1. The Vatican. Go on a tour – you get in faster, you see more. Be warned though, any bag that is designed to be carried on two shoulders (regardless of how small) is considered a “large” bag and has to be left at security. Also, climb the stairs at St Peters – the view from the top is AMAZING, as are the mosaics inside the domes.
2. Go walkabout. Rome is seriously walkable – its incredibly flat in the central city. And to be honest, the underground probably doesn’t take you where you want to go anyway. Also, all the hidden gems of the city are to be found by foot, really. The places we found “by accident” were some of our favourites – Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo are two treats we stumbled on.
3. Get outside at night. Places like the coloseum look so different flood lit. I wish I had been well enough to do more than just the Coloseum at night.
4. Be a typical tourist. There is no shame in doing the standard circuit – Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Coloseum, St Peters, Trevi Fountain. Don’t let any travel snob try and tell you that your experience is less authentic because you went to tourist hot spots.
5. Eat all the pizza. The number of by-the-slice pizza places in Rome is incredible. And some of the varieties they offer are unusual, yet tasty. Eat the pizza, because I can’t any more.
We stayed at a cute wee Pensione near Termini station. Well located for getting everywhere, only 3 rooms, a little kitchen, a free computer in the room. Would stay again, if we could find it. Friends from our tour stayed in a backpacker somewhere closer to the Coloseum, which they didn’t overly rate. Before that, when we were with our tour, we spent a night at Camping Roma, well out of town. Given we arrived, dumped bags, then headed in to town for a walk, back for dinner, drinks at the camp bar, up early to leave for the Vatican, I cant review this at all.
Dine on street food. Seriously. No need for fancy restaurants in Rome. Eat Pizza and enjoy gelato. We did treat ourselves to one nice lunch, dining outside, near the Pantheon, and it was nice but not brilliant. Visit the gelato shop near the Pantheon, with its 200+ flavours.
A Roma Pass is fantastic. Gets you on the train over and over again, throughout the wider city, and gets you free or discounted entry into a range of places, including queue jumping at the Coloseum, which can save HOURS of waiting. The underground in Rome is limited, and not well signposted above ground, but it gets you around the place nicely and services are regular. We didn’t try any of the bus services, except out in the suburbs to get to and from the campground we had stayed at with our tour.