Beginner's Guide to Rome, Italy

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

Pizza, pasta, gelato, and beautiful architecture! Rome is truly a magical city that will not disappoint you. The vibrant culture, delicious food, and amazing views will leave you wanting more. Here is my guide of must-do things in this incredible city:

Where to stay

Inside the city center. I cannot stress this enough. The public transportation system in Rome is horrible; the worst I've ever experienced in Europe. So try to stay centrally located near the Trevi Fountain so you can easily walk to all the sites and not have to worry about using the public transportation. We stayed slightly outside of the city because it was so much cheaper and immediately regretted it.

What to see

1. The Colosseum

Duh. This is quite obvious. It is arguably the most iconic thing in this city. It is detailed and beautifully preserved. You can observe from various lookout points in the city, or you can pay to go inside the Colosseum itself.

Time to spend: 1 hour

Cost: 19 euro online here

2. The Trevi Fountain

My recommendation: get here EARLY. The later in the day you go it's almost impossible to even get close enough to throw a coin in and make a wish. Near the square, there is a fantastic gelato shop called "Giolitti" which is a must!

Time to spend: 1 hour

Cost: FREE

3. The Roman Forum

This is a grassy area in surrounded by shops and buildings that contain several archeological ruins. Grab a slice of pizza from one of the nearby pizza shops and eat on a bench while you admire this view!

Time to spend: 1 hour

Cost: FREE

4. Pantheon

Yet another archeological wonder. This is a quick pit stop, you can admire the Roman columns on the outside and quickly walk through the inside for free.

Time to spend: 30 min

Cost: FREE

5. Piazza Novana

This is a cute square with a fountain in the middle and lots of restaurants and bars surrounding it. Grab a plate of pasta and enjoy people watching and soaking in the Italian culture!

Time to spend: 1 hour

Cost: FREE

6. Vatican City

Technically not in Rome, and not a city. It is considered one of the smallest countries in the world and famous for being the home to no one other than the Pope himself! You can take a bus here to see St. Peter's Basilica, The Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican.

Time to spend: Half a day-full day

Cost: St. Peter's- FREE, Vatican & Sistene Chapel 28 euro (avoid lines by purchasing online here)

7. Trastevere

This is a quirky neighborhood that I happened to stumble upon when getting lost, but turned out to be one of my favorite things in the city. It's a funky, bohemian area with beautiful traditional architecture, artisan shops, craft beer pubs, and more. Come here around sunset and enjoy the night atmosphere with a large plate of lasagna and a craft beer.

Time to spend: 2-3 hours

8. St. Peter's Square

The square itself isn't much to look at besides one tall monument in the middle. But, if you continue going up the square it will lead you to a park that you will walk up a lot of stairs and see beautiful views of the city. We were (yet again) very lost and ended up at this park for sunset, which was magical!

Time to spend: 1-2 hours

Cost: FREE

So there you go, eat your way through this magical city! Stop at every pizza and gelato shop along the way and worry about the calories later. And don't forget to pop into an authentic leather shop or find a leather market on the street to buy your authentic Italian leather goodies. You will regret it if you don't!

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