Thursday 22 April 2021

10 THINGS TO KNOW: Roma, Italy

1. Like the other parts of Italy we went to, expect loud roads and cars and emergency vehicles. For some reason, Italy was the loudest country we ever stayed in.

2. Be careful of scammers! They are worse here than anywhere else we've been to. Especially around the Colosseum.

3. Because of scammers, keep your wits about you. Be polite if you must but also be firm or else they will never let you go. And if you have to - be aggressive as they are to you. Don't be someone they seek as a target.

4. Buy tickets in advance if you can - even before entering the country so you can print them before getting there. Finding a printing place in Italy is doable but also difficult. And even if you have an email with a barcode, don't expect all places to have scanning capabilities - some do, but not all. So be prepared for old fashioned printed out tickets.

5. Their transport systems are so unreliable. But don't try to cheat it. You may be frustrated and need to walk somewhere you can get your tickets because of broken machines - but do it. Don't do what we did and risk it. It's not worth it. Remember, buses don't take cash; drivers may speak English but won't tell you so; locals aren't as helpful as you might think when you need help but that's just how it is. No point growing grey hairs over it... just expect something to go wrong with transport at some point and count to 10 to calm yourself down.

6. Rome city and the Vatican are no driving areas meaning there is a zone that you cannot enter unless you have a pass. We did not go into the city with our car so did not find out the costs but to avoid the hassle, catch the train or bus.

7. When in the centre of the city, the streets between major areas are narrow and hard to navigate on foot. Google Maps does help though even if you think you're getting completely lost. Try and get someone that has a good sense of direction to lead you around because it's not easy... and sometimes it may seem like you're in a dodgy area but just walk your group through it fast to get to an open area.

8. Stop and smell the roses... not literally because it does not smell like roses there. But with all the craziness and hustle of Rome, it's worth stopping and soaking in the history and where you chose to travel. Will you need to be prepared for scammers and the like? Yes. Should you let it overpower the trip there? No.

9. There's so much to do in Rome that you may need to cut some things out.... And that's ok! Did we go into the Colosseum? No. Did it matter? Also no. We went inside two other colosseums on our trip and they are enough and we were ok with that. But if you have the time and money, see and experience it all... You'll even end up finding new things along the way that you didn't know existed. That's part of the adventure.

10. Italian's in Rome are used to tourists... and their patience will reflect that. They are shorter in their response to you, especially if you speak English and don't speak Italian. Do not expect anything else. This isn't an invitation to be rude to them - you are in their country after all... and not speaking their language. But just don't expect the warmest of welcomes - accept it, don't dwell on it, don't take it personal and move on with your plans. 

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