It’s a city known for its ability to enchant. As the capital of Italy, Rome was founded more than 2,500 years ago, and in that time has witnessed the rise and fall of the world’s most powerful empires. The monuments erected by rulers of the past still stand, though many are in a state of disrepair. But the city is more than landmarks and ancient structures. It’s a place steeped in history and culture that leaves visitors with a feeling of awe.
A visit to Rome stays with you.
Memories are forged that last a lifetime.
The challenge is getting as much in as possible before it’s time to catch your return flight home.
There’s no way to do it all, even if you sacrifice sleep.
Below, we’ll take a quick tour through Rome, and point out the best places to visit. You’ll learn about hotels that are comfortable, conveniently located, and affordable. We’ll also highlight a few restaurants that are sure to tickle your taste buds.
Read on for a 5-minute guide to the magical city of Rome.
Things To Do And Places To Visit In Rome
If you’re traveling to Rome for the first time, visit the ancient monuments strewn throughout the city. Seeing them with your own eyes is a humbling experience. With that in mind, here are a few must-see sites to add to your list:
#1 – The Pantheon
It was built in 126 AD, and is today one of the best-preserved buildings from that era. Recognizable by its huge Corinthian columns and perfectly-constructed dome, the Pantheon served as a temple honoring the gods of Ancient Rome. Cost of entry: free.
#2 – St. Peter’s Basilica
This is considered to be one of the greatest monuments to Roman Catholicism. Found inside Vatican City, it is an enormous structure that showcases much of the art of the Renaissance era. The tomb of Saint Peter is located below the basilica. Cost of entry: free.
#3 – The Colosseum
This is where the gladiators of Rome fought their bloody battles. The Colosseum was built in 80 AD by the Roman Emperor Titus. In its heyday, it could seat 50,000 people, all well-positioned to overlook the field (and the carnage) below. Cost of entry: 12 euros, which covers the cost of entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
#4 – The Trevi Fountain
The fountain is located in the Trevi district. Construction informally began in 1629, but was not finished until 1762. It has since become an icon of the city, drawing thousands of travelers and locals each day. Cost of entry: free. (Bonus tip: visit the Trevi Fountain at night when it is illuminated by lights.)
Although it is important to visit the ancient structures of Rome to get an up-close-and-personal view of the city’s history, it is equally important to enjoy its culture. That means doing what the locals do. As the saying goes, “when in Rome…”
Pull up a chair at a sidewalk café on Via Veneto (a famous street in Rome). Take a morning bike ride to a local bakery to enjoy an early breakfast. Walk through the Piazza del Popolo as the sun sets. The point is to experience daily life in the city. Don’t merely stick to the most popular tourist attractions.
Where To Stay: A Room With A View
There are numerous hotels to match every taste and budget in Rome. 5-star facilities like the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese can be found in prestigious areas of the city. The Aldrovandi offers spacious rooms, a private park, swimming pool, and many other amenities. Rooms generally start at $400 a night.
The Hotel Lord Byron is an ideal choice for couples looking for a romantic getaway. The hotel is known for its curving entrance steps and easygoing ambiance filtered through an air of opulence. Guests rave about the comfort and high style of the rooms, which can be reserved for approximately $300 a night.
For a tighter budget, the Hotel Columbia stands apart from the pack. Built in 1900 and completely renovated in 1997, the facility offers a mixture of sophisticated atmosphere, conservative furnishings, and practical lodgings. It is located near the Roman Forum and Colosseum, providing easy access to both sites. Rooms start at $175 a night.
One of the best hotel views of the city can be found at the Albergo Del Sole al Pantheon. Situated amid the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and Trevi Fountain, you’ll be able to enjoy a view of some of Rome’s most celebrated structures. Even better, room prices are relatively low, starting at $225 a night.
Tasting The Culinary Treats Of Rome
Art and architecture are not the only treats the city has to offer. You’ll find countless restaurants serving delicious dishes within an atmosphere suitable for any mood you happen to be in.
If you’re a fan of trattoria, make your way to Ditirambo. It blends the old-fashioned with a hint of contemporary flair. The meals and desserts are made from fresh ingredients and can be paired easily with wines from the restaurant’s considerable wine list. One quick tip: make reservations.
For fish and other seafood dishes, visit Quinzi & Gabrieli. There, you’ll be able to enjoy a plate of swordfish, sea urchin, or steamed prawns and lobster. The restaurant’s signature dish is its Paccheri pasta with white fish, a meal sure to make any fish-lover salivate. Again, make reservations, especially if you want to enjoy the outdoor seating. Also, be aware that the prices are relatively high with main courses costing up to 40 Euro.
If you’re traveling with your spouse or significant other, and both of you enjoy specialty cuisine, make a reservation at La Terrazza. It can be found in the Hotel Eden. The restaurant is known for its formal service and high-end dishes with main courses priced up to 60 Euro. They also have a gourmet-based fixed-priced menu at 110 Euro (or 160 Euro for two people). The restaurant’s signature dish is a delectable tagliolini with lobster and peppers. When you call to make reservations, ask the person who answers the phone about the live entertainment.
Best Ways To Get Around The City
Walking is the easiest way to get around Rome. You can easily walk from site to site without worrying about hailing a taxi or taking the bus. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes. That said, there will be a few places, such as the Vatican, that are best reached by taxi.
Rome has a very efficient underground metro system that allows you to bypass the horrendous traffic above ground (when you can’t easily walk to the places on your itinerary). Tickets are cheap at 1 Euro per trip. But make sure you keep an eye out for pickpockets and other thieves.
There may be times when taking a taxi or bus is more convenient that taking the metro or walking. Bus rides cost 1 Euro per trip. Taxis are more expensive, of course. If you must take a taxi, have your hotel call one for you to save you the hassle of hailing your own.
How Much Does Airfare To Rome Cost?
One of the great things about visiting Rome is that several flights leave from each of the major hubs across Canada each day. You won’t have trouble reserving a seat. Most of the flights (round trip) will cost approximately $900. The notable exception is if you’re departing from Montreal, where airfare tends to be more expensive. In that case, plan to pay at least $1,400. When planning your budget for your holiday, be sure to include the cost of travel insurance. You can easily and quickly compare travel insurance quotes online at Kanetix.ca, completely free of charge. If you are wondering about the importance of purchasing travel insurance, learn more about the basics of travel insurance and a quick introduction to travel health insurance in Canada.
As always, look for deals from the airlines. The savings are often substantial. For example, a recent promotion from AirTransat for a round trip ticket between Toronto and Rome was priced under $500.
Rome continues to be one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. When you arrive in the city, you’ll understand the reasons. The best advice we can offer is to carefully plan your itinerary before you board your flight. Use the suggestions above to get started.