The Basics of Travelling in Rome
The Eternal City
Rome has always been a favorite travel destination since Audrey Hepburn's A Roman Holiday debuted in 1953 and introduced the world to the popular Vespa scooter, the ancient ruins and everlasting romance in this Caput Mundi.
All roads lead to Rome, and it was the centre of a once powerful civilization in the world. Today, much of its blighted ruins have been diligently preserved and restored to showcase all the glory and strength this city once embodied and this is one of the main reasons why tourists continue to flock to this ancient city.
Rome wasn't built in a day
It is universally acknowledged that one cannot run away from ancient Roman history when visiting the eternal city. You could become one of those tourists who walks around snapping pictures or taking selfies of these ruins without having a clue of what you are actually seeing. I do understand that it is not easy to digest Rome's entire history in a day, after all people have spent years studying about this ancient civilization. So, while I do not expect any one of us to have all the facts and figures at the tip of our fingers, it certainly helps to have a rough understanding and timeline about Roman history. I will provide brief historical facts about the must see places as well as some of the hidden secrets.
There are plenty of cheap flights to Rome, so scour the net for a cheap deal. The biggest airport in Rome is Fiumcino and it is well served with public transports.
Use Tren-Italia to get around Italy. Book in advance to get good deals via their official website www.trenitalia.com
This is by far the fastest way to Rome. The Leonardo Express takes 30 minutes to get from Fiumcino airport to Roma Termini but it will set you back 14 euros.
FR1 Local train
This is one of the cheapest way to get into the city. It costs around 8 euros and will take you from Fiumcino to Roma Tiburtina metro which is one stop after Roma Termini. The downside is that is takes almost an hour plus and it goes around the outskirts of the city before reaching Tiburtina.
This is, hands down the cheapest way to get to Roma Termini. For just 4 euros and a journey that takes around 1 hour, you will soon find yourself at the heart of the eternal city without exhausting your wallet. The prices can even drop further if you book in advance online.
Once you are in the capital.....
Much of Rome is accessible by walking depending on where you are staying. The metro in Rome is not as extensive as most other European cities and there is certainly no need to buy a day pass to move around.
The best way to move around Rome is by FOOT.
In case you get tired of walking especially if you need to get to the Vatican from the Colosseum, here are the metro rates;
Single metro ticket: 1.50 euros
24 H day pass: 7 euros
Tip: The biggest favor you can do for yourself is NOT to rent a car!! Driving in Rome is a task on its own and there is a high chance of you getting fined for parking. The roads in Rome are too narrow and ridden with tourists, so save yourself the hassle and WALK!
Home Away from Home
Accommodation in Rome city centre can be expensive but there are plenty of options available. I would recommend staying around Cavour and Termini metro station as there are plenty of restaurants and mini markets in that area and you can walk to most of the major attractions in the old city.
Distance to Colosseum: 15 mins
Distance to Trevi: 20 mins
Distance to Spanish steps: 40 mins
Distance to Vatican: 1 hour
We stayed at Hotel de Monti, near Cavour metro. This hotel is hard to find and getting there is almost like a cardio workout as we had to climb 4 floors to reach the hotel's reception which only opens at 1pm till 8pm. This might seem off putting to some but the hotel's location is arguably impeccable and safe. The rooms are clean and tidy. For breakfast, guests are given a menu slip in which their preferences will be ticked and placed in an order box outside the room for preparation coming morning (breakfast in bed). For a hotel with only 7 rooms, their breakfast variety is commendable and prepared well. This hotel is rather pricy but we went for it because of its location and convenience to move about. There are always other accommodations available to suit your budget and we can even help you find the right place.
Nightlife & Food
Rome's nightlife scene can be summarized in one word-FOOD! It is no secret that the Italians love their food and dinner usually commences after 9pm; a flabbergasting fact considering most restaurants in Europe are closed after 9pm. After dinner, the party can go on till the wee hours of the morning and you will be surprised to learn that a big chunk of their nightlife usually takes place on the streets rather than in a club.
La Taverna dei Monti
If you are looking for a restaurant that is reasonably priced and tasty, do pay a visit at this quaint looking eatery located close to Palazzo Quirinale. Check out menu as listed in the link below.
Pizzeria Alle Carrette
One thing that I have learnt about dining in Rome is that pizzeria and restaurants are, literally, 2 separate entities. If you wish to enjoy a good pizza for dinner, your best bet is to visit a pizzeria where the pizza is cooked in a fire oven. This restaurant is a fine example of how a local pizza is served and the price is also reasonable. I might add that the portions are huge and you can easily share your meal if you are not a big eater. Check out the link below for the price.
Bar Del Fico & Campo de Fiori
This is definitely a good place to chill and relax over a pint of your preferred Italian beer while watching old Italian men play chess just outside of the bar. This well known bar place gets really busy at night so be sure to get here early to get a seat. Explore the Campo de Fiori area at night to see young Italian men and women all dressed up, enjoying their drinks outdoors.
For more choices of restaurants in Rome, wander along Via Urbana, Via Leonina, Via della Madonna dei Monti and Via Cavour. You will be amazed at the number of restaurants located in this area. I will not recommend eating close to the Trevi fountain as most of the restaurants are overpriced and overrated.