All Roads Lead to Rome or to the Nearest Gelateria

The Colisseum
The Colisseum

If you are flying into Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, plan on taking one of the shuttle bus companies that depart from the airport. It will be the least expensive way to get from the airport into the city. You can purchase the tickets for one of the bus companies on your flight which is what I did or you can purchase them from the bus driver. The bus will drop you off at Rome’s main train station, Termini, where you will follow the signs to the lower level of the station where you can take the metro to other parts of the city. I have to say that Rome has one of the best metro systems I have ever seen. They only have two lines; line A and line B.  You will need to know which direction to follow depending on where you want to go so that you get on the correct line.

Even with taking the metro, you can still see a lot of the city. Take the metro to wherever you want to go since it is easy to navigate and then do all the walking you can after getting off at your metro stop. I couldn’t tell you how much walking I did even with incorporating the metro into my days out in the city.

Walking is a must if you plan to sample any of the food that Rome has to offer. Can you imagine going to the city and not experiencing the taste of pizza, gnocchi with asparagus sauce (that will be discussed in another post on the foods of France, Ireland and Italy), cannoli, gelato and cheeses (goat cheese, in particular). Get out those walking shoes and hit the ground running as soon as you get off the metro. You won’t be sorry you did all this walking and your body will thank you for it when you head back home. Another added bonus to all this fitness by experiencing the sights and sounds of the city through walking is possibly finding new paths to go on that you may not have gone on previous days.

Did you know there is a park across from the Coliseum or should I say more diagonal from it? I didn’t know that until I stumbled upon it when I was out walking towards the Coliseum from the hostel where I was staying. Stop by the park of Colle Oppio and Via Degli Orti Di Mecenate and see the Coliseum from a different angle a top the park. It isn’t one of the biggest parks I have been through but it’s still big enough that you can do a quick jog through it.

These places should be added to your list of things to see while in Rome if they are not already on your list:

Coliseum – Can you imagine the days of gladiators fighting in the Coliseum as onlookers cheered them on to the end? Those days have long been over but the coliseum still stands in the middle of Rome. It is a sight to behold as you might be walking down the street from your hostel or where you may be staying. I was staying at Ciak Hostel and decided to take a walk down the street and before I know it, the coliseum is looming ahead of me. Try and purchase tickets online if you travel to Rome during peak season. Purchasing tickets will get you past the line and into the Coliseum much quicker then standing in line for hours trying to get inside. Upon walking through the entrance, you can walk around the vast majority of it and even see past the Arch of Constantine and the Roman Forum which are located outside the Coliseum.

Roman Forum – The forum is located outside the Coliseum and within walking distance from it. As you make your way through the entrance, you will find yourself walking through narrow streets as you wind your way around to all the architectural buildings of ancient Rome. You will feel like you stepped into another time as you see all the history surrounding you.

Spanish Steps – I have always thought of ‘where’s Waldo’ whenever I visit the Spanish steps. There are many people sitting or standing around the steps that you will need a microscope to see where you are in any of the photos taken of you. Don’t stop at the bottom step and think you don’t need to go any further. Walk up the steps and when you get to the top then you will see flowers in bloom if you are here during springtime.

St. Peter’s Basilica – The church is located within Vatican City. Here is where you will find the Pope presiding over a number of services. Thousands of people make their way here yearly to hear him speak. The architecture can only be described as renaissance and is breathtaking to behold especially the square which, to me, was a place to sit, enjoy lunch, and take in the splendor that is St. Peter’s Basilica.

Trevi Fountain – Have you ever heard of three coins in the fountain? It is a 1954 film that in part derives its magic from the famed Trevi Fountain. One thing you have to do before you leave is throw a coin in the fountain. What you would do is turn your back to the fountain and if you throw one coin over your shoulder into the water then that means you will return to Rome and two coins thrown over your shoulder means you will find romance. It must work because I have been to Rome three times already. Hmm, makes you wonder if I will be making another trip here since I did throw a coin in the fountain on my last trip.

Vatican – No visit is complete without visiting the Vatican. Even though it is situated in Rome, it is a city within itself, and this city is aptly called Vatican City where the Pope resides. You can’t miss the Vatican because it has wall enclosures that separate it from Rome. As you walk around the Vatican, don’t miss the one thing that many people come to see and that is the Sistine Chapel. Be prepared to look up from one end of the ceiling to the other end as you are squeezed into the room like sardines and ushered through. You are not allowed to take photos as there are officials in the room who will yell ‘no photographs’ if you try and take one. It could be there way of preserving the majestic artwork in the room. Don’t forget to visit the gardens before you leave the Vatican. They are not as crowded as the inside of the Vatican Museums.

Have you always wanted to visit Rome for the history and food? What is stopping you? Have you visited Rome and what did you think of it? Would you go back if given the chance? Please comment on what you thought of the Eternal City or comment on why you would love to visit this magical place.