It’s easy to get around cheaply. On arrival get a train from the airport to Termini station. The Leonardo Express takes 30 minutes and costs €11. Once you’re there the Metro is a cheap and easy option to travel to all the main sites. Tickets are for a set time slot rather than per journey – it’s just €1.5 for 100 minutes. If you decide to get a taxi from the airport there is a set price on the side of the cab so don’t pay more. Ask the price before you get in and be prepared to walk away if they quote a higher price.
Pick a great hotel We chose our hotel and flight via Expedia. There was almost too much choice but we made our selection based on location and affordability and came up with The Fortyseven Hotel, a 4-star boutique hotel close to the Colosseum with art-deco-inspired furnishings. We had a spacious twin room with every facility including what every beauty blogger needs – fluffy robes, Ortigia Negra toiletries, and a huge Netflix-ready TV screen. Attentive staff made our visit perfect and they coped brilliantly with a lost room key, a breakfast-to-go request, and our struggles with a corkscrew to open our supermarket-bought bottle of wine!
Take flat shoes. It’s a pretty easy city to navigate around and historic sites and attractions are close together but you will still end up walking for miles on cobbled streets. Unless you’re only going to use taxis to get around I’d say leave the heels behind.
Use your paper tourist map Every tourist in Rome seems to have a copy. They’re handed out in hotels and they have all the key sites marked on them. We circled all the places we didn’t want to miss and then worked out circular walks to take them in. Sometimes we went off piste but it didn’t matter as there’s a tourist attraction or antiquity around every corner. You won’t have to worry about roaming charges for your Google Maps.
Remember your sunglasses and SPF Even in late February the sun can catch you unawares. Take advantage of the outdoor cafes and bars, drink coffee and eat gelato in between the sightseeing.
Attractions can be very busy in peak season so plan ahead and book tickets for the things you just don’t want to miss. Our trip was in February so we missed the worst of the crowds and chose to visit the Colosseum on the day without booking ahead. The queue wasn’t too long and the only thing we had to avoid was the number of selfie-stick sellers!
Consider booking a guided tour We joined a small group tour with The Roman Guy to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. Not only did this mean that we skipped the line but we got into the Vatican an hour before it was open to the public only stopping for a quick dawn photo of St Peter’s Basilica before heading straight for the Sistine Chapel while it quiet and calm. The tour included the admission costs and our guide was able to show us all the highlights to make sure we didn’t miss a thing. There was plenty of flexibility too aided by headsets that meant we could look around without losing our guide. Stunningly beautiful, there was so much art to see, I could only capture a fraction in the photos below. The only place you can’t take photos is in the chapel itself but believe me, the memories will stay with you for a long time.
Visit the Palatine Hill & Forum This will take you back to the mythological times of Romulus & Remus and the founding of Rome. You’ll see ancient temples, homes of emperors, and the forum and the senate. Almost too much to take in but a must for lovers of classics and ancient history. The ticket you buy for the Colosseum will gain you entrance to the site and is valid for 2 days.
Find a great place to eat. It’s pretty hard to find anywhere that doesn’t serve amazing food and drink in Rome. The Travestere area had the biggest choice and a great atmosphere without the hubbub of the city – it was just a short walk across the Tiber from our hotel. We also ate a couple of times in the Piazza Navona which has some gorgeous restaurants although they’re a little more pricey than some we found. Eating well in Rome really is a piece of cake – or should I say a slice of pizza!
There is really so much more to tell you and show you about Rome but the real magic is in visiting yourself! We stayed for 5 days and found this was just enough time to see the main sights and to have time to take in the culture of Rome. We felt that we would need months or years to see everything but it would certainly be no hardship to have stayed there longer.
We were invited by The Roman Guy to take a complimentary tour of the Vatican & Sistine Chapel.