Advance Planning

Two months before Book high-season accommodation.

One month before Check for concerts at www.auditorium.com and www.operaroma.it.

One to two weeks before Reserve tables at A-list restaurants; sort tickets for Museo e Galleria Borghese, Palazzo Farnese and the pope’s weekly audience at St Peter’s.

Few days before Book tickets for the Vatican Museums and Colosseum (advisable to avoid queues).

Resources

  • 060608 (www.060608.it) Great for practical details on sights, transport, upcoming events and more.
  • Coopculture (www.coopculture.it) Information and ticket booking for Rome’s monuments.
  • Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/rome) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.
  • Tavole Romane (www.tavoleromane.it) Italian-language site covering the city's food scene.
  • Turismo Roma (www.turismoroma.it) Rome's official tourist website with inspirational and practical information.
  • Vatican Museums (www.museivaticani.va) Book tickets and guided tours to the museums and other Vatican sites.

Top Tips

  • Don't try to cover everything. Focus on a few sights/areas and leave the rest for next time.
  • Rome's historic centre is made for leisurely strolling, so allow time for mapless wandering. Half the fun of Rome is discovering what's around the corner.
  • When choosing where to eat, never judge a place by its appearance. Some of the best meals are had in modest-looking trattorias.
  • Expect queues at major sights such as the Colosseum, St Peter's Basilica and Vatican Museums. Pre-booking tickets costs extra but cuts waiting.
  • To deal with the summer heat, adjust to the local rhythm: go out in the morning, rest after lunch and head out again in the late afternoon.
  • August is Italy's main holiday period. Romans desert the city in droves and many shops and eateries close for a week or two around 15 August.

What to Take

  • Trainers or comfy walking shoes – cobbled streets can be murder on the feet
  • Smart-casual evening clothes – Romans dress up to go out
  • Purse with strap – petty theft can be a problem
  • Water bottle – refill it at drinking water fountains
  • Electrical adapter and phone charger

What to Wear

Appearances matter in Rome. That said, you'll need to dress comfortably because you'll be walking a lot. Suitable wear for men is generally trousers (pants) and shirts or polo shirts, and for women, skirts, trousers or dresses. Shorts, T-shirts and sandals are fine in summer but bear in mind that strict dress codes are enforced at St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums. For evening wear, smart casual is the norm. A light sweater or waterproof jacket is useful in spring and autumn.

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Check your passport is valid
  • Organise travel insurance
  • Inform your credit-/debit-card company of your travels
  • Check that you can use your mobile phone
  • Book accommodation and tickets for sights like the Vatican Museums, Colosseum, Museo e Galleria Borghese
  • If coming at Christmas or Easter, check details of services at St Peter's Basilica and other churches