With lots of history, monuments, and breathtaking views, Rome is a must see:
If you visit, a few tips:
Where to stay: My sister, friend, and I stayed at Hotel Tirreno (Via Di S. Martino Ai Monti, 17, 00184 Roma (RM), Italy – 06 4742556). We found this diamond in the rough after having to cancel our reservations at the horrible David’s Flat. David’s Flat, where to begin? The rooms were meager, they didn’t have Wifi, accepted cash only, and charged a premium for same day cancellation! Did I mention they were mean? Skip the hostel, check into Tirreno. The staff was nice, the room’s affordable at about 100 Euro per night for a double, and the showers were amazing. Plus it’s close to the main train station, Termini, and walking distance to the rest of the sights in Rome.
Where to eat: Pizza, pasta, pesto, oh my! For cheap eats, pick up a yummy pizza slice to go for 2.50 Euros. For a big night out, make reservations at Ristorante Asino Cotto (Via dei Vascellari 48). Get an entree plus main for about 30 Euros or splurge for two appetizers plus main for 40. The food is delicious (I loved the rack of lamb) and the waitress, Sheba, was the bomb! My friends and I were treated to our own private room where they turned on the hip-hop and R&B as the night wore on. Order the house red or white wine, they’re both really flavorful and affordable.
Nightlife: Check out Gilda’s on Friday nights (Via Mario de’ Fiori 97, Rome 00187). The DJ was great and played everything from the Stanky Leg to Lady Gaga and Techno beats. You’ll bump into lots of Americans, but you’ll also find a slew of very friendly Italians looking to show off their moves. The cost of entry, 15 Euros, includes a drink and cocktails will run you about 15 Euros a pop. Steep prices aside, we danced until 5am–so much fun!
Language and Culture: Many Italians speak English, but don’t forget your phrase book! I benefited from my Lonely Planet Fast Talk Italian Book, which helped with small phrases like “Where’s the bathroom?” and “How do I get here?” Italian people themselves were sometimes very friendly, sometimes quite rude (we were screamed at at the Vatican!) Yes. Customer Service is not key, so all I can say is: don’t assume anything. Always ask if they take credit cards before booking, ask if they can split the bill before sitting down, and be ready to negotiate or pay a little more to get what you want.
Style Notes: The weather was relatively warm, but layer as nights get chilly. We did a lot of walking so while flats are obviously recommended, I’d also suggest sneakers with shock absorption. Note: to visit the Vatican and some churches you can’t wear short skirts or anything baring your arms or midriff. Pack a pair of jeans and a cardigan–keep it classy!
Must Sees & Other Notes: Everything in Rome is a must see, but my faves were the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II. I didn’t realize we were going during Easter Sunday, so the city was packed to the gills with throngs of people surrounding each monument. Research to make sure you’re going during a ‘down time’ so you can experience the beauty of Rome without distraction.