Every year millions of tourists come from all over the world to visit Rome. They come to see the historical buildings, or the Renaissance works by artists like Michelangelo and Bernini. They come to visit the Vatican City, hoping perhaps to catch a glimpse of the Pope, or to enjoy what remains of the sweet life that inspired Fellini's film La Dolce Vita, or simply for the food.
Whatever your reasons for visiting Rome, whatever kind of tourist you are, you will find a beautiful and vibrant city full of places to see and things to do. Rome caters for the most upmarket travellers as well as independent, low-budget explorers, and if you know how to find it, there really is something here for everyone.
Preparing for your visit
As with all popular tourist destinations, it pays to do your research before you arrive. Although tourism is big business here, Rome's tourist information centres are few and far between, and when you can find one they're not always terribly helpful. So it's best to get hold of as much information as you can before you go.
"Only in Rome is it possible to understand Rome."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If you don't know what you're doing, you'll spend the week eating tourist food, taking part in tourist activities, and looking at tourist sights. You'll be paying above the odds for all of it, without once catching a glimpse of the real Rome. A little research will help you to avoid the usual tourist traps, and get the most out of your trip.
Use websites likes this one, along with your preferred guidebooks, to get an idea of what you want to see before you arrive. If you don't have a mobile phone with a mapping app (or if your phone isn't capable of data roaming in Europe) you'll also find a good tourist map invaluable, but make it a small one that you can consult discreetly. Fortunately, Rome's tourist centre is fairly compact, so even paper maps don't have to be huge to be serviceable.
For a major city, Rome is surprisingly safe in terms of violent crime. That said, there is a constant danger from pickpockets, especially on the metro and in the busier piazzas on the tourist routes. It's also worth getting familiar with some of the common taxi scams, as this is one of the ways that tourists most often get caught out. (Sadly, dishonest taxi drivers are so common in Rome that it's often best to avoid taking a taxi.) There are several different police forces in Italy, but the two you're most likely to come across in your travels are the Polizia and the Carabinieri.
If you are coming from within Europe, remember that the old E111 form, which used to entitle the bearer to free medical care, is no longer valid. Instead you will need an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). If you're not eligible for an EHIC, or you're coming from outside Europe, make sure to check that you have suitable medical insurance in place.
How to use this website
Rome File is divided into themed sections, which are listed in the yellow menu at the top of the page. Right now you're reading the section on Rome tourist information, which contains tips on things like when to go, how to get there and what the weather will be like. All of this can be found in the menu on the right (or scroll down if you're on a mobile phone).