This post is long over due but better late than never right? This time last year I visited the eternal city, Roma. Mainly to see my friend who was doing an exchange program at LUISS Business School but also to just relax and get away from it all.
I took none other than easyJet. With the amount of times I fly with easyJet I should seriously consider getting easyJet plus! The flight was from Amsterdam at the inconvenient hour of 7am and arriving at Rome Fiumicino around 9am. The upside to this was that I still had the whole day in Rome, the downside…well I’m sure you can guess: I had to wake up at 3:30am!
There is a wide selection of transportation to choose from in the city of Rome. But first of all let’s talk about getting from the airport to the city. From Fiumicino you have the option of taking either the bus or the train to city centre (Rome Termini Station) which both take about 30 to 40 minutes. But the airport shuttle buses are much cheaper: ranging from 3.80 Euros to 5 Euros. The only down side of taking the bus is that the bus drivers have a tendency to talk (loudly) all through the journey.
Within Rome there are buses, trams, trains, metro and an abundance of taxis. Buses are slow and unreliable and extremely shaky, seriously thought I would catch my death at one point, but they will eventually get you to where you need to go. Also they are FREE! Well technically you should pay but no one in Rome pays to use the buses… Trams are faster than buses and a bit more reliable time wise; they are also “free”. I did not have the occasion to take either the trains or the metro this time round but from my past experiences I truly dislike the metro… Taxis are convenient, and are much cheaper than in some other European countries. If you get really tired of walking, or if it’s late at night and buses and trains have stopped, then it’s not a bad idea to take a taxi.
However there is only one real way to see Rome. On foot! All the main attractions in the city of Rome are clustered together so you can definitely walk to all the sights. Even if you don’t intend to see the sights (like me) you should still walk and get lost in and around Rome. It’s also good for building up your appetite (or burning off calories) for all the amazing Italian food!
On this trip I stayed with my friend for 3 days and the rest at a B&B called Villa Paganini. Villa Paganini is one of the most comfortable and welcoming places I’ve ever stayed at. It is run by Filippo and Nilam who were very welcoming and extremely helpful. The B&B is conveniently located just outside the centre of Rome which makes it quiet yet accessible. It is also very close to a number of parks, the large ones being Villa Borghese and Villa Ada, but also of course Villa Paganini and Villa Torlonia. All three rooms are named after parks in the nearby area and are decorated distinctly. Unlike most Roman apartments there is a beautiful garden in which guest are free to read, or just soak up the sun. In the warmer months breakfast is served in the garden. This leads me on to the breakfast part of the bed and breakfast. Each morning breakfast is prepared from 8-10am. There is cereal, toast, croissants, biscuits, and home-made cakes and sweets! Also there is an assortment of home-made jams which were all delicious!! Honestly this B&B was perfect and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay, it was like a home away from home, perhaps even better! I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Where to eat
Eating out in Rome is so easy and often reasonable. On my first day I had a glass of prossecco at Bistro 54, a cute little cafe, and as with Italian hospitality, they will often give you things for “free”
One night I even went to the supermarket and bought the ingredients for a lasagne, and cooked it in my friend’s apartment! It was delicious!!
For breakfast Italians eat something sweet and have an espresso. I had Nutella filled croissant and a cappuccino for breakfast almost everyday. I don’t usually drink coffee but for some reason I craved it (and had to have at least one cup a day) in Italy.
On weekdays you will often see people standing at the cafe counter and downing a shot of espresso before they head off to work.
If you are a first time tourist in Rome, then by all means go see the grand sites. The Colosseo, Panthenon, Trevi fountain, etc. But if like me, this is not your first time in Rome then it’s nicer to spend time in lesser crowded parts of Rome. I loved Trastavere, Monti, Villa Borghese park, and just admiring all the architecture of the random streets. Walk around, get lost, enjoy a coffee at a quiet street cafe. Someone once said: getting lost in Rome is the best thing that can happen to you – and I agree!
Final thoughts & Tips
Rome is a beautiful city with great monuments and amazing food. But for the same reasons it is filled with tourists, the air is polluted, and can be expensive. The best months to go are May, September or October. And like I mentioned before you should walk and try new things! One last tip: avoid taking the Metro if you can and be careful with personal belongings in crowded places-there are many gypsies in Rome who are very handy when it comes to taking your items off of you.