Italy is one of those countries that is impossible to visit just once. Even in a single trip it is a task to try and and cram it all in. You can revisit a number of times and will have still only covered a small amount of what the country has to offer. The same goes for the city of Rome. Roma is stunning. It’s majestic but it is also over populated with locasl and tourists, it’s incredibly hot and sticky and it can get loud with all the traffic and enthusiastic Italians. It’s a combination of all this plus its incredible history and architecture that makes it a must visit. I was in Rome for a little more than 2 days and this is what I managed to tick off my Rome list. Once again, just like my Paris post, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
The Colosseum – You’ve seen pictures in movies and books but nothing and I repeat nothing prepares you for the beauty that is the Colosseum. I will never forget, I was walking down the street and I turned the corner and suddenly out of nowhere I saw a part of the Colosseum in the distance, peek out from between two buildings. I gasped and then ran the rest of the street towards the monument. It’s beautiful and as you walk around taking a dozen photos it will give you goosebumps thinking of all the mighty gladiators that shed their blood on these grounds and the crowd roaring at them. Mind you it is crowded as most places in Rome are but it is absolutely worth it and better with a tour guide unless of course you prefer to wander on your own.
Hop on Hop off Bus– A lot of travelers find this extremely touristy and turn their nose up at the thought of getting on one of these buses but I absolutely love them. Yes they are full of mildly annoying trigger happy tourists but you can drown them out with the ear phones they give you and actually listen to all the information about the places on the bus route. I find it’s a fantastic way to get a quick summery of at least some of the famous landmarks in the city. It also helps save on public transport and a lot of walking if you want to visit all these places. You can always check the map before you purchase a ticket.
Eat a Gelato– Often called the Italian ice cream a gelato is a great snack specially in the sweltering heat in Rome. There are plenty of little nooks serving this flavourful treat but the one that came highly recommended was blah. Sadly it was under attack by a large group of teenagers on a tour and I didn’t have the patience to wait in line with 50 other kids so skipped it but if you end up in Rome you might want to have your gelato here.
Trevi Fountain – At first I didn’t really want to visit the fountain since it was under restoration but even in that state with scaffolding all over, it is a stunning sight. People must believe in the fountain so much that despite there being no water they were still tossing coins inside. I suppose it’s still exciting to think that the wish will come true but the fountain is now fully restored to it’s former glory and well worth a visit. Even if it’s just for a quick peek.
Spanish Steps – Oddly enough I found these steps to be quite a bit of a let down but the area around it is buzzing with people and shops. It’s a short walk from the Trevi Fountain so it makes sense to visit and explore around the area.
St Peter’s Basilica – I think it would be a shame if you came to Rome and didn’t at least catch a glimpse of the glorious St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. Sadly I didn’t have the time or energy to go inside as the lines were never ending but I managed to admire it from outside. It is spectacular and demands a visit. That is of course if you can spare the time as there is plenty more that Rome offers as well.
Supli– This is an Italian starter or snack, much like the Sicilian arancini or even a croquette. It’s a rice ball which is risotto stuffed with cheese and sometimes mince meat and deep fried. Absolutely delicious and worth ordering to kick start your meal.
The Vatican Museum – Unless you have a remote interest in Italian art, history or culture this trip should be avoided. If you are interested or even slightly curious, you must take a tour of the Vatican museum. The entire museum is full of priceless art and artifacts and the tours are insightful. The highlight of course is visiting the Sistine Chapel which I can promise is an experience unlike any other. I personally ended up sitting there admiring the famous painting I grew up studying for a lot longer than I expected.
Walk Around – In a city like this where every corner has a beautiful monument or church, it is impossible not to walk around and explore. You don’t need a guide book or any tour, this city is brimming with beautiful things all waiting to be explored. Walk around and take it all in.
Cacio e Pepe – This is a really simple homely pasta dish that I believe is local and (usually ) only found in Rome. It’s pasta with cheese and pepper and literally nothing else. It’s the best thing to try in Rome since you probably won’t get it in other cities and its incredibly simple but delicious.