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How to Skip the Lines & Have the Best Time When Visiting Rome

Imagine basking in the sunshine on Piazza di Spagna one beautiful day in Rome. The air smells fresh and you’re listening to the water stream out of the Fontana della Barcaccia. With a gelato in hand, nothing could be better than this…

That is until a flock of noisy tourists starts posing for photographs right next to you. Shoulder-to-shoulder traffic floods the plaza. You want to indulge like a local, but you discover every nearby restaurant has no open tables.

With 9.7 million people visiting Rome each year, beating the crowds can seem impossible. But you can still have a dream of a time in the Italian capital, and we’re here to show you how!

Travel During the Off-Season

Rome is the busiest and most expensive during the spring and summer. If big crowds aren’t your thing, consider traveling in the autumn or winter.

The weather may not be as warm and sunny these times of the year. Luckily, Rome’s climate tends to be mild year-round. So, you can still have a wonderful time in Rome even if you need to bundle up a bit more.

If you visit Rome during the cold months, be sure to dress appropriately. Have an umbrella and a good pair of boots just in case.

Optimize Your Travel Arrangements

If you’re planning to travel to Rome, it’s important to save money wherever you can. By saving money on flights and hotels, you’ll be able to spend more on food, shopping, and museums.

Don’t be afraid to browse around for the best rates on travel booking sites. You never know when you’ll be able to find cheap flights or great flight-hotel packages.

You may even have rewards points saved up from certain airlines or hotel chains. See if you can apply any vouchers on flights or hotels in Rome.

Rise Early & Get Around by Foot

Rome is bustling by the mid-morning and it doesn’t stop until late at night. You might feel pretty jet-lagged by the time you travel to Rome – but fight that urge to lounge around at the hotel.

Try to check out the must-sees in Rome early in the morning. These areas are quiet at dawn, so grab an espresso and wake up in the fresh air before the crowds arrive.

Here’s a list of the absolute must-see spots in Rome you can’t miss:

  • Colosseum
  • Trevi Fountain
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Roman Forum
  • Pantheon
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)
  • Altare della Patria
  • Ostia Antica
  • San Clemente

If you ever need to sleep in, late night is a great time to visit open-air places like the Trevi Fountain.

Museums and archaeological sites have varying hours, so be sure to check these in advance. The earlier you can visit them, the better.

Choose Public Transportation over Taxis

Riding by taxi from place to place may seem like the best way to save time. But taxi rides add up and drain your wallet. Plus, traffic can get pretty congested in Rome, and you can wind up wasting more time than you anticipated.

Bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes and travel around by foot during the day. This is the best way to absorb the city in all its entirety.

Save the taxi rides for late nights or from going to and from the airport. You can even get the Roma pass, which will allow you to travel by public transportation – anywhere at any time.

Go on a Tour

There is something invigorating about visiting Rome as an independent traveler. But when visiting the must-sees in Rome, you may want to consider going on a tour.

The lines to enter the Vatican and Colosseum are long. You’ll encounter people trying to sell you tickets for cheaper than the going rate. More times than not, these are scams – and you don’t want to fall victim to them.

The Benefits

You may have to pay a little more to go on a guided tour. But in the end, it’s so worth the extra money and planning.

You’ll get to skip the hassle of the long lines. You’re guaranteed the best experience from someone who knows Rome like the back of their hand. Depending on the tour, you may even get to see places not open to the public.

There are also guided tours beyond the historical sites. You can go on a foodie tour or even a tour by electric bike. You can check out these packages to see the variety of tours offered in Rome.

Eat Like the Locals

How do you eat in Rome like a native? First, it helps to understand the nuances of dining out in Italy.

Tipping in Europe may not be quite as mandatory as it is in the United States. A few euros as a tip will usually suffice for good service

In Italy, there’s something known as “coperto”. This is a charge applied to bills for simply sitting at a restaurant. In many restaurants, there’s also a service charge.

Avoid chain restaurants at all costs. Indulge at dinner time by going out to eat. A good way to tell if a restaurant is a tourist trap is if they offer menus in several languages.

Find restaurants outside the city center with unique menus that the local foodies go to. Don’t be afraid to try restaurants that seem off-the-beaten-path. These tend to have some of the most authentic Italian food you can find anywhere in the city.

Picnics Are the Way to Go

In Italy, “pranzo” (otherwise known as lunch) is the biggest meal of the day. There may be restaurants with great lunch spreads you’ll want to experience. But on most days, choose to picnic over dining out.

You can buy fresh bread, cheeses, meats, and fruit at the local markets. Breakfast is usually light and consists of a small pastry and espresso. You can picnic in parks, gardens, or any of the open-air plazas.

Be sure to carry around a reusable water bottle. The cost of bottled water can add up in Rome. Plus, there are drinking fountains everywhere, making it easy to stay hydrated always.

Visiting Rome is a Dream Come True

If you’ve always dreamed of traveling to Rome, don’t let the crowds dissuade you from going. By following these tips, you can have the experience of a lifetime in the Eternal City.

But why stop there?

Italians are some of the most fashionable people on earth. Before visiting Rome, learn how to dress like an Italian!

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