I haven’t mentioned it here yet, but the husband and I spent 10, really wonderful days in Italy a few weeks ago. Our trip went pretty smoothly, which was due in large part to suggestions from friends. E-mails and conversations about their favorite experiences, all told with dreamy looks, guided us from city to city.
In the spirit of fair play, I’d like to share some of my favorite tips for each of the three cities we visited. You can use these, or just consult the cast of the Jersey Shore. I suppose it all depends on the kind of trip you’d like to have.
The first stop on our vacation was Rome, a truly remarkable city. We saw the Colosseum, started our obsession with gelato and visited the Vatican. Not too shabby if you ask me.
Here are my favorite tips for traveling in Rome:
- We stayed at the Hotel San Carlo, which was a recommendation from Kim. The location and hospitality are wonderful.
- Have a drink on the Spanish Steps one evening. Liz said this was a favorite memory from her trip, and it turned out to be one of mine, as well.
- See the Trevi Fountain at night, but watch your handbag. This area is known for pickpockets.
- Arrange a tour of the Vatican, a suggestion from Carly. You pay a little more, but doing this allows you to skip the line and get information you wouldn’t normally through strolling around by yourself. For example, did you know Michelangelo couldn’t see anything below eye level for one year after painting the Sistine Chapel? He painted the entire thing while lying on his back. Well, now you do.
- Take a cab to the Vatican. They’ll drop you off at the entry. But, take the metro back to your hotel.
- Spend the money for a Roma Pass. It allows you to skip lines at a number of places, like the Colosseum and Roman Forum and provides free transportation on the subway. This is well worth it if you’re travelling in the summer.
- Download Rick Steve’s podcast audio tours. Kim told me about these. They’re free and really interesting. We packed our ipods and conducted our own tours at a lot of sites.
- Check out the Pantheon and use the Rick Steve’s audio tour. Entry is free to this historic building, and the podcast gives you a great context for everything you’ll see.
- Have some gelato at San Crispino.
- Throughout Italy, order the vino della casa with your meal. It’s inexpensive and delicious.