Bring your walking shoes
Rome is a walking city. Taxis are expensive, the Metro is not very extensive, and the buses can be unpredictable (and a little hard to figure out.) If you’re staying with us, we’ll help you figure out how to take the bus from our place into the tourist area (it’s really easy you just get on the only bus that stops at the stop a block from our house, and then you take it to the end. )
B&B: http://www.bed-breakfast-roma.it/index.htm – different people have stayed here and liked it. Close to Vatican.
B&B: http://www.residenzasanpantaleo.com/. Near Pantheon.
B&B: http://www.yournestinrome.com/ Trastevere
Many of the major sights in Rome are free and don’t require tickets – Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, most of the hundreds of churches throughout the city.
Vatican Museums. Tickets and tours can be purchased online in advance at www.vatican.va. The ticket line can be really long, so buying online could save you time (but not money, unfortunately!). Be sure to climb to the top of the cupola at St. Peter’s – best view in all of Rome! It’s worth the 400+ stairs. (Don’t bother with the elevator – it costs several euros and doesn’t save you much time/effort.)
A combined ticket to visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill is available at the Form for €14. It is good for two days.
One of the best views of ancient Rome is seen from the back of the Campidoglio/Capitoline Hill.
Galleria Borghese (Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5; Tel: 06 854 8577) is in the Borghese Gardens. It is the home of many beautiful Bernini sculptures. You have to reserve tickets in advance. Tickets are available for two hour time slots from 9am – 7pm. www.galleriaborghese.it
Roman Empire Tours. Provides guided tours of all major sights in Rome; all guides speak fluent English. My family and I took a tour with Alex, one of the owners, in December and it was great! www.romanempiretours.com; +39 331 785 5788.
Angel Tours. Provides guided tours of all major sights in Rome; all guides speak fluent English. www.angeltoursrome.com; +39 348 734 1850.
Aside from St. Peter’s, Santa Maria in Trastevere (Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere) is my favorite church in Rome. Check it out!
Reservations are a good idea every night, but are a must on the weekends. Avoid restaurants on Via Veneto (very expensive, not the best quality) and in most piazzas. It’s better to venture off onto side streets. Street food can be good too – pizza by the slice, panini, etc. – particularly when you want to keep yourselves moving on to the next thing.
Here is a Google Map with our favorite Rome Restaurants.
Everything on the google map is a place I like, but if I had to pick a few favorites that go well with the tourist itinerary, I’d go with:
Maccheroni: Pasta, wine, and caprese are all good. Try the Carbonara, it’s a house specialty. Michelle Obama ate here when she visited
Dar Poeta, Da Baffetto, or Monte Carlo – for poor service, but good, cheap classic Roman pizza, with a classic thin crust, and a quicker meal.
Cafe’ Re: Hands down my favorite pizza place in Rome, provided you like thin crust. A longer meal though.
Casetta di Trastevere: super cheap, highly recommend Cacio e Pepe pasta, good if you’ll be in Trastevere
La Buvette: Finer dining, (though not fine dining) convenient location, little more expensive. (Our Meal at La Buvette)
Il Bacaro: This place has been recommended to me for fine, romantic dining, (it’s probably correspondingly expensive)
Salotto 42: is right by the Pantheon and has a great Aperitivo – snacks & wine with lots of italians.
Some other recommendations from a friend:
Le Mani in Pasta (Trastevere). Via de’Genovesi 37. Tel: 06 581 6017. Roman cuisine and seafood dishes.
Osteria Margutta (Spanish Steps). Via Margutta 82B. Tel: 06 323 1025. Great steak, cute atmosphere. On the street made famous in “Roman Holiday.” www.osteriamargutta.it.
Cul de Sac (Piazza Navona). Piazza Pasquino 73. Tel: 06 6880 1094.
Italian-style tapas and very extensive wine list. It gets crowded, so go early.
Maccheroni (Pantheon). Piazza delle Coppelle 44. Tel : 066 830 7895. Great steak and pasta dishes.
Al Bric (Campo de’Fiori). Creative Italian. Via del Pellegrino 51-52. Tel: 06 687 9533. http://www.bric.it.
Osteria dell’Arco (near my apartment). Via Giacomo Pagliari 11. Tel: 06 854 8438. Very nice owners, menu changes frequently.
Gusto (near Spanish Steps/Piazza del Popolo). Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9. Tel: 06 322 6273. Pizza and other Italian, great burgers. www.gusto.it.
Il Chianti (Trevi Fountain). Via del Lavatore 81. Tel: 06 678 7550. Great traditional Roman food.
La Piazzetta di Trastevere (Trastevere). Via Cardinale Merry del Val 16. Tel: 06 580 6241. Delicious pizza, great pasta, very affordable.
Bella Napoli (near my apartment). Via Alessandria 13. Tel: 06 854 2966. Great neighborhood pizza place, very friendly staff.
Dar Poeta (Trastevere). Vicolo del Bologna 45. Tel: 06 588 0516. Many, many varieties of wood-fired pizza. Great Nutella calzone dessert! http://www.darpoeta.com
Piccolo Abruzzo (near my apartment). Via Sicilia 237. Tel: 06 4282 0176. Non-stop appetizers, pasta dishes, meat dishes, wine, dessert, and after-dinner drinks – all for about €35/person. Delicious! www.piccoloabruzzo.it
Il Palazzetto (Spanish Steps). Vicolo del Bottino 8. (Can also be reached from the top of the Spanish Steps.) Tel: 06 6920 2055. Great location for drinks at sunset. www.ilpalazzettoroma.com
Tutti Frutti (Testaccio). Via Luca della Robbia 3A. Tel: 06 575 7902. Italian dishes with a creative twist. Not at all touristy. The Testaccio neighborhood is very authentically Roman – it used to be where all of the slaughterhouses were, but now is the heart of Roman nightlife.
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali (Monti). Via Madonna dei Monti 16. Tel: 06 679 8643. Many traditional Roman dishes; the “specials of the day” have a unique twist. Delicious! www.latavernadeiforiimperiali.com.
One note of caution on gelato (other than the fact that it is ridiculously delicious and addictive) – make sure NOT to sit at a table at a gelateria unless you really want table service. Table service will increase the price of your gelato by at least double.
I Caruso (near the Embassy). Via Collina 13/15. The best gelato in Rome!
Giolitti (Pantheon). Via degli Uffici del Vicario 40. Tel: 06 699 1243. This is where the Obamas ate gelato when they visited Rome. One of the oldest gelaterias in the city.
Della Palma (Pantheon). Via della Maddalena 20. The widest variety of gelato flavors in all of Rome.
San Crispino. Two locations in the Centro Storico – near the Pantheon at Piazza della Maddalena 3 and near Trevi Fountain at Via della Panetteria 42. A more upscale gelateria with fewer, more organic flavors.
Palazzo del Freddo (Esquilino). Via Principe Eugenio 67. A friend of mine who lived in Rome for several years said this is her favorite gelateria in all of Italy – and it’s pretty darn good!
International Wine Academy of Rome (Vicolo del Bottino 8, +39 06 699 0878) offers wine tastings several times a month. The sessions are held in both English and Italian and range in price from €15-€20. Check out the schedule on their website at www.wineacademyroma.com. Reservations are a must!
Trimani Wine Bar (near Termini). Via Cernaia 37B. Tel: 06 446 9630. Recommended as the best wine bar in Rome, they also serve appetizers and full meals.
Antica Enoteca (Spanish Steps). Via Della Croce 76. Tel: 06 679 0896. Great selection of wine, cute atmosphere, fun music at night, also serve excellent food. www.anticaenoteca.com.
Driver in Italy, Roberto Melaragno (owner). www.driverinitaly.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: +39 06 99 19 64 48. They offer private cars to the airport for €50 each way. By means of comparison, a taxi should be €40 one-way, but taxi drivers will often try to hassle or scam you, so I think it’s worth the extra €10 to take a private car.
Roma Shuttle, http://www.romashuttleairport.it/rates.html, email@example.com. I have not used this company, but their rates are very competitive and they come highly recommended from other Embassy folks.
Leonardo Express train from Fiumucino Airport (FCO) to Termini. From all arrival terminals at FCO, follow the train signs that lead to the station. You’ll have to go up and down several escalators. At Termini, the Leonardo Express leaves from track (binario) 25, all the way to the right-hand side of the station. It takes a good 7-10 minutes to walk from the ticket kiosks to track 25, so be prepared!
You can buy tickets at the self-service machines at the FCO train station and at Termini for €11 each way. (Unfortunately you don’t save any money by buying a round-trip ticket.) Make sure to validate your ticket in one of the yellow machines before boarding the train. For more information on train times and logistics, the website is as follows: http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=f12f3bf7c819a110VgnVCM1000003f16f90aRCRD.
It’s about a 20-minute walk or a 5-minute cab ride (costing about €7 during the day or €10 at night) from Termini to my apartment.