Italy's Lazio region includes Rome and much more, but this post is really all about Rome. Here are some basics to get you started. It's difficult to cover everything wonderful in Rome, but hopefully this gives you a jumping-off point. Each location is included on my Google map of Rome.
Rome is incredible, and you can cover so much ground by foot. Just wear great walking shoes. The city has a great tourism page, including maps to help with popular locations and public transportation.
Tours are the way to go for the bigger must-sees in Rome. Angel Tours is a great option, and they made all the difference when visiting the Vatican, Forum/Colosseum, as well as on our first day when we avoided the heat and started the evening Heart of Rome walking tour. Long lines are inevitable at key locations, so a guide will help you skip to the front as well as offer context to historical sites. If you go during the summer, visit as early in the morning as possible to avoid some intense crowds and heat.
WHERE TO STAY:
For budget-friendly options, check out Hostelworld and Airbnb.
Otherwise, here are a couple of hotel recommendations...
1. Hotel Lancelot is a boutique hotel near the Colosseum that bent over backwards to be helpful. It wasn't stuffy or standard, and placed us in the heart of the city. Here's the location.
2. 47 Hotel is another great option. It's beautiful and near the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Domus Aurea.
WHAT TO SEE:
1. Colosseum - Use a guide
3. Roman Forum (Palatine Hill and Capitoline Hill) - Use a guide
4. Bocca Della Verita (from Roman Holiday) (Basilica Santa Maria in Comedian)
5. Baths of Caracalla
6. Circus Maximus
7. Trajan's Market
8. Mamertine Prison (entrance is inside the Forum)
9. Christian Catacombs - San Sabastiano catacombs and Basilica San Sabastiano fuori le mura (inside the basilica is Bernini's Cristo Salvatore)
10. The Knights of Malta Keyhole
Fountains, Stairs, Steps & Parks:
1. Trevi Fountain
2. Piazza Navona - Ristorante Tucci is here.
3. Piazza Venezia (a.k.a. The Wedding Cake) (Victor Emmanuel Monument)
4. Spanish Steps
5. Villa Borghese
6. Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (in Piazza Navona)
Churches, Religious Art, and Museums:
1. Vatican - Use a guide. Museum tickets allow you to see the Sistine Chapel.
2. Santa Maria Sopra Minerva - Features Michelangelo's "Risen Christ" and Bernini's Elephant Statue
3. Museum and Crypt of the Capuchin Friars
4. San Pietro in Vincoli - Features Michelangelo's "Moses"
5. San Paolo fuori le Mura
6. Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli
7. Basilica Papale San Paolo fuori le Mura
8. Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri
9. Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
10. Castel Sant'Angelo
WHERE TO EAT:
Splitting is perfectly acceptable and necessary at most restaurants. Don't feel the need to order from every course. I'd recommend selecting 2 to 3 courses maximum if you want a variety of options, and split them all. Not all restaurants serve large portions, but most are very generous and don't like taking food back to the kitchen. It feels like an insult to leave food on your plate, so do everyone a favor and start small. There's no shortage of "mangia, manga" in Italy, and you'll enjoy it more if you don't feel completely stuffed at every meal.
Rome is known for the pasta dish "cacio e pepe" and I highly recommend having it at least once while you're there.
1. La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali. Be sure to make reservations, and check out the "cacio e pepe."
2. Tucci is in Piazza Navona, so sitting on the patio is a must.
3. Caffé Propaganda near the Colosseum can accommodate groups and will give you a break from Italian food, that is if you need to change-up.
High-End Food Options From Conde Nast's Top 10:
2. ARMANDO AL PANTHEON
3. PER ME
5. IL PAGLIACCIO
6. DA FELICE
7. LA GATTA MANGIONA
8. ANTICO ARCO
10. LA PERGOLA
Hopefully this helps cover all the basics you could need on a trip to Rome. If you have anything to add or omit that you'd like to share, please feel free to send an email through the Contact page.