Rome, also known as the Eternal City, is the capital of Italy and was once the heart of the Holy Roman Empire. Today it's still the centre of the Catholic Church, and as events in 2013 have shown us, the Pope is a huge draw. In fact, there are attractions ranging from the truly ancient to modern in this exciting city, where you can always find a new part to explore after arriving on a cheap flight to Rome.
In the UK we really are lucky to have so many fabulous city break destinations that are so easy to get to, and thanks to the sheer number of cheap flights to Rome that are available, this is one of our top city break destinations. 2013 is set to see more visitors heading over from our shores for a quick city break, flocking to the sights, shops and culture, and we don't see why this will change in 2014 either. We also regularly put great Rome package deals in our weekly email so sign up to be the first in the know!
There are two airports serving Rome - Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino International Airport and Ciampino International Airport. Wherever your flight to Rome lands, you should expect a direct flight that takes between two and a half hours and three hours to arrive. Most cheap flights to Rome land at Ciampino, as it's the low-cost airline hub, with the majority of the other flights arriving into Fiumicino. An added bonus of booking a low-cost Rome flight is that the views you get of the city on arrival are pretty spectacular!
With flights to Rome from most major UK airports, you won't have a problem reaching the Eternal City. Airport Leonardo da Vinci, generally known as Fiumicino, handles most scheduled flights. It is located 26km (16mi) south-west of the city. Rome's other airport is Ciampino about 20km (12mi) south-east of the city and used by the majority of charter flights. You can book a coach from London to Rome with National Express Eurolines, or grab a Eurostar sleeper train from Paris to Rome.
As it's a more established airport, there are better travel links from Fiumicino Airport. Aside from taxis and hiring a car, which is not recommended unless you're mainly interested in day trips due to the confusing roads and busy traffic, there are a variety of options. The Leonardo Express trains are your fastest option, offering a direct service to Termini every 30 minutes. The metro trains also run between the airport and the city, although they don't go direct to Termini. The Terravision bus is probably the best value and easiest way of getting into the city, offering a direct bus link to Termini. There are also local buses but the routes are less well defined.
The options from Ciampino you can take the local bus to the metro station for the cheapest way of arriving, although you'll want to check out the logistics of this before you arrive to be sure of finding the way. The other options are a selection of shuttle buses, with the sit-shuttle bus, the Terravision bus and the Cotral bus all offering good prices and reasonably fast journeys. You can even buy tickets for some of them whilst you're still on your flight to Rome!
A great way to save money if you're on a longer break in Rome is to buy a Roma Pass, which gets you free use of the public transport as well as discounted entry to a whole range of museums and attractions.
Don't discount how great walking is in Rome. There are all sorts of amazing buildings to see, quaint little streets and charming cafes you just might like to stop in for lunch as well. Crossing the roads can occasionally feel a little like taking your life into your own hands though, so look out for the dedicated crossings. Be aware that cars are still allowed to turn even if you see the green man, but confidence and a speedy clip across the road should see you safely across. Hiring a bicycle or a moped can be a good way to explore, but be aware that the traffic in Rome is best described as hectic! Taxis can be fast and efficient but often charge exorbitant fees, so get your hotel to help you.
Taxis are everywhere in Rome but they can be quite expensive. Unlike in the UK, you can't hail a taxi - you have to queue for one at one of the many taxi ranks across the city. The metro is very limited and buses and trams can be crowded and quite slow. Rome metro has just 2 lines: A and B. Line A runs east to west and is useful for the Vatican, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Barberini. Line B runs northeast to southwest and stops at the Coliseum, St. Paul's Basilica and Circo Massimo. Walking is the ideal way to get around Rome as it allows you time to stop at the (many) points of interest along the way!
Italy's rail network is extensive and efficient, you can also look up times and buy tickets online via Trenitalia. Rome's main train station (Stazione Centrale Roma Termini) is situated east of the historic city centre.
Rome enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate for most of the year but the weather can be quite different depending on the time you visit. Peak tourist season in Rome is July and August, but these months can also be very hot and sticky with temperatures up to 30°C. During the height of summer there are often more tourists than there are Romans in the city, as the locals vacate to the surrounding countryside.
We prefer visiting in May and June, when the skies are clear and the temperature is an average of 23-28°C. The weather is also pleasant in April, September and October and the city is also slightly quieter.
The winter months, particularly December, can experience higher than average rainfall. But these are also the months when you'll find the cheapest flights and hotels in Rome.
Euros €. You shouldn't run into difficulty changing money in Rome - you can go to any bank and most post offices. Travellers' checks are almost impossible to exchange at hotels and shops, but can still be cashed at banks and foreign exchange offices. Incidentally in the Vatican City you will find an ATM with instructions in Latin, reputedly the only one in the world.
Italian is spoken in Rome, although there are hints of the old Romanesco language to be heard. Most Italians speak English and there is a large expatriate contingent to be found with lots of French and even English people living and working in the city.
Dial +39 for Italy. The area code for Rome is: 06.
UK tourists only need a valid Passport to visit Rome. EU members are also able to live and work in Rome without a work visa or permit.
It's hard to know where to start when it comes to deciding what to do when you arrive on your flight to Rome! Our best advice is to do some research beforehand - start straight after booking your Rome flight and you might have an idea by the time you get there! Must- see attractions are plentiful and include the Colosseum, St. Peters Basilica, the Vatican Museums where you will find the famous Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
Don't pack your itinerary too much though, you don't want to be rushing things. Take time to stroll around and soak up the atmosphere - perhaps with an afternoon at the Galleria Borghese, or walking the Appian Way. Shopaholics won't want to miss out on a day on the Via del Corso and the surrounding streets either!
For more tips get over to our Rome guide here.
Toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain to be sure of coming back
St Peters Basilica from the Tiber
Head to the Forum to discover lots of Roman ruins in the heart of the city
The Pantheon is one of the top sights and the Piazza della Rotonda is a popular night-time hangout
The Vatican Museum is one of the world's top sights - this is the Last Judgement by Michaelangelo in te Sistine Chapel
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