Everything you need to get ready for Rome
For many, Rome will forever be the true 'City Of Love'.
There’s so much on offer in the Italian capital to win the hearts of holiday-makers - the breath-taking splendour of the ancient marble structures, the tempting mystery of winding cobbled streets, the fabulous food and music, and the enduring image of La Dolce Vita, a silver-screen fantasy come to life.
Our preparation guide to Rome will make sure that you’re all set for the Roman holiday you’ve always dreamed of.
Soak up the atmosphere
Rome has been home to many great artists, composers, writers, and film-makers, including Michelangelo, Ennio Morricone, and Federico Fellini. Over the years, the city has been a muse for its residents and an inspiration to its visitors.
Get yourself in the mood with some classic films that show the beauty of Rome at its best.
Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, from 1960, features the now famous scene of Anita Ekberg swimming in the Trevi Fountain (not permitted for non-movie stars, sadly).
For a more contemporary view of the city, The Great Beauty won an Oscar in 2013 for its engrossing portrayal of an aging Roman writer making the most of the city’s nightlife.
If you’d like to take some holiday reading with you, you’ll be spoilt for choice as far as books set in Rome.
Eat, Pray, Love includes a loving look at local Italian food and romance, and history fans will enjoy the classic description of the city in ancient times as found in I, Claudius. If you prefer to dive into an exciting thriller, then The Talented Mr. Ripley or Angels & Demons might be more up your street. Both include many scenes set in Rome.
What to pack
When exploring Rome, the first thing you’ll discover is that there’s a reason for the famous Italian love of footwear.
Cobbled streets, countless marble steps, and hill after hill (seven of them in fact) mean that this city can be tough going for anybody in the wrong shoes.
Pack a good selection of comfortable walking shoes, and you’ll thank yourself later. Don’t let blisters slow you down when there’s so much to see.
The summers in Rome can be very hot. When combined with the crowds and hectic city pace, you’ll want to make sure you pack a selection of light, breathable outfits to stay comfortable throughout the day.
It’s a good idea to bring a durable, empty bottle for water. Rome is dotted with public drinking fountains, which, though ancient, provide excellent quality water. It’s something of a local tradition to stop at a fontanella to quench your thirst, or even just splash some refreshing water on your face.
The design of these fountains is very clever, if not immediately obvious. Simply cover the end of the spout with your finger and the water will squirt upwards from a smaller hole in the pipe, making it easier for you to reach. Don’t be afraid to try it - these fountains have been providing Romans with clean, clear water since time immemorial.
If you plan to visit the Vatican or any of Rome’s many impressive churches, make sure you are dressed accordingly - don’t wear clothing that could be considered revealing. Pack a simple light jumper or top for these occasions, just in case.
Of course, Rome is an excellent place to shop for a new wardrobe. So you might want to consider leaving your eveningwear at home and treating yourself to something special to wear.
Navigating the Roman roads
Rome is a large modern city, built around the ruins of countless beautiful classical hotspots and the curves of the River Tiber.
Rather than confine the older parts of of the city to a tourist district or ‘old town’, modern Romans have built their lives around them, making it a unique coupling of ancient and contemporary experiences.
This patchwork approach to city-planning does mean that navigation can be somewhat daunting for visitors who have yet to get their bearings. Not designed with pedestrians in mind, the best way to take in all of the important sights is to make good use of public transport.
Fortunately, every part of Rome is well-served by buses and the Metro. Single-trip tickets are available for 1.50 euros*, but it’s cheaper and easier to buy multi-day passes at the following rates:
- B.I.G. one day ticket: 6.00 euros
- B.T.I. three day ticket: 16.50 euros
- C.I.S. seven day ticket: 24.00 euros
While using the Metro is easy, one thing that a lot of tourists don’t realise is that Italian transport tickets must be validated after purchase before they can be used. Yellow stamping machines will be available near to all bus stops and Metro platforms.
Simply buy your ticket, then insert it into the machine before your journey. Otherwise you may be asked to pay a small fine by ticket inspectors.
More information on Roman public transport is available online here.
And when crossing the street, don’t forget to watch out for Vespas!
Here are a selection of free online tools to help you plan your trip and have even more fun while you are there:
- AccuWeather - for up-to-date local weather forecasts, wherever you find yourself.
- Rome Tourist Information - a must-have guide to popular landmarks with offline maps.
- Currency Calculator - for staying on top of exchange rates.
- Airbnb - stay like a local, with these alternative places to stay.
- TripAdvisor - reviews of local restaurants and business, written by visitors like you.
- Google Maps - never get lost again!
- Instagram and Twitter - check #Rome on these these social networks, for a look at how other people see the city.
- Time Out Rome - all the latest information about the best shows, concerts, and restaurants in the Rome.
One more thing
Don’t forget to book your Heathrow airport parking with us at Good To Go, for a smooth journey from start to finish. Our Meet & Greet parking service means you spend less time on the tarmac, so you can get to the fun part sooner.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. If the Romans didn’t wait, why should you?
(Official government advice for British citizens visiting Italy is available here.)
*Information accurate as of April 2017. Check locally for recent changes.
Whether you're jetting away on a city break or following the sun to the beach get ready to travel with our expert tips and guides.
Preparing for your holiday should be exciting, not stressful.