The best thing to do in Rome is to get lost because around every corner in the intricate historical city is another amazing site and one flick of the guide book and you will find it has a plethora of history.
The sights, the smells, the people, the buzz, whenever I’m in Rome I’m floating and not because I have vino with every meal (well maybe that has a little to do with it) it’s a magical city.
There are however a few things you should and shouldn’t do when visiting. Here are some of my DO’S and DON’TS when exploring the ancient city.
Don’t go on a tour in Rome, it’s better to use a map and walk around getting lost. Three blocks in any direction and you will find another famous Roman ruin, fountain, church or something fascinating.
Do check out the Pantheon and have dinner in the square, Piazza della Rotonda. There’s nothing like pasta and vino on a balmy Roman evening with the two thousand year old Pantheon as your back-drop. For a cheaper option check out the restaurants in the alleys adjacent to the structure. You must go inside the Pantheon, it can get very busy if you hit the crowds, try and time your visit. Mind your valuables as pickpockets do work the area.
Do visit the Spanish Steps, with its irregular butterfly design, the beautiful “Scalina Spagna” are just one of these must see places when in Rome and a great example of Roman Baroque Style. It’s a great place to just sit down and enjoy the atmosphere and views of the Eternal City. The stairs connect the lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper piazza Trinita dei Monti, with its beautiful twin tower church dominating the skyline. Stroll the narrow streets, glance in the boutiques and enjoy a gelato.
Do check out the Colosseum and let your imagination run wild. Spend some time walking around and lose yourself in history. Between 50,00 to 80,000 spectators would flock to the amphitheater to for gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas.
Don’t pose with a “fake” gladiator unless you are prepared to pay him something outrageous like 10 Euros for the picture.
Do check out the Vatican. Although it can be a hassle lining up with the hoards it really is worth the visit. It’s not necessary to do an expensive Vat tour, it you want to know who sculpted/painted what, pick up a book in the Vatican bookstore (printed in multiple languages) that describes the art in St.Peter’s basilica and elsewhere.
Do not, take a photo in the Vatican, the Vatican police are very serious about enforcing the “no photo” rule, so make sure you don’t get in trouble.
Do dress appropriately. Pack a scarf to cover your shoulders and try to cover your legs for the Sistine chapel.
Do grab a business card of the hotel you are staying at on your way out, just incase you lose your way home. Rome is an intricate city and easy to get lost in. It also has the local language on it so you can ask the locals which direction or even the taxi driver if you’re too tired to walk home.
Enjoy your Roman holiday!
Happy Travels. Laura XX