Tips for Visiting Rome’s Major Sights

Whether you plan on studying abroad in Italy in the future or are planning a vacation at some point, I wanted to share some tips on visiting some of Rome’s major tourist sights that you will likely visit.

1. Colosseum

Tickets to get into the Colosseum are about $18. You can book them there but I highly recommend booking them in advance online because it can be very busy, especially during the summer when people are more likely to visit Italy. If you plan on visiting the Roman Forum and Palentine Hill as well, then I recommend that you purchase the PArCo Card. It gets you free entry into all 3 of these sights. However, you should still reserve tickets in advance and there should be a PArCo Card option when you are getting tickets. The price varies for the card varies;

  • Young (25 euros) – 18 and 30 years old
  • Individual (50 euro) – individual card for people aged 31 and over
  • Family&friends (80 euro) – for two adults, with the possibility of adding up to three children up to the age of 18

2. Trevi Fountain

Everyone wants to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain because it’s supposed to mean that you will come back to Rome someday. To properly throw a coin into the fountain, you use your right hand to throw the coin over your left shoulder. Keep in mind that sometimes the area right outside of the fountain is closed off and crowds gather on a higher edge around the fountain so you will need to throw it pretty far to ensure it lands in the fountain. There is always a crowd so you have to wait patiently for a time to slip to the front and take pictures. If you can, it is best to go early in the morning or late at night so the crowds are smaller. There will be people offering to take you picture almost constantly, they typically charge a lot for these pictures and basically everyone has a phone or camera at this point that can be used to take pictures. And if you want a picture with everyone in it that isn’t a selfie, you can typically ask other tourists around you to take your picture and they are almost always happy to.

3. Trastevere

Trastevere is the neighborhood in Rome that our apartment is in. It is considered very hip and is home to most of Rome’s nightlife. Everywhere you go there is a restaurant, but keep in mind that Italians don’t eat dinner until at least 7pm so most places don’t open before then. However, if you have a specific place in mind, I suggest you get there a little early (6:30 at the latest) or make a reservation ahead of time (which is difficult because most places don’t have online reservation systems so you have to call them). There have been several times when we have headed out for dinner and every place we try to stop at is full, and Italians spend hours eating dinner so it is unlikely that you will ever get a seat.

It can get very busy in Trastevere’s main piazzas and pickpockets are common so keep close track of your belongings. This goes for all tourist sights because they prey on tourists.

4. Vatican Museums

The Vatican museums will take up most of your day, you need several hours to get through them and by the time you are done, you are exhausted. It may be difficult to go through with a child/children. You should book your tickets in advance. If you are someone who likes to have a lot of information on what you’re looking at then I recommend you get the audio guide. However, if you are someone who likes to go through museums at a reasonable pace then it may slow you down because the audio is typically at least a few minutes long for each piece that is covered.

5. Pantheon

The pantheon is free to enter but I suggest you reserve a spot in advance because the lines can get long. We reserved tickets in advance and still had to wait in line for about half an hour before we could go inside.

6. Spanish Steps

I actually don’t even have a picture of the Spanish Steps because I’ve only been there once, briefly, when I first got here and I plan to go back before I leave. But they are always busy so it is difficult to get a picture because they are actual steps that are constantly in use. As previously mentioned, if you want any chance of getting a crowd free picture, I recommend going early in the morning or late at night.

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