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City Guides

The Solo Traveler's Guide to Exploring Rome

By
Angelo Di Gregorio
on
September 10, 2018

Traveling solo to Rome? Here is the only guide you'll need to make sure you explore it right!

Here we are, your backpack is ready, the camera is charged and you are holding your airline tickets in your hands for your next adventure.

You're about to embark on a solo adventure to Rome, and you may be wondering where the hell to even begin.

No worries! I’ve got you covered with this practical guide where you’ll find everything you need to visit Rome and all it's glory.

Art lovers, architecture lovers, history lovers, party lovers…Rome has it all!

Visit the Sites

Let’s explore Rome following my personal itinerary so you won’t miss any beautiful sites!

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Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

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View of the Roman Forum and in the background the Colosseum from Monte Tarpeo Street Viewpoint at sunset

Let’s start with the symbol of Rome. Take a cab, hop on a bus or the subway to one of the greatest ancient monuments ever built in History. Everytime I stumble in front of the Colosseum I always feel emotional and I’m wondering: how the hell were the Romans able to build such a massive building?

Built in 72 AD and opened at 80 AD, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, reenactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.

Currently under (a great) restyling but still remains on the most iconic ancient wonder.

Just a few meters from the Colosseum lies the Roman Forum, an important meeting point for the ancient Romans hosting temples such as Temple of Saturn and Vesta.

Next to the Roman Forum you can find the Palatine Hill home of ancient remains of luxurious villas such as the Emperor Augustus’ Villa and other important Roman personalities.

Book your tickets ahead in order to save time queuing. Click here for more info!

Campidoglio Hill and Altar of the Fatherland

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A normal afternoon at the Campidoglio hill: tourists, a newly married couple and at the background the Senatorial Palace

After our visit to ancient Rome, we can walk till the Campidoglio hill - home of the offices of the City Mayor and the Capitoline Museums full of ancients marvels like paintings and statues. Monte Tarpeo Street Viewpoint is just behind the square from where you can enjoy a breathtaking and unforgettable view of the Imperial Forum!

Down the stairs on our left we can look at the Marcello Theatre but we’ll keep walking on our right sight instead, reaching the stunning palace of the Altar of the Fatherland.

Climb all the steps for a nice view...but if you are looking for THE view, take the lift to reach the rooftop terrace and enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the Eternal City.

Navona Square and Trevi Fountain

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Trevi shooted with a fisheye camera

A short walk from the Altar of the Fatherland lies the gorgeous Navona Square built on the paste Domitian Stadium and with at the center the magnificent ‘Quattro Fiumi’ fountain, designed by the world renowned Gian Lorenzo Bernini (yes, the guy who designed the St. Peter’s baldachin). 

Continuing our walk we may see a crowd not very far. 

What’s there? Well.. just turning the corner we will see one of the most scenic fountains ever made: the Trevi Fountain. After an urgent and impactful restoration, it shines more brightly than ever.

Are you already in love with Rome? According to the legend if you throw a coin closing your eyes, putting your right hand on your left shoulder without looking at the fountain you’ll come back! So why not giving it a try?

Spanish Steps and Villa Borghese

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Villa Borghese and the terrace at the background to admire the entire city. Can you seen the Vatican?

Continuing our walk through Rome, not far from the Trevi Fountain, you'll find yourself in the middle of Piazza di Spagna with the world renowned Spanish Steps. Climb the stairs to reach the church of the Trinità dei Monti and admire the view of the area.

Villa Borghese, a must visit area, is just minutes walking from here. Built on a hill, you can admire the beauty of the Eternal Town from its terraces. During sunset, it provides a magical atmosphere you won’t forget. Take a stroll in the huge park or just relax on a bench savoring the moment, what we call in Italian ‘dolce far niente’.

S. Angelo Castle and the Vatican

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Super Power On!

Walking along the river you will finally reach the St. Angelo Castle. Once the tomb of the Emperor Adriano and his family, then a fortress used by the Popes, and finally a prison during Renaissance. Nowadays the castle is a museum that attracts millions of people thanks to its sculptures, masterpieces, and temporary art exhibitions. 

Continue along the long avenue and in front of you stands the big, beautiful Vatican Palace, a country within the country - with its own laws, regulations, money and radio but with no borders to cross! Crazy, huh?

If you are interested in art don’t miss the Vatican Museum, but book your tickets in advance!  

Trastevere

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A typical street of Trastevere

My favourite area of Rome with no doubts. You can stroll around blocks of buildings of five stores, cosy streets, little restaurants and shops. 

This is a place that many tourists miss out because it is not right in the heart of the city and is not connected with the subway, but once you’re there, you won’t regret it!

Eating Out in Rome

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Ready to experience the Italian lifestyle?

It’s finally time for eating! I know you’ve been waiting for this moment.

Here some places where you can taste great Italian food:

  • Spiriti e Forme: Local cuisine served, close to the Trevi Fountain.
  • Grano: Serve local specialities in a contemporary and modern ambient next to Navona square.
  • Trattoria da Francesco: A typical Roman restaurant where you can taste great steaks and Roman dishes, just a few minutes walk from Navona square.
  • Il Corallo: Not far from Navona square too, you can taste great first courses or a delicious pizza!

Arriving and Departing

So you just landed in Rome Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) but…how can I reach my hotel?!

Moving to and from the airport is actually very easy, as you can choose from different options and different prices:

  • Leonardo Express, a fast and reliable non-stop train from the Airport to the Rome Termini main railway station. Journey takes approximately 32 minutes. Just follow the directions to the train departure!
  • Taxi is another way to reach the city centre. The service provides fixed fares, more info here.
  • Regional FL1 Train is the most affordable option if you are travelling on a budget. Just on the platform in front to the Leonardo Express departs a local commute train. But you will need to get off in Rome Tiburtina Railway station and than wait the second train to Rome Termini.

Landing in Rome Ciampino Airport (CIA) instead? Just take the SIT bus to Termini Railway Station. Have a look clicking this link!

Transportation in Rome

I highly recommend exploring Rome by just walking around. The subway line is not extended, having only two lines (the third is under construction) but letting out basically the entire heart of the city due to environmental preservation.

City buses can be a good option, but be careful - during rush hours (8-10 am and 5-7 pm) buses can be crowded! 

You can opt for a single/multi day transportation card which allows you unlimited bus, tram, and subway rides! 

Have a look at the official website for prices and conditions.

Where to Stay in Rome

Rome offers a variety of options. You can choose a stylish home in AirBnb or a nice Boutique Hotel.

If looking for a Hostel I can recommend the Generator Hostel Rome, just 5 minutes from the subway. Rooms are nice and spacious for a very good price!

If you are looking for a Hotel I can recommend Abitart Hotel, in the typical area of Testaccio where you can admire stunning street art and just 5 minutes walking from the subway.

Short Escapes!

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Just 3 hours from Roma lies the beautiful city of Verona where I used to live for many years!

I am very proud to say that Italy has one of the greatest high speed train connections in Europe AND it offers great deals. So why not take advantage of that?

As all roads lead to Rome, in only 2 or 3 hours you can reach stunning destinations such as Bologna (the Red City), Verona (the city of Romeo and Juliet) or Bari (a port town in Southern Italy). Don’t miss these gorgeous places! 

More info on the two different railway operators websites, Trenitalia and Italo.

Feel free to contact me for any advice regarding Rome.

I hope to see you on our Italy trip soon!

Angelo Di Gregorio
Angelo is trip leader for Under30Experiences, proudly Italian and adopted in Seville. He loves getting out of his comfort zone, riding extreme rollercoasters and is a cappuccino lover!

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