The skyline of Rome, Italy
travel tips

Six tips for visiting Rome - from a local

Jiayi Wang

Contributing writer

Planning a trip to Rome? Here are our top picks...

Stay: Hotel Indigo - Rome

Discount pass: Roma Pass

Vatican tour: Small group tour

Food tour: Trastevere food tour

Day trip: Assisi and Orvieto

Steeped in history, art and culture, Rome is one of the most-visited cities in the world. However, like many big cities, the Eternal City can also present a few hurdles for visitors, with its crowds and complex logistics.

Having lived in Rome for many years, here are my top tips to help you make the most of your time here. This isn't about what to see or do when you get here.

Rather, we're focusing on practical information for your trip including how to avoid long lines, save money, and find the best food in the city.

1. Plan to spend at least three days in Rome

Rome has a lot to offer, especially for first-time visitors. Be sure to spend at least three days in the Eternal City to savour all the best views and the most delicious meals.

If you stay for less, you might find yourself rushing from place to place without enough time to fully enjoy all the gorgeous ancient monuments and sights.

Moreover, some attractions (such as the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums) can easily take up more than half of your day each. Three days is the minimum; more is better!

Frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

2. Pre-book tickets for Rome's major attractions

Rome is pretty much always filled with tourists, even in the winter (the low season). So, it’s important to book entrance tickets to popular attractions before arriving in person.

The Colosseum and the Vatican Museums are two of the most visited attractions in the world. Tickets to the Colosseum, Roman Forum or Palatine Hill (a combined ticket) need to booked in advance online or by phone and unless you're familiar with the sites, it's worth considering a guided tour.

Tickets for the Vatican Museums also need to be booked in advance either through the official website (which can be a bit confusing) or a travel company (easier, but a bit more expensive). If you can, consider taking a tour to get more insight into the history and meaning of the art.

Be sure to visit their respective websites to reserve your spot because otherwise, you can easily spend hours and hours waiting in line. In the scorching hot summer, this is especially unpleasant.

The interior of the Colosseum

3. Save money with the Roma Pass

There’s a 48-hour or 72-hour Roma Pass that will allow you to get into a certain number of museums or archaeological sites for free.

The 72-hour pass, for example, gives you two free skip-the-line admissions to museums (or ancient sites like the Colosseum). It also gives you discounted ticket prices for all other museums that you visit afterwards!

Just be aware that you do need to book entry to some sites in advance, including the Colosseum, and there may be a small booking fee (usually only a couple of euros).

Picturesque street view in Trastevere, Rome

4. The best food in Rome is in Trastevere

While the centro storico (historic center) has lots of good restaurants, the best food in town is in the foodie neighbourhood of Trastevere.

This area is great for a stroll before dinner; the streets are less touristy, and the atmosphere is calmer, too.

When you’re ready to eat, Nannarella and Tonnarello are some great options. There are also some excellent food tours in the area.

Via di Panico in Ponte, Rome

5. Watch out for pickpockets in Rome

This is perhaps the most important travel tip for Rome: the pickpockets in town are extremely skilled at what they do.

Rome is, in fact, the second most pickpocketed city in Europe (the first one being Barcelona). Having spent 14 years in Rome, I personally don’t know anyone who hasn’t gotten pickpocketed at least once here (including myself and my family).

Be especially careful when visiting popular attractions, or when taking the metro and buses. Always, always keep your bags within sight, and never leave a bag hanging off a chair at a restaurant.

Looking down at Rome from the Victor Emmanuel II Monument

6. Buy bus tickets before boarding

You cannot buy bus tickets when you get on the bus in Rome. Instead, you can buy one at any of the tabacchi (a tobacco shop) or edicole (newsstands) around the city.

A ticket costs €1.50 and is valid for 75 minutes on any public transport, including the metro and trams. You can also buy passes for 24, 48 or 72 hours.

In many cases, you’ll find that you can use the metro to get to where you want to go. If that’s the case, it’s definitely a faster and more convenient option. However, there are only three metro lines in Rome, so you might need to use a bus or tram instead.

Planning a trip to Rome? Read our neighbourhood guide, travel costs estimate or three-day Rome itinerary. Or, for more on Italy, read our travel guides.

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Jiayi Wang

Author - Jiayi Wang

Jiayi Wang is a travel writer, photographer and blogger with a special love for less visited destinations. Having been raised in Italy since she was six years old, Jiayi calls Rome home.

Last Updated 6 November 2023


Italy is one of those countries that has something for everyone, from food, beaches and mountains to art and ancient history.