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Rome: 7 Things Travelers Need To Know Before Visiting

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Rome is an incredible place to visit no matter what type of travel experience you are in search of. History buffs, foodies, shopaholics, and adventurers will all find something to love about Rome.

This culturally rich city weaves its history throughout the fabric of its modern life.

In Rome, modern buildings tower over ancient ruins, and there is something exciting to discover around every corner.

Colosseum in rome

But before setting off to Rome, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this post, we'll cover everything you need to know about traveling to Rome, including:

  • What are the costs for travelers?
  • Things to know about culture and etiquette
  • What are the top attractions?
  • How safe is it?
  • Local food and drinks
  • How good is the WiFi?
  • How long can you stay?

Ready? Here are the top 7 things you need to know before visiting Rome:

Trevi Fountain In Rome, Italy

Did you know…  Rome was recently ranked as the best Food Destination by Tripadvisor and is a must-visit city for any serious foodie. One of the best ways to eat your way through Rome is to take a food tour or cooking class where locals spill their secrets on the top places to eat, or how to recreate the city’s famous dishes at home.

1) Rome Affordability

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The currency in Rome is the Euro or EUR. The current exchange rate is €1 EUR = $1.08 USD and $1 USD = €0.93.

Here are the average costs for travelers in USD:

Accommodation

  • Average hotel price: One night at a 3-star hotel typically costs around $330, or $470 for a 4-star hotel.
  • Luxury 5-star hotels: Rome has some great 5-star hotels which can cost about $750 per night. If you really want to indulge, ultra-luxury hotels like the J.K. Place Roma in the heart of Rome have rooms starting at $1,500, with master balcony suites costing over $3,000.
  • If you're on a budget: Rome’s hostels average $35-50 for a bed in a dorm during peak travel times or around $85 – $130 per night for a private room.

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Piazza di Spagna in Rome, italy. Spanish steps in Rome, Italy in the morning

Food

  • A 3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two costs around $75.
  • For a cheap meal at an inexpensive restaurant, expect to pay around $20.
  • A beer costs about $5.50, while a cappuccino is a steal at $1.75.

Transportation

  • Getting around Rome on public transportation is a great option. The buses, trams, trolleys, and metro are priced according to zone, making most areas within the city easily accessible via public transit. One-way tickets cost $1.65 and are good for 75 minutes. One-day passes are available for $7.70 and a week pass costs $26.
  • Cycling in Rome is gaining popularity and more bike lanes are being created throughout the city. Because Rome has big hills it is recommended to rent an e-bike. Bike rentals typically cost about $15-$20/day. There are also e-bike share companies including Lime, Helbiz, and Dott with docks around the city.
  • Taxi fares start at $4.40 and cost an additional $2.40 per mile traveled. Taxis should only be hailed from taxi stands. Uber is available in Rome and often has better rates.
Woman looking out over rome from a bridge

2) Culture And Etiquette In Rome

Check this list before your trip! Here are some of the major Dos and Don’ts in Rome.

  • DO learn some Italian: A few words will go a long way, for example, please (per favore), thank you (grazie), and hello (buongiorno).
  • DON’T forget your water bottle: Fresh water is available at over 2,000 public drinking fountains throughout the city, so do as the Romans do and stop for a free drink or fill up your reusable water bottle when it runs dry.   
  • DO be respectful: When visiting churches silence your phone, speak in a quiet voice, and do not disturb people who are praying. It is also a good idea to dress modestly when visiting a church, and never bring food inside. Respect all monuments, and don’t make headlines by trying to take a dip in the Trevi Fountain.
  • DON’T expect to eat early: Romans eat later than Americans are used to  – lunch is typically around 1:30 and dinner starts around 8 pm.
  • DO leave a tip: leave a few extra euros or include a tip of around 10% at restaurants and cafes.
  • DON’T wait to buy a ticket: book tickets for the attractions you want to see ahead of time to avoid waiting in line.
diners sit outside at a restaurant in Rome, one of the best destinations for 2023

3) Top Attractions in Rome

Rome is full of fun things to do. In fact, it is the European city with the most free attractions, with a whopping 553 free sightseeing attractions and 34 free museums! Here are a few of the top things to see and do while visiting the city:

  • Colosseum – the almost 2,000-year-old amphitheater was once the site of gladiator fights and other public events. It is a must-see on any visit to Rome. Tourists can explore the ruins and learn more about its history; just be sure to buy a ticket online in advance to avoid massive lines.
  • Vatican City – The world’s smallest city-state and home of the Pope is located in the heart of Rome. Visitors can explore St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. Tourists should take care to dress modestly when visiting the Vatican.
  • Pantheon – An incredibly well-preserved domed monument that was originally built as a Roman temple before being converted to a church. Visitors can join a tour or take a self-guided walk through the building.
Crowds of tourists standing around the Colosseum in Rome Italy

4) How Safe Is It For Tourists?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As far as big cities go, Rome is relatively safe. However, there are still some things that travelers should keep in mind to stay safe during their visit:

  • Beware of thieves: pickpocketing is the most common crime that tourists encounter in Rome. Be on high alert in busy areas near the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Square.
  • Buy tickets from the source: It is a good idea to book tickets ahead of time to avoid having to wait in long lines, and it also is helpful in avoiding scammers. If you are buying tickets in person, get them from an official ticket booth, and never buy tickets for an attraction from someone on the street.
  • Know how to call for help: Emergency services can be reached by calling 113.
  • DO get travel insurance: Travel insurance can help in health emergencies as well as with covering the costs of any travel mishaps during your Rome trip. For 5 great options, read more here.
Aerial View Of Saint Peters Square In The Vatican City And The City Of Rome In Italy

5) Local Eats And Drinks

One of the best parts of travel is checking out the local cuisine, and Rome is a fantastic place to try new foods. Don't let yourself leave without trying at least one of the following:

Food

Italians take their food very seriously, and nowhere is the culinary scene more famous than in Rome. Many classic Italian dishes were born here, so be sure to try some traditional favorites.

  • Fried Artichokes – originating in the Jewish Ghetto of Rome, these crispy artichokes are twice fried in olive oil which makes the leaves crunchy and the heart tender and soft.
  • Carbonara – A traditional pasta dish made with eggs, cured pork, and pecorino cheese.
  • Cacio e pepe – translating to “cheese and pepper”, cacio e pepe is a bold pasta dish made with simple ingredients – grated pecorino cheese and lots of black pepper.
  • Trapizzino – A popular Roman street food that is essentially a triangular pizza pocket stuffed with a variety of classic Roman dishes.
a table in Rome displays food for sale at the restuarant including pizza and pasta

Drinks

  • Aperol Spritz– a popular aperitif consisting of prosecco, Aperol, and soda water, served with an orange slice.
  • Espresso- Called a caffè normale in Italian, do as the locals do and drink it standing at the coffee bar.
  • Wine – Italy is famous all over the world for its exquisite wines, and Rome is a great city to sample some of the country’s finest. 
a glass orange aperol spritz sits on a table with food in Rome

6) How's the WiFi?

Using Ookla, an internet speed testing service, the average internet speeds in Rome for March 2023 were 44.93mbps download and 10.94mbps upload.

Rome, Italy, domed building behind a canal

7) How Long Can I Stay?

Americans traveling to Italy can stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without needing a visa. Passports need to have at least three months of validity past the date of your departure. Visitors who arrive from a Schengen country must obtain a declaration of prescence form from their hotel or local police station, and submit it to police within eight days of arriving.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.