When In Rome: Visuals x Travel Hacks

When in Rome, ha! Finally able to use this line!

From Prague’s Gothic -Renaissance architecture and Budapest’s thermal baths (that we did not take), we finally arrive in Rome – the key location of Angels & Demons book by Dan Brown, home of Julius Caesar – the most famous Roman of them all who conquered Gael, fell head over heels with Cleopatra in Egypt & the one and only who reformed the calendar that we are using today. July (my birthday month), was coined in his honor. Rome is one of the oldest city with one of the most interesting history, culture, food and architecture. Need I say more?

Upon arriving in Rome there were some expectations vs reality moments. For one, I was surprised at how Rome reminded me so much of Manila: Filthy streets, overpriced taxi fares, people pushing each other just to get in the train & the crazy traffic. But I said to myself there’s more to Rome that meets the eye, right? I hoped so.

Rome, of course, did not disappoint. What got me hooked to Rome, aside from the main attractions ( Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon, The Colosseo etc.) are those winding bricked lanes, hidden alleys, beautiful porches, intricate details on each and every doors of the houses that we passed by, the large portion of pastas and so much more.

 The Pantheon - cue in The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons & Illuminati theories.

The Pantheon - cue in The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons & Illuminati theories.

Asians stick together you know. Met this lovely couple who asked me to take their photo. I also asked them if it's okay to take a photo of them for the blog. I mean cmon look at their outfits plus The Pantheon at the back. 100%

 Say hello to this variety of porchetta! Look they even have our very own version of it. 

Say hello to this variety of porchetta! Look they even have our very own version of it. 

Random finds in the different streets of Rome.

Was in the  smallest country in the world, The Vatican.

I felt like I've been purified to the shooketh level.

Details on porches, doors, pillars. Gaaaah!

You will also find a lot of artists and musicians everywhere. I got stoked from just watching them burn with so much passion.  

and more random finds! We even saw the Pope ( a mural of him anyway).


 

We spent 4 days in Rome and I think we pretty much explored everything at our own pace so I am sharing with you some useful tips that you may or may not already know but hopefully this reminds you to do so. 

1.      But first, buy your public transportation tickets

We rented a flat via Airbnb which was outside the city center so it was really a must for us to buy the transportation ticket (bus, tram, train all in one). It was also pretty handy since we also went to Trastevere and other parts of Rome anyway. You can buy them at the train stations. Prices and info are below:


Biglietto giornaliero B.I.G. (one-day ticket) 
Price: 6,00 Euro
Valid 1 day on any means of transport, it must be stamped only once (when starting the travel); in case the visitor uses the metro, the ticket must be exhibited to the controller at the entrance of the metro line.
!WARNING: this ticket is valid untill the midnight (of the day it had been stamped)

Biglietto per 3 giorni B.T.I. (3-days tourist integrated ticket) 
Price: 16,50 Euro
It is valid for 3 consequent days on any public means. It has to be stamped just once when starting the travel and exhibited to the controller at the entrance of the metro line.

Biglietto settimanale C.I.S. (tourist one-week integrated ticket) 
Price: 24,00 Euro
It is valid for 7 consequent days and it has the same terms of use like the B.T.I., only the owner must write on the card his/her own name.

(source: http://www.rome.info/transportation/tickets/)

2.    Join the free walking tours

It would really be great if you started with the free walking tours so that you will be able to navigate through Rome smoothly afterwards plus it’s free and you get to learn more of Rome – things you may not read online. There are two walking tours – The Vatican tour and the Colosseo tour. You may check out their site for more details as to when they hold tours for English and Spanish speaking travelers. http://www.romefreetour.com/

3.    Wake up early for those Instagram worthy shots.

How else would I even get a picture perfect shot of the Trevi Fountain?! Confirmed fact Rome is crowded af all throughout the year. even on winter season! We did not even have the chance to take photos during the free walking tour because there were so many people. I didn’t even bother trying because I decided to just really pay attention to what the local guide was saying and just go back the places the day after. Make sure to get to the city center before 8 or else suffer the inevitable pictures with photo bombers at the back.

4.    Some restaurants offer wine on the house SO indulge!

 This wonderful lady is full of energy on a week night! 

This wonderful lady is full of energy on a week night! 

Amidst the strong and fierce facial features of Romans, they are actually kind and very welcoming. We were offered free wine at one pasta place and it was really good. Who can say no to free wine right?

 

5.    Go where the road leads you.

Rome is just full of hidden alleys filled with a variety of shops that sells liquor, clothes and a whole lot more like genuine leather. If you like leather, you must buy in Rome. It’s everywhere. Even second hand shops of designer bags. I even told my mom I saw a Gucci bag for 200 euros and didn’t buy it. Imagine how disappointed she was that time.

 

6.    Go to Trastevere, that’s where true Romans live.

If you will ask the locals where to go, they will tell you to go to Trastevere. It wasn’t as crowded as the city center, but it was definitely something worth going to. We were wandering around the area wondering why we went there when a beautiful lamp caught my eye and decided to go that place. Voila the beautiful lamp led us to a restaurant called Alle Fratte Di Trastevere owned by two sweet couples from Naples. The wife is the head chef so it was really an honor to experience home-made Roman cuisine.

 

Veni, vidi, vici,

Andi