I have been 3 times to Rome and every time I discover some new places and experience new things that are in a way shaping my impression and idea about WHAT ROME IS.
First of all I want to underline a very important thing here: DON’T USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION! It sounds unusual and maybe somehow new, but I do mean it. I have never experienced such a stress of being pick pocketed anywhere in the world as I have been in Rome! This can happen when you step into the bus/metro/tram or when you want to step out of it and the scariest thing is that these pickpockets aren’t always strange or suspicious looking men. I have witnessed few cases like that and in all circumstances were different people: from old Asian men to young Italian looking men, but this doesn’t mean that women or even teenagers cannot try to get your phone, wallet or other belongings.
The “hello, Rome” effect we experienced immediately after taking the bus towards via Prenestina and here we are surrounded by all kind of suspicious looking people. You might think that I’m exaggerating, but I’m serious!
The 3 of us got to our apartment safe and sound, but our friends who joined us later, got their bags opened and they didn’t realize it!
The next day while getting ready to go out, my boyfriend said that he prepared a treat for a pickpocket, a paper tissue 🙂 He had lost that paper tissue, and we know who got it! A young, slim Italian man about 27-30 years old, dressed well standing way too close and that’s why we were looking at him. He was smiling to me… even winking, and that’s a good way to distract people!
Another day, we saw a man being pick pocketed while arguing with an old lady while waiting in the line to get into the tram (line 5).
Therefore, I want to say it again: when in Rome find a place that is close to Termini Station or closer to the city center. If you have a place that’s far from the station and you don’t want to get a taxi, the best way to avoid pickpockets are:
- to put all your expensive things, including your passport inside your luggage and have one of your hands free. It will be much harder for them to open a trolley
- don’t get distracted, just keep focus
- don’t go out with your expensive jewelries in the timelight, better keep them home or limit the quantity to the minimum
- keep your cameras in their bags with the zipper towards your body and not otherwise. You can use some of the space for our wallet or some small cash
- always make sure you have small money on you, especially when you buy some drinks or food outside or on crowded places
- don’t try to show off with your expensive things, unless you have a private car or are willing to pay taxi fees to take you from one point to another, you’ll be safe and won’t feel any stress
- if you go out to clubs or parties, make sure you don’t take with you valuable things, instead of your cards, take cash and not your passport but always a copy of it!
- don’t get drunk…..but if you plan to party hard, take some precautious measures and make sure that you have some trustworthy people to take you home safe and sound
- if you take public transportation, wait (when time is on your side) for an emptier bus, tram or subway. If you cannot wait, then be aware of people around you, those with a backpack or one shoulder bag should be kept at distance or at least be aware that those are most likely to be pickpockets. I’m saying this because, in all cases we have witnessed such events, all had a bag like that!
I love Rome and that’s why I go there whenever I have an occasion…it sounds crazy after all I have said earlier, but Rome is an amazing place to go.
My top 13 places to visit in Rome are:
- Colloseo and Pallatino
- Roman Forum
- Piazza Venezia
- Fontana di Trevi
- Piazza di Espagna
- Piazza Navona
- Piazza del Popolo
- Villa Borghese
- Villa deiQuintili
- Castello del Angelo
- St. Peter Basilic (Vatican)
- Catacombs and much much more!
Beside these top places to visit, there are many others. Roma is beautiful and full of surprises when you explore it without a map. Take a route and check your map once in a while to see if you’re not missing some important sights, but try to get the most out of this amazing city not by bus or other means of transportation, but by bike or on foot.
Catholic or not, do enter some churches (the entrance is free of charge!) and see some of the remarkable pieces of art from world famous artists to local famous artists. They are edifices where people pray, therefore don’t forget to be discreet and not to make a lot of noise, especially during the prayers (check at the entrance the schedules – orari messe).
Now that you’re able to plan your itinerary (itineraries)in Rome and are aware of all the challenges that a local and a tourist will face on equal measure, it’s time to talk about another aspect of this trip: accommodation.
We have found via housetrip a very nice apartment in Rome at a reasonable price. It had 2 spacious bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (one of which had a jacuzzi bath) a large living and modern kitchen with all you need for cooking 🙂 The house could host up to 8 people and we were more than happy with what we’ve got. Also, to make our stay more comfy, we had a huge aquarium with a lonely fish in it. It was nice to watch it swimming, especially after long days out. If you want to stay there as well, look for the apartment of Cristina and Massimiliano 🙂
If you go to Vatican and feel hungry, then you should go to restaurants that aren’t in the very proximity of Vatican. Walk some distance and then start looking for a restaurant. Usually those nearby touristic places will be expensive and the food won’t be as tastier as those that are targeting locals 😉 We have found a very nice restaurant with good food at good prices somewhere in between Vatican and Castello di Sant’Angelo.
I don’t remember the name of it, but if I find a picture from that place, I’m going to update this information for you.
Talking about dinning out, I have another remark to make: in Rome you have to pay for service and the lowest fee we have seen was 1 euro per person!
We have rented an apartment and we were having our breakfasts and dinners home, with products bought at Auchan. The only meals we were buying were our lunches and ice creams 🙂
I hope that a trip to Rome won’t sound dangerous for you and that you’ll go there no matter what. Rome is not like any other city in Europe and its history and one time richness is seen at almost every corner you take.
Travel safe and wise!