A Travel Girl’s Guide to Rome

Affectionally nicknamed the Eternal city, Rome has been a beacon of tourism for centuries ( long before the days of international flights!). Ancient history melts together with mouth-watering foods, fashion and bustling piazzas for a city that is truly one of a kind. Here’s my travel girl’s guide to Rome:

How to Get There

By Plane: Rome as 3 airports, but the main international one is the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport. The Leonardo Express is a shuttle train that connects downtown for 14E and takes about 30 minutes. The metro line FRI will only set you back 8E, but it makes more frequent stops. If you opt to take a taxi, it should cost 40E. Be sure use a marked vehicle and arrange the price in advanced as taxi scams are unfortunately common.

By Train: Rome’s main train station is Stazione Termini and most likely where you will arrive. Both busses and metro system connect here, so it’s easy to get where you need to go. Check schedules and metro lines here.

By Bus: If you are arriving by bus the Sit Bus Termini is located about a 10 minute walk from center town. Be sure to check your bus terminal however, as some companies may use a different location.

Where to Stay

Centro Storico : in the heart of it all! This neighbourhood is for those who want to be right in the action. It might be a bit touristy ( and pricey), but it makes up for it with its close proximity to big attractions.

Tridente and Via Veneto: The area of the Spanish steps, this is an upscale area with high end boutiques and prices to match. A beautiful place to stay, but not very budget friendly.

Monti: a quiet and historic part of the city, made of narrow streets and romantic courtyards. Perfect for those wanting a bit of a quieter place to stay, while still in excellent reach of all the main sights.

Trastevere: A more traditional neighbourhood with all the hustle and bustle of a popular local area. Great food, charming alleys and a bit off the beaten path, this makes a great place to stay.

Alternative: choose a quiet suburb that is connected by Tram to the core for a more authentic feel without the high costs of the central area. This is what we chose and loved feeling like a local for a few days! The tram was easy to use and we were downtown in minutes.

What to Do

Coliseum: The most popular attraction for a reason, especially for the history buffs. Get there before it opens to beat the crowds!

For ticket info and hours of operation check out their website here.

Forum: Included with your coliseum ticket, These impressive remains of the former heart of the city makes you feel as though you are stepping through time. If the history doesn’t interest you, the views from Palatine Hill more than makeup for it.

Spanish Steps: The steps themselves make for a beautiful photograph, but are usually swamped with tourists. Get here early for the photos, then spend the rest of the morning people watching and exploring the upscale neighbourhood.

For more information check here.

Vatican: Whether you’re religious or not, there is no denying that the Vatican and its museum is a significant site of art, history and architectural marvel. Well worth the visit, but be prepared to drop a lot of money on expensive tickets.

For more info check out their website here.

Piazzas: These impressive courtyards are everywhere. Explore hidden alleys and busy streets alike to see what treasures you discover.

Trevi Fountain: Although large and imposing, I found this fountain to be a bit too busy for what it was. A quick peak walking past was long enough and not worth dedicating a significant amount of time to.

What to Eat

Gellato: The Italian word for ice cream. This thick and creamy dessert is everywhere and you’ll be hard pressed to find a bad one! That being said, look for local shops that serve some that’s made in house for the best.

Cappucino: I’ll admit, I’m addicted. The strong espresso mixed with a higher percentage of milk fat make for the perfect morning pick-me-up.

Pizza: For truley amazing pizza you’ll probably have to leave the city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some pretty great pizza here too. It is Italy after all! Look for traditional style pizza in places that are full of locals and not just tourists.

Olive Oil: This won’t taste anything like the stuff you buy at grocery stores at home. Here its impossibley fresh, with unique flavours depending on the region, time of year and other factors.

Limoncello: This lemon flavoured liquer is a local favourite and best sipped after dinner.

Pasta: Does this one need explaining? Eat all the pasta. Seriously, all of it.

Tips and Tricks

Taxi scams: taxi scams are unfortunate, but like any large city they do occure. Avoid this by agreeing on a price before you get in and only used marked vehicles. Also, count the bills and amounts when you give them as sometimes one or two can ” disappear” when exchanging them and a driver may request more. Politely and firmly assert that you have given them the correct amount as you count it out to avoid any problems.

Bread at dinner: Bread will automatically appear before a meal as usual, however, if you eat it there will be a charge for it that will appear on your bill. Avoid this by politely declining the bread when it is brought if you don’t want it.

Water charges : Bottled water is often poured without asking and again a charge will be added to your bill at the end of your meal. If you would prefer not to have this, politely decline when you notice that they are about to open a bottle.

Pick pockets and thieves: Unfortunately pickpocketing is quite common here ( like most big cities), but common sense goes a long way. Avoid wearing flashy valuables, wear a cross body bag and don’t keep money in easy to reach pockets. Also, keep a copy of important papers and try to stash money in a few different places on you in case of emergencies.

Learn some Italian : Many young people speak English, but there were still some taxi drivers and bar workers who didn’t. A few words will get you a long way.

Be a Morning Person: Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations and has some of the most visited sights in the world. Get up early to beat the crowds whenever possible.

Travelling more of Italy? Check out these posts:

A Travel Girl’s Guide to Venice

A Coffee Guide to Rome

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