8:26 am, sippin' a perfectly brewed espresso at La Casa Del Cafè Tazza d'Oro at Via Degli Orfani close to Pantheon, watching the locals talking out loud with, of course, lots of gestures, sun is already shining and we are stepping out feeling fresh to start a day full of exploring and a bit of beautiful wanderlust. Welcome to Rome, the eternal city where they know how to prepare the best espresso. Sì!
In April last year we took a wonderful trip to Rome. Best choice for us and why? Beautiful and warm weather with just a little rain and most of all, not so overcrowded. And we think, we really made the most of our escape trip to fall in love with the eternal city. So the following are the tips how to enjoy Rome a bit differently. Even to see the most famous Fontana di Trevi empty.
NEVER ENDING WALKS, FOREVER LASTING MOMENTS
If you want to enjoy Rome to the fullest - walk, walk, walk. The thing is we didn’t use any public transportation except on the way to/from the airport. We walked approx. 20 - 30 km every day. Yes, it was an exhausting a little bit but really worth it. Long walks through the tiny marvelous streets take you to the everyday’s life of the metropolitan Rome and even at night. During this time, Rome is different but gorgeous. Perfectly lightened monuments make a unique atmosphere while there are just few people walking and hanging around.
The best tip we can give you: wake up early.
Wake up early to be in the 'centro' around 7 am. True story. Not only you can see the Fontana di Trevi empty and take the-most-wanted photo for your album, the city in the morning is without rush, traffic and tourists. It is only you and the history that's taking your breath away.
CITY OF UNFORGETTABLE SUNSETS
Rome. Sunsets. This is just an absolute wanderlust for all sunset lovers out there, including us. When you are only a little meters higher above the city, there’s completely different atmosphere. Magical. Which are the best sunset spots in Rome?
The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (Il Vittoriano)
Villa Borghese Park
On top of the Spanish Steps
Basilica di San Pietro
Orti Farnesiani sul Palatino
TIPS FOR MUSEUMS & TICKETS
The main museums, monuments and other famous tourist places are always full of people so are the queues! So it’s much better to book the tickets online as we did. First, it’s much more comfortable - yes, you have to spend some time choosing the right tour but it’s worth it and your wallet will thank you for that. Second, some tours offer so-called skip-the-line tour possibilities so you don’t have to wait for hours to enter the museum.
COLOSSEUM TOUR, FORO ROMANO & PALATINE HILL
For Saturday we took a tour in Colosseum in the morning (the first tours start at 9 am) with CoopCulture. Just a little advice, be at a given point in advance. It was unclear a little bit where to meet the guide. But you have to go straight to a selected queue to cashier where they give you a sticker for your exact tour. If you’re unable to be at a given meeting point on time, you can join other tour groups if it’s possible.
The Colosseum Tour was absolutely great! Because we were the second group in the morning, there were just few people - giving us a great opportunity to take beautiful photos, explore the Colosseum and most of all, walk freely while it wasn’t too hot yet.
Who gets on the highest possible floor of the Colosseum? We got. And you can, too. Thank you, CoopCulture!
The Tour covered also entrance to the Palatine Hill which is an enormous area of beautiful parks, gardens, monuments, buildings and impressive views of the city.
For Sunday we booked the Vatican tour in English with CityDiscovery - Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums, St Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms. We met at 8.20 with our tour guide Francesca nearby as instructed for the tour. We met with other people of the group, went through quick check control and continue with the tour. Francesca was very cute, helpful and full of knowledge speaking about the Vatican’s history with great interest. It's true it was a little bit crowded at some spots, especially in the narrow corridors on the way from one room to another, but we were lucky to see and hear everything anyway.
Sistine Chapel is really beautiful and must-see place within the whole tour. Although it's strictly forbidden to take photos, some people took some. If you respect the history as much as we do, please, don't be such.. those people. :)
USEFUL TIPS FOR YOUR ESCAPE TRIP TO ROME
From the airport Fiumicino and Ciao Roma!
We took a flight from Vienna early in the morning (which is by the way, the best time to fly although you have to sacrifice sleep) to Fiumicino, the main airport also known as Aeroporto Internazionale Leonardo da Vinci. We arrived to the first ciao, ciao, come stai, and loved the atmosphere from the very beginning.
We booked the bus tickets with Terravision (8 EUR one way/2 adults) in advance to reserve seats, just in case. When booking the bus for the exact time, keep some time in reserve in case of delays or other unforseen circumstances. Try to be at given bus stop as soon as possible since some people try to sneak up to the bus because they missed the previous one or are lazy to wait for the other one.
Bus ticket: 4 eur/person one way (it's 5 eur now/person)
Anyways, the bus ride takes approx. 45 min - 60 min depending on current traffic. The final stop is at Termini station which is also the main train station right in the centre of Rome.
BACK TO THE AIRPORT AND ARRIVEDERCI
We had the evening flight back home. We walked again few kilometres throughout the city - yes, because we didn’t have enough. :D Still impressed by new discoveries and old monuments on the way to the station. On our way back we took the express train (Leonardo Express) from the Termini station to the airport due to one simple reason: afternoon traffic in Rome - it’s heavy and it’s loud. Although the train is more expensive than bus, it’s very fast and very comfortable avoiding all the city traffic. Train departs from Termini every 15 min, at certain times every 30 min. Best idea when you don’t want to miss your flight!
Train ticket: 14 eur/person one way
WHERE TO STAY IN ROME
We stayed in a nice little apartment hotel Sleep in Rome Ludovisi located close to the Istituto Svizzero di Roma and just few minutes from the famous Spanish steps and Villa Borghese park. The hotel is situated on the hill (note to those who are not fancy walking uphill :) ) in a clean and nice area with such a great walking distance from the main tourist attractions and to the heart of Rome. Found and booked via Booking with breakfast - apartments are on the higher floors, breakfast are being served in the caffeteria downstairs with the main rush hour around 6.30 am - enjoy the breakfast with locals, amazing!
So if you want to take the most of the city, wake up early, walk as much as you can, get lost in the picturesque streets, visit the main museums and monuments outside the tourist rush hours, try the local food, watch the unforgettable sunset of Rome, relax in the parks and fall in love with the eternal city.
If you're not sure where to go for a trip to escape or need some advice, let us help you with planning your travels.