Planning a trip to Rome

Aimless Walking > Italy > Planning a trip to Rome

When I am writing this post it is the last days of August, and in two weeks I will travel to Rome for a Friday to Tuesday trip. Long weekend trips are my favorite kind of vacation, since I tend to get a little restless after that. I booked my flight and hotel about three months ago, when it tend to be cheapest.

During the last month I have done some research on what others have done in Rome and what they recommend. Of course also some searches on Rome as a local and hidden gems of the city. By doing this I have gotten a general overview of the city and what is possible. This is Rome, so I do have lots of previous knowledge and expectations. Had this been a more unknown city – like Nantes – this research are so much more important.

In this post I will go through what activities I consider, in which order I look it up and why I like the different activities. Planning a vacation is almost as fun as the vacation in itself.

Public transport

First out is looking into the local public transport. In about half my travels I have not bothered with public transport, since I prefer to walk everywhere. But in some cities the distance between attractions are to large to walk or the multi day pass with public transportation might give you extra perks. Those extra perks might be worth it.

A quick search made me aware of RomaPass. With a cost of 38,50 € you will get 72 h unlimited free access to ATAC public transportation in Rome, including transfer from Ciampino airport.. As well as free entry to the first two visited museums and archeological sites and reduced price to all other museums. You will also get reduced prices for several exhibitions and events. I consider this well invested money and got one of them.

If you are in Rome a shorter period they also have a 48 h pass.

Food

For me food is always important. With food I do not necessary mean restaurants but workshops, food tours and food experiences. I recommend to always start with activities that are not as flexible and are on the top of your wish list. On the top of my wish list is always an food experience with Eatwith. On Eatwith you find locals that arrange food experiences for travelers. You can find smaller experiences for just a few people to larger workshops with up to 20 people with communal dining. I try to aim for smaller groups, hosted by local families or couples that serve local food.

This is a great way to meet locals and other travelers. The other travelers are everything from other solos to groups. I have had a few food experiences through Eatwith, and all of them have been good. My favorite is still my first one with Valentina & Marco in Milan. A few of the guest decided we had so fun that we went out to a local cocktail bar after our dinner.

The number of hosts differ a lot between cities, and Rome has lots of them. Looking through the list I see several interesting experiences, and choose one of them. I am also in luck, it is in easy walking distance from the hotel. And considering how late Italians have dinner compared to us Swedes that makes me happy!

Tours

If I can not find any available Eatwith experience I always try to find a food tour. Or on a longer trip, both. On this trip though, since it is Rome, I’d prefer a historical tour instead. General tours like this I prefer to do early on my trip. Mostly I go for tours that focus on history, or a little unusual tours like the Murder and Mystery in Paris. For me one of the main purposes of a general tour is to get an overview of the city and also inspiration to further activities. Which places to visit and what to do.

There are lots of options for different guided tour of Rome. Several free ones and some a little different. Especially one caught my attention, Dark heart of Rome – fact, legend and mystery walking tour. This one is late at night when it is dark, making it even more enticing! I am not much for the normal stuff.

Next up is any special or unique tours for the city or area. This is Rome so a visit to the catacombs is a must! A guided tour of the catacombs will help so you get the historical overview from a knowledgeable guide. Do remember that since the catacombs are holy places modest clothing are strictly necessary, so no bare shoulders or knee for either gender. Please respect the local religion and culture, especially in holy sites!

The Vatican

A must when visiting Rome is to also visit the Vatican. I assume there are lots to see, the museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica and so on. But also to cross over the Vatican from the list of countries I have visited. Normally I do most museums and attractions without a guide, but sometimes a guide is a must. So I booked a guided tour of the Vatican.

Aimless Walking

Last, but not least, I do lots of walking. I look up the regular tourist attractions, research some of the more unknown, different and interesting places. Then I walk. I can walk for hours just looking at stuff. On and of I check the map if there is something interesting in the neighborhood, but mostly just walking. Some places I want to walk to are Colosseum, Pantheon, Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps and walk the Appian way. But also the older parts of Rome, just for the atmosphere and see what I can find.

Other things that caught my eye

There are always some things I found during my research that I would like to experience, but did not have the time to do.

I do not care that I am not a child any more, a few hours at a gladiator school correctly dressed and learning to fight like a gladiator would be awesome! The pictures and movies would be to die for. (pun not intended)

Visiting the island Capri is on my bucket list. With a few more days in Rome, or Naples, a day tour would have been perfect. But with only a few days just do not have the time.

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