Planning holidays in advance is good…as long as you know where you want to go next. Since we’ve been on the theme of classic destinations, what could be more classic than Rome? It’s commonly called the Eternal City, and there’s a lot of history here. It’s the famous city of the Roman Empire, with the Seven Hills and a massive center of culture and religion. It’s been around for 2,500 years, which means that there’s going to be quite a bit to see and do. Historically Rome was a very powerful place, but don’t think that modern Rome doesn’t hold anything to offer.
Like most old cities, Rome is actually divided into a lot of different districts. You will want to start with the historical area, which is made up of Old Rome and Colosseo.
The Modern Center is really where most people will find themselves. This is where many of the hotels are going to be, as well as shopping and dining experiences. The Quirinale is here, along with the Trevi fountain.
The Vatican is also a district in Rome, and you’re more than welcome to visit it. As it is a religious center, you will want to make sure that you’re very respectful as much as you can.
The Colosseo is where a lot of the Latin students and history buffs gather. It’s the heart of ancient Rome, and you’ll see the Colosseum in all of its glory, along with the Roman Forum.
The North Center includes the Spanish Steps and other interesting facets of the city.
The North, South, and Ostia districts include a lot of suburban life, and might not be of interest to tourists. Still, if you want to explore this area you definitely can with no trouble at all.
Planning your time to go to Rome is very important, because for two weeks in August you will find a lot of places in Rome closed for the holidays. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find anything to do or anything to eat. IT simply means that it’s going to be a lot less people around. If you like that type of thing, then you should definitely shoot for this time of year. However, most people might want to step back and really avoid pursuing this type of thing. It’s completely up to you to figure out what you’re going to do.
In order to get in, you will want to make sure that you go through the international airport — usually going to be Leonardo da Vinci / Fiumicino International Airport. It’s connected to the center of the city by public transportation. To make sure that you don’t have to take a taxi, you might want to schedule a late morning arrival.
There is also Ciampino International Airport, which is often where the low-cost airlines fly into.
Public transportation is really the order of the day if you’re going to be a tourist in Rome. Yes, you can rent a car but the truth is that getting around is much easier on foot or by public transportation. You want to void the car because the roads aren’t logical and there are few signs. The Italians know exactly where they’re going, but since you’re not a local, you probably don’t. Taxis are also to be avoided, because they’re the most expensive way to get around the city. Yes, they will pick you up and they are thankfully metered. However, it’s better to try to avoid the taxis if you can. Make sure that if you do take a taxi that the driver does start the meter. You don’t want the driver to just take off without setting the meter — it will start a fight.
You can also rent a bicycle and tour the city that way. Either way, you’re in for a treat when you get through the city. Why not enjoy it as much as possible?
When it comes to actually enjoying yourself, there are a lot of things that you can do. For starters, you can buy a full day pass that can get you into all of the sights that you probably want to see: the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, The Baths of Caracalla, and the catacombs.
Did you know that there are nearly 900 churches in Rome? That’s right — there’s a very strong Catholic presence. In fact, many people find that going to Rome as a Catholic truly helps them feel grounded and whole in their faith. If this is something important to you, then take some time to look at all of the churches for yourself. You don’t even have to visit all 900 — you can pick one to look at. They’re not hard to find, and even if you’re not religious the architecture is really hard to beat.
If you’re trying to learn Italian or even Latin, you’ll definitely find a lot of opportunities to do that.
There are a lot of shopping opportunities in Rome, but you need to make sure that you’re careful. Bigger sizes are going to be nearly impossible to find. In addition, you also want to feel the material of all of the clothes and make sure that you’re getting a good deal. You might have to try things on — don’t just take your UK or US size and go for it.
There are lots of vendors on the road that sell fake designer handbags, but you will want to make sure that you avoid these people. Its’ illegal to buy these products, and the fines can be pretty stiff!
How could we do a guide on Rome without talking about the food? There’s plenty of amazing restaurants, and it’s better to just explore the city and stumble on a few. You don’t want to go into the tourist areas to eat — you’re almost guaranteed to pay top dollar for bad food. As always, it’s better to go where the locals go.
Vegetarians really have a great time here, because the Mediterranean diet focuses so much on fresh vegetables.
Don’t forget that the gratuity in restaurants is often in the bill automatically, so you don’t have to tip the waitress.
Coffee in Rome is an experience that you have to savor at least once. If you’re going to order a Cappuccino, make sure that you avoid ordering it after 11 am — it’s seen as very un-classy and childish. Espresso is really the order of the day, and you’ll pretty much always be able to find it.
When it comes to accommodations, you really need to spring for a short term apartment rentals. There are really so many different ones to choose from, and it’ll give you the best chances of really being able to have an authentic Roman vacation. However, you can also get into the hotel system if you want. Avoid the downtown area, as they are way too expensive.
There are a lot of great things to see and do in Rome, to the point where we’d probably have to write ten guides just to cover everything. But that’s what happens when you deal with a city as old as Rome. So if you want to go with the classic holiday, you really can’t go wrong with jetting off to Rome next!