Yes this is the week of posting Italy photos from a year ago. Just let us okay.
What can we say about Rome that hasn’t already been said. Probably one of the more fascinating things about Rome is that you’re casually walking down an alley, most likely eating gelato, looking up at the cascading ivy leaves and picturesque apartment shutters, then you turn the corner and you’re standing in front of the Pantheon. That literally happened to us. Every where you turn there is a story and history and it is all so fascinating. Our eyeballs were rolling trying to look at everything.
Our senses were heightened here. Everything was exciting and new like a baby first learning how to sit up. The first time we stepped on cobblestones was a magical experience. Finding the first set of stairs had us singing each step. Seeing a row of vespas was the most beautiful sight. Drinking espresso was like milk from the gods.
We each kissed a coin and threw one over a shoulder into the Trevi Fountain to make sure we’d return to Rome.
<if you find yourself traveling to Rome, Italy for the first time, scroll through to the bottom of the post for some of our own personal tips>
Eight tips when traveling to Rome, Italy for the first time
1. book your ticket to arrive during the daytime. it’s nice to arrive somewhere and get situated when there is daylight but more importantly arriving in a country you’ve never been before, where people speak a language you don’t understand and street names that don’t make any sense – arriving at nighttime close to midnight is just not a good idea. when we got off our train, our airbnb was supposed to be only a 10 minute walk (which the next day we learned it more like 5 minutes) but we got completely turned around figuring out the lay of the area, walking around in circles, trying to read street names, and feeling completely hopelessly lost. when we were finally ready to give up and hailed a taxi, the guy said no because we were so close and it was just around the corner. we walked around dragging our suitcase and bags for close to two hours. yeah maybe we’re just slow but from then on we plan accordingly to arrive during the day.
2. if you’re traveling here during the summer months make sure that wherever you are staying there is AC. we went here in July and everyone told us it would be hot and lemme tell you, it is HOT. words to describe how hot it was don’t matter, just know that it is HOT. two of our airbnbs did not have AC and we were miserable.
3. learn a few phrases in Italian. we were lucky that our couple that we photographed spoke Italian so they really taught us the ropes the first day we spent with them. and we were so thankful. it made greeting people and ordering food so much more comfortable. we felt part of their culture and no doubt they appreciated us trying, even if our accent was terrible.
4. two apps to download: 1. maps.me – it’s a map that doesn’t use data, came in clutch for us everywhere we went. just make sure to download the maps first when you’re connected to wifi. // 2. rome2rio – helped us figure out what transportation to use when we traveled within the city and from city to city.
5. when in doubt, order a tramezzini. another thing we learned from our couple. they are the simplest sandwiches but whatever coffee bar, little cafe, wherever you went they were there to save the day. yes it’s white bread (carbs don’t count in Italy) and for whatever reason, they hit the spot every single time (the simpler the better. we tried a fancier one once that was grilled and it just wasn’t the same). perfect for a snack and walking while eating – the second photo at the top of this post is of Joe actually eating one. one of a hundred that we devoured.
6. if you plan on visiting the Vatican museums, order your ticket ahead of time online (cheaper and you don’t have to wait in line) and make sure to get there early because with the crowds and all the heat reflecting off the stone, it gets uncomfortably hot (even moreso than you already are).
7. visit the Trevi Fountain (or any touristy spots really) at night. we visited the fountain twice, once during the day and once late at night. during the day it was jam packed, so.many.people. it was ridiculous. then we went there at night, after 11pm, and we pretty much had it to ourselves. and honestly with all the lighting on the fountain, it actually looked more beautiful at night. that’s when we were able to throw our coin in the fountain.
8. cross the street like a boss. another tip from our couple (we seriously learned so much from them). drivers are crazy in Rome. traffic lights are merely a suggestion. they will not stop for you. but if you stare them down as you cross and own that street, they will most definitely brake for you. we may have gotten a little too comfortable doing that and weren’t even fazed when they were speeding down but hey, it worked every time.