The last time I was in Italy was around four years ago for our last family holiday to Florence. I remember thinking, 5 days was a few too many days for the small city and wished we had hopped on the train to explore Rome or Milan. Wanting to fit another city break in before the cold weather hit, me and my sister decided we wanted to go back to Italy and visit Rome.
On my city breaks, I like to book my flights pretty early in the morning. Not only is it a little cheaper, but then you get to make the most out of your day when you arrive on the other side. The only downside is that I usually have to book an Uber to get to the airport because the tube doesn’t quite run early enough. Just like my trip to Copenhagen, I planned out using Google Maps where I wanted to visit in Rome.
We opted to stay in an AirBnB in Nomentano, which is a little neighbourhood north-east off the city centre. There was a Lidl a short walk away which was very handy for us to pick up quick breakfasts, fruit and bottles of water in order for us to survive in the afternoon heat. Our little apartment was roughly a 40 minute bus ride from the city centre. In hindsight I probably would have opted to stay closer into town so that we wouldn’t need to spend so much time travelling in and out every day.
The weather was amazing in back in September. Sunny blue skies, all day every day :) As well as so much tasty pasta and pizza to satisfy my carb cravings with a refreshing Aperol Spritz and Lemonsoda.
Before the trip, I purchased the Omnia Card, which gives you access to free/discounted entry to attractions, skip the line privileges and also free travel across Rome for 72 hours. I wanted to make it as easy as possible to see the sights in and around Rome for a reasonable price. All you needed to do was pick up the card from their office and then off you went! For skip the line entry you would need to book a slot at the office, gather at the meeting point, then head off with your guide to the tourist attraction.
The downside to this card is that it is quite pricey. I think it is only worth purchasing if you are in Rome for at least 3 days and want to squeeze lots of attractions in and don’t want to keep shelling out cash at every stop. Skip the queue is very handy however, the organisers only have specific times for certain attractions. Once they are booked, they tell you to come back to the office the following day to book, which is very frustrating when you want to make the most out of your trip in the city. The travel pass is very useful to hop on and off the metro or the local bus links around the city, but most attractions are within walking distance of each other so is not necessarily needed all the time. We mainly used it to get into the centre in the morning and back to the apartment in the evening.
Both metro and buses only cost €1.50 a trip, so it’s relatively cheap if you wanted to travel around without the pass. However be very careful when using public transport in Rome! On a bus, the driver is quite literally just the driver. You must buy a ticket before you board, either at a station or a corner shop/news stand and you must remember to stamp the card in the machine when you board. The same goes for trains, after purchasing the ticket, there is usually a machine on the platform where you need to insert your ticket so it gets stamped. The inspectors will pick on tourists, and if they discover any problems, they will fine you on the spot. Unfortunately this happened to me on my second day. I had put my bus ticket in the machine to get stamped however, there was an issue with the magnetic strip on my ticket and I got fined €50 even though it wasn’t my fault. This definitely put a dampener on my trip.
St Peter’s Basilica
My favourite thing to see in Rome was the beautiful intricate fountains dotted around the city as well as walking down the quiet cobbled streets and admiring the beautiful architecture of the historic city.