Visiting Rome

Below are some questions (and their answers) that we are often asked about pilgrimages and holidays in Rome. Remember that if you have other questions, you can contact us via our HOME page.

General Advice when in Rome

If you are out and about in Rome, then be sensible and keep an eye on your personal belongings. This is especially important when you around the tourist hotspots such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Roman Forum. Measures have recently been put in place by the city authorities to curb people posing as Roman centurions and posing for photographs with tourists for a fee (which they don’t mention until after you’ve taken the photo) and street sellers. The street sellers will normally leave you alone if you give them a polite ‘No’.

If you are looking to grab a bite to eat then Rome is full of eateries. Traditional Italian cuisine is obviously a firm favourite and if you are willing to wander a bit further from the places that look onto big tourist attractions they are also very well priced. Some particular areas to go include, Trastevere to the south of the Vatican. On the other side of St. Peter’s and past Piazza del Risorgimento, the streets are full of restaurants.

In the city centre of Rome, some of the narrow back streets around Piazza Navana, the Pantheon and between Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II and the east back of the Tiber, around Campo di Fiori, also boasts some affordable spots. Of course, you can simply cast an eye over the menus that are generally at the front of the restaurant – it doesn’t commit you to taking a seat.

In recent years, there has also been an influx of others cuisines from Indian to Mexican, traditional British/Irish pubs and new gourmet burger bars as well as the ever present fast-food firms that you will find scattered across the city. You certainly won’t be short of a place to eat during your stay in Rome!

Like other cities, there are some areas which may be best to avoid. If you are travelling by train you can’t help but pass through Termini, the main railway station. Try and avoid lingering too long.

If you do have major problems, the various arms of the Italian law are never to far away in the city centre and will be happy to help. If you need further assistance the British Embassy can be found on Via XX Settembre 80/a. The contact details for the Embassy are:

Telephone:+39 06 4220 0001

Fax:+39 06 4220 2334

Emergency consular assistance (24 hours)+39 06 4220 0001

Rome is a magical city, full of charm and character. Things run in the indomitable Roman spirit. You are sure to have a positive experience during your visit this Jubilee Year.

When can I see the Pope when I come to Rome?

Wednesday General Audiences

The Holy Father holds a General Audience every Wednesday* in Vatican City at about 10:30am, but this time may change to 10am during the summer months. The Jubilee Year of Mercy will see more audiences with the Holy Father. On a Wednesday, Pope Francis often enters Saint Peter’s Square at 9am in his Popemobile. Entrance is completely free. Larger groups should book their tickets before visiting Rome.

Sunday Marian Prayers

On Sundays (and Holy Days) at noon, the Holy Father appears at the window of the Apostolic Palace to lead pilgrims in a Marian Prayer and to impart his blessing. Tickets are not required to attend the Holy Father’s Sunday Angelus (or Regina Caeli, during the Easter season) Prayer and Blessing. If you wish to receive the blessing then make sure you are in St. Peter’s Square by noon.

Public Liturgies

Public liturgies celebrated by the Holy Father include Canonisation and Beatification Masses, as well as Masses for Solemn Liturgies, such as Christmas, Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God (New Year’s Day), Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter Sunday. The Pope’s calendar can be found here. When the Pope is not in Rome the Audiences and Marian Prayers are cancelled, keep an eye on his calendar for more details.

At all liturgies and services with the Holy Father, pilgrims should dress in good taste. Shoulders must be covered. Shorts are not permitted, and skirts should fall in length below the knee. A head covering is not necessary, however, in the summer sun it may be helpful.

At what time are Masses at the Papal Basilicas in the Vatican and Rome?

The Vatican provides Mass times and other useful information about the Papal Basilicas here.

How do I arrange a tour of the Vatican Museums or Vatican Gardens?

Information about the Vatican Museums can be found here. A number of different kinds of tours can be booked, and we recommend that you do this online in advance. Doing so allows you to skip the often ridiculous queues.

How do I arrange a ‘Scavi’ tour?

The Scavi, the Italian word for excavation, is a very small area under St. Peter’s Basilica where the tomb of St. Peter was rediscovered during excavations in the mid 20th century. Tours are available of The Scavi and should be booked by visiting their website.

How do I arrange tours of the Catacombs in Rome?

As well as the ‘Scavi’, there are many other ancient Catacombs in Rome that are worth seeing. The Catacombs of Saint Callixtus are among the greatest and most important . Visit their website for an interesting introduction and to book tickets.