[All content and prices updated August 2013]

Why you should add Rome to your RTW travel list

Rome's not called The Eternal City for nothing - Italy's capital city has been a center of culture, politics and business for millennia, and is a fascinating place to visit.

  • Certainly the many buildings (and ruins) associated with the seat of the Roman Empire draw countless visitors every year.
  • The Colosseum alone is practically a symbol of the country, and the Pantheon is an amazing piece of ancient architecture.
  • Even more interesting than the Roman buildings themselves, however, is their juxtaposition right next to the buildings and streets and life of modern Rome.
  • Just because the city has its place in history secured doesn't mean Romans aren't going on with their present-day lives! The images of young Italians on their mobile phones sitting amidst the ruins of the Roman Forum, where Caesar himself might have walked, are proof enough that history is literally all around us.
  • Rome is also the city that surrounds the Vatican, an independent city-state which is the home to the Catholic Church. The Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica are some of the more popular attractions for tourists visiting Rome.
  • If you plan your visit well, you might even get to see a glimpse of the Pope during one of his public "audiences" in St. Peter's Square.
  • Italian food, Italian wine; what more do you need?
  • Gelato and food markets: you'll fall in love instantly with both. Affordable, too.

Indie travel tips for Rome

  • Movie buffs will enjoy a visit to the Piazza di Trevi, where you can toss a coin into the famous fountain (the square is very small and can get very crowded) of La Dolce Vita and Roman Holiday fame.
  • Opera fans will want to visit the Castel Sant'Angelo, where you can see the balcony from which Tosca leaps to her death.
  • The Trastevere neighborhood and old Jewish quarter are becoming well known for their excellent cafes and restaurants just off the beaten path, but in a city this large there is no shortage of nightlife.
  • The origin of pizza isn't too far away (Naples), so pizzas in Rome tend to be high quality - that is, if you're not at a tourist trap of a pizzeria! Get yourself to a place without an English menu and take a chance. You'll be glad you did. Oh, and don't forget to wash every meal down with some gelato!
  • Check out these weird and wonderful attractions in Rome that won't be packed like the normal tourist attractions:
    • Cappuchin Crypt
    • Museum of Purgatory
    • Museum of the Sanitary Arts
  • Food is an important part of traveling in Rome (and all of Italy for that matter).
  • If you're going to be in Italy, it's a necessity that you see a football game. Lazio and Roma are the two biggest club teams in Rome.

Transportation

Rome's giant Fiumicino Airport makes getting to this fabulous city easy - you can find airfare to Italy with our international airfare finder. If you're already in Europe you can also hop on a short flight to Rome or even take the train, too.

Accommodation

There are plenty of places to stay in this city, but it's also full of tourists - so book your hostel in advance. There are more hostels in Rome than in many other Italian cities, so your budget options are more plentiful. And that's good news, because most of the hotels in the historic center are certainly not cheap!

Photo credits: RedMaestro