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First Timer's Guide To Rome, Italy

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Hew Lee Yee

Klook Travel Curator

First-time in: Rome

It’s time to put down that history book and learn the best way possible, by seeing it in person in none other than Rome, the Eternal City. World-famous ancient ruins, as well as many other historic monuments are scattered across the city.

This Italy capital has almost 3,000 years of influential art, architecture and culture. For the best experience, it’s worth joining day tours with a guide, who’s able to paint a clear picture of the history. Rome, after all, was not built in one day.

Which Eurail Pass covers Italy?


Italy is covered by all three types of Eurail Passes available. Stay tuned to Klook as we plan to launch all 3 Eurail passes soon!

Klook activities in Rome


Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica Tour

  • Bypass the long lines to buy tickets and enter the Vatican Museums with fast-track “skip the line” entry tickets
  • Marvel at the work of Michelangelo on the walls and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
  • Explore the Vatican Museum’s huge collection of art and some of the most celebrated paintings and sculptures from the Renaissance era
  • Discover St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest of Catholic shrines and burial site of St. Peter, founder of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Learn more about the stories and history behind the many exhibits with a professional multilingual guide

Packages available:

  • Morning Tour Without Transfer (8:30am - 12pm / 11am - 3pm)
  • Morning Tour With Transfer (7:30am - 12pm)
  • Afternoon Tour Without Transfer (2:30pm - 5:30pm)
  • Afternoon Tour With Transfer (1:30pm - 5:30pm)

Itinerary:

  • Departure from meeting point / hotel
  • Guide leads tourists into Vatican Museums through fast track entrance
  • Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Tour ends at Vatican area
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Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

  • Skip the line and climb the Palatine Hill, one of the most ancient parts of the city and the birthplace of Rome
  • Step inside the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built
  • Visit the ruins of the Roman Forum, once the center of public life for ancient Roman society
  • Learn more about Rome and the history of the ancient Roman Empire from a professional tour guide

Packages available:

  • Morning Tour (9:30am - 12:30pm)
  • Afternoon Tour (2:30pm - 5pm)
  • Afternoon Tour + Hotel Transfer (1:45pm - 5pm)

Itinerary:

  • Tour starts
  • The Colosseum
  • Roman Forum
  • Palatine Hill
  • Walk on the original path of ancient Rome along the Via Sacra
  • Temples of Vesta
  • Antonino and Faustina
  • Tour ends
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Pizza Making Course in That's Amore, Rome

  • Take a cooking class at That's Amore, a restaurant in the heart of Rome that offers authentic Italian food
  • Learn how to make pizza from scratch with the freshest ingredients from an Italian chef!
  • An authentic 90 minutes cooking experience
  • Enjoy your homemade pizza after the class with some complimentary bruschetta, drink and dessert
  • Enjoy a small cooking class (limited to 12) where you can freely interact with the instructor and ask questions

Activity inclusive of:

  • Hands on cooking lesson in English
  • Dinner (bruschetta, pizza and dessert)
  • Water, wine or soft drinks
  • Cooking utensils

Meet up time: 4:45pm

Meet up location: in front of That's Amore restaurant, Via in Arcione (Trevi area)

View this activity

Rome highlights


1. Trevi Fountain

Easily the most recognised fountain around the world, Rome’s Trevi Fountain deserves to be on everyone’s must-see list. Armed with coins and wishes, your visit surely isn’t complete until it’s christened with a ceremonious coin toss - or a couple more for good measure!

Legend has it that, with your back facing the fountain and tossing a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder, will ensure a return to Rome.

With approximately 3,000 Euro swept up from fountain daily, it must make you wonder what to do with all that money. They’re actually donated to a Caritas, a Catholic nonprofit which uses the money to support and provide services to the needy in Rome. So, you can toss your coin and be assured that it’s going to a great charitable cause.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/r9BppQ

2. Colosseum

The iconic Colosseum to Rome is like how the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. It’s the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire and is still celebrated to this day for being one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.

Close to 4 million people visit the Colosseum every year and it’s quite remarkable, being able to step into that historic landmark.

3. Roman Forum

Stroll through the ancients of the Roman Forum, also referred to as Foro Romano. The archeological site is home to the remains of temples, basilicas, markets and public spaces from the Roman Empire.

The Roman Forum is located just a few minutes walk away from Colosseum, and should also be on your must-visit list. Since it’s a huge complex, do allow yourself ample of time to explore the area. Do dress accordingly to the weather because there is little to no shade in Foro Romano.

4. Centro Storico

The undeniable charm of Rome is its cobblestone streets and at the heart of this Eternal City is Centro Storico. It’s a network of charming cobbled alleyways, piazzas, Baroque churches and eateries.

It connects you to top attractions in Rome like the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and many more. It’s especially excellent if you’re a spontaneous traveller and you’d enjoy getting lost and discover wonderful spots along the way.

Photo Credit: https://www.favourhoods.com/en/best-areas-to-stay-in/rome.html

5. Piazza Navona

As one of Rome’s largest and most popular piazza (public square), Piazza Navona is a beautiful and lively area surrounded by restaurants and terraces. It’s also home to three impressive fountains, which are Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), Fontana del Moro (Seashell Fountain) and Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune).

With the stunning church of Sant'Agnese in the background, Piazza Navona is perfect for a nice stroll and photo op. You can also people while enjoying a drink or meal at one of the cafes.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/a9ep42

6. Vatican City

If you can dedicate a whole day to explore the Vatican City, you definitely won’t regret it! The grand and picturesque independent city-state of Vatican City is home to many historic structures.

One of the top attractions include the Vatican Museums where Michelangelo’s unbelievably breathtaking painting in the Sistine Chapel is located. There’s also St. Peter’s Basilica and Piazza di San Pietro. Make sure to snap a couple photos of the Swiss Guards as well!

7. Villa Borghese

Only in Rome, or in Galleria Borghese specifically, will you be able to find such an extensive collection of Baroque art. A villa built in the 17th century, stepping into it feels like going back in time.

The art gallery, Galleria Borghese is housed inside the villa itself. Surrounding the villa is a beautiful garden which also happens to be the third largest public park in Rome at 80 hectares.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/dCUWZw

8. Pantheon

The Pantheon, which name refers to a temple for all the gods, is the best preserved ancient monument of Imperial Rome. Despite the aging exterior, it still stands as one of the most magnificent and influential building - even being named the world’s only architecturally perfect building at one point.

Past the heavy giant bronze doors, you can gaze up to the oculus in the dome and see the sky. Pantheon is also the burial ground of the first kings of Italy as well as other prominent figures like Italian painter and architect, Raphael.

9. Spanish Steps

At the foot of the famous Spanish Steps in Rome is Piazza di Spagna where you can find a splendid shopping street filled with some of the city’s most luxurious boutiques. It’s a famous location for visitors in Rome for its wide area and wonderful architecture.

Climb up the steps and you’ll be met with Trinità dei Monti church, built during the 16th century using stones from Narbonne, France. The church has two symmetrical bell towers, each featuring a clock. Did you know that one shows Rome time while other Paris time?

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/cXGUZ9

10. Trastevere

Across the Tiber river is a charming neighbourhood, Trastevere. It’s almost as though you’ve been transported to the medieval times with its cobbled streets and aging buildings. You can easily spend a day exploring and getting lost.

From the breathtaking Basilica of Santa Maria to the lovely Villa Farnesina, grand Palazzo Corsini, and the oasis that is Orto Botanico.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/oPU6Ku

Must-try food when in Rome


Carbonara

It’s almost a cardinal sin if you don’t savour a plate of simple but heavenly pasta alla carbonara in Rome. Ask a Roman, and they’ll tell you that this is the city where this world famous dish is created.

A dish that’s often misinterpreted and recreated with added cream, in Rome, you’ll be guaranteed the authentic version. A closely related pasta dish that’s also worth trying is cacio e pepe, which is carbonara sans the bacon and egg and instead with lots of added black pepper and cheese.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/9WSPYs

Quinto Quarto

Translates to ‘fifth quarter’, this term refers to dishes prepared with the off-cuts and offals of butchered animals. The Quinto Quarto cuisine is one of the most popular food in Rome and a definite must-try.

If you’re not much of an adventurous eater, you can go with safer choices like Roman-style tripe cooked in tomato sauce, or Roman oxtail stew that is incredibly warm and rich.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/91ujmH

Fritti

One thing that Rome doesn’t mess around with is its fried food. With a delicious selection from fried stuffed rice balls, to seafood, sweet dough, chickpea fritters, mozzarella balls, and more. Let’s just say, Rome is not the time to be on diet!

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/pfzkSa

Roman-style pizza

It’s a sacrilege to go to Italy and not have at least one proper meal of piping hot and crusty pizza. When in Rome, you gotta have yourself a generous helping of Roman-style pizza.

This style of pizza is different from most as it’s paper thin and almost always served charred. No thick crust allowed in Roman-style pizza!

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/6searu