Rome Holidays & City Breaks

Rome holidays are like no other. From rooftop cocktails overlooking Palatine Hill to Gucci and Versaci shopping sprees along Via del Corso and spaghetti-stuffing in front of the Pantheon. With an exciting mixture of old meets new, one minute you’ll be admiring 70 AD structures, the next you’ll be enjoying a tipple in one of its trendy ice bars. Italy’s idyllic capital suits all tastes, whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or a refined foodie!

If one thing is for sure, Rome city breaks are bucket list-worthy. From the one-of-a-kind Colosseum, up to the Spanish Steps of Piazza di Spagna and down to the magical Trevi Fountain in search of some luck – the Eternal City will simply enchant you. Not to mention its culinary scene! The city’s hidden alleys and bohemian streets of Trastevere all celebrate the same idea: life is good if the food is! And as the famous proverb says, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, so expect to fill your face. 

6 reasons to visit Rome: 

  • Year-round destination: Whether you’re indulging in gelato during peak summer or exploring big-name attractions with fewer crowds in winter, there’s never a bad time to visit Rome. But for a comfortable climate and little to no rainfall, spring and autumn holidays are best. 
  • World-famous landmarks: Colosseum, check. Trevi Fountain, check. Vatican City, check. Pantheon, check. The list of iconic sites is endless! 
  • Foodie paradise: Bring your appetite because if Rome excels at anything, it’s good grub! Think creamy spaghetti carbonara, tomato-stuffed Bucatini all’Amatriciana pasta and hearty Coda alla Vaccinara (Oxtail Stew). 
  • Heavy history: Want to take a step back in time to the days of the gladiators and Roman Empire? Check out the Roman Forum and learn a thing or two about the religious, political and social history of the city. Or, maybe a trip to the capital’s longest-standing landmark - the Temple of Hercules Victor.
  • Shopping haven: Tucked away amidst its cobbles you’ll find quirky antique stores at Via dei Coronari, haute couture boutiques at Via Dei Condotti and global logos such as Calvin Klein and Zara at Via Cola di Rienzo. 
  • Romance: From swoon-worthy sunset views at the top of the Spanish Steps to rooftop drinks overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica’s awe-inspiring dome and picnics at Villa Borghese, no wonder Rome is one of the world’s most romantic cities. 
     

Things to do and great sightseeing locations

Rome city breaks are all about hopping from one landmark to the next. Whether you’re hitting the Roman Forum, Sistine Chapel and Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II in one fell swoop or sipping glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon among Lazio’s vineyard. There are endless adventures to be had.

The Vatican

If you want to visit the smallest country in the world, then head over to Vatican City. Although surrounded by Rome, this state is very much independent from Italy and is ruled by the Pope. You can visit 54 richly decorated rooms at the Vatican Museums, including the Gallery of Maps and ceramic treasures from the Etruscan showcase. But the real highlight is the Sistine Chapel, which is regarded as Michelangelo’s masterpiece. And if there’s one direction you want to be looking, it’s up! With a ceiling full of artwork around the nine stories from Genesis, you’re bound to be captivated. 

St. Peter’s Basilica

When you’re done exploring the Sistine Chapel, you’ll find more of Michelangelo’s creations in the architectural majesty of St. Peter’s Basilica, including its iconic Dome. As one of the holiest temples in Christendom and one of the largest churches across the globe, you’re sure to get your history fix. 

Trevi Fountain

Make a pit stop at the Eternal City’s most iconic water spot dating back to 19 BC. Legend has it, if you throw one coin into the Trevi Fountain you’ll return to Rome, throw two and you’ll fall in love and if you throw a third, you’ll marry that person. But be sure to do it with your right hand and over your left shoulder! Or, just grab a gelato and admire the work of creator Giuseppe Pannini. 

Castel Sant’Angelo

If you head south, you’ll run into Castel Sant’Angelo, one of Rome’s most distinctive landmarks. This once prison, now a museum, is split into five floors. Here you’ll see the cells in which a number of historical figures were incarcerated. Alongside a weapons room from the Renaissance period. And have your camera on standby when you approach the rooftop terrace for the awe-inspiring city views that wait. 

Villa d’Este & Garden of Ninfa

If you want to witness the charm of nature, pay a visit to Villa d’Este. This 30 thousand square-metre villa is only 30 minutes away from the capital and features 50 fountains and 255 waterfalls. Don’t forget to check out the Garden of Ninfa as well. This is among Italy’s most beautiful botanical gardens – a crumbling medieval town framed by a thousand shades of plants and flowers.

Ancient History

Rome city breaks are full of surprises, but above all, lots of history. The way its ruins and archaeological sites are preserved will take you back to the city’s glory days. From its cobbled alleyways leading you to the Spanish Steps to the square of Piazza Nova which once held 20,000 spectators in 86 AD. And you’ll never get lost with the Colosseum and its 2,000 years' worth of history dominating the city centre. Rome’s gladiatorial arena is the most monumental ancient sight in the capital, taking you back to a time of fighting, exotic animal exhibitions and recreations of battles. 

You can stroll through an impressive sprawl of ruins not far from the Colosseum known as the Roman Forum. First developed in the 7th century BC, it gradually became the social, political, and commercial hub of the Roman Empire. If you head north, you’ll bump into the city’s best-preserved building from ancient times: the Pantheon. The name refers to a temple for all the gods, but the Pantheon is where the kings of Rome are buried. Don’t forget to also look up! The dome’s oculus is open to the sky. 

Vibrant nightlife

If the streets look too empty at 7 pm, don’t panic. Nightlife in Rome doesn’t kick off until around midnight. You can start your pre-drinking game at Marmo, home to some of the best mixologists in town and a live music only policy. While Baja is a cocktail venue for the Insta account. This fancy conservatory-looking structure floats on the Tiber River, and is a must-visit in summer. Voodoo is the ultimate place to unwind after a day of exploring. Think tapas spreads, Latin-American tunes and a Caribbean themed bar. But for early-hour partying, Circolo Degli Illuminati will see you dancing to Tech, House and Hip Hop until 4 am. 

Food and drinks

What did we say at the beginning? Life is good if the food is! The power of a great culinary experience is also something to consider when going on a city break, especially in Rome. The capital has a strong sense of tradition and a longstanding love for eating out.

Are you a pasta lover? If yes, then you’re in the right place. Italy is the homeland of spaghetti dishes, with 350 different types to taste and try. But Rome has its own style. Make sure you try the Cacio e Pepe (a stripped-down mac and cheese) at Roscioli alongside the carbonara and amatriciana (a spicy tomato and bacon dish) at Lo Scopettaro restaurant. 

If you have a sweet tooth, you won't be disappointed to find many gelato spots dotted around the city. From your classic strawberry and chocolate flavours to scoops of Kinder Bueno and Snickers. 

If you’re feeling a little thirsty after all this food, Rome certainly knows how to help you. Stop for a drink in one of the bars along the Tiber and enjoy a refreshing Aperol Spritz. Italy is also famous for its coffee. And we’ll let you in on a little secret, if you add some sugar and it takes a moment to sink, you’re about to taste one of the city’s best brews!

More Travel Guides

We also have travel guides available for destinations, including: Amalfi | Ischia Porto | Florence | Lake Garda | Limone | Malcesine | Sant'Agnello | Sardinia  | Sicily | Sorrento | Venetian Riviera | Venice

 

Map of Rome

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Best time to visit: April to June and September to October

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Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) is 26km southwest of the city centre

Rome is best for...

Foodies: If you’ve had your fill of gelato (which seems impossible, we know!), try the tiramisu, a combination of cheese, chocolate and coffee. Slow-cooked beef dishes are also extremely popular. That’s when you’re not going crazy for the spaghetti bolognese, of course. 

Art enthusiasts: Aside from all the historical landmarks, Rome has an impressive art scene. You only have to marvel at the frescos lining the interior of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel to see that. And did you know the Galleria Borghese contains one of the largest private art collections in the world? 

Couples: If there’s one thing Italians do right (other than pizza, pasta and gelato), it’s romance. From open-air cinema dates to rooftop drinks gazing out at the Colosseum and a stroll through the Pinco Gardens.

 

Fast facts for Rome

Language: The language spoken in Rome is Italian. But you’ll find English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

Currency: The currency used in Rome is the Euro (€)

Local time: Rome is 1 hour ahead of GMT/UK time

Fly to: Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) is 26km southwest of the city centre

Flight time from the UK: 2 hours 30 minutes

Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at the official website for tourism in Rome

Visa / Health: Before you travel, check the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

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Getting around Rome

By foot: The city centre is easiest to cover on foot. For example, it takes around 20 minutes to walk from the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain. But look out for mopeds and bicycles when crossing the street at busy intersections.

By tourist bus: If you want to see Rome’s biggest allures, try one of the many hop-on/hop-off, open-top tourist buses. Stopping at big-name landmarks such as the Pantheon and Vatican City. 

By bus or metro: These are both reliable and convenient (but crowded) ways to get around the city. A two to three day Roma Pass includes all public transport, entrance fees to two attractions and discounts to many other museums.

By taxi: Taxi stands are at all the piazzas and train stations. Make sure the metre is running. If paying by credit card, inform the driver before starting the journey.

By Uber: Much like at home, Rome has an Uber service. You can reserve a ride up to 30 days in advance, or simply use the app or website to book your ride on the go. Choose from affordable black saver cars to black cars with professional drivers and premium rides in luxury vehicles. 

By e-scooter: You’ll find electric scooters dotted around the sidewalks of Rome, from Lime’s to Dott’s and and Keri’s. Simply find a scooter, download the relevant app to rent, scan the QR code, unlock and ride! These tend to cost around €5 for 30 minutes, or some may charge on distance rather than length of use.

Events in Rome

White Night: On La Notte Bianca, the Eternal City becomes a pedestrian zone and stays open all night hosting street dances, concerts, wine tastings, museum tours and children’s activities. Rome’s ancient monuments are also lit up and open to the public.

Estate Romana: Rome has an extraordinary cultural programme throughout the summer. Over a thousand performances, events and exhibitions are held, including outdoor movie showings, pop-up shops and food stalls along the Tiber River.

Easter Sunday: On Pasqua, the Roman Catholic Pope gives a blessing and an Easter message from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica to everyone gathered in St Peter’s Square.

Rome weather

Temperature: Average highs of 30°C in summer and 13°C in winter

Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, the weather in Rome tends to be warm and sunny most of the year. Summer temperatures sit in the 20s between June and August but don’t be surprised if it reaches the 30s. Spring and autumn months are more comfortable for exploring at averages of 20°C. Whereas winters are relatively mild but see the most rainfall, so have your brolly on standby. 

Best hotels in Rome

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FAQs
FAQs
How do you get to and from Rome Leonardo da Vinci airport?

Cheapest option: The most cost-effective way to reach the city centre from Leonardo da Vinci airport is via Terravision shuttle bus at around €9 for a single trip and €15 return. These run every half an hour and take you directly to Termini station within 60 minutes. Here you’ll hop on a metro to your chosen destination.

Quickest: The Leonardo Express train takes 30 minutes to reach the centre of Rome (Termini station) and departs from track 24, costing roughly €11. This service also runs every half an hour. 

Other ways of getting to the city centre: Although not the quickest journey time (approx. 45 mins), a taxi is a great alternative if you don’t want to wait around. Distinctive white cabs wait outside the airport, so there’s no need to book prior to your arrival. However, you’re looking at paying €50 for a one-way journey. Uber is also an alternative, should you be willing to pay a little extra or need a last-minute ride. 

*Prices are correct at the time of posting.

 

When is the best time to visit Rome’s biggest attractions?

They say the early bird catches the worm, and they aren’t wrong! Popular attractions such as the Colosseum, Pantheon and Sistine Chapel are less crowded early in the morning (preferably Monday to Friday). And by early, we mean opening time, usually around 9am. It’s also advised to get here around 20-30 minutes prior to beat the queues. Alternatively, one to two hours before closing is also a great option.

What are the top 5 hidden gems in Rome?
  1. Aventine Hill: This under-the-radar beauty spot is one of Rome’s Seven Hills. Here you’ll discover one of the city’s oldest basilicas – the Basilica of Santa Sabina! That’s when you’re not exploring its Orange Tree Garden which is a whopping 8,000 square metres of natural wonders. 
  2. Knights of Malta Keyhole: Next door to Aventine Hill you’ll stumble across Rome’s best secret in Piazza dei Cavalieri de Malta. Steal a peek through the keyhole to one of the most Instagramable views of St. Peter’s Basilica.
  3. Catacombs of Priscilla: It’s easy to see why it’s one of Rome’s most interesting underground sites with a history dating back 2,000 years! As well as housing the bones of many popes, including Pope Marcellinus (296 - 304) and Pope Marcellus I (308 - 309).
  4. Janiculum Terrace: Need a photo for ‘the Gram’? Climb this short but steep hike for panoramic viewings of the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument.
  5. Monti Neighborhood: For hip eateries, trendy bars and unique boutiques, this is the place to be! Fehu is a must when you’re craving a light lunch, while Fatamorgana is a gelato oasis. Not sure where to start? A food tour around Monti will uncover Rome’s most delicious restaurants. 
What is the closest beach to Rome?

Ostia is the nearest stretch of sand to Italy’s capital city. It’s approximately 35 minutes away by car or taxi, but it can also be reached by metro (on the blue line) from Termini station in around 1 hour and 53 minutes. When you get there you’ll be greeted by 10km of golden sands and Mediterranean waters, the perfect cool-down spot during the summer. Although many parts of the beach are free, make sure you keep some change handy to hire a sunlounger (approx. €6) when you want to kick back and relax from city life.

 

Should I tip in restaurants?

There’s no need to leave a tip when eating out in Rome, unless you want to, of course! Usually, your bill will include a coperto (cover charge) which goes towards the restaurant. As well as a servizio (service charge) which is a percentage of your bill total, that is effectively a tip to your waiter. If there’s no service charge on your receipt, feel free to leave a little extra if you’ve had exceptional service.

What are the dos and don’ts in Rome?

DON’T… dine in restaurants near big-name attractions. These are often called ‘tourist traps’ due to being overly expensive with low-quality food. Go off-the-beaten-track for the most authentic eats, such as Felice e Testaccio and Pianostrada. 

DO…keep a light shawl or jacket handy when visiting religious sites to cover up any exposed body parts. 

DON’T… order a cappuccino after lunch. The idea of ​​finishing a good meal with a large milk coffee fills the locals with horror. Instead, simply opt for an espresso. 

DO…agree on a price with any showmen dressed up as legionnaires or as gladiators. If you don’t before taking a photo, they’ll try to charge you above the odds. 

DON’T… buy your tickets on the day. The more organised you can be the better. Purchasing tickets online usually means you’ll bag discounted prices and beat the long queues.  

DO… get lost. Rome’s most charming spots lie deep within its winding streets and hidden corners. Even within the touristy historic centre, veering down a small alley can uncover unexpected surprised away from the masses and into local neighbourhoods.