What to expect on your first trip to Rome? || Italian dreamscapes

When i think about Rome, Colloseum is the first thing that pops up on my mind. But on my first ever trip to the Eternal City, i have come to realise that there’s so much more to Rome than the Colloseum.

Upon arrival at Rome Fiumicino airport, we rode a cab to our hotel as we don’t want the hassle of carrying suitcases while transferring from one station to another but you can also choose the cheaper option of taking the train. The airport is approximately 45 minutes to the city area. The long haul flight is exhausting that you’ll be in dire need of sleep and shower. Flat rate from airport to city is 48 euros. Make sure to choose cabs with meter to prevent being scammed.

First impression: Rome is like a HUGE open museum! It is a city drenched with so much history and gloriousness. Don’t expect modern buildings and skyscrapers because it’s an old city. Walking around Rome will make you feel like you’re time travelling back to the ancient times. There are also graffitis and litter everywhere but I wasn’t too bothered with that at all. I’ve read a lot about the horror of pickpockets and stealing incidents in Rome but it’s really just about keeping an eye for your valuables all the time. Also, there are a number of police officers and patrol cars that are hovering around the tourist spots so you will definitely feel safe. I will share some tips and recommendations below when visiting Rome.

Tips:

-Bring a hat and make sure to wear breathable clothes (on summer: june-august) because Rome’s weather is hot & humid even until the first few weeks of spring!

-Bring bottled water everywhere you go because you will be thirsty from all the serious walking. There are lots of water vendors on the streets but it’s still cheaper to buy at the supermarkets/convenience shops.

-Wearing comfortable shoes or sandals is a MUST. Walking in cobblestones is a struggle so don’t play hero and wear heels or stilletos on this trip. My calves and feet got really sore for three straight days and i injured both my big toes because i was wearing the wrong sandals so i ended up buying Birkenstock & wearing runners mostly for the rest of the trip.

-As first timers, purchase tickets with City sightseeing hop on hop off busses to cover all the sights you want to see. You can purchase online but if you can’t dont worry because you can find plenty of people selling tickets around the Colloseum ( Bought ours from a fellow filipino we met outside the colloseum )Just make sure to purchase them from legit sellers.

-Always bring a map with you. Going around the city is easy and the major sights are just located next to each other. There are also signs everywhere to guide your way. Italians are extremely friendly too so you can ask directions from the locals. You won’t get lost, i promise.

-Please book hotels that are located centrally for your convenience. We booked our own hotel on our first night and it was way too far from the city centre (most tourist spots are in the city centre). On our free time, we tried the public transport but because we were dead tired most of the days, we ended up spending more money on uber or cabs ( wrong move, i know! I should have been more frugal! Tsss!)

-NEVER accept any free stuff/gifts from strangers. This is a scam, my friend! After you have accepted these “free” gifts, they will start bluffing & telling you lame excuses to demand a small amount of money from you. Don’t ever take the bait!

Recommendations:

1. Colosseum. I nearly cried when i first saw it (seriously!) so probably, you will too. There’s no specific adjective to describe the colloseum. It exceeded my expectations! The queue to enter the colloseum is insurmountably long so make sure to pre book your skip the line tickets or might as well go on tours for a swift entrance!

2. Fountain de trevi. This place is saturated with too much tourists especially during summer so i suggest that you come very early ( which i regret not doing) to be able to savour the fountain all by yourself. Taking a decent picture was impossible but we managed to make it ( so proud of us!). Don’t forget to toss a coin too because according to roman legend, that will make you go back to Rome again.

3. Spanish steps. Too crowded! Again, unless you come early, you won’t be able to appreciate this. Look at all those people! But if you’re in for a shopping spree, you can find various shopping precincts, even luxury shops, around the area. You can either choose to walk on foot or take an experience of a lifetime by riding horse-drawn carriages.

4. Palatine Hill & Roman Forum. Another historical sights which are impeccably impressive! This is actually the best place to see Rome in a bird’s eye view and to take #ootd photos. Every corner is instagrammable!

5. Pantheon. Visit the most preserved building in Rome. It was originally built as a Roman temple but was later on converted into a church. Admission is for free so take advantage to see this historical masterpiece.

6.Vatican City. As a devoted Roman Catholic, i have always dreamt of visiting both Jordan and Vatican. Vatican is probably the highlight of my Roman holiday because i got to visit St. Peter’s Basilica plus see Pope Francis as a bonus. If you want to beat the crowds, arrive as early as possible or go on tours (which i STRONGLY recommend!) Please wear something that’ll cover your legs and shoulders as they have a very stern dress code. If you wanna see Pope Francis, visit on a sunday where he appears on a window and gives a short speech and apostolic blessing. Believe it or not, i was bowling in tears! It’s the most profound experience i have in my entire Catholic life!

7. Never leave Rome without trying authentic italian pizza, pasta and gelato while you can! Dine in at restaurants that are not too close to where the tourist areas are to save more money, as they are way cheaper. Just the thought of italian food makes me shiver in excitement! A spicy food lover myself, I got hooked with penne al arrabbiata. It has a sauce that is enriched with garlic, tomatoes and dried red chilli peppers so its taste is quite unique.

Take as many photos as you can, learn their culture and history, try italian cuisines and remember to stop and breathe it all in!

Qatar Airways: Flights from Au to Rome. Book ahead of time to get good deals👍🏼

Europamundo: Colloseum and Vatican Tour only including Transfers & hotel Hotel Cristoforo Colombo

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