Saturday, March 30, 2013

Insider's Guide to Rome, Italy!

Laura, a native of Rome, gives
great advice for a visit to her city!
Are you ready to experience an awesome trip to the Eternal City?  In this post Laura describes what you must experience when visiting her hometown of Rome, Italy.

Transportation: The best way to get to the city from Leonardo Da Vinci Airport (aka Fiumicino Airport) is by train. The Leonardo Express Train (14 euros) takes half an hour to reach Termini central railway station. The regular FR1 line, while less expensive (8 euros), takes about one hour. Check trenitalia for schedules. Termini station is the main hub for all trains coming to Rome and also the two subway lines (A and B) connect here. In addition, the majority of public buses originate here.  Buses are inexpensive and have no schedules (so they are always on time).  Don’t take a taxi unless you know exactly where to go - it might be very expensive for your pockets! 

Sightseeing: Now that you know how to get oriented in Rome, you can start your visit!  All around the city it’s possible to discover thousands of years of culture. I've listed only a selection of what you absolutely cannot miss during your trip. Make Termini Station a reference point on your map!

Colosseum - A must-see when in Rome!
Start with the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (one combined ticket). Audio or guided tours are very helpful to learn about the Romans’ lifestyle more than 2000 years ago!  And, to avoid huge lines, always reserve tickets online. Continue your trip with a visit to Vatican City.  The Vatican is the smallest state of the world, and is completely enclosed in the territory of the city of Rome.  In the Vatican Museum you can admire the extraordinary and immense collection of art masterpieces accumulated from various Popes.  Don't miss the Sistine Chapel and the Last Judgement fresco by Michelangelo.  Nearby is St. Peter's Basilica, where the Pope gives a weekly speech on Sunday mornings. Inside you can contemplate Michelangelo’s Pietà: a landmark sculpture.

Fontana di Trevi
Next stop, the Fontana di Trevi, located at the center of Homonym Square. Make sure to throw a coin inside the fountain to follow a tradition which ensures your return to the Eternal City. From here you can walk to the Spanish Steps, a beautiful square which, in the 16th century, had the function of canalizing the crowds of pilgrims that came to the city directed to the Vatican. Today it’s the meeting point preferred by tourists and contains a renowned staircase which conduces to Trinità dei Monti Church. The Steps are also a place chosen by the most famous Italian designers as catwalk! If you have an additional day, check out the Vittoriano museum.  It is the best place to find exhibits of the most famous painters of the last couple of centuries.  Scuderie del Quirinale is also a hot spot for art exhibitions, and gives you a 180 degree view from the highest of Rome's Seven Hills.

Money saving tip:  If you buy the Rome Metro Card, you might find discounted tickets for popular museums and historical places.  Another discount card worth checking out is the Roma Pass.

St. Peter's Basilica
Special Events: From June to August, Rome hosts a summer event called Estate Romana, which provides concerts, theatre plays, cabaret shoes, dancing performances and much more, all organized along the Tevere River and in city parks.  Over the Christmas holiday in Piazza Navona there are stands selling cookies, candies and chocolates.  There you can meet the so-called "Befana."  In Italian forklore, Befana is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick, wearing a black shawl and covered in soot because she enters the children's houses through the chimney.  She visits children on Epiphany's eve (January 5th) to fill their stockings with candy and presents if they are good, and coal or dark candy if they are bad.

Shopping: If you don't mind maxing out your credit card, go for High Fashion along the tiny streets near the Spanish Steps (Via Condotti, Via Frattina, Via Sistina, and Via Borgognona are the most famous). You can find boutiques from the biggest names in Italian fashion - Valentino, Prada, Armani, Versace, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana. If you’re shopping on a budget, go to Via del Corso, a mile-long street that runs from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo. It has all kind of shops: shoe stores, popular fashion brands and department stores. Other interesting areas for shopping include Via Cola di Rienzo and Viale Marconi.

Buon viaggio!  (Have a nice trip!)

1 comment:

  1. Good advice! I love Italy although the INSIDE of the Colosseum was totally different from the way I imagined it!!