Rome - St. Peter's Square


Rome is one of the oldest cities in Europe and certainly has the historical sites to prove it. At the same time it is a very warm city, both in terms of people and climate. There is always something to see and do…

Language is generally not a problem, most people will understand BASIC English words though it is recommended that you do attempt to learn a few words in Italian (most obvious being please, thank-you, and hello).

Do not even THINK of trying to drive in Rome (unless you are suicidal) as most drivers ignore even the most basic rules of the road (pedestrians are simply moving targets). Public transport is reasonable (and cheap) with the Metropolitan (subway/underground) system offering quick, if rather dull, service to many outlying areas of the city. Train service is provided to and from the airport (with a supplementary super-fast train service directly to Termini in the middle of Rome itself). The airport is about a 30 minute train ride from the middle of Rome to the South-West of the city.

As a pedestrian, jay-walking is most often the only way to cross the street – just be sure to always watch the traffic, looking for a break when you can cross making eye contact with drivers to make sure that if they hit you at least they may feel a bit guilty.

Temperature is fairly moderate though snow has been known to fall in the winter. Summers can be VERY hot so be advised to dress accordingly (most people do nothing in the heat of the midday sun - a good example to follow).

Shops are generally open from 9am to 1pm and then from 3:30pm to 7:30pm though some in the centre of the city are open throughout the day (I would not count on it though). Restaurants are open from about noon to 3pm then from about 8pm to 11pm. Good food can be had on the street from many small shops selling the basics such as pizza and pasta (don't miss the Italian ice-cream Gelati though, most of which is homemade!).


The following are some of the key things to see and do in Rome:

  • The Colosseum - One of the oldest structures still standing, wonderful to visit. Audio tours available but for best effect, take a tour guided by a resident archaeologist. Inside the Colosseum
  • The Forum Area - An area just to the west of the Colosseum, this is free to the public and has a large number of classic Roman ruins include the Temple of the Vestal Virgins. The Forum Area
  • The Pantheon - Magnificent church/temple with a tremendously impressive dome interior with wonderful works of art around the perimeter (and entrance is free!). The Tome of Raphael is also housed here. The Interior of the Pantheon
  • St. Peter's/The Vatican - Simply a must see. Both the museum and St. Peter's itself are spectacular to behold. Endless displays of magnificent art and truly impressive sights. Climb to the top of the Dome to see tremendous views of the city (though you will have to pay a SMALL administrative charge). Avoid the museum on the weekends (only open on Saturday for a few hours in the morning).

There are many other fountains (such as Trevi), churches and other historical buildings that are worth a visit, however, the above are my recommendations for “MUST visit”. Many sites are essentially free though those that have been developed more extensively for the public generally charge a small admission charge.

The Trevi Fountain

If you are planning to visit more than one of the key archaeological sites that charge admission, watch out for possible discounts available by purchasing a multiple entrance tickets.

Further Information

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