Travel Guide to Rome
In this travel guide to Rome, I will go over the details about what we did, where we ate, things to know about Rome, where to stay, and a day-by-day itinerary.
We went to Rome in mid-October for 4 days. The weather was comfortable. The entire time the sun was out and it was in the mid-70s. There were moments during the day it would feel warmer. However, in the morning and in the evening when the sun was down, it felt cooler. If you’re curious about what to wear, I gave tips on how to pack for Rome in October.
Things to Know about Rome
Rome has a lot of tourists and it is a big city. A lot of the main sites are spread out. I highly recommend prioritizing what you want to see. No matter where you go, all the main sites will always have a crowd. Just like any city, be aware of pick-pocketers. For the most part we felt safe and I made sure my crossbody bag was always in front of me.
Getting Around Rome
It is a walkable city. You can pretty much get to anywhere by foot. We averaged 20,000 steps a day! However, when we were tired from walking or the place we were trying to get to was a bit farther we would take a Taxi (e.g. getting to Vatican City). Rome does not use Uber. So when we couldn’t conveniently spot a taxi, we would use the MyTaxi app. It’s like the Uber app, but for taxis only. All you have to do is input your current location and your destination. You also have the option to put in your credit card information for payment.
Getting Around Italy
If Rome is only one of the cities you will see in Italy, the best way to get to the other cities is using the trains. We used the high speed train to get to Florence and Venice. These trains are much nicer than the city trains in Chicago or New York City haha. The seats are roomy, comfortable, and relatively affordable. We bought our train tickets through here. The main train station in Rome is Rome Termini.
Travel Guide to Rome
Now time for the travel guide to Rome!
Places to Stay
We mainly stayed at Casa Modelli. It is a boutique hotel and it is right by the Trevi Fountain. It’s right in the middle of everything but the hotel is in a quiet corner where cars can’t get through. This means that when you get dropped off to Casa Modelli, you can’t exactly get dropped off right in front of it.
They offer a pickup car service from the airport at a fixed cost – 42 Euros. This price is the same or slightly less than getting a taxi at the airport. Your driver will have your name on a piece of paper right at baggage claim. Plus, the driver will know exactly where the hotel is. We used this service and had no issue with this at all.
Overall, we had an incredible experience. For a European hotel, the size was large. It has cute rustic Italian decor with modern appliances. The staff was extremely friendly and nice. They were so accommodating. They can make any type of reservation for you including tourist attractions (you can get a 10% discount at some restaurants if Casa Modelli books your reservation). There’s free breakfast at the terrace. The view from the terrace is amazing! You can pretty much spot all the big sites in Rome from the terrace.
The only thing that makes Casa Modelli different from other hotels is that there is no all day service. So by the end of the day, the staff leaves. Anything we needed, we just made sure we let the staff know during the day. Otherwise, in the evening, we didn’t have a need for them.
We also stayed at the The Brittania Hotel on our absolute final day / night in Rome (this was Day 10). Since our plane tickets were round trip from Chicago to Rome, after Venice, we had to head back to Rome. So we decided to stay an extra night in Rome and stayed at The Brittania Hotel. This is closer to Rome Termini (Rome’s train station). Overall, the hotel was beautiful and the staff was also very nice. The breakfast spread was really good and was included for free.
The rooms are much smaller, but they are do-able. The decor has an old school charm to it.
Here are other hotels we considered staying at:
Places to See
Worth seeing just to see how amazing it is in real life. It’s so remarkable something over 2000 years old is still around and I was amazed at the human craftsmanship. I highly recommend getting your tickets in advance. The lines are super long. We bought the skip the line tickets from TickItaly, and it was so worth it! You just show up at your assigned time, and they immediately let you in. We chose the self-guided ticket. It gave us a video/audio self-guided tour and we were free to roam the Colosseum. If you buy a ticket in advance, the ticket will also allow you to go in the Forum and Palatine Hill and can be used over 2 days.
We accidentally stumbled upon this place. After the Colosseum, we started heading in the direction of our hotel (Casa Modelli) and took a turn at a random street. Then we saw large steps leading up to the palace. It’s an active, living palace of the Italian democracy. We hung out at the square and enjoyed the peaceful scenery. It’s open to the public daily, and I’ve heard there’s a beautiful garden!
This is the iconic and most well known fountain in Rome (and in the world). It really is worth seeing. I recommend seeing the Trevi Fountain during the day & night. At night, it is all lit up and something about it is magical. I will warn you that it gets EXTREMELY crowded. Like, everyone is on top of each other. We decided to go to the fountain during sunrise. Even then, the crowd started forming.
These are the famous steps located in the Piazza di Spagna. It really is beautiful! However, similar to the Trevi Fountain, it gets insanely crowded. We went to the Spanish Steps right after checking out the Trevi Fountain early in the morning. It was perfect because there was barely anyone there and we were really able to enjoy seeing the Spanish steps. You are not allowed to sit or eat on these steps. If you do, police will ask you to not sit or eat. The steps were recently renovated and the city wants to protect them.
This is the bridge that will take you to the other side of the Tiber River. The view from the bridge is beautiful and serene. Below the bridge is a walking/running/bike path.
This is the neighborhood across the Tiber River. After your cross the Ponte Sisto, you will be in the Trastevere neighborhood. This area has a completely different feel. It’s more rustic and less urban-like. I love how the ivy and other climbing plants drape the buildings and streets. There’s tons of amazing restaurants too.
Basilica Santa Maria Trastevere
It’s a beautiful church and easily recognizable in Trastevere. You can walk-in for free. Every detail of that church is stunning. It’s one of the oldest churches in Rome.
Campo de’ Fiori Neighborhood
This is the neighborhood right before you cross the Tiber River. There are so many cute shops. The street Via Giula is worth seeing. It is known as the most beautiful street in Europe. They also have an outdoor market that’s worth exploring.
Via Condotti, Via del Corso, Via Cola di Rienzo
These are the 3 main shopping streets in Rome. Via Condotti and Via del Corso end up intersecting. There’s a mixture of high and low fashion. I had fun discovering Italian fashion brands. Via Cola di Rienzo is across the Tiber River.
Vatican City (St. Peters’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum)
If you want to check out the Vatican City, especially if you want to see St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum, then you must buy your tickets in advance. People will wait hours to get in. We purchased the skip the line ticket through TickItaly and it was so worth it! The tour is 3.5 hours but totally worth it. The guide (we had Anna) was amazing and was very knowledgeable!
Getting this skip the line ticket gets you inside the Vatican City an hour before it is open to the public. They worked out an agreement with the Vatican City (technically its another country) so you don’t need to show proof of identity, and don’t need to wait in line for St. Peters’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum. We also booked our tour first thing in the morning. Trust me, this place fills up quickly. We had to walk through the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel one more time before entering St. Peter’s Basilica and omg it was only 9:30 and it was extremely crowded! So that extra hour makes a difference and you can really enjoy it.
This is the neighborhood right outside of the Vatican City walls. It’s so cute and quaint. There are streets filled with restaurants and souvenirs from the Vatican City. It has an old school Italy feel to it. It’s also a nice change of scenery from the Vatican City.
One of the oldest areas in Rome and most well preserved building from Ancient Rome. It is hard to miss. I believe this was built in 27 BC. I’m still amazed how things that go that far back in Rome still exist today! You can definitely visit the Pantheon at no cost.
One of the oldest areas in Rome and known to be the most beautiful baroque square. And I totally agree. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. So when we got to the piazza, I was in awe. There are charming restaurants around the plaza and two beautiful fountains – Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi & Fontana del Moro. And of course there’s the Sant’Agnese in Agone Church.
Places to Eat/Drink/Snack
La Dispensa Del Podere
This cafe is adorable. It has a rustic feel. We came in for a sandwich and got the Toscano toasted. So good! They also serve traditional Italian dishes like Cacio E Pepe, Spaghetti, etc and it’s a great spot for coffee.
Gelateria Pasticceria Caffeteria / Angel’s House
It’s a very cute bakery. I listed both them because one door says Gelateria Pasticceria Caffeteria (which is where I saw the gelato) and the other door says Angel’s House (where I saw the desserts & pastries). However, it’s the same place. It looks like an old school candy shop with pink & white stripes on the wall. The decor is very adorable. I got the chocolate hazelnut gelato and it did not disappoint!
This place was recommended by our hotel (Casa Modelli). And if you booked a reservation with them, you get a 10% discount. It was really good. It has a modern vibe inside the restaurant, but the dishes are all classic Italian food. We got the Cacio e Pepe, Lasagna, and Calamari Fritti. We really loved their lasagna! They also have a cute outdoor spot. We were also glad we booked a reservation because the place filled up quickly!
Cafeteria Barcaccia / Don Nino Gelateria & Pasticceria
It’s another cafe where if you sit down it has a different name versus coming in for gelato. We went here to grab cappuccino and croissants in the morning.
Went here for lunch when we were exploring Trastevere. We had the spaghetti & meatballs and it was so good!! The meatballs were one of the best we had!
This is by Piazza de Spagnia. Loved our meals and especially love the burrata! Wow it was amazing!
This is the cafe directly across from the Vatican City Walls. Nothing special but convenient and the food & cappuccino was good. Since we headed to the Vatican City during sunrise, this place was already open serving breakfast . Which was a good thing because we left the hotel without eating breakfast to make sure we got to our tour on time.
We the bolognese and lasagna and both were really good. We went during off hours and we were able to get seated right away. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were raving about this place. The lines especially during dinner would wrap around the street sometimes, and all the locals love it there.
This place was recommended by our hotel (Casa Modelli). The outdoor seating is so cute. Those seats get filled quickly during dinner. So if you want to sit outside, I highly recommend getting a reservation. We didn’t get any reservations and were seated inside. The ambiance was still really cute. The food was amazing!
This is a gelato shop. There’s no place to sit. You just go up and order. It’s the cutest gelato shop I’ve seen in Rome. It has gold covers on the gelato and has that old school feel.
Locanda Giulietta e Romeo
At first, I thought this was one of those tourist trap restaurants and was hesitant to go. But I was sooo hungry at this point and didn’t want to walk around anymore. I was wrong. The food was very delicious! They have all your classic Italian dishes and it is very close to the Trevi Fountain. Since our waiter knew it was our very last day in Rome, he gave us limoncello shots for free.
Gelato in Trevi
This gelato shop is right by the Trevi. The serving size is very large even though I ordered a small. So if you get a gelato from here, you will probably need to share it.
Quick Recap Of Our Rome Itinerary
- Arrived at the hotel, had cappuccino at the terrace
- Walked around the area of the hotel
- Snacked/Lunched at La Dispensa Del Podere
- Quirinal Palace
- Gelateria Pasticceria Caffeteria / Angel’s House
- Rest at the hotel’s (Casa Modelli) terrace
- Dinner at Mazze
- Trevi Fountain (to see in the evening)
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
- Breakfast at Cafeteria Barcaccia / Don Nino Gelateria & Pasticceria
- Ponte Sisto
- Explored Trastevere neighborhood
- Basilica of Santa Maria Trastevere
- Lunch at Tonnarello
- Explored Campo de’ Fiori neighborhood
- Shopping at Via Condotti, Via del Corso and Via Cola di Rienzo
- Dinner at Le Grotte
- Breakfast at Caffe Vaticano
- Vatican City (Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica)
- Borgo Neighborhood
- Lunch at That’s Amore
- Walk around
- Gelato at Gelicious
- Walked around
- Dinner at IL Chianti
- Piazza Navona
- Rome Termini
- The Brittania Hotel
- Locanda Giulietta e Romeo
- Gelato in Trevi
Hope you find this travel guide to Rome helpful!