One of the things about my life I am most grateful and happy for is the fact that I have had the opportunity to travel quite extensively to a lot of interesting and exciting places, sure I still have plenty to tick off the list, but travelling to a new country is full of excitement and anticipation and so I thought I might share my thoughts and tips as to some of the places I have been.
Rome was my first ever trip out of the UK and in fact my second. If I had my way I would happily visit there once a year but alas there is only so many holiday days you can take from work and exploring new places takes those up very quickly.
So what is it about Rome? It could be the history, the people, the food! But each time I have been there I have been swept up by it all and it also houses my favorite spot in the entire world, the Trevi Fountain, which is stunning to look at and great to people watch at as well.
So here are some tips if you are thinking of or planning a holiday to Rome.
– Give yourself a minimum of at least four to five full days, there is plenty to see and rather than rush do it all at a leisurely pace, Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither does your sightseeing need to be.
– Taxi’s are very expensive, so only really use one if you have to.
-The Rome metro is a handy and cheap way to travel around to the main sights in the city. It is however dirty and hugely populated (imagine London rush hour and double). This means you are very likely to get well acquainted of the armpit of the person standing next to you. You also need to assert some authority when trying to get off the train as people will not move out of your way. On my last trip I got stuck on the train a stop later than I wanted due to people staying put! Also beware of pickpockets or even worse dirty old men who want to get close(er) and personal with you.
– Take a comfortable pair of shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking. The majority of tourist sights are close enough to each other to reach by foot and it is also a great way for you to see the city and its people. Always take a map as the streets can be a little confusing but that is half the fun!
– As mentioned above beware of Pickpockets. Rome is second only to Barcelona for this crime so always be aware of who is around you, especially in crowded places. Another thing to look out for are sellers. They will come up to you and basically try and put roses or tatty plastic toys into you hand and then demand money from you. Ignoring them and walking away is all you can do. If they get in your face too much be as rude as you can to them and they will eventually leave you alone.
– Make sure you visit the Colosseum it is epic and very beautiful and will take your breath away when you first see it but don’t pay to go inside, it is very disappointing. On Sunday’s the road up to the Colosseum is closed to traffic and stalls set up to sell their wears, it is lovely and I would recommend going if you are there over a weekend.
– The Trevi Fountain is a must see and there is an amazing Gelato place just across from it with some the best ice cream you will taste in Rome. Grab a cone an people watch! Don’t forget to throw your coin into the fountain to ensure a safe return to Rome in the future.
– Around the Colosseum are the Forum Romanum, enjoy strolling along and taking them in.
– The Piazza’s in Rome are a great place to stop and have a picnic lunch, Piazza di Spagna is probably the best as you can sit on the Spanish Steps but don’t forget to check out Piazza Navona and Piazza Barberini which have some lovely fountains.
– For an example of pure opulence check out Victor Emmanuel Monument. It is made entirely out of marble and is a sight to see! American GI’s in WW2 said it reminded them of a wedding cake!
– No holiday to Rome would be complete without a trip to the Vatican. Ensure you get there early as the line grows quickly and also check which days it is open, you don’t want to turn up and the doors be closed! Give yourself plenty of time to explore, there is so much to see and take in and you could happily spend hours just looking up at the Sistine Chapel. Also make sure to include a visit inside of St. Peter’s, it is truly stunning. It is also worth paying the extra to walk up to the top! Remember though in all holy places in Italy you must cover yourself up, this means no bare arms or legs, so if you are wearing tank tops or shorts ensure you take a shawl to cover up with.
– For a Roman Holiday Audrey Hepburn moment, make sure you take some time to visit the Mouth of Truth. It is a bit of an uphill walk from the nearest metro station but is a fun thing to do and also makes a great photo op!
– The food in Rome, as you would imagine, is amazing! You can walking basically into any shop and get a tasty lunch or dinner. Don’t limit yourself to guidebook recommendations, pound the pavements and make your own discoveries.
– Like most Mediterranean countries, Rome shuts down for siesta every afternoon. Use this time to re-charge yourself for the evening or visit open spaces that cannot be shut!
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself and take in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!