Rome Travel Guide
Rome Travel Guide
Rome, known as the Eternal City, is an ancient and fascinating travel destination, which tops the bucket list of many a historical sightseer and Catholic pilgrim:
Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to Rome on holiday every year to steep themselves in the remnants of the ancient Roman Empire, glory in the artistic treasures of the Vatican City, and gorge on pasta and pizza in pretty piazzas. Rome boasts possibly the best historical sightseeing in the world, with priceless ancient attractions strewn all over the city. Gems like the Pantheon and the Colosseum can single-handedly justify a trip to Rome. Though it may feel eternal, the Italian capital also offers some modern thrills, with a stylish fashion scene and good shopping, sumptuous restaurants, a proud and lively population, and a laid-back, fun nightlife.
For many Catholics, a visit to Rome and the Vatican City is an unforgettable religious pilgrimage, and even non-Christians will be awed by Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and the numerous treasures and beauties of the Pope's seat. Art-lovers will find marvels on every street corner and some of the most astounding galleries, museums and churches on earth.
Best time to visit Rome
The best time to travel to Rome is during the spring (April and May) when the city experiences lovely warm holiday weather with plenty of sunshine and blue skies. The height of summer (July and August) can be uncomfortably hot for trudging sightseers. Read more on Rome's Climate and Weather.
What to see in Rome
- Marvel at the museums and views of Capitoline Hill, seat of power in Ancient Rome.
- Visit the 4th-century Basilica Di San Giovanni, the first church built in Rome.
- Imagine fierce gladiatorial battles within the iconic Colosseum.
- Stroll through the winding, romantic streets of Trastavere, searching out coffee and gelato.
What to do in Rome
- Explore the thrilling remains of Ancient Rome's political centre at the Roman Forum.
- Take a tour of St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Necropolis where the saint is entombed.
- Toss a coin over your shoulder into the beautiful Trevi Fountain.
- Picnic in the peaceful Villa Doria Pamphili Park, a green haven in a busy city.
Rome is conveniently located in the middle of Italy and is a transport hub for the rest of the country, often serving as the entry point for foreign tourists. If you can tear yourself away from the endless treasures of the ancient city, it is easy to travel south to Naples and Pompeii, or north to Florence, Venice and Milan.
Flights to Rome land in Rome Leonardo da Vinci Airport (known as Fiumicino Airport), situated 19 miles (30km) southwest of central Rome, or in Giovan Battista Pastine Airport (often called Ciampino Airport), located nine miles (15km) southeast of Rome. Get more information on Airports in Rome.
Did you know?
- Nearly €700,000 worth of coins get tossed into the Trevi Fountain by tourists every year.
- Rome's population of more than a million was not matched by any European city until London in the 19th-century.
- The first shopping mall was built in Rome by Emperor Trajan and consisted of more than 150 shops.
Rome © Chris Yunker
The Eternal City of Rome, in whose name the Caesars sought to claim the world, opens for the visitor like a living museum, liberally dotted with fascinating ruins, surviving relics and archaeological sites. The centuries peel back with each new vista in this great city of gladiators, lunatic drivers and sumptuous pasta dishes. Vespas, nippy little Fiats and red sports cars speed past trendy sidewalk bistros and nightclubs, revealing the Rome of Fellini's La Dolce Vita; while the chillingly stark facades of the Stadio Olimpico complex remind visitors of Mussolini's attempts to reinvent the architecture of the Caesars.
For a taste of the Baroque, visitors need only climb the famous Spanish Steps, walk through the Piazza Navona or toss a coin into the beautiful Trevi Fountain. Renaissance splendour is perhaps best revealed in the Pope's residence, the Vatican Palace, or in Michelangelo's efforts on the roof of the Sistine Chapel. From early Christian Basilicas to the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and the Pantheon, the sequence of history trails back to the height of the Roman Empire.
It may sound like a city of contrasts, but Rome's timeless magic lies in its ability to blend the old with the new. Empires have risen and fallen, old gods have been replaced with new ones, but Rome remains.