5 Tips and Tricks for Visiting Rome From a Study Abroad Student
All Roads Lead to Rome
Rome is a city like no other. WARNING: This is not a modern city. Don't expect air conditioning, clean bathrooms, and the nicest Italians when visiting. But what you can expect is the best pizza and pasta you've ever had, creamy gelato, and a good time.
1. Use the Water Spouts
If you do nothing else in Rome, use the water spouts. This is 100% clean drinking water. This is due to their very well-made aqueduct system which supplies clean water to not only the water fountains, but also every household in Rome. This will easily save you 1–2 euros every time a water refill is needed. And you WILL need water, as temperatures soar to 90–100 degrees Fahrenheit during the peak traveling months (summer).
Do not worry about not finding a fountain as there are over 2,500 fountains in the city! I probably refilled my water 4–5 times a day. This equates to about 5–10 euros a day, which is that much more money for wine and gelato!
2. Use the Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour Busses
I know I know, you don't want to be a tourist, an amateur, a regular, blah blah blah. BUT, do you want to pay 20 euros for every 15-minute drive you take?! I didn't think so. Also, Uber is illegal in Rome . . . SO the hop-on, hop-off tour busses it is! This will save you hundreds of euros at the very least!
The busses range from 20–40 euros for unlimited on-and-off privileges during business hours. Prices vary between bus companies and depend on the number of days you want your pass for. I personally did the City Sightseeing Rome bus for two days, which was 31 euros.
They have AC and wifi on board, and they hit all the big sights, including the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia, Trevi Fountain, and the Vatican. The City Sightseeing bus came around every 20 minutes and ran till around 7pm.
3. Check Trip Advisor, Yelp, or Any Other Reviewing Source
You will not believe how deceptive some of the servers are (not all of them, but there are a decent bunch like this). They will act like they're your best friend while you walk by their shops or restaurants, but as soon as they get your business, they will treat you in the worst way possible.
A simple review check on Yelp or Trip Advisor will easily distinguish which restaurants to go to and which to avoid. Many people fail to do this and easily fall prey to the tourist traps in the streets of Rome. Stand up for yourself, take your time, and do your due diligence such that you don't waste a single night in Rome.
4. Don't Buy the Puffy Gelato
If there is one thing you must know about gelato, DO NOT buy the puffy gelato. Get the gelato that is covered or at least level with the tub holding it. If you can see it, if it's raised above the container threshold, if it's decorated like a birthday cake, you're in the wrong place.
Good gelato is dense due to the fact that it is not as cold as ice cream; more air is mixed into the content, and it is much more creamy. This means it melts faster and it cannot be held up into these antique designs. This tip will save you from a sticky mess.
5. Wear Comfortable and Walkable Shoes
ALWAYS wear comfy, athletic, and supportive shoes. I will not make this mistake again. I wore Converse for the whole first day and ended up with multiple blisters on my feet. This is because
- the Converse had no arch support,
- the soles were thin, and
- the cobblestone were super uneven.
I used this photo I took above to show how the water levels out with gravity in comparison to the levels of the cobblestone. We can clearly see certain patches where water shows and where it does not. These stones are easily hundreds—and maybe even thousands—of years old and were not meant for comfort!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my article! If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please leave them below. Lastly, do enjoy your trip to Rome! Many people are not fortunate enough to travel to such an amazing and unique place, so take the experience and give it everything you have.
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