Rome for beginners
Your Roman Holiday
I highly suggest watching the Audrey Hepburn/Gregory peck classic before you come...
Best Way to Get a Broad Sense of Rome
Rome is a city of contradiction...a city of sumptuous chaos...which can be hard to get a handle on when you first arrive...a great way to start is by taking a bus tour...
Two of my favorite options are the 110 open top bus, and the tiny electric buses 116 and 117.
the 116 (it should come about every 8 minutes) can be picked up on the far side of st peters square on the lungotevere at piazza della rovere. it will take you through the center of town passing all of the sites that are usually only assessable by foot...the pantheon, near the fontana di trevi, spanish step, via veneto to the edge of the borghese gardens...the return journey is slightly different going through the campo di fiori and piazza farnese and down the via guilia returning to the same stop where you began. the round trip jouney will take about an hour.
the 119 (also about every 8 minutes - there is usually one waiting) starts at the piazza di popolo goes down the via de corso, past piazza venezia, through the ancient gladiator neighborhood of monti and by the coloseum ending at san giovanni in laterano.
Another interesting bus option is the Archeobus which takes you to major archeological sites and can be combined with the 110. full details for the 110 and the archeobus can be found at www.trambusopen.com.