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Is Rome Worth Visiting? (The Pros & Cons)

Rome is a beautiful European destination with so many things to do and see. With it being Italy’s capital, it is not short of cultural activities and eateries. Home to famous landmarks such as the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Roman Forum it is no wonder the city sees millions of visitors each year.  But with so many other European cities to choose from, you may be wondering if Rome is worth visiting.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of travelling to Rome to help you make the best choice for you!

Pros of Visiting Rome

Let’s dive into some of my favourite reasons why Rome is often a loved destination for many tourists. From its stunning sights to its warm and inviting culture. I have listed below some note-worthy reasons why you should add Rome to your European Bucket List.

✅ Rome’s Significance in History

Rome is one of the most historically significant cities in Europe with it being the birthplace of the Roman Empire, which left notable marks on modern-day law, government, art, and language.

Walking around Rome is quite literally like walking around an open-air museum, each cobblestone, each building, and each monument has a story to tell. 

From the awe-inspiring Colosseum, standing as a testament to time, to the Roman Forum, which transports you back to the early days of the city.

A trip to Rome will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the history of the world.

✅ The Cusine

The Italians sure know how to treat their visitors to some tasty bites, from freshly baked pizza to mouth-watering pasta dishes and let’s not to forget, gelato. Rome is a foodie’s paradise!

But it’s not just about the food itself, it’s also about the atmosphere that surrounds the food. From cosy traditional restaurants to local cafes, the experience of dining in Rome is an essential part of any trip.

Top Places to eat breakfast and brunch in Rome

  1. Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria: Located near Campo de Fiori, this café offers a delightful array of Italian pastries, artisanal bread, and high-quality coffee. It’s the perfect place to start your day on a sweet note. 
  2. Marigold: This bakery-come-restaurant in the Ostiense district is known for its organic, locally sourced ingredients. Their brunch menu features dishes like sourdough pancakes and homemade sausage that pair perfectly with their freshly baked bread.

Top Places to Each Lunch/Dinner in Rome

  1. Trattoria Vecchia Roma: Known for its traditional Roman dishes, Trattoria Vecchia Roma is a must-visit for food lovers. Their signature pasta dishes, like cacio e pepe and carbonara, are particularly beloved by locals and tourists alike.
  2. Da Enzo Al 29: Located in the heart of Trastevere, this restaurant is renowned for its authentic Roman cuisine. Highlights of the menu include carciofi alla romana (Roman-style artichokes) and tiramisu for dessert.
  3. Pizzarium by Gabriele Bonci: For pizza lovers, a visit to Pizzarium is mandatory. This trendy spot offers a variety of unique toppings on its famously crispy and fluffy crust.

✅ Coffee Culture

Rome is a heaven for coffee enthusiasts, the city’s coffee culture dates back centuries with locals making it part of their daily routine. 

Rome’s coffee scene is dominated by traditional coffee bars, known as caffe’, where locals prefer to stand and drink their coffee in a swift manner. However, there has been a rise in speciality coffee shops offering pour-overs and cold brews for those looking for something a little different.

Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè and Roscioli Caffè Pasticceria are two iconic coffee houses that have been providing Romans with their coffee fix for decades.

✅ The Picturesque Streets

While Rome is known for its famous landmarks, the city is also home to some of the most picturesque streets from its winding alleyways to its cobblestone paths. 

I love walking around Rome, it is like something straight out of a fairytale book!

The streets leave you with a lasting impression and picture spots to take some Instagram-worthy photos. Some of the most charming streets include Via Margutta, Via del Governo Vecchio, and Vicolo del Cinque. 

✅ Romes Shopping Scene

It’s no secret that Rome is a shopper’s paradise. The city offers a mix of luxury fashion boutiques, artisanal shops, and budget-friendly markets.

For those looking to purchase a souvenir of one of the world’s high-end designers then make your way to  Via Condotti, a street that is home to some of the most prestigious fashion brands such as Valentino and Prada. 

For more unique and locally made items, head to the neighborhood of Monti where you will find an array of local shops selling everything from handmade leather goods to traditional Roman pottery.

And for a taste of local life, don’t miss out on the popular Porta Portese flea market, where you can find anything from vintage clothing to antiques. 

✅ Visit the world’s Smallest Country

Rome has something truly unique to offer its visitors,  the Vatican City. As the smallest country in the world, it is home to some of the most important artworks and religious sites on earth. It’s a must on any Europe Itinerary.

One of the must-see attractions within this tiny city is St. Peter’s Basilica, known for its architecture and masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Pieta. The view from the top of its dome also offers breathtaking views of Rome. Possibly one of my favourite city views in Europe!

Visitors can also tour the Vatican Museums which house an immense collection of artwork, including the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo. 

✅ It’s Location

You may be wondering what makes Rome’s location so great. Well, for starters it is located in central Italy, making it a perfect base for exploring the rest of the country. 

From Rome, you can easily take day trips to popular destinations such as Tuscany, Florence, and Pompeii.

You can also easily travel to other European countries from Rome, and with Italy being in Europe it is well-connected to surrounding countries by train and those further a field by air. 

But even within the city itself, Rome’s location is ideal. It is situated on seven hills, offering stunning views in every direction. And with the Tiber River running through it, there are plenty of bridges and scenic walks to enjoy.

✅ Getting Around Is Easy

Navigating around Rome is a breeze, thanks to its efficient public transportation system. The city boasts an extensive network of buses, trams, and a metro system that make every corner of the Eternal City easily accessible. 

For those who prefer to travel on foot, Rome is also relatively walkable. Its historic centre is compact, and many of its iconic landmarks are within walking distance of each other. Personally, I walked EVERYWHERE on my last trip to Rome (excluding the Vatican city). It’s so nice to experience the beautiful architecture at your own pace.

Alternatively, renting a scooter is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike, offering a fun and flexible way to explore the city’s winding streets and hidden gems. 

However, it is important to note, that while Rome does have Uber it does not operate in the same way as other major cities.

✅ It is Beautiful at Night

Rome is one of the most beautiful cities at night, the main landmarks are illuminated, leaving a stunning glow across the city.

The likes of the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain are must visitis at night. Not only are the a lovely place to admire under the dark sky, the crowd levels are significantly less at this time. If you are looking for any easy way to explore these monuments at night then I recommend using the lime e-scooters. I spent the evening riding around on them checking out the city lights. It was like something out of a movie scene.

Rome also offers an array of nightlife options, from lively bars and restaurants to charming pizzerias and street performances. No matter what you choose, Rome at night will leave you feeling enchanted and in awe.

✅ The Currency

The currency used in Rome, like the rest of Italy, is the Euro (€). It’s widely accepted in all establishments, whether you’re paying for a meal at a local trattoria or buying souvenirs from street vendors. 

However, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand, particularly in smaller shops or outdoor markets where card payments may not be accepted.

With Rome using the Euro, it also makes it easier for those doing a wider Euro trip, as they won’t have to worry about exchanging currency at every destination. 

Cons of Visiting Rome

While Rome is undoubtedly a city of unparalleled historical significance and breathtaking beauty, it does come with some cons while visiting. 

Language Barrier

Despite speaking English, I did not have any difficulties with navigating my way through Rome. Yes, some locals only speak Italian, particularly the older generation but for the most part, there are plenty of people who can speak English. 

However, with that being said, it is always recommended to learn a few basic phrases before visiting any foreign country.

Here are some basic Italian phrases that will come in handy for first-time visitors to Rome:

Buongiorno (Good morning) – [bwon-jor-no]

Buona sera (Good evening) – [bwon-a se-ra]

Buona notte (Good night) – [bwon-a not-te]

Per favore (Please) – [per fa-vo-re]

Grazie (Thank you) – [grat-zi-e]

Si (Yes) – [si]

No (No) – [no]

Parla inglese? (Do you speak English?) – [par-la in-gle-se]

Crowds and Long Lines

Rome is home to some of the most popular destinations in Europe and as a result it can get extremely crowded during peak season. The main attractions such as the Colosseum, Vatican City, and Trevi Fountain can have long lines even with pre-booked tickets. 

It is always recommended to plan your trip during the off-season or book skip-the-line tickets in advance to avoid long waits. 

Or, plan to visit the major attractions early in the morning to avoid the crowds and have a more enjoyable experience.

Pickpockets and Scams

While Rome is a relatively safe city, pickpocketing and scams can happen from time to time. It is important to stay aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions to avoid being a victim. 

Some common scams in Rome include people offering free gifts or fake petitions, so it is best to politely decline and walk away.

As for pickpockets, they often target crowded areas such as public transportation, tourist attractions, and busy streets. Be sure to keep your valuables in sight and be cautious when someone is trying to distract you.

It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance that covers theft or loss of personal belongings, just in case.

Tips for Visiting Rome

  1. Pre-Plan Your Itinerary: Determine beforehand which sites are top priority to optimize your time in the city. Rome has a plethora of historical sites, and it’s nearly impossible to see them all in one trip.
  2. Use Public Transport: Rome’s public transport system includes buses, trams, metro and trains. Familiarize yourself with the routes of these services to travel around the city efficiently.
  3. Dress Appropriately for Churches: When visiting religious sites, ensure you’re dressed respectfully. It’s customary to cover shoulders and knees.
  4. Hydrate With Public Fountains: Rome is dotted with small drinking fountains. These are safe and the water is incredibly fresh, so carry a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.
  5. Indulge in Local Cuisine: Don’t miss out on trying local delicacies like pasta, pizza, gelato and espresso. Visit local markets and restaurants for the authentic culinary experience.
  6. Learn Basic Italian Phrases: While many locals speak English, knowing a few basic phrases in Italian can help you navigate better and engage more with the culture.
  7. Respect the City: Remember, Rome isn’t just a tourist destination, it’s also home to millions. Be respectful of the local customs and environment.
  8. Book Guided Tours: For a deeper understanding of Rome’s rich history, consider booking guided tours. They provide extensive knowledge and insights that you might otherwise miss.
  9. Explore Beyond the City: If time allows, take a day trip to explore beyond Rome, such as the ancient ruins of Pompeii or the beautiful town of Tivoli.
  10. Take Time to Relax: Rome can be overwhelming with its bustling city life and countless attractions. Remember to take some time out to relax, perhaps in one of its many beautiful parks or cafes.

Top 10 things to do in Rome

Next, I wanted to show you the top things to do while in Rome. This will be the ultimate deciding factor in seeing if you think Rome is worth visiting. If there are attractions that you really want to experience then why not give them a try?

1. The Colosseum

No trip to Rome is complete without visiting one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, the Colosseum.  This massive amphitheatre was once used for gladiator contests and other public spectacles. It’s actually a rather sad part of the city’s history, but this iconic structure is a must-see for any visitors to Rome.  I recommend taking a guided tour to truly understand the significance and history behind this ancient structure.

2. Trevi Fountain

This stunning baroque fountain is one of the most famous in the world, and it’s no wonder why. The grand sculptures and intricate details make this a must-visit spot in Rome. 

It is tradition to throw a coin into the fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder and make a wish. So, don’t forget to have some spare change on hand!

I’d also advise getting to the fountain super early, as the crowds can get quite overwhelming during the day. I got there at 7am and still had to share the famous attraction with 100+ people.

3. Pantheon

This is one of the most impressive structures in Rome, its dome-like appearance is a breathtaking sight to see both inside and out. 

I recommend booking a tour as this will allow you to take in the history behind this incredible structure, including how it was used as a church after being commissioned by Emperor Hadrian nearly 2,000 years ago.

4. Roman Forum

Step back in time as you explore the ruins of the ancient city of Rome at the Roman Forum. I was left in awe on my first visit. It genuinely feels like you have stepped back in time as you explore the archaeological site. Getting a glimpse into what life was like during the height of the Roman Empire. 

I highly recommend taking a guided tour to fully understand and appreciate all that this site has to offer. Oh! And don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes, as there is a lot of walking involved. 

5. The City Parks

Rome isn’t just about historical sites and ancient ruins. If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city then I recommend visiting one of the many city parks. Consider visiting parks such as  Villa Borghese, Villa Doria Pamphili, or the gardens of the Castel Sant’Angelo for a peaceful break from sightseeing.

6. The Vatican City

As the smallest country in the world, Vatican City is a must-visit for any traveller to Rome. Home to some of the most stunning architecture and artwork, including Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, this city within a city is an incredible experience. 

Entrance is rather strict, with airport-style security checks, clothing requirements and long lines, but it’s all worth it to see the beauty of this area. Even for those who are not religious,  the Vatican City is a must-see for its historical and cultural significance.

7. Gelato Tasting

No trip to Italy is complete without indulging in some delicious gelato. Made with fresh ingredients and bursting with flavour, trying out different gelaterias around Rome is not only a tasty experience but also a cultural one. 

Be adventurous and try unique flavours such as fig, balsamic vinegar, or olive oil for a truly authentic Italian treat.

8. Make Use of Day Trips

While staying in Rome, make sure to spend a day or two exploring the surrounding areas. Rome is only a short distance from some other major touristic areas in Italy, from the historic city of Pompeii to the picturesque Amalfi Coast.

These trips offer unique experiences and provide a broader perspective on Italian culture and history. They are a great way to break up your stay in Rome and create unforgettable memories. So don’t miss out! 

9. Try an Authentic Italian Pizza

Trying an authentic Roman pizza is an absolute must when visiting Italy’s Capital City. Unlike anything you might have tasted elsewhere, Roman pizza is a culinary experience in itself. 

Characterized by a thin, crispy crust, it’s laden with locally sourced ingredients that are as fresh as they come.Perhaps you will go for a basic but delicious Margarita, or maybe sample some local specialties.

Each pizzeria has its own special recipe, creating a unique taste that makes pizza tasting not just a meal, but an exploration of Rome’s rich and diverse culinary landscape. So make sure to try a slice (or two!) and experience a true Italian tradition.

10. The Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps, one of Rome’s most iconic landmarks, offer more than just a grand staircase. This monumental stairway of 135 steps, the longest and widest staircase in all of Europe, is a buzzing gathering place and offers a fantastic viewpoint over the city. 

Where to stay in Rome:

Rome provides a myriad of accommodation options suitable for all budget levels.

Luxury: For those looking to splurge, areas such as Piazza di Spagna and Via Veneto host high-end hotels with luxurious amenities and excellent service. These areas are also centrally located, with many attractions within a short walking distance. Hotels such as Hotel Hassler and Hotel Eden are popular choices in this category.

Mid-range: If you’re looking for a comfortable stay without breaking the bank, consider areas like Trastevere or Monti. These neighbourhoods offer a mix of boutique hotels and affordable guesthouses with easy access to major sights and authentic local experiences. Some notable options include Hotel Santa Maria, and Hotel Duca d’Alba.

Budget: For budget-conscious travellers, the Termini area in Rome offers a range of affordable guesthouses and budget-friendly hotels. While not as charming as other areas, it is conveniently located near the central train station and provides easy access to public transportation. Some popular options include YellowSquare Hostel. This is where I stayed and love it. It was one of my favourite hostels in Europe.

When is the best time to visit Rome?

The best time to visit Rome is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November). During these months, the weather is mild, and the city is less crowded than in the peak summer season. 

The pleasant climate allows tourists to explore the city’s historical sites comfortably without the blistering heat of the summer. 

I also love this time of year, the spring blossom and the fall foliage add to the city’s already enchanting scenery. Nevertheless, it’s recommended to pack an umbrella as unexpected showers can occur.

Is Rome worth it FAQ

Is Rome worth visiting in Winter?

Yes, Rome is indeed worth visiting in winter. The city sees fewer tourists during this season, meaning less crowding at major attractions such as the Vatican and Colosseum. Although the temperature drops, the Roman winter is mild compared to many other European destinations. 

Is Rome worth visiting in December?

Certainly, Rome is a delight to visit in December. The city takes on a festive atmosphere with Christmas decorations adorning the streets and shops. The mild winter weather allows for exploring the city comfortably, and there are fewer crowds at major attractions. 

Additionally, you can participate in traditional holiday events, such as holiday markets throughout the city, providing a unique Roman holiday experience.

How many days should I visit Rome?

A four to five-day trip is typically sufficient to explore Rome’s major attractions and get a feel for the city’s culture and history. This will give you enough time to explore the city’s main tourist attractions, and maybe even take a day trip to nearby locations.

Is Rome cheap or expensive?

Rome, like most major cities, can be both cheap and expensive depending on your travel preferences. I

f you prefer luxury accommodations, dine at high-end restaurants, and hire private tours, Rome can certainly be pricey. 

However, if you’re a budget traveller, you can find affordable accommodations, enjoy delicious street food, and visit many free or low-cost attractions. 

The city offers a range of options to suit different budgets, making it accessible to all types of travellers.

Check out my Backpacking Europe Cost Guide to see how much I spent while in the city.

Is Rome a walkable city?

Yes, Rome is indeed a walkable city. A lot of Rome’s leading attractions are within walking distance of eachother, making it a great city to explore on foot. 

This is also a fantastic way to discover the city’s hidden gems, such as quaint cafes, charming boutiques, and picturesque squares that you might miss if you were to rely solely on public transport. 

Conclusion: Is Rome a good place to visit?

In my opinion, Rome is 110% worth the visit, from its ancient landmarks to its delicious cuisines. The city really has something for everyone.

I also love how Rome’s location makes it easy for visitors to explore surrounding areas in Itlay. Making it the perfect base for those wanting to have an extended trip!

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