Tips For Sightseeing In Rome

I wanted to take a quick break from my post about our recent trip to Italy to share a few quick tips on ways to navigate the city.  In case you missed the previous posts, here’s a list along with what’s upcoming:

These are tips my family used during our time in Rome to see some of the major attractions and find your way around.

  • Consider the train from Fiumicino to Rome Termini.  The ride isn’t much quicker by cab but is more expensive and you can get stuck in traffic.  For families, Trenitalia is usually running a promo where kids under 12 travel free with a paid adult.  On our most recent trip, we paid 18 Euro for the four of us to ride downtown.  The Trenitalia website lists the price at 14 Euro, but they do run some discount offers. It’s about a 30-minute ride and I’ve never seen a full train.
  • Buy tickets ahead of time if you want to see things like the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.  Advanced tickets will allow you to bypass some pretty onerous lines.  Here’s a link to the site we used for ticket purchases.  There are single entry tickets as well as some package offers depending on what you want to see.
  • If you plan to visit the Vatican, make sure to buy tickets ahead of time for this as well.  Link to purchase tickets for Vatican museum.  The line for tickets can stretch down the hill and around the corner quite easily, resulting in waits of over an hour.  The first time we visited many years ago, before there were advance tickets, we waited close to an hour even though arriving very early in the morning.
  • While we’re on the subject of the Vatican, St. Peter’s Cathedral does have their own VIP tours to skip some of the onerous lines, like the one for the cupola.  As of the time of this writing, not even the best VIP tours from around the city have access to these tours.  They can only be booked at the information center past security at St. Peter’s.  They are affordable and, if traveling with small children, can save a bunch of time.  The one we took was also incredibly informative.  I learned a bunch even though I’ve visited 3 times previously.
  • Use Uber.  In most cities Uber is much more expensive than regular cabs.  I’ve found the cabs in Rome to be pricey, and they don’t accept credit cards.  It can also be tough to hail cabs in some of the more popular tourist spots.  If you haven’t signed up for Uber, here’s my referral link for a free ride.
  • If you’re a family traveling on a budget, consider using the subway system in Rome.  A daily ticket is 6 Euro and they have 3-day and weekly passes as well.  Children under 10 travel free with a parent so it can be a very economical means of travel.  There are only two main subway lines but they cover a number of major spots.  You can find maps and more information here.
  • Get a good map of Rome.  Some hotels have decent maps, or you can buy this one we used in the past.  There are smaller sights to see near some of the bigger attractions, like Piazza del Popolo and the park around Villa Borghese, both within walking distance of the Spanish Steps.
  • If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to verify the hours for restaurants you might be considering.  There are plenty of good restaurants in Rome that don’t open early enough to accommodate when little ones need to be fed.

Oh, and it may sound cheesy, but make sure you throw a coin in the Trevi fountain.  It’s a touristy thing to do but it’s also a good memory, especially if you have kids.  Our daughter still talks about it months later.

Do you have any tips?

The post Tips For Sightseeing In Rome originally appeared at Pizza in Motion.

7 Comments

  1. Your tips are excellent and apply to other countries as well. We took a grandson on a whirlwind 11-day tour of Europe this past July that included four countries. We use public transit whenever possible, and we pre-booked an Eiffel Tower tour, the Colosseum, Forum, and Vatican Museum, and Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. We were too late to pre-book the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but I managed to buy two tickets toward the end of the day (we overnighted in Pisa) and our grandson and I climbed it.

    While our itinerary sounds like a nightmare (at least it did to me!) a combination of those pre-booked tickets, a coolish summer by European standards, and not as many crowds as we would have feared (except in Amsterdam) resulted in an incredibly memorable trip for all three of us.

    Advance planning – including those tickets and public transit research, i.e. “how do we best get from here to there?” is the key.

  2. Regarding your tip on using Uber: in my travels this year around Europe, Africa, and Asia, I’ve found Uber to be MUCH cheaper than a regular metered cab. And in those places, the cars are top end, from Audi A8s to BMW 7-series to E- and S-class Mercedes.

  3. Tip = Do a private tour on Sunday morning

    Everyone is at church! Traffic was simple and we had a couple of places almost to ourselves!

  4. I think David didnt do his research well. All those places uber is always more expensive. Maybe he was getting ripped off by regular cabs. Taking long routes. Lol

  5. We usually do a car hire at the airport for like 100 euros that includes a short tour of the sites right off the plane. It usually can include 3 or 4 people for that price.

    I also like the website for romewalks.com and their youtube videos. They are very helpful for stuff like learning how the train system works, etc.

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