Just a few tips and tricks
Mary’s guide to roaming rome☺
Firstly get yourself a guide book, even if you just borrow one from the library, make sure that it divides Rome into areas or neighborhoods… this will make it easier to see everything. I would recommend the Lonely planet series which you can order online at www.lonelyplanet.com.
What you do is decide on an area per day and then you spend each day wandering around that area… you will get to see just about everything. Also make sure that it has a few phrases in it… this will help when you’re outside the police headquarters and really need the toilet. "Mi scusi per favore, dov'e il bagno?" That one I will never forget.
Watch out in the rail stations for a variety of creeps that will offer their services at the self serve ticket machines… rather brave the queue and get help at a counter.
Things to book before hand- this will save you time wasted in said queue.
Tour of the Vatican, Sistine chapel & St Peters- you can even pre-book an audience with the pope
Colosseum and Ancient Rome tour
Acadamia museum in Florence, you can even book your ticket to Florence online.
I would say that a guided tour for the above is advised… else you end up wandering around dusty ruins and not knowing what is what and inside the Vatican there is so much art, sculptures and paintings to see, and they follow a pattern in order for it to make sense. Check www.viator.com
Other tours…. Pompeii, Capri, Naples- have to eat margerita pizza here as it was founded here- and Florence
With Florence I would say that a tour is not necessary- you can book a ticket on the slow train that takes maybe 3 hours- you go through Tuscany, see sunflower fields that go on for ages- that would cost you about 16 euro… the euro star train that takes maybe half an hour- is about 44 euro.
Things to see in Florence
- Acadamia museum- you’ll see Michael Angelo’s David
- Duomo- you can’t miss this one, climbing the four hundred stairs up to the top of the dome is totally worth it. You will see the terracotta roof tops of the whole of Florence and if you look into the horizon- the hills of Tuscany
- Shopping is cheaper in Florence and there is one street running parallel from the Duomo that has a street market- LEATHER☺☺☺☺☺☺ bags and shoes☺☺☺
- Florence is very small you need a day- go early so you get to spend all day there and you can pretty much walk everywhere or if you’re feeling fit hire a bicycle and get lost☺
Ok back to Rome☺
Getting to your hotel from the airport: you can use the train, a shuttle or a taxi- rather avoid taxis- people at the information tourist centre inside the arrivals terminal will assist with this.
Get yourselves a week ticket for public transportation- it’s very easy to walk everywhere however this allows you to jump on any bus, tram or use the metro- costs about 16 euro and you get unlimited transport for a week. Fill in your details on the card and the date that you bought it, The metro works like the London underground and on the busses simply validate ticket in the yellow machine when you get on.
All night busses are marked on the bus stops, which there are plenty of, and the all go to and from termini- the main station.
WALK- everywhere it is the best way to see everything- you can get a complimentary map from any one of the hotels – or stores- for more detail you can buy one from the news stand.
That sorts transport out☺
Things to see, do and eat☺
1: Trastavere area: this is where all the artists reside, narrow cobble stone lanes, little stores, churches, the Jewish area and porta-portese market- you can get there using a bus- check the stop for which number bus to take. It crosses the river. See S. Maria in Trastavere- there is a small quaint piazza there, Fonte Acqua paolo, River island Isola.
2. Santa Maria in Cosmedin which is just over the river from Trastavere. Here you will find the Bocca Della Verita: mouth of truth, made famous in Roman Holiday- stand in line to take a picture☺ in this area you will find Ancient Rome, Colosseum, Santi Giovanni e Paolo,
3: Piazza Campidoglio- this is where the night life is.
Campo de Fiori night life area as well
4: Close by you will find Monumento vittorio emanuelle, palazzo venezia.
5: Take the metro to Piazze del Popolo- if you stand facing the fountain with the two twin building ahead of you. Behind you should be the church that was featured in the movie Angels and Demons. To the left up the stairs is the garden- villa borghese.
From here walk down Via del Corso- this is the shopping street- all sorts of commercial stores on both sides of this very wide street☺
6: Metro stop Spagna- which is just of Via del Corso- will bring you out o the Spanish steps: also famous from Roman holiday- on the right hand side of the steps, is the Keats Shelly museum where it is said he died of a broken heart, and in front of the steps- is a fountain- drink from it and touch the water it is good luck… up the Spanish steps you will find Trinita die monti. Along the streets surrounding the Spanish steps you will find- louis Vuitton, Cartier, Jimmy Choo, Givenchy etc…. so heaven in other words☺
7: Use your map to wander through back streets till you here the sound of people and gushing water… you will be most pleasantly surprised when you stumble upon the wonder that is the Trevi fountain☺ Popolo, spagna and Fontana de trevi form a triangle.
8: Piazza Republic- huge circle and fountain, walk down from here another shopping street, just of Via Nazionale, you will find via delle Quattro fontane- brave the hill to find Francesco Boromini’s church with its oval shapes and four fountains tha brought Rome into the Baroque and Rococco periods.
- *Bernini and Boromini were responsible for most of the fountains found all over Rome, of which the water is all Drinkable so fill your bottles and save your $ alt… stop at a spar(supermarket) to stock up on water where you will pay from 25 cents a bottle as apposed to 2.50 euro.
If there is a sign that says- non potabile: don’t drink☺ I never saw one though.
Piazza Navona- artists, street perfomers and a mixture of people doing random stuff can be found here, have your cards read by the gypsies or simply sit and take in the atmosphere.
A short walk away you will find the Pantheon- what used to be a temple for ancient roman gods, the only reason that it was not destroyed by the Christians is that it was converted to a church… entrance is free. See how the only light in the entire pantheon is provided by a single oculus at the top. Raphael’s grave is now in here. The pantheon is also situated in a little piazza surrounded by restaurants and café’s. Caffe della rotunda- in the vicinity of the pantheon- Romes oldest coffee shop.
Eat at restaurants on the back streets rather then the ones on the streets of the attractions, they all mark up their prices. Must have variety of pizzas pastas, gelato, Sicilian canollis, find a bakery to sample little Italian treats, fruit stalls on the street. Coffees are strong so be prepared… ☺ Trattoria- this is a family establishment where you will get treated like you’re in an Italian home☺
When in Rome…. you have to go to the Opera, spend time around fountains- piazza Barberini, Trevi, Spagna, Popolo, Navona, Trastavere, walk along and you will find random piazzas aswell
Eat a good breakfast that will get you through the day and Do yourself a favour- pack a little bag with snacks that you can nibble along the way, this will save time and money trust me I rolled my eyes when I was advised to do it… but it really came in handy especially when on the tours.
Hotel staff should be able to help with directions, and tickets also visit a tourist box to find out about music concerts happening… there’s always a chance to see someone that may not come to SA.
Wear comfortable shoes that you have walked miles in…. you will walk a lot and whilst cobble stone streets are charming and quaint after a day walking along them you won’t be so impressed by them.
Its pretty safe there, two of us would be walking around lost at 2am and nobody would really bother us, but stick to the well lit areas.
Don’t take pictures with the “gladiators” they will hassle you for ridiculous amounts of money.
If you’re having drinks… ask for snacks, these are free but they don’t give it unless you ask.
English is accepted but keep the phrases handy just incase:0
Drink the water from the Trevi fountain…. said to be the purest, must see the fountain in day light and at night… you may find yourself going back here quite a bit.
Also…. becareful at the money change counters it is better to get a bidvest travel passport card and load it calling home is easy and cheap… just visit phone shop:0
Take lots of picture, Think of me and make memories☺☺☺