Rome: Travel Tips



A quick summary:
Places to go (Rome & Vatican City): 
By routes..
1. Caesar's Grave - Piazza Navona - Pantheon - Trevi Fountain - Spanish steps
2. Vatican Museum - Saint Peter's Church and Basilica - Castle Sant Angelo
3. Roman Colloseum - Roman Forum - Vittoria Emanuel - Mouth of Truth
Time of the year to go:
Rome is one of those cities that is great to go all year round. Summer is hot and full of tourists. Winter is a bit cold. I went in January and had an incredible time with sunny skies and cold air. 
Transportation: 
 There's a direct train from Fiumicino Airport straight into Rome Termini. It costs around 14 euros. Around the city, you can get around by bus or just walk. The bus system requires a ticket that you just punch inside. They don't regularly check your tickets - so sometimes, if you don't punch your ticket, you get a free ride...
Accommodation:
I stayed in a backpacker's hostel called Youth Station Hostel :)  
Halal Food: 
Seafood and vegetarian options (not a lot of halal meat, from my experience :) 
Min number of days in Rome:
For Rome alone, with a trip to Vatican City, two to three days should be enough! 

Whenever people say ‘Euro trip’, one of the standout images in my mind is the Roman Colosseum. As site to one of the most powerful empires in world history, Rome is a must-do in the Euro pitstops. There's so many amazing architecture - not to mention enjoying the Italian food! Pizzas, pasta, coffee.. the capital really does seem to have it all. 

The best part about sightseeing in Rome is that most of the attractions are within walking distance. So if you start your day in the morning, and slowly walk around, you'll get to enjoy and take in a lot of the city by the day's end.

I had 3 days to spend in Rome and Vatican City - and each day I planned out the route and sights to see. Along these routes I stopped to watch people passing by, eat Gelato and chill out :)


Day 1. Caesar's Grave - Piazza Navona - Pantheon - Trevi Fountain - Spanish steps

Caesar's grave. 

On my first day, I took a bus from my hostel that stopped just outside Caesar's grave. It's the site where the famous Roman leader was stabbed (not buried) and if you're geeky enough, you can stand there and say that famous line "Et tu brutus?" Haha. The cool part is that this square is surrounded by so many great restaurants. Just across the road is a pizza stall when you can grab a slice to-go. From here, walk west on the Corso Vittoria Emanuel II road towards the second stop.. Piazza Navona. 







Piazza Navona is one of the famous and more beautiful piazza in Rome. There are three fountains: one, with the naked men (Fountain of Neptune) and one with the tall, narrow Obelisk hehe (Fountain of the Four Rivers) and one with Triton stabbing the water (Moor Fountain). The large white building on the left is the Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, designed by Borromini. They say back in the day, there was a great rivalry between the designer Borromini and the designer of the fountains, Bernini. There are stories that if you look at the statues on the fountain, they all seem to look disgusted and horrified at the building hahaha. Also, this is one of the sites of the film Angels and Demons :D 

The sign means Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, made this building during third consul


Walking through narrow lanes towards the east, you'll end up at the Pantheon. This is a huge building, one of the oldest in Rome that's still standing - and historians still don't know what it was used for. The architectural construction technology was advanced for its age. The Pantheon is free to enter and you'll get to stand in the center and look up at the hole in the dome :D During the day the shadow plays on the interior ceiling coffers is beautiful. The Pantheon is also part of the Angels and Demon's sites where Robert Langon made a mistake thinking that the hole in the roof is the Demon's hole referred to in the clue.. 


From Pantheon, it's just a couple of minutes til you get to that super duper famous fountain that has just recently been refurbished and reopened to the public. There are so many tourists in the area just sitting around eating ice cream, so make sure that you watch your belongings here :) They say if you throw once, you'll return to Rome. If you threw twice, you'll find true love! For a rare experience of the Trevi Fountain, go early in the morning during sunrise. 


The famous Spanish Steps were closed when I was in Rome for renovation. But there's a small path going up that will still get you to the top - to a view of the city rooftops. There's some arts stalls and just balconies for you to chill on and enjoy the sunset view :) 


Day 2. Vatican Museum - Saint Peter's Church and Basilica - Castle Sant Angelo

For Vatican City - you MUST prebook and buy online. It's the easiest way to guarantee a time slot because there's so many people wanting to visit all the time, and lining up on the spot can take a whole day. Vatican city is the smallest state in the world, ruled by the Pope of the Catholic church. I suggest to book a ticket for the Vatican museum in the morning, so you can go to Saint Peter's Basilica afterwards.




The Vatican museum is a large museum with floors and floors of paintings, statues, and beautiful rooms. Each of the art work is representing and dedicated to various points and people of Christianity. The Vatican Musueum also houses the Sistine Chapel- the one where Michelangelo painted his famous ceiling, with that painting of 'God' and 'Adam' touching fingers :D There's also that famous spiral staircase - you'll have to go through the museum and find where that is for yourself hehe. Ideally, you could spend half a day here just admiring the artifacts on display. 





Saint Peter's Basilica is HUUUGEE. This is one of the most important sites of the Christian religion, one of the biggest church in the world, and is where the Pope gets elected. Supposedly, deep in the ground underneath this complex, is a necropolis (a cemetery) where the tombs of all the famous and holy Christian figures are located. To get to Saint Peter's basilica there's a security check like at the airports where you have to go through metal detectors and everything. 

To get this rooftop view, once you get to the entrance of the church, go to the far right where you can find a booth to buy tickets to get to the dome. If I'm not mistaken it costs around 8 euros to get on the lift. You'll have to climb some very very narrow and curved staircase (saya yang pendek ni pun kena tunduk, tak pasti orang putih yang tinggi tu macam mana diorang naik ni peh) but the view is extremely worth it! 

Once you've absorbed the beautiful vista of Rome from the top, come down and walk around the enormous halls. It's still in use for prayers. 


Just in front of the Vatican City is Castle Sant Angelo. In the Angels and Demons book, this is where the Illuminati assassin is located hehe (there's also an underground tunnel from this fortress right to underneath the Vatican City). The bridge is beautiful with all the statues of angels. It costs around 10 euros to go up (I didn't go up because by this time dah pokai sikit haha), but it's a good place to sit, enjoy the sunset at the Vatican, and listen to all the Italian buskers making music and singing love songs by the river :)


Day 3. Roman Colosseum - Roman Forum - Vittoria Emanuel - Mouth of Truth


To death with him! Roman Emperors would say 'Kill' by putting their thumbs down. 


The famous Roman Colosseum needs prebook tickets as well. This is the site where they had famous gladiator fights, have beasts eating the slaves and have circus performances and celebrations. The Romans were really brutal! It felt weird and amazing to walk around the halls where you can still see the original marks on the stones, where it had come off or been shot during fights. 

There are some private and special tours that can take you around the rooftops or into the basement - I'm not sure how much these costs because I took the standard ticket for 3 sites that include Colosseum and Roman Forum. 



To be honest - I didn't really know what the Roman Forum was about til I got to the city. It's this wide park filled with ancient ruins - where people used to have markets, discussions, festivals and gathering. There's a creepy story on the Rape of the Sabine women, about how at one time they had a huge dinner, inviting women of neighbouring cities, and when the leader gave a signal, all the local men started raping their female guests. This sort of brutal stuff is normal for ancient Rome! 

But the crazy events aside - the Roman Forum is beautiful to walk around and see for yourself the remnants of a bygone civilization. 



The first time I saw the Vittoria Emanuel monument - I was struck with how big it was. This place is.. huge. This structure is actually called Altare della Patria which translates to Monument to the Fatherland, but it's also known as the VE monument - dedicated to Victor Emmanuel, the first king of modern Italy. Interiors aside, the architecture of this monument is amazing, and the view of Rome from the top is a bonus. 


Last stop for Rome - The Mouth of Truth. There's that legend that if you're a liar your hands will be eaten by snakes inside the mouth haha. I've seen this statue at Sunway Pyramid plenty of times, wondering how much is my 'fortune' is worth by reading my palm. Hehe it's fun to see it in real life. 

And that concludes the main itinaries for Rome :) 


3 comments:

  1. What camera did you use in this trip?

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  2. What camera did you use in this trip?

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