There are so many reasons why Rome is one of the most popular cruise destinations in Europe. It has history and culture and carbs galore, not to mention the fact that it is merely a hop, skip and jump to or from your ship in Civitavecchia. Here are ten top Rome travel tips to keep in mind if you are visiting the Eternal City on a Mediterranean cruise next summer.
10 Top Travel Tips for Rome
#1 Wake up early
All those ancient marble and sandstone monuments look glorious in the early morning light and you’ll skip the queues to the city’s big attractions if you’re up and out early. Plus, there is something magical about seeing a city like Rome come alive in the morning when locals are starting their day and the tourists are still fast asleep.
#2 Don’t fall for the taxi touts
If you aren’t arriving in Rome on a cruise excursion, you’re probably flying into the airport to cruise out of Civitavecchia. Two airports service the city, Ciampino and Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport, and getting from each of them into the city centre is a breeze. Executive shuttle buses will take you from arrivals to the train station in 45 minutes for under ten euros, from where you can hop on the subway into the centre for another €1.80. If you decide to get a taxi, bear in mind that there are set fees in place for airport transfers and it is illegal for drivers to charge you more. A taxi from Ciampino into Rome should cost €30 including luggage. Taxis from Fiumicino to the city will cost €48.
#3 Opt for the house wine
Rome’s proximity to some world-class wine regions means some of the best house wines you’ll ever drink. Order the ‘vino della casa’ and you’ll usually receive a litre carafe for less than €5. How do you say ‘bargain’ in Italian?
#4 Skip the views at mealtimes
We have often found ourselves dreaming of tucking into a mound of delicious pesto pasta in a sunbaked corner of the Piazza Navona. The problem is that delicious pasta is rarely what you’ll receive in the tourist trap restaurants that harbour the knockout views of the attractions and if you do manage to find a good meal, it’ll come with a price tag more impressive than the rippling abs of the Greek gods. Venture further out of the centre at mealtimes and you’ll be rewarded with the carby feast you always dreamed of and a healthier bank balance to boot.
#5 Don’t skip lunch
Like much of Europe, Italy eats late. It isn’t unusual to see restaurants all but empty until after 8pm, when locals will head out to eat. Some restaurants won’t even open until 8pm, so don’t plan to skip lunch for an early dinner. Kitchens stay open late too, so you’ll have plenty of time to squeeze in a nap between a day seeing the sights and a night quaffing fine Italian wines with a hearty plate of pasta.
#6 Fill a gap with antipasti…but save room for dinner
When in Rome, do as the Italian’s do and have an aperitivo. The tastiest of all Italian pastime sees locals pour into their favourite bar for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles. Ai Tre Scalini is surprisingly close to the Piazza Navona for a local favourite, while Freni e Frizzioni in Trastevere is ever popular. Once a mechanic’s garage, the spot now serves up one of the best aperitivo buffets in the city. It’s so extensive that it can easily double as dinner and there are tons of vegetarian dishes too.
#7 Remember your refillable bottle
The world is waging a war on plastics and Rome is well ahead of the curve when it comes to keeping your refillable water bottle topped up. A maze of ancient aqueducts still services the city and cold water flows from nasoni fountains across Romy, making it easy to stay hydrated when you’re exploring.
#8 Ain’t no ATM in Vatican City
After waiting in line for an hour you’re finally in Vatican City, your heart set on seeing Rome from the cupola of St Peter’s Basilica. Only the ticket booth says cash only…and all you have is your trusty debit card. Vatican City is cash only and you can save yourself the disappointment of missing out on some truly amazing views by making sure you have a pocketful of loose change to cover the €8.
#9 Don’t make Monday plans
Monday is Rome’s Sunday, with many restaurants and museums closed for the day after a busy weekend. Make this the day for ticking the Vatican Museums, Colosseum and Roman Forums off your list, all of which are open all week.
#10 Save money on free Sunday
Across all of Italy, the first Sunday of each month sees many museums and archaeological sites open to the public for free. In Rome, this applies to the Colosseum, Baths of Caracalla and Galleria Borghese, so you can save some serious cash if you save your visits here for a Sunday. It’s also worth knowing that the Vatican Museums are free on the last Sunday of the month!
They say all roads lead to Rome but plenty of Mediterranean cruise deals can take you there too. Click here for some of the best Med cruise deals for 2021 and 2022.