So you’ve decided to visit Rome, otherwise known as the Eternal City. The great news is weather-wise, spring is a beautiful time to experience all the culture, architecture, and cuisine the city has to offer.
The flip side of the coin is that spring kicks off the high season when tourists arrive in massive numbers. Whether you are in town for an extended stay or just passing through, be prepared for crowded streets and tourist traps around every corner. A solid game plan and Rome luggage storage are key to staying sane and enjoying the city fully!
This guide will help you navigate spring in Rome like a professional.
1. Vatican on Sundays
The Vatican is a city-state in Rome and the home base of the Catholic church. It is full of architectural and spiritual sites that attract many tourists–the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, just to name a few.
Entrance to the Vatican Museum is free on the last Sunday of every month, a tempting offer that is often too good to be true–you can easily wait in line and never get in. It’s worth shelling out the entrance fee on slower midweek days to avoid missing out.
2. Restaurant Hawkers
Cacio e Pepe, carbonara, amatriciana–these are the Roman pasta dishes that foodies die to eat when they arrive. In other words, they don’t need overly eager, friendly, or flirtatious wait staff lingering outside to tempt you in.
Rome is flooded with restaurants serving poorly done, overpriced versions of these classics of Italian cuisine. Your best bet for finding authentic versions of these classics is venturing slightly off the beaten path.
While we’re on the subject, be wary of restaurants with menus exclusively in English that cater specifically to tourists–this is Italy, after all.
3. Gladiator Pictures
Built beginning in 70 CE, the Colosseum was capable of seating 50,000 spectators. Used at that time for hand-to-hand gladiator battles, among other events, the amphitheater is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Rome.
First-timers probably won’t want to miss the Colosseum, but be wary of men dressed in gladiator uniforms offering to pose with you. Maybe the photo is worth 10 euros to you, but many will charge upwards of 40.
4. Unofficial Guides
Rome is packed with many unofficial guides, with no other credentials than an entrepreneurial spirit.
Although it is unlikely these people will rob or cause you harm, you will almost definitely have an inferior experience than if you used a reputable tour company. When it comes to getting the best tour, book tickets online in advance from well-reviewed places.
Also, be sure to use Rome luggage storage services before setting out on a guided tour, since you don’t want suitcases and gear slowing you down.
5. Piazza Navona
If you’re in town for a short trip or, like many travelers these days, on an unexpectedly long layover, you’ll probably want to see the Piazza Navona.
Filled with beautiful fountains and boasting a unique elongated shape, this Piazza was originally designed to host athletic competitions in 86 C.E.
Check your bags with an affordable Rome luggage storage kiosk on your way to this centrally located piazza and see the opulent Church of Sant’Angese. If it is too crowded for your liking, there are many other worthwhile piazzas within walking distance.
6. Trevi Fountain
With a baroque statue of Neptune in a chariot, the Trevi Fountain is possibly the most famous fountain in the world and certainly the most crowded in Rome.
Folklore says you must toss three coins in–one to come back to Rome one day, one to fall in love in the city, and one to happily marry there.
This fountain is worth seeing for its beauty, but aim to go before 12 PM or after 7 PM for the least crowded experience.
7. Gelato Carts
As the days get hot in Rome, you may want to cool down with a scoop or two of gelato, a dessert similar to ice cream, but made with milk rather than cream
But be wary of gelato carts throughout the city–especially the ones stationed right outside the biggest tourist destinations. They are typically overpriced, of inferior quality, or not true gelato at all!
Go for classics like pistachio, hazelnut, banana, and fior di latte (milk and sugar). Avoid gelatos with bright neon colors, as they are mere imitations of the good stuff.
8. The Spanish Steps
From the Piazza di Spagna to the French monastery church Trinita dei Monti, the Spanish Steps are a sight to see—especially in April when they are decorated in a sea of azalea flowers.
But as with many sights in Rome, there are hordes of unofficial guides and subpar food establishments fighting for your money. It is best to visit them during the glow of sunset to take in the panoramic view when things have quieted down a bit.
Make Rome Your Own This Spring
On your next journey through Rome, let this guide help you make smart choices and dodge the crowds.
By choosing wisely when you visit the big destinations and where you dine, you’ll have the best experience for your time and money.