Updated: Mar 18
Rome, the Eternal City, is the largest city in Italy and was home to the ancient Roman Empire.
Rome is 24km inland from the Tyrrhenian Sea.
POPULATION OF ROME - 2.873 MILLION ( 2017 )
CURRENCY - ( € ) EURO
TIME DIFFERENCE - + 1 HOUR OF ( GMT )
Some facts about Rome
• Rome has 280 Fountains and 900 churches
• 700,000 Euros of coins are tossed into the Trevi Fountain each year
• The first-ever shopping mall was built in Rome in 107-110 AD
• Rome has a museum dedicated to pasta
• Cats are free to roam in Rome
We booked flights through SKYSCANNER with the now non-existent Monarch Airlines. This company went bust a week after we got back, leaving many people stranded, so we're fortunate. We only booked a one-way trip as we are coming back with an Easy jet from Naples. The flights out cost £58 for both of us out of Luton Airport.
Arrived at Rome's main airport Fiumicino International Airport, headed outside and grabbed a taxi, which was a simple process.
The journey was a 35-minute ride, and as we didn't know if there was anything near our apartment, we needed a few things from a shop, so we asked the taxi driver nicely, and he was so helpful and pulled over next to the shop and waited for me to grab a few things at no extra charge, what a great start in meeting kind Italians.
Donna did think when I jumped out that she might have been kidnapped 😂.
The room was booked through BOOKING.COM and cost us £251 for 4 nights.
When the driver found our apartment, we said our CIAO's and headed in to be greeted by another lovely Italian; she showed us our room and even told us proudly that we have Sky t.v.
She was so kind, we thought she would stay with us for the 4 days, which we wouldn't of minded.
We had a great view from the window of our room out onto a square; it was fairly quiet as it was 10 pm.
Hungry, we left and went to find something to eat, but wasn't prepared to walk too far as we didn't want to get lost, so down the road under a bridge we found a pizza shop, Brew 9, that was just about to close, so we chose our pizzas and took them back with us. The pizza was stunning; we were definitely in Italy!!!
We only had four days in Rome before travelling down to Naples on this trip, so we planned to visit all the popular places.
The breakfast is included with the room, they give you a little ticket that you take to the café around the corner, called MERULANA CAFÉ which provided us with a pastry and a coffee, now we are coffee snobs, and this place got the thumbs up from us.
We ate here some evenings, and it is highly recommended.
On one evening meal, we wanted to sit outside as it was a beautiful September evening.
There were only 2 seats left on a table of four, but two people were sitting there; we asked if we could join. They were a lovely American couple called Bill and Eileen who were so accommodating and welcomed us to sit with them, we got chatting for a couple of hours, and all these years later, we are still in touch. We love meeting new people.
The first place we wanted to visit was the famous Colosseum built between 72 A.D and 80 A.D and is the largest amphitheatre in the world.
It's the same height as a 12 storey building which could fit a modern-day football pitch inside.
It was built with thousands of slaves with stone and concrete. It was large enough to fit 50,000 spectators who would watch brutal gladiatorial combats.
To protect spectators from the heat of the sun, there was a velarium which is an awning that could be pulled over the seating areas to provide shade.
When we first set eyes on the Colosseum, we were in awe as we have seen it so many times on the t.v and here it was towering above us. I always say no photo in the world can show something better than with your own eyes.
As with all famous sights, the area was absolutely jam-packed with tourists and sellers trying to sell you all kinds of things and pestering you to buy tickets and promise you that you can skip the lines.
Always buy from somewhere more reliable than a guy on the streets. We politely said No, Gracias, as we were not going inside and happy with walking the perimeter.
As it got a lot busier, we wandered through the park nearby and away from the tourists, which we always like to do and see where we end up.
Again we got Metro tickets, so we get around quicker; it operates on 3 lines A ( orange ), B ( Blue ) and C ( Green ). It is not the biggest Metro system we have used, but it the fastest way to get around, and when time is against you, it is advantageous.
SPANISH STEPS AND TREVI FOUNTAIN
We found the nearest metro station and jumped on to get to the Spanish steps and Trevi Fountain. As you will find if you come to Rome, there is no escaping the crowds on these popular tourist spots, always the earlier, the better.
The Spanish Steps consist of 135 steps and is the widest in Europe. They were built in the 1700s to connect the French church to the Spanish square below.
At the Spanish steps, we were again pestered by guys selling roses, we don't usually get drawn into these kinds of things, but some guy caught me by surprise and handed me a rose and out of instinct, I took it, that's it they won't leave you alone until you give them some money.
You are now stuck, if you hand it back you look unromantic to your partner, keep it, and you pay a whole 5 Euros for something I could have got at a service station in the U.K for £1, but I remained romantic and gave it to Donna but moaned about it for 5 minutes. 😂
The steps were a lovely looking area but too busy for us, so we headed over to the Trevi fountain, but that was even busier!! We were about 5 deep back from the fountain, so we couldn't really add to the 700,00 Euros that are tossed into it every year.
The Fountains stands at 86ft tall and 161 ft wide, making it the city's biggest Baroque fountain. It took 30 years to complete and was finished in 1762. All money collected from the fountain is donated to charities, so if you can reach, toss in your cash, its for good causes.
We had booked the pub crawl for Saturday evening as we find this a great way to meet people from all around the world; we booked online with COLOSSEUM BAR HOP.
If you book online, you get a free t-shirt at the end of the night; we always love getting freebies.
The night starts by meeting at the metro station opposite the beautifully lit up Colosseum, while waiting for everyone to arrive you can get started with meeting the guests and guides, this way you can guess how the evening is going to be, on our experiences it is always great fun and so many nice people.
At the very start, you will have to buy your own metro ticket as the first stop is a few stations away, then off you go following the guides to your train, and within 10 minutes, you are at your stop.
The first bar is all you can drink for an hour, and you also get free pizza with games being played, including beer pong.
This is the ice breaker. This is where we usually find our little group for the night; ours were some girls from London, Yassy and Becky, a Canadian guy and an American.
After the first place was a short walk to the next bar, it was such a great night, and you eventually end up in the club for the finale, which can be a bit of a blur.
At the end of the night, you can pick up your T-Shirt. Outside grab one of the taxis to head home. Again trying to save money, I thought I knew which way it was and didn't need a taxi, let's say, 3 hours later, we made it back!!!
The nightlife in Rome is good. The Monday night, we met up with Yassy and Becky again for 1 drink as they had plans; they never made their plans. 1 drink turned into many. We had an absolute blast that evening, and we even grew our group by 1 with an American guy called Steven.
You will be able to find a good night in Rome.
Vatican City is a separate state from Rome and gained independence in 1929. With its 825 residents and at a size of 49 hectares is the smallest state in the world.
The state is ruled by the pope, head of the catholic church.
It has its own flag and post office, so you should make sure you send a postcard home from inside the Vatican city so you can get the postmark.
It is set on the west bank of the Tiber river.
We decided to walk to Vatican city, and on the way, we came across an outdoor market selling all kinds of antiques. It was interesting to look at old items from Italy's past, including a coin with Mussolini's head and dated 1945, he was killed in April 1945, could have been an item for Bargain Hunt!!
Unfortunately, because we walked, we missed the Pope's appearance in Saint Peters Square by an hour ( he comes out most Sundays at noon ). They were packing up the seats; that would have been something to see, so instead, we grabbed some food and sat down on some steps in the square and took in the view.
EAT WITH THE LOCALS
As we have said with other blogs, we love wandering the places we visit and the more away from crowds, the better.
We do touristy things but like to find random things to do as well.
Investigating while at home, I came across a website called BONAPPETOUR, which can give all kinds of food experiences from places you are visiting; we found DINING ON A ROMAN TERRACE with hosts Robbie and Rocco, and the experience is visiting their apartment and eat and drink with them on their terrace.
I thought it was an amazing idea, so I booked it, then told Donna, who was quite dubious of what website I went to find this.
The Sunday evening was the night I had booked, and we had to get to the metro nearest us, then ride 4 stops and then a 15-minute walk.
It was quite a way out of the city centre. We both did wonder what have we let ourselves in for, especially after everyone at home thinking it was a bit strange going to a random house in another country with strangers.
We found the apartment block behind big electric gates and buzzed, a voice replied with a big hello. The gates opened as we got through, a voice from above shouted another big friendly hello.
We went up a few flights of stairs and were greeted by Robbie and Rocco's smiling faces; they were a married couple and so welcoming.
All the worries were swept away immediately, and we felt like we had known each other for years.
They showed us through the beautiful terrace. It was evening now and still so warm, the wine came out, and conversation flowing.
One of their friends joined us, a lovely Iranian lady who had some fascinating stories.
The food was stunning; it is 3 courses that you can choose what you would like when you book online.
The evening was finished with a Limoncello. Feeling full and a bit tipsy we left feeling we truly had a great Roman experience.
Rome is a great place for all kind of things, you have many sights to visit, it is rich in history and culture, whatever you want you can find it, don't be shy because ' When in Rome.'