Friday, November 18, 2016

Roam in Rome

Rome, the capital of Italy, is a cosmopolitan city with globally influential culture and history. It had been tag as the eternal city and one of the top destination for tourists worldwide. It had been featured in many documentaries and movies around the world.

For me, Rome is somewhat a big museum, every part and places you will go are traces of history and culture. There are stories in each one of them. If only those stone walls can speak about its past for sure it will need all the time in this world. Just like any other cities, beware of potential scams around you.

If you are visiting Rome soon, here are some things you need to know and places you need  to see.

Things you need to know about ROME

Walking is the best mode of transport

In order to know more about a city, one must walk. Walking had been the most efficient way to see and explore a city. There are things which you can only see by walking and is not visible when riding a train or bus. Rome is not that big of a city and every famous landmark is close to each other which makes walking a more efficient option. Aside from saving a few bucks, you also did yourself a healthy exercise.

Walking with other tourists

Water in the fountains are drinkable

Most of the fountains in Rome are still from the old Ancient Rome which is still used up to this day. It had the same water connection from before. The water here is safe to drink as vouched by locals and authorities. The only thing you do is just bring a container and you're good to go for sure you need a lot of this after a long sightseeing.  This will surely save you tons of money as there are lots of fountains scattered around the city.

Me filling up my container in Spanish Steps(also photobombing hahaha)

Get a Roma Pass

Roma Pass entitles you to a queue-less entry to a museum of your choice, unlimited use of transport and discounts to establishments or tickets. The pass was designed especially for tourists. The pass has 2 variant, the 72hrs pass, and the 48hrs which cost around 38Euro and 28Euro respectively. The 72hrs pass entitles you to 2 free museums of your choice while the 48hrs is for 1.  I myself bought the 72hrs pass for the sole purpose of skipping the queue in the museum/attractions I am interested in (I already learn a lesson from my Eiffel Tower trip here). I haven't really maximized the usage of the unlimited transport as I did walking most of the time and just do it when I am really tired. If you do the math, buying 2 regular tickets of 2 different museums of your choice is somewhat almost similar to the price of the 72hrs Pass without the privilege on skipping the queue (which is important for me), the unlimited transport and discounts. The pass is really a good deal and I highly recommend. For more info about Roma Pass click here.

My Roma Pass with my friend's foot

Take a Free Walking Tours 

Free walking tours are famous in every city in Europe. Mostly, these are in cooperation with the tourism agency of the city. These tours are running by tip base and the tour guides are students who knew the place very well. Most of the time the meeting place are on  the famous landmark of the city. For the Free walking tours in Rome, the predominant meeting area is in the Spanish Steps and will commence at the Vatican. The tour usually takes around 1-2 hrs. You can opt out anytime along the way if you think you don't like it anymore. To give you an idea, usually if I like the way the tour was handled, I am tipping around 1-2 Euros (yeah I am on a budget) but if not I just walk away.

Meetup for the Free walking tours

A must see in Rome

Spanish Steps

The "Scalina Spagna" or Spanish Steps is a great example of Roman Baroque Style. It’s a great place to just sit down and enjoy the atmosphere and views of the Eternal City. Near this place is the Spanish Embassy in Rome. Most of the Free walking tours started here.

Tip: Do enjoy the jamming in this place during the night where acoustic songs in Italian, Spanish or English are played while eating Pasta or Gelato.

Spanish Steps at Night
Spanish Steps at daytime

The Pantheon

Pantheon was once called a house where pagans worship their Gods. After all the word Pantheon is a Greek adjective meaning “honor all Gods”.  The spectacular design, proportions, elegance and harmony are a striking reminder of the architecture of the great Roman Empire. The most fascinating part of the Pantheon is its giant dome, with its famous hole in the top (The eye of the Pantheon, or oculus) which sprouts a lightning effect that can be viewed every April 21, the midday sun strikes a metal grille above the doorway, saturating the courtyard outside with light. It also contains the tombs of famous Italian personalities. It is one my favorite structure in Rome.

Tip: Check the center sphere on the dome and the tombs that were laid here.

The Pantheon
Eye of  the Pantheon

The Vatican

Although the Vatican is not part of Rome it is just a few minutes away so might as well check it. You know that you are in the Vatican by looking at a line that separates the two cities. The Vatican is the smallest city in the world and also one of the holiest places in the world. It is the home of the leader of the Catholic Faith, the Pope.

Tip: If you are planning on visiting St. Peters Basilica, the best time is in the afternoon so the queue is not that long. If you want to see the Pope, the best way is to get a Papal Audience ticket and will only  happen on a Wednesday. If you want to visit the Sistine Chapel, you need to book a ticket in advance to avoid the line.

The Vatican
Inside St. Peters Basilica

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain is one of the famous fountains in the world. Upon visiting(last summer 2015) it  was still on construction and renovation. Legend has it that if you throw some coins towards your back using your right hand onto your left shoulder something will happen to you as follows: 1 coin means going back to Rome, 2 coins for marriage and 3 coins for divorce, the higher the value of the coin means greater success rate no wonder according to our free walking tour guide the roman government used to collect approx. 3000 euro of coins per day and is going to charity.

Tip: Beware of pick-pockets here as it tends to be lots of them. Also be sure to land the coin thrown in the water(any currency will do hahaha).

Renovation of Trevi Fountain 

Castel Sant'Angelo

A mausoleum for the  Roman Emperor Hadrian. It was once a papal fortress and as well as the papal prison (the Borgia pope was once imprisoned here). It is relatively near the Vatican City and was told that there were tunnels that link both buildings. Legend holds that the Archangel Michael appeared atop the mausoleum, sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590, thus lending the castle its present name.

Tip: Be sure to visit the underground tunnel that used to link this castle and the Vatican.

View from the top the Castle overlooking the Vatican
Statue of Archangel Michael on top of the Castle

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is a huge area of ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. It used to be the center of public life in ancient Rome. The ruins are located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills and just a few meters walk from the Colosseum.

Tip: Ticket pass for Colosseum can also be used here in the Roman Forum and vice versa. Roma Pass can be used here. If you are not planning to buy the Roma Pass, you can visit here in the afternoon so there will be no queues, and next day does the Colosseum or Vice-versa.

Going to the Roman Forum
The Ruins in the Roman Forum

The Colosseum

The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre is a famous landmark in Rome. It serves as an iconic structure in Rome. It used to hold 50,000 - 80,000 people and separated by social class. It was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. It is divided into three levels; the level that was closest to the arena floor was reserved for the senators, emperor and the rich. The majority of people sat in the second level. The last level was at the top of the amphitheater, and furthest from the arena floor, the slaves, and the women stood up here. There were no seats for these people. Blood and Sands!

Tip: Ticket pass for Roman Forum can also be used here in the Colosseum and vice versa. Roma Pass can be used here. If you are not planning to buy the Roma Pass, you can visit here in the late afternoon so there will be no queues, and next day do the Roman Forum or Vice-versa.

The Colosseum
Inside The Colosseum

It was a history knowledge overload when I visited Rome for almost a week and enjoying every minute of it. For a history fan like me, time is short and there were still lots of things I need to visit and learn. It was a great visit. Till next time Rome!

Have you been to Rome? Share your stories and experiences below


  1. Italy is one of the finest place where I personally want to visit, but I should also spread the word that if you are interested in roaming in rome, then grab your interest and informations from this blog

  2. Thanks,Feel free to share. Hopefully you will set foot in Rome the soonest!