Insider guide to Rome
Posted by: marymartinarmstrong Category: Rome's Must-Sees Tags: , , , , , Comments: 0

An Insider’s Guide to Rome

Follow these tips and tricks from locals when planning your next trip to Rome

We’ve got you covered with Rome’s major attractions, our favorite neighborhoods, the best experiences, amazing nightlife, and easy day trips from Rome. And if that weren’t enough, get our ultimate 30-page guide to Rome to get a real feeling of Rome!

Major Attractions in Rome

Experience the Eternal City’s ancient ruins and attractions to learn why it attracts millions of visitors each year. Start with the Colosseum, a fifty thousand seat arena where ancient gladiators fought to the death. Be sure to secure a guide for this site so that you can view the top three floors! Then head to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum which housed ancient government buildings and was once the center of Roman life. Entrance to these sites should be included with your Colosseum tickets. Of course, you cannot leave Rome without seeing the Vatican, an entire country within the Eternal City. We recommend taking a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel. Of course, Rome features no shortage of museums. After you check the ancients off your list, transition to the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art to view works by Van Gogh, Mondrian, Klimt, Degas, Pollock, and Rodin.

Our Favorite Neighbourhoods of Rome

If it’s your first time in Rome, your trip should begin in Centro Storico, the historic city center. This is where you’ll find major attractions like the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. Although there’s certainly no shortage of things to see here, you’ll eventually want to venture out to other neighborhoods to get a feel for local spots and hangouts. Right across the Tiber is the neighborhood of Trastevere, a former working class district. This lively area is well-loved by locals and tourists alike. Wonder through its ivy-draped streets or stop for aperitivo near Piazza Santa Maria, one Trastevere’s busiest squares. Explore funky vintage shops and cafes in Monti, Rome’s hipster district, which is only a short walk from the Colosseum (and a great place to stop for lunch after your Colosseum tour). Learn the history of Rome’s Jewish community, one of the oldest in Europe, in the Jewish Quarter. Don’t leave without tasting its famous fried artichokes! For high end shopping, visit the neighborhood of Prati, a former marshland which boasts a cosmopolitan style. If you consider yourself a foodie, add Testaccio to your list. This neighborhood is transforming into the ultimate culinary paradise. Check out the Testaccio Market where you can sample fresh produce and order food from a variety of counters and stalls.

The Best Experiences in Rome

Engage with locals and gain insight into the richness of Italian culture by adding classes and experiences to your itinerary. These will likely be the most memorable parts of your trip and you’ll walk away with an entirely new perspective on the eternal city. Sign up for a Vespa tour to explore Rome from a totally different angle. Looking for a little more physical activity? Take a bike tour of the Ancient Appian Way, a 2300 year old cobblestone road. Learn what makes Italian cuisine stand out from the rest during a pasta making class with a local chef who will teach you how to make ribbon pasta, homemade pasta sauces, and tiramisu from scratch.

The best nightlife in Rome

Of course, the city doesn’t shut down when its museums do. Rome has a diverse nightlife scene which can match every mood from enjoying the casual after dinner drink to dancing the night away. Begin the night with aperitivo: this is an Italian style happy hour which occurs from seven to nine each evening. Drinks are not discounted, but tasty snacks and small plates are brought out instead. The head to one of the Eternal City’s many craft cocktail bars, wine bars, or speakeasies. If these are of interest to you, you’ll also enjoy Rome’s rooftop bars and lounges where you can relax and enjoy some of the best views in the city. If you want to soak up the warm weather, check out the city’s summer hangouts with outdoor terraces and open air venues. If you aren’t ready to end the night just yet, head to one Rome’s top nightclubs. Read about our favorites in our nightclub guide.

Easy Day Trips from Rome

If you’re staying in Rome for four days or longer, consider taking a day trip to explore other regions of Italy. Rome has a fairly central location which makes traveling by train a breeze. Visit Umbria, Tuscany’s lesser-known neighbor, and explore its local wineries, vineyards, and hill towns. Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, is a must-see. Walk through the Basilica and then check out the impressive artisan shops scattered throughout its winding cobblestone streets. You’ll also want to visit Orvieto, a 1500 year-old village which overlooks the Umbrian Valley. Of course, you can also access the Amalfi Coast from Rome—it’s only about a two hour journey. Sip on a glass of wine and relax on the beach in Positano as you take in the colorful views from above. Sign up for a boat tour of Capri and explore the Blue Grotto, the island’s glowing natural wonder. Then head to Pompeii to observe a city frozen in time and gain perspective into the daily lives of its inhabitants during 79 A.D. During the summer, you can’t miss out on a day trip to the paradisiac Ponza Island, an idyllic  island just off the Lazio coast. 

Get our essential guide to Rome or let us plan your trip

A lifetime isn’t enough to explore Rome. But if you plan ahead, a short period of time can give you a grand picture of the Eternal City. Just remember one thing: Rome isn’t just about the monuments, the museums and the views… it’s a lifestyle. And if you want to immerse yourself in this thousands-year-old city, this insider guide will become your best friend!

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