My Roman Rendezvous – The Colosseum and Forum.

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.image3

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.


My Roman Rendezvous – Day 1 (Planning, Prices and Travelling)

Apologies for this not going up sooner – I took some much needed Christmas/New Year break out to spend with family. Regular Sunday scheduling will be coming back soon.

Every year, my mother and I have tried to go abroad and visit somewhere together. We did Paris (the whole saga you can read about on this blog) a few years ago, and earlier in the year, we decided to book a week in Rome – a city that I’ve studied extensively through my Classical Civilisations course.

Now, Rome holds a very special place in my heart. After studying and reading all about it, I knew it was somewhere where I was dying to get to. Unlike Paris, which was something I booked all by myself, we decided to try out a travel agency and went with Thomsons (a UK-based agency).

We flew from London Stansted, which is bit of a way outside the city, especially as we had to travel from a family member’s house. But after arriving after about three hours on the coach, we got into Stansted for the flight. I’ve only flown a few times in my life, and Rome was easily my longest flight yet. But the connection was smooth, and thanks to our travel agency, we had a transfer to the airport into Rome City Centre. The airport (Rome’s Ciampino) is the smaller one, but located closer to the city than the larger Leonard da Vinci – Fiumincino airport. The transfer time was just under half an hour due to traffic issues.


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Whilst arriving in Rome, we were taken straight to our hotel. Situated just Via Cavour, and on Via Principe Amedeo, The Hotel Giglio Dell’Opera was just under 5 minutes from the central railway station (Termini) which has connections all over the city. The hotel is also surrounded by tourist giftshops, restaurants and is just under 18 minutes walk to the Colosseum along a relatively straight route.

The hotel was comfortable, with an incredibly helpful management team. Our room was fairly standard, with a big open window, clean bathroom and fresh linen every day. However, like I’ve stated before, as long as the room is clean and comfortable, I’m not that bothered about the aesthetics.

For a charge, the hotel lets you use the WiFi and there is a comfortable lounge and bar section for coffee and alcoholic beverages. Downstairs there is also a fairly large breakfast room, which my mother and I used to fill up on for the day. The breakfast was fairly simple and continental but had delicious pastries and coffees.

However, please be aware that there are city taxes in Rome for tourists. For us, it was €3.00 per night, per person which wasn’t too bad. You usually pay this for the hotel, or could possibly organise it through your travel company.

For our entire trip; flights, connections and hotel, it was around £300 each. Now for the location of the hotel (very central, clean and quiet), this was a fantastic deal. I’d happily pay this again for the ease of travel and staying. On top of this, we also must have paid about £100 extra for other expenses (coach and train tickets, tourist attractions in Rome etc).
Rome isn’t a particularly expensive city if you don’t eat in fancy restaurants, fill up on breakfast and perhaps grab pizza from local eateries for lunch, rather than have sit-down meals. As it is quite a small city, we barely used any public transport – only a bus to and from the Vatican – and we happily strolled through the late-April heat.

In my next blogpost, I’ll be describing the first day of our holiday, in which we decided to visit the Colosseum and Roman Forum.