Rome may not have been built in a day but you can definitely see it in one. The key is to purchase your tickets in advance, which will allow you to skip the line and let me tell you, the lines to get into the Colosseo and the Vaticano are insanely long. Also, another tip is to book the early morning entrance times. This will allow you to get some good pictures before all the tourists arrive. I've been traveling to Rome every year since 2015 and this is the first time I have booked a tour of the Vaticano. It was money well spent even though I am typically not much of a museum buff. With the exception of the Vaticano, the sites are relatively close together. Just bring some good walking shoes.
Helpful Website: www.rometoolkit.com
Airport to Roma Termini-Rome has two airports Leonardo da Vinci at Fiumicino and Ciampino . If arriving from the States you'll be flying into Fiumicino.
Leonardo Express Train-Cost: 15 euros, Travel Time: 30 minutes
Shuttle Bus-There are a few options to choose from but my go to is Terravision. Cost: 9 euros round trip. It's cheaper to book the ticket as round trip and online. Travel Time: 50 minutes www.terravision.eu/
Inner City Transportation:
Unlimited metro/buss pass-This can be purchased as a 1, 2 or 3 day pass. The ticket is good 24 hours from the first time the ticket is scanned. If you look at the back of the ticket you will see the time stamp. Tickets can be purchased at the automated ticket machines at most metro stops or at a tobacchi shop. Cost: 1 day-7 euros, 2 day-12.50 euros, 3 day 18 euros.
Helpful Tip: If purchasing a ticket to go to a city outside of Rome be sure to stamp your ticket at the yellow kiosk machines throughout the train station. If you don't stamp your ticket you will be fined when checked. If you print off your ticket no need to stamp since it's a paper ticket. The conductor will scan it on board.
There are so many places to choose from. I would suggest booking a place near one of your favorite attractions. Surprisingly, hotels near the Trevi and the Spanish Steps are not too expensive. However, I personally like to book near the Termini Station, so I'm close to transportation.
Hotel Fifty-Five (Near the Spanish Steps)
Hotel Quirinale (My fave, just be sure to not book the basic room)
Meininger (Hostel and private rooms)
Things to do/See:
The possibilities are endless! Especially with the Termini Station being right at your finger tips. You can literally go anywhere. The Termini Station was recently advertising travel to Milan in 30 minutes.
Altare della Patria aka the typewriter building
Piazza del Popolo
The Mouth of Truth-located at Santa Maria in Cosmedin church
Vaticano-Book a tour from The Roman Guy. Whatever you do, DO NOT eat at Cafe Vaticano, which is near the meeting point. Trust me, you can check out some of the reviews on TripAdvisor. https://theromanguy.com/
Day trip to Cortona-If you love the movie Under the Tuscan Sun you need to check out Cortona, where most of the movie was filmed.
Rome is famous for their pasta carbonara and cacio e pepe. Be sure to try some of those dishes.
Helpful Tip: Coperto-is a per person service charge, which you will see on the bill. Essentially, this is the tip, so don't feel obligated to leave anything extra. Unless of course the service was exceptionally good and you want to but don't leave more than 1-3 euros.
Armando al Pantheon - Located near the Pantheon (reservations required)
Cafe Risorgimento - Located near the Vaticano. Try their pesto pasta.
Cantina dei Papi aka La Prosciutteria - Located near the Trevi and they offer 5 euro charcuterie platters and 5 euro porchettas. You can also purchase house wine by the glass for 2.50 euros.
Dilla - Located near the Spanish Steps and they're famous for their pistachio meatballs. Their truffle pasta is also really good.
Gelateria Valentino - Located near the Trevi
Nannarella - Located in Trastavere and famous for their carbonara
Opera Art - Located near the opera house and is a close walking distance from Hotel Quirinale and Starhotels Metropole. Their carbonara and polpo (octopus) is really good.
Osteria della Vite - Located near the Spanish Steps. They serve their carbonara directly on a skillet.
Rimessa Roscioli - Wine and food pairing (reservations required)
Ristorante Tre Archi Roma - Located near the Meininger (for when you don't want to walk too far)