I was very confused at the beginning when I heard that ” Ciao Bello” can be for both males and females. While having breakfast at Yello bar in Rome, Italy, Ciao Bello was the most used phrase. Really cool! For someone who does not speak Italian, it was interesting, but this is why the simplest things we learn are from our experiences through interacting with people from different parts of the world.
Can I say romantic? historical? magical? charming? Rome is combination of everything. It is a beautiful city with lots to see. There are many landmarks such as the Colosseum, Pantheon, Vatican City, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, and the famous Leonardo Di Vinci artwork at the Sistine Chapel. These are some of the major attractions in Rome. The city contains history of never ending stories that will blow your mind. I would like to focus on more important things so it can help you ease your travel once you land in Rome.
Once you land in Fiumicino Airport aka “Leonardo Di Vinci Airport” make sure you know these tips:
- If you want to purchase a phone line with internet -highly recommended- DO NOT get caught buying WIND service. It is very expensive and the internet connection is bad. Buy -VODAFONE- which is cheaper, great connection and works all over Europe if you are within the EU. I paid $45 for 1000 Minutes and 8G internet.
- Once you exit the airport, the train station is across the street from the arrival terminals. You want to be in the area of Termini station. That area is where all the hotels, hostels and the main attractions are a walking distance. Most people arrive to that station and either take the bus, or walk towards their destination.
Renting a Car
It is recommended if you can afford it. Here is why:
- Renting a car requires passport, driver license, credit card.
- If you choose to pay a 3PL company for your full coverage, you are required to pay $1600 deposit to the car rental company.
- If you choose to pay the car rental company the insurance coverage, it will cost you between $27-$35 per day (highly recommended) depending on the car.
- Gas is very expensive in Italy. Prices are between $5.6-$6 per gallon which is equivalent to $2.73-$2.9 per Liter. Make sure you get a car that will give you at least 35 Miles per gallon which is equivalent to 56 KM. 1 gallon = 3.6 Liters
- Tollways between Rome and Florence are calculated depending on how many miles you drove. It is about $20 going one way.
I rented a Fiat 500 2 door which was very good on gas. It helped me move around in Rome, and drove to 5 different cities. Think about going to 5 cities by buss or train, it might cost cheaper but you will not have the freedom to move around and stop whenever you want. I was very happy that I did.
Parking can be very expensive if rent a car. There are 3 colors on the streets of Rome that you need to know about:
- Blue means you need to pay for parking. You will pay either hourly or daily.
- Yellow is for special plate parking only.
- White means parking is free but you need to be lucky enough to find those spots. Since Rome is full of tourists from all over the world, this could be challenging.
Driving in Rome is very different from many cities that I had driven in. You have to watch for signs and roads attentively. There are lanes only for buses. Sometimes you will turn right but there are 2 roads on your right. YUP! It is very challenging and my best advice is to drive really slow once you come up to a turn. There are some roads that allows only taxi drivers to pass. It happened to me when a police had to stop me and luckily did not get a ticket.
Inside Rome city, roads are very tight, narrow, and full with holes. Outside the city roads are good but you might encounter some wavey roads that could make your car jump up and down. If you are driving a small car, be careful not to blow one of your tires. Pay attention to the speed limits.
You might get pulled over randomly like they did to me. Do not be afraid! This is a normal procedure that the police do to make sure that you are legally driving. make sure your paper work and driver license is with you all the time while driving.
There are busses, trains, and bus tours. It all depends on what you are comfortable with. Bus tours have different prices depending on the attractions you choose. Buss and train tickets cost about $2 and you have 100 minutes of usage-this could change- once activated. In general it is easy to move around inside the city. Internet and maps are highly recommended.
Prepare yourself to walk at least 10 miles per day in Rome. All the attractions are close to each other relatively. Wear a good walking shoes and if you are visiting in the summer, sun screen and umbrella are a must. Weather is unpredictable at that time of the year in Rome.
This will shock you! The food in Rome is very tricky. If you want to eat in a nice restaurant, double check the menu, prices and area. Mainly touristy areas have tons of restaurants and catered to tourists. You will not get a quality rather than just something to get by. If you really want to have a real experience with food, you must go outside Rome for about 30 min to some village. You will notice many shops sell pizzas by slice for $3 or more.
I will definitely go back to this amazing country. There are so much to see and do and 2 weeks was not enough. Plan your trip accordingly, be ready for it and HAPPY TRAVELING!
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