1. How would you describe Rome in a few sentences?
Rome is the cultural center of Italy and resembles an open-air museum. It is referred to by names such as “La Dolce Vita”, “City of Seven Hills”. On one hand it is historical, touristy, and beautifully photogenic and sunny; on the other hand it’s crowded, chaotic and expensive.
2. As someone who lives in Rome, how do you think outsiders view the city? How does that perception compare with reality?
You’d expect that because Rome is one of the world’s top tourist destinations that deals with millions of tourists every single year that quality of service hotels and elsewhere would be above average. Unfortunately, the service you get in restaurants, cafes and hotels does not meet these expectations to say the least.
3. There are many cities in the world worthy of visiting. Why should Rome be added to this list of cities?
Every street in Rome has an air of history, and the city itself is basically a “World Heritage” site. You might come across an ordinary looking-church and enter to find priceless paintings of Renaissance artists. Every person fond of history, culture and art must absolutely see Rome. In addition, Italian Cuisine deserves its reputation for being rich with great flavors, and local Espresso fantastic!
4. In your opinion, what are the ten most important tourist destinations (Top 10)?
- Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani)
- St. Peter’s Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)
- Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)
- Colosseum (Colosseo)
- Appian Way (Via Appia Antica)
- Castle Sant’Angelo
- Vittorio Emmanuel II Monument (Altare della Patria)
- Pyramid of Cestius (Piramide Cestia)
- Spanish Steps (Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti)
-What are some other suggestions?
- Navona Square (Piazza Navona)
- Via dei Fori Imperiali
- Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio)
- Piazza del Popolo and the Pincian Hill (Pincio)
5. What are the activities that shouldn’t be skipped in Rome?
I’d recommend you not to miss the very beautiful narrow streets of the center such as Via dei Coronari, Via dei Banchi Vecchi, Via del Pellegrino, Via Margutta and the Roman Ghetto; even though you don’t see these names in the Tourist Guides very often. Walking along these streets, you will come across antique shops, art galleries, alternative boutiques, authentic restaurants and coffeehouses. Furthermore, I suggest you to go to one of the snack bars (locale per l’aperitivo) in Campo de’ Fiori Square after 6 PM and experience an aperitivo night; when entering the bar, it’s enough to simply ask for an “Aperitivo”.
6. Which are the local foods most enjoyed by the residents? What are some of the restaurants that you recommend trying in Rome?
Caprese salad (mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil), artichoke appetizers, tiramisu and panna cotta are among the must-try pleasures. As for the restaurants, I would suggest Trattoria Al Moro, L’Archetto, Ristorante Alfredo, Gusto, Etablì Cafe, Baffetto, Ristorante Alla Rampa and L’Old Bear.
7. What to buy in Rome and where? What do you recommend for shopping?
The city’s most popular shopping centers are the Via del Corso, Via Nazionale, Porta di Roma Mall and for outlets, Castel Romano. There are other areas mostly known for antiques; Monti Antique Market or the Sunday Market Porta Portese are the two most famous.
8. Which is the best season to visit?
The weather is wonderful between March and June and, in my opinion, the best season to visit is spring. It might be pretty tough for tourists in July and August due to high humidity. During the sales seasons- beginning January 5 and July 5, prices are discounted 50% and if you want to come to Rome for shopping, you should opt for these periods.
9. When you started living in Rome, what struck you as particularly interesting?
Some of the interesting things that caught my attention were the number of scooter bikes in the streets, how loud people talk, and the animated body language with which people talk to each other.
10. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Be aware of pickpockets especially when travelling by bus, subway and train; specifically in Termini Station (the main station), but there have been mugging cases in other stops as well. Never leave your bags or luggage unattended, keep them in your sight at all times; while travelling by train, it’s wise not to leave your luggage out of your sight.