Rome. It’s unexpected, completely modern with the hustle of New York
City – in that gritty, stinky, fresh bread, fake Prada sold out of a
trunk, kind of way – and then magnificently ancient and mesmerizing –
in that you can imagine Brutus jabbing his dagger right into Caesar as
you walk the paths in the Roman Forum, kind of way.
The Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and
Michelangelo’s dome are as brilliant as you can imagine. Everything is
large – except the Sistine Chapel, which is surprisingly small compared
to the rest of Rome, and hard to believe that all the Cardinals fit in
there to elect a Pope.
If you go, be your own guide. Outside of the Colosseum, you’ll be
approached by dozens of guides offering tours. No need to panic, with
the help of books like, Rick Steves’ Italy and Moon Travel Guide –
Rome, you can visit each of the monuments with a good deal of
expertise. And, it’s fun to enjoy the sites at your own pace.
Tips for Roma, Italía visitors:
– No need to rent a car – take the bus or metro.
– In Rome fashion abounds, but on your trek across the ancient city,
wear comfortable walking shoes. In addition to walking, you’ll be
standing in lots of lines.
– Carry a bottle of water, you can refill at one of the hundreds of fountains across the city. And take sunblock.
– Be aware of your menu. While you’ve been warned about pickpockets,
also be aware of your menu, the cost of each item and gratuity so that
you won’t be overcharged for meatballs.
– When visiting the Colosseum, go to Palatine Hill first. There you can
buy a combo ticket, €11 for Palatine Hill and the Colosseum, and bypass
the long line at the Colosseum.