If you arrive at Fiumincino which is the main airport there is a train service to Termini or a more local one to Trastevere. If you are staying in Trastevere then you can then get the tram 8 from outside Trastevere station. There are also bus services from and to Fuimincino airport.
Ciampino is the other Rome airport mainly used by the low cost carriers, the best way into Rome is by bus and there are several companies. Buy your ticket in the arrivals hall checking what is the next bus. Do not try and pay on the bus as they are usually full with people having already bought tickets.
If you are staying centrally then most of the main sites are within walking distance but the buses, trams and metro can be used with a single journey ticket or a 1, 3 or 7 day ticket, all of which are available from bookstands.
It is also important that at night there are good restaurants, wine bars etc. close to where you are staying. You can then enjoy soaking up the night time atmosphere round the Piazza Navona, the Campo di Fiori and in Trastevere.
As usual check the web sites www.booking.com and www.venere.com however a lot of the hotels are in the station area and like most major cities the area around the station can be on the seedy side. The areas around the Piazza Navona and Trastevere have fewer hotels but are much more pleasant.
An alternative is to rent an apartment and two companies are recommended, Habitat Apartments, www.habitatapartments.com and Friendly Rentals www.friendlyrentals.com, both of which are tried and tested. A wide range of apartments are now readily available on www.booking.com.
One which is particularly nice is in the heart of Trastevere, a lovely area to stay in. The apartment is called Viola and is perfect for two people, ideally located and the owner Iole is very kind and helpful. This is available through Friendly Rentals.
Gusto, Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9, Tel 3226273, near the Via del Corso is a Restaurant, Bistro, Wine Bar, and Cook Shop. Very modern, trendy and popular with great food and super staff. The restaurant requires reservations and has an excellent menu and wine list. There is also a set lunch or brunch buffet in the ground floor bistro. It now has an Osteria next to the wine Bar with a reasonably priced menu and the wine bar is fabulous value with free buffet of nibbles at lunch time and early evening and the wines are reasonably priced. There are various comments on poor service but we have never experienced this on our many visits.
Antico Arco, Piazzale Aurelio 7, is at the top of Giancolo hill, this is the place for a splurge meal, the cooking and service is top notch. It is very popular so booking is a must and get there in time to have a drink in Bar Giancolo next door, a lovely bar.
Glass Restaurant, Vicolo del Cinque, in Trastevere is a very smart modern restaurant with an excellent menu, offering a different slant on dishes, such as pasta with pork and ginger as a starter and mains like guinea fowl. This is another splurge meal but worth the money.
Obika, Piazza di Firenze, at the corner of Via dei Preffetti is a very smart and modern place, all produce is from detailed sources and there are tables outside. It specialises in mozzarella and the food is good and reasonably priced. They now have several branches including one in the Campo de Fiori.
Grappolo D’Oro Piazza, Cancelleria 80 just off the Campo di Fiori is very good value and is popular with both visitors and locals. There are many restaurants in this busy area and this stands out for the service, choice of dishes and reasonable prices.
Fiaschetteria Beltramme, Via del Croce 39, is a very local old fashioned place in a very upmarket shopping area. It is good for lunch and great fun to sit at the big shared table. It seems to have changed hands in recent years but the food is still as good as ever and the service is possibly more friendly .
Ivo, Via de San Francesco a Ripa 158, Trastevere, is a fixture of this great area and the best place for pizzas. An excellent bustling restaurant, no frills just good food.
Osteria La Quercia, Piazza della Quercia 23-25, is in a lovely location just off the Campo de Fiori and is a very smart looking restaurant. It has an excellent menu and good service. You really feel that you have had a top quality meal.
Cul De Sac, Piazza Pasquino 73, just off the Piazza Navona has been here for years and is very popular with a mix of locals and tourists, There is a varied selection of dishes, it does many cheese and meat selections as well as a few hot dishes. The wine selection is fantastic.
Bacco in Trastevere, Piazza San GiovanniDella Malva 14, Trastevere, we stopped here for breakfast and were impressed by the service and the menu and booked for dinner. The food was excellent, the staff very friendly and keen to explain how the olive oil came from the owner’s farm outside Rome. A great find and one that is definitely on the list to visit again.
Spirito Di Vino, Via Dei Genovesi 31, Trastevere, is one of the most highly rated restaurants in the area and the food and service did not disappoint. The owner takes time to explain the dishes and the history of the building and the end to end experience was excellent.
Bir & Fud, Via Benedetta 23, listed below as a bar specialising in craft beers but definitely worth a mention for the top notch pizzas and interesting other dishes on offer.
Wine Bars & Enotecas
Enoteca L’Angelo Divino ,Via Dei Balestrari 12-14 off Campo de Fiori this is a lovely wine bar that also does meals, it is open for lunch and dinner and the owner Massimo is very knowledgeable and helpful on the wines.
Enoteca Trastevere, Via della Lungaretta 86, Trastevere, this has been around for some time but was recently refurbished and is a very comfortable place to sample a wine or two. Good reports for the food as well.
Tremani. Via Cerniai 37, near Termini Station is an amazing wine shop and bar with food, very pleasant staff, lots of wines by the glass, and very reasonably priced.
Enoteca Buccone, Via del Ripetta 19, near the Piazza de Popolo is an excellent wine shop where you can also eat. The food is excellent and you can get a bottle from the shelves and have at the table for 30% surcharge. Charming staff and lovely to eat surrounded by the amazing wine selection.
Enoteca L’Antica, Via dell Croce 76/8, is in the heart of Rome’s smartest shopping area. This is an old fashioned bar and restaurant and is a good place for lunch, there are cheaper places around but this has the genuine Roman feel.
Bar Del Cinque, Vicolo de Cinque, Trastevere, has no sign apart from Bar and at first glance looks like an ordinary bar but inside it is a great mix of old fashioned and young and trendy. They have lovely staff, excellent wines and cocktails plus good music.
Big Hilda, Vicolo del Cinque 33/34, Trastevere, do not let the name put you off, this is a great find, lovely staff, and a big sitting area where they do a selection of food. Ideally grab one of the few seats at the bar and enjoy their very long happy hour.
Antico Caffe del Moro, on the corner of Via Della Pelliccia & De Moro, Trastevere, is an old fashioned bar with a good wine selection. They also do food which we have not tried.
San Callisto, Piazza San Callisto, Trastevere, is a basic cheap local bar, you go back after years and it’s still cheap, it’s still basic and with a real mix of clientele. It is worth a visit and you can sit outside at no extra cost. In the winter try the hot chocolate or the warm wine.
Ombre Rosse, Piazza San Egidio, Trastevere was quoted as the best bar in Rome by the Sunday Times it’s a lovely bar with an apperitivo buffet, however the service had become very offhand on our last visit. Comments seem to indicate that service has improved.
Italy and Rome in particular seems to be going through a huge upsurge in artisan beers and Trastevere has a number of examples, confusingly unlike in the UK they tend to be one price for a small and one for a large, irrespective of strength, so check out the strength first !
Bir & Fud, Via Benedetta 23, has a large beer selection, the staff are knowledgeable and help you choose the type of beer you want also does food, see above.
Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa, Via Benedetta 25, the name is a football chant in Italian, don’t be put off by the name however, this small bar with a back room and downstairs seating area has an amazing selection of beers.
Open Baladin, Via Degli Specchi 5/6, is about five minutes walk from the Campo de Fiori, this is the most recommended beer bar in Rome. It also does food and is packed in the evenings, not cheap but worth a visit.
If you are feeling adventurous the area of Pigneto is one of the trendiest areas for bars and restaurants, it is not easy to get to although it is not that far from the Piazza de Porta Maggiore, it is also close to some quite dodgy areas. There are however many streets of great places to go to, so do your homework on how to get there and enjoy the variety of places.
Rome is in the Lazio area, which was not renowned for it’s wines compared with some of the surrounding areas but recently has become better known. It mainly produces easy drinking white wines particularly Frascati but Cesanese del Piglio red is gaining an excellent reputation.
Apperitivo hours are, I always thought, a more northern Italian thing but the trend seems to have moved south, so check out some of the wines bars particularly around Trastevere.
Craft beers are becoming ever more popular and some bars where you can try a wide range are listed above, even in non specialist bars you may see Poretti a draft beer which has four or five varieties and comes from Northern Italy, the pilsner type is very good.
You will know about all the main sites, however two worth mentioning are the recently opened roof top terrace of the Victor Emmanuelle Monument (Il Vittoriano) which is accessed from inside the building and the terrace called Rome from the Sky has the most amazing panoramic views of the city.
The Baths of Caracalla have recently opened the first of their underground excavations, well worth a visit.