The capital of Italy stands on its famous seven hills for about three thousand years. The city, which was called ‘eternal’ even before our era, has already seen a lot and could also surprise its guests a lot. Such a mixture of different eras and styles, which you find in Rome, could not be found anywhere else: the monuments of antiquity, early Christianity, the middle Ages, Baroque and Renaissance are preserved not only as the individual objects, but also in a form of full ensembles. Therefore, a trip to Rome is a real journey into the past. The eternal city has been the center of attention for more than 2,000 years already and still remains one of the most magnificent and romantic cities in the world. Rome is a dolce vita in a concentrated form: clothing stores of Italian designers, creamy ice cream, foaming cappuccino and fine wines – the choice is always yours. Rome for the tourist is a series of dozens of events, a bells ringing from the unknown churches, apparent chaos, streams of cars and motorcyclists, the smell of antiquity, pizza, local residents and enticing alleys.
The advices, which are given below, are needed primarily for the independent travelers in Italy, since group tourism is more protected: many recommendations and answers to questions could be obtained at your tour operator. If you want to make your unaided trip to this magnificent city more comfortable, rent a car in Rome Airport Fiumicino.
- Upon arrival in Rome, buy a tourist ‘Roma Pass’ card for three days. With its help, you could use the public transport for free and visit many museums without queues and entrance fees. It costs € 36, you can buy it on the official website or in the tourist centers of Rome.
- If you are going to go on an excursion to the Vatican, you should carefully choose clothes. Short skirts, dresses with a deep neckline and shorts are prohibited to be worn.
- Twice a year, in Rome, there are sales with discounts up to 70%. The winter sales are in January-February and the summer sales are in July-August. It is believed that prices in Italy – some of the lowest in Europe. Especially profitable purchases could be made in the outlets of Rome. The most expensive shops are concentrated around the Piazza di Spagna, more democratic – in the area of Via del Corso. From Termini Station there is another popular shopping street – Via Nazionale. The food market Esquilino is famous for its delicious goods from around the world. On weekends, flea markets take place in different parts of the city.
- Local residents have a very large lunch break, which usually lasts from 13:00 to 16:00. During this time, most of the shops and government offices are closed. On weekends, many stores are working until late in the evening.
- Visit the ancient market Porta Portese on Sunday. Here you can buy fine vintage souvenirs, which will be a worthy alternative to traditional magnets and cups. On the flea market, you can find old clay ware and interesting crafts made of wood. It will be interesting to stroll along the shopping arcades and visit the collectors of antiques. Going for shopping, do not forget about the main thing- in the Porta Portese market, you need to bargain. Bargaining has long been a good ritual for the local residents.
- A lot of drinking water-fountains are scattered all over Rome. Do not hesitate to drink from the fountain and to take in water with you in plastic bottles.
- It is not superfluous to take a phrase book with you, not all sellers and locals speak foreign languages.
- You will not get a taxi with the habitual wave of the hand on the first street that comes across. You will have to look for a special place, where the taxi drivers are having the right to stop.
- As a souvenir from Rome, you can bring ancient Roman coins, figurines of gladiators and patricians in togas and the famous products of the porcelain factory Capo-di-Monte in Sorrento. Almond liquor “Amaretto Disaronno” (one liter costs from 12 euros), is a legendary drink of love, known since 1525. Together with this gift, you can add the almond biscuits “Amarettini” – this dessert will be remembered by everyone, who tries it at least once.
Of course, you cannot leave Italy without the famous Parmesan and green olive oil, which is best to be bought directly in the village, in a special metal can. It costs about 6 euros.
- Keep money, phone and credit cards in different places or pockets. Leave the documents in the hotel safe. Keep only a small amount of money in the wallet. The bag must always be in front of your eyes. In Rome, the cases, when motorcyclists twitch bags from the shoulders of tourists, are frequent. Very often young children steal wallets. Unfortunately, a thief in the costume of a priest, a fashionable businessman or an intelligent old man could also open the bag or put a hand into your pocket. Watch your pockets during the performance of street artists. Often artists work in cahoots with pickpockets.
- Those who decide to go on an excursion to the catacombs of St. Callixtus, should take warm clothes with them. The temperature in the caves never exceeds 15 degrees, and the excursion lasts for more than an hour.
- There is a hidden Via Piccolomini street in Rome, a unique feature of which is known by only some of travelers. From the street, there is a panoramic view of the St. Peter’s Cathedral, which you can admire through the keyhole of the old iron door. However, the main feature is that while walking along the street you can observe an incredibly spectacular and mesmerizing optical illusion. It will not be possible to get the nearer view of the cathedral’s dome, as when coming closer to it, the architectural monument is quickly moving away. The further the viewer is from the dome, the closer it seems- this is an amazing optical illusion. If there is a possibility, drive along Via Piccolomini Street by car, the trick with the dome will seem even more unique.
- If you are traveling with children, the museum “Explora” is considered the best museum in Rome for kids. It is located on via Flaminia, 82. This museum was built not so long ago and is designed for children under 12 years old. The museum is located in the old tram depot, which history dates back to 1870. This interactive museum introduces various aspects of life to children. The Explora Children’s Museum in Rome includes several thematic zones dedicated to the economy, science, technology, communication, art and new technologies. The exposition is designed in such a way that children not only study the exhibits, but also take part in real processes, while learning useful skills. They can try themselves in the role of a bank, supermarket, and fire department employees; work in workshops or bake cookies in the real kitchen with their own hands. Individual excursions are designed for children under the age of 3, preschoolers, junior schoolchildren and adolescents.
- It is better not to come to Italy from August 15 to early September. At this time, all the Italians are going on vacation – this period here is called Ferragosto (it is like the New Year holidays). All beaches, bars, restaurants, sports grounds will be occupied by Italians. In the restaurant, everything will be more expensive, but you will still have to wait for a table. The saddest thing is that if you want to buy foodstuff, there will probably be nowhere to do it – the stores and pharmacies are also closed at that time.