In exploring Rome, there was so much to see and do, that I felt almost overwhelmed by the possibilities. However, I knew that my first port of call was going to have to be the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
We started from the hotel fairly early. A full continental breakfast was given to us (a very handy perk we used everyday), and by the use of Google Maps, we decided to walk through the Roman streets to find the Colosseum.
Now, as we were so close to Termini, there was always the option of getting on a bus. However, we had spent the previous day travelling, so really wanted to explore the city in our own time.
From the hotel, it took approximately 20 minutes along Via Cavour. Along the way, you pass restaurants, tourist shops and plenty of places to get coffee, but as we were on a mission, we barely noticed these things.
We arrived at the Colosseum at around 10 in the morning, and already there was a huge crowd.
Now, we knew that we had to buy tickets, and began waiting in queue along with along tourists. However, little did we know that this was prime opportunity for ‘tours’ to approach you and offer package deals for the day.
My mother and I decided, that after a quick discussion, that we would join part of this tour, and paid around €25 each for the privilege. Usual entry prices for the Colosseum (in which you also get entrance to Palantine Hill and The Roman Forum) is about €15. So we did pay more, but we got a lot faster entry to the sites and we got the benefit of being part of a big tour group. For us, this was invaluable, as there is so much history and things to look at, you would miss so much if you didn’t know what you were looking for.
The tours ran from between 11 and half 1 in the afternoon. With a natural break in the middle, we decided to go and have lunch in one of the neighbouring streets. Despite there being sandwich and snack stalls near the Colosseum, we found these to be over-priced. We split a huge open sandwich at Bistrot 215 Via Cavour and some coffee, and that was enough for us for the time being.
The Colosseum was simply amazing. An amazing feat of ancient building and engineering, it really took my breath away. I’d thoroughly recommend it to anybody going. Like most historical sites, it deserves more time than I gave it, and if I go back to Rome again, I’d definitely have to have a revisit.
However, it was the Roman Forum that really made me choke up. With ancient relics, buildings and signposts everywhere denoting famous sites of interest, this was almost unbelievable in how well looked after it was. We spent hours walking around this massive sight, taking it all in. But really, it is worth another exploration.
This was an incredibly busy and beautiful day out, and with temperatures reaching nearly 26 degrees during the height of the day (this is very hot for a delicate English rose like myself) we left the Roman Forum at around 6, and ate dinner in a nearby restaurant to our hotel.
Along the stretch by Termini, there are plenty of friendly restaurant and cafes which supply ‘tourist menus’ – a selection of dishes for a fixed price. We ate mostly at these places as they were close to our hotel and the food was delicious. Dinner usually came up to around €20 per person, which is very good.
All in all, we didn’t spend much money during the day. We were cautious to the fact there were pickpockets and ‘fleecers’ around the Colosseum, who would have easily scammed us out of our money if we gave them the chance. However, throughout our whole trip, we were very lucky not to be bothered at all.
After dinner, we decided to top the night off with a trip to the Trevi Fountain. This was about a half hour walk through the Roman streets, and it was lucky I had my phone and Google Maps as I wouldn’t have been able to find it.
Like with the day, The Trevi Fountain is incredibly busy during the night as it gets lit up.
It really is a beautiful thing to look at, but I was very surprised at where it was located. Thinking it would in a space like Trafalgar Square, I was shocked to see that the whole fountain took up one wall of a tiny square. And due to the amount of people that get crammed into this neighbourhood, the experience did feel slightly claustrophobic. But well worth the view.
So, this was the first day in our Roman day out. The next instalment will be coming soon, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me through the comments.