Things to Do When in Rome
Not only is Rome one of the oldest cities in the world, but it's also one of the vibrant places you'll ever find. You'll see ancient Roman architecture alongside historic Catholic churches and modern Italian businesses. This is a city that has stood the test of time and will continue to draw tourists every year for a taste of its beauty and its passion. If you're planning your first trip to Rome, keep the following tips in mind.
1. Get a Roma Pass
If you plan on staying at least 3 days (since Rome can't be fully explored in just one day), it's best to avail yourself and spend the 34 Euros to buy a Roma Pass. This tourist pass will give you free admission to the first 2 museums or ancient sites you visit, better access to public transportation, and so many discounts on musical events and theatrical shows.
2. Walk whenever possible
While you'll need access to buses and taxis for getting up and down the 7 major hills of Rome, the public transit system can be confusing to a first-time visitor and are usually crowded no matter what time you go. Still, Rome is a great city for walking and most of the major places to visit are close to each other.
3. Explore Classic Rome
Plenty of classic Roman buildings--like the Pantheon and the Colosseum--are still standing and open to the public. You'll also find many famous sites and churches that date back to the Renaissance and beyond, such as Santa Maria del Popolo. And did you know that Rome also contains Vatican City, home of the Catholic Church and the smallest country in the world? You'll find even more religious architecture and art, although a modest dress code is required for admission.
4. Visit one or two museums
Most of the finest museums can be found in the Villa Borghese area of Rome. For great Renaissance art, try the Galleria d'Arte Antica in the Barberini Palace. For more modern works of art, you can visit the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna.
5. Shop at La Rinascente
As the first department store to open in Rome, La Rinascente has been in business since 1887. Here you'll find a great selection of fashionable clothing, beauty products, and household goods.
6. Try a pizza al taglio
If you're in need of a quick small meal, you can usually find some pizza al taglio at a local restaurant. This type of pizza is thicker and more filling than the traditional Roman pizza. You'll also find other delicious treats at bakeries and restaurants like Dolce Maniera on Via Barletta.
7. Learn some basic Italian
To make a good impression with the local Romans, knowing some Italian phrases will make your stay much easier. For the most part, you'll be able to get by speaking English and Romance languages like French and Spanish. In a pinch, you'll make yourself understood with common phrases like "Scusi!" ("Excuse me!") to get someone's attention and "Aiuto, al ladro!" ("Help, thief!") when you've been pickpocketed.