About Me


I’m Ron, an American who has lived in Rome for three years. I’ve started this blog to assist folks traveling to Rome. I remember our first trip to Italy. We were very excited but unprepared for the challenges we would meet. We made lots of mistakes. My goal here to to help you AVOID making those same time consuming and costly mistakes!

img_1629aaHow did I end up here? It’s a long story… My wife and I decided to relocate to Italy back in 2007. As an former corporate officer and vice president, I had gone through some career changes and we found ourselves asking each other, “What do we really want out of life?” We both enjoyed traveling and for the previous ten years had repeatedly traveled abroad. How could we combine traveling, our passion, with our lifestyle?

Our answer? Move to Italy – and so we did; selling our cars, our house and putting everything in storage. We carried only what we could get in suitcases and set off on an adventure… and it was an incredible adventure!

Upon arrival I encountered the many challenges that are “living in Italy.” Trust me, it’s not the same as vacationing here! In my many walks through town I constantly ran into fellow Americans on their vacations. Many were lost, confused, and befuddled by the chaos of Rome. I found myself helping folks. Always an individual who enjoyed research and public speaking, it was only natural I started showing folks around town as a guide. Coupled with online work,  I found myself extremely busy. I also participated in many travel boards and again tried to help folks enjoy their “dream vacation.” Over and over I – and many other “experts” and expats –  provided answers to confused tourists.

So I decided to write a blog. More of an information blog. As I’ve said, I still remember my first time traveling to Rome and doing ALL the wrong things! I waited in the wrong lines – some for more than 2 hours! I ate at all the wrong restaurants – because they were convenient… and I got lost – even with my GPS. My wife could tell you stories about that one! (Guys, make sure you change the setting from automobile to pedestrian mode before you calculate a route… I still hear about that “walk” eight years later!).

So my goal in creating this blog is to help you by giving you the benefit of my experience, my mistakes, and my travels. While I may not be a travel or literary expert, I am a battle-scarred European travel veteran! I hope you’ll enjoy my attempts to help make your trip successful and more enjoyable!


Update – After three wonderful years in Rome, my wife and moved to Copenhagen for two years. We were very excited to see a new part of the world but we missed Rome. In our first year in Copenhagen we returned to Rome five times! Throughout this period, I continued to update and add to the Ron in Rome website.

Due to some family issues, after two years in Denmark, we’ve returned to the United States and now reside in Atlanta, GA. I still post to the Ron in Rome website – I have thousands of photographs and many pages of notes!

Now, I’ve started a career as a Travel Advisor – starting Ron Phillips Travel. I am working as an Independent Advisor with Brownell Travel, a Virtuoso Agency. Click here to read more about my new business. I am excited to have the opportunity to help more travelers. My “insider-knowledge” and “local-experiences” will prove invaluable as a travel consultant. Because this blog has visitors from 185+ countries, I’m fortunate to operate as an international consultant with clients all over the world. And with Brownell Travel and Virtuoso, I have contacts not just in Italy, but also… all over the world. My Ron Phillips Travel website is at http://ronphillipstravel.com/

I welcome your questions on Rome… and if you need travel assistance, please contact me here or through my Ron Phillips Travel email. Or if you prefer, you can also telephone my office in Atlanta at +1 404 474-3851. I may be on the phone with another client, but I’ll get back you!

Thank you for your support in the past few years. Your thoughts, comments, suggestions, updates and yes, donations, have all helped keep this website going. Thanks for your support and encouragement. I hope I’ll be able to help many of you as a travel advisor. Our eventual goal is to move back to Italy and make Ron Phillips Travel truly an international agency.

Good Luck in your travels!

49 Responses to About Me

  1. Cyrus says:

    Thank you so much with sharing your experience of Roma. There are things I’m not sure about but you definitely touch on it. Great tips. Keep up the good work.

  2. Stephen says:

    What would I have done without this site? Just back from my summer holiday in Rome and I feel like I nailed it thanks to your information, Ron. Thanks very much.

  3. Isil says:

    Thank you Ron. I did stick with your rules and they really do work, much appreciated…

  4. Veronika says:

    Ron – someone (Italian by the way!) provided a link to your site on the tripadvisor forum. and how happy I am she did! I usually never comment on the sites/forum, but this time I had to! Really great job. I feel like you need a Ph. D. to use trenitalia website, but you explain everything so clear and simple. Thanks again!

  5. Pete says:

    Great website! I’ve spent ages on here. Your articles are always well-written and well researched. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve been advertising your posts on twitter and facebook where I can. Great work, long may it continue! Good luck!

  6. ginobasso says:

    you da man. this is great. i’m going to rome, and an overnite to florence. most practical blog or site i’ve read. maybe cause you’re not a retail site. thanks.

  7. Megan says:

    Thank you so much for your website! My husband and I are traveling on a cruise this summer and will be stopping in Rome. I really wondered how we should go about viewing the city since I didn’t really want to book through the cruise line. Your website is so informative and helpful and JUST what I needed to help plan our trip. Thank you!!

  8. Denise says:

    Thank you for all of your information. I found you through Cruise Critic and I am glad I did! You have many readers there and we all appreciate your valuable advice. I hope you and Jeff enjoy your new home, thank you again!

  9. Sandi Hilton says:

    I am a trip planner with a North American company and I just came back from scouting in Rome. I wish I had seen this blog before I left! Very helpful, and I will definitely use the info on the catacombes.

  10. Ken says:

    Very helpful information! I thank you for your kind service sir.

  11. Ron in Rome says:

    For that journey, no one side is better than the other. As you approach Venice, I always like to be on the LEFT side of the train so you can see Murano and that view. Other folks like the right so they can see the tower in Piazza San Marco. On both views though, you’re headed straight at the island… On this ride, you’ll go through many tunnels so there’s no view at times!

  12. Jim Sheets says:

    Awesome site! Influenced our future rail travel. My Girlfriend and I will be traveling from Rome to Venice March 30th Frecciargento train # 9416. Suggestion on which may be the preferred side to sit? Thank you for all the invaluable information Keep up the good work!

  13. Hitch says:

    Hi there, You have done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this site.

  14. John says:

    This is by far the best guide to Rome I’ve ever seen. This should be Rome’s official website for tourists!
    Thanks for the gread work, Ron! I will certainly advertise your website to everyone I can!

  15. Alan Whitten says:

    Ron, just found your blog while researching for an April 2012 stay in Roma. I spent two and a half years in Italy, with a year in Rome, but that was about 40 years ago. This will be my wife’s first visit and I am looking forward to seeing it with new (or should I say older) eyes. I truly appreciate the time you have put into making this a very informative place for visitors to the Eternal City.

  16. Syahrizal says:

    Great pages. I am going to Italy in July 2011, and your website has been a tremendous assistance.
    Again…thank you so much and good luck with your next endeavour.

  17. Robbie Lum says:

    Aloha Ron,
    I’m glad I stumbled across your website . . . you provided such great information [in fact more than I found in books that I read] that made our recent 3 day trip to Rome so wonderful.
    I followed your tip about going to the Vatican from the Cipro Metro as our B&B was 2 blocks away from it, as well as the ‘secret door’ and the spiral staircase and was fortunate that the guards let us go through.
    I also followed your tip about taking Bus 910 to Galleria Borghese and even called them to make my reservations [in fact I made 2 reservations in case we were too tired to go on the first day as planned] and we just showed them the Roma Pass for the ‘Free’ entrance.
    I also purchased our train tickets from Rome to Florence on the Trenitalia site as you instructed and had no problems in paying with our US VISA card. We were also fortunate that they had a ‘Sabato’ special of buy 1 get 1 free if you travelled on a Saturday which we were planning to do.
    Thanks again for all your help . . . Rome and Florence wouldn’t have been the same without all the tips and advice you have provided to all of us.

  18. Karen says:

    Leaving for our first trip to Rome in 2 days and just found your blog. I have been reading guidebooks about Rome but I have already found some gems of information on your blog that I know will be so helpful. Wonderful! Thanks!

  19. PatK says:

    Awesome job Ron. I have been studying about our upcoming trip for 2 mo. now and have come across your website. It is soooo….HELPFUL. I now feel confident we can do this!!!!!! My worries about the trains has been put to rest. This was causing me so much stress. Thanks to you…I am off and running. Italy here we come.

  20. admin says:

    Thanks Dawn; Glad he blog has helped you. I am kicking around the idea of a guidebook.

  21. Dawn says:

    Many thanks to you for providing this valuable service to those of us who are planning a trip to Rome. No where else have I found such detailed info. May I suggest that you compile your information and write a guidebook?

  22. Jane says:

    Thank you for this wonderful blog…it has been incredibly helpful while I plan our first trip to Rome in a few months. I’ve bookmarked your site and will be back frequently – so glad I found this, and thanks again.

  23. Mimi says:

    i stumbled upon your site while reading through TripAdvisor Forums…what a great resource you are!

    my husband and I have a trip to Rome in May and I’ve already bookmarked “you” because i can see that you will have the answer to most, if not all, our questions.

    knowing your site is just a couple of keystrokes away gives us much peace of mind.

    thank you so much!

    warm regards,
    the Posins
    Orange County, CA, USA

  24. Juraska says:

    Heya! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!

  25. Silviu says:

    We are from Romania and we are going next month to Rome. I’ve read almost entire blog and the amount of information is HUGE…and brilliant!
    Thank you for lot of tips and useful data.

    A big hug and a BIG BIG THANK YOU from Bucharest, Romania :)


  26. Tomcat says:

    Hi, Ron, I found you from Frommer community last Friday. I immediately printed some of your posting regarding Rome airport, bus and train service and I read them on the bus home (NYC). All your postings are very detailed and very informative. My husband and I went to Italy 5 years ago, and I was sorry we did not get such info then. We are going back this June to start and end our Mediterranean cruise and your post is a great help to plan our two days stay in Rome. Thank you very much.

  27. Maria says:

    Thank you Ron your helpful blog. My husband and I are planning a trip to Rome in May to celebrate our 25th anniversary. I look forward to lots of good advice as well as enjoyable reading. :)
    Maria in New Jersey

  28. ELAINE LEVY says:

    ****** REPLY ******* As per the private message I sent you, Terminal 3 may be the best place to meet. See our posting on “Where to meet at FCO” for more information.”

  29. Al Reid says:

    I spent many hours researching our trip to Rome (for Sep 2010) and once I found your site I kept coming back for more articles on day trips, public transit etc. A lot of what we did in Rome was on our own and your advice was the best information available on the web. It made our trip so much easier. Thank you for providing such an excellent resource for Rome. Anyone traveling to Rome should start here! Al in Canada

  30. Leonid says:

    Hi, Ron!
    Thank you very much for extremely helpful info on how to get to Tivoli from Rome. My wife and I travelled to Italy this September (it was out fifth time there) and the trip to Tivoli was by far the best day of this vacation. We took a bus from Porto Mammolo and it worked perfect. We enjoyed both Villa d’Este and Villa Hadriana. Your directions saved us tons of time. Thanks again!
    Leonid & Helen

  31. Veronica says:

    Thank you Ron for your fantastic information! Someone on Tripadvisor said how good it was and after checking it out I realised they were correct. Your information is extremly helpful, easy to read and FUN to read. A lot of the info I have printed out for me and my friends upcoming trip in January. Thank you for valuable tips and hints. I believe you have made our trip better already. Kepp up the good work! =)

  32. Andrea says:

    You can’t even imagine how often i’ve copied and pasted the last couple of hours… Trying to make a travelplan for our 5-day holiday in September. Thank you for maintaining this site, it’s a big help!

  33. Juna says:

    Ciao Ron! Thank you so much for showing my husband and I around Rome. Your tips helped us tremendously. We kept telling each other and our family and friends how lucky we were to have had you as our tour guide. We enjoyed getting “lost” around Rome. We’re back in Seattle and we’re already planning another trip to Rome. Thanks again!
    Juna & Glenn

  34. Mary says:

    Ron, I stumbled across your blog while putting together a travel blog on travelpod. I’m so glad I did! Although we will be in Rome for only a day this summer, while on a cruise, your info is great! I passed it along to a friend who will be in Rome for a week this summer. I especially liked your wife’s shopping and footwear tips :-) Thank you!

  35. Ana says:

    I found your site this morning and shared it with the couple we will be traveling to Rome with in July. They have been 3 times, but learned many new things from you. Now she’s hooked too. Thanks!

  36. Kass says:

    Thank you so much for all your hard work, your explanations have answered and cleared so many worries!!!

    THANK YOU!!!

  37. Yolanthe says:

    Hi Ron, like all the other peoples comments I am finding I am reading and re-reading your blog…I am making sure to take note of everything you have written…Thanks again for such great information.

    Yolanthe from Australia

  38. Manvendra Singh says:

    Ron thank you so much for all your effort. Can you also suggest a blog or site for Venice. We are going to be in Rome and Venice. We have all the information from your site on Rome :-). Thanks a ton. Mann

  39. Natalie Murray says:

    Thank you so much for all the great info on Rome! My boyfriend and I are travelling (volcano permitting!) from Scotland to Barcelona to go on a cruise next week, and we have one day in Rome, I feel much more relaxed about doing the tour ourselves and getting the most out of it! Thanks and keep up the good work!!

  40. ML says:

    Wow! Just found you today – trying to find ways to tour the ports of call on an upcoming cruise – wanting to “adventure” even tho we’re on a cruise – and you have all the answers! I’m passing this on to everyone I know!

  41. Shutterbug says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share such valuable information! I feel like I am so much more prepared now for our trip to Rome!

  42. Chuck and Mel says:


    Thank you so much. We had a wonderful time. You are a wealth of knowledge on the Vatican tour and our trip with you to the market was just a plain old good time. Thanks for the help with the train system it made the remaining 15 days much easier.

    See you next time.

    Chuck and Melanie.

  43. merrill sequeira says:

    hey Ron, hd a gr8 time in Roma thnx to you. we’re back in Mumbai planning a sequel real soon :)

  44. batool says:

    I’m going to Rome this week and i’ve been looking for information about rome, and I’ve found your blog, Thank you for the information, its a lot of work :)

  45. Melissa says:

    Hi Ron

    I just found your website today with a google search for the Roma PASS! Lucky me- there is a wealth of information on here.

    My fiancée and I are heading to Italy this summer. Starting our trip in Zurich with a zig zag of places down. We are planning to be in Rome on June 26th with a planned departure to the Tuscany region (primarily Chianti) on the 29th of June.

    Your site and posts are fantastic. I have spent the better part of my afternoon perusing your site.


  46. Danielle says:

    I’m going to Rome at the end of this week and I’ve been making notes from your blog into my Rome book. Thank you so much for all the detailed information!!

  47. Muzza says:

    sitting off in far distant Australia trying to make sense of Italy I have in one morning got more useful information from your website than from weeks of research and browsing…you are a life saver! Thanks mate, for your excellent website.

  48. peter says:

    I second ‘visitor’. This blog has been very informative, and I will ‘advertise’ it for you, Ron. That’s the very least I can do to repay you for the information contained here in your blog.

  49. Visitor says:

    Thank you, for the time spent on this site. I am travelling to Rome this month, and your blog is the best there is. Is better than a guide book, and offers the exact information ones look for.

    Thank you again, and good luck.

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