An eight-hour flight from Toronto to Rome landed me centuries back in history. Rome is a wonderful mix of architecture as far back to biblical days with a modern mesh of liberalism and old world charm. It’s as ancient as it is modern, and proved itself to be worth the trip. I’ll give you a few recommendations and the usual do’s and don’ts while in Rome.
Lets start with the currency. North America spoils us with the convenience of not having to carry cash, only using our debit and credit cards for purchases. Not the case in most, if not all of Europe. Western Europe is better but Rome is included with the majority. Definitely have some Euros on hand for restaurants and transportation purposes. American Express is almost never a favorite at all if you’re using credit.
The pavement in the city almost landed me on my behind a few times…talking about ancient…lol. Make sure you’re careful when walking these age-old streets! I almost busted my face up a few times because of the uneven side walks and loose pavement. I was convinced for a minute that Rome was trying to keep me down. LOL
While in Rome, I stayed at the Orange Hotel. The good people at this lovely yet quant hotel reconfirmed why I love and recommend boutique hotels whenever possible. Boutique hotels have fewer rooms and have personalized services that are missed with the larger hotel chains. The décor is intimate in feel, and the hotel bar is stacked and not as expensive. Orange is minimalist and sleek with pops of orange that is it’s signature…oh… and the bar is slamming. A major perk is that it’s within walking distance of the Vatican.
By now, you know what I detest the most on a vacation, you guessed it…long tours. The Vatican Museum tour was a long one, but the Vatican is massive so that’s to be expected. But I do highly suggest the Vatican tour, and let me tell you why. The tour places you in the front of the line (Vatican tour lines are extremely long) and include an informative guide. I’m warning you now, it’s a ton of walking but the art and history knowledge that you gain is worth it.
The Coliseum is a must see! Do not buy a tour for this site. The lines aren’t long and they move rapidly. The historical significance of each section of the Coliseum is posted throughout, so you don’t have to listen to a boring guide. Don’t let those “professional guides” that are camped outside lure you to take on another tour.
If ever there was place to have pizza, Rome is that place. Authentic Italian cooking is great, not because of its sizable portions, but it’s richness in flavor. Everywhere I ate in Rome, the food was exceptional, particularly on the streets of the Borg district. Best pizza I’ve had and for sure the way real pizza is supposed to be made.
As spectacular as the sites and food are in Rome, the city isn’t the cleanest city in Europe. It’s not a completely filthy city, but just not as clean as some of the other cities in Europe.
Beware of the foreigners that give you an elephant. They’re giving it to you as a gift at first, but will follow you around until you give them a “donation”. Don’t even engage because they’re hustling. The gypsies have a hustle too…all kinds…so beware of their schemes.
Overall Rome was a wonderful experience. I never had a moment where I felt unsafe and I was out pretty late walking around. So…would I go back? Absolutely I’d return to Rome. If nothing else, I’d go back for the food and a wine tour that I wasn’t book for this trip. Rome is a world-class city that’s a huge contributor to the tapestry of history, and it’s for sure worth visiting.