Travel Tips to Rome

Arrived Rome 4 days ago and seen a good part of the city so far. Based upon our experience, here are some tips for travel to Rome:

  1. There are no "easily accessible" public bathrooms, even in the tourist spots. However consider eating at a restaurant, not a side-street shop, and there is a higher likelihood of finding a bathroom there.
  2. There are free flowing drinking water fountains through out the city. Some of them gives a feeling that the water may not be for drinking but I was told the water is clean and we survived :)
  3. IMHO the side-street shops sell really authentic food as opposed to big restaurants, and it's really cheap. You can NOT miss eating pizzas (which is sold by the weight as opposed to S, M, L or XL) in this city. And they are just fantastic. A Medium size pizza can range from 6-10 Euros.
  4. The best option to roam around the city is taking a City Tour using the numerous available options. Most of them stop at the main destinations and allow to hop-on and hop-off any where in the route. The following questions will help you decide amongst the available options of buses:
    • How many buses in the fleet ? (Typically 35-45)
    • Frequency of buses - how frequently they come ? (Typically 20 minutes)
    • Does it cover all the major spots or at least the ones you want ? (Most of them do)
    • Do they have English language guide ? (All of them generally have)
    • Do they have alternate routes ? This allows you to visit different parts of the city in the same day.
    • Do they have any 2-day tickets available ? This allows you to cover all the venues at an easy pace.
    • Do NOT purchase the City Tour tickets from the hotel as they are easily available from the different bus stops. Roma Cristiana ORP (we took this one) or Bus #110 are two popular ones and have great coverage of the city.
  5. Here are some good spots in Rome that should not be missed (in no particular order):
    • piazza Navona (1/2 day of fun & shopping)
    • San Pietro in Vaticano (approx 2-4 hrs)
    • Fontana di Trevi (2 hours)
    • Vatican Museum (Timings differ on each day so check the schedule and plan for 1-1.5 hour long wait in the queue and a 4 hour trip in the museum, it's definitely worth it)
    • Colosseo and Roman Forum (1/2 day)
    • Pantheon (2 hours)

    Each of these location is covered by all the City Tour buses.

  6. Do NOT miss the variety of ice creams here, known as Gelato in the local language. And you can mix-and-match different flavors in the same cone and really colorful ones. Just look for Gelateria banner on the shop and that's your destination for gelatos. Of course, you can also find Spagetteria, Birreria, Pizzeria, Cafetteria and Trattoria.
  7. If you buy any memorabilia from the side street shops, make sure to haggle. At certain instances we were able to cut the price down by 50%. This may not be true every time though :)
  8. You see a more authentic part of Rome when traveling through the city streets. The stone streets and houses, accordion play by local artists, water fountains, and many other "Roamy" artifacts. Most of the tourist destinations are approachable through the streets so it's recommended to take a city map from the hotel and walk around.
  9. I already talked about walking in the previous point, but remember it's LOT of walking so make sure to carry a really comfortable shoe.
  10. The price of eating in and taking out is different. If you plan to sit in the restaurant then go sit and somebody will come and serve you. Otherwise in self service mode you are expected to go out of the restaurant. We were actually told at one instance to move out of Gelateria.
  11. Tipping is not expected in the restaurants.
  12. Don't forget to charge your camera batteries and carry an extra memory card, Rome is a beautiful city.
  13. Most of the people wait for the "Walk" symbol to cross a major road. At small streets, with no Walk symbol, just cross the street like that. It's hard the first time but then you get used to it. For me, it felt so much like Delhi so no issues in that ;-)

Here is the travel album so far:

The Sun Tech Days in Rome start later today. Read all about them here.

All my travel tips to Europe are aggregated here.

Technorati: traveltips rome conf suntechdays

Comments:

Thanks for the tips!

We're planning a trip to Italy for next year, so your list is fantastic!

Thanks!

Posted by Eduardo Scoz on September 23, 2007 at 11:57 PM PDT #

Glad you find them useful! Feel free to ask any questions you may have while I'm still here for next 20 hours or so :)

Posted by Arun Gupta on September 24, 2007 at 12:05 AM PDT #

nice pics
there is a back way into the vatican museum so that you don't have to wait 1 1/2 hours - it starts over at the sisten (sp?) chapel - also you can get tickets for the coluseum at other places than the coluseum...which has a rather long wait
- Joe

Posted by Joe on September 24, 2007 at 12:50 AM PDT #

Waiting in the queue had it's own fun :) Sistine Chapel is completely amazing but I wish I was more aware of the history to feel connected.

Posted by Arun Gupta on September 24, 2007 at 02:33 AM PDT #

[Trackback] Here is a summary of my Europe Summer 2007 Trip Report: 6 Events Rails Conf Europe in Berlin NetBeans Day and Tech Days in Rome GlassFish Day, NetBeans Day and Tech Days in Milan 6 sessions & Booth Duties (JRuby,...

Posted by Arun Gupta's Blog on September 30, 2007 at 10:53 PM PDT #

Great tips! I've got a trip to Rome coming up... guess I'll try these out!

Posted by Traveller on November 12, 2007 at 10:51 PM PST #

The price of eating in and taking out is different. If you plan to sit in the restaurant then go sit and somebody will come and serve you. Otherwise in self service mode you are expected to go out of the restaurant. We were actually told at one instance to move out of Gelateria.

Posted by LAPTOP BATTERY on November 27, 2008 at 08:57 AM PST #

Hi All,
I realise this is quite an old post, but for anyone planning a trip to Rome who comes across this page in their research, I would highly recommend taking a look at the KLM Destination Guide for travel tips on Rome.
http://www.klm.com/destinationguide/gb_en/airline-ticket/europe/southern-europe/italy/rome/city.htm

This online travel guide also has information on close to 100 cities worldwide - well worth a look!
Bon Voyage - enjoy Rome!
Ciao

Posted by Rebecca on June 14, 2009 at 11:14 PM PDT #

I like what you have to say about the sites, food and shopping.

i am from San Francisco, Can u recommend a good hotel in Rome, convinient for a tourist, clean, family friendly, i have two kids.

After Rome I want to go to PISA. How many days do we need in PISA?

Posted by Andyji on June 24, 2009 at 04:58 AM PDT #

Andyji,

The hotel for us was chosen by Sun so had not much choice. I'd recommend to stay somewhere in the downtown, may be closer to local train station.

We made a day trip from Rome to Pisa and that was on a slightly rush schedule. You can consider taking a day stop over at Pisa which will give you some time to look around. Read more about our day trip at:

http://blogs.sun.com/arungupta/entry/rome_to_pisa_a_day

Posted by Arun Gupta on June 24, 2009 at 02:08 PM PDT #

Hi Arun,

Nice Tips for Rome, best one so far I have seen on Internet which suggests that Sun Guys are also good at writing travel articles.

Posted by Mayank on August 14, 2009 at 10:29 AM PDT #

Many Thanks for such a useful information about Rome

I have just rent an holiday apartment with one of the agencies available on internet (Leonhouses I have attached their link, they have been quite friendly and provided me with a good accommodation hopefully!) and was seeking for some tips about the city: I do not how I have found your post I am going to print and bring with me!!

Thanks again
Jesus

Posted by Jesus: First Time Rome Traveler on July 04, 2010 at 02:05 AM PDT #

Stumbled upon this blog and finding information quite useful. I have a tight scheduled 4.5 day trip to Rome. But would like to cover most of Italy as I am getting a rare opportunity. Can you suggest if it is possible to cover: 1) 1.5 days in Rome (including Vatican) 2) 1 day to Venice and back 3) 1 day to Florence/Pisa and back 4) 1 day to Capri and back Thank you.

Posted by Kart on May 18, 2011 at 08:47 PM PDT #

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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.


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