Rome is a wonderful city to visit. It is a place overflowing with beautiful architecture, authentic cuisine, and rich in culture. You could easily spend a whole week in Rome exploring the many neighborhoods and historic sites. I have been to Rome multiple times and have not seen everything. I have a few tips and suggestions when visiting Rome for only a few days.
Navigating the City
Rome has a transportation system that can be difficult to navigate. It is a large city that makes traveling by foot very long and arduous. The bus system is extremely tough unless you speak the language and know where to go. In my experience, there are no maps on the bus to let you know what stop to get off. I recommend purchasing a ticket before you get on a bus if you do not want an ugly stare from the driver. Taxis and Ubers are great options to get you to and from dinner or around the city quickly. The taxi cabs are regulated with accurate meter pricing. For our last trip, I arranged a car service to pick us up from the airport and take us to an Airbnb. Prices for a car service were around 50 euro and well worth it. Coming off a long flight, I did not want to try finding my Airbnb nestled in the small streets of Trastevere.
Where to Stay
I find Trastevere a very charming, quintessential Italian neighborhood. It is filled with great restaurants and cobble stone streets perfect for la passeggiata (an evening stroll). The neighborhood is situated across the Tiber River, out of the bustle of tourist areas. Landon and I stayed here in an Airbnb. We had a great experience with our host and found it was not too challenging to get around. If you are strapped on time, I believe staying near the Spanish Steps would be a good option. The area is more touristy, but easily accessible to everything.
Sightseeing: Visiting the Vatican
I have been to the Vatican/Sistine Chapel four times. However, this past time was by far the most educational and memorable. We booked the Pristine Sistine tour through Walks of Italy. You get early entrance into the Sistine Chapel before the crowds. You are in there with about 50 people who have similar tours booked. This is nothing compared to the normalcy of hundreds of people in there at the same time. We also witnessed the morning prayer by a Cardinal of the Vatican. It was an extremely special experience. As you would expect with a small group tour, the guide gave an excellent explanation of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museum, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. In all, it was well worth the money and waking up early.
You can book tickets for the relatively new underground tour. These sold out fast for us, so only Landon went on the tour. I had previously done the guided tour through the Colosseum. The normal guided tour is certainly worth the fee.
If you chose not to accompany your travel partner to the Colosseum, I recommend going across the street and wandering the Monti neighborhood. This area has some great vintage boutique shopping.