The Eternal City. Rome. An eclectic mix of history, passion, beauty, terrible transport and (it would seem) all of the world’s tourists all coming together to create a magical experience. Having said that, I wouldn’t have Rome any other way!
Rome is one of a handful of cities around Europe that was built on seven hills – Athens and Lisbon being among others and is the kind of city that needs to be taken slowly. Not rushed. Instead of planning to visit certain monuments, let them sneak up on you and surprise you. You will see Rome in a totally different light.
There is a little bit of everything in Rome so depending on what you like, you should be catered for here. It is the perfect mix of history, culture and gastronomical heaven. I never leave Rome disappointed and I hope you won’t either.
Travelling around Rome can be challenging however. The Metro only has 2 lines and runs in an “X” pattern across the city, with the meeting point being Termini Station. If you have the energy walking is possible even in the summer months, my tip would be to keep well hydrated if you don’t fancy tackling the metro.
If you are a food buff then you really must try the Pizzaria Bonci, located just outside of the Vatican. Gabriele Bonci is the mastermind of this amazing little shop, everything is made fresh in the shop and you can even get Arancini balls here.
Accommodation wise, I stayed at the Plus Camping Village Roma, situated on Via Aurelia around a 20 minute shuttle ride from the Vatican. It’s a large site with tents, cabins and bungalows and even space for camper vans. There is an on site swimming pool with bar and a brilliant restaurant and fun bar to spend the evenings. They have a nice big laundry and supermarket too so if you are on a budget you really can’t beat this place, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
As for sightseeing, there is a lot to see and do. My ideal time in Rome would include visiting the Colosseum, then heading next door to the Ancient Roman Forum where you will find Caesar resting. From here I walked to the Tiber Island (30 mins) which is a lovely little island that the Tiber splits in two. From here you can head down the edge of the river and walk along, well below the traffic overhead. There are a lot of riverside bars and cafes set up which would be a great spot to relax from the walking for an hour or so before recommencing in the direction of the Vatican. The lines for St Peter’s Basilica can get ridiculous, as well as the Sistine Chapel. Most tourists all have the same idea of going first thing in the morning, but the lines are actually smaller around lunch times. The Pantheon is another place you must see, the hole in the roof is supposedly to allow the gods to pass in and out of. Another beautiful building to see that is very close to the Colosseum is the Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) or as the locals call it, the Typewriter due to it’s likeness to, of all things, a Typewriter!
When eating in Rome try to avoid doing so close to any of the major attractions. The food will be overpriced and generally not very good. Roaming kangaroo recommends to venture off the beaten track and lesser known piazzas for good, authentic, well priced Italian grub.
So remember, when visiting Rome take it slow. Be surprised. And most of all, enjoy and appreciate this amazing city for all that it brings.