Likes & Dislikes

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Rome - Via Della Guglia - Krista photo

My Likes & Dislikes List

Likes

1. Charming squares such as Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori, Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere and Piazza della Rotonda
2. The willingness of locals to help tourists with directions
3. Walking all day, following a well-planned route
4. Eating only in little restaurants frequented by locals
5. Soaking up the rhythm and joie de vivre of the locals, and realizing how easy it is to pick up a few words of Italian
6. A glimpse of the Trevi Fountain between houses
7. Exploring the city around midnight, when the pestering and cajoling of the daytime gives way to a more relaxed mode
8. Sitting in the Piazza della Rotonda after dark and meditating on the majesty of the Pantheon, free from the hordes of tourists
9. The view of the Forum Romanum from the viewpoint on the Palatine Hill.
10. The ten-minute walk from the Spanish Steps to the Trevi Fountain

Dislikes

1. Chaotic traffic, crazy drivers and a general indifference to traffic regulations
2. The many depressing, mediocre tourist ‘restaurants’
3. Long, boring lines at the Vatican
4. The sightseeing buses can’t get close to many of the sights, so you usually have to walk to them (so there isn’t much point buying a ticket)
5. Difficult to find a filling breakfast, as Italians don’t seem to consider it an important meal
6. Worries about young children (not all Romanian gypsies) trained in the art of picking pockets
7. Lots of African street vendors selling counterfeit sunglasses, bags, etc., which does spoil the ‘antique’ atmosphere a bit
8. The heat in the city center in summer is almost unbearable, and that’s when the crowds are biggest too
9. The Tiber isn’t always an aesthetically pleasing river to look at, and the city does not make very good use of its river
10. The look and safety of the area around Termini train station leave something to be desired
(Karl, 2014)
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Aji Likes & Dislikes

Likes

1. I enjoyed the old town ‘Centro Storico’ more than the ancient Roman ruins
2. Eating an Italian breakfast in a nearby bar (an espresso and sfogliatella cookies)
3. Seeing the main motif in the center of the Sistine Chapel ceiling fresco – The Creation of Adam – is an emotional experience
4. Fresh blood-orange juice at the open-air market on Campo dei Fiori
5. Native Romans are generally a good-natured, cheerful bunch
6. Absolutely no safety concerns!! We didn’t even see anyone who looked like a possible pickpocket
7. Drivers are surprisingly polite and accommodating towards pedestrians
8. The glass elevator on the Victor Emmanuel II Monument should not be missed, because the view from the top is spectacular!
9. Go up to the dome of the basilica for great interior and exterior views
10. Lots of the traditional shops have a great atmosphere (shopping malls are not permitted within the city center)
11. The stone pines that grow in Rome take spectacular forms

Dislikes

1. Older metro stations are depressingly grim
2. The unbearable groups of screaming students at the Colosseum, the Forum Romanum and the Vatican (few paid any attention to the sights, but only to one another)
3. Good ice-cream isn’t such a rarity as it used to be, so the Roman ice-cream doesn’t blow me away anymore
4. I’m not a racist, but honestly, the African, Indian and Bangladeshi migrants are unfriendly, and their makeshift shops on the street spoil the view (it seems the Italians are happy to leave the worst jobs to them)
5. For the most part we avoided the tourists restaurants, but we did go into one once, and the food was pretty lousy
6. The claustrophobic press of people in the Vatican – and we were there in March, which is hardly peak tourist season
7. You know, the Roman woman may dress well, but I didn’t see many truly beautiful faces
8. Sure, the Trastevere district is a must-see, but there are too many restaurants, and not much of anything else
9. Most outer districts are boring
10. If you’re self-catering, it’s surprisingly difficult to buy good bread for breakfast.



Practicals

Transport

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Rome - metro scene - Krista photo

Rome - unmercifully

Accomodation

Accommodation prices are highest between June and September.


Food

Tipping:

In the restaurants of Rome, tipping is generally not customary to tip. Many tourists do it because they are used to it. So a waiter might expect it from you as a tourist, but of course, you don't have to.
Waiters generally earn very little in Italy and often work in rather poor conditions. So if you leave a few more euros on the table, you are certainly not doing anything wrong.

Rome - spagetti with polpettes (meatballs)

Rome - bruschetta and Italian beer - n.k. photo

Shopping

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Rome - rustic cheeses

Fun

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Rome - Trastevere - nightlife - Krista photo

Public safety

You can safely stroll through Rome's streets, even at night. There is always something going on, especially in the center, and the police are very present. The only place in the center that is less recommended at night is the area around Termini station. Except where the shuttle buses to the airport depart, there are some strange characters in the area.

Be alert. Make eye contact with potential pickpockets. Should an incident begin, shout, and point while gripping your belongings. Don't be afraid of causing a scene: locals will quickly come to your defense. Pickpockets are active near the tourist attractions, such as the Trevi Fountain or the Colosseum.

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,, There are thieves (actually muggers) working from small motorbikes. One guy is the driver; his passenger behind him is the grabber. As they go past a woman (it is almost invariably a woman who gets targeted), the guy on the back of the motorbike grabs a woman’s purse or shopping bag or both. If you are the victim, it is better to let go than be dragged to the ground." 

Rome - mounted police - k.v. photo

Rome - protected metro station - Krista photo

Rome - Vatican - Swiss guard - n.c. photo

Health


You can safely drink tap water in Rome. That has been so for 2000 years; why should it be any different today? The tap water even tastes perfect. There are also small fountains of clean drinking water all over town where you can fill up your water bottle.
When you drink from one of the 2500 street fountains, use your finger to plug off the bottom of the spout, and the water will shoot up out of a hole in the curve of the spout. Dogs drink out of the base.

Rome - quench the thirst

Rome - Vatikan - checking fever - v.j. photo (2021)

Others

1. Some shops and restaurants may be closed in August. The reason for this is the summer vacation for the locals. Romans prefer to go to the sea as the weather can be very hot.

Rome - edgy corner - v.j. photo

Rome - street art - apparently not depicting The Capitoline Wolf

Rome - Julius Caesar must tolerate the pigeon's rule, let alone the potential defecation

Background

Rome - Krista photo

Destination in brief


Rome is also known as the “Eternal City”.

Population (in 2020): 4.2 million

9 million tourists per year

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 1480 Euro (Milan's average: 1650 Euro, Italy's average: 1400 Euro)

Rome has more Christian churches (900) than any other city in the world.

Climate


Rome lies in the middle of the ,,boot" on the west coast of Italy. The city is in a moderate climate zone, which means a mild coastal climate with lots of suns.

In summer, the Scirocco brings hot desert winds from Africa. Temperatures of more than 30C (86F) degrees from June to August are not uncommon. At night, it rarely cools below 20C (68F). If you like hot temperatures, Rome is the place for you in summer.

In September, it is still quite warm for sightseeing. An average of 28-30C (82-86F) does not make it easy for some tourists to explore the highlights.

The months of October and November are ideal. The temperatures drop to a pleasant 20C (68F). Perfect for a city break. The climate is milder, but the days are also shorter.

The winter months December - February, are cool, but thanks to the sea's location, pleasantly mild. On average, the thermometer shows between 3-8C (37-46F). During the day, it is often a sunny 15C (59F).  Unfortunately, it also rains very often. The humidity makes the temperature seem cooler.



History

,, Nero didn’t play the fiddle while Rome was burned. On the day of the fire, Nero was not even in Rome, but in Anzio, a seaside town 40 km away. After being warned, he immediately returned to the capital and arranged the money and men available to tame the fire.
Nero was not more cruel or bloodthirsty than other emperors but was hatred by the aristocratic class and - even worse - by great historians like Tacitus. Through their stories, we learned that Nero burned Rome to rebuild it more beautiful and call it by its name, but there is no real evidence for that."

Nowadays

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Rome - street scene - n.k. photo

People

How to distinguish tourists from locals? Romans never wear khakis, shorts, t-shirts, or flip-flops in the city. No baseball caps or socks with sandals. No tennis shoes/sneakers unless exercising.

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Some cynical Roman wisecracks:

Your brain is not an option. Use it!
I am not ill-mannered - I only want my neighbors to listen to good music.
Don't look back; you've already been there!
Many people pretend that they like me, and I pretend to believe that.  
I like Paradise for the climate and Hell for the excellent companionship.
I don't really hate you, but if you would eventually burst into flame and I have water, I would drink it.
I apologize to those I haven't hurt yet; I'll be coming soon!
I am not confused; I just have diverse thoughts.
Immature is a word used by boring people about the merry-makers.
Contact me if your life is sinless; I may find a solution. 

Rome - pros - v.j. photo

Rome - Spanish Steps - Far Eastern tourist group - Krista photo

Tourist etiquette

1. Do not show up to a religious service, museum, opera, concert, or fine dining in casual clothes. Do not enter a church, mosque, or synagogue with your shoulders, midriff, or thighs showing (men or women), not even St. Peter’s or other major tourist attractions, not even in the summer.


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,, Rome is such a dirty city it continually has hundreds of thousands of ill-mannered tourists who eat in the street and drop things on the sidewalks. Rome has a constant fleet of small trucks and cleaners that cruise the city to keep it clean, but they just cannot put up with the thousand and thousands of badly brought up visitors. Are you one of them? "

Attractions

Vatican


,, Visiting Rome in the spring was not a smart decision. We decided to dedicate a day to visiting the Vatican. Well, it certainly took the whole day! We hadn’t bought an advance ticket, so we had to stand in line by the wall for three hours. This wasn’t ideal, but as an art fan I decided that once (at least once) I definitely wanted to see the Sistine Chapel for myself.

We at last got inside, and after sightseeing for hour or so we can to the chapel, which was crammed with people. It absolutely spoiled the experience. The crowd was so great that we genuinely had to hold hands, and make sure we didn’t get crushed! Because of this constant press of people, it was of course necessary to constantly keep an eye on things (physical integrity, companions, valuables etc.) everything, in other words, except Michelangelo’s frescoes! So what was the point of it all?

I had to look around for a while to find the Creation of Adam, and by the time I at last spotted it high up on the ceiling, it was almost time to go. Photography is prohibited, and you’re not allowed to talk. The security guards constantly shush, but of course it’s still noisy. The whole thing is a joke. When we emerged, I was so disappointed that all I could think was: So that was really it? I can say with confidence that the Vatican was the biggest disappointment of the trip, and unfortunately I don’t think I’ll ever be back. Or perhaps only if I have a spare $500 for the small-group, exclusive, VIP tour."




Old Town

Rome - Old Town - Krista photo

Forum Romanum

Rome - Forum Romanum - House of the Vestals - m.m. photo

Squares

Rome - Piazza di Spagna with the Column of the Immaculate Conception - j.k. photo

Colosseum

Rome - Colosseum - m.i. photo

Pantheon

Rome - Pantheon - Elter photo

Trevi Fountain

Rome - Trevi Fountain - n.k. photo

Castel Sant'Angelo

Rome - Castel Sant'Angelo - Jetta's photo

Rome - View from Castel Sant'Angelo - n.c. photo

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