Rome is my favorite metropolitan city in Europe. The Renaissance is in the air and everything is so impressive here. The time is never enough for this amazing city.
But the tourists are so much! You can get mad because of the thousands of people everywhere and you can destroy your holiday while waiting on huge queue, being in a group with so many and different people, so in the end you can feel just tired and frustrated.
This article is about how to behave smart and skip the big lines, being alone in usually crowded places, how to visit all the exciting things without getting pissed off. Rome is beating in a crazy rhythm and a good time schedule is the key for amazing time and you’ll have time to feel the energy of the places and to enjoy the food and the weather.
Smart time schedule for sightseeing in Rome:
1. Vatican city – Probably you read a lot about it, it is different city than Rome, located in the heart of Rome and it’s fully autonomous. It has its own lows and rules and you must follow them as a tourist if you want to go inside. Big problem here it is always very crowded, you can spend half day just waiting to go inside and you will not have enough time to explore all the museums and the gardens.
Tip 1: Buy your ticket online in advance or go in front of the main entrance and ask for a qualified guide. Otherwise there is unwritten rule you will be treated with the lowest priority on the queue. My advice is to spend a bit more money and have a guide (ticket + a guide is around 50 $) because this will make your stay in Vatican city more useful, you will learn new things in a funny interactive way and you will get more into the historical details. And you can ask whatever you want and you’ll get the answer, and this is super cool because in Vatican a lot of questions will appear! Also as a part of a group you will be treated with priority on the entrance.
Tip 2: For the Vatican gardens you will need to book your ticket 2-3 months in advance. Depending on how much you want to see them – think for that some months before your staying in Rome. You can see them from the roof of St Peter basilica for free.
Tip 3: Don’t be frustrated if you don’t see everything. This is mission impossible. Vatican city needs months to be discovered, so stay focused on what you see, feel the energy of the museums you will visit and enjoy Sistine Chapel.
Tip 4: Stay quite inside the Sistine Chapel. Don’t take pictures and videos – it is not allowed! Nippon Television Network Corporation of Japan owns the rights for all videos and photos and in case somebody take a photo, a fee might be registered! and when you want to leave, take the right exist which will lead you directly to St Peter Cathedral. If you take the left exist you will be back at the beginning of the museums and you will need to wait on another queue for the St Peter Cathedral.
Tip 5: You can have some snack with you as you will probably spend about 6 hours and inside the Vatican city there are no food places for tourist.
For Vatican city a day will be enough to be touched by the power of Art, to explore the main halls, to enjoy Sistine Chapel and St Peter.
2. Coliseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Circus Maximus – 1 or 2 days in a row
Did you watch the movie Gladiator, if so – keep calm and wait for the moment you will start feeling as an actor in the movie. Coliseum is amazing from the outside. During the night the atmosphere turns even more to a magic. It is totally worth it to go inside and spend some nice hours exploring the past and the cruel fights that had happened.
Tip 6: Depending on your time take a guide or audo record with you. You will hear about really interesting stories which had taken place inside the Coliseum. With the audo you are a little bit more free to do whatever you want and go where you choose without waiting for all the people in the group.
Tip 7: The Coliseum ticket can be combined with The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. The ticket can be one for all these 3! And the good news are you will have 2 days to explore them with one ticket. But you can delay Coliseum for your 2nd day. With this combined ticket you have to start from The Roman Forum first!
Tip 8: Take the combined ticket from Tip 7 from the entrance of the Forum which is next to the Piazza Venezia, don’t buy it from the main entrance next to the Coliseum as there the queue is much bigger. Once you enter in the Roman Forum you can reach directly from the inside The Coliseum and The Palatine Hill.
Tip 9: If you delay your visit to Coliseum for the second day – once on the queue, go in front of all people and show your ticket. It is allowed to skip the line in case you have your ticket in advance as described in Tip 7 and Tip 8.
Tip 10: Circus Maximus can be combined also during this visit. Enjoy it!
3. Spanish steps and Fontana Di Trevi
Tip 11: These two sightseengs are in the heart of the city center of Rome. It’s better go there during the night. Of course you will pass by them many times during the day as well. During the night it is not so crowded, especially worth it for Fontana Di Trevi. Spanish steps are a good place to eat gelato and feel the Roman love in the air!
4. Piazza Venezia has special place in my heart!
It is modern Piazza and personally I can say this is the most beautiful one in Rome. It is so enormous and so impressive. The building is marble and white. The view is so cool! The two fires at the entrance of the building represent Roman people always keep the fire. You can visit Piazza Venezia many times and every time it looks different.
Tip 12: Close to Piazza Venezia is the main street Corso in Rome. You can combine the visit here with a walk after that on the Corso street. And plenty of restaurants, coffees, shops and souvenirs can be found. Of course the smell of pasta, pizza and wine is everywhere!
5. Piazza Navona and The Pantheon
Two amazing places to have fun! Piazza Navona is another charming place to eat gelato, relax and enjoy the two beautiful fountains there. There are very nice restaurants but they are quite expensive.
Tip 13: If you want to eat somewhere in the city center, avoid the restaurants in front of Piazza Navona. Take some small narrow streets and find a place close to Piazza Navona but not on it. The prices will be different but the quality will stay the same.
Tip 14: Go inside The Pantheon and enjoy the energy, take some history background and the place will be even more alive.
6. Tiber and castle St Angelo
If you like to spend hours in museums and different castles – check St Angelo castle as well. The price is 15 EUR.
Tip 15: If you are more about the nature – spend some time in front of the castle. There is a beautiful bridge and the river Tiber is making the nature around so fresh and green. Nice chance to eat gelato or find a restaurant near the St Angelo Castle and enjoy some pasta and wine.
7. Villa Borghese and the whole Borghese gardens are a good way to spend really funny time laying on a green grass. The park is with small lakes, beautiful trees and flowers and it is so relaxing to just sit on a bench.
Tip 16: Combine the walk through Villa Borghese with a nice lunch, drink wine and be an actor/ actress of this Renaissance masterpiece. You can hire rickshaw or a bike and be active and free. Amazing way to have some fun with your friends, to burn some calories and deserve the dinner.
On the Borhese terrace there is nice view!
I believe these tips are quite helpful because they are about the most wanted to be visited places in Rome. Of course this is not the entire list of all sightseeings as there is something to be seen on every corner in Rome. But for the rest there is not so much pressure and queues.
Keep calm and enjoy Rome!