Making the Most of a Visit to Rome, the Eternal City

By Valery Collins | April 26, 2020

Saint Peter’s Square in Rome Credit: Valery Collins

The ‘Eternal City’ of Rome, capital of Italy, is saturated with history and populated with iconic monuments.  Major attractions like the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums draw huge crowds so when (not if!) you go it is important to plan for this.  In Rome, there are many options to consider: online bookings, the Romapass, city bus tours or self-guided walks.


Online Booking for Attractions in Rome

Avoid the queues and disappointment – book online!  This is the reality of Rome and is best done as early as possible.  It is particularly true of the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum as they get booked up weeks in advance.  Use the official website to avoid paying more than the basic ticket-on-the-door price plus a booking fee.    Give yourself plenty of time as both these places have plenty to offer.  Entrance to the Colosseum includes the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum.  If you are looking for a guided tour book online too..  Local, cheaper guides do haunt the main sites but may not be the best option.

Inside the Colosseum in Rome Credit: Valery Collins

A City Pass for Rome

Apollo and Daphene by Bernini in Galleria Borghese in Rome Credit: Valery Collins

The Romapass is ideal for anyone staying in the suburbs as it includes travel on buses, trams and the metro, free entry or discounted entry fees to a long list of attractions plus fast-track entry to some places.  But a time slot has to be pre-booked to some attractions with this pass, for example, the Colosseum and the world-famous Galleria Borghese.  I enjoyed the convenience of the three-day pass but felt I did not get full value from it – read the small print first.

City Bus Tours of Rome

The Trevi Fountain in Rome Credit: Valery Collins

Rome has particularly good hop-on hop-off bus tours which are ideal for an overview of the city on a hot day.  There are classic tours and themed tours all bookable online as well as at the bus stops en route.  A good place to start is Termini, Rome’s main rail station as most of the tours start and finish here.  There is also the opportunity of some friendly bartering between rival bus companies.

Self-guided Walking Tours of Rome

Self-guided tours are available on the internet and in some guide books on Rome.  So many famous sites in Rome are free to visit and a walk around these will give the visitor the flavour of the modern city as well as an insight into its past.  These sites include the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon  and the Villa Borghese.  The latter is a huge park created by Cardinal Scipione Borghese and my favourite place in Rome as it is never too crowded.

The Garden Lake in Villa Borghese in Rome Credit: Valery Collins

Hotel Aberdeen in Rome

I love the no frills Aberdeen Hotel as it embodies the thrill of staying in a genuine palazzo.  This bed and breakfast establishment offers a good breakfast and is close to several local restaurants all offering good food at reasonable prices.  I particularly enjoyed eating at La Cucina Nazionale on Via Nazionale.

Article written by Valery Collins, the Experienced Traveller

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