Making the Most of Your Time (and Money)
Roma, non basta una vita ("Rome, a lifetime is not enough"): this famous saying should be stamped on the passport of every first-time visitor to the Eternal City. Indeed, the ancient city certainly wasn't built in a day, so you shouldn't expect to see it in one either. Rome is so packed with sights that it is impossible to take them all in; it's easy to run yourself ragged trying to check off the items on your "To Do" list.
At the same time, the saying is a celebration of the city's abundance. There's so much here, you're bound to make discoveries you hadn't anticipated. To conquer Rome, strike a balance between visits to major sights and leisurely neighborhood strolls (and a pit stop for some gelato, of course).
In the first category, the Vatican and the remains of ancient Rome loom the largest. Both require at least half a day; a good strategy is to devote your first morning to one and your second to the other. Leave the afternoons for exploring the neighborhoods that comprise Baroque Rome and the shopping district around the Spanish Steps and Via Condotti. Among the sights, Galleria Borghese and the church of San Clemente are particularly worthwhile, and Trastevere and the Ghetto make for great roaming.
Since there's a lot of ground to cover in Rome, it's wise to plan your sightseeing schedule with possible savings in mind, and purchasing the Roma Pass (www.romapass.it) allows you to do just that.
The three-day pass costs €30 and is good for unlimited use of buses, trams, and the Metro. It includes free admission to two of more than 40 participating museums or archaeological sites, including the Colosseum (and bumps you to the head of the long line there, to boot), the Musei Capitolini, and Galleria Borghese, plus discounted tickets to many other museums. The Roma Pass can be purchased at tourist booths across the city, at Termini Station, or between Terminals B and C of the International Arrivals section of Fiumicino Airport.