Rome – October 2018

Ciao! Been away for a while haven’t I? By away I mean Rome, and it was a truly beautiful place to visit.

Take everything you would expect this city to be, and it will find a way to exceed these expectations. Around just about every corner is stunning architecture after stunning architecture.

I’ve added maps below to some of the places we visited 🙂

Getting There

Our flight from Manchester Airport was at 6:15am, which meant an all-nighter. We set off from Hull at about 12am (I like to get there early, can you tell?) which turned out to be a wise idea as the A63 was shut, which meant a long and annoying diversion. But never mind, this is a prime example of why you leave early.

Once we got to the airport all was well, we parked up in the long stay car park and before we knew it we were in the air.

Welcome to Rome

Once we touched down we needed to work out how to well…get in to Rome. A very helpful lady at the information desk told us how to get to Rome and specifically, our hotel.

We captured a frequent shuttle bus to the center. This stop is called “Termini”. From here we caught the Metro from Termini to Policlinico.

Tip: Once you get to the Metro, I highly recommend buying a CIS Carta Integreta ticket. These operate as Oyster cards and are €24 each. You can just use these at all the ticket gates, across Rome, as often as you like, for a whole week. So they really do pay for themselves and are essential.

From the station, our hotel ‘Best Western: Hotel Globus” was just a 7 minute walk down the road from Policlinico Metro Station to the hotel (see map below).

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Tip: Ensure you enquire about City Tax. We didn’t check this, and we had to pay €32 when we checked out. The tax is €4 per person, per night. Some hotels have this included, check when ya book.

The Hotel

Our room was very clean and had all the necessary amenities (including tea and coffee making facilities, of which I broke the kettle. Oops. Don’t tell anyone) The shower was amazing, nice and hot with a good pressure. We also had a large balcony with nice views. The bed was snug as a bug and the TV even had Sky Sports which ya know, is always a bonus! We couldn’t have been happier with the hotel. Great job Best Western!

 

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Tip: Ensure your room has a safe to lock away passports, keys etc. You absolutely do not want to be carrying these around with you

Day Zero (the day we arrived)

Because we got an early flight, we had pretty much the whole afternoon and evening to start exploring. We headed to the Metro and took this straight to Colesseo. The sharp ones amongst you may have twigged that this is where the Colosseum is located.

The Colosseum itself is directly in front of the exit/entrance of the Metro. It is absolutely breathtaking and nothing quite prepares you for it. We took many photos and had a good walk around, and discovered the forums amongst other beautiful ancient structures. No need for me to describe and explain these, wait and see for yourselves 🙂

Tip: Get a USB portable charger, as you will be taking a lot of photos, and you don’t want to be worrying about running out.

From here we went to explore the area over the river. This involved a great walk amongst even more beautiful buildings including quite possibly the most incredible piece or architecture I’ve ever seen. I simply stared at it in absolute awe. Please go see it and snap away.

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Nearby this area there was a large protest going on. It was a very peaceful one, but there was quite a high police presence which was a bit daunting, but as I said it was all very calm and peaceful.

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We stopped to eat at a place called Trattoria Pizzeria da Gino alla Villeta. It was a very traditional pizzeria, in which I had a calzone and my wife had a sausage pizza. I also had a side of these fried balls containing meat and olives, which were gorgeous. We finished off with the best Tiramisu EVER. Prices were reasonable and the food was beautiful. We were very ready for it and it really hit the spot!

Below is the walk from the nearest Metro (Colosseum) to the restaurant. Its a 26 minute walk (2.1km)

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From there we fancied a beer and stumbled across this place (again map from the Colosseum Metro)

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They have 12 taps of craft beer, and I had a strong, 8% Double IPA called Don Abbondio which was as glorious as anything I’d had back home. My wife had a Avance Meccaniche which was a 5.5% APA. We had a really good chat with the friendly owner as well as two American tourists. It’s a small bar which works fine as it’s always good to have a natter with a beautiful beer. The bar is called Illupolati 12 Taps and I cannot recommend it enough!

With big fat pizzas and big fat beers in our bellies we were definitely ready for bed. The nearest Metro from here was at the Colosseum so was a good 20min walk.

Now here I was accosted by a guy dressed in a gladiator outfit. He asked where I was from and started to chat to me, and then quite aggressively gave my phone to a stranger to take our photo. He then demanded I paid him for this service, which I refused to. He grabbed me and then demanded I delete the photos. Just be careful with these, and don’t feel pressured to part with your hard earned euros you’ve been saving up just because he’s worn you down with his banter. You can say no.

Day 2 – Walkabout

So Day 2 took us on a whistle-stop walkabout tour of Rome. For some reason the Metro was closed and we didn’t have the confidence to catch a bus so we just walked. This did mean that we stopped at a cafe in the Termini station and I had an unbelievably good pistachio croissant with a cappuccino!

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It was a very rainy day but a quick pop in to a souvenir shop for a €3 poncho soon remedied that problem! We visited The Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountains and the Pantheon (as well as lots of cafes and coffee shops!)

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Again, I can’t describe these, they were just stunning! We also saw a Sexy Movie cinema type thing which ya know, didn’t quite match the tone ha! We stopped at a little pizza shop for lunch (and sheltered from the wind and rain!)

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There was a very cute little Pinocchio shop which had all sorts of wonderful things made out of wood, definitely worth just a little look around for a nice (but pricey) souvenir. We headed over the bridge again to where the 12 Taps pub was and we found a Delirium bar! This was craft and Belgian beer heaven and I implore you to pay it a visit.

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For our evening meal we went to…deep breath…Ristorante Cucina Romana is Via Della Cuccagna! We both had the seafood spaghetti with red wine and it was absolutely delicious. We loved this place because it was one of the few places we weren’t basically dragged in to (get used to that in Rome! Again, just say no!) and had a very friendly atmosphere. It has a lovely outdoor seating area and is the ideal “one of the smaller places down one of the side streets” restaurants. Prices were about right and what you would pay back home. I highly recommend this restaurant.

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From here we fancied our first taste of gelato! We went to Fatamorgana Gelato and I had some bizarre yet very tasty scoops! I had White Chocolate and Black Garlic and Chocolate and Tobacco. Sounds horrific but I thought why not try it (they let you sample them too) and I was very impressed! My wife had Biscotti flavour which was beautiful too.

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We were recommended a place called Open Baladin which was another craft beer haven! They have LOADS of different beers including sharers, and also do classic food such as burgers etc. I had an IPA called Rock’n’Roll and my wife had a session IPA, each served in 2/3 of a pint glasses, which were €5 each, so about standard price for a good craft beer I guess. Again, I highly recommend this to craft beer enthusiasts!

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This pretty much wrapped up Day 2!

Day 3 – Colosseum

I had been really looking forward to visiting the Colosseum and this was the day! We had a bit of a wait as we got there about an hour early, so after another espresso stop we took a few pics outside (with our brand new selfie stick!). It is at this time I would like to introduce y’all to Ted. Ted is our bear which has been all over the world with us! He’s an absolute hero and always raises a smile amongst other tourists 🙂 So Ted did some naughty photobombing and before we knew it, it was time to head inside the ancient wonder.

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We couldn’t quite believe the scale of this place. It’s huge. It’s impressive. It’s brutal. There are a few information signs that are helpful to understand what happened at the colosseum, and we bought an information book for about €7 which was very useful. I do kind of wish we had taken the guided tour to fully appreciate it, but as I said the book was very useful. Take your time here and have a good look around the many different areas. Oh and we saw a cat! That cat would make a very good kid’s book.

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We had a spotta lunch at a nice place called Cafe Cafe. We had houmous with carrot and cucumber (and bread obvs) as well as parma ham and mozzarella. It was bloody good and I recommend this cafe. They also have a good breakfast menu.

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From here we took a short walk up the hill towards the Roman Forums, which were again very impressive. We were affected by the weather here as it was VERY windy so the staff understandably limited the accessibility of certain areas. A few trees actually fell down in Rome whilst we were there! I would like to visit this again when the weather was less biblical as we felt quite limited on what we could see.

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We ate that night at a decent pub called Baccanale which was like a sports bar. The food was very average. I had Spaghetti Carbonara whilst Emma had Meatballs. The beer choice was good though, and I had an 8% La Chouffe IPA which was stunning. Tasty and stunning. Refreshing and stunning. Stunning.

Day 4 – The Vatican

So our last day (sniff sniff) took us abroad (kinda) to The Vatican! We upgraded whilst there to a guided tour and it turned out to be a fantastic decision as we skipped a lot of lines! The tour guide was informative and had a great personality. She educated us on pretty much every last detail of this amazing and beautiful place and we learned a hell of a lot. The Vatican itself was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It was just treasure after treasure, statue after statue, ancient relic after ancient relic.

We also went to the Sistine Chapel and saw THAT ceiling which was incredible. I couldn’t quite comprehend the level of skill involved in painting something like that. No photos are allowed in the chapel, and they do ask for silence. Be a good egg and follow these rules 🙂

The last place we visited was St Peter’s Basilica. Breathtaking. That’s all I’m going to say. PLEASE go and see it.

By now we were pretty much knackered lol and headed back to the hotel room for a chill and to pack and sort things for our departure tomorrow. I mean I bought a bottle of Desperados and chilled on the balcony in a quiet moment of reflection first, but ya know I did eventually pack.

Rome was amazing and just blew all of my expectations out of the water. The city is easy to get around using the Metro system and again, please make sure you keep plenty of battery in your phone or camera as you will take so many photos.

There are pickpockets in Rome, so keep everything zipped up and just generally keep your wits about you!

I hope you enjoyed this post! It’s the first travel blog I’ve done so please feel free to give me some feedback!

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