5/19/2014

When In Rome!


I recently traveled to Rome with George and his 'rents for a last minute break. George had just got home from his deployment and it was also his birthday so it was a good excuse for us all to get away together and eat lots of Italian food! We booked to go away for 3 nights and 4 days and stayed in this really cute little Italian hotel. The hotel that we stayed in was literally a 5 minute walk from the city center but was 'officially' in the residential area so it was absolutely perfect. I thought I would share a few snaps with you and a little bit about our trip, (including a few funny/sticky situations we got ourselves into!) so if you're soon off to Roma or just want to see what its really like, then keep awn' reading...


Now unfortunately, on the last night I had my phone stolen which still pains me to this day! so all of these photos I have managed to gather from everyone else's devices. Luckily they still got some great shots but I'm a little trigger happy when it comes to taking photos abroad so I am absolutely gutted I can't share my photos with you!

Whilst we were in Roma, we done quite a lot of sightseeing as you have to. A few things that we did that I would definitely recommend are:

1) The hop-on hop-off open top city bus tour
We went on the red one which I think we had for 48 hours. It stops off at every single touristy sight in Rome which is great! I think they run every 10/15 minutes so if you 'hop-off' at one stop and get bored within 15 minutes (which I doubt you will) then you can 'hop' straight back on again! The tour itself without getting off lasted about 1 hour and a half I think, which I would suggest doing as it helps you to get your bearings of Rome, the distances between sites and realise the destinations you are more interested in exploring than others. I think it was about 20 euros each or maybe a little less. I chucked a goofy hat on and some sunglasses and passed as a 15 year old which meant mine was about half the price! Yes- I am a 22 year old who passes for a 15 year old. Scary.
Best seats in the house...


2) The Trevi Fountain
One of the things I was most looking forward to seeing. One tip- don't follow your instincts of where it would/should be. The signs point you right into the windy streets and the city center. Believe it or not, the Trevi Fountain is actually located (I think) in the most unsuspecting place ever! Don't forget to take a coin, flip it in and make a wish!
I totally was having a Lizzie McGuire moment- (all Lizzie fans will understand)
I love this photo- George and I at the Trevi Fountain


3) The Spanish Steps
Nothing life changing, but a cool pit stop!
View from the top


4) The Colosseum
One word. Wow. This place is one of the most spine shivering experiences ever. Even if you're not interested in History, just standing in this place is just amazing to think of all history embedded in this place! It's absolutely mind boggling. If you don't know too much about the history of the Colosseum, as boring as it may sound, definitely do some reading into it before you arrive! (or don't, there's lots of information boards). You have to go! (Tips for the Colosseum at the end of this post)
Inside the Colosseum

Taking in the Colosseum


Walking distance from the Colosseum
5) Vatican City
I'm not very proud to admit that my knowledge of the Vatican went about as far as the movies. After asking a lot of questions, eye hawking for the Pope and making my own print of some sort of tapestry, I am now knowledgeable of the history of the Vatican. Go! It's a must. Interesting, religious, breathtaking and pretty darn cool. Brownie points if you can guess the Popes name!
The Vatican
Made a print of our own scriptures! (At the Vatican-sadly they smudged...)
There are lots of other things to do in Rome but I would say these are the top main attractions. But as I said I would definitely advise you to pick up some tickets for a hop-on hop-off bus tour, there are lots going around and there are so many people selling tickets for these by the bus stops. They are all legit but if you don't feel comfortable buying them off of the tourist attraction people, you can just jump on the bus and buy them on there.


My Top Tips for Roma!

Food
All restaurants are expensive unless you go into the residential area, which is located just across the Ponte Cavor Bridge. The most beautiful rustic Italian restaurants we went to with great prices were the ones off the beaten path. The restaurant called 'Splendor' that you will probably see advertised everywhere is amazing. We went twice and that goes against all of my rules when travelling!- never eat at the same restaurant twice! It is located just across the 'Ponte Cavor' in the residential area (which is the road adjacent to where we stayed and is an absolutely stunning area!) and has some of the best Italian food, wine and prices we experienced whilst there!
At a tasty restaurant off the beaten track- having a cold beer and little dance-along!
Drink
You're looking at around 10-15 euros for a drink in most places. Prepare to splash the cash.

Tourist Attractions
Don't be fooled by the small looking queue outside the Colosseum. It's not small, it is very long and you will be there a long time. Note: They definitely do not let you squeeze through the barrier to go to the toilet. (I tried several times, much to my dismay, each time was a very dominant Italian no). Grab your tickets early! There are lots of people selling queue jumping tickets by the queue so grab em' while you can! The general admission tickets are really good value for money, but I can't quite advise you on the skip-the-queue tickets. But let me tell you- if you need the toilet, the price shouldn't matter!

P.s- the queue to the only I repeat only women's toilets in the Colosseum once you have got through the barrier, is just as long as queuing to get into the Colosseum. I had to do the most un-classiest thing ever and run into the men's toilets to unload my bladder! I must say the man washing his hands looked extremely confused when he saw me come out of the toilet! All I can say is thank goodness there were cubicles or it may even of had to been a urinal! no. just kidding. I think I would of rather wet myself!

Cleanliness
It's dirty, so take some hand sanitizer. Unless your not an OCD germ freak like me then maybe skip this step.

Thugs
Like all cities, its full of thugs. Be careful of the little children running around close to you, sadly these are the most common thieves. Apparently. Also, don't underestimate thieves and don't be naive. My phone was stolen out of my bag, at a really nice restaurant (La Vie- annoyingly their food was amazing) hanging on my chair, underneath my coat. Swift little buggers!

Nighttime
The city is really busy and buzzy at nighttime which is so lovely! The Italians usually have dinner around 9pm ish so restaurants are more likely to be busy at this time of night. Definitely make sure you go out at nighttime even if it is for a leisurely stroll once the sun has set. A lot of the tourist attractions look beautiful when they are lit up and make for a pretty nice family photo!

So if you haven't already figured most of this blog post is about food- my last tip is food. Eat. Eat. Eat. Italy is the best place to try all the best pizzas and pasta! It's making my mouth water thinking about it! And if your'e a wine gal like me, you can't beat a nice cold glass of Sauvignon. 

One final tip
If you're looking to go for just the sightseeing, and want to spend minimal amount possible, our hotel was called Hotel St Angelo and it was absolutely perfect. A pretty place in a pretty area to rest your head. Maybe give 'Happy Hour' a miss though, I'm not quite sure its name did it justice. We spent 3 nights and four days there, but you'll get all the sites done in two/three days easily. Oh and maybe pass on the breakfast, the cafe opposite does a mean croissant and English Breakfast tea!

I hope you found this helpful! Let me know if you are planning on going to Rome, or have been and want to share your experiences with me! Until next time...

Ciao! x  
Couldn't tell you what this is, but it was huge, and pretty!
Meet the Austin's- Jennifer and Dickers
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