Nuts-and-bolts information to plan your trip, plus a checklist of essentials to include when you pack and a list of links to local media
Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter Italy.
Time: Italy is six hours ahead of U.S. eastern standard time.
Money: The currency of Italy is the euro. For current conversion rates, go to the OANDA Currency Converter. http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic
Phone Calls: From the U.S., dial the international access code 011, the country code 39, the area code 06 for Rome, and the number.
When to Go: April through June and late September through October are the best times to visit Rome, when temperatures are milder and there are fewer crowds.
Getting There: Rome's main international airport is Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (also called Fiumicino), a 30-40 minute drive west of Rome, near the coastal town of Ostia. There is a 30-minute train from Fiumicino to Rome's central train station, Termini; the train leaves every half hour and costs 10 euros. The rate for a taxi into Rome is a new flat fee of 40 euros (not including tip).
Getting Around: Rome's central core is a walker's dream; many of the major landmarks and piazzas are within walking distance of each other. Buses are very popular with locals and are useful to reach more distant neighborhoods. To hop on a bus, buy a ticket for 1 euro at almost any newsstand or "Tabacchi" shop. View Rome's bus routes at www.atac.roma.it.
There are several taxi stands around the city; the ones at Piazza delle Cinque Lune and Piazza di Spagna are the most reliable. It is also easy to summon a taxi by phone (39 06 3570), but note that the meter starts when the taxi leaves the stand, not when it picks you up.
Rome's Metro has been less than comprehensive, impeded by having to work around the city's many ancient and often subterranean Roman ruins. But the system is—gradually—expanding. For a map of its lines and stations, log on to www.atac.roma.it again, and click on "tickets, buses, subways" under "services."
Passport, Immunization Records When Possible, and Some Euros: U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter Italy, which is a member of the European Union. Immunization records are very helpful in the event of a medical emergency. Although ATMs are available at the airports and around the city, it is wise to get some euros before you travel to Rome to cover unforeseen situations or expenses.
Shawl for Women, Long Pants for Men: Knees and shoulders must be covered when entering many Catholic churches in Rome. Women should pack a scarf or shawl to wrap around their shoulders when entering St. Peter's Basilica in the Holy See and most other Catholic churches, and should avoid wearing short skirts or dresses. Men should wear long pants.
Sunglasses: A must during summer months for the sun, the rest of the year to fit in with the locals.
Flat Shoes, Sneakers, or Light Hiking Boots for Women: Much of central Rome is paved with cobblestones, so high heels are a liability—though nice for special-occasion evenings.
Sunscreen: The summer sun is deceptively powerful at Rome's latitude, especially if dining alfresco at lunchtime.
Power Adapters: Adapters—plugs made for European outlets—are necessary for most U.S. appliances used overseas. Some items may require transformers.
Italian-English Pocket Phrasebook or Dictionary: Romans enjoy helping visitors with their Italian, so go ahead, try out some basic words and sentences.
News and reports on Italy's politics, sports, culture, fashion, and more—plus links to English-language newspapers in Naples, Milan, Florence, Genoa, and Venice. www.romepost.com
More than 300 photographs of scenes and moments in Rome. www.secretrome.com
Guide to Rome, including attractions, maps, accommodations, and a webcam. www.romexplorer.com
Great Buildings: Rome
Architectural overviews of many of Rome's most significant buildings, with interesting details. www.greatbuildings.com/places/rome.html
Website devoted to the ancient Roman Forum, including its history, religious importance, and legacy. Also, maps, webcams, and virtual tour. www.capitolium.org
Guide to some of Rome's major museums, including the Galleria Borghese, which exhibits works from ancient Rome and later periods (including artworks by painters Titian, Caravaggio, and Raphael); the National Gallery of Ancient Art at Palazzo Barberini; and the National Museum of Musical Instruments. www.galleriaborghese.it
Visitor's resource for Rome; attractions, historical background, tours, events, accommodations, shopping, and more. www.aboutroma.com
Official website for the Vatican, including guides to the Vatican Museums, Chapels, and Library. www.vatican.va
Both a print and online magazine; listings of recommended shopping, dining, and nightlife venues; also local politics, cultural trends, sports. www.timeout.com/travel/rome
In Rome Now
Online magazine; bar and restaurant openings and suggestions, entertainment, guide to English-language movies; shopping and sales; cultural trends. www.inromenow.com
Wanted In Rome
Online and print magazine; information on Rome events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel; classifieds. www.wantedinrome.com
Weekly magazine listing the current events, movies, art exhibits, dance performances, concerts, and cultural events in the city. In Italian, but several sections are in English. Comes out on Wednesdays; available at newsstands.
Almost Corner Bookshop
Large English-language bookstore in Rome, owned and operated by an Irishman, Dermot O'Connell, who boasts an impressive knowledge of Rome and its literature. Via del Moro, 45; 39 06 583 6942.
Shop National Geographic