Well, if you're planning on visiting either the Colloseum or the Vatican, either go early, or go late. The Colloseum queue's aren't really all that spectacular, to be honest, but it gets incredibly hot in the middle of the Summer, so any chance to excape the heat should be greeted with open arms.
As for the Vatican, now those queue's ARE impressive. We got there 1/2 an hour before opening time, and ended up spending 1 1/2 hours in the queue. Later on, the queue's are shorter, but somehow there are still MORE people in the Vatican than earlier.
Unique Suggestions: As i said, when seeing the Colloseum, earlier (it opens at 08.30) or later are probably best. When visiting the Vatican (It opens at 9.00), either be there before 8.00, or go later during the day, if you don't mind the crowds so much.
Fun Alternatives: Well, in all fairness, what kind of alternative can you offer to the Vatican and the Colloseum??
KEEP OUT - A bar called DANY CAFFE address 548,CIRCONVALLAZIONE NOMENTANA - ROME just in front of the exit of TIRURTINA TRAIN STATION under a BRIDGE of the HIGHWAY. It has few tables outside and a signal Black and orange/red (fixed with tape). They also sell ICECREAMS (GELATERIA). We are talking about of and EXTREME ARROGANT and badly behaved management. They are EXTREMELY RACIST with tourists and with handicapped customers. No facilities for wheelchairs are available and bathroom is a MOUSE TRAP ! (accessible via DANGEROUS HIGH STAIRS). A woman (the owner) is always at the cash and a girl (often) and a MAN (abt 40 yo) serve at the customers. These people act this way. When a tourist enter the bar and ask for the bathroom they answer "it's BUSY" or "is broken" if you don't buy something before. TAKE CARE when you CHOOSE something from the expositors. The 40 yo man usually serve you ANOTHER THING, not what you asked for. They usually have a lot of things that no one wants, this way they try save their money. A coffee costs abt 4 euros served at the tables outside, in front of the wonderful panorama of a busy highway. Pay attention at the REST when you pay at the CASH !! They always say they do not have enough coins to give you all, They simply say "I'am sorry". The woman at the cash and the man are extremely arrogant, joking at you in DIALECT, offending the customers. they know you don't understand. The coffee is pretty DISGUSTING (tastes burned).
Unique Suggestions: Don't do that ! Simply imagine a bomb has been dropped there and an huge HOLE has been made, with nothing inside.
If you have to go in DANY CAFFE simply consider to do not use the bathroom and pass the rest of your morning having no breakfast.
I REPEAT. DON'T GO THERE if you don't want to be cheated !
Fun Alternatives: Don't Stop at DANY CAFFE ! Just climb A BIT the slightly steep road of CIRCONVALLAZIONE NOMENTANA and you will find a VERY BIG BAR, with big FREE BATHROOM and a lot of space, confortable and customers care oriented. I never been there but outside looks pretty COOL and Huge. I realized this just my last day there. Shame on me I know !
In Rome... don't stop at the 1st option.... just take your time and keep on trying. Have Fun Guys !
When I went to Rome, it was winter time and since I was new in the area, I didn't realize that my group and I reserved a hotel far from the city. On top of the location of the hotel which was not really a problem for us because we rented a bus, our biggest problem was heating. Although the hotel has a heating system, it was old and it took at least eight hours to heat our room!
The water was also freezing cold and we ended up not showering at night and the next day because the water was still cold!
Unique Suggestions: Make sure to check the age of the hotel, which in Rome, the hotels are all old and ancient. If the hotel is old, make sure to ask if the hotel was recently renovated and have heating system in the room and their plumbing system is updated.
Make sure to ask if their is a heating system and if there is, if it is working. Also, ask if there is cold and hot water.
Believe me, it is freezing cold in the hotel without heating!
Fun Alternatives: We stayed in a hotel passed the Laguas de Papa. Book your hotel close to the city.
There are many scammers looking for tourists!
They are everywhere in Rome!
Bring your own umbrella or try it before you pay - yes they can be talked down - do not pay a lot!
A friend bought one & she was disappointed - it was broken BUT we tracked him down & he exchanged it!
The sellers are very pushy but you get that wherever you go, not just Rome!
They are persistant BUT do not give in, they eventually get the hint :)
I am an experienced traveler who utilized ApartmentsApart for an apartment on the Campo dei Fiori. When I arrived I found out that every window looked out onto an airshaft so there was no natural light at all. This was at the end of November so the apartment was dark all of the day. On top of that, it was directly above a disco, so from l9:30 until 02:30 on Friday and Saturday night the apartment shook with music. I have written two letters to the manager protesting that I never would have rented (for $1,ooo a week in off season) if I had been apprised of the no natural light and being above a nightclub. I have not received an answer altho it has been more than a month. It is obvious they do not care about return business. Please avoid this rental office as they are not honest in their advertising of properties, and obviously do not care about client satisfaction.
The notebook scam has been around long enough that it is in the guide books. I kept seeing this all over Rome. Someone will have a little table set up and thrust a pen towards you and ask you to sign a petition. The week I was there they said it was to ‘Say No To Drugs’. They need you to sign their petition or sponsor form and – of course – make a donation. The form usually already has several signatures from some past tourists.
DO NOT SIGN OR GIVE THEM MONEY! Give them absolutely nothing! Even a simple question about them or their ‘organisation’ throws up red flags. If you sign their form they use your details to show other Tourists they are legitimate. They may also use your details for fraudulent activities. DO NOT SIGN IT! Just walk away.
* Please note: I did not take any pictures of these idiots. These are just some nice views of Rome*
READ BEFORE YOU GO! THEN YOU KNOW!
ROMAN SCAMS !
Did you see the green periphery painted on the big maps in the metro? As there was "Riserva Naturale"Written on the side near Ponte Mammolo metro station.
I wonder what is to be preserved there... The river is polluted, streets and houses near. Maybe some km further- but you won't get your fresh air like in Castelfusano. The only worth alternative is Valle della Caffarella near Via Appia Antica. Or take the bus 85 to Rocca de Papa, on the shore of the two vulcanic lakes Albano and Nemi.
What you have from Ponte Mammolo are the buses to Tivoli- 2 Euros one way.
Unique Suggestions: There were huge stone blocks posted near an institutional building- were they once part of the legendary Mammolo bridge? An old cat in front of it's eating pot- a wild one? Some nicely brown looking animal hushing to a hole at the riverside- a mole or rather a rat?
At the lower part of Ponte Mammolo station, there were Romanian CDs sold. So much Romanians live nearby. Housing is much too expensive, and so they prefered to build huts there. I think not all of them were Gypsies. A bit further, a squat station whith transparents claiming for payable living.
Fun Alternatives: Castelfusano (see my tip)
Via Appia antica
These guys have cheap rates but then charge your credit card for fictional vehicle infractions to the tune of $700. More than the rental price.
AVOID AUTO EUROPA also Sicily by Car
Fun Alternatives: AVIS
Legitimate rental companies
After walking for 8 hours and waiting for 3 hours to enter in Vatican, my legs were dead and I couldn't move. I was near Condotti street when we decided to pick up a taxi and go to the hotel. We were told that taxi is bot expencive and that we should pay attention to the taximeter, whether is turned on or not. Everything went fine, the price was 6.50 eur when the taxi stopped, the next thing was he drove backward 3 meters, pushed a button and the price was 16 eur. We couldn't provew that 2 sec ago the price was 6.50 eur, so we paid the whole amount.
Unique Suggestions: Watch permanently the taximeter and ask the driver if it's possible to pay without the paper bill, otherwise they will charge you a looot.
Thinking of Rome crowd the mind of images derived from postcards, films, author, known for songs or phrases to use dialect. Numerous citations that contribute to food ideas, ideas, feelings with which each of us gives shape to the Eternal City. Who has not already seen Rome? But the amazement and wonder, which captures every visitor, they become a normal condition of mind when you see those images through their eyes and almost touch each hand.
Monumental, magnificent, and always different, so it seems Rome as the immense stage of a theater where the scenery changes constantly, at different times by dragging the viewer. Among the intricate medieval alleyways, the redundant baroque squares, the majestic monuments, or the heights of its hills, on the banks of the Tiber and parks is renewed archaeological wonder in the eyes and hearts of the viewer. So immersed in this new condition, the negative aspects, which exist, are reduced to mere noises off stage.
An open-air museum where the masterpieces are on display for thousands of architects, sculptors, painters, whose genius has found space and motivation to express themselves: by Apollodorus of Damascus to Michelangelo, from Bernini and Caravaggio, Raphael Canova up to Renzo Piano, who signed the New Auditorium gave the city yet another work of art.
A charm that seems inexhaustible, to Rome, because very varied and that in forms, expressions and different colors nell'anima discover the true Roma People, which is characterized by the characters and humorous dissacratori, faithfully rievocati moods in the famous sonnets of Joseph Gioacchino Belli, Roman poet of the nineteenth century. That same spirit that we find in the Roman novels of Pier Paolo Pasolini or poems Trilussa.
Un coté full of spontaneity and genuineness that is exalted still in Roman cuisine, as well as in folkloric traditions, traits that are more than any other district in Trastevere. Far from the clamor of the city of popes and emperors, this corner of Rome, which extends beyond the Tiber, for that fascinates matrix that still retains the popular, made of energy, simplicity, creativity, reasons that make it attractive especially in the eyes of young people and artists.
All theese restaurants,coffee shops and stores around places like st.peters, colloseum, trevi etc. are ofcourse going to be more expencive, because they are there for the tourists, and you will not receive the same service as offered from the "regular" places, for the same reason. So simply stay away from them, because you will have so many options as Rome is just packed with reastaurant and coffee shops. I doubt you will be able to walk more then 100m without passing one.
Our hotel was placed about 1km south of Termini Station, we took a walk around the nearby blocks upon arrival and checked the local options before going out for dinner. And having read alot of theese reviews about the "service fee" and high prices, we were a bit worried and found it somewhat difficult to actually enjoy that first (excellent!) meal, and instead sat there thinking about how bad the bill was going to be.
However, after finnishing the meal with dessert and drinks, we quickly found out this was unfounded worries. The bill was about 25 euros, just as we had calculated from the menu and with an added 2€ for the services. Its actually cheaper then what we pay here in our local pub/pizzeria here in Sweden, yet to food was so much better.
So instead we ended up tipping them, oh the irony...
The following days we tryed a couple of places, and found one that we really liked, it had a mix of tourist and locals. They had both great food, service and prices. Dinner for 2 (gnocci wich meatsauce, lasagna, sallad, bottle of beer, bottle of wine, mineral water, gelatos, sitting outdoors in the evening with a serviceminded staff, was about 40€ including a 10% tip.
There was even a man playing accordion one of the nights, it was worth every cent! And more then i had hoped for. So please, do not read into theese warnings about getting scammed all over too much, bring your common sence, and just stay away from the tourist oriented places and you will enjoy it very much.
Average fees in the places we were at:
Pasta dishes : 7-10€
Meat dishes: 10-15€
Bottle of wine: 4-8€
Bottle of beer: 3-5€
At st.peters there will obviously be huge ques, so get there early. We decided not to go in just because of this, so that was a bit dissapointing. And ofcourse there were theese guides who approached us offering a 3 hour tour for 39€ allowing us to skip the line. But we decided not to hang around that long, being led like sheep. Walking among these monuments on your own is so much more enjoyable.
At the colloseum we were like many here asked if we wanted a picture with one of the legionaires, a simple polite "no thank you" was sufficent. However I found it strange that people seem to think they would dress up for free and pose in photos all day without charge, after all, they do make an effort so its not robbery like many claim. Again, use you common sence and arrange a price before agreeing to anything, really simple.
The tip i found here about getting the tickets at Palentine hills was a most usefull one, even if we were out there early in the morning (about 8am) before colloseum had opened we went straight to the palentine and got the tickets, and then walking around palentine and forum almost all by ourselfs for the first 1,5 hours. It was amazing, and I got some really nice photos. at 9.30 or so the first guided tours began to appear, and as we happened to be watching some of the things we were not familiar with, the answers came straight to us, without charge and in perfect english. ;)
I would say the Palentine and Forum were the most intersting things we saw in rome (if you are atleast somewhat instersted in ancient history like I am), so whatever you do, do not skip theese two.
After this, we went on the colloseum, and as we had the tickets we skipped the whole looong line of tourist wanting to get a ticket, and went straight in. The colloseum was ofcourse impressive in a way, but I had probably too high hopes from it, so it was a bit dissapointing. I had pictured me walking in around in the middle, and on the scene they have built, but all of that was closed of areas for some reason. However, I did get some decent photos from it aswell, but nothing like the ones from earlier.
At around 11.30-12:am there was really no point in trying to continue, its too hot, and to many people so you wont get any decent photos, and the lines are just too big everywhere. Better of head back to the hotel and rest / have lunch (again, NOT at the tourist areas :)
The stands outside colloseum sells T-Shirts and Mini souveniers, and the prices are not that bad as suggested by many, I wanted a T-Shirt and payed 5€ for one, hardly expencive, however the following day near st.Peters I saw the very same t-shirts were charged 16€ in the stores around the area. But if people pay that, i cant blame them for charging that.
The only negative thing we encountered was when visiting a coffee shop a few blocks from st.peters. It seemed to be a place where locals go so it seemed ok enough, and I had to find me a bathroom anyhow. The staff there was somewhat busy and we didnt feel all that welcome, so we took a few sips of our coffees and payed, then simply left. About 4€, so no big deal.
Following day we went up early again, and found ourselfs at the Trevi Fountain at about 8-8.30am. The souvenir stands were just being setup, and we took a few photos and talked to the man setting it all up, just chatting a bit. He was very polite and nice, probably wanting to sell us something ofcourse, but thats to be expected. However, we decided not to, but i was curious on how much he charged for hes largest Ceasar torso, it was 75€. But then he said as we were the first custumers of the day, half the price. We didnt however want to carry around a fragile 30cm statue all day, so we declined, and he offered us it for 30. I was really tempted now because i did really like it, but it was no option to carry around it all day (it was actually quite heavy).
So all in all, the warnings here are a bit extreeme. We came expecting the worst but found out Rome is a wonderful city, full of things to do and see, and you will not be spending fortunes on doing so if you dont want to.
Unique Suggestions: Keep only the money you need for entry fees etc. in your pocket, and the rest safe around your neck beneth cloth, or similar. We did not encounter any pickpockets, but they are surely there.
Avoid the sights when everyone else is there, go up early and be there before it gets crowded, and do not get into theese guided tours. Explore on your own instead, if theres anything specific you want to know, hang around and the answers will come to you.
Do not rent cars or vespas, the Romans drive like nuts, this is not a myth, but fact.
You will see hordes of vespas everywhere, when trying cross a street, let alone if you would be driving among them. And observe the cars, you will find that probably every 3-4th of the ones you see will have hit something. Its amazing, the paintshops and autorepair services must be making a fortune in this place.
Do not expect everyone to be good at english, many of them are not. But its not a problem to make yourself understood.
Take the Leornardo Express to Termini from the airport, the fee is 11€ per ticket (sept.2008)
Take the Metro instead of taxis, the fee for one day pass is 4€ (sept.2008)
Do not use the money exchange services at the airports etc. Do this before leaving so you can check you get a fair deal.
Bring a couple of bottles of water/drinks in a cooling bag when going sightseeing. Its humid and hot, you need to drink alot, and you can refill bottles at many places. The stands outside the attractions are not as expencive as we expected, but hardly cheap either. Just go to any super market and get your drinks.
Bring your own towels, the ones our hotel offered were not very good. I tried using it once, and it felt more like a tablecloth.
Write down the numbers you may be in need of if something does happen, like the number to block your credit card, the number to you embassy, hotel, insurance company etc.
Bring other means of identification other then your passport.
Bring your common sence and enjoy yourself!
Fun Alternatives: Visit the supermarkets and grocery stores and get your breakfast there instead of going out.
Theres so much good stuff to try out there, fresh baked bread with all kinds of salami/ham/cheese etc. Much much better then the breakfast offered at the hotels, also you will find the italian beer is quite nice, not to mention the wine (and no, im not recomending it as breakfast :)
I was truely amazed on how good wine you can get from a grocery store for about 1.5-2€. Im paying 5 times this in sweden, and its still not as good, go figure, but they do have decent wine for cheap.
Shop-assistants (not all of them , though) in Rome can play several tricks to make sure you leave as much money as possible in their shop. I had a very negative experience in a cloth-shop on Via Corso. As soon as I took some clothes to try on, an shop-assistant ' glued' herself to me. Note, they do not have mirrors in changing rooms. It means that you have to come out of the changing room to look in the mirror. When you do that, the shop-assistant will hang around exclaiming 'bellissimo' (beautiful in Italian) and will offer you other things that could go with the piece you have chosen. While doing that they will say: ' Just try it on. You dont need to buy it'. So I ended up trying on several things. Well, they were nice but I had no intention to by them, all I wanted was one dress. Before I went into the dressing room for the last time to change to my old clothes, the shop-assistant collected all the clothes I had tried on from the changing room saying 'Oh, I will just take them'. And now comes the trap- when I approached the cashier to pay for my dress, the cashier gave me receipt on which was not only the dress I wanted but also other things. 200 EUR in total. I told- I dont want anything except the dress. They both attacked me saying that it is already in receipt and I had chosen to buy all these things and that the personal service (!) does not come for me (as if I have asked for it).
Unique Suggestions: Well, you can do what I did- pretended that I have no credit card and not enough cash , only for the dress. paid only for it and left followed by really rude and angry comments in loud. So, say polite thank you for anything that shop-assistants offer to you and to their ' personal services'.
don't ask the tourist information offices for any help, they always give you the most expensive option possible! Very tourist unfriendly! Check for tips on Fodors and VT before you plan any trip to Italy!
Most restaurant are out to rip you off! Do not be trapped by a menu outside that quotes lesser prices only to be told inside they do not serve the listed item and instead order a pasta that s not listed. We were cheated this way!! 40E for a handful of pasta was the price they charged us!!!!
if you decide to buy anything at all buy it at the super markets!
Fun Alternatives: Buy most of carry food and water from super market. Adjoining the termini there is a SPAR super market where you can buy water (1.5 L) for as little as 0.21 E as opposed to buying it on the streets even for 1.5 E!! A ten pack of chocolate croissant for 2 E is an excellent substitute for break fast, and buy coffee at express counters, saves you atleast 1 E!!
Rome is a lovely city, BUT it is being destroyed with Graffitti, I was so shocked at first it really made me feel a bit "why did I bother comming) so be prepared for some retouching of your photos.
Avoid the snack bar at Colosseo Metro station I was charges 8.9Euros for 1 Coke & 1 Bottle of water (Yes I know I should have known better!)
The Roman soldiers around the coliseum will offer to let you take their picture but will then demand anything up to 15 Euros that’s £12.50 or $25. Non Grazia (No Thanks) is sufficient for all but the most persistent.
If you do not have to go to Termini station, dont, the place is crawling with drunks, beggers, pan handlers and general low life.
The streets around the sights are full of hawkers mostly Africans and Asians they will not leave you alone if you as much as pass a glance in the direction of their counterfeit wares DO NOT BUY IT this stuff funds terrorism and fake drugs are now killing people. The police are trying to crack down I saw two arrested by plain clothes officers at the Trevi fountatin GOOD JOB!!!
Pickpockets are everyware watch out, they work in teams one will distract you whilst they other robs you.
DO NOT keep money in a your bag on the Metro keep it safe as close to you as possible.
A young American girl we met was talking to us (with her brothers at the time!) and a guy went to touch her bottom, my partners had hers felt as well on the Metro, lets say the dirty old swine will NOT try it on her again!
Unique Suggestions: When you are hungry take a 1Euro ride out of the centre on the Metro,
I had two identical meals one in the centre and one in a street out of the centre the one one in centre was tiny and cost me 75 Euros the one out of the centre was huge and cost me 35 Euro's, not a bad saving for the sake of 10 minutes and a euro!
Fun Alternatives: When you go the Vatican or coliseum you will be accosted by people asking if you are taking the tour, they will offer you thechance to jump theque with a guided tour. Beware most of these are NOT the tour guide (who's English may be of poor standard in reality) and you will be paying a very high premium to que jump on average 20 to 30 euros more than the standard entry price thats £25 or $50 more! BUY the hand held 4 Euro (Average) Audio guide's, take a good guide book and do it yourself its way better and way cheaper.
Coach tours all are very expensive and all those I took were a complete waste of money, get a bus and metro map, a 1 day 4euro travel card (you buy these at Tobacco shops) a good guide book and do it yourself you will have a much better trip.
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