The Vatican’s breath taking St Peter’s Basilica is my favourite church in the world (and I have been to a lot of them….), be sure to gaze up at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling and head over to Piazza del Popolo to watch the sun set behind the church spires that dot Rome’s skyline.
CROWDS, CROWDS, CROWDS!
Be prepared for crowds in Rome (and throughout Italy) year round but be extra prepared for extreme crowds in summer.
If you can avoid July & August all together you will be much happier. There is great weather either side of the prime summer months.
If you aren’t strapped for time, I strongly suggest packing your map away and walk down whichever street takes you fancy.
Rome is made up of tiny streets painted earthy colours with secret clothes boutiques and family run restaurants. Some of the best meals I’ve had in Rome was in a restaurant I stumbled upon by accident and did not pick out of a guide book or a tourist hotspot.
BE AT THE VATICAN ON A WEDNESDAY!
Every Wednesday morning, when the Pope is in residence at Vatican City, there is a ‘service for papal audiences’. It begins between 10am – 10:30am though it starts to get busy around 8am. You must buy tickets to sit in the main section of the audience thin front of the Pope who sits directly in front of St Peter’s Basilica.
Whether you are religious or not, I suggest heading there on a Wednesday for this audience and watch from the right side of the horse shoe shaped barricades. Once the religious address has finished the Basilica opens around 12:30pm and I have found myself one of the very first people to enter the church.
TAKE THE AIRPORT TRAIN
To get from Rome’s airport to the city centre, the quickest and easiest was is on the Leonardo Express Train, the cheapest way is by bus or local trains.
I wouldn’t suggest booking a car to drive yourself. If you choose to travel by transfer/shuttle allow plenty of time to battle the traffic. If you have trouble walking a transfer would be your best option as there is quite a bit of walking involved in getting the train.
The Vatican has it’s own postal service that is said to be far more efficient than Italy’s service.
As you exit St Peter’s Basilica you will see the post office on your left. Send a postcard home with a Pope stamp!
Get your weekly dose of travel stories and insider knowledge directly into your inbox.
So who am I…? Hi! My name is India.
I am a nomadic Australian who has wandered the world full time exploring over 60 countries and 5/7 continents.
After ten years on the road, I have launched my own website – Travelling Notebook – to share the knowledge I have gained on the road and the images I have collected over the years with fellow adventurers. Keep reading…
I am a freelance travel writer, photography and videographer, based in London. If you need specific travel advice or would like to collaborate please send an email my way!
Always say yes to adventure!