We spent a fabulous week in Italy last week, with three days in Rome to start. It was spectacular - I love Italy, and Rome is a fantastic example of all the good parts. It is busy, mad, and crazy, but in the best sense! The food was fantastic, the people are great, and the sights are mind-boggling.
The Forum is incredible - the details remaining on the ruins were so evocative of what this once must have looked like.
Everywhere you looked, wonderfully dressed men in uniforms - so very Italian!
The Italian beer is as good as the wine (Peroni especially!)
My travel tips for Rome:
- avoid the Vatican Museum, unless you are absolutely desperate to see the Sistine Chapel. The rest is a little dull and repetative, and you get herded through the Capella Sistina like cows, with lots of shouting from the guards for 'silence'! It is a bit crazy, and does ruin the experience somewhat. As does the lining up - be aware that while it opens at 0845, they only let the scheduled tour groups in until 1000, so we were there for 2 hours waiting before hand.
- we stayed in a fantastic hotel near the Termini - it is not so dodgy an area as I had been led to believe, but the food is better down near the river.
- It is worth working out the bus/metro system- there are miles and miles of footpaths waiting for your weary feet!
- get up early - we were one of the first through the door at the Colloseum (unplanned but excellent accident!) which made our experience of it so much more interesting to see it empty, then to see it fill up with people, just as it would have two thousand years ago. Once you are up, go for as long as you can, then siesta in the late afternoon - this means you can get up and ready for dinner at 'Roman' time (around 9pm).
- don't be surprised at small breakfasts - by the end of the day you will be glad that you left a little room!
- make sure you have a cioccolato caldo at the bar in a cafe. It is the espresso of hot chocolates!
Unfortunately, I arrived home with an unwanted gift from Italy - the 'flu! Feeling much better today though. Anyway, more pics to come of the second half of our holiday.