Rome, the eternal city of romance, rich history and architecture that will leave you breathless! Not to mention the food, art and vibe of the city. I first visited Rome back in 2007 with my parents and I fell in love with it. So of course, when it came to the start of our global adventure Rome was top of the list. Italy was the first country Peter and I visited together outside of Africa and it will always hold a special place in our hearts.
I have put together the guide below for an unforgettable trip to the city of LOVE.
Where to Stay
Lazio (San Pietro/Vatican area) – Looking for the best area to stay in Rome was quite a challenge for us. We ended up settling for an Airbnb apartment close to the Vatican since we only had 3 nights in Rome, and the location turned out to be perfect.
Our apartment was 450 meters from Ottaviano Metro Station, from which you can reach all the tourist destinations of Rome and a short distance to the south of Vatican city. We were able to reach every destination via the train service and never needed to make use of trams, buses or taxis.
There is no need to book your airport transfer in advance. There are plenty of options available as soon as you enter the airport. Although there is a train and shuttle bus option, we opted for the taxi service as it’s more convenient.
Mostly because you give the taxi driver the address and you will be dropped off at the doorstep of your accommodation. Whereas with the train or bus you could be left stranded at a bus stop in the middle of Rome not knowing which direction to go in next. However if you don’t mind trying to find your own way, the shuttle bus and train options are quite a bit cheaper.
Below is a general guide for transport options from each airport in Rome (assuming your accommodation is in the Vatican area).
Fiumicino airport (FCO)
- Taxi: Approximately € 35- €40 and should take about 35 minutes
- Shuttle bus: € 6 per person – about 50 minutes
- Train to Termini station (€ 14 per person – 25 minutes) and then the metro to Ottaviano San Pietro (ticket € 1,50)
Ciampino Airport (CIA)
- Taxi: € 30 fixed price (beware of scammers) and should take 20/30 minutes
- Bus: Take the bus to Anagnina Station and then take the subway – Battistini direction – to the metro station “Ottaviano San Pietro” (ticket price € 1,50)
- Train to Termini Station (€ 10 per person – 25 minutes) and then the metro to Ottaviano San Pietro (ticket € 1.50)
What to do
The Vatican museums
I highly recommend pre-booking tickets online here. Queue’s become excessively long early on in the morning and pre booked tickets will allow you to skip the queue. You will be charged a 4 EUR booking fee to purchase tickets online. So tickets will cost 20 EUR instead of the 16 EUR that you would pay at the site but it is well worth.
St Peters Basilica
St Peter’s Basilica was until recently the largest church ever built and it remains one of the holiest sites in Christendom. It is separate to the Vatican museums and entrance is free.
Climb St Peter’s cupola (dome)
You have two options to climb the dome; 1. Climb all the way by foot (551 steps), the cost is 5 EUR or option 2. Take the lift and then climb the rest on foot (320 steps), the cost is 7 EUR. However either way you will need to climb a narrow, spiral staircase to reach the top. The climb will take about 10 minutes and once you at the top you will have a magnificent 360 degree view of St Peter’s Square and the city of Rome.
Take a night stroll to St Peter’s Basilica
The church lit up at night is breathtakingly beautiful. Without the crowds it gives you the chance to think about where you are and what you’re looking at.
Sunset at Tiber River
We came across one of the most beautiful sunset spots on the Tiber River, located at the Castelo de Santo Angelo in the heart of Rome. The most beautiful time of day in any city is that half an hour of fleeting dusk, after the sun has sunk below the horizon but there is still light in the sky, mixed with the twinkling city lights.
You can purchase tickets at the ticket booth on site for 14 EUR. Beware of unofficial ‘tour guides’ trying to sell tickets outside the entrance. We were told that we would have to queue for over an hour or we could buy tickets from them for 30 EUR and skip the queue. However, we decided to take the chance and queue at the official ticket booth which took us only 15 minutes.
Make a wish at the trevi fountain
Expect massive crowds throughout the day and it can be difficult to get a good photo minus all the people. But no trip to Rome is complete without a visit here. The location is also central to some of the most beautiful streets of Rome. Full of music, art, gelato and tempting aromas of pasta.
Rome’s picturesque cobblestone alleyways surround the Spanish Steps and is home to the main shopping district of Rome.This is one of the prettiest areas to take a walk around particularly in the evening. There are a wide variety of bars, restaurants and cafes.