Given that Jim is going bug chasing in Rome, I thought it is as good a time as ever to set up a travel thread. Over the years people, not always FRM people, have asked me for travel tips, and I’ve kept all of them for the next person who needs them.
This thread should be where you ask for, or give travel tips.
Below is the tips I gave my father who was going to Rome for a short visit, so some of the things are specific to what I knew he would want to do, or avoid, and not really too in depth because he wasn’t going to be there long.
Okay, so my Rome tips are mostly food, but I will try to put some other things in too:
Nuovo Mondo - The really good, cheap, pizza place I was talking about. Seems to be a hit with the locals, despite looking like a greasy spoon cafe.
Franchi Gastronomia - Kind of a deli/restaurant thing. Really good food. It’s in the kind of shopping district, but also at the back of the Vatican/Castel Sant’Angelo so you should swing by if you are in the area. Very relaxed, large choice of food and reasonably priced.
Castroni - Only really included because it is right beside the one above. It isn’t a restaurant, but is a kind of a speciality food supermarket in case you wanted to bring anything home.
For the Vatican, I would suggest paying for a service that means you don’t have to queue. We used Get Your Guide. They basically meet you here at the time you’ve booked, walk you in the door, and let you go. The price of the entrance ticket is obviously included in their price. I think it was €33 each for us. When you book, you can download their app, and you don’t have to print the ticket then. If we were to queue for a couple of hours, and then pay at the door it would have been €20, so I’d say it is worth it. When in the Sistine Chapel (at the end of the Vatican Museum), there is a door at the end wall on the right (if you are facing away from the alter), that opens to let guided tours directly through to St. Peters. Just wait for it to open, and follow them through. You should be fine, and it means skipping another big queue. Just start speaking Irish if anyone says anything, and wander off.
The Roma pass can be good, if you plan on using Public Transport. Assuming you are going to use you 1 free entry (1 free entry with the 48hr pass, 2 with the 72 hr pass) for the Colosseum, you get to skip the bigger queue also. So, it is up to you whether you think it is worth it or not.
The Forum is right beside the Colosseum, and equally if not more impressive.
Don’t bother going to the Circus Maximus unless you are in the area. It is just an oval field now. Looks like an empty reservoir.
Couple of places I would go see are:
Church of St. Louis of the French - Down the back left corner (if facing the altar) there are a few Caravaggio paintings. There is a box beside them where you have to put money in to turn on the lights around the paintings. You will actually see people waiting for ages for someone to put in 20 cent, rather than doing it themselves.
Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola - Again, another church (there is a few of them around Rome, for some reason). It is famous for the “Fake Dome” and amazing perspective trick paintings on the flat ceiling inside.
Borghese Gallery and Museum - Quite small, you’d see the lot in an hour or so, but really nice. You might need to book a time. Give them a call before. They speak perfect English on the phone. If you have to wait around, it is in a really nice park to hang around in anyway.
Janiculum Terrace - Bit of a steep walk up there, but gives you a view over most of the city
The Pantheon - There was a bit of a queue a nearly all times we passed (we were staying pretty near), except for when it rained, and the queue disappeared. It is free in, and really impressive. I think it is closed on Sundays, as it is still used for mass.
Around the Colosseum, and the run up to the Vatican are the only places where there will be everyone and their mother trying to sell you things (tours, jumping the queues, trinkets, water). Everywhere else is pretty relaxed.