Our #1 tip: There is so much to see in Rome! Pick a few key things you want to see and focus on taking enough time to really enjoy them. We had one major thing each day, and anything else we did was just a bonus.
- The Borghese Gallery is a must-see. It is squarely my favourite museum in the whole world (at this point). It’s consumable size and cohesive collection was very enjoyable, even though I am no art expert. You must book ahead, but it is worth it.
- The Vatican was really nice. Allow plenty of time to not be rushed.
- Take your Lactaid! It is almost impossible to avoid dairy, but this is the place to splurge on dairy for all the cappuccinos, cheese and cream sauce.
- If you are trying to save money, stop at a market for a few picnic supplies and eat out at one of the monuments instead of restaurants or cafes. It is hard to eat inexpensively and your evening meal is worth the splurge.
- We had a beautiful lunch (our main meal that day) at Osteria Margutta. Expensive, but excellent. We both had tortellini with truffles. The best tortellini we’ve ever had. Via Margutta 82 (06 361 1025)
- Pizzeria ‘Al Marmi’ Viale Trastevere 53 Low key pizza place – great atmosphere.
- We would recommend our hotel. Very well placed, clean, efficient and on a quiet street. Hotel Smeraldo www.smeraldoroma.com
- First thing pick up a big tourist map (the free one is fine). The streets are not on a grid, and a good map is essential.
- Rome’s historic centre is very compact, and easily walk able. The bus is great for taking you home after working your way across the city all day. The Rick Steves’ book has plenty of bus information.
- The Fiumicino airport is very easy to use. There is a train into the city centre for €11. A bus from the main train station is easy to grab (identify why bus you’ll want to get to your hotel before leaving home).
- As always the Rick Steves’ guidebook is an excellent source. (we used Rick Steves’ Rome 2009)
- We also had a Blue Guide Rome, Ninth Edition, borrowed from a friend – it had extensive information on the many art museums and historical sites. It is a good supplement to your primary guidebook if you are going to be spending significant time at several museums. It good to study before you leave on your trip. (just be aware is a heavy book to carry around all day)
- I am a shoes and handbags girl and Rome was wonderful! There were lots of small shops carrying high-quality, classic things. If you are into this type of thing and can carve out some time to enjoy looking, and have some room in your budget, I really recommend it.
- Il Gancio Leather bags. Really nice simple things. (I did not leave empty handed) Via del Seminario 82-83 Right near the Pantheon.
- Il Bisonte Really fabulous bags if you have at least €400 saved up. (I, unfortunately, left empty handed) Shop is on Via del Coronari
- Via del Coronari Great street for window shopping among serious art and antique shops.
- Campo di Fiori This was the neighbourhood our hotel was located in, and I found the shops to be a great mix of boutique and kitsch.
- The neighbourhood around the Spanish Steps has all the high end boutiques. If you want to window shop don’t go on Saturday, it was a mob scene. I read that there are gems in among the side streets, but it was just too crowded to be enjoyable…maybe it was better that way:-)