Strand On Travel: What you need to know for your trip to Rome

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Bridge over the Tiber

It’s easy to get around cheaply. On arrival get a train from the airport to Termini station. The Leonardo Express takes 30 minutes and cost €11. Once you’re there the Metro is a cheap and easy option to travel to all the main sites. Tickets are for a set time slot rather than per journey – it’s just €1.5 for 100 minutes. If you decide to get a taxi from the airport there is a set price on the side of the cab so don’t pay more. Ask the price before you get in and be prepared to walk away if they quote a higher price.

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View from Hotel 47’s rooftop bar

Pick a great hotel We chose our hotel and flight via Expedia. There was almost too much choice but we made our selection based on location and affordability and came up with The Fortyseven Hotel, a 4-star boutique hotel  close to the Colosseum with art-deco inspired furnishings. We had a spacious twin room with every facility including what every beaut blogger needs – fluffy robes, Ortigia Negra toiletries and a huge Netflix ready TV screen. Attentive staff made our visit perfect and they coped brilliantly with a lost room key, a breakfast to go request and our struggles with a corkscrew to open our supermarket bought bottle of wine!

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Circus Maximus – an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium

Take flat shoes. It’s a pretty easy city to navigate around and historic sites and attractions are close together but you will still end up walking for miles on cobbled streets. Unless you’re only going use taxis to get around I’d say leave the heels behind.

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Trevi Fountain

Use your paper tourist map Every tourist in Rome seems to have a copy. They’re handed out in hotels and they have all the key sites marked on them. We circled all the places we didn’t want to miss and then worked out circular walks to take them in. Sometimes we went off piste but it didn’t matter as there’s a tourist attraction or antiquity around every corner.  You won’t have to worry about roaming charges for your Google Maps.

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The Pantheon – originally a pagan temple now a church

Remember your sunglasses and SPF Even in late February the sun can catch you unawares. Take advantage of the outdoor cafes and bars, drink coffee and eat gelato in between the sightseeing.

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The Colosseum

Attractions can be very busy in peak season so plan ahead and book tickets for the things you just don’t want to miss.  Our trip was in February so we missed the worst of the crowds and chose to visit the Collosseum on the day without booking ahead. The queue wasn’t too long and the only thing we had to avoid were the number of selfie-stick sellers!

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Early morning view of the dome of St Peter’s Basilica

Consider booking a guided tour We joined a small group tour with The Roman Guy to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. Not only did this mean that we skipped the line but we got into the Vatican an hour before it was open to the public only stopping for a quick dawn photo of St Peter’s Basilica before heading straight for the Sistine Chapel while it quiet and calm. The tour included the admission costs and our guide was able to show us all the highlights to make sure we didn’t miss a thing.  There was plenty of flexibility too aided by headsets that meant we could look around without losing our guide. Stunningly beautiful, there was so much art to see, I could only capture a fraction in the photos below. The only place you can’t take photos is in the chapel itself but believe me the memories will stay with you for a long time.

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Vatican gallery ceiling
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Paneling includes the papal cross keys symbol
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No ceiling is unadorned!
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Gallery of Tapestries each based on Raphael cartoons
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Raphael’s “School of Athens”
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Inside the dome of St Peter’s Basilica

Visit the Palatine Hill & Forum This will take you back to the mythological times of Romulus & Remus and the founding of Rome. You’ll see ancient temples, homes of emperors and the forum and the senate. Almost too much to take in but a must for lovers of classics and ancient history. The ticket you buy for the Colosseum will gain you entrance to the site and is valid for 2 days.

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View of the Colosseum from the Palatine Hill
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3rd century sarcophagus in Santa Maria Antiqua
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Romulus’ temple

Find a great place to eat. It’s pretty hard to find anywhere that doesn’t serve amazing food and drink in Rome. The Travestere area had the biggest choice and a great atmosphere without the hubbub of the city – it was just a short walk across the Tiber from our hotel. We also ate a couple of times in the Piazza Navona which has some gorgeous restaurants although they’re a little more pricey than some we found. Eating well in Rome really is a piece of cake – or should I say slice of pizza!

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Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona the site of the  Stadium of Domitian

There is really so much more to tell you and show you about Rome but the real magic is in visiting yourself! We stayed for 5 days and found this was just enough time to see the main sights and to have time to take in the culture of Rome. We felt that we would need months or years to see everything but it would certainly be no hardship to have stayed there longer.

Hazel

We were invited by The Roman Guy to take a complimentary tour of the Vatican & Sistine Chapel.

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7 thoughts on “Strand On Travel: What you need to know for your trip to Rome

  1. This looks so lovely! J can’t wait to go Rome next year 😍
    I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what was your budget for the whole trip? I’d love to book it as a present for my mum.

    Thanks.

    Aliya

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    1. Hi Aliya the hotel and flights for a 4 night stay including breakfast was around £750 for 2 people in a twin room. There were plenty of cheaper ( and more expensive) hotels to choose from too. Also we flew Easy Jet due to timing and cost but there were BA flights available if you wanted to pay more. So you’d need to add on transfers and food to that. Attractions were much cheaper than uk and restaurant food compared well to London. Am sure your Mum will love Rome xx

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  2. I went to Rome a few years ago, I wanted to wave at the Pope but spent the entire time shopping!! My hubby took me on a surprise trip to Venice last October for our first wedding anniversary and I absolutely fell in love with Venice. He’s just booked for us to go back again this year. Love Italy. Glad you enjoyed it 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There wasn’t time to do all the sights and to shop and I figured that I can shop in any city so we saw practically everything. We deliberately avoided going to the Vatican on a day when the pope was around as we didn’t want to battle the crowds. Venice is definitely on my to do list you lucky thing!

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      1. I saw the Spanish Steps & a few other sites but the shops were so hard to resist. These days I would probably prefer to be sight seeing! Yes you should try Venice, it’s a wonderful, magical city and so, so beautiful. I felt tearful when we left to come home. 😞

        Liked by 1 person

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