The best way I know to describe visiting Rome is to compare it to being dropped in the middle of New York City where no one speaks English. It's a large, bustling, noisy city rich in culture and history.
I read many, many, many travel blogs and books on Europe and they all said that a lot of people understand some English. I didn't find this to be true while traveling through Europe. Especially in France.
Even the couple that ran the hotel didn't speak English though the husband did speak a little broken English. With my broken Spanish, we made it pretty good.
If you are flying to Rome, you will be arriving at Fiumicino Airport. If you read reviews about the airport, you will find that most passengers consider it one of the worst airports in the world if you are flying in from the US. I have to admit that it was difficult to find where to locate our luggage and even more difficult to locate the buses that would take us to the Roma Termini.
I'm not sure it was more difficult than other airports though and there are a lot of signs to help direct you.
The termini is the main transportation hub. This is where you will find tour buses and the train station. Do yourself a favor and print out maps of the termini . I didn't do this and I won't make that mistake again.
I did go to Google Earth and map out where we would need to walk to get to our hotel. I also looked at the street view outside of the hotel. We were turned around when we got off the bus and had a hard time finding which way we need to go once we exited the termini. (reason to download map ahead of time) But I knew exactly how to get to the hotel thanks to my research. DON'T skip this step ! It's the best advice I can give anyone - DO YOUR RESEARCH and print out maps of every place you plan to go.
Here is the map I used. Notice that you have blue dots guiding you to your destination. Below is a pic of a street view of the hotel.
Rome is amazing, busy, beautiful, and can be a little scary. We were trying to locate the Vatican and ended up at a dead-end street where a strange man tried to grope my daughter.
We were hungry as we headed by to the hotel that evening and decided to stop at Tavola Calada Ristorante where I had the best pizza ever !
When we finished eating our pizza, we went next door to the Gelateria (Ice cream shop) where I had my first taste of gelato.