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What To Do in Rome - Planning Your 2020 Italy Vacation

By Kate Ruddell | Dec 13, 2019, 13:56 PM

One of the most visited cities in the world, Rome, is bursting at the seams with history, eye-catching architecture, and heavenly food. With so many different places to visit in Rome, it’s key to plan your vacation before getting there. Popular tourist places like Vatican City and the Colosseum have lines that begin to form as early as 6 am during busy season, which falls between June and August. It can feel overwhelming, at times, by the sheer amount of people in the city, but it is worth the visit no matter the time of the year. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your trip of a lifetime.

Booking Tickets Prior to Your Trip

I never knew how important it was to book tickets ahead of time until a group of friends and I started planning our trip to Rome. While you can buy tickets once there, I would recommend looking on vacation planning websites such as TripAdvisor or Expedia. These websites are connected with tour groups that offer guided tours, “skip the line” tickets, and even private tours. We booked a guided tour that included skipping the entrance line – and we found this incredibly worth it. Our tour guide provided a valuable educational experience for our group and we learned so much that we would’ve never known otherwise.

Eat like a Local

Ask the hotel staff or your Airbnb host for restaurant recommendations. Our host provided several options within walking distance, and we were so glad that they did. We even visited one of their recommended restaurants twice in two days! Pizzeria San Marco served the best authentic Italian pizza, so definitely check it out on your trip. One important tip we received was to stay away from dining near the big tourist sights. If the prices are not listed on the menu, consider that a red flag. Our host knew two women who were charged 400 Euros for a plate of spaghetti near the Colosseum.

Rome Pizza

Gelato is a must! It seems like there is a shop selling gelato on every corner. If you are looking for the most authentic experience, give Gelato Artigianale a try.


If you are a coffee aficionado, make plans to stop by Café Greco, which is the oldest coffee shop in Rome. Speaking of coffee, if you are looking for an American-style breakfast spot, you may be out of luck. Breakfast is not a big thing in Rome. While it is easy to find a coffee shop, finding eggs and bacon is much more difficult.

Sights Not to Miss

It isn’t a trip to Rome without a trip to the Colosseum. It is the largest amphitheater in the world. Our tour guide shared many entertaining stories about all the different events that occurred there. We took the metro to get to the Colosseum, which was easy to use and understand. If you want to get a photo with the Colosseum in the background, look for the hill above the metro station. It provides the perfect back drop!

Roman Colliseum

The Trevi Fountain is absolutely breathtaking. It’s recommended to visit early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the huge crowds. Make sure to bring coins to toss into the fountain. Legend has it that one coin means you’ll return to Rome, two coins means you’ll return and fall in love, and three coins means you’ll return, fall in love, and find marriage. At the end of the day, the fountains are cleaned out and the money is donated to a Catholic charity.

Visit Vatican City and explore the smallest country in the world by landmass. You get to see everything including St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, the Sistine chapel, and the Vatican museums. The pieces of art are mind blowing.

Dress Code

Keep in mind that Rome is a religious city. When you are planning visits to museums or churches in the area, it is required to dress appropriately. Specifically, for the Vatican, men and women are discouraged from wearing shorts, tank tops, and skirts that fall above the knee. Closed toed shoes are encouraged as well. The museums and churches reserve the right to deny entry based on your attire. If you’re unprepared, you might be lucky enough to score paper pants provided by the Vatican to cover up. Personally, I wouldn’t risk dressing inappropriately and missing out on seeing the great sights Rome has to offer.

Protect Your Health & Your Trip Costs

While I always purchase a travel medical insurance plan before traveling internationally, this time I opted for a travel protection plan. Rome wasn’t the only stop on my trip, and our group had a lot of pre-paid, non-refundable costs wrapped up in our tours and planned excursions that weren’t worth risking in the event of delayed flights, severe weather, etcetera. Not to mention, I was worried about the airlines losing my luggage in-between stops. Although I didn’t experience any issues, it was worth the peace of mind knowing I would be covered, which provides coverage for travel delays, lost luggage, and much more. Get a quote here for your next trip.


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