Who’s dream is to visit the Eternal City? Me me me!!! My husband and I had just visited one of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever been in late October 2018. It’s not really cheap to travel all the way from Asia to Europe and definitely not cheap to live there so I research all that I could so that I can get the most out of this long-awaited trip! Here are some of my tips which I’ve learned during our trip preparation as well as during our visit to Rome:
1) Learn about the history before you go.
No one can deny Rome is like a living museum. Every structure, every corner are imprinted with ancient history. So in order to fully experience the city and really appreciate it, it’s almost mandatory to learn a brief history of Rome. If you are an architect (like my husband and I), you definitely want to learn (or revise history lesson:P) about the architecture you want to see beforehand. It’s totally worth it. Because you know what to see and marvel at the wonder of architecture…I’m still dreaming about it!
Photos above: I was struck with awe of the beauty and exquisite details in the St. Peter Basilica.
2) Skip the Line.
While we are still at the topic of visiting popular spots in Rome, I highly recommend you to buy the entrance ticket online. You can always queue up to buy the tickets but I know you don’t want that. As you want to spend your (precious) time on savouring the place rather than waiting in line. This is absolutely true for very popular spots like the Vatican Museum and Colosseum.
You need to book the ticket for certain entry time of your choice. Some people don’t buy an online ticket because they don’t want to be tied down by that. But I found that having allocated time for a particular place to visit help me alot in sticking to my travel itinerary. That way you can visit more places in a day.
*Extra tips: Visit the Vatican Museum then take a shortcut exit from Sistine Chapel to access St. Peter Basilica so that you can skip the long queue outside the basilica;)
We printed the Vatican Museum tickets from the self-service machine inside the building.
We show our online booking at the Uffizi Gallery ticket booth to get our official tickets.
3) Don’t buy bottled water!
Don’t waste money buying bottled water. Bring an empty bottle and fill in FREE water from these quaint-looking, ever-flowing water fountains you can find all over the city. And I must say, the water is chilled and delicious!
4) Experience real Roman or Italian life.
Instead of dining at hot tourist spot or visiting tourisy monuments, wander further out from the city center. Many recommend walking through the Trastevere neighbourhood and visit the Jewish Gettho. However, in my opinion, the place is quite commercialised already. If you want to see even more real day-to-day lives of the Roman, take a walk slightly further. My husband and I lived at just 10-min walk away from center of Trastevere and it was a whole new world. The neighbourhood is serene, the houses are different, see people walking their dogs, old couples holding hands strolling the street.
5) Eat where the locals eat.
Continuing from the point above, we get to dine in some restaurants near our B&B where we are the only non-Italian that night! We get to see how Italian restaurant run and how Italians dine. So classy:) And the food…worth trying! and it’s cheaper. Anyway, that doesn’t mean we didn’t go to famous, “trip-advisor recommended” places. We enjoy both very much. Tips: Book the restaurant before you go. Especially popular restaurants need advanced booking, or you’ll risk not getting a table for yourself.
6) Wear comfortable shoes and don’t be afraid to use public transport.
I would love to wear my high-heeled boots in Rome. Taking photos will be so good! But trust me, you must wear comfortable shoes over stylish ones. We walked alot during our stay in Rome and our day-trip in Florence. Furthermore, Rome has cobblestone road so it wouldn’t be wise to wear heels to walk whole day.
The public transport is abundant in Rome. You don’t need to take any cab. Metro can bring you to many popular spots in the city. We took the cheapest – public bus. You only need to buy a ticket to take any bus. The options are:
- B.I.T. standard ticket, valid for one Metro ride or 100 minutes on all buses allowing transfers. €1.50
- 24 hour ticket – valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 24 hours from validation. €7.00
- 48 hour ticket – valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 48 hours from validation. €12.50
- 72 hour ticket – valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 72 hours from validation. €18.00
- C.I.S. €24.00. Weekly ticket – valid for 7 calendar days
*source from: rometoolkit.com
As for speed train, booking online instead of purchasing over the counter is wiser. It’s usually cheaper and you get to choose from a variety of train companies. We bought two return Italo train tickets from this trainline website.
7) Bring raincoat.
If you are visiting Rome when there’s a chance it will rain, choose to bring raincoat rather than the umbrella! I see umbrellas broke and flew away outside of Colosseum. We were absolutely grateful to wear raincoat instead because it just fit nicely over our body and bags while having the convenience to walk, take photos and use our mobile phones.
8) Opt for mobile internet.
No fun getting lost in the ancient city. Having internet access is good for navigating through the city (we use google maps) and searching for food and info about a place. It also helped us to get around the city transport.
♥ ♥ ♥
Though pickpockets are prevalent in Rome (and many European cities) don’t let your fear ruin your trip. Just be vigilant, don’t wear sparkling valuables on your body, keep your bag close to you and don’t flash your cash on the streets.
All in all, we had one of the best trips and experience in Rome and Florence. The cities are so beautiful and inspiring, we can’t wait to travel back to Italy!
Hope you guys get some useful tips from our trip. Please do share your travel tips with me too so we can all learn to be better and wiser traveler! Wishing you a great adventure and have fun darlings!