First Impressions of Rome

Rome is one of those cities you’ve probably already heard a lot about before you go. Either through history class, TV, friends, family, books, or somewhere else. I therefore had huge expectations of Rome and unfortunately not much time to explore it. It’s impossible to get a full view of a city in just a few days, but what it does do is allow you is a taster of what is to come should you ever make a return, and also allow you to see and experience the exterior with your own eye – which is always more memorable than reading about it or viewing a picture.

A look into the past…

Rome has so much history and historical architecture that it really does take a full 2 or 3 days to explore it the majority of it. The only other European city that can really compete with Rome on a historical level is perhaps Berlin. Nowhere else I have been to has had so much compact into a city of historical importance and resonance that you can experience. The Colosseum is obviously the main attraction, as is a visit to the Vatican. Expect queue upon queue, and tourist prices, but in my personal opinion in this case it is worth it. For me the Colosseum was really quite breathtaking. Unlike a lot of historical buildings across Europe, you can’t really find another building like this anywhere in the world, nor with it’s unique history. It may have been full of tourists, but an awe-inspiring building like this is still awe-inspiring no matter how many people you crowd around it.

Over-rated cuisine!

I’d just come from Bologna, Italy’s food capital, so I maybe I’d just gotten used to eating amazing Italian food, but for me the restaurants and cafes I ate in in Rome were really below standard. That’s not to say there aren’t good places to eat in Rome. I was only there a few days and you’re limited to how many places you can eat out in during that time, but I guess with it being the capital of Italy I was just expecting so much more from the local Italian cuisine here. I literally had the worst pizza I’ve ever tasted in Rome. I left half of it on the plate and was charged €11 for the privilege. It was also in a touristy area that I ate where they don’t rely on return custom so maybe I’m being a bit unfair, but I sort of think if you have the reputation of being home to some of the world’s best cuisine, you should try and live up to it! I therefore give Rome a thumbs down for food, but Italy as a whole a big thumbs up! (For the record I had an amazing diavolo pizza in Venice today that rocked so maybe you just need to pick the right place to eat…)

The place to be a tourist

The idea of being a tourist isn’t very cool to most people, and in most instances I try stay away from the typical tourist activities, but Rome really is a tourist’s city. There is so much see, do, and in particular so many landmarks to stand and take your picture by! I sort of enjoyed being the silly tourist on the big red bus going round the city for a change. It’s not what I normally do, but Rome sort of brought it out of me. For me Rome was a place to enjoy the indulgence of the crap I usually hate, because it was so over the top it made it fun!

Cheap to get about

Public transportation in Rome is really cheap. For one ride across town on the metro it’s just €1. If you travel on your return journey within 75minutes you can use the same ticket. For an all day ticket on the metro and the main city centre bus network it’s only €4. That gets you on any metro trains and city centre buses an unlimited amount of times up until midnight on the day you validate the ticket. If you’re planning on spending a whole day sight seeing and hopping around the city this could be really good value.

– Rome is somewhere I’d probably recommend for first-time travellers. There’s lots to do, it’s not too challenging, but you’ll also learn something too about Italy and Europe’s great history. For me, although I didn’t necessarily click with the city like I have with other large European cities, I did enjoy my time there…

– If you liked this article you may also be interested in my photo of the week – Rome Colosseum.

6 Responses to “First Impressions of Rome”

  1. Laura says:

    Now I want to go to Rome!

  2. Wow I was very sad to hear about your bad pizza experience in Rome… Who would have guessed?! Luckily you had better luck though in Rome and Bologna. It is my personal mission to someday make it out to Naples for some Italian Pizza… I’ll admit it: Eat, Pray, Love inspired me!

  3. I have to agree, the food in Rome is pretty sub-standard. I think I was a little disappointed in the food in general as I American style Italian food (and Chinese for that matter as well) is very different. But in Rome especially, I thought the food was just pretty bland and just not made with quality ingredients (unless you’re paying a lot for it(

  4. Raffaella says:

    It’s funny – I found good food harder to find in Venice than in Rome. To be fair, I was in Rome for a full week. I found the best method was to get at least several blocks away from the tourist spots (easier said than done in Rome!) and look for a long line of locals.
    I actually did send food back at one restaurant (gasp!) – my pasta was badly under cooked. In Italy, that’s tantamount to sacrilege! 🙂


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