top of page
  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

Everything you need to know on how to plan a trip to Rome


Roma dal Tevere

If you are looking for a destination for a weekend away then you will agree with me that Rome is always an excellent idea! The Eternal City is simply magical, a cradle of history, culture, art and incredible food... Rome has everything you could look for in a city! I've been there at least a dozen times now and every time Rome manages to make me fall in love more and more! If you've never been there, let's say it's definitely time to catch up so let me help you plan a perfect weekend in Rome.


Let's start from the basics...

When is best to go to Rome

Rome is one of the most fascinating cities in the world: it attracts millions of tourists every year and is always very crowded at any time, regardless of the weather conditions. The best time to visit the Italian capital is during spring and autumn when the climate is temperate but not too hot/cold nor rainy, so I would recommend from March to May and October and November.


How to get to Rome

In Italy, we say that all roads lead to Rome and actually reaching the capital is quite simple, whatever means you choose!

- by car

Going to Rome by car is certainly incredibly convenient due to the freedom in travel times and the flexibility: this year we went to Rome for a music concert which happened on a Sunday evening and on Monday morning we worked so taking the train was impossible! It may also be the best choice if you are traveling with your 4-legged friend: last year with King it was easier and cheaper to go by car and this also allowed us to change the program and add a day in the surroundings of Viterbo.

Obviously, there are also negative sides when traveling by car in Rome: the significant cost obtained by adding petrol and the motorway toll, and parking in the city center must also be considered. The ideal would be to find a B&B that also offers a private car park but it is rare... usually, we find parking on the street (at night and on Sunday it is free) and when we can't we rely on the underground car parks which however are quite expensive: last year we chose Parking Prati, spending €25 a day - not cheap but there was no other choice. It's always a good idea to do some math on fuel (we always get by just fine with gas-powered cars), tolls and parking, comparing the expense with that of public transport!

- by train

Going to Rome by train is perhaps the cheapest, most environmentally friendly and comfortable option: few worries, no traffic and if you manage to book in time you can also find some good offers. Rome Termini station is in an excellent position for staying and then moving around the city in total autonomy on foot. If you want to go to Rome by train then I suggest you evaluate both the Trenitalia and Italo websites to look for some offers but also to take a look at thetrainline.com which usually offers much cheaper prices!

- by plane

Rome has two international airports - Rome Fiumicino and Rome Ciampino - where many low-cost airlines land with which, by booking a little in advance, you will certainly be able to fly to the capital without spending too much! As usual, I suggest you evaluate the options on skyscanner.it, preferably in incognito mode during your searches!

Rome Fiumicino : Leonardo da Vinci Airport (30km from Rome)

If you fly to Rome Fiumicino then you have various alternatives to reach the city center: - the Leonardo Express: it is the most convenient and fastest option and it is a direct train that connects Rome Termini station to Fiumicino airport in just 32 minutes with runs every 15-30 minutes - from Rome Termini from 4.50 am to 11.05 pm and from Fiumicino Airport from 05.38 to 23.53. Ticket cost €14 each; - Bus: this is the cheapest option but also the slowest.. the cost is around €7-8 each and there are various companies to choose from such as Terravision, Shuttle Bus, Cotral, etc.. - Regional train: Fiumicino is also connected to Tiburtina station via the FL1 regional train which takes approximately 45 minutes, stopping in 10 intermediate stations including Trastevere, Ostiense and Tuscolana. The price of the Fiumicino – Tiburtina station route is €8; - Taxi: it is the most expensive option and often the slowest due to traffic and fares start from around €50.

Rome Ciampino : Giovan Battista Pastine Airport (20 km from Rome)

- Bus: as there is no railway line that stops in Ciampino, the most used and economical solution to get to the city is to use a bus, the cost ranging from €5 to €9 per person depending on the company to choose from - Terravision, Sit Bus Shuttle, Atral, etc... - Train: to reach Rome by train from Ciampino you must first arrive at the train station by bus which takes 5 minutes and is operated by Atral (tickets can be purchased at the information box at the airport, directly on board or at authorized resellers ). Once you reach Ciampino train station you can take one of the regional trains that leave every 12 minutes and take 15 minutes to reach Termini, at a cost of 1.50 euros; - Taxi: it is the most expensive option and often the slowest due to traffic and fares start from around €30.


Italy Visa

Italy's tourist visa is also known as a Schengen visa because Italy is a part of the Schengen Agreement, so with an Italian visa, you can visit all the countries that are a part of the Schengen area (and vice versa).

Italy is part of the Schengen area, along with 25 other countries, so a visa obtained from any of these countries will allow you to visit all the other countries. However, if you apply for an Italian visa, your first entry point should be in Italy.

You DO NOT need a tourist visa to visit Italy if:

  • You are from a country with a visa-free agreement with Schengen, and you will visit for a short trip (max. 90 days). This includes countries like the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Australia, Canada, etc.

  • You are from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland.

The documents required for an Italian Schengen visa are so many that I suggest you rely on an agency that deals with all this paperwork for you and also saves a lot of time.

iVisa.com provides online travel documents such as visas for entry to countries around the world, including the ones in the Schengen area (but also health declaration forms, embassy documents, passport photos, passport renewals, tourist cards and other travel documents ). The site is safe and secure, the service is fast and efficient, and the team is experienced and available 24 hours a day for any need. Relying on iVisa.com will allow you to fully concentrate on your journey without wasting time and struggling with bureaucracy, as well as allowing you to leave without anxiety because there will be no hitches once you reach your destination. Click here to access directly to the page to apply for visas and travel documents.


Where to sleep in Rome

The best areas to stay in Rome are certainly the historic center and the area near Termini station, given that most of the main tourist attractions are located in the historic center. Obviously, the prices are higher than on the outskirts, but we always manage to find excellent compromises, especially by booking in advance. Generally, we choose to stay in the Prati district or near the Vatican: these are areas that are very convenient for us to always be able to get around on foot and where we always find parking for the car. Here you will find the two structures where we recently stayed (2022 and 2023), both located in the Prati district and booked on booking.com

  • Vatican Leone IV

Vatican Leone IV

Vatican Leone IV is located in the center, just outside the Vatican walls, and in 2022 we spent €80 for two nights in January, booking a couple of days before.

It is a small three-star hotel located in some buildings in the Prati district: it does not have private parking but there is street parking for €6 per day. The rooms are small, clean and fairly standard: nothing exceptional but not too bad either... the value for money is fair, especially given the excellent location which allowed us to always get around independently on foot. Pets are allowed here on request!

  • Courtyard Rome Suite

Courtyard Rome Suite was our choice for our stay this year, in July 2023, and is located a short distance from the Vatican Leo IV, so the same convenient location and the same goes for parking: there isn't a private one but there is there are plenty of them on the street, among other things free on Sundays. Even though we had booked in advance, we spent €150 between us for two nights. The rooms are large and acceptable, a little neglected but certainly clean and fresh thanks to the air conditioning, which in July in Rome is a fundamental requirement.


How to move around Rome

Rome is immense but the main attractions are all concentrated in the historic center and are therefore easily reachable on foot. The traffic and roads of Rome are quite demanding so renting a car is always not recommended. The ideal, in my opinion, is to get around on foot: by planning the itinerary well and dividing the nearby attractions day by day you will be able to do everything without having to use public transport. Possibly, there are very comfortable electric scooters that can be used from time to time to shorten distances without too much effort - the average cost is around 15 cents per minute but between various offers, discount codes etc.. we have almost always traveled for free this summer. If you don't feel like getting on an electric scooter and challenging Rome's traffic, the same sharing method is also valid for very comfortable electric bicycles and the average price is around 50 cents per minute.

If you need to use public transport, then the best choice is Metropolitana di Roma as it is not affected by traffic. The 100-minute ride costs €1.50 but there are also Roma24H day tickets (€7), or even for 48h (€12.5) and 72h (€18), or the CIS integrated weekly card (€24), to be used on all public transport. If, however, you intend to buy a tourist card, the Roma Tourist Pass offers, in addition to free transport, free or discounted access to many museums and archaeological sites.

Mappa Metropolitana Roma
Mappa Metropolitana Roma

Roma Tourist Pass

Galleria Borghese, Roma
Galleria Borghese, Roma

Roma Pass is a tourist-cultural card for Rome that offers discounts and services to tourists to facilitate their visit to the city. There are two options depending on the length of stay: • Roma Pass 48 hours: €32.00 - first entry to the museum and/or archaeological site free; • Roma Pass 72 hours: €52.00 - first 2 entrances to museums and/or archaeological sites free. Both options include: - unlimited free access, for the entire validity of the card, to the urban public transport network (valid for 72 or 48 hours from the first validation on museums and public transport) - reduced prices at all subsequent museums and/or archaeological sites; - discounts for exhibitions, events and associated services; - dedicated access to Castel Sant'Angelo and the Capitoline Museums; - reservation of the Borghese Gallery and Palazzo Valentini Domus Romane, mandatory but included; - dedicated access to the Colosseum with online booking and availability dedicated to Roma Pass holders. If you want to get the Roma Pass you can purchase it in the Museums and Tourist INFOPOINTS, at ATAC resellers, in the Trenitalia and FrecciaClub ticket offices, or on the website https://www.romapass.it/

If you are wondering whether or not it makes sense to take the Roma Pass... the answer is neither simple nor obvious! It all depends on the itinerary you have in mind and that you are planning: the advice I give you is to identify museums and archaeological sites that you would like to visit and count all the entrance costs to estimate the expense, so that you can compare it with the expense for the Roma Pass and evaluate its convenience!


How to save money when in Rome

Colosseo, Roma

Rome has become a fairly expensive city, almost like Paris and London, so I'll leave you with some little tricks to save money here too: let's see them together!

  • Book in advance and, if you can, avoid long weekends and national holidays - the prices always rise;

  • If you reach Rome by plane and only stay for 2 or 3 nights, travel light and by purchasing the plane ticket, choose the cheapest option that includes only small luggage (a nice full-sized backpack, for example: North Face, you will be able to carry it easily);

  • Travel on foot, when possible, and save on transport: Rome is a real jewel and by exploring it on foot you will discover many incredible places and wonderful corners. If you need to make longer journeys then opt for the bus or metro - taxis are incredibly expensive and often difficult to find;

  • Book visits to museums online and in advance: you will save money (purchasing on-site is always at least €3-4 more per person) and time by avoiding long queues at the box office, as well as the risk of tickets being sold out ;

  • If you still have your university card, put it in your bag and always buy student tickets: usually, only the registration date is written on the cards (and not the expiry date) so they are always valid. Furthermore, they never look at us carefully, just show them on the fly and from afar! This will allow you to save further in addition to those online purchases, obtaining student discounts;

  • Avoid eating near the major attractions (for example near the Trevi Fountain, in Piazza Navona, etc.) because they are often real tourist traps: you will spend a lot and it won't be worth it in terms of quality-price ratio. READ ALSO: Weekend in Rome: italian cuisine, local food and where to find it in the Eternal City


What to pack to travel to Rome

  • If you are thinking of a weekend in Rome then I suggesst you travel only with a backpack, which is comfortable and light. When I travel like this, I always choose my faithful Borealis Classic - North Face, an irreplaceable travel companion and one that I always recommend to all my friends. In my opinion, it is ideal for trips of up to 3-4 days, thanks to its 29-liter capacity I can always fit everything I need in it: it has lots of very useful pockets and compartments from the bottle holder to the padded space for the laptop or tablet, and the straps to fasten it at the waist and chest allow me to carry it on my shoulder comfortably without getting tired;

  • For getting around the city, however, I will never tire of recommending the Fjällräven Kånken hip pack: since I discovered it I have never been separated from it. It is extremely comfortable, spacious and allows me to go around the most crowded places without fear that something might be stolen because I can always have it comfortably under my eyes!

  • If you visit Rome in summer, then know that in every corner of the city, there are public fountains with fresh, drinkable water available to tourists. This year we ended up in Rome in the middle of July and the heat was terrible and these fountains (called "nasoni" in Rome) literally saved our lives - along with the scratchers! To limit the use of plastic bottles, the ideal is to have a water bottle with you that you can fill and reuse... we have been using it for years the 1l thermal steel by Sparrow: Enrico and I both have one and of all the various brands and types we have tried this is undoubtedly the best;

  • Please bring a pair of comfortable shoes suitable for walking a lot: we continue to walk many kilometers every day every time we come to town! In this regard, I always recommend having a pack of Compeed in your suitcase which always comes in handy;

  • For a car trip with your 4-legged friend, I can only recommend the Pecute rear seat cover: King feels great in it, it allows him to look forward and not feel alone and above all with the seat cover we don't get dirty or fill the car with hair. I highly recommend it because it can also be reduced, leaving room for a passenger, adapted to the trunk, and has convenient pockets where you can put water and kibble.


Rome Travel Guides

If you are looking for a good guide for your trip to Rome then I propose two alternatives, both Lonely Planet.

- Lonely Planet Rome: in its latest edition of 2022, the eleventh, it will allow you to explore the Italian capital far and wide, discovering its secrets, history and culture, as well as lots of ideas on what to do, see and eat at any time of the day!

- Lonely Planet Rome - pocket: I recommend the pocket size if you travel light and have little space in your backpack or suitcase while still containing all the essentials. I find it super convenient to carry in your bag during your exploration of the capital so you can get ideas at any time during your trip. This is a 2023 edition, therefore brand new and up to date.


Roma di notte

Now that you know step by-step everything you need to know to plan your next trip to Rome, all you have to do is decide what to do once there and plan a perfect itinerary!

If you have more than 3 days available for your holiday, then you might consider going outside of Rome and exploring some other wonders in Lazio such as the splendid village of Civita di Bagnoregio or the Monster Park of Viterbo.

Once you have planned your weekend in Rome and chosen what to do, all you have to do is discover which dishes of the Roman culinary tradition you absolutely cannot miss and save yourself some of the best restaurants in the capital, so READ ALSO: Weekend in Rome: italian food and where to find it in the Eternal City

Let me know if these tips were useful to you by commenting below and don't hesitate to contact me for any other information! See you next trip around the world!

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page