WHEN YOU GO:
Depending on the U.S. departure city, flights are available to Rome on Alitalia, British Airways, Delta, KLM, Lufthansa, SAS, TWA, American, United and Continental. The 800 phone numbers and Web links for these airlines are available on the Airlines page.
If you are traveling elsewhere in Italy and/or Europe by train, you may want to consider a Eurail pass or an Italy-only regional train pass. These are available from Europe Through the Back Door, Inc., (206) 771-8303 and the Eurail and Rail Europe Web links on the Travel Info page.
There are many lodging choices in Rome, including pensiones, hotels, a large youth hostel, and convents. To enhance your Rome experience, we recommend you stay in the ancient city, bordered by the train station, Colosseum, and the Vatican. The most reasonably priced rooms are found near the train station, but beware that some establishments can be a bit sleazy there. A recommended area is near Piazza Navona (Rome Map, link below). High-season prices are from mid-March through October.
Good value lodging accommodations and eating establishments are described in detail in Rick Steves' Italy. Rick Steves also provides excellent advice on the sites and getting around in Rome and other great Italian destinations. This and other travel guides on Italy and Europe are available via the amazon.com link below.
Fast Travel Facts:
Rome has a population of nearly 4 million people, versus its population of 1 million during the time of Augustus Caesar. Spring and fall are the most pleasant seasons. Winter is mild; summer is relatively hot. Most Romans take their vacations in August, so you may find many shops closed during this month.
You will not want a car in Rome. Sightseeing is easy by foot, taxi, bus, or the subway.
Museum hours are generally 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Most museums, except the Vatican, are closed on Monday and on Sunday after 1:00 p.m.. Churches usually close for lunch and require modest dress: no shorts, no bare shoulders, shorts or miniskirts. We recommend that you confirm your sightseeing plans each day, since hours can vary.
Rome is notorious for pick pockets who hang out at the ancient sights and on buses. Some of these gangs are often referred to as "Gypsy children," even though they are not necessarily of Gypsy origin. These children will corner unwary tourists by holding out a newspaper or piece of cardboard, and try to distract them for a moment. If you see these gangs, hold onto your wallet and camera bag. Let them know that you are aware of them, shouting at them to stay away. DO NOT keep anything of value in your pockets, keep your money belt out of sight, and we recommend that women do not carry purses.
Most pay phones accept only telephone cards issued by Telecom Italia (una carta telefonica). They are available at newspaper and tobacco stands and at may bars.
Top Ten Attractions:
The Colosseum, Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Vatican City, the Vatican Museum, Capitoline Hill, St. Peters Basilica, Villa Borghese.
Useful WWW Sites:
Walking Tours of Rome: sightseeing itineraries, hotels, restaurants, safety tips and more
Italian Trains: Timetable for train connections between all Italian railway stations