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Colosseum

The Flavian Amphitheater, as it was initially named, is one of the most well-known monuments, not only of Italy, but of the entire world. The Colosseum has been standing in the heart of the city for more than 2 millennia, while its size was unimaginable for the era’s standards, as it could fit 70-90 thousand people. The spectacle it offered was quite barbaric, with the battles between gladiators and wild animals* being the audience’s favorite pastime. A walk around the living history of ancient Rome is a unique life experience, so the best you can do is follow the original** evening tour (April to October). This way, you will get the chance to walk on the wooden platform, go down to the catacombs, admire its lit interior and learn things that you cannot do during the morning visit.

*The list of wild animals, apart from tigers and lions, includes bears, giraffes, elephants, hyenas, hippos etc!
** With an official guide

Important: 1) So as to not be fooled by the dozens of “sellers” of skip line tickets and not wait in the endless lines, follow our tips. 2) Do not make the mistake of renting an audio guide, it’s money wasted.

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: Every day 08:30-19:15 during the summer months. 08:30-16:30 during the winter. Closed: January 1st, May 1st & December 25th
Cost: 14€ for the standard combo ticket, 9.5€ for the reduced combo ticket, 20€ for the evening tour

 The know-it-all says: 50,000 spectators could leave the stadium in 5 minutes(!!), thanks to its many exits!!

Notice: Even if you have a Skip Line ticket, there is a chance you will wait in line for up to 30 minutes (during rush hours). Still, you will save yourselves from the two-hour wait.

Fontana di Trevi

The world’s most famous fountain is a main attraction for thousands of tourists daily. This makes it the first in visit rates, free, attraction in the city. Every moment of the day, Fontana di Trevi has to offer a different image. But, at night, the lights make it look even more magical and captivating. But, your hopes for a romantic walk will probably stay unfulfilled, as it is jam-packed, with people literally climbing every possible spot for a good shot. To be honest, this is totally reasonable, as the fountain of rare beauty mesmerizes everyone with its shiny marbles, statues, size and turquoise water. The only thing you have to do is stand on its side and throw a coin*, above your shoulder, so that you return to the Eternal City soon. If you wish to take amazing photos like this one, then it would be best to visit it around 4-5 in the morning.

*The legend says that with one coin you return to Rome, with two you marry an Italian, while with three you break up with your partner to marry an Italian. Mind your coin tosses!

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Ανοιχτά: Always
Κόστος: Free

 The know-it-all says: The municipal service fishes out a sum of 700,000€ annually!

Vatican

The small state of the Vatican City is one constant question mark for the visitor. Concerns are many, about how to get inside, how much they will pay and many more. In this article, we will inform you about everything, so that you make the best choice.

First:

Searching on the internet, you will find dozens of “offers” for quick access, cheap tickets and other “bargains”. It would be best to close your ears to fake offers and know that there is an entrance fee only for the Sistine Chapel & the Museums, while for St. Peter it is free (there is a small fee for the dome).

Lines & access to the Sistine Chapel & the Museums:

The second matter is the endless lines and the way of access. Here you should know that you have two options. The first one is that you have to wait in line to buy the ticket and get inside the Sistine Chapel & the Museums. The second one is to book your tickets online from the official website, without middlemen and hidden charges. On the website, you can pick the time and date that suits you and, after you have printed the tickets, the only thing left is to skip the line and move towards the entrance! On your own…Without middlemen and “inflated” ticket prices..

Lines & access to Saint Peter:

The third important matter is access to Saint Peter’s Basilica. Here, too, you have two options. The first one is to be there around 10 in the morning on a weekday and, after a security check (15-20 minutes wait), enter the church without any extra cost. The second one is to book the Skip Line ticket and enter at the appointed time from the entrance marked on the ticket. Important: If you plan on visiting it during rush hours, prefer the Skip Line ticket, as the wait might take up to 2 hours.

Travelen recommends: The best choice (although the most expensive) is to book the combo ticket for breakfast in the gardens & entrance to the Sistine Chapel-Museums, two hours before the official opening! The cost may be hefty, but seeing the Museum and the unique pieces of the Sistine Chapel in private, is a life experience. Otherwise, you will have to get jammed with the thousands of other visitors trying to get photographed and see the exhibits.

a) Sistine Chapel – Museums

Across a distance of 2km (!), the Museums of the Vatican will impress you with the amount and the history of the artworks. Do not try to see them all, as you will have to devote many hours. Organize the walk (with the map that you will be given at the entrance) according to what interests you. The museums may stretch over a vast area, but what steals the show is the small Sistine Chapel. It is an oblong hall with quite the history, as it is decorated with pieces by prominent artists. The walls are adorned with one of Michelangelo’s greatest artworks “The Last Judgment”, while on the dome there is the equally famous work “The Creation of Adam”. Total silence prevails in the hall and photographs are forbidden. Finally, it is worth mentioning that it is the place where the Conclave elects the new Pope.

b) St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is the “home” of the Popes. It is Christianity’s largest church and it is said that it was built atop the tomb of Apostle Peter. A walk around its interior will make you grasp its grandeur, imposing bearing and uniqueness. But what stands out is another masterpiece by the great artist Michelangelo, its enormous dome, which is visible from many spots in the city. The dome was built with the ambition of bringing Man as close as possible to God! Important: Read all the Tips, so that you are informed and do not fall victims to the biggest tourist scam of Italy that listens to the name of Vatican City!

Suggested visit time: 5-6 hours
Open: 09:00-18:00
Cost: 16€ for the Cappella Sistina – Museums & Free for St. Peter’s Basilica

 The know-it-all says: The golden sphere on St. Peter’s dome can fit 12 people!

Pasta & Gelato

It is unimaginable to be in the land of pasta and gelato and not get a good dose of these classic flavors. Doused in authentic scent of Italy, you will find them everywhere…In every neighborhood, alley, central street, stand/kiosk and mall. You can taste them on the go or sitting at a store. The only thing you have to do is choose the best place and enjoy them. But you should be very careful, as 80-85% of the shops are tourist-targeted and do not pay heed to quality, but to profit. Get informed by our website or by locals, on where you can enjoy some genuine, hand-made pasta dishes, as well as where you can cool off with an original Italian gelato. And do not worry about the calories. Walking in the city will make you burn them very fast.

 The know-it-all says: The first shop that served gelato opened in Paris by the Sicilian fisherman Procopio dei Coltelli!

Ancient Roman Forum-Palatine Hill

When one is walking among the living history of the world, it could never be described as something insignificant, quite the contrary. Even today, the heart of Rome beats inside the Ancient Forum. The enormous outdoor museum transfers the visitors many centuries in the past, offering them some unique historical moments. You should definitely have a guide with information with you, or reserve a spot in a touring group. Otherwise, the scattered “stones” might seem boring and pointless. The Palatine Hill is located inside the Forum and it is the most important of the seven ancient hills of the city, as it is the place where the imperial palace used to stand. Nowadays, it is the ideal destination to enjoy the breeze of the trees, the springs, the benches and, of course, the breath-taking view from the balcony. You should devote plenty of time and have strong lungs, as the walking is endless! Follow our Tips to make your life easier.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hour
Ανοιχτά: Every day from 08:30 to 16:30-19:15 (depending on the time period). Closed: January 1st, May 1st & December 25th
Κόστος: 14€ for the Colosseum-Forum-Hill (web price). 12€ from the ticket booths (1-2 hours waiting during rush hours)

 The know-it-all says: Its construction and expansion lasted for about a millennium!

Trastevere

A different Rome starts to appear on the other side of Tiber, more romantic, quiet and quaint. Trastevere is an area, which puts its fancy clothes on at night, in order to welcome the hundreds of visitors who swarm it. In the city’s most “trodden” neighborhood, you will find dozens of trattorias with great food, bars where you can have a drink, as well as the gorgeous Piazza di Santa Maria, where shows by street artists are performed daily. For these and for even more reasons, which you will discover on your own, it is characterized as Rome’s most lively neighborhood. It should also be noted that tourists and Italians become one, roaming its cobblestone streets. On the other hand, during the day it presents a kind of solitude and a charm of a different hue, thanks to the colorful houses and its unique architecture. This is why, no matter when you visit it, it has something different to offer.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hour
Ανοιχτά: Always
Κόστος: Free

 The know-it-all says: The paintings of Holy Mary in the alleys and on buildings of Trastevere “protect” the area from crime!

Piazza di Spagna

The Piazza di Spagna (formerly di Francia) is located in the heart of the “non-ancient Rome” and it is probably the most popular meeting point in the city. The square welcomes thousands of people daily, who visit it to admire the famous Scalinata and the fountain-boat. The 135 Spanish steps are never empty, as both Italians and tourists have turned them into resting spaces. It is worth mentioning that during spring they become even more romantic and lively, thanks to the moonlight and the wonderful decoration with colorful flowers. The only stain is the dozens of annoying street sellers, who sometimes become persistent and tiring. Finally, you should know that prices around the area are sky-high. Either you decide to buy an ice-cream, or a dress from a designer firm store (there are a lot of them), you will have to put your hand deep in your pocket.

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hour
Ανοιχτά: Always
Κόστος: Free

 The know-it-all says: On July 13th 2007 a drunken man tried to climb the Scalinata with a Toyota Celica, which resulted in destruction of a few of the 200-year-old steps!

Passetto di Borgo

This is Rome’s most sophisticated DoDo and it comes to you only by Travelen! The “secret” pathway, of a total length of 800 meters, starts at the basement of St’Angelo and reaches the Vatican. It was constructed in 1277 by Pope Nicholas III for the purpose of helping the Popes escape to and from the Vatican immediately, any time their lives were in danger. Today, through a full tour, you have the chance to walk along the secret pathway, the prisons, the pantries, the bathroom of the Pontifex and other secret places, privately or in a group*. It is a one-of-a-kind experience that only a few know, but you get the chance to live. Get away from the tourist paths and follow the ones traced by the illuminati! And who knows? Maybe you meet one of them..

* The groups have a maximum limit of 15 people. There are two tours conducted in English and two in Italian every day.

In a group:
In order to select the date, time and language of your choice, click HERE.
Private tour:
In order to book tickets, send an e-mail to segreteria@munus.com

Suggested visit time: 40 minutes-1.5 hour
Open: April-November (for the exact dates per year, click HERE)
Cost: General entrance 16€, EU citizens aged 18-25 11€, Children-18 y.o. 6€

 The know-it-all says: It starts from an underground alley and ends at the top of the walls that lead to the Vatican!

Sant’Angelo Castle and Bridge

The Sant’Angelo castle, carrying quite the history on its back, is one of the most DoDo attractions in the city. It was built by Emperor Hadrian as a family mausoleum and it has been one of the most important buildings in Rome, as it was used as a fortress, a prison, a military camp, a palace, even as a papal shelter. Nowadays, you will find narrow passages (Passetto di Borgo), prison cells and half-empty rooms that used to work as courtrooms, while from its top you can wonder at the panoramic view of Rome. In front of the fortress, you will see the most beautiful bridge of Tiber, which is none other than the Ponte Sant’Angelo. During the day it may be bustling with people, but after 23:00 it is transformed into a romantic bridge, perfect for walks and photographs.

Important: 1) Entrance is Free every 1st Sunday of the month. 2) Prefer to ascend via the spiraling pathway that starts at the south (underground) part of the castle. 3) Visit it during the afternoon, so as to avoid large crowds.

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: 09:00-19:30 (last entrance 1 hour before closing) Bridge: Always
Closed: January 1st, May 1st, December 25th
Cost: Castle: General entrance 10€, EU citizens aged 18-25 5€ Children-18 y.o. Free. Bridge: Free

 The know-it-all says: The last act of the famous opera of Tosca was set in the castle!

Via Appia Antica

This is the world’s first leveled road, with a length of 513km, only 15 of which remain today. The Via Appia Antica was constructed by large volcanic rocks, which were placed without any gaps and unevenness, which made it look like it was asphalted. Nowadays, it may not have a lot to show, but the aura, the location, the few scattered country houses and the combination of the lonely road with the beauty of nature, establish it as a rare attraction. It is worth noting that the historic road does not attract a lot of tourists, as access to it is difficult. The Italians, on the other hand, use it for light trekking, jogging and bike-riding. You should under no circumstances miss the chance to walk on the living history of the world. Click Here for the ideal route.

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: It was the first ringroad in the world!

Pantheon

The Pantheon is located in the city center, between the Navona and Venezia piazzas and it dates back to the 1st century BC. The round structure (rotunda) is an architectural miracle of the era, as its 43-meter tall dome is self-supported (without columns), while the only natural source of light is the “Eye”. The famous round hole is at the top of the dome and it remains always open, so the rainwater pours inside the temple and is absorbed by the 22 holes that exist on the floor! Equally impressive is its interior adornment, consisting of colorful marbles, magnificent statues and imposing columns. The two biggest advantages compared to most monuments in the city are the free entrance and the non-existent wait. Finally, in front of the temple you will find the Piazza della Rotonda with the Fontana del Pantheon (fountain), while around it there are many “tourist” cafés and restaurants.

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Monday-Saturday 09:00-19:15 & Sunday 09:00-17:45 Closed: January 1st, May 1st & December 25th
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: Every 21st of June in the afternoon, during the summer solstice, the sunlight passes through the Eye and creates a 9m-diameter, glowing circle on the floor!

Santa Maria degli Angeli

It may not be the largest, most pompous and advertised church in the city, but it is certainly the most beautiful, plain and peaceful. Santa Maria degli Angeli is part of the Baths of Diocletian, which was morphed into a church by the great Italian sculptor Michelangelo. Its impressive entrance gives a small taste of what follows inside. There you will meet lots of statues, the well-known meridian line, the colorful glass dome, eight enormous columns and an organ. But the features that make it special are the warmth of the space deriving from the colors, the natural light and the plain decoration. Another important trait is the quiet, due to the low tourist traffic, which gives the chance for an unhampered tour of the place. The best time to visit it is on a Sunday around 11, so you can watch part of the service.

Suggested visit time: 40 minutes-1 hour
Open: Every day 06:15-12:40 & 14:30-19:30
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: Michelangelo was 86(!) years old, when he was asked to construct the church!

Piazza Navona

The 2,000-year-old former horse race track is, nowadays, the perfect place to relax and enjoy some coffee. Piazza Navona is shaped like a bathtub and it is considered by many to be the most charming square in the world, attracting large numbers of people, all day long. The square is adorned by three baroque fountains, with the one in the middle (of the four rivers) drawing all eyes and, of course, flashes. There you will find painters, photographers, street sellers, as well as the favorite of those with a sweet tooth, tartufo ice-cream. The square is especially beautiful at night, due to the lighting, the water, the songs and the street artists, who perform their own shows. Avoid the tourist shops around the square, as apart from low quality they add “strange charges” to the already high prices. Prefer the ones in the surrounding streets.

Suggested visit time: 40 minutes-1.5 hour
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: Around the square, there are entrances from the ancient stands of the race track (2,000 years old)!

Villa Borghese

The Villa Borghese makes for the most pleasant escape from the tourist hustle of the city center. In an area of 800 acres of greenery you have a chance for endless hours of walks, resting, picnics or a visit to the famous Borghese Gallery. The best idea for managing to see it all is renting a bike of 1-2-4 persons or the electric cart. But, the most playful of all is the two-seat “racing” kart with pedals. Now, if you would like to give a more romantic tone to your tour, go for a boat-ride in the artificial lake, located in front of the outstanding Temple of Asclepius. It is noteworthy that, despite its size and choices that it offers, it is not particularly well-kept, being far off from other parks equivalent to it, like London’s Hyde Park or Paris’ Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. The ideal seasons to visit Rome’s main oxygen source is spring and summer, during the afternoon hours.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know-it-all says: 500 artworks from the original collection of the Borghese family are in the Louvre!

Tour in the city by Vespa/Scooter

Rome is the city where Vespa motorcycles and Scooters were born and spread. It is the most relaxing and smart way to tour the city. It is relaxing because everything is at a close distance (but not so much to be able to do it on foot) and smart because you can park wherever you want. It is also the most affordable way to discover every corner of the Eternal City. And the most important part? You do not have to search at all, as we have the best Store*, for you, with excellent prices. Even if you choose some other way for your transportation, make sure you live the two-wheel experience, even for a few hours. The main condition is that there are sunny days, as the rain makes driving extremely difficult in a city like Rome.

Important: The streets of the ancient city are not the best ones, as well as the Italians’ road manners. This is why you should be really careful and cautious with your moves, and always wear a helmet.

*You don’t need to give a down payment, security deposit, pay for the helmets or return it at an expected time with the same gas level! In other words, you are free to do whatever you want, without any commitments and hidden charges. The motorcycles are in a pretty good shape and provide extra storage space (luggage holder).

Suggested visit time:
1 day (at least)
Open: Store hours
Cost: 35-40€ per day for the 125cc model (Without security deposit, hidden charges or other commitments)

 The know-it-all says: The Vespa got its name from the wasp (=vespa in Italian), as its initial design reminded Enrico Piaggio of this insect!


Travelen.eu is regularly updated on ticket costs and operating hours, but you should always visit your choice of destination’s official site for confirmation.