Rome, The Eternal City. With a history that has influenced the world we see today, I’m confident in stating, it’s a destination at the top of most people’s bucket list. From it’s iconic and slightly overwhelming architecture to the plethora of fountains and sculptures located all over the city, it’s a destination you’ll be glad you had the chance to tick off.
The city oozes ambience from the walls of its buildings to the cobbled streets and fascinating art. Visually, its retained its quaint and biblical charm while also embracing an authentic and vibrant Mediterranean feel. Being here really does give you all the feels.
Like with all holidays and city breaks, it’s smart to be prepared whether that’s understanding more about the location you’re staying in, learning a little of the local language, or making sure you know the best places to visit.
Here at Health Hacking, we’ve got you covered. We’ve created some handy travel tips that should help you when navigating the eternal city.
1. Don’t let the chaos of the roads stress you out
Yes, they’re busy. Yes, people do what they want but don’t panic, you will survive. For anyone that has travelled around Europe, you’ll know that certain cities have a reputation for their manic, crazed, yet endearing driving. Us Brits tend to slate the complete chaos of their driving and lack of road layout. We question “How, just how, do they get from point a to point b in one piece?”. However, this style of driving seems to work for them, and while you may be holding onto the seat of your pants, you’ll get where you need to be, just have faith.
Whoever said, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, has never driven a car there.
2. Don’t get caught out with a bad meal
Before going, make sure you suss out the best places to eat. The city accommodates a large number of tourists throughout the year, so as you can imagine, there are lots of food options. However, like most cities, you have to be careful which ones you try as the majority serve low-quality food at a high price. There are lots of sites sharing recommendations that you can check out before going. We recommend a little restaurant near the Pantheon called Cantina E Cucina, it boasts a typical Italian charm with a delicious choice of menu.
3. Take advantage of the local knowledge and join a tour
When in Rome as they say, make sure you take advantage of the tours available. You can pick up a tour for any of the main attractions, just read the fine print to make sure you know what you’re paying for. Some of these tours accommodate large groups of people and no means to communicate with everyone adequately. This can mean, you spend a couple of hours trying to lip read the tour guide (when you can see them). We recommend a fantastic little tour company called City Wonders, they offer a 1.5-hour tour which provides access to the Colosseum via the gladiator entrance. Amazing. The tour guide’s knowledge is fantastic, they accommodate just the right amount of people so that you can still hear and follow along. You can book directly with them or via most holiday sites such as Expedia.
4. Take advantage of the local Street Sellers
I know most people find street sellers a pain in the butt, especially when they’re chasing you down the street trying to sell you a piece of art they painted themselves, that then appears to be painted exactly the same way by about 100 other street sellers. But you can’t knock their hustle. There are a lot of street sellers in Rome, more than I’ve seen anywhere else. They’re down every side street, at every attraction, even outside your hotel. While most of the stuff they sell is probably something you can pick up at the local gift shop, they do come in handy for a spur of the moment. For example, dehydrated? No problem, they’ll be a local street seller on hand to help quench your thirst. Phone battery dying? No problem, there’s a local street seller on hand with one. Can’t quite get yours or your girlfriends face in the picture? That’s ok, there’s a street seller with a selfie stick not too far away. If you’re the next Jordan Belfort, you may even be able to negotiate an even better price.
5. Don’t get caught out, book skip the line tickets
If you like to explore the city in your own time, then make sure you plan in advance as Rome is like Disneyland for the History lovers. Be smart and book “skip the line” tickets otherwise, you could spend a whole day waiting to get into one of the attractions. The Colosseum and the Vatican tend to be the ones with the most significant queues. In peak season, you can wait up five hours for entry. No thank you. Again most tour companies offer this service for a couple of quid. You can, however, add on extras, like a tour etc. to get the full experience.