There’s no place in Europe — or perhaps on earth – that offers more sights to see per square mile than in Rome. But when a city offers such an array of things to see, it can be overwhelming. Therefore, take a tour to see the principal sights as soon as possible after your arrival. The hop-off, hop-on tours are less expensive than most other commercial tours and tickets are good for 24-hours – ideal for people who want to start sightseeing at noon one day and from early morning until noon the next.
After you’ve become familiar with the lay of the land, obtain a good map (if you haven’t purchased one before leaving home) and concentrate on those aspects of Rome which interest you most. Before you leave your hotel room each day, plot your route. Since the city is extremely walkable, despite the fact that it’s built on seven hills, it’s possible to do a day’s sightseeing without relying on any transportation except foot power. If you can’t walk from one place to another comfortably, consider a 24-hour transportation pass that includes both bus and metro travel (avoid using either at rush hour, however).
Getting Around Efficiently
People whose focus is ecclesiastical architecture will find hundreds of magnificent churches to explore — so many, in fact, that you couldn’t see them all if you visited one a day for a year. Chiesa del Gesu (Piazza del Gesu), first Jesuit church built in Rome, is considered by many experts to be the city’s most important after St. Peter’s. Two of the earliest churches in the city are the 5th Century Santa Maria Maggiore (Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore) and Santa Maria (Trastevere). The Renaissance-style Church of Santa Maria del Popolo (Piazza del Popolo), contains the two oldest stained glass windows in Rome.
Both architecture and history buffs will want to spend time at the famous Pantheon., the ruins of the Roman Forum and the Coliseum, even though they may have visited them previously. They’ll also want to take in some of the Palazzos, such as Palazzo Pamphilj (Piazza Navona), the lavish home of the sister of Pope Innocent X. Most of the former palaces now contain museums, serve as government palaces or are private homes. Other architectural treasures include a wide array of ¬obelisks, monuments, and arches¬. The piazzas, such as Navona and the fountains erected by the Bernini family, are fascinating, too.
Travelers interested in contemporary Italian life will discover that it incorporates all of the above, since it’s impossible to go shopping or even a short walk without coming upon a ruin, a monument, a fountain. Shops, especially those in the city’s oldest neighborhoods, are often located in buildings with historic pasts.
For no- or low-cost entertainment, stop to watch a bocce ball game. Ride a city bus (but not during rush hour). For spectacular jogging, you’ll want to go to Vialle delle Terme di Caracalla, Circo Massimo, Via Appia Antica, and Parco degli Aquedotti, where you’ll be running past remains of the Roman Empire every step of the way
To save more money, stay in the city’s outskirts at delightful places like the Sheraton Golf (rooms look out on the golf course) or the Cavalieri Hilton, and commute into the city center by shuttle or bus. And whether you’re hungry for a calzone (there’s a great calzone shop across from the Pantheon) or a four-course dinner (try one of the restaurants in Testaccio), you’ll find great food in all parts of Rome. Above all, become familiar with the various Euro notes before you deal with street vendors or taxi drivers.