Saturday, 31 August 2019

What To Know Before Travelling To Rome

What To Know Before Travelling To Rome HollieAnnBowe
My wife and I recently got back from an amazing three days in Rome as part of our honeymoon. We spent our time there strolling around ancient streets, eating delicious pizza and sampling the best wine Italy had to offer. 

As always, before we travelled, I did a little research on the city. Aside from the best Instagram spots and places to eat gelato (lemon flavour is a must-try by the way), I didn't actually come across information that was helpful to know. So, with that in mind, I really wanted to share my thoughts and experiences to hopefully help anyone who's planning to visit this amazing place one day. 


Hands down my most asked question, is Rome expensive. Like anywhere, it's only as expensive as you make it. If you're eating at a restaurant, dishes with more expensive ingredients will be more expensive. I found a pizza to be roughly and more local wine on the menu to be aroun€25 a bottle. If you're eating near attractions, Trevi Fountain, Colosseum etc, food and drinks will likely be double what they'd cost one street over. Taxis were reasonably priced, around €10-€15 to go across the city. Free Now was the best priced app I found and was totally safe.


A great thing I found about Rome is that it's small. We stayed in Municipio I and found it super easy to walk between the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon. We took a taxi over to the Colosseum purely because it was too hot to walk and would have also probably taken a short taxi to Trastevere had we have visited. The metro is said to be a great option to hop on and off however it was closed when we visited. 


I mentioned in pricing that food and drink is cheaper a street or two away from attractions and though this worried me at first, thinking we were never going to find anywhere to eat, there's something to discover around every corner. Endless cafes, bars and restaurants to sit inside where it's cool or outside to people watch. There are home-cooked recipes in almost every restaurant and there are gelato bars everywhere to grab a cold desert to walk around with.


Like most cities, there are people walking around trying to sell you things. Anything from bouncy balls to bracelets and handheld fans to fake designer goods. I didn't realise until we were outside the Pantheon that these tradesmen, if you can call them that, are actually illegal. A police woman confronted a lady trying to buy a scarf and the seller scarpered away down the cobbled streets - She went on to explain how it wasn't legal in Rome to purchase goods from these people and that the buyer, even with no prior knowledge, could face punishment of the goods taken off them or a fine for their purchase.  


We didn't actually take part in any tours but a lot of friends who have visited Rome had said  pre-booking is a must to visit the likes of the Vatican and see inside the Colosseum as queues can be so long. When doing my research, I found that a lot of tours available to book online had such bad reviews because of tour guides not arriving or having to wait in line anyway because tickets weren't what they were sold as. My advice is do your research - If you have enough time in the city, find a reputable travel shop and book whilst you're there instead of online. 


Fortunately we didn't have or see any experiences with pick-pocketing whilst in Rome. It does happen however if you're careful and vigilant, it can be avoided. I always made sure to have my bag closed and cross body if possible. We never left our phones on a table when dining outside and made sure to never show the money in our wallet when paying for anything. Like anywhere, only take with you what you need, keep your belongings close and be aware. Rome is a busy city, probably one of the busiest places I've been. You're constantly brushing against people and walking through crowds so just be careful and in tune with what's happening around you. 


I strongly believe it's nice to learn some of the language wherever you're heading but I found it especially helpful in Rome. Rome see's tourists from all over the world so it doesn't hurt to learn basic phrases of theirs - Hello, goodbye, please and thank you are great to start and will go a long way. 


It goes without saying that attractions are busy and so going early in the morning or later in the evening are the best times, I found. This can however backfire if it's a hot day because everyone is going to want to visit when it's cooler. As a rule of thumb, early in the morning or in the evening will be your best bet. If you're looking to go into attractions like the Vatican and Colosseum and don't have pre-booked tickets, it's also worth heading to those before opening to make sure you get in. 


Again, like anywhere, check the weather before you go. Rome's weather in August is very warm as expected - The city doesn't have a lot of air conditioning or open space and so that's something to think about. For me 30 degrees is fine, but I need air conditioning readily available. Choose a time that's best for you and prepare well.


I really hope you found this helpful. Feel free to add anything extra to the comments! 

What To Know Before Travelling To Rome HollieAnnBowe

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