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Rome is one of those cities that offers something for everyone. Whether it’s the Italian food, ancient Roman architecture, museums, or just Rome’s historic center, the Eternal City sure has it all.

There’s just one problem: How do you make the most out of your trip to Rome?

Well, the simple answer is by planning ahead! By knowing the basics like how to time your visits to popular tourist attractions to avoid the long queues, the best way to pay for things, and how to dress when visiting religious sites, your trip becomes a whole lot easier!

I’ve put together some of my top Rome travel tips to help you prepare for your trip. I’ve included all the things I wish I had known before visiting Rome, to help you avoid making the same mistakes I did!

Let’s jump right into the details so you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying everything this gorgeous city has to offer.

The Pantheon in Rome, Italy

15+ Rome Travel Tips

1. When to visit the Vatican City

It’s no surprise that Vatican City is one of the most popular attractions in the world. After all, who wouldn’t want to visit the smallest country in the world? To put its size into perspective, it’s about one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York City!

There’s a lot packed into this small place though, including the Vatican Museums, Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Apostolic Library, and the Sistine Chapel.

You’ll find that this city gets incredibly crowded during weekends, school holidays, and the summer high-season months. The Pope also makes an appearance in St. Peter’s Square on a Wednesday, which draws in even more people.

To steer clear of the crowds, plan to visit on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday (although, the earlier in the week you can get there, the better!).

The Basilica in Vatican City

When it comes to the best time of day to visit, the later afternoons are your best bet, at around 3 pm. Just keep in mind that the ticket window usually closes at around 4 pm. However, if you’ve already secured your ticket (more on this shortly), then you’ll have up until 6 pm to explore the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.

One good tip is to get a skip-the-line tour to save time when visiting the Vatican and ensure you get the complete tour and not a rushed experience.

3. Be prepared to have a late dinner

This one is to prepare all those people who get a little bit hangry when they haven’t eaten in a couple of hours.

Italians typically eat dinner a lot later than what most of us would consider “normal.” Dinner usually takes place around 8-9 pm, but it can sometimes be as late as 10 pm, especially during summer.

This is where those aperitivos I mentioned above come in handy to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner.

It’s also a good idea to double-check what time that local restaurant you’re looking to visit opens for their dinner service to make sure you don’t end up waiting around.

Interior of the Basilica in Vatican City

4. Wear modest clothes in church

Rome can get pretty hot, especially during summer. So, while you may be tempted to throw on those shorts and bear those shoulders, you just need to keep in mind what your plans are for the day.

Rome is filled with over 900 churches, so you’ll most likely come across a couple while you’re out exploring. Whether visiting these churches to admire the beautiful architecture and stained glass windows or just to pay your respects, you’ll need to make sure you’re dressed appropriately.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when visiting a church in Rome:

  • Make sure your shoulders and midriff are covered (no strappy t-shirts, tube tops, or crop tops)
  • Ensure that dresses, shorts, and skirts fall just above the knee
  • Try to avoid flip-flops

If you wear any of the clothing above, you might be denied entrance into a church. Rather, cover up to ensure that you can pay your respects appropriately.

Tip: Carry around a shawl, cover-up, or sweater in your bag while you explore Rome. These can come in handy if you decide to visit a church or religious museum at the last minute and need to cover up any exposed areas.

5. You don’t have to tip your servers

While it’s not necessarily expected for you to tip your server in Rome or other Italian cities, it is often quite appreciated.

Unlike places like the United States, servers and hospitality staff do not rely on these tips to earn a living. Rather, they get paid a fairly generous wage or salary, meaning that tips are simply a nice bonus.

Sometimes, a restaurant may even include a “service fee” on the receipt, which is basically a type of tip that has already been included in the total amount you need to pay.

If you feel like you experienced exceptional service, by all means, feel free to tip your server to say thanks! Just remember, it’s not mandatory and you don’t need to feel guilty if you decide not to leave a tip.

The Roman Forum in Rome, Italy

6. Use public transport

Travelers are often quite reluctant to use public transport in a foreign country. In Rome, you don’t need to have these same reservations – the public transport system is world-class and particularly safe!

Rome has a metro that runs on three lines, busses all around the city, six tram lines, and three urban railway lines (called ferrovie urbane). You also have the likes of private taxis (although these are quite expensive).

However, if you’re looking to get around in the city, catching a bus is the easiest and most affordable way to do it.

A nice thing about Rome’s public transport system is that it’s all interconnected, meaning that you just need one ticket that will allow you to catch either a bus or the metro. You can buy bus tickets from vending machines, convenience stocks, or at a ticket desk at Metro stations and major bus stops.

Otherwise, you also have the option to buy online tickets via the MyCicero app.

You have a few options when it comes to what type of ticket you can buy, with the cheapest starting from €1.50 ($1.60), which is activated for 100 minutes from validation. Check out the ATAC website to find the various options available.

It’s also helpful to have a map of the bus routes on hand so that you can plan your daily excursions accordingly.

Speaking of public transportation, you can also use the regional and high-speed trains to do some fantastic day trips from Rome.

Tip: Don’t rely on taxi drivers for airport transfers as they can charge a pretty penny. Rather book a bus ticket, which is the cheapest way to get from Fiumicino Airport to Rome’s city center.

Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

7. Make use of the drinking fountains

Do not spend money on water in plastic bottles. Throughout Rome’s cobblestone streets, you’ll find fountains with safe-to-drink and completely free water.

You’ll often find street vendors walking around selling bottles of water that can cost up to €5 ($5.50), especially around popular attractions like the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, and Spanish Steps. Rather just use one of the fountains within walking distance – your holiday budget will thank you!

Tip: Out of respect for other users, do not put your head under the tap. If you want to freshen up, splash a bit of water on your face using your hands.

8. You will not see everything

Out of all my Rome travel tips, this is probably one of the most important. Before visiting, you need to make a plan, set your priorities, evaluate your options, and still find the time to enjoy the sun and atmosphere of this big city.

There are so many things to do in Rome. But, poor planning might mean that you spend your days stuck in long lines and surrounded by tourists instead of actually enjoying Rome itself.

I suggest making a list of 1-3 tourist sights that you feel you have to visit, and then spending the rest of your time at a much slower pace by wandering off the beaten path. Otherwise, your trip might turn into more of a rush than a holiday.

Remember, Rome is one of the most photogenic European cities, so take your time to enjoy it.

9. Skip the line

I’ve already mentioned the crowds and long queues that will have you standing for hours. But, thankfully, there is a way around this problem.

Enter skip-the-line tickets.

If you’re short on time or just can’t be bothered waiting in another line, most of the major sites offer tickets that allow you to skip the queue and walk straight in. There are also tour guide companies that offer a similar skip-the-line service, meaning that you can book a tour that includes these premium tickets.

Just keep in mind, though, that these tickets generally don’t come cheap. However, if you’re one of those people who despise doing anything that involves waiting in a line, it’s a small price to pay.

Tip: If you don’t feel like paying an arm and a leg to experience Rome’s history, there are still plenty of free things to do in Rome, like visiting the Spanish Steps or Trevi Fountain. I suggest balancing your sightseeing budget by adding a couple of these to your to-do list. In my opinion, most of the great sights in Rome are free anyway!

Rome's Colosseum, Italy

10. Be open-minded

During your trip, you will undoubtedly be met with miscommunication, language barriers, and strange yet exciting food. These are usually the most common issues when you visit any foreign city, not just Rome.

Embrace these challenges and work within the tides of these new and different situations.

Adapting to Rome’s different customs, food, and behavior will provide you with a more fun-filled and authentic experience. By being a bit more adventurous, you could end up trying some of the best food you’ve ever eaten and make friends that you could keep for life.

11. Don’t be shy

Italians are jovial, outgoing people. Don’t get too comfortable by only interacting with other travelers at hostels and hotels. Engage with the locals to learn more about Rome’s culture.

There will be some language barriers, but don’t let that stop you from a cultural exchange. Plus, Italian is such a beautiful language, who wouldn’t want to practice it? Even if you get every word wrong, they’ll still love you for trying.

Tip: Learn a couple of common Italian phrases and words before visiting Rome to make your interactions with the locals a bit easier. Here are a couple of the basics to get you started:

  • Ciao (hi)
  • Arrivederci (goodbye)
  • Per favore (please)
  • Grazie (thank you)
  • Sí (yes)
  • No (No)

12. Be safe!

Romans tend to be very friendly but, like in all major cities, crime happens, and tourists are often the prime targets.

Always be alert when you’re in crowded, public areas, as these are often hot spots for pickpockets. If you’re wearing a backpack, it also might be a good idea to invest in a zipper lock.

Also, be wary of scams. You’ll often find random people on the streets selling bus or museum tickets. Rather buy these tickets online or from a vending machine, convenience store, or a reputable company.

Overall, Rome is generally considered safe, and it’s a beautiful place to let your guard down and explore. Just remember to keep your wits about you, especially if traveling alone.

Trastevere Neighborhood in Rome, Italy

13. Wear comfortable shoes

There’s no doubt that you’ll do plenty of walking when visiting Rome.

While those designer sandals and trendy sneakers may look great, they may not be up for the challenge that Rome’s cobblestone streets pose.

I highly recommend you invest in a good pair of high-quality trainers that are specifically made for walking. Trust me, there is nothing worse than blisters and cuts on the back of your ankles after a long day of exploring.

14. Pack a universal adapter

Packing a universal adapter is always a good idea when traveling.

The United States generally has Type A and Type B plugs. However, Italy has standard EU plugs, which are Type C and Type F.

You don’t want to be left without any charge on your phone just as you were about to snap that iconic Instagram pic!

Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy

15. Order the house wine

When dining in Rome, you have to embrace the tradition of vino della casa – otherwise known as house wine!

Most restaurants offer both red or white house wine that is not only kind to your wallet but surprisingly tasty, too! Order by the quarter, half, or full liter and raise a glass to the Italian spirit of simple pleasures.

And at less than €10 ($11), it’s a bargain!

16. Cash is king

While most places do accept credit cards and debit cards, cash is definitely king in Rome.

Italy is largely a cash-based economy, which means that it’s essential that you carry cash for most of your everyday purchases. This is especially true when you’re visiting local cafes, markets, and small shops.

Also, don’t overlook that spare change, or spicci, rattling about in your pocket – Italians love it when you pay with the exact amount, all the way down to that spicci.

Tip: Most airports have a currency exchange service. Make use of this before you hop on your flight to avoid costly ATM bank fees.

Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, Italy


When is the best time of year to visit Rome?

If you want to avoid the crowds, January and February (winter) are the best months to visit Rome. Otherwise, mid-March and April generally have good weather for sightseeing.

How many days is best to spend in Rome?

I highly recommend spending at least a week in Rome to truly get the full experience of the city. But, if you’re short on time, 3-4 days should give you enough time to do a bit of sightseeing and get a feel for the city.

How much money will I need per day in Rome?

Budget around €100 to €170 ($109 to $186) to spend in Rome per day. This will ensure that you can cover your daily expenses like transport, entertainment, shopping, and eating out. Of course, you can do Rome on a tighter budget, but you’ll just need to plan a bit more carefully.

Essential Info: Logistical Tips and Tricks to Book Your Trip to Rome

Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Kayak. These are two of the sites I use the most due to their exhaustive search on several websites and airlines around the world. They usually bring the cheapest fares.

If you’re looking to save money by staying at a hostel, HostelWorld has the largest inventory of hostels. On the other hand, Vrbo offers a wide variety of rooms and apartments at affordable prices.

For hotels, guesthouses, and other types of accommodation, I also recommend They usually have the cheapest fares for guesthouses and hotels. I always book my hotels with

Travel insurance with comprehensive coverage will protect you against unexpected events like theft, cancellations, injury, and illness. I use HeyMondo to insure my trips.

If you’re a nomad and travel often or long term, then SafetyWing could help you save a lot of money on travel insurance.

If you’re looking for the best day tours and cheapest ticket entrances to local attractions, I recommend checking Viator, as they have the largest selection of attractions, passes, and activities all around the world.

offers the easiest and most accessible way to book overland transportation with local operators; be it by bus, train, ferry, plane, mini-van, or even private transfers.

Lastly, check out my resources page for some of the best products and companies to use for your trip. If you like saving money (like I do!), then this page will help.

12 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Rome, Italy
Adventure Awaits


Plus, receive a short e-book with 15 Beginner Tips and Tricks to Save Money on Flights!​

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  1. Hi Norbert,

    I dig this advice.

    I find it neat that you can drink the public/tap water in Rome. This is incredibly rare for a major city, at least from my experience. I can drink NYC water whenever we do a house sit there but in the same breath, I use filters sometimes too.

    The water flows in fresh, from upstate NYC, but old pipes can muck things up, with many NYC buildings being a bit out of date. For US standards at least.

    Good notes on beware of scams, and also, being open. When I travel, I open up and carry an intent to reserve judging. No better way to enjoy the sites and sounds without adding any biased commentary that sullies experiences.

    All places are similar, but different. Appreciate differences. Differences make things intriguing.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. I am agree with your tips, it is very useful for first time traveling Rome. Some time, It is necessary to understand rules of that country so it is easy in traveling.

  3. Hi Norbert,
    Thanks for giving us an overall idea about the safety aspect in Rome especially while travelling. . This is one of the most sought after aspect for overseas travellers and you have mentioned it for ease.

  4. Italy is just breath-takingly beautiful place. And the rome is the crown-jewel of Italy. I have been to Rome once. I spent 4 days but I think I should go there several more times to discover the city completely. Endless culture and history there.

  5. I love to travel, but Rome is my favorite city, I don’t know why, but when I visited this city, I fell in love with it at first sight! I haven’t met such a beautiful architecture in any other city in the world. And in Rome, everything is fine, friendly and smiling people, delicious food, excellent service in hotels. A huge number of attractions with a rich history, chic museums with friendly and very well-read guides, it seemed to me they know everything about this city. I believe that Rome is the pearl of Italy!

    1. Florence and Venice are also great options for first-time travelers looking to learn more about Italian history and culture.

  6. Love this article but I have to disagree with the comment that all Romans are friendly. For some reason I have encountered a lot of mean ones specially in the city center where of course all of the tourists are. I can speak some Italian and still get remarks from romans. There was a lady at the Carrefour Express that I just rubbed the wrong way because I asked for clothes detergent. She was not happy and I encountered her for a few days during my monthly stay and I just simple decided to walk a bit further to go to another store nearby. She wasn’t pleasant at all. Another thing is that Roman’s don’t care too much about smiling back at you like Americas do, and they don’t find it disrespectful either, which I personally don’t mind but other might find disrespectful. I don’t like that they bump into you and cut you off while walking but i guess you kinda have to be aggressive while walking otherwise people won’t move and just stop in the middle of the way. Neway, I absolutely love coming to Rome it is one of my favorite and most visited places, just a few things that I wish were different. When coming here make sure you at least know the basics like hello and good morning, water, how much, the check, do you speak English/Spanish, or whatever your language is, etc. it’s appreciated by most.