THE CITY’S MUST-HAVE APPS
When it comes to navigating the city like a local, Rome is such a popular destination that it can be a challenge to wade through the sea of books, blogs, websites, and magazines to truly find the best advice. But what could be easier than pulling out your phone? With these 16 apps, you can explore the city’s food culture, brush up on your history, learn Italian, find a doctor and more. It’s like having an expert on all things Rome right in your pocket!
LOST IN TRANSLATION
Language doesn’t have to be a barrier, and when in Italy it most definitely shouldn’t be. Food, drink and destinations should be at the top of your Italian language list. Duolingo is the ultimate app to start learning some basic Italian before and during your trip to Italy. Each mini-lesson takes you through a language or grammar skill using pictures, short translations, listening activities and more to help you brush up on your Italian basics or solidify key language concepts all in a fun and easy to use format. Armed with the basics, you’ll have a lot of fun testing out your skills with the locals. Brava!
There are some words in Italian you simply don’t want to botch, whether it’s in spelling, meaning, or pronunciation. Like penne. Take our word for it. Enter iTranslate. This leading dictionary and translation app allows you to start voice-to-voice conversations in over 90 languages. The app also provides verb conjugations in different tenses, and can detect different dialects. Free, available offline, with built-in voice features…you are bound to impress yourself when using this app abroad.
No matter what situation you find yourself in Italy, being able to understand and speak a little Italian will go a long way. Google Translate can translate text in over 100 languages and is also available to use offline. Having a translator in your pocket, ready to use with or without an internet connection, is invaluable. When you need to figure out what words mean on a menu, or when you need to ask a local for help finding your way, Google Translate has your back. The app also provides additional features like translating text in images and translating bilingual conversations.
ON THE GO
This app is your uber for scooters. Getting around in Rome is a lot less intimidating when you’re a passenger. But what better way to uncover the city than like a local, where scootering is first class transportation for Romans. Enter Scooterino, your best bet for adventure, so you can keep your impromptu itinerary but with a peace of mind. This app allows you to pick your driver, check prices before booking, request a ride from around the city within minutes, and even pay by card! Available in both English and Italian.
If you can brave the metro system in Rome, power to you. But do it right. Romebus surpasses the ATAC app in its accuracy: providing users with the latest updated times, real-time locations, and the distances from metro/bus stops. The app also features the “around me” capability which enables users to check out nearby establishments. The news section informs you in case of strikes, direction changing, routes closing or difficulties in traffic, helping you calculate your alternative route.
Your closest bet to an Uber experience is this trending app. MyTaxi has been around since 2015 and is arguably the most efficient way to get around using Rome’s competitive taxi services. Order your taxi in two taps, track your driver in real time, pay cashless, and take advantage of this app when continuing to move around Europe. It also allows you to pre-order service up to 4 days in advance. You can save your favorite drivers (pick up on that last in-depth convo) and…Heading to the airport at the end of the week? Try their pick-up and drop off service on demand.
There’s an effective way to get lost on a side street in Rome so you can keep your impromptu itinerary but also your peace of mind. Ulmon’s maps are extremely detailed, offering information on where to eat, drink, shop, find a hotel, and sightsee. These features are all available offline so you don’t have to worry about racking up roaming charges. Ulmon will keep you on map, allowing you to organize your trip, save your favorite places, discover nearby spots and point you towards those hidden gems often nondescript.
If you’re looking for a different way to explore the city, oBike is it. Launched in Italy in 2017, this bike-sharing App is all the craze. You simply download the app, locate a bike within the city, scan the QR code on the bike, and you’re off. Easy as that! You can see a lot of the city by bike, winding your way down pretty streets in the Centro Storico, or through the Villa Borghese park. It’s also handy that you can stop or pause your ride whenever you like, and continue on the same or another bike later on. Picture it, after an amazing Roman lunch, riding down a pretty cobblestone street with the breeze in your face, la dolce vita for sure.
When in Rome, you’re likely going to use public transport, hopping from bus to tram to train regularly. Sometimes buying tickets can be a hassle, especially if you are getting single tickets for each ride or if you run out of time and need a ticket asap. MyCicero is Rome’s latest modern approach to traveling by public transport. With MyCicero, you can buy and store your tickets directly on the app. When needed, simply open up and validate your ticket in the app in seconds. You can buy a variety of tickets: 90min, 24hr, 48hr, 72hr or even a month pass. You can even buy Trenitalia train tickets and lots more. You need an internet connection for this app, but if you’ve got one, do yourself a favour and get MyCicero. You’ll save yourself precious time.
When you’re traveling or living abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is tracking down an English speaking doctor when you’re sick. MedInAction is a medical service that will deliver a qualified doctor right to your doorstep 24 hours a day. Choose where and when you want the doctor to come. You can also speak with a doctor by using the chat service and determine whether a visit is required. This app revives the tradition of Italian doctors making house calls, except it’s faster, more modern, customized, and all right at your fingertips!
One of Rome’s greatest gifts is it’s 2500 free and safe water fountains spread out across the city. A very clever feature the ancient Romans were kind enough to leave behind for us to enjoy. The WeTap App is exclusive to Rome, helping you locate water fountains near you. When in Rome, you’re likely going to walk a lot, and along the way, you’re bound to get thirsty. Don’t waste money buying mineral water, just fill up your reusable bottle at the nearest fountain and never go thirsty again. And… at the same time you’re saving the environment.
FOR FOOD LOVERS
Obviously if you could eat out in Rome every night, not only would the Italian economy embrace you, but your palette would be redefined. However, it’s not practical. Eating in is the new way to dine with Deliveroo: enjoy premium cuisine on demand in the comfort of your Roman abode. This trendy startup has mastered the mobile kitchen, foodie locales, and great offers. Zip code friendly and diet approved, enjoy the perks of takeaway with this easy-to-use app.
KATIE PARLA’S ROME
Katie Parla is a food journalist and certified sommelier who for years has been sharing tips on her blog parlafood.com. The app is like having a very knowledgeable friend point out Rome’s best hidden spots for gourmet restaurants, wine, gelato, markets, cocktails, and pastries. You can also read her blog and star your favorite spots in “my picks.” With an offline map, price guide, pictures, and description of each venue, this is one of the most personal and professional food apps out there. The app costs 2.99€
It can be overwhelming looking for somewhere to eat in Rome, because the options are limitless. Forget all that time wasted looking for recommendations online, and start using FoodGuide. What’s great about this App is that it recommends places to eat with photos taken by other people who’ve enjoyed the food themselves. Yes, please! This is a fantastic new approach that makes a foodie hunt fun, visual and full of discovery. The app also recommends dishes based on your swipes and likes, and you can upload, comment and review dishes too, sharing some of your own tasty discoveries. Now you can find great food quickly, what are you waiting for?
BEST ALL AROUND
Why we love it? All content, navigation and reviews are available offline. Score. There’s an effective way to get lost on a side street in Rome so you can explore the off-the-beaten-path with confidence. Triposo is super customized mapping your trip based on your favorite places worldwide. It also offers information on where to eat, drink, shop, find a hotel, and sightsee and even allows you to book reservations. These features are all available offline so you don’t have to worry about racking up roaming charges. Organize your trip, save your favorite places, discover nearby spots and hidden gems like a pro. Leave your Lonely Planet at home? Maybe.
For all those social butterflies coming to Rome, especially the solo travelers, this app is for you. Meetup is all about bringing people together. With this app, you can discover groups in the city that are doing things you love to do, and join in on the fun! After signing up and selecting your interests, you will see a huge selection of activities happening in the city to choose from. Think weekend adventures, social dinners, photography workshops, walking the dogs, wine and food tasting, you name it! If you want to meet like-minded people while in the city, this is your go-to app.
For your internet connection in Italy, we suggest you rent a pocket wifi by ExpressoWiFi
Just about as portable as a takeaway ‘espresso a l’italiano’, Expresso Wifi is a pocket-sized router with a 4G/LTE sim which can be connected to your smartphone, tablet, or PC.