As it is evident from my recent posts we have been on a week-long trip in Rome. Me and M. both wanted to visit The Eternal City since we drove past it some 10 years ago on our road trip to Sicily. This year we finally made it back to Lazio region in central Italy.
There were a couple of times when Rome popped up on our travel destinations shortlist before, but usually we dismissed it for one reason or another. I think everyone should take into consideration the following things before scheduling a trip to this great city:
- Ferragosto. When Italians go on their main summer vacation (roughly from mid-July to mid-August) it is quite a challenge to travel around Italy. If you choose any of the popular (usually seaside) destinations within or near Italy, in addition to all other tourists, you will also have to deal with a loud crowd of Italians.
Since Rome is not a seaside destination you might have to face a different kind of challenge. Many places simply shut down and others often change their working hours.
- Reserve enough time to see the real Rome. Make sure you have enough time to REALLY see the city. Racing from one attraction to the other just to cross them from your list is not the way to do it. Take time to relax and try to take a look at the city from the local perspective.
- Plan your trip at least a few months in advance. Waiting for a great last minute deal will probably not end well. Flight tickets as well as accommodation costs all tend to go up as the date approaches. This might not be all that evident in low season, but in the most popular times of year it might prove to be essential.
- Do your research. Rome might be there for a long time and many things have stayed the same for hundreds of years. Nevertheless, some things are definitely worth looking into.
For instance, if you are planning only a short stay in the city it would be a shame to spend half of your time standing at entrances of the most popular attractions. You should definitely book some tickets ahead of time over the internet.
In my opinion the best times for visiting Rome are in spring (late March through mid-May) and fall (September through early November). You should expect at least a few rainy days both in spring and autumn. Due to longer days I prefer spring.
This time I had enough time to do some research before the trip and I must say it was really worth it in the end. We just got so much out of it for less money and we also got to enjoy some things we would have never found out about by ourselves.
Usually it all begins with a search for a flight ticket but since I live in a neighbouring country (Slovenia), this time I also considered driving there myself and using a train. After some research, this time we chose to use the train - it proved to be the cheapest of the three options. I suggest you keep this often overlooked mean of transport in mind when planing your trip. In some parts of the World you can travel over large distances even faster using one of those super-fast trains, compared to air-planes (mostly due to airport security and regulations).
Also making a detour is very easy when using a train. Depending on which part of Italy you might be crossing, there are many great cities more than worth a detour. Turin, Milan, Florence and Venice are just some that well deserve the attention. You can easily find a high-class accommodation in Milan that will make you love the city even more.
Since we were passing through Florence on our way we were thinking about a short stop but decided against it after some consideration. We figured it might be wiser to spend all of our time in the Italian capital this time. We did not regret our decision.
We stayed in Rome for a week, taking it in from early mornings to late afternoons but still felt like there was so much of it left undiscovered. It might not happen soon but we would not mind returning one day and spending some more time in this lovely city.