Things to Know Before You Go to Rome: Ancient Ruins and Italian Cuisine

Planning a trip to The Eternal City? There’s a lot to look forward to and plenty of things to know before you go to Rome. From ancient ruins that tell tales of a bygone era to the modern hustle of its streets, Rome is a city of contrasts.

Colorful aerobatic smoke trails over Rome on Republic Day, a sight to behold on your visit
Colorful aerobatic smoke trails over Rome on Republic Day, a sight to behold on your visit

Come, See, and Conquer Rome

Ready to “Rome” around Italy’s storied capital? After all, there’s more to the Eternal City than meets the eye, and knowing a few essential tips before traveling to Rome, one of UNESCO’s most heritage-rich cities globally, can truly make all the difference. 

As one of the globe’s most beloved destinations, Rome attracts more visitors around the world annually with its timeless charm and layers of history. Of course, knowing when to toss your coin into the Trevi Fountain or how to skip the line at the Colosseum can save you time and make your experience truly monumental. That’s why in this blog, we’re spilling the secrets on navigating the city’s ancient paths with ease. 

With This City Knows, you’ll conquer Rome’s cobblestones like a true gladiator, armed with insider tips that will have you saying ‘veni, vidi, vici’ to your travel goals.

Join us as we pave your way to a truly epic Roman escapade!

Rome 101: Start Here

Before you pack your bags and head off to Rome, let’s go through some basics. Having a handle on these things to know before you go to Rome will ensure your trip is smooth and enjoyable.

Best Times for a Roman Holiday

Choosing the right season for your visit is crucial and one of the first things to know before you go to Rome, as each season paints the city with a different palette of experiences. 

Spring, from April to June, offers perfect weather for walking tours. The city blooms with flowers so it is an ideal season for photographers to capture the beauty of Rome.

In the summer months of July and August, Rome buzzes with vibrant energy, festivals, and open-air concerts. Despite the heat and crowds,  it still showcases the city’s dynamic culture. 

Fall, during September and October, brings cooler temperatures and fewer tourists. This allows for a more comfortable and relaxed exploration of the city’s historic and scenic spots. 

While the seasons influence the city’s character, they also play a significant role in the cultural events that take place throughout the year.

Here are some you should mark on your calendars:

Rome’s Must-Attend Festivals

Rome’s calendar is packed with cultural events and festivals. Participating in these festivities is among the enjoyable things to know before you go to Rome:

  • Roman Summer: The entire city becomes a live stage for performing arts, transforming streets and squares into venues for unforgettable performances.
  • Rome’s Birthday: Celebrated with great enthusiasm, the city’s founding is marked by historical parades, fireworks, and reenactments, offering a glimpse into Rome’s storied past.
  • Republic Day: Witness Italy’s pride with grand military parades and the breathtaking aerobatic show by the Italian Air Force, a patriotic display not to be missed.
Two kids mesmerized by Trevi Fountain, a moment before tossing coins
Two kids mesmerized by Trevi Fountain, a moment before tossing coins

How to Move Around Rome

Understanding the city’s transport system is one of the practical things to know before you go to Rome. Fortunately, the metro and buses provide an efficient means to reach major attractions quickly, with buses expanding your access across the city— ideal for those looking to explore off-the-beaten-path locations. 

Many of Rome’s treasures, however, are best discovered on foot. Walking through the city allows for unplanned discoveries in Rome’s labyrinthine streets, enhancing the sense of adventure. Alternatively, renting a bike offers a fun and leisurely way to see Rome, giving you the freedom to explore its beautiful parks and historic alleyways at your own pace. 

Mastering these modes of transportation is essential, as it seamlessly connects you to the iconic sights of Rome, each with a story to echo through the ages.

The Heart of Rome Unveiled

To truly experience Rome, you must immerse yourself in its culture, history, and gastronomy. 

Knowing the following things before you go will help you capture the city’s identity:

Iconic Sights in Rome

Rome is a city of iconic landmarks, each with a story to tell. Visiting these places is among the top things to know before you go to Rome:

  • The Colosseum: More than just an ancient ruin, the Colosseum is a symbol of Rome’s architectural and engineering prowess, where gladiators once battled for their lives.
  • The Vatican City: A sovereign state within Rome, the Vatican is home to breathtaking art, serene gardens, and the majestic St. Peter’s Basilica, offering a unique blend of spirituality and artistry.
  • Pantheon: With its massive dome and oculus opening to the sky, the Pantheon stands as a testament to the ingenuity of ancient Roman builders, inviting visitors to marvel at its grandeur.

Rome on a Plate

Sampling Italian cuisine is one of the most awesome things to know before you go to Rome. Each dish tells a story of Rome’s rich cultural tapestry, and here are some you wouldn’t want to miss out on:

  • Cacio e Pepe: This dish, with its creamy pecorino cheese and pepper sauce, captures the simplicity and depth of Roman cuisine, making it a must-try for any food lover.
  • Gelato: Italian gelato is an art form in Rome. Its flavors range from classic chocolate to unique regional specialties, offering a refreshing treat during warme days.
  • Espresso: Experience Italian coffee culture with a quick shot of espresso, the perfect pick-me-up that keeps the city moving and a ritual deeply ingrained in Roman life.

Photogenic Rome

Rome’s landscape is a canvas waiting for its portrait to be captured. Knowing where to find the most picturesque settings is practically essential before you embark on your journey. 

Each corner of this historic city offers a stunning tableau that beckons to be photographed, but here are some spots that should top your list:

  • Trevi Fountain: Legend says that tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain ensures a return to Rome. This magnificent fountain, with its detailed sculptures and clear waters, is a must-capture landmark.
  • Spanish Steps: Climbing the Spanish Steps offers not just a great workout. It also gives you spectacular views of the city. The steps are a popular gathering place, offering a snapshot of Roman life.
Friends strolling Rome's streets
Friends strolling Rome’s streets

Choosing Your Roman Home Base

More importantly, choosing the perfect accommodation can greatly influence your Roman holiday. Where to stay is one of the key things to know before you go to Rome, after all. 

Here are some options that offer more than just a place to sleep:

  • Hassler Roma: Perched atop the Spanish Steps, this hotel offers luxury and history, providing guests with stunning views and first-class service, perfect for those looking to indulge.
  • Hotel Artemide: Located just 200 meters from the Repubblica Metro Station, this hotel is ideal for travelers eager to be in the center of the action. Its rooftop also promises panoramic views of the city.
  • Villa della Fonte: Tucked away in Trastevere, this boutique hotel offers a quiet retreat from the bustling city. Its charming garden is where guests can unwind after a day of exploration.

Converse like a True Roman

Speaking the local language is like holding the key to the city. Before you stroll through the streets of Rome, it’s essential to arm yourself with a few basic Italian phrases to connect authentically with the city and its people. 

Here are some friendly essentials to keep in your conversation toolkit:

  • “Buongiorno”: A friendly greeting that translates to “good morning” brightens the day and opens doors to warm interactions with locals.
  • “Grazie”: Expressing gratitude is universal, and in Rome, a simple “thank you” can go a long way in showing appreciation for the city’s hospitality.
  • “Dove è…”: or “where is…” because asking for directions in Italian can help you navigate Rome’s winding streets and discover hidden gems that aren’t in the guidebooks. 

Get Ready for Rome with ThisCityKnows

Plan a trip to Italy and step into Rome’s timeless streets with a guide that turns every walk into a narrative of empires and epochs. From sipping espresso in bustling cafes to marveling at the architectural marvels that dot the cityscape, ThisCityKnows ensures your visit is deeply immersive.

Trip planning is not just practical; it’s a must for any travel plan. Taking note of these essential things to know before you go to Rome ensures that you’re prepared for everything the Eternal City has to offer. 

So if you’re ready to turn your Italian daydreams into reality, be sure to connect with ThisCityKnows

With us, you’re signing up for an adventure that goes beyond the guidebook!

Author: Lei

Armed with curiosity and a knack for planning, Lei loves finding cool stuff to do and places to see that aren't packed with tourists. This City Knows becomes her platform to guide you through the world's wonders, sharing easy tips for making your trip awesome and packed with memories.

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