Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Rome travel tips

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So here is the post that has been rattling around in my head for the last few months since I came home from Rome. I thought it would be useful for anyone travelling to Rome soon, or in the future, and fancied some tips and recommendations from one tourist to another! For the record, I travelled with my sister at the end of March and the weather was wonderful – warm but not too hot, and no rain until the very last day we were heading to the airport. We were only there for 4 days but we’d done a lot of planning and researching, which I always think is a must for any holiday to a cultural city.

FOOD & DRINK

LUNCH - We noticed, pretty early on, that there are a lot of little truck/buses that are full of food outside most of the tourist sites. They will lure you in with some pretty nice-looking food in the display but don’t be fooled. We exited the Roman Forum to one of these and decided to try some lunch. Our recommendation? Don’t! We had a chicken panini, although I’m not sure you can call it chicken. More like a grey piece of questionable meat in some bread. This was thrown away pretty pronto - these buses are so prevalent in Rome that you’re likely to see one but I’d stay away.

PIZZA - I am a huge foodie so I was super excited to try some authentic Italian pizza. If you are expecting thick bases and huge amounts of topping – you won’t find it here. The pizza dough is very thin, almost a flatbread and I think the big deal with these pizzas is definitely the cheese. More cheese than topping, certainly in the restaurants that we visited. We also found that meat wasn’t a huge deal in other dishes like pasta either; the meat seemed more like a garnish or an extra rather than the main focus of the dish like it is in the UK.

WATER – You can buy bottles of water almost everywhere but don’t throw away the bottle and buy another. There are plenty of water fountains around Rome with drinking water so you can just fill it back up whenever you pass one and save some euros.

GELATO – Obviously you can’t go to Italy and not have gelato, particularly if you are an ice cream fiend like myself. You will find the fake gelato, noticeable by it’s altered colours to give a prettier look rather than a yummier taste, and the shops that will pile your cones with disguises like cream and wafers and whatnot. But you will also find the good gelato, where they smother it in to your cone with a spatula, not a scoop. By far, our favourite gelato place was ‘L’Arena del Gelato’ on the corner of Via Di Porta Castello and the perfect stop after a day at the Vatican museum. The owner was very friendly, and the gelato was top notch – creamy and delicious and all you’d expect for some good Italian ice cream.


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TO DO

THE VATICAN MUSEUMS – I’m sure this one is already on your list but make sure you pre-book. The queue we (rather smugly) ambled past to get in for those buying tickets on the day was insane! My other tip is to book a tour of the Vatican Gardens which you can do online when you book your ticket. This is only available if you pre-book and you get a guided tour around the absolutely beautiful gardens – and these are off limits to everybody else. Our tour group was small and our guide was knowledgable. We learnt a lot of history on the walk which took about 40 – 50 minutes in total. There are some hills but the walk isn’t laborious - and trust me, the views are worth it.

CASTEL ST ANGELO – When researching where to go in Rome this one wasn’t high up the list of others but it definitely is on mine. Take your passport if you’re under 25 and you get discounted entry, which is very reasonable anyway when you can easily spend an entire afternoon here. Looks are deceiving because there is so much to look at inside; underground walkways through the heart of the castle, art and sculptures in dressed up rooms as well as some more gorgeous views of the city.

ROMAN FORUM – Another that is surely on your list, but buy your Colosseum tickets here along with your Roman Forum ones. You’ll still queue, but it’s much shorter than at the Colosseum itself. The Roman forum was stunning, and absolutely massive. You can’t miss it, but you’ll be surprised at how much there is in there (make sure to climb the stairs and go right to the corners!)

Oh, and one more thing. If you fancy learning a bit of the language before you set off (another thing I firmly believe in before you visit another country) Duolingo is great. I used it for about a month before our trip and picked up enough Italian to understand the basics. I knew nothing before hand and this is a great, and free, way to learn another language without it being too demanding. Check it out for other languages too, and download the app for using it on the go (And whilst you’re there!)

That about sums up the extra tips I feel I can share without repeating the rest of the internet! Research is key, so have a browse on TripAdvisor, take a phrasebook with you, grab a map from your hotel reception and you’re all set! Divertiti!


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Questions?
If you have any questions about our trip or just want to find out about a particular photo, send me a tweet or email!

4 comments

  1. Those are wonderful tips, and your beautiful pictures have made me long to go back. It was March when I went too, and the weather was perfect.

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  2. Wowww you take such beautiful pictures! I've always, always wanted to go to Rome so I will keep your travel tips in mind when I eventually go there! x

    Mapped Out | Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle

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  3. beaut pictures, and tourist traps are so easy to give into! Looking for authentic can take so much time sometimes

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  4. Such beautiful photos Katie! And some lovely tips too. My sister and I are hoping to visit Rome this summer so I'll definitely be referring back to this post (:

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