Hey guys, long time no speak! I am now back from Rome and have started a new, pretty intense training programme to build up my strength and work off some of those pizzas and all that gelato. I’ll be getting a post up very soon about my new training programme, but first, I thought I was go all travel blogger on you and chat about my time in Rome. I’ve been to Rome before, but my boyfriend had never been so we decided to make it one of our holiday destinations for this year.
The first thing I will say about Rome is that it is not a relaxing holiday by any means! Rome is wonderful but very, very busy so good walking shoes are an essential. We were there for a week and so had plenty of time to see everything and a relatively leisurely pace. We started with the Vatican, which never fails to have me in awe. The Sistine Chapel is absolutely breathtaking and, even as someone who is not religious, I cannot fail to be taken aback by St.Peter’s Basilica, which is just round the corner from the museum and free to enter. There are loads of restaurants around the Vatican and, surprisingly, I didn’t find they were anymore expensive than elsewhere.
Next up was the Colosseum and Palantine Hill. If you ever go to Rome I would definitely recommend taking the time to walk to Palatine Hill and the surrounding area. When we were there is was ridiculously warm and I was close to calling it a day after the Colosseum, but the views and history up there really make it worth while and there are a few places to stop and fill up your bottle along the way.
We decided to head to the Trevi fountain area in the evening, something I would definitely recommend. Our hotel was pretty close to the fountain, so we visited quite a lot, but it was at its most magical at night. There are loads of fantastic restaurants are the fountain and so really nice places to grab a cocktail and some gelato later on in the evening. One thing I would say about the food is it is very expensive and there is little variety in the menus. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, but after a few days it did get a little repetitive and we were slowly running out of funds. If you find yourself in the same position, I would highly recommend a lunchtime visit to the Chianti Wine bar near the Trevi fountain. They do a fantastic Italian buffet for just 15 euros, which is definitely good value for money and very tasty.
If you have time, I would also recommend taking a visit to one of the Catacombs. Not only is it very cool, literally, they are full of history and it offers a very different experience of the city. You can get yourself a bus and guided tour there for about 30 euros, which we didn’t think was too bad for everything included.
Rome is full of art but, admittedly, I’m not very up on my artistic knowledge. We found a site online that said if we were going to go to one art gallery, make sure it was the Gallerie Borghese. Situated in a stunning park, the gallery offers a completely different and somewhat serene feel to the city. We probably spent just as much time chilling in the gardens and park as we did in the gallery itself. I’ll be honest, we didn’t really have a clue what were were looking at most of the time, but what we did see was extremely impressive and was well worth the trip. Lastly, I would also recommend taking a visit to Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. The two are quite close together so you could easily do both at the same time. The Piazza is stunning and full of places to eat, artists and musicians. The Pantheon is as impressive as you would imagine and is free to enter so is definitely worth stopping off at.
Rome is a wonderful, vibrant city, but it is certainly not a easy holiday. Here are my top tips for if you decide to head to Rome.
- Buy your tickets for the main attractions in advance. It saves you a lot of stress and queuing time.
- ‘Present’ does not mean free. There are a lot of street sellers in Rome and they will often offer you something for ‘free’ and them proceed to try and get money from you. It can be extremely intimidating. My top tip would be to just say no politely and then ignore them or walk off. If you are given something you don’t want, politely put it down and leave.
- Carry water with you. Rome can get very hot and there is not a lot of shade. Make sure you’re carrying water with you at all times. If you pop into the small supermarkets you can get yourself a lot of water for a very reasonable price.
- Be careful on the roads. Rome is very busy and a lot of the roads are not very well signed and pedestrians are expected to just walk across. Be very aware of the traffic and, if you can, only cross with a larger group.
- If you’re not taking a lot of money, try and budget. I know this sucks on holiday but we had a very awkward moment where my card was rejected because we got carried away with what we were spending. Rome is not cheap but it can be done for less than you would expect if you are careful with your money.
- Wear comfy shoes. There is a lot of walking around involved and you don’t want to ruin your experience with a blister.
- If you’re planning on going into the churches (including the Vatican) make sure your knees and shoulders are covered or you will not be allowed in. I just wore a float jumpsuit and a little blouse for when I was inside.
- Look at the location of the hotels and not how many stars it is. Our hotel was very basic and didn’t cost us a lot but it was in the perfect spot and for the amount of time you actually spend in the hotel, if you’re looking to save yourself some cash, it is not worth hitting up a really grand hotel.
- Plan your days in advance. There is so much to do in Rome and if you don’t plan in advance and make sure it is done strategically, you could find yourself missing out on somewhere or spending a lot of money trying to get back and fourth.
- Push the boat out with your food orders. It is tempting to just go for pizza and pasta but there are some really lovely dishes that are a bit more ‘out there’. Give them a go, they are delicious!
So there you go, my time in Rome and some top tips I picked up whilst I was there.
Let me know if you have any questions or any more top tips you think should be on the list. I will be back to my usual fitness posts very soon with my new programme and how I am dealing with negativity.