By arungupta on Sep 23, 2007
Arrived Rome 4 days ago and seen a good part of the city so far. Based upon our experience, here are some tips for travel to Rome:
- There are no "easily accessible" public bathrooms, even in the tourist spots. However consider eating at a restaurant, not a side-street shop, and there is a higher likelihood of finding a bathroom there.
- There are free flowing drinking water fountains through out the city. Some of them gives a feeling that the water may not be for drinking but I was told the water is clean and we survived :)
- IMHO the side-street shops sell really authentic food as opposed to big restaurants, and it's really cheap. You can NOT miss eating pizzas (which is sold by the weight as opposed to S, M, L or XL) in this city. And they are just fantastic. A Medium size pizza can range from 6-10 Euros.
- The best option to roam around the city is taking a City Tour using
the numerous available options. Most of them stop at the main
destinations and allow to hop-on and hop-off any where in the route. The
following questions will help you decide amongst the available options
- How many buses in the fleet ? (Typically 35-45)
- Frequency of buses - how frequently they come ? (Typically 20 minutes)
- Does it cover all the major spots or at least the ones you want ? (Most of them do)
- Do they have English language guide ? (All of them generally have)
- Do they have alternate routes ? This allows you to visit different parts of the city in the same day.
- Do they have any 2-day tickets available ? This allows you to cover all the venues at an easy pace.
- Do NOT purchase the City Tour tickets from the hotel as they are easily available from the different bus stops. Roma Cristiana ORP (we took this one) or Bus #110 are two popular ones and have great coverage of the city.
- Here are some good spots in Rome that should not be missed (in no
- piazza Navona (1/2 day of fun & shopping)
- San Pietro in Vaticano (approx 2-4 hrs)
- Fontana di Trevi (2 hours)
- Vatican Museum (Timings differ on each day so check the schedule and plan for 1-1.5 hour long wait in the queue and a 4 hour trip in the museum, it's definitely worth it)
- Colosseo and Roman Forum (1/2 day)
- Pantheon (2 hours)
Each of these location is covered by all the City Tour buses.
- Do NOT miss the variety of ice creams here, known as Gelato in the local language. And you can mix-and-match different flavors in the same cone and really colorful ones. Just look for Gelateria banner on the shop and that's your destination for gelatos. Of course, you can also find Spagetteria, Birreria, Pizzeria, Cafetteria and Trattoria.
- If you buy any memorabilia from the side street shops, make sure to haggle. At certain instances we were able to cut the price down by 50%. This may not be true every time though :)
- You see a more authentic part of Rome when traveling through the city streets. The stone streets and houses, accordion play by local artists, water fountains, and many other "Roamy" artifacts. Most of the tourist destinations are approachable through the streets so it's recommended to take a city map from the hotel and walk around.
- I already talked about walking in the previous point, but remember it's LOT of walking so make sure to carry a really comfortable shoe.
- The price of eating in and taking out is different. If you plan to sit in the restaurant then go sit and somebody will come and serve you. Otherwise in self service mode you are expected to go out of the restaurant. We were actually told at one instance to move out of Gelateria.
- Tipping is not expected in the restaurants.
- Don't forget to charge your camera batteries and carry an extra memory card, Rome is a beautiful city.
- Most of the people wait for the "Walk" symbol to cross a major road. At small streets, with no Walk symbol, just cross the street like that. It's hard the first time but then you get used to it. For me, it felt so much like Delhi so no issues in that ;-)
Here is the travel album so far:
All my travel tips to Europe are aggregated here.