If you’re a Rome first-timer, you probably have more than a few questions on your mind about the practicalities of your trip. But the good news is that you’re far from alone; we see the same questions about visiting Rome cropping up time and time again from travellers who aren’t quite sure what to expect. No matter how many times you’ve seen Roman Holiday, nothing quite prepares you for a Roman holiday of your own. The art, the buildings, the food – it’s all so much more intense and vibrant than you can imagine.
Of course, the smoothest and simplest way of experiencing Rome for the first time is via a tour, which will give you the reassurance of a structure while still leaving lots of time for you to do your own thing. You can see our full range of tours of Rome here. But whether you decide to opt for the guided route or go it alone, there are some fundamentals you’ll want covered before you jump on that plane.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most commonly asked questions about holidays in Rome.
What to see in Rome?
On a first visit to Rome, there are some Roman sight you just can’t compromise on seeing. The Colosseum is, of course, top of the list for many – although to be honest, it’s pretty impossible not to see. A massive Roman amphitheatre in the heart of the city is hard to miss. But though almost all visitors to Rome will glimpse this iconic building from the outside, entering it takes a bit more effort. The line to get in can get very long indeed, especially in the peak summer months – so we recommend joining a skip the line Colosseum tour.
And then, of course, there’s the Vatican. The most famous treasure in the world’s smallest state is s Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel ceiling, but the Vatican Museums are absolutely bursting with priceless art and other wonders too. Get inside insights with one of our Vatican tours, or even attend an audience with the Pope.
Rome is also full of gorgeous outdoor spaces like the Villa Borghese — a wonderfully landscaped park that houses several fascinating cultural attractions. And then there are all the galleries, museums and churches we simply don’t have space for here. If you’re looking for a plan, a Rome tour will be your best friend. Our blog post about Rome’s top sights might also offer some inspiration.
What to wear in Rome?
You might think of golden sunshine all year round when you think of Rome, but the city does have fairly clear-cut seasons – albeit milder ones than in European destinations further north. January and February are the coldest months, and you’ll need a warm coat and jumper then. In fact, snow is not unheard of during the winter here. Spring and autumn offer warm daytime temperatures where a t-shirt and trousers will usually be sufficient, but in the chillier evenings you’ll need a jacket. And in Rome’s sizzling summers, less is more when it comes to layers. However, keep in mind that many churches won’t let you in unless you dress modestly. For some, this means wearing long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt. In other churches, you’ll get a pass so long as your shoulders and thighs are covered.
Where to stay in Rome?
The most popular areas for tourists to stay in are in the Centro Storico (Historic Centre) – places like Trastevere, Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona, and the Vatican and Prati neighbourhood, all of which put you within walking distance of the top historic and cultural attractions. If you’re planning to do lots of sightseeing, you’ll definitely find it easiest if you find accommodation in this part of the city. Make sure you book well in advance, though – in peak season, accommodation in the Centro Storico fills up fast, especially the more affordable options.
How many days should I spend in Rome?
There’s no single answer to this. Basically, the longer you have in Rome the better! This is a dynamic city, home to over 2.8 million people, and once you run out of headline tourist attractions there will always be more obscure points of interest and authentic local hangouts to discover. Like London and New York, Rome is a city you could spend a lifetime exploring.
Having said all that, most us have time and budget restrictions to consider – and with that in mind, a four-day weekend is usually long enough to take in the most iconic sights, eat lots of excellent food, drink lots of excellent wine, and fit in plenty of freestyle wandering too.
Find out more about the Rome tours we offer now.