Hitting up popular tourist spots may provide you with a history lesson or two, but if you want to truly explore a new city, you want to find ways to travel like a local. With access to up-to-date, insider information, you can be your own tour guide in Rome and blend in with those who call Italy “home.”
These 11 apps will take you on self-guided walking tours, point out the best artwork, help you navigate public transportation, and more.
Triposo connects travelers with the best places to visit, eat and shop around the world. Personalize your trip to Italy by selecting your own things to do and places to go. Explore top destinations and regions, like Florence and Milan, and read mini guides written by other Triposo users, like this one about The 6 Most Amazing Cliffside Villages in Italy.
Trenitalia: Free on Android
Trenitalia is Italy’s primary train operator, providing regional, long-distance, high-speed and international passenger trains.
Their app assists you in all aspects of dealing with the company from purchasing ticket to time of arrival. Choose your preferred stations, search for the best fares available and track trains in real time. The ‘My Travels’ section allows you to make changes to your reservation, request a refund or add the trip to your calendar.
Rome’s bus system can be tricky for tourists to comprehend, causing a lot of them to avoid it altogether. But the buses in Rome cover much more of the city than the metro tourist area, which is why the Probus Rome app is so useful for getting off the beaten track. Pinpoint the closest bus stops, discover bus times, plan routes and connections, and get updates in real time.
Italy Museums Free: Free on iOS
Italy Museums Free compiles more than 150 museums and art exhibits throughout Italy.
Search by location, museum name, exhibit or keyword. The app gives you key on-the-ground information including a museum’s address, phone number, hours and admission prices. Then once you’re at a museum, the app will tell you the most popular exhibit there so you can head straight to it. Upgrade for $1.99 to find museums within a certain distance from you and to get public transportation directions.
Curate a list of your favorite tracks from the app’s library, which includes self-guided walking tours from Rick Steves’ city and country guidebooks, as well as interviews from the Travel with Rick Steves public radio program.
View PDF maps that complement the walking tours. Your geographic playlist can cover the best sites in Italy, plus travel tips and cultural insights.
Streetart Rome assembles over 300 street art pieces across 30 neighborhoods and 150 roads. See the murals that are closest to you with the built-in map that pins nearby works. Click on a piece of artwork to learn more about it, such as artist details or the year it was created. This app offers an excellent opportunity to explore parts of the city you may have otherwise skipped and offers a modern perspective on Rome that many tourists don’t see.
WC Rome has a simple and straightforward goal: to help you find Rome’s public bathrooms. Not the most exciting part of your holiday, for sure, but something travelers of all walks and means have to deal with at some point.
View the map to find the public bathroom closest to you, and see information such as directions and opening hours.
This app includes translation dictionaries for numerous languages, including Italian. Access the English-to-Italian dictionary, as well as Italian definitions and conjugations.
Explore the forums for answers to more than 2 million questions.
Lingolook Italian: $4.99 on iOS
Lingolook Italian is a language guide with illustrated flashcards and audio translations. Access more than 800 words and phrases for travelers, with over 550 clear audio translations from native speakers to help you with pronunciation.
Quickly search by travel category and head to the reference section for the menu reader and travel tips. It won’t help with your fluency but it will make sure you don’t accidently order horse meat when you’re trying some of the less-touristy restaurants on your Italian adventure.
Created by Elizabeth Minchilli, travel writer for magazines like Bon Appétit and Food & Wine, Eat Italy is a collection of her favorite eateries (including bakeries, specialty shops and wine bars) in Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice.
Avoid tourist-heavy restaurants and instead head to the little-known gems the locals frequent.
Search for bars, cafes and restaurants by location or cuisine to dine-in or order-out. Browse photos of the restaurant, check out the menu ahead of time and read user reviews. The map and rating features will help you narrow down your options.
Zomato will likely be familiar to many travelers due to its global presence, however since its acquisition of Cibando in 2014 it is the most active foodie community in Italy, so it is definitely your best bet to use.
We hope this helps you on your big journey. Be sure to check out if your phone is equipped for an Italian SIM and Data card before you dive in.