What can I expect from my visit to Rome? What is it like there?
You can expect absolute chaos and heaven mingled all into one! Rick Steves has a self guided tour that I followed and it hit all the highlights with detailed description of histories! Make sure you grab food at places off the beaten path. Better quality and cheaper. Don't miss the Vatican, even if you aren't catholic. The art is to die for! Also, if you have to mail anything home, do it from the Vatican City area. More reliable postal service & cheaper! The public transport is great. Eat til you pop, catch a sunset, and soak it all in!
Oh, where do I begin with Rome. Number one, you can expect a lot of people! It's such a popular destination that whatever time of year you go, you will get caught in crowds. I was there in July and it was chaos.
The Colosseo is a force to be reckoned with. You must take a guided tour. But be careful because people will impersonate tour guides to get your money. Be sure to check their badge before you give them money. And don't take pictures with the Gladiators. They'll charge you!
Couple your Colosseum tour with a tour of the Roman Forum. Talk about a history overload of goodness!
Go to the Vatican Museums. All the art is unbelievable. You can't even take it all in with one trip. The ceiling art was probably my favorite because of its detail. The grand finale is the Sistine Chapel. Be prepared for people to tell you to hush! Also, you're not supposed to take pictures in the chapel either. Big bummer.
My advice to get to all these main locations on a budget is to purchase a two day ticket for a tour guide bus. You don't need to sit there and listen to the recorded tour the whole way, but the bus will stop by ALL major landmarks. It's cheaper than paying for one-off taxis. I believe our tickets were 25 Euros a piece. I recommend City Sightseeing.
Check out a blog post I did on how to explore Rome in three days. Best of luck with your trip and have a blast! I don't know how you can't in Rome.
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I totally have to contradict the last answer having just returned from Rome this week! Only tourists that don't do their research wait in a line! You can pre-book vatican tickets online to skip the queue for just €4 extra and the colosseum tickets can be bought just 200m down the road at palatine hill or roman forum ticket offices - the tickets are the same and valid for 24 hours for all 3 but for some reason everyone buys them at the colosseum and waits in line when you can be down the road, buy them and back in 5 minutes. Also I arrived at the colosseum at 9am and walked straight into the ticket office. No queue. I think you would be INSANE to visit Rome and not go inside these incredible places!
That said, I think it is still worth all the exploring other places too - I did a segway tour with http://www.italysegwaytours.com and it was actually one of my highlights - loads of fun, informative and we got to see so many things without breaking our backs with all the walking :)
"Chaos and heaven." "Sensory overload."
They pretty much nailed it. Rome is HUGE, full of Romans, full of tourists, and so chock full or stuff to see and do both "touristy" and non-touristy that it can be almost overwhelming. Around every corner is something beautiful even if it's not identified on your tourist map.
But... in spite of that. There are quiet places. There are less-crowded parts where you can get a way a little and relax and just soak up the history and imagine who's walked there before you.
When I went the Roman Forum was very quiet. We walked around this and other nearby areas without crowds at all. It's old, beautiful, and sparks the imagination. There are a lot of green spaces in Rome, so even amid the rush of the city streets and well-known lines/crowds in some places (difficult to see the Trevi Fountain without a lot of people), you can find quiet too without leaving the city.
There's a huge green space just at the top of the Spanish Steps. We took a really nice walk through the gardens and then down over the Piazza del Popolo. The gardens are near the zoo and called Villa Borghese.
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That is hard to answer since Rome is a huge (massive) city. It depends on what you want to do. If you plan on seeing the "touristy" sites like the Colosseum and the Vatican, expect to queue in long lines. I much prefer renting a bicycle and exploring Rome on my own terms.
Rome is amazing. History, art, food, people, sensory overload in a very good way!
Roman Forum was ancient Rome's showpiece centre, a grandiose district of temples, basilicas and vibrant public spaces.
Rome’s great gladiatorial arena is the most thrilling of the city's ancient sights.
Vatican Museums boast one of the world's greatest art collections.
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Rome is beautiful and calming. So many attractions to see, All of them breathtaking at night. Especially the fountains. The Colosseum for example is best seen at night in my opinion. Its harder to appreciate it with all the crowds and the lights at night bring it to life.
Keep a few (or more) hours on any Sunday free from 7 AM to 2 PM to visit the best flea market in Rome:
Via Portuense & Ippolito Nievo, 00153 Rome
The flea market occupies both sides of the street for MANY blocks parallel to the Tiber. It could take literally hours to see everything and while there is a lot of junk, the serious shopper will go home with one or two real treasures; bartering and patience are a must.
As in every crowded place, remember to check your belongings!
Rome is reaaaallllllllllly busy. Unless you're dying to see the Pope I would suggest avoiding Rome on a Wednesday when he typically has a Papal audience in the square -- madness!! You also won't be able to go into the basilica while there is a Papal audience. The Vatican Museum was alright, but somewhat disappointing for us a lot of construction and closed off hallways. If you do go, buy your tickets online in advance, you'll be happy when you get to bypass the long lines. The Sistine Chapel is annoying as hell, you are constantly hearing security guards shush people and tell them not to take pictures, it's definitely not as peaceful as one would imagine it was meant to be.
A lot of Rome is walkable, it's a big city but it's not impossible to walk to most sites. The trains can be quite busy, hot and sticky.
The Spanish steps are an absolute waste of time, I don't get the charm at all, if you have limited time don't go out of your way. Trevi fountain is also somewhat disappointing because you can barely see it around the hoard of tourists -- not sure if there is a good time to go.
The Pantheon, Colosseum and the Roman Forum are amazing though, do make a point of going there and having time to take it all in.
There are beautiful friendly people along with lots of tourists. Rome is a city with lots of art. The food is fabulous along with the music played through dinner. OMG it's a wonder in its own. Enjoy and take your time to savor the moment of Rome. enjoy!
Rome is fantastic!
Full of tourists ... always
I think this short guide is a good one:
Have a great trip to Rome!