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*I spent a few days in Rome in March 2012, and it’s a MUST visit place if you are interested in history and culture.  Inside of this Rome Guide, you hear about my expereinces and get tips and recommendations for things like culture, food, nightlife, and things to do.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, and please check out my other related posts on Rome:
10 Things to do in Rome
7 Italian Foods to Try
Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Rome
Top 10 Italian Words

General Thoughts

If you’re into history, old architecture, art, fountains and churches, and fantastic food, then I suggest buying your plane ticket right now because Rome is THE place for you!

If I could re-visit any city in the world again, it would definitely be Rome.  I didn’t have enough days to explore this historic and unique city, but I still made the most of my time when I was there.

I’m sure you’ve been told by someone that Rome is very dirty and the people are rude.  While this may be true to an extent, it doesn’t take away from the pure beauty and historical significance of the city.

The cobblestone streets are like straight out of a movie.  Don’t make any judgements until you’ve seen Rome with your own eyes.  The positives far outweigh the negatives.

Rome is massive. 

It’s much bigger than I was anticipating.  You will need at least 3-4 days minimum if you want to see everything the city has to offer.  And the best way to explore Rome is by foot.

Along with most other cities in Italy, I found Rome to be quite expensive — especially because all the tourist attraction fees add up.

I am confident that you will find something that you’ll love in Rome — almost everyone does.  Read on to find out what it is!

Quick Facts

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 5.18.54 PMCurrency: Euro (EUR)
Population: 2.7 million (city), 4 million (metro)
– Rome’s history spans over two and a half thousand years, since it was founded in 753 BC.
– Ancient Roman writers and poets referred to Rome as “The Eternal City”
– Rome is considered one of the birthplaces of Western Civilization
– In the ancient world, Rome was the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire
– The Colosseum was built in 72 A.D. and has remained the largest amphitheater in the world.  It has 80 entrances and can hold up to 50,000 people

If you want to know more crazy facts about Ancient Rome, then check out this Buzz Feed Article!

Culture & People

It is true (to an extent) that the people in Rome are very aggressive and they aren’t the friendliest people in the world.

BUT, that doesn’t take away from Rome’s great nightlife! The clubs that I went to were rowdy and fun, but quite also expensive.  There are also lots of foreigners and expats in Rome, which means that you will find a good mix of locals and international faces.  

You also want to make sure that you dress nice when you go to clubs, because Rome is one of those cities that will deny your entry if you aren’t dressed the part.

Yes, Rome does have pickpocketers, gypsies and a bunch of scammers wandering the streets (especially in touristy areas). However, you don’t need to watch out any differently than you would in other cities like Barcelona or Lisbon.  Just use common sense.

Things are quite hectic and fast-paced in Rome. 

I saw loads of people honking horns, screaming at each other, running red lights, dangerously switching lanes and being overly aggressive drivers. These things just make up the culture in Rome, so you’ve gotta lean to appreciate it!

I would try to avoid taking the metro and bus if you can, because they are usually too crowded and slow.  Walking around Rome is really the best way to get a “true” experience.

I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and make some new local friends! Click this link to learn the Top 10 Italian Words to keep in your back pocket 😉

What to Do?

There are an endless amount of awesome things to do in Rome.  I think that you’ll need to live there for some time to truly experience everything.

The Colosseum, The Vatican, Sisteen Chapel, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Old Roman Ruins- the list goes on forever.

Your #1 landmark to visit should be the Colosseum.  It’s a must.  This structure is one of the most epic things that I’ve ever laid eyes on.  The history, the architecture, and the ambiance around the Colosseum cannot be explained in words.   If you want to go inside, then make sure to get there before 4PM. 

The Trevi fountain is even cooler than it looks in pictures.  I couldn’t wrap my head around the detail and enormous size of this fountain.  Don’t forget to make a wish and throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder.  It represents your promise to return back to this Eternal City.

I can’t even put the Vatican into words.  It’s the smallest recognized country in the world, is the residence of the Pope and contains some of the world’s most famous churches, paintings and sculptures. 

In the Vatican, you will find St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and several Vatican Museums.  You will need several hours to explore the Vatican.  Make sure your camera is fully charged 😉

Lastly, I recommend heading to the Spanish Steps during sunset.  It’s located right in the middle of the Piazzza di Spagna and Piazza Trinita dei Monti.  The Spanish Steps was my favorite spot to take in the culture and watch all of the people around the city.  The sunsets there are amazing!

For a more complete list of things to do, check out my post on 10 Things to do in Rome.

The Food

Italian food is Incredible to say the least!

I didn’t find the best Italian food in Rome (I think Florence is better), but that’s not to say that the pizza and pasta wasn’t spectacular.  I also had some incredible gelato from street vendors around Rome (especially the one across the street from the Pantheon)!  I honestly, think I ate Gelato 3 times a day every single day.

If you are on a tight budget, then indulge in the fresh vegetables from the many street markets around the city.  They are so fresh and cheap!

If you want to learn more about the best local dishes, then please read my post on 7 Italian Foods to Try.

The Nightlife

In Roma, the fun never ends.

The nightlife has something for everyone- whether you want to drink a glad of wine on the Spanish Steps, sip on a beer at an outside pub table, or dance the your heart out at a giant nightclub

Given that people eat dinner late in Rome, the nightlife starts late and goes until early morning.  There are tons of bars, pubs, clubs and discos scattered around the city.  Even the main squares turn into giant bars and drinking fests once the sun goes down.

The main nightlife areas of Rome are:
Campo De Fiori– older crown, good mix of locals and foreigners
Testaccio/Ostinese– has everything from hipster bars to house music clubs
San Lorenzo– lively younger crowd with many pubs.  It’s home to the big University
Trastevere– a local favorite with many coffee shops, restaurants, pubs and wine bars

Head to one of these areas on any night of the week when you are in Rome. It’s one hell of a time.

If you want to know the best clubs in town, then check out my Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Rome.

Go to Rome, enjoy it, and realize that there’s nothing like it in the world.

Related Posts on Rome
10 Things to do in Rome
7 Italian Foods to Try
Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Rome
Top 10 Italian Words

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