5 Essential Tips for Rome Travel That You Need to Know

Trevi Fountain - Tips for Rome Travel

Ready to experience La Dolce Vita in Rome? This ancient city is one of history, style, and unforgettable experiences. But, like many great places, Rome can get quite busy. Not only is it the capital of Italy but it’s one of the most visited cities in Europe. Prepare for your first trip or your best trip with these essential tips for Rome travel.

Do some pre-planning.

While being a bit spontaneous is part of the travel experience, it is important to do a bit of research and planning before you take flight. You don’t want to waste precious hours sitting in your hotel scrolling Google to find a restaurant for dinner every night. Instead, jot down a list of places you’d like to eat in advance or gather local recommendations upon arrival. When it comes time for dinner, consult your list and see where it is in proximity to where you currently are.

For example, if you’re currently near the Colosseum it might not be logical to go all the way to a restaurant near the Vatican when you already have a Vatican tour scheduled for the following day. But by having a list of restaurants (or activities, tours, etc) in mind, you can plan things more efficiently.

This all saves time and money so you can enjoy visiting Rome stress-free. 

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Book tours in advance during the peak season.

If you’re visiting during the summer season, Rome is often packed. While squeezing yourself in to see the Trevi Fountain is fine because it’s a free and open attraction, visiting the Colosseum or Vatican City can be a bit difficult.

However, if you plan ahead and book tickets to places like the Colosseum, Vatican City, and Galleria Borghese in advance, you can avoid disappointment or hours lost waiting in long lines.

Allow some time for spontaneity, while booking a few things in advance if you visit during the peak travel season.

Be wary of pickpockets and scams.

In European cities, like Rome, Barcelona, and Paris, pickpocketing is a major issue. To avoid pickpocketing in Rome, it’s important to be mindful of your belongings and take steps to protect yourself. Here are some tips for Rome travel to help prevent pickpocketing:

  • Keep valuables close: Keep your valuables, such as your wallet, passport, and phone, close to you in a secure place, like a zippered pocket or the inside pocket of a cross-body bag. Don’t think you need to bring your passport out with you. It’s probably going to be better off inside your hotel’s safe. Just bring some form of ID, like a driver’s license, out with you.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Pickpockets often work in crowded areas, such as busy streets, tourist attractions, and public transportation. While sometimes acting in complete secrecy, some groups use tricks to distract you. Don’t fall for tricks where people try to high-five you, entertain you, or give you something.
  • Don’t keep all your valuables in one place: If you do have valuables with you, don’t keep them all in one place. Instead, divide them up and keep them in different pockets or bags, or leave some at the hotel.
  • Keep a photocopy of your documents: In case you become a victim of pickpocketing, having a photocopy of your passport will make it easier to report the theft and get a replacement. Also, it might be handy to know your cell phone’s serial number!

Stay hydrated in Rome.

You almost always have to pay for water at restaurants in Rome, so keep this in mind. Don’t spend money on pesky plastic water bottles when you can bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up at one of the many free water taps in Rome. The valves are always running, offering cool, refreshing water on a hot day in Rome. This is one of the best things to know before visiting Rome if you want to look like a local and save money along the way.

Rome City View - Tips for Rome Travel

Understand your restaurant bill in Italy.

One of the best tips for Rome travel is learning to understand your restaurant bill. You might arrive in Rome, sit down at a restaurant, enjoy the best pasta you’ve had in your entire life, and then you get the bill and you’re scratching your head. Let’s avoid that confusion!

An Italian trattoria is likely to charge you a cover just to occupy a table for a bit. This is called a coperto. If you’re wondering if the restaurant charges a coperto, you will see it somewhere on the menu, usually in small writing at the top or bottom. The norm is between ˆ1 and ˆ2 per diner.

A coperto is different from a servizio charge. This is typically only applied to visitors who are eating at a restaurant that is typically catered to tourists. It’s often 10% of the bill and it must be stated on the menu for it to be legal. If you don’t see a service charge listed on the menu and you receive your bill with a servizio, you can ask them to remove it.

And lastly, tipping is totally up to you. You can leave pocket change (seriously just a euro or two, or nothing at all.) Italians don’t often tip, so don’t feel inclined unless you’d like to.

These are just a few of the most essential tips for Rome travel that you should definitely keep in mind before visiting. Don’t forget to also pack comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and a good day pack to make the most of your trip.

Have you visited Rome before and tried any of these tips for Rome travel? Tell us in the comments!


About author

Christa Adams

Christa is a freelance travel writer with nearly a decade of solo travel experiences in Europe and beyond. With a focus on slow and sustainable travel, Christa can often be found in the Italian countryside or visiting picturesque bookshops in Scotland’s capital.

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