I had been wanting to go to Rome for about 8 years and I was finally able to scratch that off my bucket list a few months ago 🙂
I took advantage of the fact that I was in Prague for a conference and decided to spend the rest of the week in beautiful Rome with my sister. What a city. I must admit right off the bat, it’s not as magical as I expected.
Let me explain. There are tourists, EVERYWHERE. Everything is expensive unless you leave the city centre. Most restaurants are tourist traps which means overly expensive and not authentic Italian cuisine. There are people trying to sell you things at every corner. They charge a ridiculous amount of money to visit everything. The Ciampino Airport is a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, Rome is beautiful. It was just much more touristic and rude than I could have ever imagined.
Now to the positive part! The architecture and history is amazing. Cobble stone streets at every corner, so many beautiful churches, tons of ruins, etc. My most memorable experience is by far the Pantheon. I studied architecture and art history. I’ve been dreaming to see the Pantheon since I learned about it and it was more incredible than I imagined. I legit walked out almost in tears because I was so happy. The Colosseum is worth seeing from the inside. It’s so much bigger in real life. So is the Roman Forum – worth seeing.
The Vatican will take a whole day if you take your time- no joke. The museums, I found to be extremely confusing to get around and a lot of rooms were closed. I recommend buying a tour package because you get to go directly from the museums, to inside the St Peter’s Basilica through a passage way. We didn’t do that and had to walk all the way around which can be exhausting after a whole day of walking. As a tip, there are two lines to get into the Vatican: the normal regular line (which is ginormous) and the entrance to see the “Holy Door”. Go in through that entrance. A bunch of volunteers will ask you “what do you want to see?” just tell them “the Holy Door” and you’ll walk right in and skip the giant line.
We spent a couple nights walking around the Trastevere. It’s so lively there! Full of students, bars, restaurants at affordable prices, etc. This is where we would go for some drinks at night. There’s also a nice lookout but you have to trek a lot of steps to get there. It’s called Terrazza del Gianicolo. We tried to find it to watch the sunset over the city but didn’t make it on time 😦
Make sure to grab a map or use your phone because I have a very good sense of direction and I got lost several times in Rome. The streets are all in weird angles so you think you’re walking North but you’re actually walking North East or something. I realised on the very last day that google maps will show you where you are even if you have no wifi and airplane mode on. WHAT! It would’ve saved us from getting lost several times lol
If you have any questions please feel free to ask ! 🙂