Country: Italy
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Peak Season: June-August
Shoulder Season: October-April
Median Temperature: 15.80 C / 60.44 F
Main Languages: Italian, French, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, underground metro, taxi
Recommended Duration of Stay: 3 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $150.00/day
Tourist Passes: Roma Pass, Archeologia Card
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Rome, as many should know, holds deep historical significance since it has greatly helped shape the current political, economic and social landscape as we know. Many buildings built during its prime can still be accessed. Its spacious roads and alleys make the city safe to visit despite the dense tourist population. Additionally, Rome is home to the Vatican and a number of seismic cathedrals and colossal structures during its stint as “capital of the world.” The fanfare also never ceases as its expensive restaurants attract opulent guests and the aroma of modestly-priced pizzas and gelato snare the common backpacker.

You can frolic around the city for days (and even weeks) and still be left with so much to do. Rome is a backpacker destination, make no mistake about, but during nightfall, people suit up to their favorite evening wear and socialize in al fresco dining spots near the historic center. Again, for budget-conscious travelers, Rome isn’t that expensive. Transportation, pastries and pasta, admissions to museums and galleries, and B&B lodging are cheaper compared to the usual rates in London. Cheaper accommodations are found near the Vatican.

Credit the slim figure of the locals to the favorable walking conditions that might make you skip that bus ride. Rome faithfully keeps true to its cobblestone pavements and renaissance buildings, without discounting the needs of the modern-day tourist.

Packing List

  • Walking shoes, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, as attractions are essentially traveled by foot; expect long queues for major tourist attractions
  • Seasonal travel wear (tourist attractions), conservative clothing (religious sites) and evening apparel (romantic dinners and operas); it’s ideal to separate leisure from adventure in Rome
  • A good camera, lots of film/memory and a sizeable backpack since Rome is usually only part of many Italian cities to explore
  • A water tumbler, refillable at any of 2000 clean drinking fountains; sports drinks are ideal if you sweat a lot
  • A pocket-sized book or a portable media player to keep you amused while standing at the queues or sitting by the cafes

Things to Do

  • Visiting the Vatican on a Wednesday (for a chance to see the Pope); key attractions include: the Vatican Gardens, Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, its Square and the Sistine Chapel.
  • Entering the Colosseum, the epitome of the Roman Empire; with an elliptical expanse of over 600 feet and a seating capacity of 50,000, there is no grander arena for bloody combat
  • Going inside the Pantheon, a Catholic church but is more famous for being the burial ground of renowned Italian artists and nobles; the dome’s center has an oculus that beams sunlight
  • Tossing a coin at Trevi Fountain, famous for its backdrop of the Palazzo Poli and sculptural theme “Taming of the Waters”; one of the better backgrounds for a still photo shot
  • Viewing the dilapidated Roman Forum, once the venue for political affairs, gladiatorial tourneys and public declamations; the Forum is symbolic of the earliest forms of state governance

DON'T

  • Board a bus or train without first buying a ticket from kiosks, newsstands, bars or cafes; also, don’t cross streets without looking both ways
  • Dine near terminals, get cheaper food at bistros or pizzerias in small neighborhoods; it’s not a good idea to eat outside after looking all haggard from day-long excursions Indulge or talk to beggars, gypsies or strange people; additionally, be wary of pickpockets in the guise of children when at train stations or crowded attractions
  • Forget to sample not only the pizza and gelato, but also pasta, fish and seafood, and salads and other deserts
  • Expect a lot of establishments open during August; expect a slightly less choices for cheaper food since family-owned businesses are the ones closed during the month