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  • Lauren Wood

Rome, Italy - Destination Guide

I've been to the beautiful city of Rome a half a dozen times now and it's no wonder that I keep going back to this incredible city. Here is a destination guide for tips on where to stay, where to eat and what to do in Rome.

What brings me back to Rome again and again is its rich tapestry of ancient history, monuments, emotional and warm people and – of course – the iconic food. It’s correct – there is no city like Rome, the capital city of Italy. It is an ideal vacation destination for anyone with a craving for world culture. The things that will attract you the most in the historic city of Italy are the relics of old worshipped gods all scattered across the city and the crowded coffee bars where both young and old hang for an espresso and the latest gossip. I personally believe that Rome should be on the list of every travel enthusiast as it has attractions that tourists want to see, and the cool things they want to do.


I’ve compiled a list of my personal favorites in Rome. Below I’ve given tips for the best time to visit, how to get there, where to stay, where to eat and what to do in Rome. I hope my tips will show you a remarkable aspect of the city that hopefully you have not been told or suggested before. I also hope the following tips will make it easier for you to discover this glorious city better and enjoy it to the fullest.


What is the best time to visit Rome?

When planning to travel Rome, choose the dates methodically, as Rome is such a huge tourist attraction. The best time to plan a trip to this eternal city is April, May and late September through October. Those are the months that are commonly touted as the “best” by experts because you are nearly guaranteed good weather and less crowds. However, don’t write wintertime off! While it may be cold in the winter months, you are sure to find less crowds. I personally enjoy traveling to Rome in the colder months because the city is empty in comparison to the summer. During the summers, the scorching heat and the insane crowds make the city unbearable. August is the month when you should avoid planning a trip as this is the month when the entire country of Italy seems like going on a vacation.



How to get to Rome?

Leonardo da Vinci airport, also known as Fiumicino airport (FCO) is the main airport. The airport is located 30 kilometers southwest of the center of Rome. All domestic – as well as international flights – arrive in Fiumicino airport. From here, you can take a train, taxi or rent a car to reach the city.


On my last trip to Rome in March of 2024, I reached out to the concierge at the W, where we were staying first, to ask for them to arrange for a car service pickup from the airport. This cost around 75 euros but was worth every penny. We were greeted by the nicest gentleman (who later gave us restaurant recommendations –bonus!) and picked up in a luxury Mercedes vehicle. Nearly every higher end hotel in Rome will offer this service, so just reach out to the hotel’s concierge before you get there, and they can give you pricing ahead of time and arrange for your pickup.



Where to stay in Rome?

If you want to plunge fully into the heart of Rome, I highly suggest you stay in a hotel that is closer to the major attractions, which is in the historic center. Find places that are close to the Spanish Steps for the best location. Before you book a hotel for staying in Rome, look at the map and prefer hotels that are east of the Tiber River and west of Station Termini. The most vivacious and the enchanting areas to stay are in the half-mile stretch between Piazza Navona and Piazza Barberini. You will find some of the hotels pricey in this area but you will also find many small family-run hotels nearby.


My favorite hotels in Rome are the St. Regis, the W and Sina Bernini Bristol – all Marriott Bonvoy properties (which, if you follow my blog, are almost always a must to me since I try to stay loyal to the Marriott brand). The W is a brand new property that opened in December of 2021. While the St. Regis is the most luxurious of the three, all are centrally located, with the Sina Bernini being the most affordable of the three. You can’t go wrong with any of them.


Where to eat in Rome?

Italian cuisine is renowned worldwide with a tremendously rich variety of dishes and ingredients. When you are here in Rome, you should not fail to remember to try limoncello, ice-cream, pizzas or a good cappuccinos. The restaurants here have a wide selection of delectable dishes. It is also said that Rome is one of the cities where a restaurant’s house wine is mainly excellent. The busy area just south of the Spanish Steps is tucked with good places to eat. Most of them have an outdoor seating and offer menus containing pasta, pizza, veal, chicken and some seafood delicacies. If you find difficulty in choosing, the best thing is finding out what you want to have and then pick a restaurant based on that.


Below is a list of some of my favorite restaurants, bars and casual eateries in Rome:


  • Dinner at Roma Sparita

  • Osteria da Fortunata

  • Mr. 100 Tiramisu

  • Alfredo alla Scrofa (where fettuccine Alfredo was created--highly recommend)

  • Mariuccia

  • Tonarello

  • Cecchino dal 1887

  • Osteria del Sostegno (near Pantheon)

  • Il Ciociaro (near Vatican City)

  • Ambasciata d’Abruzzo

  • Jerry Thomas Speakeasy

  • Gelato at Frigidariun

  • The Court of Piazzo Manfredi (view of Colosseum)

  • The Sanctuary (nightclub)

  • Piccolo Buco (pizza)

  • Tullio (recommended by our driver--delicious!)

  • Oppio Cafe for views of the Colosseum

  • Harry's Bar (for classic cocktails)



What to See in Rome

It is a fact – there is always something new and welcoming for the visitors in Rome. Even though I’ve visited this eternal city many times, still I discover new things again and again. The more time you spend here, the more you want to enjoy and see. If you are visiting Rome for the first time, you should see the main attractions. The must-see sites and monuments include Colosseum and Roman Forum, Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Spanish Steps.


Consider the following must-see attractions:



You can see the above sites if you are in a 2-3 days travel to Rome. Besides the main attractions, you can visit museums, and look for wonderful day trips to places like Pompeii, Amalfi and Positano. Though pretty far, I’ve even done a day trip to Naples by driving there and back in a rental car. This was great because there is a decent outlet mall along the way, with stores like Gucci and Prada. You can also indulge in some outdoor activities such as hiking, doing a picnic, bike-riding or booking a walking tour in Rome.


Cleary there is so much to do in Rome, so I recommend you to plan your trip for at least 3 days. You will have ample time to explore most of the attractions and have a feeling just like the locals if you choose to spend 5+ days there though.


A practical tip I would like to mention here is to pack some comfortable shoes. You should also pack some dressier clothing and accessories as the locals here love to look smart and most of them dress up well when going out in the evening.


And that's it! Have questions? Feel free to email me: info@travelisthecure.com 

 
A travel guide for Rome, Italy. Tips for where to stay, where to eat and what to do.
Rome, Italy Destination Guide

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Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions. Email me directly at info@travelisthecure.com 


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For more destination guides, browse a list of Destinations A to Z. Head over to my Tips page for everything from packing guides to travel products and camera gear. To shop the items I love most when I travel, shop my Amazon Storefront.


Happy Travels!

xoxo

Lauren



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