When in Rome… do as the Romans do. That’s the first expression that comes to my mind when I think about the magnificent capital city of Italy, located halfway between the south and the north of the country. Being one of the largest cities in Europe, it doesn’t disappoint any visitor regarding what to see or what to do, as it offers too many attractions.
I have carried a Roman tattoo in my chest for over two years now, without ever having visited the city that gave birth to one of the largest empires of all time.
I landed in Ciampino’s Airport on the 24th of November, for what was just about to become my craziest vacation ever. We got on Schiaffini Travels’ shuttle bus from the airport to the Termini. You can buy either a one-way ticket for 4,90 Euros or round trip for 7,90 Euros.
From the Termini to the Colosseum it took us almost two hours! Our smartphones had ran out of battery, we had no maps, and we were just walking south. That’s when we discovered the Baths of Caracalla, built in the 3rd Century. We were now 1 km south from our destination. Later and with a lot of effort, we reached the enormous Colosseum! Crowded with tourists shooting photos and people selling selfie sticks, we got in the queue to buy our tickets. 7,50 Euros, that’s how much we ended up paying for an admission that also includes the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill (Half-price for people under the age of 26).
Being there in the middle of ruins with hundreds and thousands years of history, made me feel incredible. I’ve always been too much into history, it’s one of my passions, and knowing that these ruins have been standing still against men and nature for so long… it just gives me the itches. Even though the inside of the Colosseum doesn’t have so much to see, I spent more than one hour there, just having a look at every little detail, at every piece of ruin, shooting photos, wondering how the gladiators used to fight for their lives and getting all these images in my long-term memory.
After exiting the largest amphitheater ever built, we headed to the Roman Forum, which I definitely loved, maybe even more than the Colosseum. It may not be something that you see on a daily-basis in your Television, but you should lose a little bit of your time trying to discover more about its history. This place is a must for ruin and history enthusiasts, filled with statues, monuments, pillars and temples.
Standing 40 meters above the Roman Forum, there is the Palatine Hill, which is the center-most of all the Seven Hills of Rome. Also filled with ruins, this is the place where lies the Lupercal Cave, which according to the Roman mythology, was where the twin brothers Remo and Romulo were found and breastfed by the she-wolf Lupa, giving birth to the Legend of the Foundation of Rome. The Palatine Museum is also located on the top of this hill, however we didn’t have a chance of visiting as it had just closed by the time we got there.
Despite having loved all the ruins and monuments, what really frustrated me, even more than people insisting on selling you postcards and selfie sticks, or begging, is the fact that it becomes impossible to cross a road without almost being hit by a car or a motorcycle. It made me very angry sometimes, and once I even yelled at a biker, who suddenly appeared from behind a car that had stopped for me, and almost ran me over. For an instance, I thought, never on Earth I would move to a place like this. Even though I like the big cities, Rome was just too chaotic to live in.
As soon as we got to our hotel we realized it was not really a hotel… but a bed&breakfast instead. The room was not as pictured in booking.com, and it was too dirty. The toilet hadn’t been flushed, the little fridge was too dirty and still had olives inside, the shower curtain was turning black. We went to the reception and we explained the situation, looking forward for a solution or a refund, however, the person insisted on having us moved to the largest bedroom, which we also refused because it was not totally clean. We accepted to wait on the first room while he cleaned the second, and then we moved in. It was not perfect, but it was the best thing we could have at the moment without losing the cash we had just spent for the next four nights. Right now, we just needed a good night of sleep.
Our vacation in Rome had just started !