Monday, 20 May 2013

Do(n't) Do As The Romans Did.

However, maybe it was due to the Last Minute nature of my trip or the panic that in my two weeks of settling into life at home I'd lost my Travelling Knack, but when in Rome I made a few Pizza shaped faux pass, and so, despite my arrogant, borderline obnoxious, confidence when travelling, my list of Top Awesome Travel Tips: Rome Edition was born. Stay tuned for my Totally Unflawed Guide To Rome.*

*I accept no legal responsibility for the ridiculous situations my tips may get you in i.e. being chatted up by a Gladiator outside the Colleseum within two hours of being in Rome.

Top Travelling Tip #1) The Pope.

"A trip Tuesday to Thursday will be considerably cheaper!" she says to herself, booking Ryanair's cheapest last minute flights, "And what's better, is that I'm not going during a religious festival and my full day is a Wednesday - so I'll get up nice and early and beat the crowds to the Vatican to make sure I make the most of my short time in Rome." The Pope resides in the Vatican making it a place of pilgrimage, and does he patented address on Sunday and, wait for it, Wednesday so I, along with 10,000 other tourists and Catholics, pushed and swore under my breath to get into the Vatican only to be greeted by the Pope himself.

Oh hi Francis.

Now I'm not complaining, it was wonderful to see the Pope doing his thing, but given my time again I would do my research and save my trouble for Thursday. Unless you're willing to use your elbows, you will waste a lot of time in the Vatican! Furthermore, skip the museum (sorry Sistine Chapel) and join the queue to see the view over St Peter's Square - something I didn't do and regret it massively. But, eh, I'll just have to go back.

Top Travelling Tip #2) Old Beautiful Things i.e. The Colloseum.

Situated in the southern part of the city is one of Rome's most famous monuments: The Colloseum. To get my bearings, this was the first place I headed at lunchtime on Tuesday when it was beautiful blue skies and, thus, heaving with tourists. The entrance isn't clear, nor is the fact that your ticket, once bought, also gives entrance to the Palatino and the Forum for just €12. The Colloseum was heaving so, following the advice of my host Roberta, headed to the Palatino to buy my all inclusive ticket before heading around the grounds and the Forum and onto the Colloseum - skipping the queues and heading straight inside. Rent an audio guide for an inexpensive price and lose yourself in the history. (Too cheesy? Oof. Maybe. Sorry.) 

And finally, Top Travelling Tip #3) Rome by Night.

Spanish Steps, as recommended by both lysanne and Jamie.

It has been repeated by many a lovely tourist, family member, or wise friend that Rome is at its best by night and while I must still have a bit of Delhi ingrained in me ("don't go out after dark!") I ventured out for dinner in the north of the city - Plaza Del Popolo - and home via the Spanish Steps which I had fallen in love with in the daylight. Rome by night is charming, lively, and safe for a female lone traveller which is not something I can say for a lot of places I have been. I received smiles and conversation, but little harassment  And with the beautiful architecture, yummy restaurants, it's perfect. Head over to Trastevere for a slightly more homely feel, but even the tourist areas are equi-charming at dusk.

Of course there is so much to do in Rome, and just as I fell for the city I had to leave but I would recommend it for any traveller. It has rekindled my love of Europe, just as Berlin did, and I am eager to return to Italy - and no longer just for the food.

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