BRING THE WORLD HOME

A step-by-step guide

Rome

in your pocket!

Welcome to our Rome guide, where we have carefully selected the must-see places and added personal suggestions. It’s a quick and simple guide that you can consult at any time during your trip.

We have focused on providing useful and practical recommendations that will enhance your trip, including off-the-beaten-track locations. We consider this guide a compilation of our favorite spots in the city.

We have also included gastronomic suggestions that will delight your palate and immerse you in Rome’s delicious culinary culture.

We hope you enjoy our guide and it inspires you to explore all the treasures that this wonderful city has to offer!

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Rome

a little bit of history!

The city of Rome was founded in 753 BC. According to legend, the brothers Romulus and Remus were nursed by a she-wolf and established the city on a hill called Palatine. During the early centuries of its existence, Rome was a small city-state that fought against its Etruscan and Sabine neighbors. However, in the 4th century BC, Rome began to expand and conquer territories.

The Roman expansion was largely due to its army. Roman soldiers were well-trained and organized, and the Roman state could mobilize large contingents of troops. Moreover, the Romans were skilled in building roads and bridges, which allowed them to move swiftly and efficiently.

In the 3rd century BC, Rome started expanding beyond Italy. It conquered the southern Italian peninsula, Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia. In the 2nd century BC, Rome faced Carthage in the so-called Punic Wars. After a long and difficult struggle, Rome defeated Carthage and became the hegemonic power in the western Mediterranean. Another significant event was the incorporation of Greece into the empire in 145 BC after the victory in Corinth. The influence of Greece on Roman culture is fundamental, to the extent that we often refer to this period as Greco-Roman culture.

In the 1st century BC, Rome was an empire that extended from Spain to the Middle East. However, Roman success also brought problems. The wealth and power of Rome attracted the greed of many, and the struggle for power became increasingly violent. In 44 BC, the Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of senators.

After Caesar’s death, Rome plunged into a civil war. Supporters of Caesar clashed with the senators who had conspired against him. Eventually, a young general named Octavian (later known as Augustus) managed to assert his authority and became the first emperor of Rome.

Under the rule of Augustus, Rome experienced a period of peace and prosperity. Great monuments and public buildings, such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, were constructed. The Roman Empire reached its maximum territorial extent during the reign of Trajan in the 2nd century AD. However, from that point on, Rome began to decline.

The decline of the Roman Empire was due to a combination of factors. One of the main factors was the corruption and inefficiency of the Roman government. Emperors became increasingly weak and unable to maintain control over the vast territory they governed. Additionally, barbarian invasions and epidemics decimated the Roman population.

In the 5th century AD, the Western Roman Empire disintegrated. Barbarians sacked Rome in 410 AD, and in 476 AD, the last Western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus, was deposed by a barbarian leader named Odoacer. This event is considered the end of the Western Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages in Europe.

However, the Eastern Roman Empire, known as the Byzantine Empire, continued to exist for several more centuries. With its capital in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), the Byzantine Empire kept Roman culture and traditions alive until it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in the 15th century.

The influence of Roman culture on Western history is immeasurable. The Romans bequeathed us a legal system, a language (Latin), architecture, art, and literature that have influenced the entire world. Moreover, Roman expansion contributed to the spread of Christianity throughout the Empire, which has had a lasting impact on European culture.

In summary, the history of Rome is the story of a small city-state that became the most powerful empire of the ancient world. Its legacy has reached us to this day and continues to influence our culture and way of thinking.

Rome boasts an extensive public transportation system, encompassing buses, trams, the underground, and trains. The Rome Metro consists of three lines (A, B, and C) that connect the city’s major tourist attractions. Additionally, there are several bus and tram lines that serve the city and its suburbs. Tickets for public transportation can be purchased at metro stations, bus stops, or tobacco shops and must be validated upon boarding. There is also a transport card known as the “Roma Pass,” which grants unlimited access to public transportation, along with discounts at museums and tourist attractions.

The Roman Colosseum

An iconic amphitheater, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, built during the Roman Empire and completed in the year 80 AD.

The Colosseum was originally used to host a variety of public spectacles, such as gladiator battles, wild animal hunts, theatrical performances, and executions. It had a capacity of approximately 50,000 spectators and featured a sophisticated system of elevators and underground passages that allowed the movement of animals and gladiators towards the center of the arena.

The Roman Forum

A collection of ruins representing the ancient center of political, social, and commercial life in ancient Rome. It is located between the Capitoline Hill and the Palatine Hill, stretching across a wide area.

Within the Roman Forum, you can find the remains of numerous important buildings and temples, such as the Temple of Saturn, the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, the Arch of Titus, and the House of the Vestal Virgins, among others. These buildings witnessed significant historical events and served as meeting places for Roman citizens.

The Roman Forum also housed markets, courts, and political gathering spots.

The Trevi Fountain

Designed by the Italian architect Nicola Salvi in the 18th century, it has become one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The fountain depicts an impressive scene of sea gods and is adorned with sculptures and reliefs representing the history of water. In addition to its breathtaking beauty, the Trevi Fountain is famous for the ancient tradition of throwing a coin over the right shoulder to ensure a return to Rome in the future.

The Vatican

This small independent state is located in the heart of Rome and serves as the residence of the Pope and home to some of the world’s most impressive artworks, including the Sistine Chapel.

Piazza Navona

A charming square renowned for its Baroque architecture. Built on the site of the 1st-century Stadium of Domitian, the square is famous for its three beautiful fountains, with the Fountain of the Four Rivers, designed by the renowned sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, being the most prominent.

The Spanish Steps at the Plaza de España

They connect the Trinità dei Monti church at the top with the square below. The staircase has 135 steps and is flanked by elegant railings and lush vegetation. In addition to being an iconic location in itself, the staircase offers an impressive panoramic view of the city of Rome from the top.

The Pantheon

This ancient temple is one of the finest examples of Roman architecture and has been in continuous use for over 2,000 years. It houses the tombs of several historical figures, such as the Renaissance painter Raphael.

Campo de' Fiori Market

With a history dating back to the 15th century, this market is a popular spot among both locals and tourists who want to experience authentic Roman life and enjoy fresh local produce.

Villa Borghese

This beautiful park is home to several museums and art galleries, as well as an impressive collection of sculptures and fountains.

Trastevere

A charming historic neighborhood located across the Tiber River, opposite the center of Rome. With its cobblestone streets, narrow winding alleys, picturesque squares, and bohemian atmosphere, Trastevere captivates visitors with its romantic and authentic charm.

The neighborhood comes alive, especially at night, when its streets come to life with a lively nightlife.

Capitoline Museums

They are considered the oldest museums in the world, as they were founded in 1471 by Pope Sixtus IV. The Capitoline Museums are composed of several historic buildings, such as the Palace of the Conservators and the New Palace. These buildings house an extensive collection of art and antiquities spanning from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.

Castel Sant'Angelo

A fascinating monument that combines elements of Roman and medieval architecture. Its rich history and strategic location make it a must-visit for those interested in the history, architecture, and culture of Rome.

St. Peter’s Basilica: The largest church in the world and one of the most important religious centers in Christianity.

The Sistine Chapel: The famous Vatican chapel adorned with frescoes by Michelangelo, including the masterpiece of the Creation on the ceiling.

Quirinal Palace: The residence of the President of Italy and is one of the grandest and most impressive palaces in Rome.

Trajan’s Market: A highly interesting archaeological site featuring a well-preserved Roman market from the 2nd century.

St. John Lateran Basilica: It is the oldest church in Rome and was the city’s cathedral until the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica.

National Gallery of Modern Art: A museum housing a large collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by famous Italian artists such as Morandi, De Chirico, and Balla.

Villa Medici: This is an impressive Renaissance palace situated on a hill in the heart of Rome, hosting a French art academy.

Piazza del Popolo: One of Rome’s largest and most popular squares, renowned for its stunning churches and fountains.

Mausoleum of Augustus: The burial place of Emperor Augustus and a fascinating archaeological site.

St. Mary Major Basilica: One of Rome’s most important churches and is famous for its impressive mosaic in the central nave.

Trajan’s Forum: Visitors can explore the archaeological ruins, admire Trajan’s Column, and learn about the history and architecture of the Roman Empire.

Borghese Gallery: An impressive museum featuring a vast collection of art and sculpture, including works by renowned artists such as Bernini, Caravaggio, and Raphael.

Theatre of Marcellus: A well-preserved Roman theater from the 1st century BC located in the Trastevere district.

Holy Stairs: These are a set of marble stairs located near St. John Lateran Basilica and are considered sacred by Catholics.

Piazza Venezia: One of Rome’s most important squares and is known for its impressive monument in the center, the Altare della Patria.

Capitoline Hill Staircase: This staircase leads to the Capitoline Square, designed by Michelangelo, and offers breathtaking views of the Roman Forum.

Church of San Luigi dei Francesi: This church is famous for housing three paintings by the renowned artist Caravaggio.

Cestius Pyramid: A well-preserved Roman pyramid located in the Testaccio district.

St. Paul Outside the Walls Basilica: One of the four papal basilicas in Rome and is famous for its impressive central nave.

Piazza Vittorio Market: A multicultural market in the Esquilino neighborhood where you can find a wide variety of foods and products from around the world.

The Pantheon of Agrippa: This ancient Roman temple is one of the best-preserved buildings from ancient Rome and is renowned for its impressive dome.

The Chapel of Frescoes: This small chapel in the Church of Santa Maria de Loreto is famous for its stunning Baroque frescoes.

Via dei Coronari Market: An open-air market in the Centro Storico neighborhood that is well-known for its antiques and decorative items.

The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere: One of Rome’s oldest churches and is famous for its golden mosaics in the apse.

The Vatican Apostolic Library: This library houses one of the world’s most important collections of manuscripts and ancient books.

The Botanical Garden: This garden is located in the Trastevere neighborhood and is a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature in the midst of the city.

The Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella: An ancient Roman mausoleum located on the Via Appia Antica and is one of the city’s most important archaeological sites.

The Basilica of San Clemente: This church is famous for its impressive decoration and for having three different levels that showcase the evolution of Roman architecture.

The Fountain of the Four Rivers: This impressive fountain in Piazza Navona was designed by Bernini and represents the four most important rivers of the known world at that time.

The Arch of Constantine: It was built in 315 AD to commemorate the victory of Emperor Constantine I in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD and his subsequent rise to the throne.

Palatine Hill: The Palatine Hill is known as the place where, according to legend, Romulus founded the city of Rome in 753 BC.

Monument to Vittorio Emanuele: A majestic monument in Rome dedicated to the first king of Italy and a symbol of Italian unification.

Villa Doria Pamphili: One of the largest parks in Rome.

The Jewish Ghetto: Located near the Tiber River. It has a rich history dating back over 2,000 years and is one of the oldest Jewish ghettos in the world.

Temple of Hadrian: Only part of the façade and some Corinthian columns can be seen today, integrated into a later building. The site also houses the Museum of the Column of Marcus Aurelius, which exhibits ancient sculptures and reliefs.

Piazza Barberini: A prominent square that houses the famous Triton Fountain and the Barberini Palace.

Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin: It is famous for its main entrance, known as the Mouth of Truth.

Circus Maximus: The Circus Maximus was originally built in the 6th century BC and underwent several expansions and renovations throughout the centuries.

Domus Aurea: An exceptional testament to the architecture and luxury of Nero’s time. Although much of the residence was lost over time, its influence and impact on the history of art and architecture are undeniable.

Baths of Caracalla: They were designed to provide bathing services and recreational activities to the Roman citizens.

Catacombs of Rome and Appian Way: These are ancient underground cemeteries used by Christians in the early centuries of the Christian era. These catacombs were created as burial sites and also as places of worship and social gathering.

 

Rome is all of this and more! We understand that the best way to get to know a city is by exploring its streets and discovering every secret they hold. We can’t think of a better way to show you the city than for you to visit with us on a Free Walking Tour.

Spaghetti alla carbonara

A pasta dish with a sauce made from egg yokes, pecorino romano cheese, guanciale and black pepper.

Saltimbocca alla romana

A traditional Roman dish that consists of thin slices of veal, typically topped with prosciutto and sage, and then cooked in a white wine and butter sauce.

Pizza al taglio

A rectangular pizza cut into pieces and sold by weight.

Bucatini all'amatriciana

A pasta dish with a sauce made from tomato, pancetta, and pecorino romano cheese.

Cacio e pepe

A pasta dish with a sauce of pecorino romano cheese and black pepper.

Carciofi alla giudia

Fried artichokes, typical of the Jewish quarter of Rome.

Fiori di zucca

Pumpkin flowers stuffed with ricotta cheese and anchovies, fried.

Supplì

Rice croquettes filled with cheese, typical of Roman cuisine.

Pollo alla romana

Chicken cooked with olives, capers, tomato, and white wine.

Tiramisu

One of the most well-known Italian desserts worldwide. It consists of alternating layers of sponge cake soaked in coffee, mascarpone cream, and powdered cocoa.

Panna cotta

Although not specifically Roman, panna cotta is a highly regarded Italian dessert enjoyed throughout Italy. It is a sweet and silky cream made with cream, sugar, gelatin, and often served with fruit sauce or caramel.

Cannoli

Originally from Sicily, cannoli have become very popular throughout Italy, including Rome. These are fried pastry tubes filled with a sweet ricotta-based cream. They are often garnished with pistachios, grated chocolate, or candied fruit on the ends.

Maritozzi

These are typical sweet buns from Rome, usually enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack. Maritozzi are made with a soft and fluffy dough and filled with sweetened whipped cream and raisins. Sometimes, powdered sugar is also sprinkled on top.

Crostata di ricotta

An Italian ricotta and fruit tart that can be found in many pastry shops in Rome. The tart base is a crunchy crust, and the ricotta is mixed with sugar, eggs, and often lemon for flavor. It is topped with a layer of fresh fruits such as strawberries, apricots, or cherries.

Cassata Romana

It consists of a round cake made with a sponge cake base soaked in liqueur, and filled with a mixture of sweetened ricotta cream and candied fruits.

Espresso

Espresso is the quintessential Italian coffee beverage. In Rome, you can find some of the finest espressos in the world. Enjoy it at a local bar along with a brioche for breakfast like a true Italian.

Limoncello

Limoncello is an alcoholic beverage made from lemons that is very popular in Rome and throughout Italy. It is a sweet and refreshing liqueur typically served after dinner as a digestive.

Cappuccino

Cappuccino is another popular coffee drink in Rome. It is a combination of espresso and frothed milk served hot. However, it’s important to note that Italians only have cappuccino in the morning and never after 11 a.m.

Wine

Italy is famous for its wine, and Rome is no exception. If you’re a wine lover, try a red wine from the Lazio region, such as Frascati or Cesanese. You can also enjoy a crisp and fruity white wine like Trebbiano.

Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz is a highly popular aperitif drink in Rome. It is a blend of Aperol, Prosecco, and sparkling water, served in a large glass with ice and an orange slice. Perfect for enjoying on a terrace on a sunny afternoon.

Birra

Last but not least, you can’t leave Rome without trying an Italian beer. Sample a Moretti or Peroni beer at one of the city’s many bars.

Via del Corso

One of Rome’s most famous shopping streets, stretching from Piazza del Popolo to Piazza Venezia. You’ll find a wide variety of stores here, ranging from major fashion chains to small boutiques.

Via Condotti

Located in the heart of Rome, near the famous Spanish Steps. This street is renowned for its high-fashion and luxury stores.

Via del Babuino

Connecting Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps, it is one of Rome’s most elegant streets. Here, you’ll find fashion, art, and antique shops.

Via Cola di Rienzo

A commercial street in the Prati district, close to the Vatican. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of stores, ranging from clothing to electronics.

Mercato Monti

An alternative fashion market held on weekends in the Monti neighborhood. Here, you’ll find vintage clothing, second-hand items, and pieces from emerging designers.

You can also visit open-air markets like Mercato di Porta Portese, Mercato Testaccio, and Mercato Trionfale.

Curiosities of Rome

  • The Vatican is the smallest country in the world and is located within the city of Rome. It is the spiritual center of Catholicism and the home of the Pope.

  • The Tiber River flows through Rome, dividing the city into two parts. 

  • The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome and is famous for its concrete dome. 

  • Food is an important part of Roman culture, and pasta and pizza are some of the most well-known and popular dishes. 

  • Rome is the city with the most churches in Europe. It is estimated that there are over 900 churches in the city. 

  • The Roman Colosseum was the largest amphitheater in the world in its time and could accommodate over 50,000 people. 

  • Piazza Navona is one of Rome’s most famous squares and is known for its central fountain and Baroque churches. 

  • Campo de’ Fiori is an open-air market that sells fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as well as local products such as cheese and salami. 

  • Legend has it that the founder of Rome, Romulus, killed his twin brother Remus in a fight for control of the city. 

  • People in Rome usually take a break from work and school during lunchtime, known as “la pausa pranzo,” to enjoy a meal and rest. 

  • St. Peter’s Square is the largest square in Rome and can accommodate over 300,000 people.

  • The Roman Forum is a complex of ancient ruins in the heart of Rome and was the center of public life in ancient Rome. 

  • Traffic in Rome can be chaotic due to its narrow and winding streets, but it is also known for its creative and skilled drivers. 

  • La lengua oficial de Roma es el italiano, pero también se hablan otras lenguas en la ciudad, como el latín y el griego antiguo. 

  • La Capilla Sixtina es una de las atracciones más famosas de Roma, y se encuentra en el Vaticano. Es conocida por sus frescos, especialmente los realizados por Miguel Ángel. 

  • El Vaticano es el estado más pequeño del mundo y se encuentra dentro de la ciudad de Roma. Es el centro espiritual del catolicismo y el hogar del Papa. 

  • El tráfico en Roma puede ser caótico debido a sus calles estrechas y sinuosas, pero también es conocido por sus conductores creativos y hábiles. 

  • El Foro Romano es un complejo de ruinas antiguas en el corazón de Roma, y era el centro de la vida pública en la antigua Roma. 

  • El río Tíber fluye a través de Roma y divide la ciudad en dos partes. 

  • El Panteón es uno de los edificios antiguos mejor conservados de Roma y es famoso por su cúpula de concreto. 

  • La comida es una parte importante de la cultura de Roma, y la pasta y la pizza son algunos de los platos más conocidos y populares. 

  • Roma es la ciudad con más iglesias en el mundo. Se estima que hay más de 900 iglesias en la ciudad. 

  • El Coliseo de Roma era el anfiteatro más grande del mundo en su época y podía acomodar a más de 50,000 personas. 

  • La Piazza Navona es una de las plazas más famosas de Roma y es conocida por su fuente central y sus iglesias barrocas. 

  • El Campo de’ Fiori es un mercado al aire libre que vende frutas, verduras y flores frescas, así como productos locales como queso y salami.

  • The Testaccio neighborhood is known for its food market, lively nightlife, and rich history as the city’s ancient river port. 

  • St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is the largest church in the world and can accommodate over 60,000 people. 

  • The Quirinal Palace is the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic and was originally built as a papal residence in the 16th century. 

  • 20% of the 82 emperors who ruled ancient Rome were assassinated in one way or another. 

  • Every night at the Trevi Fountain, people throw in over 3,000 euros. All the money is donated to Caritas.

Postcards

Postcards are more than just pieces of paper; they are snapshots of memories waiting to be shared. Whether you’re sending them to loved ones or creating a personal collection, Rome’s iconic landmarks and breathtaking views make for picture-perfect postcards. Cherish the Colosseum, relive the majesty of the Vatican, and embrace the romance of the Trevi Fountain through these tangible pieces of art.

Italian Notebook

Jot down your own thoughts and adventures in a stylish notebook adorned with classic Italian patterns. This beautiful keepsake can be a great and useful item.

A Snowglobe

When you shake the snowglobe, it creates a mesmerizing scene of iconic Roman landmarks surrounded by falling snowflakes.

Vatican Souvenirs

The Vatican, a spiritual epicenter, offers a range of souvenirs that hold deep significance. Rosaries, religious artifacts, and papal memorabilia provide a connection to the spiritual heart of the city.

Italian Coffee

Begin your journey by indulging in the aroma of authentic Italian espresso. Bring home a bag of rich and aromatic coffee beans, allowing you to savor the warmth of Rome with every cup.

Italian Food Products

Take a slice of culinary excellence home with you through locally produced Italian food products. Indulge in the richness of extra virgin olive oil, savor the flavors of handmade pasta, and uncork the magic of Italian wine.

Piazza Navona Artwork

Immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene around Piazza Navona, where local artists capture the city’s allure on canvas. Paintings, sketches, and other artwork celebrating architecture, culture, and everyday life.

Italian Fashion

Italy is synonymous with high fashion, the city offers a diverse range of clothes, scarves, and accessories that embody the country’s renowned style.

Mugs

Indulge in the art of collecting captivating souvenir mugs! Transport yourself to the soul of the city through these unique vessels.

If you want to discover the complete and up-to-date list of the best souvenirs from Rome, check out our blog.

Are you looking for souvenirs?

General recommendations

Rome has many tourist sites and museums, and it can be overwhelming trying to visit them all. We recommend planning your visit in advance so you can make the most of your time and see everything you desire.

Rome is a walkable city, and many of its tourist sites are close to each other. The problem is that there is so much to see! Wear comfortable shoes to walk on the city’s cobbled streets.

In Rome, there are over 2,500 fountains from which to drink, so there won’t be a problem if you get thirsty.

Just like in many tourist cities, you should be careful of pickpockets. Make sure to keep your personal belongings and important documents in a secure place and stay attentive in crowded areas.

Trastevere is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Rome, known for its narrow cobblestone streets, shops, and restaurants. In the evening, this neighborhood comes alive and is a popular place for dinner.

Italians are famous for their love of aperitivo, so having a cocktail and an aperitif in a local bar is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Italian culture.

Learning some basic Italian words and phrases can help you communicate better and make friends in the city.

Italian food is delicious, and Rome is known for its traditional dishes like pizza, pasta, and gelato. It’s impossible to overlook!

If you want to visit the museums, we recommend going during off-peak hours to avoid crowds and long queues.

Buy tickets in advance: Some of Rome’s most popular tourist sites, such as the Colosseum and the Vatican, can have very long lines.

Public transportation in Rome is efficient and affordable. You can buy a daily or weekly pass that will allow you to use buses and metros without limits.

While the most famous tourist sites are impressive, don’t miss the opportunity to explore some of the lesser-known places in the city. You can discover hidden treasures around every corner.

Finally, enjoy the city! Rome is an incredibly beautiful city, rich in history and culture. Take the time to savor everything it has to offer.

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