A city of 2.87 million people — Rome is also Italy’s capital — rich with ancient ruins, world-class art, and top-notch trattorias. The people-watching here is incredible and if you’re a culture seeker, this is your utopia. You might spend the day museum hopping and wind down the night lingering over drinks at an outdoor café. Some of Italy’s most revered cultural attractions are here, like Vatican City and the Colosseum, pleasing both history buffs and lovers of architecture and art.
Related: Things to Do in Venice
Where Is Rome?
Rome is smack-dab in the middle of Italy, closer to the country’s western edge along the Tyrrhenian Sea, and 169 miles south of Florence. Naples is 141 miles south.
Visit the Ruins of Ancient Rome
The Colosseum is Rome’s most famous ancient ruin and is a must-visit site. In fact, you will probably be strolling past it many times during your stay in Rome.
Have an Amazing Meal at a Trattoria
All those dishes you enjoy at Italian restaurants in the States were actually born right here in Rome, on trattoria menus. You can’t not dine at a trattoria —they’re everywhere. Classic pasta dishes include cacio e pepe and carbonara.
Throw a Coin in the Trevi Fountain
Even before you approach the Trevi Fountain, which is located in the Trevi district, it’s going to look familiar because it’s that iconic to Italy. Per the legend, tossing three coins into the fountain yields three pieces of good news: your return to Rome, a new romance, and a marriage proposal.
Visit Vatican City
As headquarters for the Roman Catholic church, Vatican City spans 110 acres within Rome and is considered an independent state, as well as the smallest sovereign state in the world. The Sistine Chapel (see Michelangelo’s “Last Judgement”), St. Peter’s Basilica, and Vatican museums are all here, and about three hours should satisfy a visit.
Where to Stay in Rome
Stay near attractions, and in a neighborhood with a thriving restaurant scene, to make your time in Rome easier. If you want character, look at boho-chic Trastevere, with its charming cobblestone streets and narrow alleys; Vatican City and the Colosseum are a 30-minute walk. Hotel La Rovere, flaunting modern design, is behind St. Peter’s Basilica. Next to the Colosseum and The Forum is Hotel Capo d’Africa. Stylish trendsetters might like the five-room D.O.M., within a building Michelangelo completed one block east of River Tiber; or Generator Rome (you can book a private room at this hostel) three blocks from the Colosseum and a short walk from Rome Termini station.
Where to Eat (and Drink Coffee) in Rome
Some popular trattorias, even with locals, include Osteria Chiana (open since 2012) and Checchino dal 1887 (as the name suggests, it’s been around since 1887, so you know it’s going to be good). And when in Rome, don’t even think about straying from local coffee traditions. Sip java from a glass and don’t be shy about standing up while doing so. Caffé Greco — Rome’s oldest café, open since 1760 — is a fine option.
How Many Days to Spend in Rome
Because Rome is such a big city, experiencing it in a weekend would be short-sighted. A minimum of four days in Rome really gives the best glimpse of Italy’s largest city.
Related: When to Visit Rome
How Far Is Venice from Rome?
Don’t be fooled: Italy is a large country. Even so, visiting Venice and Rome in the same trip is not impossible. Driving between these two cities (326 miles) takes about 5.5 hours. Taking the Frecciargento train is much faster: anywhere between 3 hours and 40 minutes to 4 hours, departing from Rome Termini on the “9400 Venezia S. Lucia” train.