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Rome

Getting There

  • Car: From Naples, take A1 north (direction "Roma").  Get off on either Roma Sud (if you're going to the south end of Rome, like the Appian Way, Ostiense, Trastevere...) or stay on until Roma Est (which leads you to A24 and most destinations in central Rome).  Autostrada tolls are €11.30 (as of 2009).  Parking can be difficult, but you can often find street parking even in crowded neighborhoods; one "lot" that is literally across from the Colosseum is at 41°53.44'N 12°29.66'E.  Also see list of Rome parking lots.
  • Park and Ride:  A cheap parking option that avoids driving through downtown Rome is using a parcheggio di scambio (park and ride lot) and then riding the metro in.  See Rome Parking Lots page for more information.  For those driving to/from Tuscany, Rick Steves recommends parking your car at the free lot in Orvieto and taking the train south to Rome.
  • Train: Take a train from one of the major train stations in or around Naples.  See the train page for more information.
  • Bus: Marozzi runs a 4-hour bus from Roma Tiburtina to Sorrento for around €17.50.  Curreri runs a similar 3.5-hour bus six days a week for €16.
  • Airplane:  You can also fly from Capodichinio, but since that gets you only to one of the airports (which are both outside the city center), this only makes sense if you are meeting a connecting flight.  Note that there are two airports.

Getting Around Rome

Most of the major sights are in the centro storico (historic center), which is pretty walkable.  That being said, here are some references for public transit...note that as with Naples, you should be very wary of pickpockets on public transit, especially in touristy areas.
  • Metro line A is useful for going to/from the Vatican
  • Metro line B is useful for going to/from the Colosseum
  • Reid's Italy has a great guide to bus lines in Rome that are especially useful for tourists (such as lines 64 and 40)
Reid's Italy also has a generally helpful guide to getting around Rome, which discusses various modes of transport.

Is the Roma Pass Worth It?

Major Sites

Since Rome was arguably the most important city in Western civilization, there are hundreds of places worth visiting.  Here are some of the most famous and recommended:

    The Colosseum
  • Colosseum - the famous amphitheater where gladiators fought, this "colossal" structure is a symbol of the city.  €12 combo ticket with Palatine Hill (see below)...getting your ticket at Palatine Hill is good way to beat the lines.  Open every day from 9 until 1 hour before sunset. (Wikivoyage Colosseum page has more.)
  • Roman Forum and Palatine Hill - ancient Rome's main square, packed with history and fascinating ruins.  8:30-7, closes at 5 in winter, last entry 1 hour before closing.
  • Pantheon - a shrine erected to "all" (pan) the "gods" (theos) by the Romans, this is one of the best-preserved parts of ancient Rome, and inspired all manner of domes including the US Capitol Building.  M-Sat 8:30-7:30, Sun 9-6, holidays 9-1, closed during Mass Sat 5 and Sun 10:30.
  • Outdoor Piazzas (Piazza Navonna, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Campo de' Fiori) - great hangouts day or night, it is especially fun to walk between them late at night in the summer.
  • Vatican (St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican Museums with Sistine Chapel)
  • Borghese Galleries and Gardens - in a beautifully furnished and decorated estate in a park, see some of the most amazing Bernini statues.  Note that a reservation is required (usually a day in advance in the high season, same day possible during the low season).  Entry times for 2 hour tour every day at 9, 11, 1, 3, and 5; closed Mon.  Ron in Rome explains the reservation process in more detail (especially if you plan to use the Roma Pass).
  • Appian Way and Catacombs - the ancient Roman road that linked Rome with southern Italy (including Naples, via the Domitiana), where early Christian catacombs dot the countryside just outside the city walls.
  • Other Cool Ancient Roman Stuff - The Colosseum, Forum, and Pantheon form the trifecta of the best-preserved Ancient ruins, but other cool ruins and statues are around the city:
    • Baths of Caracalla - featured as a concert site in La Dolce Vita (concerts are still held here), south of the Colosseum
    • National Museum - a lot of great Greek and Roman art
    • Capitoline Museums - lots of cool art and artifacts (including the original statues of Marcus Aurelius & the "she wolf" suckling Romulus & Remus)
    • Trajan's Market/Forum & Column - a lesser-known site near the main Forum
    • Marcus Aurelius's Column - free and open to the public in Piazza Colonna
    • Pompey's Theater - where Caesar was actually stabbed, now home to a cat shelter
    • Ara Pacis - a gigantic Roman altar in a modern (& air conditioned!) building
  • Other Cool Churches - apart from St. Peter's Basilica, there are bunch of other cool churches with interesting stuff:
    • San Clemente - E of the Colosseum; like a layer cake, this church has a Medieval church on top, a paleo-Christian church below it, and a Roman house/temple below that.
    • Santa Maria della Vittoria - just N of Repubblica (not far from Termini), this houses Bernini's Ecstacy of St. Theresa...probably the most erotic art you'll ever see in a church
    • Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri - on Piazza della Repubblica, this church was converted from Diocletian's baths by Michelangelo and has a cool astronomical "meridian line"
    • Santa Maria Sopra Minerva - behind the Pantheon, this has a Michelangelo statue ("Christ the Redeemer")...also has a funny "Pulcino" statue of an elephant outside, supporting an Egyptian obelisk on its back
    • Santa Maria della Concezione - N of Piazza Barberini, has a spooky crypt filled with artistically-arranged bones of Cappuchin monks
    • Santa Maria in Cosmedin - SW of the Roman Forum, near the Tevere; outside is the Bocca della Verità ("Mouth of Truth"), made famous in the film Roman Holiday (line up with the Japanese tourists for a photo)...inside is a very old church whose altar is a converted Roman bathtub
    • Sant'Ignazio - just E of the Pantheon, has a cool "fake" dome and other trompe l'oeil paintings
    • San Pietro in Vincoli - just N of the Colosseum, houses chains that supposedly bound St. Peter, and Michelangelo's Moses
    • Santa Sabina - in the posh, seemingly secluded Aventine neighborhood S of the Roman Forum, the church isn't much to write home about but has nice gardens allowing you a chance to escape from the hustle of the city; also don't miss the "secret keyhole" view just up the street through the gardens of the Knights of Malta
    • Saint John Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano) - huge, old church that technically is part of the Vatican; across the street is the Santa Scala, supposedly the stairs Jesus walked to his death sentence
    • Santa Maria Maggiore - old, large church that contains a lot of interesting art and relics, including one of the oldest depictions of Mary, the Salus Populi Romani
    • Basilica of Sant’Agostino - features paintings by Caravaggio and Raphael, and a statue of "Madonna del Parto" (Our Lady of Childbirth), a devotional site for parents asking for (or thanking for) a safe childbirth
  • Outside of Rome - the old Roman port of Ostia has some fascinating ruins; also an hour south of Rome near Anzio is the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial.

Restaurants

The following are recommended places to eat; also see a longer list of restaurants organized by neighborhood:
  • ***Cesare al Casaletto (aka Da Cesare) - Via del Casaletto 45, Portuense/Monteverde (take tram 8 from Piazza Venezia, in front of the "Wedding Cake"), 065-360-15, closed Wed, rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, Katie Parla raves about the fried antipasti, primi, and secondi at what she dubs "the perfect Roman trattoria"Elizabeth Minchilli agrees, more at Rome Digest [not to be confused with a different Da Cesare pizzeria on via Crescenzio 13] --> our absolute favorite place to eat in Rome!
  • ***Il Forno Roscioli - Via dei Giubbonari 21 (SE of Campo), 06 687 5287, closed Sun, a deli/salami shop that doubles as a restaurant, Katie Parla rec's the pizza bianca, burrata (given to you in a huge plate), pata negra, carbonara (the bacon in the carbonara is worth going for alone) and amatriciana; also rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Terroir, and Espresso, ~€35-45.
  • ***Palatium Enoteca Regionale - via Frattina 94 (near via del Corso, NE of Parliament and W of Spanish Steps), 066-920-2132, closed Sun, Lazio favorites (all ingredients are local to Lazio, since it's run by the Lazio Regional Food Authority), ~€30-40, rec'd by Amanda RuggeriTime Out, Gambero Rosso, Osterie d'Italia, and Espresso.
  • ***L'Asino d'Oro - Via del Boschetto 73, Monti, 06 4891 3832, Umbrian-inspired food, rec'd by chowhounds, Ost, Elizabeth Minchilli and Katie Parla; €12 fixed price lunch T-Fri is an absolute steal!  Tasty and flavorful, a great combination of tradition and creativity.
  • ***Pizzarium, Via della Meloria 43, 063-974-5416, closed Sun, open 9-9, good pizza, near Vatican Museums, 06-397-45-416, 9-10:30, closed Sun, rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Time Out and Katie Parla, who rec's the pizza rossa, fritti, and porchetta (also featured on Anthony Bourdain's "The Layover")...apparently the line is shorter before 12:30, between 4-6, or around 8:30.
  • ***Trattoria Settimio al Pellegrino - via del Pellegrino 117, W of Campo de'Fiori, 066-880-1978, 1:30-3, 8:30-11, closed Wed, Roman trattoria with long tradition, ~€35, rec'd by Gambero Rosso Terroir ("few places are more authentically Roman"), and Katie Parla, who says it's got an "old school vibe" and praises the Montblanc, also rec'd by Elizabeth Minchilli; every thing is "casalinga" (homestyle) and they make gnocchi on Thursday, fish on Friday.  (This place is so traditional that even "recent" Roman dishes like cacio e pepe and carbonara are shunned...truly a trip, and the couple who run the place are wonderful.)
  • ***Armando al Pantheon, Salita de' Crescenzi 31, one of the cheapest and best places near the Pantheon, ~€45-50, 06-688-03-034, 12.30-3, 7.15-11 M-F, 12.30-3 Sat, closed Aug, rec'd by Time Out, Gambero Rosso, Osterie d'Italia, FodorsAmanda Ruggieri, and TCI; Katie Parla rec's the gricia and coda alla vaccinara, more at Rome Digest...one of the best places to eat in the historic center
  • ***Flavio al Velavevodetto - Via dei Monte Testaccio 97, 06 574 4194, built into Monte Testaccio so you can see the broken amphorae. ...we went there in 2016 and really enjoyed it
  • Were good places in late-2000s but not sure now:
    • Da Felice Testaccio - renowned for having some of the best Roman food in the city, especially cacio e pepe (pasta with pecorino and pepper), they feature everyday favorites as well as a rotating menu of daily specials.  Don't miss the tiramisu, either!  In Testaccio (near Metro Piramide), Via Mastro Giorgio 29, 06-574-6800, make reservations early. Recommended by Time Out...but there are reports that it's gone downhill??
    • Il Bocconcino, via Ostilia 23, about 2 blocks E of the Colosseum, Roman classics and slow food favorites, ~€28, 06 7707 9175, 12.30-3.30, 7.30-11.30, closed W, 3wks Aug, rec'd by Time Out.
    • Enoteca Corsi - lunch-only restaurant 3 blocks southeast of Pantheon near Gesu church, praised by many writers including Frommer's and Time Out, great value M-Sat 12-15
    • Colline Emiliane - near Via Veneto off Piazza Barberini, wonderful Emilia-Romagna cuisine, Frommer's says it is "about the best pasta you'll find in Rome", T-Sun 12:45-2:45PM, T-Sat 7:45-10:45PM, Via Avignonesi 22, 06-4817538
    • Piccolo Abruzzo - Northest of Via Veneto near Villa Borghese, good Abruzzo cuisine, especially salamis, Via Sicilia 237, Alessandro 328-835-1154 or 06-42820176, 12-16, 19-1:30, open Sun www.piccoloabruzzo.it  Also check out the Brancaleone osteria/pizzeria across the street, run by the same family, Via Sicilia 170, 06-4871776.
    • Osteria dell'Arco - excellent Roman cuisine cooked with flair, not far from Villa Borghese, excellent Time Out review, Via G. Pagliari 11, 06-8548438, osteria@tiscali.it, closed Sun and Sat lunch.
    • Mexican: La Cucaracha. There are several Mexican restaurants in Rome. Most are overpriced for mediocre food, although La Cucaracha is fairly good.  Lots of traditional and spicy Mexican fare to choose from, as well as a nice cocktail menu. Via Mocenigo 10a, at Via Candia (Vatican Museum area, easy to integrate as a stop while sightseeing in Rome), 06-397-463-73; open every evening. It has mixed reviews on places like trip advisor - but you'll notice that the bad review are all from Italians ... probably because most Italians don't appreciate spicy food!
  • Other good restaurants, organized by neighborhood

Gelaterie

  • Il Gelato di Claudio Torce - Piazza Monte D’Oro 91/92, near Spanish Steps, just S of Ara Pacis, ridiculous number of fresh, outstanding flavors, Katie Parla rec's [this is a small chain, with other locations in E.U.R., Circo Massimo, and South of Fiumicino]
  • Gelateria I Caruso - Via Collina 13 (not far from Republica metro), 06 42918674, rec'd by Gambero Rosso and Amanda Ruggieri as a great "secret" for such flavors as extra-dark chocolate (which is unbelievably creamy), pistacchio, and fragola...worth schlepping out to this neighborhood for the chocolate alone!
  • Gelateria Come il Latte - Via Silvio Spaventa 24/26, started by an ex-Caruso employee, rec'd NYTElizabeth Minchilli, and An American in Rome
  • Gunther Rohregger Gelato @ Punto Gelato - Piazza Sant'Eustachio 47 (around the corner from the Pantheon), rec'd Gillian's ListsAn American in Rome...also another Punto Gelato between Campo de' Fiori and Ponte Sisto, and the same gelato at The Taste Gelato near the Spanish Steps.
  • Fatamorgana Gelato - Piazza degli Zingari in Monti, see Katie Parla's blog entry
  • Gelateria dell'Angeletto - Via dell'Angeletto, rec'd The Culture Trip...they guy who runs it used to work at the renowned Prati gelateria Gracchi
  • San Crispino Gelateria - a more "snooty" place (no tastings, no cones, less flavors) but the gelato is fantastic and always fresh/seasonal.  Honey vanilla San Crispino flavor is delicious and nearly always available.  Near Trevi Fountain, via della Panetteria 42.  They have a couple other franchise outposts, including at Fiumicino Terminal A and Piazza della Maddalena 3 north of the Pantheon.  Noon-12:30 AM or 1:30 AM on Fri/Sat, closed Tues in autumn/winter.  Featured in the book Eat, Pray, Love.
  • Gelateria Gracchi - great gelato in the Prati neighborhood near the Vatican, just south of the Lepanto metro stop.  via dei Gracchi 272, 06-321-6668.  (Note: the nearby, much-recommended Gelateria Pellacchia is now closed!)
  • Carapina Gelateria - Via dei Chiavari 37, 06-689-3843, Florentine gelateria that has one branch in Rome, seasonal flavors, including odd ones (like parmigiano, beer, and vinsanto), rec'd by Puntarella RossaKatie Parla, and Amanda Ruggieri...very nice, near Roscioli
  • For more recommended gelaterie, see the Restaurants in Rome, organized by Neighborhood.  Other good sources: Katie Parla's Budget Travel article and blog posting, as well as an article about non-Crispino gelaterie

Shopping

  • Tridente District - the area just west of the Spanish Steps, known as the Tridente ("Trident", due to the 3 streets leading out from Piazza del Popolo), houses the fanciest stores in Rome.  Alongside standard name brands (Gucci, Versace, Zegna, Prada, Ferragamo...) there are also more artisanal tailors, shoemakers, and others on side streets.
    • Palatium Enoteca Regionale, described above, is a great lunch stop if you're in this area
  • Armado Rioda Purses - this workshop will make custom-made purses and other leather goods for fairly reasonable prices (considering the quality...purses for €100-300 depending on size/difficulty/material, wallets for €50-200).  Warning: it *used* to be on Via Belsiana 90 (in Tridente) but their address may have changed by late 2014, +39 0669924406. They can ship stuff overseas (we successfully received a purse in 2012) but if you can pick it up in a week or so (depending on how busy they are) that's cheaper & easier.
  • IbizVia dei Chiavari 39 (east of Campo de' Fiori), +39 06 6830 7297, open 9:30-7:30 except Sundays and part of August, makes hand-crafted leathergoods (including very cute leather flowers) in bright colors with distinctive style. Read this Chicago Tribune article for the full story on Elisa Nepi and her parents, Fulvio and Simonetta; great photos on this blog.  They will also make items to order, but will not ship internationally.
  • Monti District - this is the hip neighborhood for independent designers; it's close to the Coliseum but a bit out of the way, so it's not mobbed with tourists in the same way that most of Rome's historic center is.  Check out this NYT article or Revealed in Rome for details.
    • MercatoMonti is a great collection of artisans and other "one of a kind" clothes, jewelry, etc. which runs most weekends
    • L'Asino d'Oro, described above, is a great place to eat in this neighborhood

Lodging

There are hundreds of hotels, B&Bs, and other places to stay in Rome, at nearly every budget. See Places to Stay in Rome for notes and advice.

Travel Tips

Tour groups

A number of groups offer guided tours of various sites; they are especially useful for skipping the line at the Vatican Museums or Coliseum.  (Note that you can also skip the line for Coliseum tours by getting a Rome pass or buying your ticket at Palatine Hill.)  See the Vatican page for some recommended tour groups.  Angel Tours also runs a free Pantheon tour every day at 7 PM (you need to contact them during the Low Season to make sure it's still on, and on Sundays they don't enter the Pantheon due to church services).

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