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Destination Guide: Rome

15 September, 2015

Destination Guide: Rome

Destination Guide: Rome

TOPICS

  • Why Italy? Why Rome?
  • Accommodation
  • Airports
  • Climate
  • Currency
  • Getting Around 
  • Internet Resources
  • Orientation
  • Passes
  • Passports & Visas
  • Public Holidays
  • Shopping
  • Speaking the Language
  • Tipping
  • Tours
  • What & Where to Eat

WHY ITALY? WHY ROME?

As one of the most visited cities in the world Rome has a lot to live up to in the eyes of its visitors. Yet with the very visible signs of its powerful past in seemingly every direction you look - think the Colosseum, Roman Forum; cultural hot spots such as Piazza Navona and Trastavere and Vatican City - it barely has to lift a finger to wow the hoardes of tourists that visit the Eternal City each year.

The clash of old and new is no more evident than in the buzz of Vespas scooting around town, the downing of expressos by stylish Italians on the way to work and the fact that you can take the Colosseum home with you... well... a resin replica model that is. But that's all part of the craziness and once you've been there once, you'll long to return again and again.

ACCOMMODATION

Before I travelled overseas last year I spend over 6 months searching for the best hotels to stay in around Europe. Wherever possible, these hotels had to:  Be within walking distance of the centre of the town/city, the main attractions and the train station

  • Be in good condition with at least 3 stars & have good feedback from past travellers
  • Preferably have access to wireless internet facilities
  • Preferably have breakfast included in the nightly rate
  • Have reasonable rates preferably no more than 150 per/night

We became adamant that we'd found the friendliest hotel in town when we came across Hotel Artorius in Rome! Within walking distance of Stazione Termini, the Colosseum and Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, it's in a fantastic position to discover the highlights of Rome.

You'll also have your fair share of culinary and shopping delights on your doorstep as well with cafes and restaurants on every corner and Via Nazionale just moments away by foot.

What makes this hotel special?

Well firstly, it's the people. That's Alessandro on the left in the photo above. He's the hotel operations manager - you'll often find him ready to greet you at reception. It's a family-run business and the service is efficient and friendly.

The breakfast room is a real gem. Every morning you can start your day in the pavilion or courtyard that's nestled privately in between the surrounding buildings - you really get a feel for the workings of everyday Italian life when you're sitting there.

And to top it off, the location is ideal. Apart from the aforementioned attractions within walking distance of the hotel, you can pick up all of your supplies from the local supermarket right across the cobbled lane-way and next corner up, you'll find a fabulous pizzeria to stroll down to for dinner when you've had a big day sightseeing.

For location, price, service and condition, the Jetsettr team use and recommend Hotel Artorius when staying in Rome.

PLEASE NOTE: Jetsettr does not receive any form of remuneration from Hotel Artorius for our recommendation. We make this recommendation based on our own experience of the hotel.

AIRPORTS (MAIN)

Rome

Leonardo Da Vinci Airport (Fiumicino)

www.adr.it 

The main airport for international arrivals and departures. Most major airlines service this airport. Click here for a full list.

Ciampino Airport

www.adr.it 

Served by low-cost airlines.

CLIMATE

Summer is between June and September and is typically very hot - often soaring to 37 degrees! High humidity is common in July and August.

Winter, as in a lot of highly-touristed areas, is a great time to visit the city when the crowds are smaller and the weather a lot milder (the average being around 10-15 degrees with snow being rare).

Spring, from March to June and early Autumn, September and October are also great times to visit.

November and December are considered to be the wettest months.

CURRENCY

The official currency is the Euro  (100c = 1).

Most credit cards are widely accepted (especially Visa) which is known there as Carte Bleue or CB.

ESSENTIALS

INTERNET ACCESS

Easy Internet Cafe

Via Barberini, 2

There are also numerous other options for internet cafes around Roma Termini.

TOURISM OFFICE

Roma Termini Tourist Office

Roma Termini Stazione

POST OFFICE 

Piazza San Silvestro, 19

GETTING AROUND

TO/FROM THE AIRPORT

Shuttle Bus

Airport Shuttle runs a door to door service from both airports into Rome city.

www.airportshuttle.it 

Bus

Terravision services Ciampino Airport with bus services to and from Roma Termini.

www.terravision.it 

Taxi

To collect a taxi, you must wait at a designated taxi rank or phone for one from your hotel. When going to and from the airport, the fare is usually set. Surcharges may apply for luggage and night services.

TO/FROM OTHER PARTS OF ITALY & EUROPE

ARPA

www.arpaonline.it

Services L'Aquila & Abruzzo

Bargagli

www.bargagliautolinee.it

To/from Orvieto

Cotral

www.cotralspa.it

Services destinations in Lazio

Sulga

www.sulga.it

To/from Perugia and Assisi

Car & Motorbike

They say that all roads lead to Rome and technically, they do! Coming from anywhere in Italy, most major signposts will point you in the direction of Rome.

The difficulty comes when trying to navigate the correct exit from the Grande Raccordo Annulare or Great Ring Road which loops around the outskirts of the city and which all other major roads from other parts of the country lead onto. Speak to your hotel regarding the best exit to take to arrive in that part of town and keep in the right hand lane to ensure you're ready to take it!

When you find your hotel garage or other legal parking, take it quickly and do the rest of your exploring within Rome on foot, bus or metro!

Train

As you might expect, Rome is well connected by train to other Italian cities and smaller towns and to the rest of Europe.

The main train hub is Stazione Termini (otherwise known as Roma Termini) and Italian train services are run by Trenitalia.

www.trenitalia.com

GETTING AROUND THE CITY

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

BUSES & TRAMS

ATAC

ATAC runs the bus and tram

services within Rome city. The main bus station and information booth is in front of Roma Termini.

Note that tickets MUST be purchased before getting on board and then validated in the orange machines on board. Failure to comply with these rules could result in a hefty fine - and there's no leniency for being a tourist!

Lonely Planet lists some helpful bus and tram routes here.

www.atac.roma.it

CAR & MOTORBIKE

Driving and parking within Rome's Historical Centre is virtually impossible due to the road rules and lack of parking.

Our advice is to leave the car in the hotel garage or designated parking area, and get around by foot or bus, tram and metro where necessary.

INTERNET RESOURCES

These links cover information on Rome and Italy.

Enjoy Rome

Rome Online

Italian National Tourism Agency

Lonely Planet - Rome

 

ORIENTATION

 

PASSES

There are a myriad of options involving sightseeing and transport passes for Paris. Depending on your length of stay, what you'd like to see, how much you intend to jam-pack into each day and how you would prefer to get around, pre-purchased passes have their pros and cons.

Pros

Probably the most worthwhile reason for purchasing passes is for convenience. For example, with the Paris Museum Pass, there are no further admission charges, no waiting in queues for entry and no limit to the number of visits. And of course the more you visit, the more you save.

Cons

If you're navigating Rome yourself, despite the most organised efforts, it can often be hard to get around to the amount of attractions you need to see, to make the pass cost-effective. When I spent time in Rome, I didn't buy any passes and just bought train tickets and admission to sites as I wanted them. In saying that, the time I did spend in the inevitable lines and figuring out how the train system worked, was time I could have been using to visit more sights.

Jetsettr Tip

Do some homework - have a reasonable idea about what you'd like to see and achieve during your stay and then determine if a pass (and what pass for that matter!) is right for you.

PASS OPTIONS

Appia Antica Card

The economical Appia Antica Card will you allow you to visit the highlights of the Appian Way including the Baths of Caracalla, the Villa of Quintili and the tomb of Cecilia Metella.

Museo Nazionale Romano Card

The National Roman Museum houses the world's single greatest collection of Roman art over four different gallery spaces. The Museo Nazionale Romano Card gets you into all four of them!

Roma Archeologia Card

The Rome Archeology Card provides single access to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Roman National Museum Sites and the Appian Way where you'll see the Baths of Caracalla, the Villa of Quintili and the tomb of Cecilia Metella.

Cards are available to be purchased at the above sites (excluding the Villa of Quintili and the tomb of Cecilia Metella) or at the Rome Tourist Board Office (APT) - find them at via Parigi, 5.

Roma Pass

Roma Pass works in collaboration with Rome City Council, Ministry for the Arts and Cultural Activities and Rome's public transport company, ATAC.

The pass provides FREE access to the first 2 museums and/or archeological sites of your choice (including reserved access at the Colosseum) and discounted rates to all other included attractions thereafter PLUS FREE public transport within Rome city on buses, trams and the metro.

Your Roma Pass kit also comes with a special map of Rome highlighting all of the included museums and sites, a pass guide which details information on all attractions included, information on where tourists can access further discounts with partners of Roma Pass plus an outline of other events on in Rome throughout the year.

For further information and to purchase a card, please click here.

www.romapass.it

PASSPORTS & VISAS

All visitors to Italy require a valid passport.

A visa is not currently required by Australian passport holders for stays of up to 90 days.

Citizens of other countries may require a visa. Different regulations apply for stays of more than 90 days.

For further information please consult with the Italian Consulate or your travel agent.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

 1st January                     2nd June                      Republic Day                       
 6th January   15th August  Assumption Day
 2nd April  1st November  All Saints’ Day
 4th April  8th December  Immaculate Conception
 5th April  25th December  Christmas Day
 25th April  26th December   St. Stephen’s Day
 1st May  31st December  New Year’s Eve

SHOPPING

Piazza del Popolo is the main shopping district which is welcomingly pedestrianised on Saturdays to accommodate the hordes of eager shoppers traipsing down the ancient streets.

You'll find designer boutiques on Via Condotti and in the small streets off Piazza di Spagna and Via del Corso whilst cutting-edge fashion and second-hand shops can be found on Via de Governovecchio.

For art and antiques, try the streets around Via Margutta, Via Ripetta, Via del Babuino and near Piazza Navona and Via Dei Coronari. The area between Ponte Sisto and Camp d'Fiori is great for jewellery.

We like Via Cola di Rienzo near the Vatican and the winding streets of Trastavere for little boutiques and design shops housing a good collection of clothing and shoes - not to mention the great food options!

If you're looking for markets, try Porta Portese Flea Market in Trastavere on Sundays or Via Sannio Market which runs from Monday to Saturday near Porto San Giovanni. In either case, beware of the pick-pockets.

SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE

Hello.  Buongiorno             

I don’t understand.  Non capisco. (non ka-pee-sko)

Hi.  Ciao

1, 2, 3  Uno (oo-no), due (doo-e), tre  (tre)

Goodnight.   Buona notte

One ticket to Rome,  please.  Un biglietto per Roma, per  favore (oon bee-lye-to per ro-ma per fa-vo-re)                                                     

Goodbye.  Arrivederci 

How much is it?  Quant’è? (kwan-te?)

Yes.   Sí

I have a reservation.  Ho una prenotazione (o oo-na  pre-no-ta-tsyo-ne)

No.  No

Where is the local  internet café?  Dove si trova l’internet point?  (do-ve  see tro-va leen-ter-net  poynt?)

Please.  Per favore

How are you?  Come sta? (ko-me sta?)

Thank you (very much).   Gracie mille

Do you speak English?  Parla inglese? (par-la een-gle-ze)

Excuse me.  Mi scusi


Sorry.  Mi dispiace. (mee dees-pya-che)

I’d like to buy a phone  card.  Vorrei comprare una scheda telefonica (Vo-rey kom-pra-re-oo-na ske-da te-le-fo-nee-ka.)

TIPPING

Tipping in the tourism and hospitality industries in Italy is common practice.

It is customary to tip taxi drivers, porters, local guides and staff at restaurants and hotels.

Be aware that cheeky restaurateurs as well as other service providers will often automatically add a service charge and tip to the bill. Good luck in disputing it if you intend to – it’s not easy!

TOURS

For first-timers to Rome, the main sites on most people's itineraries include:

The Colosseum

It can take a bit of imagination to envisage what it once was but this giant Roman amphitheatre is still a must see.

The Pantheon

Not to be confused with the Parthenon in Greece, the Pantheon is a stunning example of Roman Architecture not far from Piazza Navona. You'll be floored by the temple's dome which lets light flood into this amazing building.

Piazza Navona

An ever vibrant hum encapsulates the expansive square that is Piazza Navona. The best way to enjoy it is to grab an expresso or gelato and soak up the atmosphere.

The Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

Once the social centre of the Roman world, you'll need a guide or a good guide book to make the most of your visit here.

Spanish Steps & Piazza di Spagna

A popular gathering spot for locals and foreigners alike, the famous steps lead your eyes to the church, Piazza di Spagna, on the way up and Barcaccia Fountain going down!

Trevi Fountain

Sprawling over nearly the entire piazza, the high-Baroque Fontana di Trevi was immortalised in Fellini's La Dolce Vita, now almost as recognisable as the Colosseum. The custom is to throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain to ensure you return to Rome one day.

Vatican City & the Vatican Museums

The smallest sovereign Nation in the world and the centre of Catholicism, a visit to the Basilica and museums won't disappoint. 

Jetsettr Tip

If there is something you specifically want to do or see, pre-booking is recommended - especially for visits in the mid to high seasons. Contact your favourite travel agent, make a list from travel brochures or see what's available on websites like Viator.com.

WHAT AND WHERE TO EAT

While the rest of the world is talking about 'Italian food', the Italians are talking about each region's speciality. You see, there's no such thing as 'Italian food' in Italy. Food and cooking styles are referred to by their region.

This is no more true than in Rome where traditional food and recipes are taken very seriously.

If you'd like to try some local specialties, you can't go past stuffed fiori di zucca (zuccini flowers), carciofi alla Romana (artichokes with garlic, mint and parsley) and antipasto (especially bruchetta) for starters.

After that you'll be pleased to try either pasta cacio e pepe (with recorino, black pepper and olive oil) or all'amatriciana (with tomato, pancetta and chilli).

If you're still hungry, saltimbocca alla Romana (escalopes of veal sauteed with white white wine, sage and prosciutto) will go down a treat!

Generally, we find that eating choices in and around the major attractions can leave much to be desired but of course, they are convenient after a big day of sight-seeing. If you can get yourself over to Trastavere, this is where you'll find the locals hanging out and where in most cases, you can be assured of a good meal at a good price.

 




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