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    Rome travel – ”Four W’s and an H’

    In the previous sightseeing article I wrote on Rome, I tried to introduce the reader to the major touristic spots of the city. In this article I'll try to summarize the general recommendations I gave my friends in answer to their questions.

    When should we go?

    Even though Rome has tourists in all four seasons, the summer months are when it’s at its most heavily trafficked. As a result, for me the best seasons to visit Rome are the fall and spring because you get more of a chance to enjoy the city. This way you won’t be uncomfortable either from the cold or the heat. Planning your trip for the spring away from the crowds of tourists is the key to a really enjoyable trip.

    How should we travel?

    I still remember the excitement I felt the first time I arrived in Rome and dropped my bags off in my room to head out and explore. I waited at a bus stop for an hour before learning that my visit had coincided with a city-wide strike and so I set out and lost myself in the city’s streets. I recommend you do the same, get lost in the streets of Rome! Wherever you turn, wherever your sense leads you you’ll notice that the city’s history follows you and engulfs you. You can only get a sense of Rome’s true exotic Mediterranean feel after wandering its streets! Because of this, it’s my belief that Rome can only be explored on foot!

    Where to eat?

    There’s an endless list of “what to eat” when we’re talking about Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. As a result, without going too deeply into the subject in order to capture the true simple flavors of the cuisine I recommend you try the same method that I did: “stay far away from wherever there are tourists!” I believe that the best places are far away from wherever tourists are, and are more likely to be in small, local restaurants. I’d like to recommend a couple of places that might cross your paths though remember that the quality of the entire experience can vary from person to person and experience to experience.

    Da Enzo

    a small cozy venue, this neighborhood restaurant uses vegetables and ingredients from the nearby surrounding villages. Much of the produce used is organically grown. Any of their dishes with artichoke are fantastic – the taste will stay in your mouth forever. Address: Via dei Vascellari 29 

    Ristorante Fortunato

    Italian cuisine can often come out looking like a work of art. This is a great medium-sized place to eat lunch just before or after visiting the Pantheon. Of course just make sure that you don’t get too caught up in how good the food is, you’ll have polished off more than you can handle before you’ve thought twice! Address: Via del Pantheon 55 

    La Carbonara dal 1906

    This restaurant left me with just a fantastic impression. This is one of the restaurants that already comes regularly recommended, but of the standard recommends stands out the most. Just poking your head through the doors is enough to make you want to sit down. Make sure you try their pasta specialties. Address: Via Panisperna 214 

    Osteria Bonelli

    This might be a nice alternative to the standard expensive tourist fare one finds in the major squares. The prices are cheaper without compromising quality, and there are many delicious treats on the menu. Address : Viale dell’Acquedotto Alessandrino

    Gelateria Fatamorgana

    You can’t leave Rome without having tried the gelato ice cream! But be careful, there is a lot of fake ice cream in the city! Roma’s famed ice cream chain is all over the city and you can eat your gelato without worrying about the quality.

    What should we buy?

    Italian designer brands are recognized around the world as being the best clothing brands have to offer. However, I discovered once again that quality of clothing that I love comes from the most expensive shops with the highest prices! As a result I left Rome with some small souvenirs to remember it by and some gifts to bring back from Rome. Pamper yourself as much as your wallet will allow.

    Who should we pay attention to?

    It shouldn’t be all that surprising that in Rome, as with other major tourist cities, there are many people who make a living off swindling tourists. Stories that I’ve heard and some hidden video shown on tv has caught swindles that would put a serious dent in the amount of fun you have on your trip. Be careful especially around the Vatican and Coliseum where swindlers really congregate and are at their most aggressive.

    Vatican City: You’ll find people wandering around St. Peter’s square who try to sell you tours, or people who say they can get you through the line into St. Peter’s, or people who say they’ll take you straight up to the Pope’s rooms. Unfortunately this is not within the realm of possibility! These same people might say that they can get you through the lines at the Vatican museum or give you entrance into private rooms within the Vatican. Of course whatever the degree of promises they give, the price of their fee increases to the same degree and ultimately whatever you pay you’ll be in the same position in line as everyone else. Don’t be fooled by empty promises of tricksters!

    Around the Coliseum: There are people wandering around in gladiator costumes looking to take photos with tourists. You might be surprised at the differences in price that you get before you’ve taken your photo with them and afterwards. As a result, let gladiators remain back in the period when they existed and take your own pictures of the millions of things all around you.

    Don’t forget, people who work in these sorts of seedy jobs work as a team, even if you see them by themselves. As a result make sure you don’t even enter into conversations with these people – it’ll only lead to trouble for you!

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