No where else in the world will you find such innumberable pleasures as in Rome. The Eternal City offers today's travellers a spectacular collision of history and modernity. 

Our curated guide follows the footsteps of Romans through their daily life, both in ancient and modern times. Each itinerary allows you to experience popular attractions without the crowds while providing a starting point to explore the parts of the city you may never knew existed. As with all of our guides, you are encouraged to use these itineraries as a starting point to make your own Roman memories.

The grandeur of the pantheon

The grandeur of the pantheon


THE CITY

 

Founded in 753 B.C.

≈ 9 million visitors annually

unesco.png

Rome's entire historic center designated a World Heritage Site


ESSENTIALS

 
WHEN TO GO

Year-round, but spring and autumn are ideal times to visit. Summer is hot, and as such, most Romans leave the city during parts of July and most of August. Compass & Key visited Rome in late November and enjoyed mild weather, short lines and few crowds at the majority of popular sites.

STAY

Compass & Key has stayed at several hotels in the historic center, the Centro Storico, from which you can easily reach the popular sites within a 20-30 minute walk while having authentic restaurants and shops at your doorstep. However, rates were more reasonable during our visit in the off-season. Make sure to review our complete list of curated hotels in Rome with the Compass & Key Hotel List, which will accommodate a range of budgets.

JK Place Roma($$$$, jkroma.com) an award-winning luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the Centro Storico, which was once the Rome School of Architecture in its previous life. Reserve through Mr. and Mrs. Smith for the Smith extra, currently a bottle of wine and fresh fruit. This is a splurge-worthy hotel, particularly during off-peak months.

JK Place Roma, Rome, Italy

JK Place Roma. Minutes from Rome's best sights, boutique hotel JK Place Roma is redefining casual Italian style with bold decor and inviting modernist bedrooms.

Hotel Indigo St. George ($$$hotelindigorome.com), part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group, offers value in both amenities and location. Look closely at the foundation to see travertine blocks from a Palace commissioned in the 16th century, but never completed.

Hotel Indigo Rome - St. George

Hotel Indigo® Rome - St. George is a boutique hotel celebrating our neighbourhood through inspired design, and local restaurants and bars. Best Rates Guaranteed.

DINE

Come hungry because Roman food - and wine - is divine. Make sure to try Cacio e Pepe, a simple but tasty pasta dish, as well as the array of fresh seafood. Our interactive map showcases several delightful restaurants, but in particular, we loved the service and cuisine at Osteria 140, a cucina and oyster bar located a few blocks from Hotel Indigo St. George. Make reservations here.

Osteria 140

Cucina moderna e divertente, carta corta e prodotti freschi del territorio...ma soprattutto una grande passione e la voglia di dare il meglio... Vostro tavolo è già pronto!

TRAVEL

HOW TO GET THERE

Most visitors fly into Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino international airport (FCO). Given that public transport isn't as accessible in the historic center, Compass & Key recommends taking the 50-minute taxi ride for €48, particularly if you have several pieces of luggage. If you prefer to save some Euros, there is an express train service for €14 that takes 32 minutes to reach Rome's main train station, Stazione Termini, running every 30 minutes. Both recommended hotels can be reached via public transport within 65-75 minutes but involve a transfer to bus or metro after the express train, followed by some walking (within ten minutes). Plot your own course with our transit app of choice, CityMapper.

GETTING AROUND

Rome is exceptionally walkable. Getting around by foot offers the best way to take in the history that surrounds you. We at Compass & Key are avid supporters of public transportation, but we barely used it during our visit. Still, there is a metro and bus system available and tickets can be purchased at newspaper kiosks, tobacconists and metro stations.


WHERE TO GO

Compass & Key has curated five itineraries for wandering Rome. Scroll below the map overview and click on the name of each itinerary for a dynamic map and guide.

 

RESOURCES

 
BEFORE YOU GO

BOOKS

A collection of our must-have guide books to this glorious city. Click on the images to purchase online through Amazon, or note the titles and go to your favorite local bookstore.

By Vesna Neskow

Easily fitting in a daypack or purse, this is an ideal companion as you explore each neighborhood.

 
By Rick Steves, Gene Openshaw

We've always liked Rick Steves guidebooks, but his advice throughout Italy is top notch.

 
By Herb Lester

These three tiny booklets - one for each country - are the size of a credit card and help navigate the menus with a simple A to Z glossary.

 
Herb Lester Associates

A delightful, well-designed map of distinctive places throughout the city.

 
By Katie Parla, Kristina Gill

Part cookbook, part travel memoir, this brings the history of Rome to life.

 

LINKS

The Official Rome Visitors Bureau to browse for events during your trip and the latest news about the city.

A handy List of Festivals and Events from TimeOut to cross reference with your vacation dates.

Eat With - Rome, where you can book meals and cooking classes hosted by locals. Recommended for the first or second day of your trip so you can ask your host about unique things to do and see.

Private Rome Tours, primarily of the culinary kind, with resident expert Katie Parla, covering everything from an introduction to Italian wine to neighborhood-specific cuisines. The Testaccio and Trastevere cuisine tour is on our list.

Context Tours - Rome, providing historian-led tours with six people or less. We're eyeing the Underground Rome tour for our next visit.


INTERACTIVE MAP

 

OUTTAKES


CURATED STORIES FROM AROUND THE WEB

My Rome: Still a Classic Beauty

But just above Trastevere, sat Monteverde Vecchio, a lush area reached by winding streets or broad staircases that still bear the faded red and yellow A.S. Roma colors from when the soccer team won the Italian championship, and Francesco Totti, the 40-year-old captain who just played his last game with the team, was still called "the golden boy."

10 of the best restaurants near Rome's major attractions

Carb-load at Be.Re. before a visit to the Vatican Museums, the largest and most physically demanding monument in town. Be.Re.'s gleaming copper bar pours craft beer from Italy and abroad, while the adjacent annex serves trapizzini (around €4), a recently invented take on the pizza: a trapizzino is a thick slices of sourdough bread filled to order with typical Roman dishes such as simmered oxtail, chicken alla cacciatora, and tongue with parsley sauce.

Basic Italian words and phrases for your trip to Italy

As a traveler with Italian roots, I'm admittedly a little biased. But there is something special about the Italian language. Whether it's a casual conversation, a heated argument, or an artfully-composed aria, everything just sounds better in Italian.