Arriving into Rome Airport:
Italy is a beautiful country and a vacation to Rome will certainly leave you with lasting memories from all the history that this city offers. Most travelers enter Rome through the Fiumicino Airport and take a taxi into the city center or get on the express train that takes you to Stazione Termini (train station in Rome). A taxi will cost you about 45 Euros to take the 45 minute ride from Fiumicino airport to the city center or vice versa. The express train costs only about 8 Euros and runs all day long. From the train station you will still either have to walk to your hotel or catch a cab/taxi. Rome is a walking friendly city and therefore there is no reason to have a rental car when in Rome. It will only cost you money everyday to park it somewhere while you are walking throughout the city with the other tourists.
Once you have arrived at your hotel, get a good map (our hotel supplied an excellent street map of the city). Once you get your bearings, start walking to your destination. The great thing I love about cities like Rome is that many of the sites are free to enjoy just by walking around the city. You can view the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese, and all the incredible architecture free of charge. There are 2 Metro lines (A & B) that will take you just steps from the Colosseum or near the Spanish Steps for a minimal fee but for most the part, the Metro in Rome isn't that convenient when sightseeing. For a detailed map of the subway lines and stops, go to Metroroma.it
. As for city buses, they are the way to go if you want to get somewhere in the city center of Rome and avoid walking longer distances. The main Rome bus website is located online at Atac.roma.it
, we suggest checking with your hotel for bus route info in case things have changed. Pickpockets do exist in Italy and tourists need to beware while in Rome, especially on crowded city buses. My wife was nearly pickpocketed on the train on our way from Venice to Rome, luckily she noticed the guys hand was in her purse and stopped him before anything was taken. There are some great walking tours provided by all sorts of companies in Rome that will guide you through the city and show you the main sites, but we feel that a city like Rome is best marveled at on your own time schedule.
Rome Museums - Colosseum - Roman Forums:
Besides the extensive museums found at the Vatican (we will review those on another page) Rome offers many other art collections. One of my favorite museums to visit when in Rome is the Borghese Gallery (Galleriaborghese.it
). The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9AM to 7PM and admission is strictly limited to 360 people every 2 hours. A reservation is MANDATORY to get into the Galleria Borghese, but the visit is well worth the wait. There are guided tours available, but they aren't really necessary. The works of art include paintings by Correggio, Titian, Raphael, Rubens, and Bassano. The most impressive part of the whole museum are the sculptors done by Gion Lorenzo Bernini. Bernini's work is unquestionably superb and pieces like Apollo and Daphne, David, Pluto and Proserpina, and Truth will stay in your mind forever. Getting to the gallery can be a trek, so go to the website and take a look at their map to choose the best route there. Once you get to the Spanish Steps there is still an ample bit of walking to do. The Roman Colosseum is another must see when in Rome. Even if you don't go into the Colosseum, it's very impressive from the outside looking up at the massive structure. There are tours offered once inside which we highly recommend in order to learn about all the history and gladiator matches that took place here. Just a few steps from the Colosseum is the Roman Forums (free of charge) that you can walk through at a leisurely pace. There are still several buildings and arches standing that are 2000 years old.
Best Rome Hotels:
Location is more important than price when it comes to the best hotels in Rome. It's not easy finding a cheap hotel in Rome since prices are just expensive everywhere you look. With the US dollar losing value to the Euro, prices aren't coming down any time soon in Europe, especially in Italy. In a recent stay in Rome, we found a great hotel, Albergo Cesari. There are plenty of five star hotels in Rome, but we feel that the Albergo Cesari surpasses many of those for it's prime location in "Old Rome", just a few blocks from the Pantheon or Trevi Fountain. There website is located online at Albergocesari.it
where you can look up rates (we paid 185 Euros for a standard double room in March 2007), location, and services. Book your room on the website. What we liked best about the hotel is that it is right in the middle of everything. The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps, Vatican, and Pantheon are all within walking distance. For a real treat, you could shell out a lot more money and stay at the St. Regis Grand Hotel, Rome. It's part of the Starwood Hotel chain and is truly a luxury hotel in Rome. Expect to spend at least $250 for a decent hotel when you are in Rome. The reason we feel that Albergo Cesari is the best hotel in Rome is because of it's central location. With all the walking that tourists do in Rome, you need to save all the energy you can so why waste it walking from your hotel to the city center. The streets around Albergo Cesari hotel were safe at night and there were dozens of restaurants that lined the streets from Trevi Fountain all the way to Pantheon making evening hours enjoyable and safe.
Rome Restaurants - Top Picks:
If you don't like pasta, then you may not like the food selection in Rome. Italians have been making excellent pasta dishes for centuries and part of the treat when visiting Rome is tasting the cuisine (it's different than the Italian food in America). Pizzas are not as doughy as in the US, but they are just as good. Spaghetti and clams, ravioli with cream sauce, and lasagna are just a few dishes you can eat throughout the restaurants in Rome. Which restaurants in Rome are the best? They are all pretty good, with some doing certain dishes better than others. We suggest trying Ciampini al Cafe du Jardin which is just steps from the Spanish Steps. It's an open air cafe with a pond in the center housing turtles and it offers a great view over much of the city. An excellent stopping off place after climbing up the Spanish Steps. Osteria dell'Ingegno is another great restaurant in Rome for dinner. It's located right in the Piazza di Pietra (near the Pantheon). The restaurant served flavorful food and the wine list was more than sufficient. When trying to choose a restaurant in Rome, remember that the best places are often off the beaten track and away from the tourists. Locals very rarely go where the tourists go, so ask a local or buy a restaurant guide book like we did to find the hot spots. For a list of the best restaurants in Rome, go HERE