There are many blogs out there that cater to the fun things to do when you travel to Rome and that’s awesome, but Rome is one of those cities that make it easy for you to figure out what to do. It hosts the Pantheon, The Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, The Holy See, not to mention of course, the Colosseum, and so much more; Rome is easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world. So why do so many people feel disappointed when they visit? I’ve had six friends visit over the past year who felt Rome was not on their list of favourite vacation spots after their trips. Here’s why:
Summer is not a good time to visit. Actually it’s the worst. The prices skyrocket, the busses and tubes are always full, the waiting queues are the longest, and not only is it hot as hell, it’s humid too. Of course all the touristy places are open, ready to charge extortionate seasonal prices but in August, many of the local places are either partially operational or closed while their owners and employees are away on vacay so you can’t visit in the summer expecting to experience life as a local. The best times to visit are right before and right after peak seasons, so September and October, April and May. The weather’s perfect then too.
You can’t judge Italian food based on what you eat in Rome. Sad, but true. Rome is not famous for being the best city to eat in. I’ve seen many people distraught over the thin crusty slices of deformed pizza that leaves much to be desired. Romans still like to argue in defence of their pizza, so you don’t have to start talking about how great pizza is in your country or another Italian city. If you walk into any restaurant you find and eat there, chances are you won’t be satisfied. Not every restaurant serving Italian food is Italian owned, so don’t blame anyone and do proper research before you go out.
Public Transportation is the worst I’ve ever come across. Out all the countries I’ve visited, the public transport system of Rome is the worst and in the summer it can be an especially horrifying experience. They don’t say ‘Rome was not built in a day’ for nothing. It seems Rome is still being built. The underground lines are very simple, consisting of only two for the tourist locations and one, still yet to be completed, for a connection to the suburban area. It takes an hour thirty minutes to get anywhere, two hours in the summer, so while car rentals are a more expensive option, they are the way to go. You have your own freedom of movement, it might be hard to find any parking spots, but hey, there has to be a hole where you can hide a smart car.
You can’t visit everything in 1 day. Not only will you hate Rome but you’ll hate yourself too if you try this. Nothing in Rome is in the vicinity of something else. So choose a day to visit the Colosseum, and another day for the Trevi fountain and Spanish Steps, and another day for the Pantheon etc. Rome is not the kind of city you can visit half-heartedly, or all at once, no matter how much of a gladiator you are. You need careful planning and patience to take this on.
Be realistic. A lot of people who visit from faster-paced cities ranging from Milan to Seoul need to understand they’re in Roma Antica – Ancient Rome. You can’t expect a train every 5 minutes or chicken pizza – that’s not a thing here, and don’t think because we live in a globalised world, Rome has to succumb to those rules. No, Rome does as Rome sees fit. So bear in mind, my dear visitors and tourists, leaving home means that you’ll encounter things you’re not used to. It’s unreasonable to complain about things Rome has or doesn’t have, just relax, enjoy the differences and sunscreen! Lots and lots of sunscreen.
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a #twopotatoes post