Rome. The place needs little introduction. With almost 3,000 years worth of history sprawled across a landscape of art, architecture and culture. Like many others, Rome (and Italy) has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. Dreaming of visits to the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the Colosseum. There was so much I couldn’t wait to do – so I was absolutely ecstatic when Scott surprised me last Christmas with a long weekend he’d booked for the Eternal City!
“Veni, vidi, vici.” – Julius Caesar
I came, I saw, I conquered.
While exploring Rome it’s safe to say that I picked up a few tips. That’s what I wanted to focus on today, simple tips and tricks that will change your trip exponentially. None of these cost much money, or will set you back, but all of them will hopefully make your stay in the Eternal City a hundred times more memorable.
Italian gelato is there to change your life. That’s not an exaggeration. A food pyramid of what I ate while in Rome would be at LEAST two thirds gelato, because, well, it was incredible!
My favourite place to get gelato was at a store called Gelateria Wonderful Ice Cream – it’s ranked #31 out of 10,691 places to eat in Rome on Trip Advisor (look at ‘dem receipts) and when I took my first bite – wooooow. Make sure you get the 4 scoop cone (for 5 euros!), I filled mine with Tiramisu, Ferrero Rocher and two scoops of Nutella *which was basically just syrupy Nutella goodness*
Walk as Much as You Can
When I used to think of Rome, I’d think of all these incredible attractions stretched far and wide over a ginormous city. But, honestly, the reverse couldn’t be more true. Everything in Rome is relatively close-by, and if you happen to find yourself staying in the centre, or near any tourist spots in particular, you’ll probably find that you can walk to almost every sight you’re dying to see!
Scott and I stayed at a B&B called Domus Liberius which was halfway between Termini Station and the Colosseum, and we found it more than manageable to walk everywhere! The only time we got the metro was to Vatican City, and that was solely because the queues at the Vatican get so intense that arriving as early as possible can be a game changer!
Do as the Romans Do
Arriving in Rome, a piece of advice we received from the apartment owner was to pay attention to the locals to tourists ratio at any eateries you’re looking at visiting. This is pretty solid advice for visiting anywhere, actually, and he backed that up by saying that traditional Italian cuisine won’t actually cost much money at all – while the tourist traps (being the wonderful traps that they are) will cost an arm and a leg, while skimping on any traditional Italian goodness. After that, Scott and I payed close attention to the restaurants we were interested in and it changed our trip entirely.
I can hands down say that the pizza I had in Rome was the freshest, tastiest pizza I’ve ever had in my entire life. And at 6 euros per pizza on average, it was a steal!
The architecture in Rome is simply breath taking. Everywhere in the city is steeped in history, and it’s pretty impossible to NOT marvel at the gorgeous sights of this beautiful place. Let yourself stare, gasp and wonder about how many generations of people before you have walked these same steps. How many people have sat in the Colosseum, how many have worshipped at the Roman Forum.
Instead of viewing these places solely as sights you need to see before moving on to the next one, really take your time to visualise the immensity of seeing something that’s stood – sometimes for over 2,000 years – in that same spot, and what scenes have played out among it’s walls. This simple, often overlooked, tip can really change your entire trip. I know it changed mine.
Fall in Love
Try to come away from Rome without a deep love and appreciation for the place, I dare you. The city is breathtaking and I’m already so excited to return and explore more of it. If you have any stresses, any worry about transport or capturing that perfect picture at that perfect time, honestly my best advice is just to let it go.
But, what I’m trying to say is, you’re exploring one of the most gorgeous cities in the world. Somewhere that’s seen the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, that’s got buildings over 2,000 years old stood casually next to tiny pop-up shops. It’s a wondrous place, and please don’t let anything ruin that for you.
If you’re thinking of visiting, I can’t recommend it enough. Go, see, conquer. It’ll be worth it, I promise you.
I hope you’re having a lovely week,