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Is Rome for everyone?

Hello all. We're wanting to visit Italy; first time. We have 10 to 14 days to play with. Trying to stay on a budget though so maybe we'll stick to 10.
Rome doesn't appeal to me. It does to my husband though. We like good food, I'm a portrait artist and we love the ocean, people watching, and beautiful scenery. Trying to figure out where to go, what to see. Does everyone love Rome? Cinque Terre is calling me.

Posted by
585 posts

D&K -

I absolutely adore Rome. Personally, I think you'd be missing out if you didn't spend at least a couple of days there. Ticks several of your boxes!

Whatever you decide I'm sure you'll have a great trip because the rest of Italy is fabulous as well.

Ian

Posted by
2294 posts

Nowhere is for everyone. Think of the most amazing place you know of and there’s someone out there who thinks it’s a miserable hellhole.

Rome is amazing and I love it. But it does have some challenges that make some people dislike it. If your husband wants to go I’d say go, compromise is important (split your time between his top choice place and yours. Rome and CT, if those are your preferences).

Don’t go to Rome wishing for sea views and nature. Not happening there, but if you are open to enjoying it for what it is you will find it beautiful.

Posted by
208 posts

Can we ask why Rome does not appeal?
Good food - yes (but the same can be said of nearly anywhere in Italy)
Ocean - no.
People watching - any number of places - I like Piazza del Popolo, or the small square near the Trastevere side of the Ponte Sisto but there are many others.
Beautiful scenery - take a trip out to Tivoli for the Villa D'Este and or the Parco Villa Gregoriana.
Much closer to central Rome, visit the Appian Way regional park - lots of open parkland, ancient buildings, Roman tombs and the remains of some of the old aqueducts. From the tomb of Cecilia Metella onwards, you can walk (or hire a bike which is fun) the old Appian way, on Roman cobbles , past tombs, memorials, flocks of sheep. If you can ignore the aircraft flying into Ciampino, it is like going back in time.

Rome is one of my favourite cities anywhere, so I am biased.

Posted by
406 posts

As others have said if it does not interest you don't feel you have to go. For me it is my favorite of the big tourist areas. No where else can you see so many layers of civilization. I suggest getting Rick's Italy book to help plan your travels. Watch his videos on Rome & then decide.

Posted by
4166 posts

Rome is one of my favorite cities in Europe. It has a lot to see in terms of history, art, culture and more.
Cinque Terre is great, but not among my top three cities in Italy. One day is enough to see the city.

I am a very interested in history, which Rome much. Rome's influence on Western Civilization was huge. Also, the most amazing work of art in the World, the Sistine Chapel is in Rome.

You don't you explain to us all why you don't want to go to Rome and want CT?

Posted by
644 posts

I love Rome. BUT - I didn't like it on my first visit. That trip we had our kids (12 and 18 at the time), it was in the middle of a three week trip (right about the part when you get a bit trip weary sometimes) but most importantly, we only gave it two days. I think that was the big problem - I was frustrated trying to run from one thing to another to cram it all in, and do the things the rest of the family wanted to see. I've since been back multiple times - some times for a week, sometimes just for a couple days, but absolutely love it.

If you do go don't try to compromise by only going for one or two days - that doesn't work for a first visit (unless you are with someone who knows the city). Either give it at least 4 days or don't bother. I actually think that's true of all the major cities. I know many people who didn't like Paris or London but when you talk to them it turns out they were only there for a day or two. Also don't feel you HAVE to go inside major sites like the Colosseum or the Vatican Museums or St Peters. I think the Colosseum is actually more impressive from the outside, same with St Peters. Waiting on long lines, scheduling visits with specific timed entry, etc can really alter the whole impression of the city. Take walks, spend time in the piazzas (there's more stunning art in the many piazzas in Rome than in many museums, and they are free and in the setting they were designed for), visit some lesser known sites. And yes, go see the Colosseum, etc. but don't feel you haven't seen it unless you buy a ticket, wait in a line and go inside. Also try to get up and out early (you can always go back to the hotel for a mid day siesta/nap) when the streets are much less crowded - the whole atmosphere is different.

Here's my photos of Rome - https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p632712636

Posted by
3951 posts

Rome is my favourite city in the world, I love it there. I've been countless times but I've never rushed myself and I've not concerned myself with seeing all the "must sees", I haven't even been to any of the Vatican museums as even if the Sistine Chapel does interest me I can't bring myself to hand over money so willingly to the church.

I haven't been to Cinque Terre either, the thought of all those crowds puts me off and besides, there are plenty of other incredibly scenic places that aren't mobbed with tourists to choose from.

Good food? That can be found all over Italy but don't assume it's all good, I've had my fair share of mediocrity in the past, my advice? Trust your instincts not Tripadvisor.

I say go, even for just a few days and then find somewhere more idyllic although if you're thiking of heading to the coast in the summer be prepared to share it with a lot of other people.

Posted by
172 posts

I really love Rome and I'm always surprised by the people who say they dislike it. I think it's a matter of giving it the time it needs to appreciate it. I wouldn't give it less than 4 days. We spent a solid week there and were never bored. I love the deep history, the gorgeous art, the food, the culture. Beautiful scenery is in the eye of the beholder but I don't think you need the ocean for to have beauty. Look up the Villa Borghese gardens, for instance. But more so, I think even the 'historical places' could be considered beautiful in their own way. It feels pretty amazing [to me] to walk in places that have been there for thousands of years. My favorite thing to do in Rome was to wander [while yes, people watching!] around stopping in the various churches. Not because I'm particularly religious but because, holy gosh, do some of them have amazing decoration and art. Gesu was a personal favorite.

Perhaps consider a compromise, since your husband finds Rome appealing. You could do Rome and then go down to the Almafi Coast/Sorrento? Or vice versa. That way, you still get your ocean and scenery and he gets to visit the place that calls to him as well. I don't think I'd spend a full 10 days in Cinque Terre. I would at least consider a combo with Florence or Milan or maybe Genoa or some of the other smaller towns in the [relative] area.

Posted by
99 posts

We spent 3 days in Rome in 2016. The entire time we were there I kept saying I'm never coming back for various reasons. We're returning to Italy this summer--and spending 4 days in Rome!! There is so much to see and do that I'm really looking forward to returning.

Posted by
6543 posts

What many travelers don't realize is that there are a bunch of great tourist sights in the suburbs of Rome. There are a number of beautiful gardens of the Popes. 20 miles south, there's a 1500' tall mountain above the pagan temple Palestrina with a fortress and a knock dead view. We walked down 2500 year old foot paths from the top. And we visited Zagarolo where the ancient industry was making Roman soldier helmets--and a gymnasium where the gladiators trained. The sights outside of Rome are worth a week's visit alone.

Central Italy is where modern society as we know it today evolved. They had ports on each coast, and the Romans built highways into the cities. The cities had manufacturing and goods were imported and exported to the then known world. The world up until then was an agricultural/subsistence society. People had the wealth to support art--and architecture which the Italians became famous for.

Posted by
4026 posts

I love Rome, but it took several trips for me to appreciate it. It is big, bustling, and overwhelming. The first time I was there, I was intimidated, I guess. The second time I relaxed a bit and enjoyed my time there. By the third visit I was ready for more.

I'm not a CT fan, although I know some people just love it. It's awfully crowded. I mean, shoulder to shoulder in many place. It's more interesting if you get back into the back streets of the villages, And if beaches are your thing, there are beaches.

If you plan to hike in the CT, plan carefully. The first time we hiked the CT trail, we stupidly didn't take enough water, and tried to rush the trip (had a appointment at the other end.) The trail was certainly doable, but was harder than we had been led to believe. I know, it's on us for not preparing properly. So I'm just saying, do your groundwork.

And RELAX! Italy is magnificent. You'll have a lovely time. What places other than the CT appeal to you?

Posted by
23 posts

Interestingly, Italy remains on my "places to visit" list. I have read about Rome, Sicily and a number of places in Italy for some books and I really look forward to seeing this places. But I have friends who are not as interested as I am so I'd have to agree that everywhere is not for everyone.

Posted by
92 posts

On my first trip to Rome, I was advised to only go for a day or two as it was big, noisy and could be overwhelming. It was all those things and more. This fall I am going back for a week, it will be my 6th visit to this amazing city. The history is on display everywhere and I love just wandering around. As previously mentioned, no place is for everyone but I recommend giving it a chance if you have the opportunity to visit! Have a great trip.

Posted by
119 posts

I LOVE Italy, but Rome is not among my favorite places there. Of course, there is so much history, art, food and beautiful scenery, but it feels like a big city like every other crowded big city I've visited. Give me Florence every time!

Of course, that comment is to say everyone has their favorites. I'm going back in July, and we will spend a few days in Rome. I definitely appreciate its virtues, I just like other spots better.

You will have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
1655 posts

You didn't mention what time of year you'll be going. That could have an impact on your plans. Rome in July and August can be brutally hot. CT in December can be cold and stormy.

Also, you may be pleasantly surprised with Rome and somewhat disappointed with Cinque Terre. Whether you go with 14 or 10 days, you won't have a lot of time and what you have is precious. CT can be a crap shoot. You could end up going when it is pouring down rain on a day that all the cruise ships have docked and it's wall to wall. Unlike so many other places, if the weather is bad, there's really not much else to do. There are no museums or churches to visit.

Speaking of time, I know you are on a budget, but look closely at the proportion of money you'll spend just getting there and back. I think it's worth it to stretch a little and extend your trip than try to get back. There are ways to cut costs. We stayed at an agriturismo in Tuscany in the off season and our room was 85 euro a night. We spent several days in Paris staying in a B&B for 100 euro a night. No, it wasn't a 5 minute walk from Notre Dame, but it was a 20 minute ride on the Metro.

Posted by
614 posts

I ran into a similar situation on my first trip to Italy this past June. My husband and I were traveling with our friends and two college-aged girls. Our friends (early 60s) were not interested in Rome. They felt it was just too much of big city and they wanted to have a more relaxing vacation. The rest of us wanted to go to Rome, so I adjusted how we would tour the city.

  • We stayed in a central location in the most upscale of our hotels: Senato del Albergo with rooms overlooking the Pantheon in Rome. While the square is quite busy, it is magical at night looking at the Pantheon in the moonlight and being transported back to ancient times. The hotel was lovely with all the amenities,including an amazing roof top deck.
  • We spaced touring so that we only did only one big thing a day and left white space in the schedule for wandering, people watching, and relaxing. Just a five minute walk from our hotel was a lovely square where people gathered with their dogs in the early evening. We met so many locals by just playing catch with their dogs.
  • We spent time in the parks of Rome, we especially loved the park near the Borghese Gallery. The art gallery was one of the best in Rome and then walking in the park on a Sunday, going to the open air theatre was a relaxing experience and great people watching.
  • Finally, we love food and took a great food tour of Trastevere with Eating Europe.

This is a long-winded way of saying that our friends who weren’t keen on Rome at the beginning of the trip, found their own Roman experience and enjoyed the city at their pace and with their interest.

By the way, we all loved the Cinque Terre. We spent only two days there and we could have easily spent two more. While crowded, if you stay in one of the towns and get up early and enjoy the evenings, you can have a great experience.

Enjoy your trip.
Sandy

Posted by
1720 posts

I love Rome. BUT - I didn't like it on my first visit.

Same as Isabel. First time in 2010 was a two-night fly-by, trying to see too much in too little time. A big meh. Two years ago--to the day...:::sigh:::--we rented an apartment in Rome for a week, got a bus/Metro pass and had very few reservations for attractions. Our itinerary was what we felt like doing that day, decided as we were enjoying our morning coffee, fruit, meats & cheese in our little walk-up.

There is Roman cuisine, but also there is every other Italian variation, from Puglia to Sicily. And there is Termini station, the gateway to everywhere. I thought Florence was the place I'd like to spend a month or two at a time, until I experienced Roma.

Posted by
133 posts

is it just me, or do most people talk about places as though they're a bunch of buildings? I know that's an oversimplification, but... Here's the thing. Rome's a fabulous city, and not just for the sights/sites. There's an infectious energy. And Romans are hilarious. if you understand any Italian, you'll see that they're wisecracking, whipsmart and lively. The accent is great—they diss each other (mostly) affectionately. And Roman food is terrific, stuff like cacio e pepe pasta and spaghetti carbonara. Good seafood too. There's nothing like a lazy Roman summer night, wandering around, having an aperitivo and dinner, just walking around and hanging out in the piazzas.

Posted by
1720 posts

Well that's it, apaonita--the vibe. In 2 days, no way you're going to find it. But stay a week, ride the buses awhile. I was starting to get a little p*ssed that people that I thought had no intention of paying were entering through the back, knowing full well that nobody was going to check, or very rarely. I looked at a fellow rider, shook my head, and he responded by chuckling and shrugging his shoulders...which kind of said it all. Hilarious like you say.

If Romans open up to you, everyone's got a story--kind of like NYC.

Posted by
557 posts

Before I visited Rome I assumed I would not like it. I had been there briefly as a teenager and practically the only thing I remember was being unpleasantly pursued by Italian men.

Before I visited Rome as an adult I had visited or lived in several large cities that I very much did not like: Chicago, New York City, Paris. I now live in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and am not even fond of downtown Minneapolis. So, yeah, I don't like cities. Traffic, noise, dirt, garbage, getting around, crowds.

Before I visited Rome I had spent a total of 5 weeks in Italy --- Venice, Florence, and several towns throughout Italy including Sicily --- so I loved Italy, but still was rather dreading Rome. Even in the low season. But there were museums and buildings and churches I wanted to see, so I figured I could put up with it.

Instead, Rome surprised me. The first day, on leaving our B&B, I happened to look down a side street and there was the Colosseum. Just sitting there. Huge. Like it was an ordinary, everyday thing. Everywhere we walked we saw such amazing sights. And little things surprised me, too, such as that the traffic stopped when we crossed the street. In the old center of the city, there are no skyscrapers --- it actually feels very human-scale and often quite open. There are many different neighborhoods, each with its own character, and the city is very, very walkable.

There is an infinity of things to see and do --- we have returned to Rome several times and still have a long list of what we want to do next time.

If you do decide to go to Rome, make plans that will minimize the aspects you think you won't like and choose carefully a limited number of sites to visit. Personally, I would avoid the Vatican during its regular hours, I would stay either in a quieter and cheaper neighborhood OR one that was very close to the places I wanted to visit, I would do tons of research about where to eat and where to sleep, I would not try to do too much because that will give you that frazzled feeling, and if possible I would avoid the tourist season or at least the hottest part of the summer.

Posted by
557 posts

People who live in Rome or other Italian cities have BUS PASSES. Passes that don't even need to be shown or swiped when entering the bus, but which can be produced if an inspector ever wants to see it.

Posted by
1514 posts

Rome is for me, but, it may not be for everyone. I love it! I had many great experiences; both times. That may lend to my excitement when I write or talk about it. Maybe I'm a wee bit biased?

I come from a big city; lived in large cities, work in the city. I saw a lot of similarities. The minute I set foot in Rome, I felt at home and was enamored. I have been twice so far and am still excited to return as often as I can. I am happy to have gone, explored, discovered, made friends, and so on. Not done yet.

Had I not previously planned some other domestic trips last year (extra long weekends), I would have stayed longer in Rome. I experienced a smidge of a smidge of Rome.

No city, town, state, province, country or continent is perfect. It's what the traveler makes of it for her/himself.

Posted by
840 posts

I agree with Laura in that I think Rome grows on you. When I saw worn buildings (in comparison to northern cities that don't seem as beaten down by the sands of time) and graffiti from the train windows and then walked out onto the bus area outside the front of Termini, I thought, "ugh, what have I gotten myself into?" Then the cars, then the noisy motorbikes. But then how old the buildings are amazes you and then how there are quiet streets to get lost in amazes you, and then you don't even notice the graffiti after a while. And, yeah, it's crazy at times, but I have great memories of it.

And to get to the point of it being more than buildings. There's a vibrancy about it in the people, and I truly appreciate that you can walk around in the evening with a group or alone, and I like the familial atmosphere of Italy. I had a night or two on my own, and felt comfortable sitting by myself at a cafe having a slice of pizza and a drink while watching the world go by. I can't say that I've felt that way in some other cities in Europe. So, it may not be for everyone, but I say give it a chance.

Posted by
3951 posts

The first day, on leaving our B&B, I happened to look down a side street and there was the Colosseum. Just sitting there. Huge. Like it was an ordinary, everyday thing.

I feel the same. My favourite moment, which I like to repeat everytime I visit, was exiting the metro at Colosseo, walking up the steps and then, as you emerge, is this fantastic, hugely impressive colosseum looming in front of you. Almost two thousand years old yet life just going on as normal all around it. It truly was a jaw dropping moment and one that has never been surpassed.

Posted by
468 posts

Rome is by far my favorite Italian city. There is literally so much to see and do there that I think it would be a challenge to not find something that interests you. Not into Roman ruins? Fine, you could skip past all of that stuff and still be busy for days. You’re an artist? Rome is home to some of the greatest works of art in all the world! The Borghese Gallery and Vatican Museums should be at the top of your list. Plus, all of the art in the churches is amazing.

I think Roman cuisine is the best. I ate better in Rome than anywhere in Italy.

If the urban-ness is what’s turning you off, don’t believe the hype. Roman can feel wonderfully neighborhoods and small. Trastevere is quaint and lovely. Make time for Rome, it deserves a chance.

Posted by
11154 posts

I agree with the sage advice in all the other replies.

1) Of course no place is for everyone, and Rome is not exempt from this.

2) In a 10 to 14 day trip, you can only see a tiny bit of Italy. By not going to Rome, you are not "missing it," you are merely giving yourself time for other places instead.

3) Now a personal story. On my first trip to Italy (also about 10 days), I overnighted in Milan, Venice, and Florence, and saw some places as day trips from Florence (Siena, Lucca, Pisa). I didn't get to Rome at all. Many were scandalized - "how can you go to Italy and not visit Rome?" It simply didn't draw me at the time. But on that first trip, I got the desire to see Rome, and I made it the focus of my second Italy trip. I've now been there 4 or 5 times (yes, I've lost count) and it's one of my favorite places. But who knows how I'd feel if I had gone there on that first trip out of a sense of obligation, rather than a genuine desire.

So, if the Cinque Terre are calling you, go there. Rome may call for a future trip. Or it may never call, and that's OK too. Again, Italy has more "great" places than you can see in a lifetime, and Rome is just one of these.

Posted by
1085 posts

I was amazed the first time I visited Rome and have been back 3 more times I liked it so much. As others have said I didn't just visit buildings or museums, but also went out on the Appian Way and also took the metro and walked to see the aquaducts. You can also take a day trip to Ostia Antica near the coast. For me the Cinque Terre was a disappointment-too many people. I loved hiking the trail between the villages, but you spend most of the time watching your step as the path is VERY ungroomed. You just have to stop frequently and look out at the sea. CT is also more time consuming to get to and your visit is so short. I would concentrate on one area of Italy and just 2 or 3 days in each. Remember not to count your arrival or departure day in your total time. Time of year is also very important. Rome in summer can be beastly hot and if you are lucky enough to have ac in your hotel, it may be very weak. If you do go to Rome go to Torre Argentina near the Pantheon. It is a cat sanctuary in the middle of ruins. I go there every visit.

Posted by
3 posts

I'm taking in all these wonderful responses. Thank you everyone! Im thinking I will probably like Rome.

Posted by
1514 posts

D&K,

I'm a newbie to Rome, but I love it so much that I hope to make many more trips. I've visited Italy before. "Rome got me." lol. I'm a city girl all my life, but, as you can see by some posts, people love or appreciate Rome even if they may live in a more urban or rural area of our country.

Posted by
954 posts

Here is an excerpt from the introduction to The Smiles of Rome: A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers (Susan Cahill, ed.)

Rome has the power to blow your mind and heart, bestowing a much larger capacity for the beauty of the world than you started out with… it’s the accumulation of pasts in Rome and one’s consciousness of those layers - in the city and in one’s self - that can make Rome a life-changing experience. Once Rome enters your consciousness, your perspective on human time may change, deepen, mellow… Everywhere, something invisible makes itself felt in the visible, making the whole city seem to pulsate with hidden presences, a register of the human psyche and of twenty-eight centuries of history striated by horror, by thrilling legends, and anonymous kindness. Getting to know Rome, we come home to ourselves…

Posted by
867 posts

When are you planning this trip? Because I think that you would loathe the crowds in CT in June and July, while Rome is actually built for that level of tourism any time of year.

I actually intentionally skipped Rome and Venice my first three trips to Italy. I’ve since been to each 5 and 3 times respectively. I think the answer is yes, Rome is for everyone; but when everyone is ready for Rome.....that is a question that must be answered by several trips for research. 😊

Posted by
954 posts

In Italy they have a saying: Roma, non basta una vita - For Rome, one lifetime is not enough.

Posted by
20632 posts

Our story is similar to Harold's. We had sliced through Italy several times -- Venice, Milan, LaSpezia, Genoa, Naples - without hitting Rome. We had heard somethings about crowds and heat so it was always next year. Next year finally arrived and now we have spent close to a month in Rome over the past ten years or so. I could see a love/hate relationship. It is overwhelming but it also fascinating. It just oozes age. To think of it as being there for over 2,000 years. And the history that has walked the streets. You might not like but you should try it.

Posted by
112 posts

I, too, am a fan of Rome. We're going back to Italy in the fall and are not visiting Rome, and I'm having some doubts about that.

You might enjoy going up to Janiculum (Gianicolo) Hill, which is a short bus ride from the Trastevere neighborhood. It's (relatively) quiet, has some interesting statues (Anita Garibaldi, for example) and a marvelous view. The iconic view may give you some inspiration for your art. The back streets of Trastevere are pictureque and the neighborhood of Monti is hip and thriving (at least it was the last time I was therer!). The Pantheon is an incredible church and work of art.

I agree with others who advise you to spend more than just one or two days to fully relax and appreciate the city. Enjoy your trip!

DD

Posted by
995 posts

Depending on your travel plans, you may still be able to satisfy both your interests and your husband's. If you fly into Rome (or out or roundtrip), you can easily plan to spend 2 or 3 nights there and then still have time to see another part of Italy on your trip.

Posted by
178 posts

Great posts on this thread!

I'm one of those people who isn't crazy about Rome. I've been twice, both short trips. I think my biggest complaint was the heat, which was onerous. And I've never been much interested in Roman history -- still, there are many fascinating sites. The Vatican museum was amazing, and the Pantheon was spectacular. Since my last trip, I took a university class on Rome, with a professor who adores Rome, and nope, it still doesn't do much for me.

That said, I'm willing to go back and give it another try, because I think it has a lot to offer. Next time though I'm not going in summer.

Posted by
11572 posts

Next time though I'm not going in summer.

Nickelini, that is going to make a big difference! I'd NEVER do that one in high summer if it could be helped.

Count me amongst the passionate for Rome. The bug bit me so badly the FIRST time that I can't imagine a trip to The Boot without some more time in the Eternal City. But you absolutely must give it days enough to get to know. If you spend just two, and all of that rushing from one big, overcrowded attraction to the next, well, it's no wonder some folks come away with less than fuzzy feelings about the place!

The folks above have done such a marvelous job expressing all the reasons to go and ways to enjoy it that there's no reason for me to add more!

Posted by
4026 posts

Nickelini, I think this is the first time I've ever seen the word "onerous" used in a Forum post. :-)

Posted by
1720 posts

People who live in Rome or other Italian cities have BUS PASSES.
Passes that don't even need to be shown or swiped when entering the
bus, but which can be produced if an inspector ever wants to see it.

Nancy--

I'm fully aware of the bus passes for whatever timeframe, be it 3 days, a week or a month, that allows riders to embark from either entrance to the bus. It only has to be validated/timestamped in the machine at the front of the bus the first time. But even before my trip, I knew that because it was rarely enforced, that locals without passes tend to take advantage of that, thus my bemusement at the situation, and my fellow rider's chuckle. He knew, and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, '...what are you gonna do about it'?

Posted by
1514 posts

Transit Inspectors have amped up their policing of passes/tickets recently.

I noticed at different stops, the Inspectors waiting to stop a bus and board. Yikes. Even just walking by them, you can "feel the authority." lol.

In 2018, I experienced the Inspectors making a surprise boarding. My ticket was not validated, but I was not too panicked because the machines on that bus were not working, so I had proof.

The Inspector was very nice. He asked me questions - where I got on, the time I got on, etc. I was honest of course. I also told him that I asked the driver what can I do to validate but did not get answered.

The inspector shook his head and realized I was sincere and not trying to pull something. He acknowledged the machine break down. He told me what to do if I encounter a broken machine in future travels. Also, I noticed the few other passengers that did not have a validation were let go too. Those few passengers got on the stop I did, and we all looked at each in wonderment about what to do.

Maybe didn't speak English or didn't have a solution. Most bus drivers are very nice and are able to communicate. I always thank them when they've helped me with a direction or a particular stop.

Posted by
50 posts

Girasole,

You note that "He told me what to do if I encounter a broken machine in future travels," but you didn't tell us what he said to do! I'll be in Rome next week. Please tell us what he recommended. Just in case.

We once saw the inspector toss a guy off an Amalfi coast bus for not having a ticket. (Well, not literally) Learned to take the ticket validation seriously.

Posted by
3 posts

Im now thinking my initial feeling toward Rome may greatly differ from my conclusions after we're there and im actually now excited about it. My impression had been that it was overwhelming.

Were hoping to go in may but since we still dont have plane fares I'm thinking September. Im alao thinking of dropping CT in favor of more time at fewer places (Rome, Florence, Venice).
Thanks again everyone!

Posted by
1514 posts

Abrett, apologies for left out details. I have explained the same in past posts, but forgot about new people reading the forum.

The Transit Inspector told me to write down (on the back of the ticket) the stop (ex. Piazza Venezia, Piazza Argentina) and the time you get on, the number of the bus (ex. #64) and "if possible", the number of the actual bus - ex. Bus 5555 - it can be found on the outside rear of the bus if not visible inside near the driver.

Added: Oh, and if you are able to with your phone, take a picture of the invalid machine. But the above should be sufficient coming from the Inspector.

Posted by
4026 posts

Thanks, Girasole. We've encountered machines that didn't work, and just trusted in luck to not get checked. So far, it has worked. Now we know what to do!

Posted by
1514 posts

You're welcome Jane.

At least the Inspector was very nice. His team (there were 4 that day) were checking tickets, etc. and talking to others. They certainly have a commanding presence boarding, lol.

Oh, another time, a bus I was on was stopped and Inspectors boarded. A young man could not produce a valid ticket/pass. I could not hear the exact conversation, so don't know what he was telling the Inspector. He was given a slip to sign. He gave it back to the Inspector. I don't know if it was a warning or an actual fine. But, the look on the young man's face was dismal.

As I mentioned in another post on the forum, last year, I saw an increase of bus inspectors. I really don't recall that happening in 2017.

Posted by
178 posts

I think this is the first time I've ever seen the word "onerous" used
in a Forum post. :-)

LOL -- really? So much of travelling is onerous. Especially flying coach when you have the middle seat.

Posted by
2806 posts

D&K, glad you are getting excited about Rome. Some thing that might help with the thought of it being overwhelming is the scale of the place. I find skyscraper cities a little overwhelming, but Rome is 'short'. Pretty much nothing taller than St. Peter's. I find this puts it on a human scale. Even if crowded, you can look up. Also take breaks in green space. The park around the Borghese Gallery, or the Palatine Hills and lovely treed areas. If you make it less about ticking off 'must see and do' things, and more about getting the feel of the place, or enjoying less visited places, you might come to u derstand why it entrances so many.

Posted by
1720 posts

The Transit Inspector told me to write down (on the back of the
ticket) the stop (ex. Piazza Venezia, Piazza Argentina) and the time
you get on, the number of the bus (ex. #64) and "if possible", the
number of the actual bus - ex. Bus 5555 - it can be found on the
outside rear of the bus if not visible inside near the driver.

Added: Oh, and if you are able to with your phone, take a picture of
the invalid machine. But the above should be sufficient coming from
the Inspector.

Good stuff as usual, Girasole!

I rode that #64 bus route frequently during the week I was in Rome. Some additional advice--don't know where I read it--was to have the shop that sold you the pass--in my case it was a weekly pass bought at a tabacchi shop--give you a receipt to be kept on your person in case the inspector asked. Might be overkill but I asked anyway--the shopkeeper kind of rolled her eyes...

And yes, Girasole, I did read that after we returned home (March 2017) the Rome inspectors stepped up their presence on the buses.

Posted by
4026 posts

Nickelini, I assumed that after I made my comment, someone on the Forum would have immediately used the "Search" feature to start counting instances of "onerous." And a few probably headed for the dictionary. :-)

Posted by
1514 posts

Thanks Jay!

Also, that is a good idea about asking for a receipt. Ha, maybe a shopkeeper may roll their eyes, lol, but, it's better to be protected. Of course, until we board a bus, we have no way of knowing if a machine is broken or not.

I should have asked the Inspector for a "picture" -- for "a memory." lol. I remember what he looks like. He was bald, had 'very Italian' eye glass frames; a nice smile, towered over me, dress perfect uniform, boots shined, lol.

Jokes aside, he wrote the info I told him on the back of my ticket to show me. Not much room; just write small or abbreviate. But, I will keep in mind about the receipt.

Posted by
171 posts

Take a bow Girasole, for Statement of the Month:
'No city, town, state, province, country or continent is perfect. It's what the traveler makes of it for her/himself.'
Spot-on.
I am done. The end.

Posted by
13967 posts

On my first trip to Italy, I flew R/T Milan and went to Verona, Venice, Florence and the Cinque Terre (before it was super-popular). I'd seen a movie with Katherine Hepburn set in Venice and thought it looked so romantic. I was worried it wouldn't meet my expectations, needlessly. Venice is one of my very favorite cities and every time I visit (up to about 6 now), I find more to love. On my second trip, I added Rome mainly because of the museums and ancient ruins. I didn't warm to the city, but I loved its sights. It wasn't until my 3rd visit that I really enjoyed being in Rome.

Some here have suggested that almost as scenic and much more enjoyable (less tourists) than the CT are other villages along the Italian Riviera.

I understand "budget travel" very well. Consider that you'll pay the same airfare for 10 days or 14 days. There are ways you can cut expenses on the ground, with cheaper but adequate rooms (clean, comfortable, air-conditioned) in good locations. You can eat a meal a day by picking up stuff at a supermarket. There are very good inexpensive restaurants and house wine costs about the same as bottled water.

Posted by
1720 posts

I understand "budget travel" very well. Consider that you'll pay the
same airfare for 10 days or 14 days. There are ways you can cut
expenses on the ground, with cheaper but adequate rooms (clean,
comfortable, air-conditioned) in good locations. You can eat a meal a
day by picking up stuff at a supermarket. There are very good
inexpensive restaurants and house wine costs about the same as bottled
water.

Well stated, Chani. And I have deduced from experience--and because I am admittedly a bit of a tightwad--that done correctly, one could exist in Rome at a financially reasonable price on a daily or weekly basis. Not forever, mind you, but say for a couple months I'll bet I could find a small but well-situated apartment for say, 350 Euro a week. It would probably have to be in low or shoulder season, but that's what I prefer anyway. A grocery store within walking distance, open-air markets & bakeries abound, get your 24 Euro/week bus/Metro pass, and off you go.

A bucket list item to be checked off, for sure...

Posted by
1514 posts

Take a bow Girasole, for Statement of the Month:
'No city, town, state, province, country or continent is perfect. It's what the traveler makes of it for her/himself.'
Spot-on.
I am done. The end.

gregglamarsh, lol! Thanks!

Posted by
1 posts

We were in Rome in January, 2019. We loved Rome (I think it is my new favorite city).

I think you will find plenty of scenic vistas involving the historical sites; city streets, plazas, etc. What could be more Italian than hanging out in the piazza eating gelato and watching the people stroll by?

Posted by
9 posts

I don't see anywhere what month you are planning to travel. I am sitting here this morning looking out the window at freshly fallen snow, still under the spell of our second trip to Rome. We have travelled in late Feb./ early March both times and have had spectacular weather. I understand it can be rainy and last year this week it did snow--unusual but not unheard of. The people I know who hated Rome all went in the summer.

The wonderful advice here about choosing just one or two things to do and leaving lots of "white space" for wandering is spot-on. If you are an able walker and choose your accommodations wisely, you will probably walk most places. If there are 4 of you, a Roman white cab is a great bargain--taking you most places within the city center for 10-12 euro. Walk up to a cab stand, make sure the meter is running and ask about how much it will be. An example of something to do, might be to take a cab to the top of the Giancolo, check out the terrace with a view of Rome and see the Fontana dell'a Acqua Paola -- you see lots of families, dogs--then wander down into Trastevere--check out a few churches (Santa Cecilia is a favorite of mine-- the excavations underneath it are worth the 2.50 euro to see) eat something wonderful, have a glass of wine, some gelato. You get the idea-- just don't do it in the summer!

Posted by
30 posts

We went to Italy last year, visiting Rome, Cinque Terre and Florence. I really didn’t expect I would like Rome but I fell in love with it. There is beauty around every corner. Not the same kind of beauty as Cinque Terre but the magnificence of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Bernini sculptures, Sistine Chapel are so impressive. The people watching is excellent and the food is incredible. You may be surprised to find yourself falling in love with Rome if you go with an open mind.

Also, Rome amp day Cinque Terre are only a train ride apart. Why not do both?

Posted by
7 posts

What a fun thread. I'll add that I went in November 2016 and it was perfect. I packed my layers and rain gear, which I rarely needed, and happily walked everywhere. The only time I felt crowded was in the Sistine Chapel. It's a city, for sure, but not on the same scale as many US cities. It seemed like at least once a day, I'd come around a corner and see the Pantheon, unplanned. Wowzers! And it's a good thing I threw a coin in the fountain: I'll be back in less than a week en route to Naples. As Rick says, if you love Rome, keep going south. Done!

The people I've talked to who haven't enjoyed Rome have been there when it's hot and super crowded. I can't say enough about going in November.

Posted by
74 posts

I generally loathe large cities of any type, but adore Roma and would go back in a heartbeat. Have been 3 times in 10 years, so much to see and do,

Posted by
50 posts

Rome is such an incredible city! You get to see how modernity and history collide with the amazing architecture and just the overall feel when you are there. I suggest you give Rome a chance, it's very different when you are there as compared to just looking at the photographs. You will enjoy all the things you like including good food, art, people watching, and beautiful scenery when you visit Rome.

Posted by
6 posts

I liked the historical sights but the city is so dirty. So many people trying to scam you, at every turn. Got pickpocket on a crowded bus despite being super careful, and the woman was holding rosary beads.
Then later in the day, we came across the transit police and couldn't find our Roma pass, which we realized was in my wallet that got stolen later in the day. Also when we found the receipt for the Roma pass, it had no amount or nothing saying it was for a Roma Pass. Bought it from a tobacco shop, which is common. The Rome bus system is falling apart, but it's not the tourists who are not paying it's the locals. The police on bus try to get you to pay a fine. Which I think is another scam. You are supposed to tap your ticket when you get on a bus, but so crowded you cant even reach the tap machine. So, if you buy a Roma pass, make sure it says so on the receipt, how long its for, tap on and keep it safe. Lesson learned. Met a lot of nice people and enjoyed the sights but personally I would never go back to Rome.

Posted by
9 posts

In 2016 my husband and I visited Rome (off-season) for 7 nights while our daughter was studying abroad. I loved everything about the city (even the grit and graffiti) and didn't expect to feel that way! We took our time visiting the main sites and did some off the beaten path exploring. This left us plenty of time to relax, eat good food and people watch. My only regret was that we couldn't stay longer. We're going back for another 5 nights in October and I'm bursting with excitement. Here are my tips:

  1. If you like downtime, find an apartment with outdoor space. We stayed in Trastevere and at times I just wanted to enjoy the weather (60-65 degrees and sunny) from my apartment. This may not be the case if you are going in the summer.

  2. Get your coffee/espresso at the same place each morning. Amazing how quickly you get to know people. Our "coffee guy" hugged us on our last day. I'd also like to add that he didn't speak English and we speak very limited Italian. Mankind always finds a way to communicate when you smile.

  3. Spend some time wandering from piazza to piazza - especially in the evening. They all have distinct personalities.

  4. If you can't take your time in Rome, it may not be worth visiting. I was overwhelmed the first day, figured everything out the second day and the remaining days were smooth sailing. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Enjoy your trip wherever you decide to go!