Rome (Italy)

guide featuring 360 degree images, maps, photos, video, hotels, transport and weather.

Many of the famous places in Rome (or Roma in Italian) are located relatively close together in the city, but be prepared to do a lot of walking if you want to see it all. Although most people know about Rome in general, to go there and see just how many large, confronting and ornate buildings there are gives you a much clearer idea of the vast power they must have had. We found the best way to avoid long queues at the popular landmarks is to visit them after lunch and walk around the city in the morning or evening because it doesn't get dark until 8:30pm in Spring. Most people speak English so communication isn't a problem for tourists, but you will hear and say these Italian phrases the most: "bonjourno" = "good morning", "buonsera" = "good evening", "gratzi" = "thank you" and "prego" = "welcome". Cats are common and are often seen wandering around. They look like strays but are actually cared for and well liked. They are Italian so they say "meowso" instead of just "meow".

I took these photos, 360° images and videos while on holiday with my wife for a few days in May 2012. Refer to my customised Rome Google map for where we saw the main points of interest.

This is part of a 6 week adventure that my wife and I took in the middle of 2012 that includes:

Rome video

  2 minutes, full HD (1080p: 1920x1080) - best viewed in full screen.
Rome map
Customised Rome Google Map

Rome weather

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Season Winter Winter Spring Spring Spring Summer Summer Summer Autumn Autumn Autumn Winter
Avg Sunrise* 7:00am 7:00am 6:30am 6:30am 5:45am 5:15am 5:15am 5:45am 6:15am 6:45am 6:15am 7:00am
Avg Sunset* 5:00pm 5:30pm 6:00pm 7:45pm 8:30pm 9:00pm 9:00pm 8:45pm 8:00pm 7:00pm 5:15pm 5:00pm
Avg Min Temp 3°C 4°C 5°C 8°C 11°C 15°C 17°C 18°C 15°C 11°C 7°C 4°C
Avg Max Temp 12°C 13°C 15°C 18°C 23°C 27°C 30°C 30°C 27°C 22°C 16°C 13°C
Avg Rainfall 103mm 99mm 68mm 65mm 48mm 34mm 23mm 33mm 68mm 94mm 130mm 111mm
* Times shown include Daylight Savings Time: the last Sunday in March clocks are turned forward one hour and the last Sunday in October back one hour.

Rome's time zone is +1h GMT & +2h during daylight savings.
The current date and time in Rome is:

Vatican Museum

[12 on the map]
According to "Ron in Rome" the best days to visit the Vatican Museum are Tuesdays and Thursdays after lunch. We went on Tuesday after lunch and walked straight in with no queue so I guess he was correct! He has lots of great advice for visiting the Vatican so I recommend reading his 20 tips on his website.

There are many people selling tours so it's hard to tell which ones are actually good or just a scam so we did an official tour from the Vatican's own website. We did the "Guided Tours for Individuals" > "Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica" which was a good, but you only get a quick overview of this enormous place in a 3 hour afternoon tour.

With over 5 million visitors in 2011, there are so many people that the corridors only allow a one way flow of pedestrians. Remember not to wear singlets or shorts because shoulders and knees must be covered, otherwise you will not be allowed in. No photos are permitted in the Sistine Chapel, but everywhere else it's fine to use a camera.

Saint Peter's Basilica

[13 on the map]
This place is one of the highlights of our whole European trip. Entrance is free, but the lines to get in are for the tight security checks. Churches are big, but this is the biggest of them all, plus it's decorated absolutely everywhere, both inside and out. Visiting Saint Peter's Basilica gives you a real sense of the enormous power and influence of the Christian religion. My favourite part is seeing the sun beam through the windows in the high dome above us, creating spectacular shafts of light due to the huge space inside in the church, otherwise known as "god rays".

Saint Peter's Square

[14 on the map]
This huge area was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1656 to 1667 to allow as many people as possible to witness the Pope give his blessings from Saint Peter's Basilica. The 25.5m tall Egyptian obelisk in the centre is about 4400 years old. It is located in Vatican City which is the smallest state in the world (surrounded by Rome).

The Colosseum

[9 on the map]
It used to be called the Flavian Amphitheatre which is how it is labelled on Google Maps. The holes that look like wartime attacks are actually where the studs were used to hold the marble facade decoration which was salvaged to build other structures such as those in the Vatican.

The big queues at the entrance are people waiting to buy tickets to get in. You can also get the same entrance tickets from the nearby Roman Forum instead where there is almost no line so it is often much quicker to buy them there, go back to the Colosseum and then walk straight in.

Castel Sant'Angelo

[11 on the map]
"Castle of the Holy Angel" was originally the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Our tour of the Vatican wasn't until 1pm so this was a great nearby place to visit during the morning.

Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

[10 on the map]

Victor Emmanuel II Monument

[8 on the map]
Victor Emmanuel II (1820-1878) was the first king (from 1861 to 1878) of a united Italy since the 6th century.

Piazza Navona

[7 on the map]
A famous and popular square in Rome that contains historic sculptures and fountains. You will also find many artists selling paintings, etc.


[6 on the map]
The Pantheon is a temple to all gods but was taken over by the Christians. The diameter of the dome and the height to the hole at the top is 43.3m. There is no cover over the hole so the rain just comes straight in onto the floor.

Trevi Fountain

[5 on the map]
At 26m high and 20m wide, it is one of the most famous fountains in the world. It is where the water from an aqueduct enters the city and it celebrated by the construction of a magnificent fountain. About $3000 euro coins per day are thrown into the fountain to ensure the visitor's return to Rome. The money is collected by local officials and given to charity.


The best way to travel around Italy (and Europe) is by train because they are very fast, frequent, safe, reliable, cheap and the stations are in the middle of the city. I prefer to book the routes individually (point to point ticket) instead of buying a pass (like Eurail or Swiss pass) because it's usually cheaper unless you are frequently travelling long distances which I don't do anyway because I want to spend more time enjoying the location than travelling to and from it. The catch with a Eurail pass is that you still need to book and pay extra for a seat reservation, whereas buying just a normal point to point ticket includes the reservation, saving time and confusion. I always buy first class tickets too because they aren't much more expensive than the normal ticket, they usually include more seating space and I feel a little more safer considering that the train company gives a little more attention to first class passengers.

The main concern was for the storage and security of our luggage, having heard too many stories about bags being stolen. Many trains have a rack above the seats (so it's safe) that can easily hold a large suitcase (like those allowed for checked luggage on planes). My bag (35cm [14in] x 45cm [18in] x 70cm [27.5in]) was just below the maximum size limit for planes which was fine on all the trains during our holiday through Europe. It weighed about 19kg and you must lift your bag up on to these high racks which was fine for a tall, strong, dashing, handsome, sexy and modest young man like me, otherwise you will probably need another passenger to help you. Some trains only have storage at the end of each carriage which makes it easier to get in and out but also makes it easier for someone to steal your bags too. We took a wire cable bike combination lock to attach our bags to the rack in these cases but only used it twice and both times it probably wasn't really necessary, but gives you peace of mind so you don't need to worry about it. We also used small combination padlocks on the zippers. Having locks on your bags can draw attention because being so secure then there is probably something valuable in it worth stealing, but most criminals are just opportunistic and simply take the next bag that is easier to remove.

How to book European train tickets:

  1. Go to Rail Europe to search and buy your tickets. Enter your departure and arrival cities to find out if it is possible to catch a train between them. If you get no results for your search it is usually because many trains only allow bookings up to 3 months in advance or even less so just try example dates in the next couple of weeks instead.
  2. To do a cross check and find more detailed information, the best train website I have found is the Swiss SBB train site that has European train details and not just Switzerland. I had a look at other websites like Trenitalia (Italian trains) but they tend to be too difficult to use mainly because the translation into English isn't too good.
I chose to use Rail Europe because it is locally based to me (currency, office, etc) so it's easy to understand with no language problems, it's a single place to buy all your tickets and they do all the communication with the European railways to get the correct tickets. After you order your train tickets on their website, they post you the official paper tickets in the mail. Only trains like Eurostar (eg. London to Paris) use electronic tickets that you can print at home, but for trains in places such as Italy, only the paper tickets are valid so don't lose them!


This is the best way that I know of to find a hotel on the internet. I used this method for every place we stayed at for our entire six week holiday in Europe/UK/Singapore and it worked very well. The basic steps are:
  1. Decide how much you want to pay each night. We budgeted an average of $200 a night for our whole six week Europe/UK/Singapore trip to get quite nice 4 or sometimes 5 star hotels. FYI: Our hotel in Venice was the most expensive (from supply and demand I guess) but the worst condition (old, no lifts, but clean) and Berlin was one the cheapest but best (5 star, middle of city and even had a giant aquarium in the middle!).
  2. Decide on your location. I usually choose the closest hotel to a major transport hub (like a train station) within my budget.
  3. Decide on check-in and check-out dates. Most hotels in Europe/UK seem to have a check-out time of midday and check-in at 2pm. When travelling between cities on a train (like in Europe) I usually booked the train that departs around midday and arrives around 2pm so I check straight in and know my luggage is safely in my room and not have to come back for the rest of the day. It gets dark around 10pm in June so there is plenty of sightseeing time left in the day.
  4. Find a hotel with high ratings and good reviews from people who have actually stayed there.
  5. Book it preferably at least a few months in advance to get cheap prices.
How to actually do it:
  1. See the currently available hotels in Rome. This searches 100+ hotel booking websites at once to find the best price which is why I think it's the best.
  2. Refine your search using as much detail as you can. For example, make up some check in and out dates for a couple of days in a few months time and select 4 stars.
  3. Now click the Show Map link in the top right. I really like this feature because I can instantly see where the closest hotels are to where I want to be. Hover your mouse over the icon to see the hotel name, star rating and price.
  4. Just above the map link in the top right, change the drop down box to your local currency if it didn't do that automatically.
  5. Click on "Sort by: Guest Rating". Scroll down the list of hotels looking at their average rating given by people who actually stayed there and compare that to the price. Naturally the more expensive places usually have higher ratings so the trick is to find a high rating place with a low price.
  6. My priority is actually location so I sort it by Distance, then look for the highest rating, then see if it's in my price range.
  7. Now click on a hotel to see the details about it such as photos, features and most importantly the reviews. Sometimes you come across some amazing features such as the "DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London - Tower of London" actually had a big screen Apple computer with free internet that also works as a TV. We ended up booking this place because this feature made it stand out from the crowd and the room was great.
  8. I like to read people's reviews for their very honest opinions, especially the negative ones because you can find out if the problems are really important or not and if everyone keeps complaining about the same thing. To do this, scroll down to the bottom of the web page and click on a link that says something like "Read all reviews from" then when that website appears, click on the Reviews tab.
  9. After looking through a few hotels and their reviews you can try clicking on the Book Now button but don't worry, you don't actually book anything yet. This shows you a list of all the websites that are selling rooms for this hotel ordered from lowest to highest price so you know you can get the lowest price possible which is why I said in step 1 that this is the best way to find and book hotels on the internet.
  10. Click the Go button to transfer to that website to actually make the booking. I personally don't necessarily select the website with the lowest price. I prefer to book on websites that I am more familiar with such as so I have more confidence in knowing it will actually work properly and can group all my bookings together more easily, especially if the price is only an extra few dollars per night. My ultimate preference is to book with the hotel's own website which is what I did with the DoubleTree hotel (the Hilton website) only because their price matched the best price of and it was a low price too.
I wasn't too sure if my bookings were really passed through to the hotels or not with some strange booking websites I had never heard of before, so I was a bit skeptical. But sure enough, every single one of the 14 hotels I booked on our 6 week holiday through Europe/UK/Singapore had no problems at all and acknowledged my reservation every time.

Compare hotel prices and find the best deal -

About the photos
I've been a keen photographer for over 10 years and have been creating 360° panoramic images for about that long too. I've sold some individually, for web sites and have also photographed some weddings. All the panoramas on this page were taken handheld because you are not allowed to use tripods in most of the places I visited so you may find some strange gaps where the photos are stitched together because of this. The camera used for all of these photos is a 5D MkIII with a 24-105mm L series lens. This camera works great in low light situations, has a full frame sensor to get wide angle shots and produces super sharp photos. Unfortuantely it is very big, heavy and expensive so I made the decision to choose quality over comfort. A camera store assistant once told me: A man invited a lady over to his place one night to show her his photos. She said, "Gee, they're great photos. You must have a great camera." She invited the man to her place for dinner the next night and after the meal he said "Gee, that was a great meal. You must have a great oven."

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