The Eternal City
Flights from £35
Gorgeous and delicately crafted, Rome is a city of layers built from the ground up; one that merges the romanticised past of Vitruvius and Michelangelo with the modern style of Franco Purin and Zaha Hadid to create a ‘wedding cake’ of a city in a country that has so much to celebrate.
If there is anything I can say that encapsulates Rome, it was the fifteen minutes I spent looking for a bus-stop on the first day I arrived. Couples of all ages moved together through the streets in such a frequency that made it seem like being in a relationship was a requirement to be here. Young couples on mopeds with pencil strapped tops and leather jackets complemented the older love birds who passed by in bright red classic cars with the roof down.
Rome is a city of style and effortless class. It is Old money but is not aloof. It’s the millionaire who shops in H&M.
Which is apt really as ‘The Eternal City’ is full of cultural icons that are not only important to the city itself or Italy, but to western culture too; with all being accessed by public transport and the majority being free to see.
It means that you need not spare every expense to visit the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Castel Sant’Angelo or many of the other public attractions without so much as your transit pass and some money for lunch.
But sightseeing is not all Rome is good for & whilst you can (and probably will) spend much of your time here looking at architecture (even if that is unwittingly), Rome is a city of artists and craftsmen.
The taxi driver who picks you up at the airport, the pastry maker, barista and the waiter in your restaurant are all equally proud of their craft and proud to share it.
It’s easy to fall into pleasant conversations with the market vendor who’s selling you a magnet or the restaurant owner who is happy to tell you the history of his establishment - all in English.
Which brings me onto language.
Whilst a large portion of people in Rome speak English, do not be duped into thinking that this level of English is fluent, at full speed and will not require some level of hand gestures to convey what you are saying. Of course this does not mean break out into full pidgin sign language, but it does mean that you should be prepared to simplify your question and clarify any instructions given.
Additionally, everything outside of the airport is signed in Italian;, meaning navigating the metro, reading bus stops, food menus and street signs will require you to have some understanding of Italian.
Thankfully however, if you have an elementary understanding of other Romance languages (such as French), translating into Italian is a lot easier than if you only know English - so I would recommend you get a few lessons of Duolingo or Babbel in once you consider visiting Italy and certainly once you book your trip.
But every baecation inevitably runs into the hotel dilemma. Now whilst Rome has an abundance of places for you to stay both inside and outside of the ‘Old City’ limits, there is one thing you must be aware of.
Every hotel in Rome will require you to hand over your Passport (at least briefly) and will charge you an additional €6 a night due to the City Tax.
This tax, like most taxes paid at hotels within Europe is charged to you upon checking out- meaning it would be wise for you not to spend every penny dining out, living lavish and buying gifts.
Additionally, whilst Italian culture is not one that encourages you to tip your wait staff, every establishment we visited; whether that was within tourist hotspots or out in the sticks- came with a 15% service charge on top of your bill.
Regardless though, Rome is a city that will enchant and render you in awe and is an excellent destination for those looking to take a weekend city break or spend some time boo’d up abroad; and for those looking to visit either Europe or Italy on any sort of tour, Rome is a destination you should not pass up the visit to see.
Super easy transport system that's cheap too.
- A city full of beauty; from the buildings to the city attractions there's plenty to catch your eye.
- If you're looking for good food, you've found the right place.
- Plenty of photo opportunities for you both and cute date night walks.
- Everyone is super friendly.
- There's so much to see and do, you both shouldn't get bored.
- Plenty of places to stay at, no matter your budget.
- City/Tourist Tax can eat into a good portion of your budget should you not keep it in mind.
- Some time before your trip should be dedicated to learning Italian- there's no telling just when it might come in handy.
- Calculating 15% on top of your bill is cute at first, but eating out for all 3 of your square meals may be unsustainable for those of you on a budget.