“For someone who has never seen Rome, it is hard to believe how beautiful life can be” -Anonymous
They say all roads lead to Rome, they say all that glitters is not gold, they say many things however nothing can prepare you for Rome until you see it for yourself.
Countless cobbled roads winding around the centre, some so ancient they would have been there when the Romans sped around in chariots, now all you see are the new Romans speeding around in Vespas. This city is magical and here are my top things to do. This is based on my opinion and may help you in your planning.
Population – – – Approx 800,000
Country – – – Netherlands (or Holland)
Language – – – Dutch, however most speak English as their second language
Currency – – – Euro (EUR)
Climate – – – Cool winters, warm to hot summers with a subtropical climate.
TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
1. Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine
Well this is a give in. No visit to Rome (especially your first) will be complete without marveling at these treasures from ancient times. You can fill a few hours or a whole day depending on how much you want to see. I took a tour however you don’t need to. If you didn’t want to spend money, I would recommend downloading an audio guide like Rick Steves or similar. Make sure you buy a ticket online in advance unless you have a Roma Pass which allows entry for free (check conditions)
I am not ashamed in saying I ate gelato more than once a day while in Italy. You must try it, especially on a hot summers day to cool down. Della Palma boast over 100 flavours however you can usually stumble across a Gelateria wherever you are. My tip, splash out and buy a cup full so you can have a couple of flavours mixed.
3. Visit some churches
There are plenty of churches to choose from, just make sure you’re dressed for the part. This means you must have covered shoulders, not wearing shorts (both men and woman) and you’re looking respectable. These churches are usually free to enter or requesting a small donation they’re absolutely amazing. Domed ceilings with beautiful coloured stained glass or paintings depicting stories from the bible. Not to be missed on your visit.
Rome has many markets, some focused on the tourists but others are traditional in a sense. Rome is a food lovers paradise and you don’t have to look far to find the perfect artichoke or some pecorino cheese straight from the makers. Campagna Amica Market near Circus Maximus is open Saturday and Sundays and can be touristy it’s also traditional. am to Or Piazza Vittorio Market which is open Monday to Saturday 7am to 2pm.
5. Villa Borghese Gardens
I stumbled upon these gardens whilst trying to find the Villa Medici, however I am glad I decided to enter. There may be a lot of cars, people and scooters in Rome however once in the gardens you forget you’re in a city with over 2 million people (plus tourists). They’re worth a visit on a nice day, plenty of trees to shade you from the sun and if you get peckish there are little cafes around to sit and people watch.
TOP TIP FOR ROME
Take the time to gather your senses, you’re in Rome and it is an amazing place. Each sense will be tingling from your taste buds (obviously), to your touch. The first day I arrived I had been on a train from Sorrento (Via Napoli) for about 4 hours and was a little exhausted. I hurried to my accommodation without even getting a chance to take in that I was in Rome. I made sure to right my wrong a few days later (I tend to do things against the grain), and sat in a Piazza eating gelato and just watching everything happening around me, listening to the sounds of everyone moving in their everyday business.
Even if its for an hour I highly recommend just taking time out to check your surroundings. You’ll get a different view of the city cause remember it’s not all about seeing old ancient artifacts, buildings and churches.