If We Were Visiting Rome Again, Here's What We Would Do Differently

europe tours travel tips

First, Here’s what we did right when we visited Rome.

Melissa’s sister had highly recommended a couple of tours and I’m so glad we took her advice.

They were:

1. The Colosseum and Roman Forum with the Colosseum Underground tour. Highly recommend. At the very least buy tickets for the Colosseum ahead of time so you don’t miss getting to go inside. When in Rome, right?

2. We really appreciated her suggestion to do the early morning small group Vatican tour - 6 people and one of the first in the Sistine Chapel for the day.  You do have to arrive early but it was worth it.  It gets very busy very quickly but we got to go in as one of the first and then went back later on our tour and it was packed. Don't forget that you'll need to cover your shoulders when visiting the Vatican (we also wore lightweight pants that day).

We would not recommend trying to book more than one of these tours in a single day.  It is a lot to take in so don't plan a tour for the morning and for the afternoon.  

We did the Roman Forum tour one afternoon and then the Vatican Tour the next morning.  There's plenty to see and do on your own without booking two tours in a single day.  We definitely think that would be exhausting and overwhelming. 

Outside Saint Peter's Square at the End of our Vatican early morning tour

Fun Fact: Did you know that Vatican City is actually it's own country? So you'll get a bonus country to add to your list when visiting here. 

3. Seeing off-the-beaten-path places such as the Appian Way, Keyhole of the Knights of Malta and the Catacombs.

Here's how to find the Keyhole of the Knights of Malta.

Scott peeking through the Keyhole 

Make some time to visit the Catacombs and Stroll the Appian Way

Here’s what we feel like we did wrong, or at least could have done better.

1. On our first day, we were tired and got sucked into the Polaroid picture-taking scam. You know where they will take your picture for 1€ and then want to talk you up to 10€. Keep declining or politely walk away.

On second thought...

Here are the pictures.  Maybe they are pretty priceless to us now. What do you think?

Polaroids from the Trevi Fountain that ended up costing us 10

2, We stayed too far away from the city center at the Courtyard Rome Central Park. Sure, there was a view of the Vatican from our window and from the gym, but it was a train ride or a taxi every time we wanted to go into that city center, and there were even coffee shops around. Even though we used points, we would try to find something closer.  I do think it is typically a good value for a hotel in Rome so that it might be a good option for you for the price.

The view of the Vatican in the distance from our room at the Courtyard Rome Central Park

3. If you’re going to the port, take the train but look to see where you are staying before because it may not be necessary to go from the main station to the port. We bought our train tickets ahead of time, because it is usually cheaper to do so, so we didn't know and did this on the way. We took the train all the way from our hotel to the main station and realized when we passed the station where we got on that, we didn't need to go all the way to the main station.

When we got back, even though our ticket was to go all the way back to the main station, we hopped off and just went back to the hotel.  We stayed at the same hotel both before and after the cruise because we always feel like there is a learning curve for where your hotel is in relation to the train station and all the sights, and we felt like after the cruise, and we would have a head start on navigating Rome.

We also considered canceling that reservation and finding another one while we were on the cruise, but in the end, it was just easier for us to keep the reservation despite what we felt was far away. 

Getting off the train at the Civitavecchia Station near Rome to board the Cruise 

For more Italy recommendations, don't miss 7 Places to See in Italy blog post and Podcast Episode.

What would you do or not do in Rome? We would also greatly appreciate a recommendation on where to stay for our next trip of course!


If We Were Visiting Rome Again, Here's What We Would Do Differently

Exploring Costa Rica’s Natural Wonders: An Itinerary from a Local

The 10 Most Popular Travel Destinations Right Now and Their Hidden ...

Travel Hacks You Need to Know - Multi-City Flights & More - Part 1


Get the Ultimate Packing Guide for Traveling Smart and Packing Light

We want to help you pack smart and travel light without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Get our advice on packing efficiently, choosing versatile clothing, and utilizing space-saving tools, aimed at making your travel experience smoother and more enjoyable + a FREE Packing Checklist.

We won't ever share your info! Unsubscribe at any time.

About Us...


Hi! We're Scott and Melissa

The Sunshine Travelers


We are a couple of travel obsessed explorers sharing our travel experiences and stories to inspire you to travel more and better. We are so happy to have you here.

More About Us