A getaway to Rome with friends
Rome is dubbed the Eternal City for a number of reasons, and one of those is the fact you can do an infinite number of things while in town. There is a Rome for everyone – a Rome for lovers, for Catholics, for history-buffs and for families. There is also a Rome for those who prefer to discover the world alongside their friends. Be it your first group trip or just a getaway from the mundane with friends.
Read on to discover our top tips to make the most of your trip with friends. We’ve got the lowdown on where to go during the daytime and night time. We’ve even got the perfect itinerary for a four-day trip with four friends, called the ‘4×4 Getaway’.
Pre-planning a trip to Rome
We may think we know our friends very well but it’s important to keep in mind everybody’s tastes. Rome has a vast offering so come up with a short-list of the group’s absolute musts. This helps ensure everybody is on the same page before take-off. Don’t try to see the entire city in four days. Pick a selection of attractions and activities that will meet the entire group’s expectations. Your getaway doesn’t have to be a 24-hour booze fest either! Rome has so much more to offer. Take the time get some shopping done or savour a gelato as you meander through the historic centre. And then there is the simple pleasure of enjoying a leisurely meal at any one of Rome’s fabulous trattorias. What better way to catch up with old friends? Do yourself (and your friends) the favour and leave the Monday-to-Friday grind behind.
The great thing about shortlists is that they help stave off any misunderstandings. Travelling with friends is about bonding, not falling out! If someone is set on visiting the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum, buy your tickets in advance. You’ll beat the queues and show consideration for that friend. Same goes for restaurants and clubs. If there is a friend who has their heart set on visiting the hottest restaurant or club in the city, book in advance to avoid disappointment! Who wants to be standing on a street corner trying to figure out where to go?
Another key conversation that must be had before take-off is how expenses are going to be shared. Rome isn’t the most economical of cities and it’s easy to rack up a bill in the blink of an eye. Decide on a budget beforehand, and even maybe set up a kitty with everyone chipping in an equal amount. There are great apps such as Splitwise that help track expenses. These are two great ways of avoiding any overspending and misunderstandings.
When to travel to Rome
Rome is located in southern Europe, in the Mediterranean basin, so the best time of the year to visit the city is between March and November. Temperatures are generally mild and temperate except during the summer months when it can get quite hot. If you don’t mind the heat, the city is almost deserted as city dwellers pack off for their holidays. You are almost guaranteed to have the city to yourself.
Getting around Rome
The best way to get around Rome is by purchasing Roma Pass. This tourist travel pass is available in two- and three-day options. It gives you access to two museums or archaeological sites and unlimited public transport. Hiring a car or a scooter to get around the city is not the most recommendable – the traffic is absolutely terrible. Get your walking shoes on because that is truly the best way to discover the soul of this great city.
The best plans in your pocket
We’ve got you covered with our itineraries but if you want to know what is going on in the city precisely the days you are there, head to a kiosk and pick up ‘Roma C’è’ . This entertainment guide provides a weekly round-up of concerts, DJs, arts shows and cultural activities taking place in the city. It also lists restaurants and bars.
A four-day itinerary through Rome
We’ve taken the top attractions in spread them out on the four days. We also suggest breaking down the day into three segments. We recommend you spend the mornings visiting top landmarks and museums until lunchtime. Then, use the afternoons to explore the city, venturing into the different neighbourhoods to really discover the essence of the city. Come night time, get ready for some great dining, followed by a drink (or two).
Start the day in Ancient Rome by visiting the Colosseum. Try to get there early to avoid the queues unless you booked your tickets in advance. Then, head to Monte Palatino, followed by the Roman Forum.
Stop for lunch at a trattoria to savour local delicacies. Some great and affordable options in the area include: Hostaria da Nerone (Via delle Terme di Tito, 96), Le Terme del Colosseo (Via del Cardello, 13 ) and the super-affordable Pasta Chef Monti (Via Baccina, 42).
After lunch, head over to Aventino Hill to visit the Baths of Caracalla, Circus Maximus the Bocca della Verità and the Temple of Hercules Victor. Walk over to Ponte Palatino, right by these landmarks, to get an amazing view of the Cloaca Maxima that dates back to the early years of Ancient Rome.
It’s time to go back to the hotel to get ready for a night out on the town. Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori are the top neighbourhoods to grab dinner and a drink.
Get ready to discover the Vatican. It will take about four hours to visit the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica.
You’ll definitely want to refuel after your morning. The area brims with eateries serving up excellent Italian cuisine. A popular choice is Goose (Piazzale Gregorio VII, 33) – they serve a mean risotto at a great price. Once you’ve eaten, walk over to Castel Sant’Angelo on the shores of the Tiber River and into the bustling Trastevere neighbourhood. Let your nose guide you to any of the charming coffee shops to enjoy a coffee. Sit down and revel in the dolce vita!
After a long day out and about, head back to the hotel and give those legs a break before venturing out for dinner. Tonight is the night where you get to show off your dance moves. Some of the hottest clubs in Rome are located in Testaccio. This includes: Akab Club (Via di Monte Testaccio, 69), Alien (Via Velletri, 13) and Radio Londra (Via di Monte Testaccio, 67).
In the morning, hit Villa Borghese and its gallery. Bear in mind tickets must be purchased in advance. No need to wake up too early after a night on the town; the entire visit takes approximately two hours.
Come lunch time, push on to the historical centre. Discover along the way emblematic landmarks such as Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona, Fontana di Trevi and the Pantheon. There are countless great trattorias in this neighbourhood so pick the one that catches your eye (or nose!).
After enjoying a short little rest at the hotel, if you are still in the mood for one more night of Roman fun, venture out to Campo de’ Fiori for another amazing night with friends.
It’s time to explore Via Appia Antica on foot or by bicycle. You can hire a bicycle at EcoBike by the Tourist Information Point. There are multiple millennia-old catacombs along this ancient road. The catacombs of San Callisto are the largest and most famous. If you happen to be there on a Sunday, the road is closed to traffic and becomes entirely pedestrian-friendly.
Finish the day of with some shopping. The Italian luxury fashion houses, such as Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, are all located around fashionable Piazza di Spagna and Via Condotti. If you are looking to indulge in an antique, head to Via dei Coronari by Piazza Navona. Jewellery and accessory lovers will be spoilt by the offering in the vicinity of Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere.