Tuesday, 1 August 2017

When in Rome

I recently got back from Rome and OMG I am in love. It really was one of the best places I have ever been. I've never really done a city break before, but I am 100% sold and I think I'll be doing a lot more of them from now on! I've never even been to Italy, but after seeing Rome I'd now like to visit every part of Italy that I possibly could! I have a lot of places on my wishlist, but now Sardinia, Sicily and Florence have topped them. If you're thinking of going to Rome or Italy I would highly recommend it as you won't regret it!

I'm going to do 2 blog posts about Rome. My first one s going to be a bit of a do's and dont's post. It takes quite a bit of planning to visit somewhere like Rome, so hopefully you'll find my post helpful if you are thinking about going there. My second post will be about the highlights and the sight seeing - sharing pictures, YouTube videos and showing you all how fab it is!

Unfortunately Easyjet decided that I didn't need my luggage for this trip, and kept it at Luton! I flew out to Rome on the Thursday evening, and my luggage finally arrived on Monday morning... typical! My advice for anyone who has delayed luggage; it really isn't that bad. I always thought that if I didn't have my luggage with me then it would be the worst thing ever, but it actually was totally fine! Ok so it helped that it was only a 4 day break, but we just went out and found a local shopping mall and bought everything that we needed. The most annoying part was that my camera charger was in my luggage, so all my photos had to be taken on my phone which isn't as good quality. Now I'm trying to get compensation out of Easyjet! In future I'll just be taking hand luggage for a city break!!


Stay close to the center
Me and my boyfriend booked Rome about 2 weeks before we went, so by this point a lot of places were booked up. Plus we were going at the end of July so it was pretty busy and expensive. I booked a hotel that was apparently only 'just' outside the centre of the city, but by 'just' it actually means a half hour drive. Luckily there was a shuttle bus that ran every day, but this was 6 euros per person each way. After the first day I already wished I had booked a different hotel. My advice would be to plan in advance and book close to the attractions. There are lots of options on Airbnb close to the Vatican, and Trastevere is a great place to stay for the nightlife, bar hoping and restaurants.

Book trips in advance
Before we went we booked the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum. The queues for these can be pretty crazy at peak times, so buying skip the line tickets are a massive advantage. We booked through City Wonders on Trip Adviser, the tour guides were great and really helpful. For the Colosseum we chose the shorter tour, this went on for about 1 hour 30 mins and it was plenty of time. Our guide was fab and we left with great pictures and full of knowledge.

For the Vatican Museums we decided not to have a tour guide and to just wander around ourselves. We booked skip the line tickets and a guide got us past the queues and into the museum, and then we were left to walk around ourselves. This was a great option for us, as our ticket was for 2pm and we didn't leave until 6! But there are plenty of options to walk around with a tour guide if you'd like to. The Pantheon, Trevi Water Fountain and St Peter's Basilica are free.

Use the bus tour as a transportation option
The one thing we didn't book in advance was the open top bus tour and I really wish we had have done, as it does work out cheaper. We paid about £30 for a 3 day ticket, which you can get for about £26 online if you pre-book. This was definitely worth it. The walk from the Colosseum to the Vatican is about 50 minutes, so if you'd like to get there quicker you can just hop on the bus from the Vatican and hop off at the Colosseum. On our last day we did actually do the full walk and got some beautiful sights, it's worth doing the walk if you're not in a hurry and if it's not 35 degrees!

Take comfy footwear
Luckily my footwear on the plane were my comfy trainers as the rest of my shoes were in my delayed suitcase! The best thing you can do is take comfy footwear, and maybe some plasters! There is a lot of walking involved, and even though they are beautiful walks such as around the Colosseum and amazing museums, your feet do still take a bit of a beating.

Do your research 
If you google what you want to do beforehand, and try get a feel for where things are, you'll feel a lot less stressed when you're there. The hotel we stayed in said it was only a few miles away from the main attractions but this wasn't the case, so I wish I had spent the extra money staying a bit closer. My boyfriend watched a lot of YouTube videos by Wolters World and these came in extremely helpful while we were out there. I also googled the main attractions so that I knew what to expect and what to wear as certain places have strict dress codes. I actually got asked to leave a church because I had shorts on (my planned outfit was in my suitcase - so thanks Easyjet!)

Take a map
I leart in Rome that I am terrible at reading maps. I kind of knew I was anyway, but Rome definitely confirmed it for me. Luckily George can read maps so I ended up letting him do it! My friend told me about an app called maps.me which is brilliant. You download it while you are at home, and then while you are away it tells you everything you need to know. It tells you where the nearest restaurants, bars, toilets and trams are and it gives you directions! If you ever go away I would highly recommend using this app.

Keep an eye on valuables
Luckily we didn't have anything stolen, however we did keep an eye on our bags. We'd been told a few times to look out for pick pockets, so just make sure you keep everything close to you. If valuables are in your pockets make sure you have zips, and if you wear a backpack, wear it on your front so that no-one can get to it without you seeing.


Don't eat close to the attractions
I always assumed Rome was really expensive but it actually isn't that bad. You end up spending more than you would usually anyway as you're out and about all day every day, but if you eat in the right places then you don't have to spend too much. Trastevere is a cool place to eat, there's lots of pop-up bars and restaurants across the river which are lovely for some food and drink. Or if you want somewhere slightly cheaper look for the restaurants down street alleys. A good tip; wine is cheap!

Don't take high thin heels
So as you've heard several times, I didn't have my heels with me anyway as they were in my lost suitcase, but if you do decide to take heels don't take high thin heels. The streets are beautiful but very wonkly and full of cobbles! So wedges or thick heels are best

Don't go at the hottest time of the year
I know July and August are mainly the holiday months, but if you want to go during that time then just prepare to sweat! If you're planning on doing long walks outside during this time, then I would recommend going early in the morning or late evening. On the day of the Colosseum we went at 8.30am as it was going to be 36 degrees that day! Then on another day we went to the Vatican Museum at 2pm as it was inside and was a bit cooler. But don't get me wrong, it is beautiful to see all these sights with a bright blue sky and the sun beaming down, just remember to dress for the weather and to wear suncream!

Don't book a fancy hotel with a gym and a pool
You won't use it! My boyfriend broke his leg in February so I booked a hotel with a pool in case we needed an afternoon to rest. Turns out he's a lot fitter than me even with a half broken leg, and we didn't even use the pool once! Ok so, it didn't help that I didn't have my luggage, as my bikini was in my case, however I honestly don't think I'd have used it anyway. We were too busy sightseeing every day!

I hope you've found this useful :) Look out for my next blog post about all the highs of Rome with lots of pictures!

Here's a YouTube video of some highlights. If you like, please subscribe :)

Chanelle x

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