This time, I went to Rome for 2 nights because V was going to be there :)! Her cousin goes to university there, so we got a hotel very close to where she lives so that we could spend the days with her too.
We did the touristy things together, similar to when I came for Project Week in 2012. The Coliseum and Ancient Rome, and The Vatican.
We had espresso all the time, and we also mainly ate at V’s cousin’s place, or made food and took it out with us.
It was really nice going to The Vatican again, with a couple of more years in hand, and it was also really nice going with V’s cousin because she did art history so she could tell us more about things than I had known before.
As well as revisiting old places, I found a new building on Palatine Hill which I really liked, the Farnese Aviaries.
And then found out later that it was on the World Monument Fund watchlist in 2014.
Food: carrying out pizza is always handy and tasty, but it’s always more expensive in touristy areas. Because we had a kitchen, we mainly ate from home, but we also did go to two recommended places.
- Chipstar – Dutch Fries in Piazzale Flaminio (opposite the twin churches in Piazza del Popolo, it was on our way home), but it’s a franchise, they have other locations
- Ginger Restaurant – close to the Pantheon, so easy to get to. Nice, airy, new, lots of healthy food choices. (We had a Bangladeshi waiter who heard me speaking on the phone to my aunt and then gave us free smoothies! Bangla coming in handy again)
- Be a student under 25 years of age
- Vatican Museum: buy tickets online, beat the cue + it’ll be cheaper than the people who try to sell you tickets while you’re waiting in the two hour line, and only about 2 euros more expensive than waiting. Full price ticket is 16 euros, and reduced tickets (6-18 year olds, students under 25) is 8 euros. There is a ticket handling charge, but it’s minimal and it spreads across the cost of multiple tickets
- For the Coliseum and Palatine Hill, being under 25 and from an EU country means paying a reduced rate, €11.50 to get in, so carry a national ID which you can prove that with
- Think if you want to get the Roma Pass: being a student under 25, from a EU country means that if you’re only going to the Vatican Museum + Sisteen Chapel and Coliseum + Palatine Hill, you’d pay €8 + €11.50, and you can get the €1 bus/tram/metro tickets as and when you need it, so you shouldn’t need to spend €36 or €28?
- Beware the OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card which I believe tells you the wrong prices: it says Sisteen Chapel and Vatican museum is €27.50 when the full price should only be €16, entry to St. Peter’s Basilica is free, but they’ve written €14, the only one that looks correct to me is the Coliseum price.
- If you research all of the prices before hand and see where you may need to buy an online ticket, you’ll save time spent in lines, and you won’t get tempted to spend extra money when you’ve waited out in the heat for a while and all those tour guides are coming and offering you a chance to beat the cue…if you spend triple the amount of money