When I think of Rome, I think of Russell Crowe in sandals looking sexy as hell as he wows the crowds at the Colosseum. ‘My name is Maximus Descimus Meridius, father of a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life of the next.’ Or something like that anyway.
Visiting the city, even minus a hot Mr Crowe, is an incredible experience, and it couldn’t be clearer to me why it appears on most To Do Before You Die lists. I’ve stayed in Rome on breaks with Steve twice now, and once with friends, and enjoyed every experience equally, proving it’s a place that offers something new with each visit, and even the stuff you’ve done once before is just as wonderful second time around; the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, I think, will forever be spectacular and literally breath-taking no matter how many times I visit!
Because it is a large city with a plethora of things to do and see, I wanted to put together an article offering a few little tips for making the most of a visit to the city. Since my most recent visit to Rome, I’ve actually found a great resource offering tips for visiting various European cities, and I really wish I’d found it sooner because it gives great advice on Rome! It’s a map designed by Monarch and it features tips from their cabin crew on all the cities they travel to – really valuable inside information! – so I’ve included some here.
You HAVE to Visit Vatican City (and send a postcard…!)
I always make a list of everything to see and do in a city before I visit, and then Steve and I prioritise the activities because we know we won’t get to do everything (unless we rush, and then you don’t enjoy it half has much!).
Vatican City needs to be a priority for anyone visiting Rome, even if you only stand in the square and admire St Peter’s Basilica from the outside as the bare minimum – though I would highly recommend paying to see inside the stunningly beautiful basilica and taking a trip to the top for a panoramic view of Rome.
And don’t get me started on the great stuff you can see in the Vatican museums….and the lovely looking Swiss Guards dotted around the place!
I am gutted I didn’t find the Monarch tips map sooner, because one of the cabin crew member’s recommendations is to send postcards to family and friends from inside Vatican City as it has its own stamps and postal system so they’ll be a great keepsake. If I’d read this sooner I would have definitely done this, and sent one home to myself as a souvenir!
Save Yourself Loads of Hassle…Pre-book Your Tickets!
The two things you MUST see during a visit to Rome, the Colosseum and Vatican, are the two things you can pre-book your tickets for – luckily! One of the Monarch cabin crew members recommends this as it only costs 4 euros extra and it means you can avoid the ridiculous 2 hours queues, saving loads of time and avoiding a lot of stress. I pre-booked the second time I visited both of these attractions but didn’t the first, so believe me when I say there is nothing fun about frying in the sun in a non-moving queue in the middle of a shade-less St Peter’s Square! I’m definitely with Monarch when they recommend pre-booking…
Make Sure You Take Some Time to Chill Out!
Rome is hot. And busy. So walking to different attractions in the heat can really take it out of you! The hop-on-hop-off city bus is a fab way of getting around the city and learning a little bit about the main attractions, and it will definitely save your legs, and help avoid the stress of navigating around the place.
One tip mentioned on the Monarch map is to take a good book and head to one of Rome’s parks, which for me, who loves nothing more than to chill out with a great book, would be the ideal way to spend an afternoon! The ones recommended are Villa Panifili and Villa Borghese, which are both really beautiful, tranquil spots ideal for escape from the hustle and bustle of this buzzing city.
I Hope These Tips Are Useful!
I can’t take credit for them, but I can fully endorse them! And I can say I will definitely be referring to the tips map from Monarch if I’m visiting any of the other cities they’ve included.
If anyone has more tips on visiting Rome, please feel free to add a comment or send me an email – I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading! x