Rome, one of, if not thee most historical and vibrant cities in the modern world. In an average year Rome draws roughly 7 million tourists, and this is just one of their accounts. This was my first holiday destination and its not surprising this is where I caught my travel bug.
I was 18, a student, and had a tight budget, the game was set. Flights from Birmingham International (UK) to Fiumicino airport in Rome, including a transfer, baggage, insurance and five nights bed and breakfast, was a not so grand total of £270. A Bargain. Especially considering the hotel. I stayed at the Duke Hotel, situated in Via Archimede, just north of the main attractions. Honestly, this hotel was a true delight, tasteful decor, humbling and helpful staff really made my holiday. The breakfast was as expected, a standard continental. But, the shuttle bus service and the polite greatly helped sightseeing and made our holiday experience. As, I went in September, I used the shuttle service everyday, but during the busy season they limit this so the service can be used by all guests (for General all round fairness).
I am a major sightseer – so expect a ram packed three days from here on out. After being dropped off by the shuttle service at the Piazza del Popolo, I then made my way towards the Colosseum. Along this road, watch out for men dressed as Roman Soldiers, they will charge you a small fortune for photos, and they’re not actually worth it – so just say no. This is roughly a 30 minute walk, public transport is available, but walking is a great way to soak up the sights and see unexpected delights.
I arrived at the Colosseum at 9:45 prompt and quickly brought tickets for an English speaking guided tour. Firstly, I would completely recommend getting there early and beating the queues (when we eventually came out it was heaving). Secondly, the guided tour for 12 euros (18 – 25 price, at this price, you get a guided tour around the Colosseum as well as entrance to the Roman Forum and the Palentine Hill afterwards.
The tour around the Colosseum opens up the history of the Rome. An immersive experience that you wouldn’t get just by walking around the Colosseum. After the tour, you’re allowed to freely wonder around the Colosseum soaking up its breathtaking views, taking pictures and looking at some of the artifacts inside.
From here I headed for lunch – top tip – if you’re on a Budget like I was, head away from the Colosseum (it can get quite expensive), there should be some deli’s that will be much cheaper e.g. 4 euros for a rather large pot of pasta. Also, carry bottles of water around with you, there a various water fountains dotted about that you can refill them up with and supermarkets where you can buy them cheap!
After Lunch, I headed back to the Roman Forum, seeing as I had free entry! I would advise roughly two to three hours for this site (it depends how much you like your history). By this time, your legs are feeling pretty weary and tired, but carry on, its only 2!
We then headed back into central Rome taking a route behind the back alleys by back alleys I mean the winding cobbled streets, as even these areas have an impressive display of architecture. In this area, I visited the Trevii Fountain (which was on my top five list), and it didn’t disappoint. I tossed a coin into the fountain ensuring my return to Rome someday. It can be quite packed in this area, so watch out for pickpockets, apparently they are rife here – but I was fortunate enough not to experience any!
Then, I set off again towards the Pantheon. Rome’s 2000 year old building, that looks too intact to be true! Marvel at the dome from the inside and the exquisite paintings adoring the walls. At this point I would also recommend popping into local churches – even they boast exquisite architecture and artwork. Inside the ones we went into, I lit candles for my loved ones, a true memory to take away.
It was here by the Pantheon were we choose to eat, most restaurants will do set menus, with a starter then a pizza/ pasta and a glass of wine, while in Rome these are the cheapest ways to eat, that promise a hearty dinner after all the walking!
Then we made our way back to the Shuttle stop.
Day One complete.
Piazza Del Popolo.