Navigating the city on foot

Rome is a very easy city to navigate by foot, assuming you've procured a decent map. Although the modern metropolitan section of Rome is spread out, the historical center of the city is really quite compact. Even if you do get lost, you'll no doubt run into some baroque art work or marble fountain that will make your trip worthwhile.

After two or three days of walking though the city, you'll feel like a pro at navigating the Roman streets.

A word of caution: the motorists of Rome are quite speedy, and crossing the street can seem like a daunting experience, but you really needn't worry. Make sure you follow these simple rules, and you'll be fine:

  1. Only cross the street at crosswalks.
  2. Don't wait on the street corners expecting the traffic to slow down, you'll be there forever.
  3. Wait for a small break in the traffic and just go. The first time you try this, your heart will no doubt be beating in your throat the entire time, but you'll soon see. As soon as you start walking, and as if by some miracle, the cars, buses, trucks and everything will just stop to allow you to pass. Two pieces of advice on this subject: Don't dart deer-like across the street; that upsets the Romans. Also, whatever you do, don't under any circumstances stop in the middle of the road once you've started crossing. Hesitating only confuses and angers Roman drivers and their wrath could endanger your life. After the first few successful crosses, you'll see there really is nothing to it.

Approximate walking times

This table indicates approximately how long it takes to walk between different areas of Rome. Times listed take into account getting slightly but not terribly lost, as well as brief caffè or gelato stops.

  Termini Vatican Spanish Navona Colosseum
Termini   1 hour 25 min. 45 min. 25 min.
Vatican 1 hour   30 min. 30 min. 45 min.
Spanish 25 min. 30 min.   20 min. 30 min.
Navona 45 min. 30 min. 20 min.   25 min.
Colosseum 25 min. 45 min. 30 min. 25 min.