First-Timer's Guide to Rome
The Eternal City dazzles with iconic Roman ruins, a wealth of art and architecture, and lively historic squares, but Rome can also overwhelm first-time visitors who want to see as many highlights as possible in a limited amount of time. Here are tips for taking in local treasures on your first trip to Rome.
Opt for Skip-the-Line Tours
Rome is home to some of the most visited monuments in the world, and waiting in long lines to enter highlights like the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums can steal precious hours from your day. Pre-booking skip-the-line entry is imperative if you want to maximize your time admiring the magnificent amphitheater where gladiators once fought, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, and other unforgettable sights.
Explore the City on Wheels
Rome is a sprawling city, and it can be a hike to get from one attraction to the next on foot. Hop aboard a Vespa, a vintage Fiat 500, an Ape Calessino tuk tuk, a bike, or even a Segway, and zip from square to square to take in the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Pantheon. If you want to do some walking, a hop-on-hop-off bus tour is ideal.
Sightsee from Dawn to Dusk...and Beyond
Opt for early entry or night tours to stretch your day to the max, and enjoy the added benefits of no lines or crowds (and cooler temperatures, if you are visiting in the summer). Experience the peaceful atmosphere of the Vatican at dawn, the La Dolce Vita vibe of the historic center at dusk, and the timeless romance of the Colosseum by moonlight.
Explore the Neighborhoods
Rome offers more than world-famous landmarks and museums. This historic city is a patchwork of unique neighborhoods, each with a distinct character. Discover bohemian Trastevere, chic Monti, and the storied Jewish ghetto.
Stroll the Markets
Rome has a proud culinary tradition, and its outdoor food markets are centers of community life. Take a morning walk through stalls selling seasonal produce, artisan cheeses, cold cuts, and other specialties. Foodies can opt for a cooking experience that combines a market stroll with a hands-on lesson.
Get Out of Town
Rome’s delights aren’t confined to its urban center. Just outside the city walls, you can bike along the ancient Appian Way, head to the Castelli Romani for a wine tasting, or see where popes have summered for centuries at Castel Gandolfo.