1. Traveling Through Rome With Maps
If you are looking for a simple and basic map of the center of Rome, there is one that has the streets and main monuments and sights clearly laid out. To get a copy, you can go to the “Information” booths or offices located in the airports, train stations, and other areas in Rome. This map and other materials are provided free of charge, and the staff can help you with directions and information. Hours of operation differ from location to location.
There are many good maps and guidebooks available for sale. You can find them at bookstores or order them online. If you fly in to Rome before you pick up a map, you can still purchase one in some stores in the airports and train stations. Guidebooks and maps are also carried by some street vendors in popular tourist areas such as the Roman Forum.
At some point, if you are planning to take public transportation, you should probably get yourself a map with the bus and metro routes clearly labeled. The public transportation authority is ATAC. You can get bus and subway routes from them. Their website is: http://www.atac.roma.it/linee/index.asp?i=6&p=1
To get directions or maps online, check out the following website:
Another source of directions you may encounter is the local police. Many of them speak English and can be very helpful in directing you to where you need to go.
2. Roman Streets- What You Need to Know
When you are actually on a Roman street, you will see the street names when they are posted (sometimes intersections are not labeled) on either street signs or carved into the walls of a corner building. Please be aware that street names can and do change. Also, pay careful attention to 3-7 way intersections because your street may go in an unexpected direction at the intersection. Many streets are one way, so be sure to read up on traffic symbols if you plan on driving while in Rome.
Crosswalks are marked by thick parallel lines. They aren’t always at the exact intersection of the road. Sometimes they can be a few yards away from the actual intersection. You have to weave your way through traffic when walking across the street. The cars will not stop for you on both sides. You simply have to go ahead and they will maneuver around you.
Some streets and sidewalks are made with cobblestones. If you are planning to bring a car into Rome, be sure that it can withstand the unevenness and massive dips in the older roads. For pedestrians, the cobblestones can cause greater wear and tear on your shoes and shock to your feet. Try to wear shoes with cushions or springs of some kind to reduce the stress on your feet.
Good luck with your vacation in Rome!