Rome, the eternal city, is a captivating blend of ancient history, awe-inspiring architecture, and vibrant modern life. As the capital of Italy, it stands as a living testament to over 2,500 years of civilization, making it one of the most historically and culturally significant cities in the world.
At the heart of Rome lies the iconic ancient Roman ruins, such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon. These impressive landmarks transport visitors back in time, allowing them to imagine the grandeur and splendor of the Roman Empire. Walking through the cobblestone streets, you’ll encounter centuries-old buildings adorned with intricate sculptures and stunning facades, showcasing various architectural styles from different eras.
The Vatican City, an independent city-state within Rome, is the spiritual center of Catholicism and home to some of the most renowned religious and artistic masterpieces. St. Peter’s Basilica, with its colossal dome and Michelangelo’s Pietà, leaves visitors in awe, while the Vatican Museums house an extensive collection of priceless treasures, including the world-famous Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Beyond its ancient wonders, Rome thrives as a vibrant and dynamic modern metropolis. Piazzas, such as Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna, buzz with life, offering a perfect blend of history, culture, and contemporary Italian lifestyle. The city is also a gastronomic paradise, with a wide array of trattorias, osterias, and gelaterias offering delectable Roman cuisine.
The best time to visit Rome is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). During these months, the weather is mild and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the city’s outdoor attractions comfortably. The blooming flowers in spring and the colorful foliage in fall add to the picturesque charm of Rome.
The currency of Italy, including Rome, is the Euro (€)
Italian cuisine holds a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts worldwide, and Rome’s culinary offerings are no exception. The city boasts a delightful array of dishes that showcase the simplicity and quality of traditional Roman cuisine. Pasta dishes reign supreme, with classics like Cacio e Pepe, a delectable combination of pasta, pecorino cheese, and black pepper, and the iconic Carbonara, made with eggs, pancetta, and pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Another Roman favorite is the flavorful Amatriciana, featuring a tomato-based sauce with guanciale (cured pork cheek) and pecorino cheese, usually served with bucatini or rigatoni pasta.
When it comes to pizza, Rome has its own style with thin, crispy crusts and a wide variety of toppings to choose from. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the classic Roman street food, Supplì, which are deep-fried rice balls filled with gooey mozzarella and ragù (meat sauce). And for dessert, Rome offers a selection of delectable treats, including the creamy and delightful Tiramisù, and the sweet, deep-fried goodness of Zeppole and Castagnole, typically enjoyed during festive periods like Carnival.
Beyond the savory delights, Rome’s culinary culture embraces the freshest ingredients, with vibrant markets like Campo de’ Fiori and Mercato di Testaccio offering a delightful array of fresh produce, cheeses, meats, and more. Pair your meal with a fine local wine or enjoy a refreshing Aperol Spritz to complement the culinary journey through the flavors of Rome.
Tipping customs in Rome and throughout Italy are different from those in countries where tipping is more common and expected. In Italy, tipping is not obligatory, and it’s not as ingrained in the culture as it is in some other places. However, leaving a small tip as a gesture of appreciation for good service is always welcomed.
In restaurants, a “coperto” or cover charge is sometimes included in the bill, which is a nominal fee for bread and table service. If it’s not included, you can leave a small tip of around 5% to 10% of the total bill if you feel satisfied with the service. Keep in mind that tipping is not expected in cafes or bars, although it’s common to round up the bill as a courtesy.
Transport in Rome offers a comprehensive network of options to navigate this sprawling city efficiently. The public transportation system includes buses, trams, and an underground metro system, making it easy to reach major landmarks and explore various neighborhoods. The Rome Metro has two main lines, Line A and Line B, which intersect at Termini Station, connecting key areas of interest. Buses and trams complement the metro, serving routes that the metro doesn’t cover and providing extensive coverage throughout the city.
For those who prefer a more active and immersive way to explore Rome, walking is a popular choice. Many of Rome’s attractions are within walking distance of each other, allowing visitors to soak in the city’s rich history and picturesque streets at their own pace. However, Rome’s historic center has limited vehicle access, making it pedestrian-friendly and ensuring a more enjoyable experience on foot.
Taxis are readily available throughout Rome, providing a convenient way to travel, especially during late hours or when carrying heavy luggage. It’s advisable to use official taxi stands or ride-hailing apps to ensure fair rates and avoid potential scams.
As for reaching Rome from the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, the Leonardo Express train offers a direct connection to Termini Station in the city center, making it a popular choice for tourists. Additionally, buses and private shuttle services are available for transportation to and from the airport.