eat the best cheese. This is a fantastic spot to relax after a long day and enjoy quality cheese, meats, and a glass of wine. The cheese sampler itself is more than enough to feed two people. In addition to the amazing food and wide selection of wine, the staff is exceptionally friendly and the restaurant is very customer-oriented.
Coromandel is a great breakfast/brunch spot. It’s another smaller restaurant and it has a cute, rustic interior. If you get the chance to go, definitely try their scrambled eggs and their potatoes, but especially the French toast. This restaurant is also at a convenient location, situated just steps away from Piazza Navona.
If you’re visiting Rome, one of your top priorities should be eating fresh, authentic, delicious pizza – lots of it. That being said, Bonci is a must! This place is about a 10-minute walk from the Vatican is easy to find.
Once you get there, grab a ticket number which they will call to take your order. They offer a wide variety of pizzas to choose from and you can order different types. Then you just let the server know kind of pizza you want and what size you want, and the price is calculated by weight.
Best Gelato in Rome!
Of course, we can’t forget about the classic Italian dessert – gelato. Definitely give Fatamorgana a try for inexpensive, natural and flavorful gelato. There’s no indoor seating but they have several benches outside for their customers. Fatamorgana is known for their wide array of unique flavors, all using only natural and organic ingredients to produce delightful, vegan gelato. A perfect treat up during a summer trip to Rome.
If you want to try a unique Gelateria, go to this place. Located just a short walk from Piazza Navona, Frigidarium has a wide assortment of homemade gelato flavors as well as cones. Frigidarium offers a great value and a delicious product. The best part, you have the option of having your gelato dipped in white or dark chocolate!
Many claim this gelateria to be the best to visit during your Rome travel. With flavors like toasted almond, rice & honey and pistachio you’ll be covered by their variety. Feel free to make a combination of different flavors, and go early in your trip to Rome since this is a place you may want to revisit!