Some things to know about Rome in general:
1. As with most tourist areas, there is always the threat of being pick-pocketed. Keep your stuff close to you, and if you think necessary carry some of your money in your shoe.
On this same note: do not, under any circumstances, let anyone convince you that what they are selling is free. If a person tries to tie a bracelet to your wrist, do not accept, put your hands in your pockets and tell them ‘no thank you’2. Rome is a major tourist attraction, and it also houses the Vatican. There are people from all over the world trying to see all of the ancient Roman history. If you are looking for typical Italy, you probably won’t find it in Rome. If you want the vineyards and the traditional Italian food, you might want to try Tuscany or something like that, but Rome is a cosmopolitan center and is very worldly.3. If you are able to, Rome is easy to walk. If you have a good map (which most hotels and hostels provide) you can find almost anything. If you like walking and are trying to see a bunch of the sights in one day, grab some good walking shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking.4. Don’t assume that people know how to speak English. Make an effort before leaving to learn some Italian phrases.5. Italian gelato is amazing. It is similar to ice cream only there is so much more quality and variety. If you find a good gelato shop, they will have any flavor you could possibly imagine. You can mix and match because they measure by the amount of scoops. Be bold. Be daring!6. The water in Rome is not to be drank. Have bottled water with you. If you don’t like sparkling water you have to specifically ask for natural water. Also, most drinks do not come with ice (as is the case in most European countries).For places to stay, I would recommend hostels. You can search online for hostels in Rome and most sites will give you that hostel’s rating and why. Try to find out where your hostel is in relation to the sights that you want to see. Also, get directions to the hostel before heading there.
For food and dining, if you are light in the wallet, you can bring your own food for breakfast and lunch or you can eat at a pizzeria. Most pizzerias are relatively inexpensive, and Italian pizza is delicious. If you can get a meal combo, go for it because drinks can be expensive. If you pack for breakfast and lunch, you can eat out for dinner. Wine bars and deli’s have nice little snacks that will inexpensively fill you up (the drinking age is 16).There are 5 major sights that everyone should see on their trip to Rome:1. The Colosseum is a must-see. Don’t bother taking a tour; if you really want to take one, all you have to do is find an English speaking one and casually follow it around. If you want to take a tour, but don’t want to pay for one, do some research on your own before heading to Rome. You get the same information for a lot less.
Whatever you do, do not casually throw your ticket away, you can use it later. The Colosseum costs 11 EUR which is around $15. It is totally worth it because when you buy your ticket for the Colosseum, it doubles as your ticket for the Palatine Hill.
The best way to do this is to go to the Colosseum earlier in the morning and then the Palatine hill directly afterwards because it is not too far and then you don’t have to worry so much about that ticket. The Colosseum usually closes an hour before sunset, so make sure your watch is accurate and head out.2. Palatine Hill may look small, but once you begin wandering around you realize how big it is. There are ruins scattered all over the place and orange trees line the paths. It is absolutely gorgeous and if you went to the Colosseum you already have your ticket!
The entrance to the Palatine Hill is just outside the Roman Forum, but don’t get distracted, attend to the Palatine Hill first.
From the Palatine Hill you also get a good view of Circo Massimo, which is good for a walk and not much more; it is not included in the top 5 things to see in Rome.3. The Trevi Fountain is amazing. I believe that it is something everyone needs to see if they go to Rome. It is completely free and is usually crowded, so, once again, watch your stuff. The tradition it to throw one coin over your shoulder to ensure your return to Rome (which actually worked for me!). Throw two coins over your shoulder to make a wish. The coins in the fountain go toward a good cause to, so why not? A good idea is to see the Trevi fountain during the day and again at night. There are plenty of gelato shops around the fountain, so if you stop there one night, grab some gelato and enjoy the beauty of the fountain!4. The Spanish steps are nice at night because it isn’t so crowded. There are people wandering around in costume and if you take their picture they will charge you for it. If you like shopping, the Spanish steps are near a major shopping district in Rome.5. Finally, the Pantheon, so full of history, should be seen. It is free to go in and look around. It is one of the oldest, still-intact buildings of ancient Rome. It isn’t too far from any of the other attractions.The Vatican is not included in here because it is its own city and country.Rome is a city that is so full of culture. It is unlike anything you will find in the United States, and should be on everyone’s list of places to see.