Rome was my second favourite destination in Italy, it has so much culture and history. I think one of my high points of the trip was sitting at a cafe with my friend, having a drink, watching the sun set on the Colosseum across the street. I nearly had to pinch myself to believe it was real but there was many points in the trip that I felt like that!
PEOPLE & FOOD
So the people of Rome were as with Florence, very used to high levels of tourists. They were mostly very friendly and helpful and in some of the tourist areas you need to see this as a wary sign. You will get ripped off at some point, this unfortunately is the downside of every tourist area all across the world so beware of excessive charm as this is the first sign that you have been eyed as an easy target!Your look of awe and wonder that Rome is actually as amazing in real life as the movies and pictures generally gives us tourists away…as does the repeated photo taking. When eating out as with my other Italy posts, eat where the Italians eat. They know good food and if you see very little of them there then there is a strong chance it is only so so.I was lucky to find two amazing little places where the food,wine and staff were amazing.The first was Ai Tre Scalini – Bottiglieria dal 1895 which we came upon by chance, it looks so lovely and inviting that we decided to have a drink and then ended up getting food. We went two nights in a row but it closed then as with most smaller or family run places in Rome, they often close for holidays in August. This is very common in August. The next great find and possibly the best Bruschetta I have ever tasted was Alimentari dei coronari. It is very cute and there is seating outside which is always lovely in the evening with a glass of wine. I feel guilty admitting it as I generally never go to McDonalds, ever,but credit where credit is due the Mc Cafe at La Spanga Metro stop and the Spanish steps make a yummy Cappuccino and gelato for a great price. You never know when you might be low on cash so it’s good to know!There is one thing that you should definitely always do is check prices before sitting down and that goes for drinks especially, one place wanted to charge us €12 for a large coke that was about 500mls. It wasn’t the only place to try that so beware of these restaurants and cafes. Sometimes you don’t want to sit down to a big lunch so look out for Coop stores that sell chopped fresh fruit and so many great varieties of cheese and bread and VERY cheap but amazing local wines. You can make your own tasty lunch for under €10.
PLACES TO STAY
I stayed at Casa Carra Guesthouse while in Rome, it was basic but clean and perfectly located close to subway,Termini station and landmarks such as the Colosseum. The owner was really lovely, helped us with directions and due to unforeseen travel alterations changed our booking at very last-minute notice and no extra charge!
THINGS TO DO
So the first landmark we visited was the Colosseum which like I said previously was amazing. It is really great to visit later in the day as it is cooler and you will see sunset which is stunning there. The entry ticket for the Colosseum and forum/palatine hill is €12 and valid for 2 days. I also did a Free Walking Tour which are always a great way to see a new city. I took in such sites as the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps (which were under repair), the Pantheon, Piazza Navona with contains the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Piazza del Popolo, Ponte Sant’Angelo, the Column of Marcus Aurelius, Altare della Patria and Piazza di Spagna, all of these are free to walk around. The Altare della Patria does have a charge if you want to enter it. our accommodation was around the corner from the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore which has The Miracle of Saint Mary of the Snow on the first week of august every year. The sound and light show was quite cool and definitely worth a watch. I also went to Castel Sant’Angelo which has amazing views of the city!As it was the first sunday of the month, it was free entry but I think the usual price ranges between €5.50 – €15.50 depending on age group.
I also visited the Vatican which is a must do, just be warned….it is MAYHEM! There was so many tourists, I would say if you love art then give yourself a good portion of the day to browse. The Vatican is the home of the Sistine Chapel which is hugely popular also so prepare for to join the masses to see it.St Peters Basilica and Square are amazing and definitely worth the view also.The ticket for the Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica and Square is €16 if you queue or €20 if you buy online to Skip the Queue. This extra €4 was money well spent as the queue can be up to 4 hours long!As the heat was unbearable in the city, we decided to take a trip to the beach one day. There are a couple of beaches but we just went to Santa Marinella which was lovely as you see the real Italy as it’s very family orientated and relaxed.
We also took in a day trip to Pompeii and Naples, there are lots of companies that do day trips from Rome and we went with City Lights Tours. I didn’t actually realise how huge Pompeii was and Naples is very different to other parts of Italy…..They even have their own language called Neapolitan and they are home to Mozzaralla cheese as well as Neapolitan pizza!
For the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica, as they are places of worship ladies will need to have cover their shoulders and knees. They are very strict on this and I saw them turn people away due to inappropriate clothing, they also state this EVERYWHERE and the guides around the Vatican and Basilica area say it also. The queues for the Vatican are huge at peak times, I’m talking hours and hours of waiting, the Skip the Queue ticket is €4 more but so worth it or if you go with a guide or tour then you will also get in faster. Unfortunately because its Rome then queues and crowds are inevitable so are pick pockets, they are there and they have a few techniques…a lovely lady I met said, her dad had been robbed as someone pretended to drop their bag and while he turned to help them pick up their possessions,someone else was robbing him. Always be aware! I got a Trenitalia train to the beach in S.Marinella and it cost €4.60 and the Trenitalia train from Venice to Rome cost €84. I used the metro in Rome a lot as it was very easy to use and just a 2 minute walk from my accommodation. A single one way ticket is €1.50 but it is easy to walk around Rome anyway, it’s a very easy city to find your way around. Here is a link to my other Italian trip blogs as they might also help…..La Spezia Holiday Review and Florence Holiday Review
Rome is a bustling city with history and art on every corner, it was beautiful and amazing and I would definitely take a trip back there as I didn’t see everything. I would also love to go back there in Spring or Autumn as I think it would be beautiful too. It is pricey so take a trip on the train to a surrounding town or area as I really enjoyed the trip to Santa Marinella. It breaks up the sightseeing and just lets you see everyday Italian life.
Happy Travels,Stay Safe.xx