The ULTIMATE Rome City Guide - EVERYTHING you need to know about Rome and its attractions

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Hi! Welcome to Complete City Guides!

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My name is Patrick, I'm originally from Sydney (Australia) but grew up in England (my second home) - and I love exploring cities (and writing about it!)

I work online in marketing, which gives me the opportunity to travel around the world full time.

So while I am away, I keep this blog updated with full travel info. I tend to stay in a city for a few months at a time, to really get to know it - then I write guides on it.

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Rome City Guide
For People Who Know Nothing About Rome!

Welcome to our travel guide to the great Italian capital city of Rome. We have tried to write this to be as complete as possible, but at the same time short enough that you can easily read it! If you have any questions, give us a message!

About Rome - basic info

Rome is the capital of Italy, and the capital of its region Lazio.

Rome's history is a central part of Western culture and history and has had a massive influence on the world during its 2,800 year history.

Nowadays Rome is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.

Rome is also unique in that it is a city that has a state (the Vatican City) inside of it.

Rome Districts/areas

Although the whole city is huge, the city center of Rome is quite small. Most people consider the city center to be the area within the walls.

The 'Old Rome' part of the city is where you can find the classic Renaissance-era buildings, with many beautiful cathedrals, squares, the Pantheon, Campo de' Fiori, the former Jewish Ghetto, Piazza Navona, and many restaurants.

The more modern center of Rome (east of the Old Rome area) is where you can find the big brand name shops, hotels and many restaurants. You can also find the Trevi fountain, Quirinal palace, Piazza Barberini, Castro Pretorio neighbourhood, and the semi circular Piazza della Repubblica.

The Vatican area (north west of the Old Rome area) is home to Vatican City (of course!), Vatican museums, St Peter's Square, St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican gardens.

In the Colosseo district, south east of the 'Old Rome' area, (which was the heart of Ancient Rome) you can find the Imperial Fora (Fori Imperiali in Italian), the famous Colosseum, the Imperial Fora, Trajan's Market, and Capitoline Hill.

In the Center-north area you can find the Spanish Steps (Italian: Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti), Piazza di Spagna and the Villa Borghese.

In the Trastevere area (west of the Old rome area, over the river) you can find lots of cobbled streets and squares. It is known as an artists area of Rome.

In the Aventino-Testaccio area of Rome (south of the Old Rome area) it has many affordable restaurants, and not many tourists. You can easily have fun exploring the streets and small squares here.

In the Esquilino-San Giovanni area (west of the Colosseo area, east of the Old Rome area) you can find a big market, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, and the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

Behind the train station you can find Nomentano, which is well-known for its great nightlife.

When to visit Rome

You can easily visit Rome all year round, but with a bit of careful planning you can have a more enjoyable stay.

The best times are between late March and May, or between September and the middle of November. This means you can avoid the really hot weather in the summer, the really cold weather in the winter, and perhaps most importantly you can avoid the August crowds.

Air conditioning isn't as popular as in other countries, which means in August it can be unbearable. This, combined with the super high tourist numbers in August means that you will probably have a better time in Rome if you avoid the hottest parts of July and all of August.

On August 15, which is known as Ferr-Agosto, lots of Italians leave Rome and go to the beaches. The last couple of weeks of August lack many Italians (the city is full of just tourists)

Rome History

The history of Rome is far too long and complicated for a travel website :)

We recommend starting with this podcast, Wikipedia's page on the history of Rome, or checking out a book from Amazon. (The podcasts are our favourites though, go back to the very first one!)

Getting to Rome

To/from Rome Via Planes and Airport

There are 2 airports for Rome (IATA: ROM for all airports).

Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) - this is Rome's main airport, and the bigger of the two. There are good connections via public transport to the city center (but not very frequent at night time). Fiumicino is used by most airlines.

G.B. Pastine/Ciampino International Airport (CIA) is south east of the city, and is where many low-cost airline companies use (including Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizzair). This airport is closer to the city center, but there is no direct train connection. The airport is quite small (and only has cash machines in the departures area). It also closes overnight (until it opens, normally around 04:00-05:00).

See our full guide on the Rome airports here - including how to get to/from the airports and the city center

By Train

Rome has over 30 railway stations. The main train station in Rome is Roma Termini (closed between 00:30 and 04:30). Roma Tiburtina is also another main station.

Rome By Boat (Ferry/Cruise Ship)

As Rome is somewhat close to the Tyrrhenian Sea, many tourists come to Rome via a ferry or cruiseship (via the port of Civitavecchia [1.5 hour away] and the tourist port of Fiumicino ).

Things to see and do

Rome Tourist Attractions

Rome has lots of landmarks that are known throughout the world. Here are the very best tourist attractions that everyone visiting Rome has to go and see!

Rome Colosseum

The Colosseum is one of the world's biggest landmarks, so while you are in Rome you have got to see it!

As soon as you see it you will be gobsmacked at just how massive it is. Photos really don't do the Colosseum justice - it is huge!. You can walk around the 500m circumference, and really get a better idea of its scale and size. Tickets to get inside are €12 (you can get tours for €5).

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) is, like many of Rome's landmarks, a worldwide known tourist attraction. It used to be the center of Rome (with many commercial, political and religious affairs going on) in ancient times. After the Roman Empire fell the area became a forgotten memory, and farmers used the area.

Now it is one of the most impressive tourist attractions in modern day Rome.

It costs 12€ to visit it (it includes access to the Colosseum). 1 hour guided tours cost €4.

Baths of Caracalla

Terme di Caracalla is where the imperial baths used to be, in ancient Rome.

It was constructed under Emperor Caracalla, and covers a huge amount of space (25 hectares)

Baths of Caracalla

While in Rome, you have got to check out Vatican City!

It is the heart of the Catholic church. And if you like to count how many countries you've visited, it counts as an extra one!


The Pantheon dome and temple, which dates back to over 2,000 years ago, is a worldwide recognised landmark. Many people are burried here (since the Renaissance period it has been used as a grave church). In front of the Pantheon is Piazza della Rotonda.

It was originally built in wood in 27 b.c. by Marcus Agrippa, but after a fire destroyed it, it was reconstructed by Hadrian a couple of hundred years later. It is full of marble statues of Roman gods.

Guide To Rome Nightlife

  • Rome has plenty of bars and pubs.
  • You can find all kinds of nightlife fun - from pubs, bars, clubs, live music etc.
  • A few fun areas for late-night drinking include:
    • San Lorenzo - cheap bars, cheap small pizza places, often lots of students. You can find English / Irish themed pubs here.
    • Pigneto - Full of restaurants and wine bars, if you want somewhere a bit more classy then this area is for you.
    • Campo de Fiori - Busy, and full of people who have enjoyed a beer or two (...too many!)
    • Madonna dei Monti - Known as the hipster area of Rome
    • Trastevere - This area is known for its lively atmosphere. Lots of places to enjoy an alcohol filled night can be found in this area. Akab Club is here (well liked and popular).
  • Rome's nightlife starts late - the best hours to get to a club is between 1am and 3am. Much later than some other cities in Europe.
  • If you are here for one night only and want to go somewhere busy then head to Campo de Fiori
  • Even if you don't want to drink, make sure to see Rome at night time. It looks beautiful, as all the old and historic buildings are lit up and illuminated. Bring a camera for some awesome shots!

Eating in Rome

If you like Italian cusine then obviously Rome is going to be like heaven for you.

Typical Roman cusine can be found in the Trastevere district. The restaurants in this area almost always have dishes that have ingredients such as Lamb chops, artichokes, spaghetti carbonara, oxtail etc.

If you are visiting in the summer then you have to try ice cream/gelato. Head to Trevi Fountain, you can find plenty of vendors there selling the best ice cream you'll probably ever taste...

Shopping in Rome

A lot of tourists come to Rome to go shopping. The main areas for shopping include:

  • Via Cola di Rienzo (in Ottaviano area)
  • Via Condotti (center) - high fashion, all the big name expensive brands have shops here
  • Via del Corso (center)

There are also quite a lot of shopping malls (a bit further out from the center, but they have every kind of shop you will need!).

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About Me

I'm an Australian who has lived in Europe for most of my life. I work online, travelling with my laptop, working online and exploring cities for months at a time.

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