We traveled to Rome during the Pandemic. Here’s what Rome is really like.

What Rome is really like during the pandemic without tourists. The Trevi Fountain view at night in Rome, The Taste Edit #rome #italy #travel #fountain

 

Rome is one of the few cities in the world that is constantly packed with tourists — year round, rain or shine. There are always huge crowds at monuments, to the point you can’t enjoy them.

Something positive that’s come out of the pandemic is that if you’re able to visit Rome, you can see all of the most famous sights with none of the crowds. You can take your time, take photos that have more in the background than crowds of tourists, and you can see everything because there are no lines.

The pandemic has also put a spotlight on one of the big nuisances of Rome, restaurants that serve horrible food to tourists. It’s now easy to identify which restaurants are worth your time: are there Romans there or not?

Most importantly, while the economic impact is staggering, the travel restrictions have given the city back to Romans and allowed people who actually live in there to enjoy places they might not visit on a weekend or at all due to the high volume of tourists.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Rome in March 2021, between lockdowns. Museums were open on weekdays, and restaurants were open until 6 PM. After 6 PM, hotel restaurants were open to hotel guests only. Masks were obligatory everywhere and a negative Covid test was required for entry into Italy — even from neighboring Switzerland.

Rome is an open air museum, and while it is admittedly not fun to walk 5-7 miles a day in nice weather wearing a mask, what we were able to see and do in a short time was incredible. We could wander into any church that was open, sometimes discovering original art by Caravaggio. We stood outside the Colosseum and booked tickets (here) for entry 10 minutes later on our iPhone. We were the first couple in the Vatican Museums at 8:30 AM and had the place to ourselves. It was so empty we walked both the short and long routes and saw the Sistine Chapel twice. Reservations were mandatory for the Vatican Museum and Galleria Borghese, but there were lines at neither. We found a medium size crowd on Sunday afternoon on a nice day at the Trevi Fountain, but on Monday night just a handful of people.

 

Visiting the Vatican Museum without tourists, The Taste Edit #rome #italy #museum #vatican

 

Dining was a little bit more challenging because some restaurants have understandably decided it is not worth it to be open for 6 hours in the afternoon, at least every day, so some were open certain days or closed altogether. We arrived at our favorite gelato spot one day to find it closed, but the next day open.

 

Pasta at Trattoria da Enzo in Rome, The Taste Edit
Pizza from l'elementare in Rome, The Taste Edit #pizza #rome

 

Below is a visual tour of what Rome looked like at the time of our visit. Unfortunately as of the time of this publication Rome and most other cities are back in a lockdown, but if you have the opportunity to visit (and it is safe to do so) before things “return to normal,” we highly recommend to do so.

 

What Rome is really like during the pandemic without tourists. View of inside of the Colosseum in Rome without tourists, The Taste Edit #rome #italy #colosseum #travel

View of inside the museum of the Colosseum in Rome without tourists, The Taste Edit #rome #italy #colosseum #travel
View of the Spanish Steps at night without tourists in Rome without tourists, The Taste Edit #rome #italy #travel

Visiting Bernini statues at the Galleria Borghese in Rome without tourists, The Taste Edit #rome #borghese #italy #travel #museum

The street in Rome during March 2020, The Taste Edit #rome #italy
Piazza Navona in Rome at night without tourists, The Taste Edit #rome #italy

Gioletti in Rome at night without tourists, The Taste Edit #gelato #icecream #rome #italy

Tazzadoro Caffe in Rome, Italy The Taste Edit #coffee #italy
Portrait Roma owned by the Ferragamo Family Rome Hotel, The Taste Edit
A the Vatican Museum garden without tourists, The Taste Edit #museum #rome