Travel Guide: Rome, Italy

If you are reading this blog post, I would guess that you are planning trip to Rome or you are already there but don’t know what to do. Or then you are just interested what I have to say about this Italy’s ancient city. I have to start by saying that during my visit to Rome I didn’t fall in love. The city is nice, there is a lot of things to see and Vatican was amazing. But I didn’t fall in love. That doesn’t change the fact that Rome is still one of those places everyone should see at least once in their life time and so here is travel guide to Rome for anyone interested!

ancient_rome

Basic facts of Rome:

As the capital city of Italy Rome is also the fourth largest city in EU when compared by the population. Inside of Rome there is also Vatican, the smallest country in the world by population and area. Here some more basic information about Rome:

Population: 2,8 million
Language: Italy
Currency: euro
Time zone: UTC+1
Summer weather: dry and warm, average day temperature of 30°C
Winter weather: humid and cold, average day temperature of 12°C

rooftops_rome

Should I travel to Rome?

The short answer? Yes.
Rome is like a big museum so if you are not someone interested in history, museums and old buildings, going to somewhere else may be a good idea. But even then Rome is travel destination you should experience once in your lifetime. Walking around the old narrow streets takes you straight back to Europe’s ancient city and there is something to see literally everywhere.

summer_rome

When to travel to Rome?

The right questions would be when is not the right time to travel to Rome. We made the mistake everyone should try to avoid making. July and August are just inevitable death so don’t travel at that time. The average temperature of those months is about 26°C. What this means? Sunny days are impossible to get around in the heat of over 30°C. Especially if you are from a northern country like me and not used to over 30 degrees.

On the other hand, January can be quite cold if you are used to warmth. The best time to visit Rome would be late autumn, early summer or late spring. 

rome_history

How long should I stay in Rome?

Whatever you stay for a weekend or two weeks, you won’t have enough time to see everything. Rome is big, full of historical attractions and place that makes you quickly bored. In the end, you can get an overdose of all the history and cool places so I don’t recommend making the trip just to see everything possible. Take your time and be ready to miss some of the major attractions. Decide beforehand what you want to see.

The shortest time I would stay in Rome is for three full days. Think it this way: You will need one full day for Vatican, one day for Colosseum area and one day for just walking around, doing shopping or going for a day trip outside of the city. But the more time you have the better.

tourists_rome

Is Rome expensive?

Once again short answer is yes.
If you are not careful in Rome, you will end up paying too much for the things locals can get a lot cheaper. Main areas of this capital city are made for tourists and so also the prices are high. Check out the prices of attractions beforehand from the internet and see should you book online or buy tickets in Rome. When eating, go for the smaller side alleys and compare prices of different restaurants.

rome_colosseum

The most important tourist attractions

  • Colosseum, Forum Romanum, and Palatine Hill: These are maybe the three most important landmarks and tourist attractions in Rome. You can access all of them with the same ticket valid for two days. Just remember that you should start from Palatine and buy your ticket from there. We got inside with no waiting at all because there was literally no queue. After that, you can go to the shorter line in Colosseum.
  • Spanish Steps: It’s long tradition for tourists to take a break and sit on these steps while writing postcards to send back home. Perfect place for people watching (Following those vendors who try to sell everything touristy is too much fun!) but also amazing opportunity to see the beautiful view to Rome if you just have the patience to climb up.
  • Piazza Navona: Souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants. Piazza Navona is one of the most popular places to hang out for tourists. Wander around the small streets, visit churches and just enjoy the atmosphere this plaza offers.
  • Capuchin Crypt: One of the most unique attractions in Rome. This crypt has remains of 3 700 humans. Their skeletons make out most of the crypt and its decorations. Definitely part of Rome’s history but a little different take on it. Not for easily scared people!
  • Vittoriano: Huge white monument honors the first king of Italy. It’s nice to see from outside but mentioned on my Rome travel guide for a totally different reason. What many people don’t know is that you can take lift up to the top part of this monument and see beautiful panorama view to the city.

vatican_museum

Vatican

Vatican is small country inside of Rome and one of those places you shouldn’t skip at any price. It is worth of using one full day so it also deserves its own post in my blog. Next Wednesday I will publish small post full of information about Vatican and all the travel tips I learned while visiting there. For nor I can just say a few things…

  • Buy your tickets beforehand or you will wait in line for hours.
  • Take a guided tour to their gardens! It’s totally worth it.
  • There are too many people everywhere.
  • Read the map before exploring Vatican museum. You won’t have enough time and willpower to see everything as well as you want so pick out the most important ones to see for you.
  • Don’t trust the “Vatican” sign in the metro! It’s a trap. Or well not really but it may be sign for the wrong entrance.
  • If you try to find the Vatican’t entrance and decide to ask help from local, they may not know the right way. We even asked help from a military person but he didn’t even know in what direction the country is. So, have a map and read street names.

Street art Rome

I have seen too much history… What to do?

  • Markets! Campo de’ Fiori, Borghetto Flaminio Market, Fontanella Borghese Market and Campo de Fiori are just a few markets you could wander around in Rome. Visiting at least one market is must to do thing for every travelers. Pick your favorite from flea markets, food markets or markets selling literally everything.
  • Go to see the sea and spend day on beach. Follow the locals on train and spent nice relaxed day on beach. You have deserved one day of rest between all the sightseeing in Rome. The ride only takes about 30 minutes.
  • Jewish Ghetto is always one of those places you should check out in bigger European cities. It has its own atmosphere and style when compared to the rest of the city. Rome’s Jewish quarter has many attractions for travelers from Tiber Island to synagogues and from small cafes to bohemian shops.
  • Roman Cat Sanctuary aka Torre Argentina may be historic attraction. To be exact it is the place where Julius Caesar was murdered. So, why should you visit here is your brains got overdose of history? The ruins are taken over by about 250 cats and animals always make everything better, right?
  • Testaccio is one of the local neighborhoods in Rome. You don’t see many tourists here and so it is good place to escape the too packed historic areas. Visit at least local food market and Macro Museum of Contemporary Art (even if you don’t go to the museum, their yard is old slaughterhouse and super cool). And don’t skip partying because there is several clubs and bars in interesting buildings all found side by side from same street.
  • Nothing wins shopping! Rome is historic city but also paradise for shoppers. If you are on budget go to the cheap flea markets and if money isn’t problems the area around Spanish steps and Piazza di Spagna is full of high-end shops. There is also some cheaper shops if you start from the Piazza del Popolo and continue along Via del Corso street. Basically Rome is full of shopping areas so just use Google and find the nearest ones.

streetart_rome

Rome + Low budget = no problem?

Rome is often seen as expensive tourist destination that isn’t fit for those traveling with small budget. This isn’t the whole truth. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, Rome has many free things to do and some of them also happen to be must things to do in Rome.

  • Spanish steps: Spanish steps is also included as one of the major tourist attractions in this blog post. As long as you don’t end up buying something from the vendors walking amongst tourist it should be 100% free.
  • Churches: Rome is the city of churches and most of them are totally free to enter.
  • Pantheon: This old temple is the most influential building in Rome. It is best-known from photos of beautiful light coming inside of the hole in its roof. Definitely worth of seeing and free.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica: This is free part of Vatican if you don’t have the money to go for tour inside. However be ready for long queues and waiting before getting in the crowded basilica.
  • First Sunday of the month: This may surprise you but first Sunday of every month is day when you can see Colosseum, Forum Romanum and Palatine Hill free of charge. You just have to wait in line for long time but hey, it’s free! Also many Romae’s museums are free on this same Sunday.

rome_spanishsteps

Beware of scams!

As super touristy city Rome is the paradise of scammers and shady people. Be always on your toes and if something feels too good to be true or just not right, get away. It’s not worth the risk of getting robbed. Here is list of some of scams or dangers you may encounter in the ancient city:

  • Help is not free. You will probably encounter this scam if you are buying tickets from the main touristy metro stations. There is someone standing between two ticket machines “helping”. In reality you could just turn the machine to English and buy your tickets cheaply. After you have bought the tickets this person helping you will snatch the change you get back from the machine as tip for helping. Tip: Pay the exact amount of your ticket price or make sure you are ready to lose the change you would get.
  • Fake tours, guides and tickets. Only buy tickets from official people. Someone may offer you possibility to skip lines or get cheaper tickets but remember to always think: Why would this guy get any special tickets if anyone else doesn’t have? Remember also ask the price always before buying anything from anyone.
  • Rose for beautiful lady. This tourist scam is getting popular around Europe. This usually happens for couples or families, not as often for solo travelers. Man offers you rose because you are so beautiful just to demand high payment after you have taken the flower. If you are girl traveling with boy, they ask the price from man traveling with you because what kind of guy doesn’t buy flowers to his girl, right?
  • Fake products. This should be clear thing. Be always careful when buying brand products and especially if the price seems to be off.
  • Photo with pigeon. I saw this a lot when traveling in Italy and around eastern Europe. Someone will throw food around you or take your hand and put food to your hand just for pigeons appear to eat around you. What any tourist would want to do in this situation? Take photo of course! Just be aware that it will cost… a lot.

rome_metro

Useful tips to remember

  • Water fountains can be found around Rome and you can get free drinkable water from them. Yes, I know this sounds suspicious but it’s the truth. Locals drink from them, tourists drink from them and even my mom ended up drinking the fountain water (before our trip she was totally against it). Just check carefully that the fountain you are using is truly for drinking and not just for decoration. If others drink from it, there is big possibility that you can too.
  • You can skip the longest lines if you are clever. Traveling to Rome means waiting in queues for too long whatever you do. However with small research and clever thinking you can skip the longest lines. We mentioned these things already but here is two examples: For Vatican buy your tickets beforehand and there is almost no waiting. When visiting Colosseum go first to Palatine hill where you can buy the ticket right away. Instead of few hours of standing in line in front of Colosseum you only have to wait for about half an hour.
  • Always carry big scarf with you. No, this doesn’t have anything to do with chilly weather or covering yourself from the sun. Churches and other sacred places in Rome have strict dress-code. You can’t enter if your knees or shoulders are showing. During the summer months top and shorts seem like luxurious choice but it means churches are off limit for you. Except if you follow my tip and cover yourself with scarf when needed.
  • Some locals enjoy “siesta”. This means that there is shops and restaurants closed during afternoon hours but it depends a lot from area to area and even from shop to shop. People in Rome usually eat later at evening so you should too.
  • Use metros or trams and save yourself from terrible bus journey. Streets in Rome are narrow and often full of traffic. We didn’t use any buses during our trip but that was because many people warned us about them before we left. Metros and trams are easy to use and don’t get stuck to bad traffic!

airplane

I saw Rome, what now?

Have you spent more than enough time exploring Rome but still feel like you could continue your adventure to somewhere else? Don’t worry! I am expert at making long and difficult travel plans so here is a few possible ways you can continue your trip from Rome to somewhere else in Italy or Europe.

  • Train: Taking a train from Rome is maybe the easiest and fastest way to get Around Italy. Some tickets are a little expensive so it’s good to buy your trip beforehand. However there is some cities you can reach with only using ten to twenty euros. I recommend cities like Nice, Florence and Pisa.
  • Long distance bus: This is slower alternative for trains but also often cheaper when we talk about longer distances. Remember always check the current rates for trains and buses so you will know which one to pick. Taking night bus is easy way to move between two cities but it’s good to know that Rome’s main bus station is kind of shady and chaotic. I recommend using buses for places like Venice, Milan or Verona. If you want to go outside of Italy, Zurich or Ljubljana are interesting destination accessible by cheap buses.
  • Airplane: Rome is big centric city in Europe so many low-cost airlines fly around the continent from there. At least right now you can get flight to many countries only with 20€. (This is not advertising in any way but I use SkyScanner to find my cheap flights. Currently they are the only website I know with working “Fly Anywhere” option.) Those twenty euros flights I found were destinations like Bulgaria, Malta, France and Romania.
  • Cruise: Many cruises visit Rome or leave/end up in Rome. So, what would be better way to continue your holiday than board luxurious cruise ship? Some of these cruises sail around Mediterranean Sea visiting France, Spain, Greece and other cities in Italy while some ships sail even further.

colosseum_rome

So, this was my Rome travel guide for anyone who is planning their trip. It was first time I write guide like this so any feedback would be nice. Do you want to see more guides like this? I had fun writing so whatever your answer is there will be probably more posts like this coming. Sorry! Have you ever visited Rome or do you have any tips I forgot to mention? All comments are welcome like always.

Also don’t forget to follow my InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

With love,

Lost Viivi

Photo Diary: Rome

Welcome to yet another photo travel diary! This time we will visit Rome and I will share some photos from this trip I made with my mom a few weeks ago. This time I won’t add any text or explanations but just let the images tell you the story of our trip. Be prepared for too many photos of old buildings but also some sides of Rome you won’t see as often in travel diaries. Enjoy!

airplane

rome

tourists_rome

summer_rome

rooftops_rome

Rome Pyramid

rome_breakfast

rome_metro

rome_history

ancient_rome

rome_colosseum

colosseum_rome

sidestreet_rome

church_rome

spanish_steps

rome_spanishsteps

Different side of Rome

streetart_rome

Street art Rome

Side street of Rome

Different side of Rome

And there was some photos from my Rome trip. If you look at the closely, you can clearly see in what part of the trip my mum left back home and I was left behind alone to Rome. (I will give you tip: street art is my passion!) Have you ever visited Rome or do you maybe recognize any of the places seen in my photos? Like always all comments are more than welcome!

Don’t forget to follow my InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

With love,

Lost Viivi

Road Trip Hacks: Ideas In A Bucket!

Hello everyone! Because I suck at things related to cars (and planning) it’s good to have someone else to do it for me. After a long time I have guest post here my blog and Jonathan has written interesting article about road trip hacks and things everyone should remember when going for road trip. Enjoy his article and tell your own tips for road trips in the comments!

Road Trip Hacks

It’s a perfect season for planning a road trip with your friends and family. Being the adult in your family, a road trip allows you to go back to your childhood and refresh some memories spent with your siblings so you want the same for your children to make some beautiful and fun memories that they can relate to when they grow up. A road trip can be one of the most fun experience of your life only if you make it worthwhile.

You can make the road trip more joyous and lovable by being organized, efficient and less stressful if you get the hang of some clever road hacks to be used along with your journey. The road trip hacks can serve as the best tool to help you come out of the minor troubles and worries that you face during your journey and make it a memorable experience. This article will enlist some road trip hacks that will help you to enjoy your dream road trip with your friends and family.

  • Long road trips can be boring if you do not prepare for them beforehand. The best and easy way to kill the boredom is by watching your favorite movies or seasons on your tablet. Never watch movies, seasons or use your tablet while driving! If you don’t have navigator tablet or smartphone will be good replacement. However instead of holding the tablet in your hands you can hang it on your windscreen for easy viewing.
  • Investing in a travel size refrigerator will enable you to keep your food and beverages chilled, and you won’t have to waste your money and time into buying them. What else could be better than your favorite home food and chilled drinks that can keep your hunger and cravings for unhealthy food at bay?
  • Finding cheap and clean restrooms can be a daunting task because most of the public restrooms are in a very pathetic condition. You can find clean restrooms by installing different apps for your phone that would notify you when the next budget friendly clean restroom appears on the map. All thanks to the technology that has made things much easier than they were before.
  • There are also apps that help you to find the nearest stations offering fuel at a cheaper cost. This could prove to be a great tool when you are planning your trip on a budget.
  • Don’t forget to bring a multi-port charger as it will keep the batteries of all the travelers charged. Long road trips mean you are going to spend more time with your cell phone or tablet. You may use it for availing google maps service, using the camera to capture memories, listening to your favorite music or watching videos, all of this can drain your battery in the first phase of the journey. So if you are not prepared, you will have to spend rest of the journey without a mobile until you find a restroom/hotel to charge your device.
  • Bring your own blanket and soft pillow along with you. With so many people you can’t have the freedom to adjust the cooling to your comfort level, so if you feel cold, you can use your own blanket and pillow to rest your head on which would otherwise keep hitting the window and give you a headache.
  • Equip your car with an emergency tool kit to deal with any car related problem that you may face during a road trip. Also, it is recommended that you equip your car with the best alarm system to protect it from theft when you leave it in the parking lot or on the road side to discover new places.

 

About the Author:

Jonathan is an IT expert and a researcher. He is obsessed with cars and all the digital accessories. He regularly posts at www.sakerracing.com

Great Plans & Lost Motivation

I am here again. Maybe I am back, maybe I am not. At least I am trying and that’s the most important thing, right? I wanted to start blogging again by sharing my future travel and blogging plans with you. I just returned from Italy and I am leaving again next week so that alone should tell you that the rest of my year is going to be full of adventures.

Budapest and Something More

So, next week I am flying to Budapest. I will stay there a few days before continuing to Bratislava and Prague by bus. I still haven’t planned the last week of my two weeks adventure in east Europe so if anyone has any recommendations of cities to visit I would be more than happy to hear them. Budapest has been on my “visit as soon as possible” list for some time now so when I got good flight deal there was no way for me to skip this possibility. The other places I am going to visit are just extra thing to make this adventure perfect.

Iceland and NEW YORK

I have wanted to visit Iceland for the longest time but combining it with my first USA trip is like a dream come true. I am going to New York. NEW YORK!! Can you believe that? I surely don’t. My trip happens in November and December. I will be staying almost week in Iceland and after that a few weeks in New York. Once again if you have any recommendations or travel tips for these destinations I would appreciate any help. The trip is going to be even better because I will meet one of my travel blogger friends in Iceland. It’s always so amazing to see someone else who is as passionate as I am about traveling and writing about it.

Copenhagen and Malmö, maybe?

Because I have long free period between this east Europe adventure and my trip to Iceland and USA there is enough space for one more bigger trip. I have been thinking about going to Copenhagen and Malmö. It’s not that expensive from Finland and both of these cities seem interesting. Has anyone visited them? Are they worth of going? Or then if I can get cheap deal I will literally go anywhere. We will see…

Remote Open University

And for those who don’t know yet… I think that I have finally found the right university path for myself! This autumn I will start studying towards creative writing degree in Finnish remote open university. After I have used about three years (if I don’t run out of money first…) to studying I will transfer to “real university” and graduate from there. Then I just have to start looking for interesting master’s degree. For the first time I think that this will be the thing I can study for the next three years or even longer.

Working, working, working…

To live this life style I have decided (paying for open university tuition and traveling too much for my own good…) I have to earn money. Currently I am working on Fiverr and have my main income coming from there. I have also been thinking about finding other freelancer sites like Fiverr to get even more customers. I haven’t yet found way to make money with my blog but I am not even sure if I want.

Plans for my blog

And finally we can talk about some plans for my blog. I am currently trying to make proper time for blogging in my not very busy schedule but I have lost my motivation. I think it must be because so many people are reading what I have to say and it’s stressing me out too much. I will try to return to my two times a week schedule. I have already planned a posts for the next few weeks and I have at least one guest post coming up here in my blog next Wednesday. There is also many travel stories I haven’t yet shared with you so hopefully I will find my motivation and write about them.

Also don’t forget to follow my InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

Like always all comments are welcome and I would appreciate all travel tips for the destinations I have mentioned. What do people do when they have lost blogging motivation? I truly want to write more but it is just so hard to start…

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love,

Lost Viivi

Travel Rant: Dear Mom & Dad…

Warning! Very personal rant ahead…

 

Dear mom & dad,

(and all other family members, friends and curious strangers),

you can’t stop me so please let me do my own thing. Sorry.

I didn’t know how to tell this for you face to face so here I am writing my blog. You know me and that’s why this may not be so huge surprise. I have booked a trip. Or well several trips to be exact. Adventures around the world. I have done some planning and that’s never a good thing from your point of view.

This coming autumn I will do a few week trips around Europe. I will go to Iceland because it has been my dream to visit that cold country as long as I can remember. I will finally visit America for the first time in my life. And if I get a good last minute deal to anywhere, I will take it.

But don’t worry. My autumn won’t be just all fun and games. Or well it kind of will be but in the good way. You already know that I will start studying creative writing in remote open university. During this autumn I’m planning to write a lot. And when I say that I mean A LOT. The last week I have been planning my autumn’s time management. I want to give even more time for blogging. Because I need money to do all this I will take even more jobs from internet. I have everything planned out.

I know you hope that I would just “get a job” or “go to real school” but it’s not that simple.

Why do you think I have been changing my plans so much lately? Veterinary, translation, literature, business, media studies. The universities I have been applied to have been all over the place. And then for some reason I have never found the strength to study enough to get in. I am not stupid, I just don’t have any motivation to get in any of those schools.

After reading about this creative writing course I felt like everything just made so much more sense. Can you even understand how excited and happy I am right now? I don’t think I have been waiting anything this enthusiastically since the time I started in high school. And even then it didn’t feel as right choice as this one does.

I know that creative writing isn’t exactly the most paying job. And I know that using all my savings to travel sounds immature and just plainly stupid. This won’t be the easiest route and there would probably be a lot better choices I could have made. BUT I will regret the rest of my life if I don’t try living the way I want right now.

The point of this small post was to tell you that this next year and probably during the rest of my life I will be doing a lot of decisions that may seem idiotic to you. The way I spend money traveling may seem reckless. And the things I decide to study will probably sound as useless as possible. But I hope you remember that this is MY LIFE and that I have to do this because if I just accept the normal path everyone else is taking I will never know if taking the crazy path would have worked out just fine.

So please, just accept the things I do. Because even if you aren’t here for me during this crazy adventure, I will keep going towards the future I want.

With love,

Your oldest child
Viivi