Travel Guide to Rome

May 22, 2017

Oh, Italy.  A country everyone needs to visit at least once in their life. With over two thousand years of history, Rome can be overwhelming, however it is definitely a city that should not be missed. It has been said that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, well you won’t be able to see it all in one day or even  three for that matter. Don’t worry, with proper planning you can easily experience the top sites in your itinerary. Nevertheless, I have provided a list of the best things to do in Rome, but first here are a few tips:

Three days in Rome is the perfect amount of time for site seeing, lots of eating, and city strolling. Check out what to do in Rome in three days, what to eat, and where to sleep.

Tips when visiting Rome

  • Rome is best enjoyed while strolling – so bring your walking shoes!  Comfort is key here as most surfaces are made of cobblestone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you.  There are MANY scam artists – don’t accept any items from strangers and politely walk away, otherwise you will be forced to pay.
  • When visiting churches or St. Peter’s Basilica wear proper clothing – cover your shoulders and wear pants/long skirts. I made the mistake of wearing a dress that was not below the knee and had to purchase a scarf from a street vendor to wrap around the lower part of my body.
  • Restaurants near tourist sites will generally be overpriced and have poor quality food. Don’t eat around the tourist areas! Walk a few blocks to find more authentic and higher quality restaurants for a more reasonable price. I recommend researching places prior to your trip or maybe search nearby areas on TripAdvisor as you are walking around.
  • Be patient and expect slower service at restaurants. Italians like to sit and enjoy a meals – meaning they usually take longer than you may be used to. If you have limited time be sure to tell your waiter/waitress as soon as you are seated.


What to See

The Colosseum

No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to its most famous icon, the Colosseum. Named one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Roman Colosseum, was built by emperors of the Flavian dynasty between 72 to 80 AD. Nothing will compare to witnessing the Colosseum in person, I mean, it is the largest amphitheater ever built with a capacity of about 50-80,000 spectators. The Colosseum is a magnificent piece of architecture once used for gladiator fights, animal hunts and executions. It’s a lot bigger than you think and it can be pretty busy inside. Make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time to spend less time queuing for a ticket and more time exploring the Colosseum.

The Roman Forum

One of Rome’s most important archaeological sites is the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum was once the center of social and political affairs of the Roman empire. Depending on your level of interest, there are many ruins to uncover in the Roman Forum including old temples, buildings and statues. Expect to spend anywhere from 1-2 hours here to really explore all the grounds.

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome which measures 26m high and 49m long. Don’t forget to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder so that you will one day return to Rome.

The Il Vittoriano

One of the hard to miss buildings is the Il Vittoriano, a 19th Century monument dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy. This unique piece of work has plenty to offer — from its numerous sculptures to its unbeatable panoramic views of Rome.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon, a former Roman temple turned church was built around 120 AD. Apart from its incredible symmetry (the diameter of the dome is equal to the height of the building), the Pantheon’s dome remains the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. Make sure you go inside to see the sunlight beaming down from the oculus.

The Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are one of Rome’s famous tourist attractions. They’re a great place to sit and people watch with a gelato or slice of pizza in hand. There isn’t much going on other than just sitting around, but it is a great place to just relax and take a little bit of Rome in.
NOTE: Unfortunately the Spanish Steps are under construction as of October 2015 and will not reopen until further notice.

Vatican City

I bet you didn’t think you would be visiting another country during your trip to Rome, huh? Well…Vatican City is it’s own country. Even better – it’s a short walk away!  Plan on spending at least half of the day here, if not longer.  Don’t miss the Vatican Museum, Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter’s Square.

Vatican Museum

We booked a guided tour to take us through Vatican City and all the Museums. I highly recommend you do this as it it not only helps you skip all the lines, but you have a knowledgeable individual educating you along the way. Exploring this on your own would be very overwhelming and require you to walk around aimlessly with a guidebook. Do your research and pre-book a tour ahead of time in your native language.

Saint Peter’s Basilica

The largest Christian church in the world, Saint Peter’s Basilica is one of the holiest sites in Christendom. St. Peter’s Basilica stands on the burial site of St. Peter the Apostle, the first pope. St. Peter’s Basilica features the work of many great artists and is a site that must be seen!

If you’re a person of faith this is the place for you! When we were there we were able to witness a church service, which was beautiful. Security is tight in the Vatican City and a dress code is strictly enforced — no shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts. Unlike the museums, St. Peter’s Basilica is free to get in, so be prepared to have to wait to go inside.

Saint Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Square is a large plaza located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, the papal enclave inside Rome. Both the square and the basilica are named after Saint Peter, an apostle of Jesus and the first Catholic Pope.

The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is located within the Vatican Museum and famous around the world for its magnificent interior. You will find remarkable frescoes painted by Michaelangelo, particularly the Sistine Chapel Ceiling and the Last Judgement. We stayed in the Sistine Chapel for at least 30 minutes just staring up at the ceiling and examining every aspect. Your neck starts to hurt after a while, but it’s totally worth it. Taking photographs is strictly prohibited in the Sistine Chapel, however I just had to sneak one! I’m sure some of you are thinking how terrible it is to do that, but don’t worry I said a few prayers and asked for forgiveness after.

If you have traveled to Rome, please share your experience in the comments below. Any tips and advice is highly appreciated.

Ciao Babes!

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    1. No problem! I hope my guide helps you plan your trip! Have a blast during your visit! Eat lots of pizza!

  1. I’ve never been here but would love to visit soon. Thank you for sharing this! Loved your tips on how to see Rome 🙂

    1. Glad I could help you! Winter is a nice time to go to Italy, especially if you would like cooler weather and less crowds.

  2. You nailed all the attractions I would recommend, too! On our last trip, we did a golf cart tour of Rome that was amazing! It’s a great way to see sights quickly while saving your feet! And yes, the food near major attractions is overpriced, overcrowded and not very good. Always best to go a few blocks away!

  3. Rome is high on my bucket-list, I hope to visit soon! Also, love that you were brave enough to take a picture in The Sistine Chapel lol. Also, ever since watching The Lizzie McGuire Movie when I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to go to the Trevi Fountain.

    1. I hope you visit Rome soon since it’s on your bucket list! I was so nervous to sneak a picture. Lol. I use to love watching Lizzy McGuire as a kid too!

  4. Hi Christine! Your tips really covered important points that will help tourists enjoy and get the most out of the Rome experience. And I love, love your shot of the Colosseum! Great angle! 🙂

  5. Soooo yeah I hated Rome 🙁 just super touristy and was so surprised to see the Colosseum in the middle of the city! Idk just not my fav place but Italy as whole is amazing! I completely agree about the food being way more expensive in tourist places! Usually when they have huge pictures or menus outside that means expensive!

    1. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear you didn’t have a great experience in Rome Tatum. Hopefully you can see other parts of Italy instead because it is a beautiful country!

  6. Amazing post! Thanks for all the helpful suggestions on what to see in Rome; we’ve always wanted to go, but when we start to plan it, we get so overwhelmed! Italy is just so beautiful, though. We’re definitely going soon. As an aside, I’m shocked that you had to cover up your knees when going into the church. I’d never have expected that from a modern European city! Good to know.

    1. Thank you Anna! Planning a trip to Italy, especially Rome, can be overwhelming but you should definitely visit at least once! I couldn’t believe how strict they were about the dress code either.

  7. Lovely post. Rome is truly wonderful and a must see! It has the slow vibe while being hectic at the same time. It is a unique city full of history, lovely food and crazy Italians. What’s not to love. Thank you for sharing your post. Your pictures took me straight back to when I was there.

  8. Rome has been a total dream of mine since forever. After this post, I need to get there ASAP. And I love your helpful hints about avoiding scams and finding the best food.

    1. Thanks! You must make it out there ASAP! Everything from the people, to the sites, to the food is amazing!

  9. I want to visit Rome so badly! These pictures are gorgeous and definitely made my travel itch stronger 🙂 Seems like you had an amazing trip!!


  10. Great guide to Rome! You are so right about needing good shoes – the cobbles can be hard work on the legs and feet – and I had no idea the Spanish Steps had been closed since 2015! It made me realize how long ago we visited – which was back in 2010! Thankfully there are so many other great things to see and do there!

    1. Thank You Vicki! Yeah, unfortunately the steps are closed. Like you said, there is an endless amount of things to see and do in Rome, like eating pizza and pasta! 🙂

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