Rome was not built in a day, and it’s definitely not going to go down in days, weeks, months or even years.
One day, when we can travel again, the very first place I will visit again is Rome. Those who’ve been before will understand me well. American-British author Henry James captured it very well: “She had always been fond of history, and in Rome was history in the stones of the streets, and the atoms of the sunshine.”
Buon Giorno! During one of my trips to Rome, I arrived early in the morning and the airport cab took me on a ‘scenic route’ on the way to the hotel. This is normally parlance for a cabbie pulling a fast one on you, however, I was a willing victim that early morning in Rome.
It was quiet, there were only a handful of tourists out and about, and the weather was still pleasantly cold in the early morning of May. Now sometimes we wonder why we remember certain things but forget others. And driving past the Colosseum straight from a long-haul flight as you arrive in Rome is one of those things I know I will never forget.
Equally memorable though, is seeing the Colosseum after dark. Most tourists are gone by this time, and in my opinion this is the best way to explore the interior of the Colosseum. I recall seeing the underground chambers where horses and other animals are kept, and where the gladiators stay before they get lifted up in the arena level. If you’re a history buff or if you’ve seen the movie Gladiator, this will definitely send you in awe and give you the chills all at the same time.
I have to say that some places in Rome you must visit twice–once in the day, the other at night. The Vatican Museum is one such tourist attraction that is best to be visited during the evening. Since most of it is indoors anyhow, visiting it late afternoon to evening offers its rewards of remarkably less tourists and shorter to no queues at all.
Mornings in Rome are the best. I’m not normally a morning person but I like waking up early in Rome, when not too many people are out in the streets yet. It was in Rome where I learned how to drink and appreciate coffee at the very busy and popular Cafe Sant’ Eustachio. I was amazed to see how Romans take their coffee shot as a way to start a very busy day ahead.
Another memory in Rome that I wish to re-visit is taking a stroll to Campo di Fiori early in the morning, and participate in one of the many Rome food tours available.
One advice that I can give if you wish to participate in any of these tours is that you must arrive hungry! 2-3 hours go by quickly especially when there are many food stops along the way.
I’ve had many wonderful food experiences in Rome but one of the most unforgettable ones was when I had lunch made by an Italian Nonna (grandmother). Italian homecooked meal is different from your usual Italian cuisine but it is just as comforting.
Another thing you can’t and surely will not miss when in Rome is the abundance of gelatos.
There’s at least one or two gelato shops in every street in Rome, and its easy to do a gelato-hop everyday. However, if you want to enjoy and learn more about this most popular Italian frozen dessert, I’d advise you to take a food tour that specialises in Gelato. Musement offers many Rome food and dessert tours and one of these tours I’m interested in taking is where you can master the art of making Tiramisu and Gelato (dare I say Italy’s greatest legacy?) with a chef.
There’s just way too many experiences and sights in Rome that I’ve long decided that it is one of those cities that must be visited more than once. For first timers and those who wish to do a “crash course” tour of Rome, Musement offers a small group tour that visits the Circus Maximus, Caracalla Bath and Aventine Hill.
It can be overwhelming planning your trip and experiences in Rome. But I’m glad that companies like Musement have done the curating for us. Browse through their tours and you will see that they have been carefully selected, which makes choosing which tours to book more straightforward and easier.
Rome wasn’t built in a day so it definitely will not go in a day or two. I’m saving these memories so that I know what to re-live the moment we can go back to travelling. As they say, all roads lead to Rome and I can’t wait to be back.