How to Rome

In these series of posts Abbie and I take away the journey and give you the quick facts for each destination so you don’t lose time when travelling, waste money on things you needn’t of and most of all maximise the experience.

In this post we’ll be focussing on Rome, the best time to go, the amount of time you’ll need, how to plan your journey and how much to spend.

The best time to go:

Rome is always going to be busy, it’s all about making sure you hit the ground running at the right time to not waste a whole morning queuing for one of the attractions. We went in February, which is the perfect time to visit Italy in our opinion. It’s not too hot or cold and the crowds are relatively manageable. But be sure to take an umbrella, you can never be too sure!

Time of trip

You’ll not need longer than 3 days in Rome, take 4 if you want a slower pace, but you won’t need longer than that to be honest.

If you split your days into the following areas you’ll have time left over by the end of your 4th day.

Day 1:

Ancient Rome, the Colosseum Palatine Hill and the Roman forum, venturing as far as the Pyramid of Cestius. The Pyramid is nice but if you’re pressed for time don’t bother.

Day 2:

Vatican – Trastevere – Do the Vatican as early as you can, queue up inside St. Peters Basilica square (or take a group tour if you want to skip the line). Once you’re done, head south the Trastevere. This part of Rome has all of the best places to eat and is where we would consider it to be the most youth oriented, there’s also a few monuments here too. We ate here on 2 of the 3 evenings and it was incredibly cheap and great food.

Day 3:

Trevi and Pantheon – You can easily spend a whole day in the centre of Rome, making your way from Termini station to the West to Piazza del Popolo and then south to Castel Sant’Angelo and following there to Trevi fountain and Pantheon.

Day 4:

By day 4 Abbie and I had done the majority of the things on our tick list but if you took your journey slower/wanted more time, start at the Altare della Patria and make your way to the Gallery Borghese (Book this in advance!)

Tips

  • In the three days we had there we bought the Roma Pass. It cost us about €40 pp and gives you access to Rome metro for 48/72 hours and access to three museums for free or discounted entry
  • We’ll cover the metro next, but for the Roma pass you definitely want to use this on the very least the Colosseum (arrive before 9pm to beat the crowds), it gives you entry to Palatine hill and the Roman Forum as well. We also used our pass on the Musei Capitonlini and Museo Di Roma (which is more art than anything).
  • With regard to the metro, don’t bother. Walking is the best way to do Rome, obviously if you’re not comfortable with the walking take the metro if you really have to. Even without using the metro, the Roma Pass is still worth it.
  • When heading to the Vatican (or Piazza del Popolo) go via the Spanish steps. You’ll see more and won’t end up coming back on yourself later if you’re pressed for time.
  • Use the free aqueducts. It’s totally safe to consume and saves you needing to buy a drink if you’re budget conscious (use the one at the Colosseum, it’s really cool).
  • Head to the Basilica di Santa Sabina all’Aventino to get a beautiful view of Rome without the crowds, if you follow our itinerary, you’ll want to do this day 1.
  • If you want to save money, get a coach from the Airport to the city, we used Terravision. They were by no means luxurious, but it’s about €10 cheaper each than the train.

Cost

The hardest part of any journey is budgeting properly, and everyone is different. Our hotel cost around £400 for both of us for three nights. We stayed at the Veneto Palace which was a good price for what we got.

Food wise we spent around €40 per person per day (PPPD) and that was in exclusively restaurants and cafés. Of which there are plenty, for a cheap bill stick to pizza or Cacio é pepe (cheese sauce and pepper), I can’t stress enough how amazing that meal is. It’s basically all Luke ate.

All our activities and museums cost us around €20 PPPD, but add on top of that the €40 PP for the Roma Pass and all in all we probably spent €100 each over the 4 days for all of the museums and activities.

Essentially, all in all we spent maybe around £600 for two to do Rome. We had some left over and we were by no means seriously budgeting. You could easily do Rome for £400 for two if you used Hostels.

I hope this guide helps you out. Read our blog post for Rome here.