Sunday, 7 November 2010

Rome: Piazza del Popolo and top tips for Rome.

A nice little jaunt for a morning's relaxation. Take the metro to Flaminio (or Flamingo as I unerringly and irritatingly called it.) and as you leave the station, go up the steps and into the Piazza del Popolo where there are 2 churches worth seeing. One of them has 2 of the most stunning Caravaggio's I've seen.

Climb the steps behind the fountain and cross the road; continue climbing through the woody area until you get to the top.

You are now in a park - the Borghese - and you can see the view over Rome from the top (video above). After that you can sit in the sunshine, or hire a bicycle/go cart, and puddle around in the shade for as long as you like. It was good to see there was somewhere for children to let off steam and for just sitting in the sun!

Again: top tips for Rome: 

Wear really comfortable will walk lots and lots. We're into history and art, so can't comment on shopping etc. Everything shopping-wise looked like the average city anywhere in Europe.

Take plenty of money as it can be a bit expensive especially if you're visiting the  touristy areas. Allow about £150 a day for 2 of you.

The main European airport is not in the centre. Catch the Leonardo Express to and from the centre. It's £14 for a single journey each, and then use the metro to get around the city. The taxi for the same journey was £55. The trains are clean and on time.

Eating outside is expensive. Sitting down for your coffee is expensive and gets more so the nearer to outside you get. Most Italians drink at the bar standing up, and the price is then reasonable. They don't do mugs of anything except beer.

Buy bottled water from vending machines...the metro is good. Buy metro tickets from the machines too. (there is an "English" button for transalations) and a trip costs 1 Euro. The ticket lasts for 75 minutes before you need another one. It is easier to negotiate than the Underground as there is only 1 line, and is straightforward.

The Italians are lovely, and were helpful given our appalling Italian. Most knew instinctively that we were English and tried to use our own language if they could.

There's masses of free stuff to do. The Vatican Museum is expensive but well worth it. Get there early in the afternoon the queues were horrendous. There are extensive security checks which slows things down but plenty of room and you are free to wander once inside. The loos are particularly glorious.

Public WC's were fine. Most didn't want a tip or anything and most had attendants. Just say Grazie and get on with it.

Buy the best map you can.

Buy pizza from shops that cut off the amount you want, weigh it, and then wrap it for you to eat whilst walking.

Mostly there is no need to tip; it's quite acceptable not to. Service can be excellent so we did once or twice, but fairly modestly. I'd stick to 10% if unsure.

Oh, and take care on the pedestrian crossings. In England, cars stop for you to cross...almost without fail. In Rome they don't! You have to be brave and if there are no traffic lights, forge ahead to the other side. Scooters buzz around you whilst you do this so make sure you have a tight hold of children's hands.


  1. wonderful - i felt i was there with you :) xxx

  2. Thank you for all the information, I would love to go there one day!