Traveling during summer can be brutal, especially if you don’t like the heat. Considering that it is peak season you will run into grumpy tourists, overcrowded tours, and expensive accommodations. Beat the heat! I brought my travel umbrella to help with the intense sun rays, my hand fan, and my stainless steel water bottle that keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours. I even brought my ice cube tray designed specifically for water bottles. Don’t forget your sunscreen AND mosquito repellant.
Round trip flight from BCN –> FCO (Rome – Fiumicino) on RyanAir – $97.73 USD
I know RyanAir has a bad reputation and is known as the Spirit Airlines of America but how can you pass up on a deal like this? Other airlines were charging 3x the amount. I paid the extra $7 USD for priority boarding and I made it to Rome without paying extra for my suitcase. However, I did get snagged for a carryon suitcase fee of 50€ on my return (my suitcase was larger than what was permitted) Talk about bad luck! Not only that, the flight was 5 hours delayed and it was an additional 2 hours for the bags to come out onto the conveyor belt at baggage claim.
Tip: RyanAir charges 55€ if you don’t have your boarding pass printed or on your phone. Make sure your suitcase meets the requirements for carryon. They will charge you for everything.
Accommodations: If you are traveling with a large group of people, I recommend Camila Home San Lorenzo on AirB&B. This particular listing had 4 bedrooms and slept up to 10 guests. Cost: $94 USD/night!!! What a steal!!
Transportation: Bus Vs. Taxi
Tip: You cannot buy a bus ticket on the bus. Keep that in mind because I saw some tourists get fined 100€. Even if the bus is super busy and you see locals not validating their tickets, you MUST validate your ticket through the machine. You can buy bus tickets at tobacco stores, bars, newsstands or at major metro stations. Tickets are 1.50€ each. They also sell the 24 hour pass for 7€/day, 48 hour pass for 12€ and a 72 hour pass for 18€. I don’t recommend getting the day passes – I did a mix between taxi and bus. You can read more about it here.
Because I like to travel on a budget I try to avoid taxis and instead use other means of public transportations like bus or subway. Since we weren’t staying right in the center of Rome, I definitely needed to use public transportation but I was very disappointed. The buses were never on time and I recall waiting at a couple bus stops for over 30 minutes. On top of that, we had 5 people in our group so it was hard to flag down a taxi that could accommodate all of us.
That being said, please download the “MyTaxi” app. It saved me many times because if we relied on public transportation, we would have been late for our tour activities. I wish I had read this particular blog about not getting ripped off by taxis in Rome. I made the mistake of getting into an unofficial private taxi and the rates were really high! The Rome city taxi cabs are all white with the number clearly written on the side of the car. Here’s an example of a price difference. From my AirB&B to the Colosseum in a regular cab cost me 12€. In the other “taxi” it cost me almost 20€.
- Starting fare Mon – Fri, 6am – 10pm €3
- Starting fare Sat – Sun and holidays, 6am – 10pm. – €4.50
- Starting fare anytime from 10pm – 6am €6.50
By law, all taxi cabs are supposed to have a credit card machine but I happened to run into a few that said theirs was “out of order” so be sure to always have cash on you.
From FCO Airport to City Center (Termini Station)
Flat Rate Taxi Fare:
48€ from FCO to the city center
30€ from Ciampino to the city center
Leonardo Express Train to Termini Station – 14€
If you’re on a budget like me, exit Terminal 3 and follow the signs for the bus. Then on the right hand side you will see stands selling tickets. I bought mine for 6.90€. No advanced tickets are needed and they accept credit cards. Once you get to the Termini station, there’s a tobacco store where you can buy bus tickets. It’s 1.50€ each and they also accept credit cards! I did an average of 2-3 bus/metro rides per day.
For your return back to the airport, just head to the Termini station and you can buy your bus tickets directly at the bus. I believe it’s cash only – I didn’t see anyone paying with a credit card.
What To Do:
Ladies, leave your wedges and heels at home because you’ll be walking on mostly cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks. I know I didn’t get to all the sites I wanted to see however we did hit up the most popular locations:
Trevi Fountain – Went there at 6:30 am to beat the crowd. Face away from the fountain and toss a coin in with your right hand over your left shoulder.
Vatican City – Opens at 9:00 am. By 10:00 am there is a long queue in the hot sun so I suggest getting there early. Ladies must cover the knees and shoulders. You can buy a shawl/scarf outside for 1.50€. I read that the men were supposed to dress in pants and no flip flops. It was summer and I saw many men in shorts and flip flops so I’m guessing they’re a bit relaxed on the men’s dress code. Photos are allowed but no flash photography.
Sistine Chapel – I didn’t get to go here because the line was too long. Doors open at 9:00 am and it’s free entry. We talked to a lady that was standing in line since 8:00 am and she still wasn’t in at 10:00 am. By 10:00 am the wait in the sweltering heat was 2.5 hours. There are ticket peddlers that will bombard you and try to sell you a ticket to skip the line. Cost is 35€ so if you think it’s worth it, go for it! No photographs allowed in the chapel.
Pantheon – Free Entry
Colosseum – Entry Fee is 12€ and is good for 2 days. There’s also a bunch of ticket peddlers that will be selling tickets to “skip the line.”
Bocca Della Verità – Mouth of Truth – 2€. Legend says if you’re a liar and you place your hand inside the mouth, you’ll lose some fingers.
The Aventine Keyhole – Free Entry – We waited in line for 5 minutes to peep through the keyhole. It was a beautiful view of the St. Peter’s Dome.
On our final day, we embarked on this wonderful 2 hour golf cart tour of Rome by MyBestTour.com. We had our own group of 14 people and the large golf carts can take 7 passengers.
Where To Eat:
I pretty much ate pizza, pasta and tiramisu every day for lunch and dinner. 1 of the nights we devoured a 2.5 foot long charcuterie board. I know there’s a million restaurants in Rome but these restaurants I can vouch for! Average cost for a pasta dish is around 7€-10€ and the special truffle dishes were around 10€-12€.
Ciacco&Bacco San Lorenzo – Large charcuterie plate for 5 people – 30€. Reservations recommended since seating is very limited.
Pizzeria La Casetta – Local spot near our AirB&B and my favorite tiramisu
Ponte E Parione – Truffle pasta with bacon and the fried zucchini flower dish was to die for. The servers here also were very friendly and funny.
Spaghetteria L’Archetto – So many pizza and pasta dishes to choose from!
II Tempio Di Minerva – Pasta carbonara and ravioli with truffle & spinach
La Gelateria Frigidarium – Gelato!!! 1 scoop costs 2€
Because of our short time I didn’t get to see as much as I would have liked to, not to mention that the heat was a killer, so every day we had to come back home to take breaks. I will be sure to come back to Rome so if you have any recommendations on other cool places or your favorite restaurants please share.