From authentic Italian villages to the heart of the city’s capital, Ciara Andrews gives a rundown of what to expect from a Roman holiday
If you are planning a trip to Italy, staying outside the city of Rome is an excellent choice that gives tourists an opportunity to experience a more authentic way of Italian life. The charming village of Frascati is a perfect option. A mere thirty-minute train ride away from the centre of Rome, Frascati allows you to escape the busy city and spend some time in a peaceful, picturesque village. Although the language barrier may pose a problem for visitors not familiar with Italian, the people of Frascati never hold your inability to speak in their native tongue against you and do their best to understand and help visitors to the village. Frascati is also a wonderful place to take a quiet walk and try some real Italian coffee. There is at least one shop on every narrow street stocked with irresistible biscotti, and the sweet scent from the local bakeries is too good to resist. One spot in particular that is worth a visit is the Blues Wine Bar, situated less than five minutes from the train station. The bar gives visitors an opportunity to experience genuine Italian beer, wine and music.
As much as Frascati is the perfect, relaxing location for a break away, the real fun begins when you venture into the centre of Rome. An informed tourist may think that they know what to expect, but nothing can prepare you for the city’s astonishing beauty. There is an exceptional landmark or beautiful architectural structure to be admired on every street. A trip to the Colosseum is a must for any visitor to Italy’s capital. It is definitely worth paying to take a look inside this incredible building and witness possibly the most fascinating aspect of Rome’s history and culture up close. The Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps (138 in total) are also excellent spots to visit. The Vatican City is a highlight for anyone with an interest in art, particularly the Sistine Chapel, home to Michelangelo’s famous frescoes, and St. Peter’s Basilica, which houses the Pieta.
Now for the really important stuff: the food. Does it live up to the hype? The food in Italy is nothing short of amazing, and is well-priced too. Traditional Italian cuisine can be found in ristoranti around the city, at great prices. Note that there are some particularly great eateries situated around the Colosseum. Trying some bona fide Italian gelato is also a real treat, and with it being sold on every street corner there is no excuse not to indulge in some of this delicious ice-cream. Tasting some fine Italian wine is also a must and as the Italians are daily wine drinkers, good value is the norm.
Making your way around Rome on foot is to be recommended. Most of the great tourist spots are within walking distance of each other, and it gives an opportunity to experience the city in all its glory. There are plenty of museums scattered around the city begging to be explored, many of which offer free entry or discounts for students. Taking an evening stroll is also a great idea as the city looks spectacular when lit up at night.
Spring is the perfect time to visit Rome, as the city often endures harsh winters, and the humid summers are packed with tourists. During these ideal few months, the weather is modest and as it is not peak season, you are likely to get a good bargain on reasonable accommodation. The city of Rome has something for everyone and will undoubtedly leave an impression on anyone lucky enough to witness it firsthand.