Everything you need to know if you are traveling to Rome for the first time
Are you in the mood of traveling? Do you feel like escaping reality and enjoying some delicious and succulent plates of cheesy pasta? Then you are in the right place.
I recently went back to my home country ( Italy ) and had the pleasure of seeing two of the most beautiful cities: Rome and Florence.
Although I was born and raised in Italy, living in Italy and visiting it are quite opposite to each other and there are things you must know if you are visiting this picturesque country for the first time.
1. Buy the main attractions tickets online
If you are visiting famous touristic attractions like the Colosseum or the Vatican City, purchase the entry tickets online with what is called: Skip The Line tickets. These are easy and immediate entry tickets that allow you to visit an attraction without waiting in lengthy queues and get immediate access to a place. The pros of buying the skip-the-line ticket are that, they allow you to choose a date, time of entrance, language, and a guide.
On the day of the visit, simply proceed to the location specified on your ticket and inform them that you have bought the tickets beforehand.
2. Wear a comfortable outfit
Depending on when you go, it can get really hot in Italy, especially if you go during the summer season when the temperature can raise up to 40 to 45 degrees. It is advisable to always carry a bottle of water, wear comfortable shoes, light-colored clothes, and stay home during those peak hours. Put a lot of sunscreens when walking around the golden streets of Rome and ensure to stay always hydrated. This year, especially Rome had heat warming because of how hot the city was.
3. Keep a few coins always with you
Some train stations as well as open places for tourists require you to have coins such as 1 euro to use public washrooms. Although some sites allow for the credit card tap, it is highly recommended to keep coins to guarantee access
4. Avoid using UBER or TAXI
Taxis and Uber can be extremely pricey in Rome. Uber is relatively expensive compared to taxis, which are not cheap either. Indeed the ride from the airport to downtown costs 50 euro fixed price. Although other options such as buses and metros are available, if you are, however, carrying a big suitcase, it makes it hard to carry it to your hotel.
My advice is to always find a hotel downtown since everything is within walking distance and avoid using Uber or taxis as much as possible but only when you are required to reach the airport or train stations.
5. You must the Italian cornetto and cappuccino
When they say the best coffee is in Italy, believe it. There is nothing better in the morning than having a cornetto ( croissant) accompanied by a cappuccino. The cornettos in Rome are the best. They are soft and filled with cream or pistachio. They are super cheap and they taste super delicious. During your stay in Italy, make sure to have breakfast in the typical Italian coffee shop called Bar.
6. Travel within Italy with local trains
Italy has a great railway system with major high-speed trains that can bring from one point of the country to another point in a very short amount of time. The train system in Italy is pretty affordable and convenient with a great comfortable experience
7. Be aware of pickpockets
No matter where you go, always be aware of pickpockets on the streets. The majority of the time, pickpockets are in very crowded areas like airports, train stations, and major touristic attractions. It is easy to get distracted and have someone snap something from you. So always keep your phones in your bag, and keep your bag in front of you.
8. Try the traditional Romans Dishes
If you want to immerse in the true Italian experience, you must try the traditional dishes from Rome, starting from Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe, Bucatini all’Amatriciana e la Pasta alla Carbonara. Italian cuisine is known for its freshness, simple and local ingredients. Roman cuisine is deeply rooted in the tradition of cucina povera, which is the cooking of poor people. Despite the humble ingredients used, this style of cooking is known for its ability to turn basic ingredients into delicious and sophisticated dishes.
9. It is always a good time for a gelato
No matter the time of the day, it is always the right time to have gelato. Every city corner of Italy has gelateria open till 11 pm. You can order gelato in the morning, afternoon, or late evening. I guarantee no one will ever judge you.
10. Get your hotel in downtown Rome
Everything in Rome is within walking distance. Getting a hotel downtown may be slightly pricier, but it saves you so much time and pennies when it comes to getting public transportation. Areas near Spanish steps or via del Corso are highly recommended because you have literally everything nearby within 5 minutes of walking distance. In Via Frattina 99, you can find a good hotel called Downtown which is literally located in the heart of Centro Storico of Rome, and let me tell you it is the best place to stay because of its price and convenience.