Last Updated on July 24, 2020
History, culture, religion, and architecture – these are just some of the reasons why Rome is a favorite destination among many discerning travelers. If you are planning to explore this in your next trip, keep on reading and learn from some of the Rome tips that I am sharing with you:
7 Rome tips from local experts
1 Visit Rome at the Right Time (not in summer!)
If you ask travel experts, they will most likely agree that timing is key when visiting Rome. While most people flock to Rome during the summer months, I am going to be honest with you: summer is not a good time to visit Rome. It is hot, and it is crowded. That means there are long lines in front of the attractions, and even if you buy a ‘skip the line’ ticket, you will have to deal with packed museums and sights. Summer is peak season and hotel rates will also be high compared to off-peak season. I recommend visiting during shoulder season – spring and autumn are ideal. Just be aware that around Easter Rome tends to get crowded, too, because many pilgrims head to the Eternal City’s to attend the Pope’s Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
2 Stay Hydrated in Rome, but don’t pay for water
The weather in Rome can be hot – even in late September, I still found myself sweating profusely while pounding the pavement. Some people, especially those from countries with a cooler climate, can find it hard to adjust to the heat. Definitely always carry water with you, and don’t be afraid to drink the tap water. Rome is known to have excellent tap water and has been known for its good drinking water for over 2,000 years, when during the Roman Empire, the first water aqueducts were built in Rome. In fact, you can still see some of these ancient aqueducts around town. You can simply refill your water bottle at the cast iron fountains you’ll see all over the city.
3 Take Advantage of Free Art in Rome
Rome is an amazing place for art lovers. Art is thriving in many parts of the city, and in many places, you can see art for free. There are many art pieces that you can see free of charge. Diana has a fantastic guide to the best free art in Rome over on ItalyTranslated.com, and here is a great list of the best free contemporary art galleries in Rome.
Seeing the Sistine Chapel, Santa Maria del Polpolo, and Santa Maria della Vittoria are just some of the things that should be included in your itinerary, but also check out some of Rome’s cool street art. Culture Trip has a great overview of the best paces to see street art in Rome.
4 Bring Your student ID
This is the only one of my Rome tips that is only valid for students, but if you are a student and you are visiting Rome on a budget, make sure to always bring your student ID with you. There are many places that offer significant discounts for students. From shopping to different attractions, you will be thankful to take advantage of student discounts.
Speaking of visiting Rome on a budget: Lonely Planet put together a fantastic list of the 40 best free things to do in Rome.
5 Do Not Buy a RomaPass in Advance
With RomaPass, you will gain two free entries to various sites, and you can enjoy significant discounts in other attractions. However, before buying, you should first plot your itinerary and consider which ones will be worth it. There are some attractions wherein cutting the line will be unnecessary. One of the best Rome tips I can give you is to research thoroughly where it can be used and how many of those places you want to visit, so that you know if it will indeed be worth your money.
6 Learn how to Say NO
Expect to see salesmen roaming on the streets of Rome, chasing tourists, and persistently asking you to buy something that you may not actually need. They will insist, but do your best to resist. This article has some great tips how to avoid getting hustled and bothered on the streets. Some might even offer you free roses, but be warned: in the end you will still have to pay for it! So stay away from the touts, unless it’s starting to pour down all of a sudden and you don’t have an umbrella, then those umbrellas, that seem to appear out of nowhere, will come in handy. Feel free to negotiate the price, don’t settle for the first price they’re asking.
7 Skip Accommodation in the City Center
Hotels in the center of Rome can be expensive. They can offer accessibility, but they are dreaded by budget-conscious travelers. With this, head a bit further out of the city. There are plenty of affordable choices, and the best thing is that they are easily connected to the center. With the Rome metro (underground), it is easy to get to the city center from further away places.
For a truly authentic Italian living experience, I recommend staying in an Airbnb. There are plenty of Airbnb’s all over Rome, and they’re usually more affordable than hotels, especially if you’re traveling with your family or in a larger group. But the true benefit of an Airbnb apartment is staying in a local neighborhood, and finding a local bakery, a coffee shop for your daily espresso or cappuccino, and a small grocer where you can pick up salami and fresh mozzarella. Combined with a baguette, some fresh tomatoes and some grapes, your picnic lunch is complete (and it’s cheap!). My personal favorite neighborhood is Trastevere. If you don’t have an Airbnb account yet, use my referral code to sign up and get up to $40 off your first booking.