Roma! A city filled with history, beauty and, most recognisably, tourism. Paul and I have visited Rome before (Paul more so) but it had been a while since we were there together so it was the perfect reason to go back and truly soak it all in.
The first few days of our stay did involve us being locked away doing work until 3am BUT when we eventually were able to go out and play we were very thankful and not just because the weather was a marvellous 30 degrees.
This apartment was actually one of my favourites despite only having two rooms in total. The rustic decor, large windows and good use of space make this apartment perfect for anyone staying in Rome who need the essentials but also a cute setting.
Venere is a wonderful host. We arrived early but she let us keep our bags in the apartment, made us a cup of tea whilst giving us advice on the area and then took us to a coffee shop to do some work whilst she finished cleaning after her last guest.
The area itself may appear to be a little “gritty” with groups of people hanging out on the benches and around the shops but in all honesty outside of any tourist area it is like that. So unless you want to stay in the centre this is what is to be expected. The shutters covered in graffiti also make it seem like a derelict area but the pedestrian area comes alive at night with the huge amount of bars and restaurants opening to entertain guests. During the day it’s very quiet with just a few shops open.
The apartment is just a half hour walk from the Colosseum and close to Termini station making everything accessible and there’s a supermarket nearby for all of your needs. And let’s not forget about the pizzeria and the bakery 2 minutes from the front door…
FOOD & DRINK
Going to Rome, you are overwhelmed by restaurants, cafes and bars. But you have to be careful that you don’t end up with some pre-made, bland slop. Here are some tips on eating and drinking in Rome:
- Stay away from tourist locations. We ate in a place near the Vatican. Who knew a salad could go so wrong?
- When looking for gelato – if it’s bright, colourful and there’s a mountain of it, it’s not the real stuff. I will not be made with natural ingredients and is full of air. Real gelato is a neutral colour and is no higher than the container. You are also entitled to two flavours and cream!
- Fancy a cannoli? When ordering be sure that the shell is empty so you can see the cream cheese go in fresh!
- Pizza outside of tourist locations is cheaper, fresher and much tastier. You can order by the slice in many over the counter bakeries and cafes.
- Those vans you see with bottles of Coke and water? They cost €4 each. If you’re thirsty, head to a cafe and ask if you can get a bottle of drink to go. We managed to get a water for €1.50
- Cappuccino’s are a breakfast coffee so if you ask for one after midday you may be laughed at. You have been warned.
- A typical Roman breakfast is a cornetto (kinda like a croissant, not the ice cream) and a cappuccino.
There are of course the obvious tourist choices which can either be reached by walking (everything is quite accessible by foot) or by City Sightseeing Bus:
- The Colosseum – The queues are very long so be sure to get there early or you can book your tickets online.
- The Vatican – It’s imperative that you visit the world’s smallest country and the home of the Pope. because it’s so beautiful! Here are some details on tickets for the Vatican Museums. If you are going to go into the Basilica be sure to cover your shoulders and wear something that covers your knees.
- A fan of pop art? Interested in photography? Head to Palazzo delle Esposizion to view David Lachapelle’s After the Deluge exhibition (until 13th September 2015)
- Rome Food Tour – You get to try a range of Italian foods, find out the history of where they come from and visit the quiet local establishments that have been around for generations. DO NOT have breakfast as no matter how hungry you may feel, you will be eating SO MUCH.
- The Spanish Steps – A famous spot as seen in Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
- The Trevi Fountain – Another famous movie spot as seen in La Dolce Vita. A opulent fountain of beauty and detail. Sadly it is currently shut off however much of it is still visible (despite the scaffolding).
- Hire a rickshaw – Although I was terrified (mainly with Paul’s driving) going on a rickshaw around Villa Borghese was incredibly fun! I wouldn’t advise going on the main roads outside of the park though…
- Wander – walking around Rome is like being in a museum itself. You will discover many nooks and crannies, shops and restaurants that will probably exist in no city guide or website. Explore!
TIPS & ADVICE
- As with all my city guides I will mention keeping your possessions close, don’t keep things in your pocket and try and avoid carrying valuables on public transport.
- You will have about 6 guys at one time trying to sell you selfie sticks, hats, scarves and water. No matter how cheap it is, don’t bother. Just politely say no.
- If you want to have a photo with a “Roman Gladiator” they will expect money.
- It’s polite and respectful to use basic Italian phrases such as these.
- The drivers in Rome are CRAZY. Be incredibly careful when crossing roads.