Useful links

Posted on Mar 12, 2015 in On your own, Planning Your Trip | No Comments

(revised on Aug. 2020) When you plan a trip to Rome, you might need the following links:

  • Trains: fast trains connect easily the main cities of Italy. Just two companies i.e. Trenitalia and Italo. You usually get better deals buying tickets in advance.
  • Bus/Metro in Rome is provided by a public company called  ATAC. Here you’ll find the map of the lines in the city centre. We know, it’s not easy!  There are 1-day, 3-day and 1-week-passes on sale at newsstands, metro stations and tobacco shops.
  • Transfers by private car: you can contact our friend Alfredo ( or Easy Trips Roma
  • Bags: if you need to transport heavy luggage in town or to store your bags after check-out BagMeDoBon Bags , Rome Left Luggage or Stow your bags can provide a useful service (apart from the official  bag storage in Roma Termini train station).
  • Public toilets: finding public toilets in Rome is not easy. Here is a  map of the recently launched P.Stop points where you find toilets (accessible to wheelchairs), info points, free wifi, water dispenser and the Roma Pass sale point. Our suggestion is to use restrooms when visiting museums, before leaving a restaurant, or any time you stop by a coffee-bar.
  • Baby equipment rental (strollers, car seats, travel cots…). Also the shop in Trastevere called “Moms and Kids” offer this service.
  • An english speaking doctor on demand 24/7 to your hotel or apartment with MedinAction 
  • Do not forget to check our page of links if you travel to other destinations in Italy.

When to start planning your trip?

Posted on Mar 12, 2015 in Planning Your Trip | No Comments

Plan-your-trip1We firmly believe a trip starts when you start planning it. That said…the sooner, the better!

But it is also true you cannot reserve everything too much in advance. Make your reservations well ahead of time, chosing the best period for you/your family to travel. Consult local experts (like us!) concerning how many nights you should spend in each location, options for accommodations, transportation between one city and another and so on… Once a schedule is in place and you have your flights and accommodations booked, you can finalise details on tours. Most of the attractions in Rome are just there for you to enjoy: outdoors, the city itself is THE attraction and this lets you to be flexible and change your mind closer to the date of the trip. Keep in mind that some museums/sites/events require pre-booking, the following:

  • Vatican Museums: this is the link to the booking engine where you can book your admission to the museum skipping the lines. You can also book  internal group tours (approx. 3 hrs long) or audio-guides. If you wish to reserve a private tour to the Vatican with A Friend in Rome, let’s agree first the best day and time for the tour and then we will give you instructions to buy tickets. The above site also allows you to reserve group tours to the “Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis”  (not the Tomb of Peter!) and the Vatican Gardens (select “Guided tours for individuals”) or the Papal Villa of Castel Gandolfo recently opened to the public. more infos about the Vatican tours in our dedicated post.
  • Vatican Excavations: visits to the necropolis underneath the Basilica, where the tomb of St. Peter is located, are only possible following special permission granted by the “Fabbrica di San Pietro”. This visit has to be booked months in advance: only 250 visitors per day are allowed and children under the age of 15 are not admitted. Only internal guides of the Excavations office are allowed (sigh!).
  • Colosseum: since 2019 a time slot is mandatory to visit the site.  Children up to 17 are entitled to free admissions but they have to bring an ID and show their birth date. They can skip the line with you if you have a reservation for the adults (chose the “print@home” option deleting the pre-selected “pickup@ticket office”). Please be aware that, due to anti-terroristic measures, we are still subject to lines for the security control. This ticket also allows you to visit the Palatine/Forum area. If you are interested in the Colosseum undergrounds, check our dedicated post. 
  • Borghese Gallery: booking is mandatory. If you wish to be guided by A Friend in Rome, reserve a free ticket for your guide as well (after agreeing time/day with us, of course!). This museum is one of the best art collections not only in Rome but in the whole world, but recently they introduced a very high fee (70 euros) if you are a party larger than 5 people led by a professional tour guide: we are really upset for this management’s decision and are happy to recommend other incredible (and cheaper) art collections in Rome!
  • Papal Audience/Celebrations: be careful! The Papal Audience and the celebrations at the Vatican are free of charge (many companies sell tickets!), but reservation is mandatory. Audiences take place on Wednesdays, celebrations depend on the liturgical calendar. All information is available through the link above. The Angelus blessing is on Sundays at noon and does not require booking. An interesting article here to figure out how it works: Papal Audience for beginners! 

How to reach Rome from Fiumicino airport

Posted on May 22, 2013 in Planning Your Trip | No Comments

(update Sept 2020) Many visitors reach Rome by plane and Fiumicino airport is the first approach to a new country, a new currency and a new language… After an intercontinental flight this might result into an exhausting experience and all you really want is a safe, easy way to reach the city centre and a comfortable bed in your accommodation!

Of course, there are cabs. Just line up outside the airport in the designated queue and you’ll get a flat rate, in 2020 its 48 euros.

A fast train (Leonardo express) is also available or several private shuttle services are also available.

If you’d prefer a private limo service, we recommend the company “CONCORA”  which can always offer you a Class E car or van, even if you have not reserved one (in this case, you’ll just have to wait a bit and they will arrange your transfer).  They have a desk inside the airport and do not charge you for any flight delay upon arrival. There are also special promotions should you decide to book the transfer back to the airport: you can enquire and settle directly with them.

If you prefer a more personal “welcome”, contact my friend Alfredo, a professional driver with a smile on his face and his own van always clean waiting for you! This is his email address:


Meeting points

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 in Planning Your Trip | No Comments

Your Friend in Rome always prefers to meet you directly at your place in Rome, especially on the first day of tours. But sometimes this is not practical: maybe you are staying far away from the centre or we meet in the afternoon and you’ll be sightseeing already. Or simply you wish to find your way in town and meet us in front of the main sites.

In those occasions, we prefer to give you exact information on where to meet for the two main attractions which are often crowded, i.e. the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum.

For the Vatican Museums we always recommend pre-booking tickets, which allows you preferential entry, just along Viale Vaticano and easily identified by  a special brown sign. We will be there!
For the Colosseum and Roman Forum, we’ll meet you just outside the METRO B “Colosseo” stop, to the right, where the Newsstand is located. We will show a sign reading “A Friend in Rome” with our logo.

See you soon in Rome!