You’ve seen it in movies with sexy Roman soldiers and read about the amazing collection of ancient buildings. And now you want to visit.
But be prepared, there are tourists are everywhere, blocking the roads, crowding the restaurants, waiting in lines.
But once you discover a few of these tricks, you can move like a local and enjoy Rome for all that it offers.
Advance planning will save a lot of time
Rome is all about seeing the magnificence of past times. To maximize your trip, start planning in advance. Book tickets for the Vatican Museum (to see the Sistine Chapel), the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (combined e-ticking) before boarding your plane. It’s the best way to avoid the queues.
Rome is a perfect city for pedestrians and you can save lots of time if you minimize the sad experience of using the metro.
Design your tour of the city in a logical way to see each and every famous place, plus enjoying the daily life.
Short City Walk
For a short walk, start in the celebrated Trevi Fountain (currently under renovation). From there you can use your map or your GPS to go toward the Spanish Steps, maybe around Via due Macelli. Take the obligatory selfie at the steps, throw in your coin and follow Via del Babuino until the Piazza del Popolo. From there, you can decide: an afternoon shopping along Via del Corso or if you’re more into nature, head up to the Villa Borghese for a panoramic view over Rome (with enough time for a panini in the beautiful park, even).
Half Day Walk
What about a less-known starting point like the Terme di Caracalla, the ruins of the Roman thermal baths? You can take Via del Circo Massimo to enjoy the famous Bocca della Verità inside the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin and then take Via del Teatro de Marcello to see the Campidoglio and Pizza Venezia.
Another possibility is to go from Caracalla to the Colosseum, walking past the Arch of Constantine and down Via dei Fiori Imperiali to the lovely Pizza Venezia. Once there, everything is possible: lots of gelato shops, restaurants and museums. The stunning Pantheon is just a few minutes walk away.
Italians are often kind, welcoming people (and certainly not unattractive), so you should feel comfortable talking to them. When enjoying a morning coffee and cornetto (a typical Roman breakfast), try chatting with the locals standing around the bar. Start with a ciao and ask for secrets about the city, but only if they are not in a hurry (you don’t want an anecdote about an angry Italian!).
Get away from the tourist hot-spots
Most tourists stay in hotspots like Piazza Navona. Although it’s lovely with its bustling street life, art and Roman history, if you really want to enjoy Rome, you should make the effort to interact with locals. Streets like Via del Pigneto are popular with locals—lots of people drinking in the street, fancy shops, cafés and excellent nightlife.
Fancy restaurants in the city center are mostly crowded with tourists (and with tourist-prices), so eat and party where Romans do. Head to the neighborhoods just outside the city center, such as Trastevere, San Lorenzo and Pigneto—all equally beautiful and often with better food and cheaper prices.
Via di San Giovanni
The friendly “Gay Street” of Rome, Via di San Giovanni, is just steps away from the Colosseum. In warmer months, the cafes & bars along the street have patios with fantastic views, so make sure you visit in the early afternoon.
To enter cruise clubs & saunas in Italy, you will need an ArciGay UNO Club Card. You can purchase this card from any participating venue. You will need a photo ID that shows your date of birth to purchase a card which will be valid for three months.
About the Author
Berlin based Travel Gay Europe contributor Adam Groffman is a globetrotter and self-styled hipster. He covers city destinations around the world, writing about festivals, nightlife and gay travel on his personal travel blog, Travels of Adam and is the editor of My Gay Travel Guide. When he’s not out exploring the coolest bars and clubs, he’s usually enjoying the local arts and culture scene of a new city. You’ll find him most often on Twitter at @travelsofadam or on Instagram — say hi!
picture acknowledgement – Colosseum by Bert Kaufmann
Published: 11-Mar-2015 by Tod | Last Updated: 24-May-2022
On: Gay Rome