For a travel editor it is hard to stop working not only at work but also when he/she is on holiday. In May of 2012, starts my family’s 11-day long Italian adventure. We visit famous places like Venice, Lake Corno, the Cinque Terre area, Pisa, Florence, and finally, Rome. I write down some interesting facts and some pieces of advice on my trip to bring them home with me and share them with you. In this article you are going to learn seven tips that you should remember when you visit Rome.
(Free) art is everywhere. In a historic place like Rome, you don’t go far to find fantastic art and architecture. In most churches there are beautiful works of art and you don’t pay any money to see it. We are going to see Caravaggio paintings at Santa Maria del Popolo, Bernini’s statue of St. Teresa in Ecstasy at Santa Maria della Vittoria. Normally, the Vatican Museums don’t open on Sundays. Only when it is the last Sunday of each month, people can visit the museums for free from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It saves us $25 for each person. It is a good way to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel and don’t pay anything for it.
Plan for popular sites before you see them. Before you visit places like the Borghese Gallery and Vatican Museums, try to reserve tickets online to not to stand in line. Or buy a Roma Pass with which you travel with public transport and visit sites like the Colosseum and Roman Forum (but not the Vatican) for free.
Take a bottle of water and an umbrella with you. The sun can be brutal in Rome. Water bottles cost little money but when it is hot, you maybe need to buy more bottles and it costs you more money. Bring your own bottle and stop at any of the public drinking fountains around the city (but watch for signs that say “aqua non-potabile,” or non-potable water). It’s also a good idea to take an umbrella with you because of the sun or rain.
Say “no” to street salesmen. Some people get angry with salesmen on the streets who sell umbrellas, scarves, purses and “free roses”. They do everything to sell their products. One man puts a rose in my jacket and then wants money for it. Just say them no and continue in your walk.
It is sometimes difficult to find a hotel in the city centre. Try to look for a hotel somewhere else. We have a great price at Villa Paganini B&B. It is a villa four stops from the Colosseum on the northeast side of town near Villa Paganini Park. It is easy to use the Rome metro and its rides cost 1.50 euro each.
How much do you pay to get to the airport. There are two possibilities: cab or metro. Rome’s airport is 25 miles outside the city centre and cab costs 50 euro each way. For four people it is good to use a cab, but for two people it is better to use metro. The Leonardo Express train costs 15 euro per person and it takes you to Termini station.
Don’t forget to try gelato. Gelato is the most delicious part of our trip. We visit Gelateria della Palma near the Pantheon. Each gigantic scoop of ice-cream costs 3 euro. There are 150 types of them and each tastes differently. My favourite types of gelato are melon, strawberry, mango and everything with chocolate. We are going to visit it again. They also sell here Pope Benedict lollipops that are perfect souvenir for everyone.
Even when they are on vacation, it’s hard for a travel editor to stop working. In May 2012, my family’s 11-day Italian adventure started. It includes stops in Venice, Lake Corno, the Cinque Terra area, Pisa, Florence, and finally, Rome. On the trip I kept jotting down notes and some pieces of advice to bring home with me — and share with all of you. From free sites to irritating salesmen, here are seven things to keep in mind when you are visiting Rome.
(Free) art is everywhere. In places as historic as Rome, you don’t have to look far to find amazing art and architecture, especially in places connected with God. In most churches you can find works of art that you can see free of charge — we viewed Carravagio paintings at Santa Maria del Popolo, and we saw Bernini’s statue of St. Teresa in Ecstasy at santa Maria della Vittoria. Also, the Vatican Museums are normally closed on Sundays, except for the last Sunday of each month when they offer free entrance from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. We were able to save about $25 each. There was a line of people, but it took us only 25 minutes and it worth’s getting free access to Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel.
Plan for popular sites before you visit them. Try to reserve tickets to popular places like the Borghese Gallery and Vatican Museums online to avoid long lines. Or invest in a Roma Pass, which gets you a three-day metro pass and entrance to sites like the Colosseum and Roman Forum (but not the Vatican).
Carry a water bottle and umbrella. The sun can be brutal in Rome. While water bottles cost a couple bucks each, it can increase fast. Bring your own bottle and stop at any of the public drinking fountains around the city (but watch for signs saying “aqua non-potabile”, or non-potable water). I also recommend carrying an umbrella around all the times, for both shade from the sun and in case of a sudden shower.
Just say “no” to insistent street salesmen. What I didn’t like about our trip to Rome was the salesmen on the street who seemed to be everywhere. They offered umbrellas, scarves, purses, parasols and “free roses”. They can offer you their products for a long time—one man even put a rose in my jacket and then wanted me to pay for it. Just avoid direct eye contact, say no, and keep walking.
If you can’t find a good hotel near in the city centre, expand your geography. We got a great price at Villa Paganini B&B, an 18th century villa four stops from the Colosseum on the northeast side of town near Villa Paganini Park. The Rome metro is easy to use — its just two main subway lines that crosses at the Termini train station — and rides cost only 1.50 euro each.
How to get to the airport and how much you will pay for it. You basically have two choices here: cab or metro. Rome’s airport is 25 miles outside the city centre, and cab ride costs 50 euro each way. It’s the more economical choice for four people, but if there are just two of you, take the metro. The 45-minute ride on the Leonardo Express train costs 15 euro per person and puts you right at Termini station.
Don’t forget to try gelato. Gelato was the most delicious part of our trip. We went to Gelateria della Palma right near Pantheon and paid about 3 euro each for two gigantic scoops. There were 150 flavors to choose from; my favourite were melon, strawberry, mango, and anything involving chocolate. Yes, we went more than once. They also had a lot of Pope Benedict lollipops for sale—the perfect souvenir for everyone.
vacation – a period of time when you don’t go to work or school and enjoy your free time
jot down – write down some notes about something that you can go back to later and remember it
amazing – wonderful, fantastic
entrance – acces to a place
pass – a ticket allowing you to use public transport, enter a place, etc.
buck – American dollar
shower – heavy quick rain
parasol – a type of umbrella preventing you from sun rays
expand – to enlarge, to become bigger
flavor – type of taste