Friday, 2 July 2010

Rome: Do's and Don'ts!


So, with Rome over (I can't believe its been three weeks since we got back already!), what are the must-do's and the please don'ts...?

Do’s

- Explore the side streets and many Piazzas. Although they might not have the presence of the Roman sites or the scale of Trevi, the smaller fountains and squares are beautiful, each unique and often less busy

- Eat ice-cream. Lots and lots of ice-cream. It’s gorgeous, creamy and often very fresh. With hundreds of flavours, be adventurous (or be like me – find one you love and try as many versions of it as possible…)

- Talk and ask. We found the Italians we encountered to be very friendly and helpful. Whether it was the police helping up to interpret our map (without as more success than we’d had!), the waiters in restaurants or the sweet owners of small gelato cafes, we had a great experience.

- Climb. Rome has a wonderful skyline – whether it’s from the dome of St. Peter’s or one of its outlying hills, get yourself a birds-eye view!

- Take time to just sit somewhere and enjoy the atmosphere. Rome has plenty of outdoor cafes and restaurants, stylish bars and steps and fountains to plonk yourself down and while away some time. It’s worth the break from busy itineraries to soak up the feel of the city.

Don’ts

- Be paranoid. We’d heard of so many instances of pick-pocking before leaving, we probably went a bit over the top with gripping our bags to us at all times! The key here is just being sensible. Keep bags shut and tucked under arms when on the metro and in busy areas, and don’t flash wallets around. We had no problems whatsoever and it’s no different to any other big city.

- Follow the guidebooks to the letter. The maps in guides are very handy for thinking about how to make the most out of days, but don’t walk around with the map glued to your face. Get lost – go down that side street. It might not take you anywhere (we found ourselves at dead ends a couple of times!) but then again, you might just find something you would have missed otherwise…

- Feel like you have to spend a fortune. Yes, Rome is expensive, the drinks in particular. But wander around, look at a few menus before sitting down and you’ll find something fantastic for a smaller budget. I actually spent a lot less than I had expected and was prepared to.

- Be on a diet! Rome is a carbohydrate fest and the pasta and pizza are fresh and delicious. So eat, eat and then eat some more.

p.s. If you hadn't already realised, we all loved Rome! Contrary to some of the reports we'd heard before leaving, we found the city to be friendly, with a great atmosphere and plenty to do. Let's hope my coin thrown into Trevi fountain ensures a return visit one day!

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