Review of main Rome attractions: Things to do in Rome, travelers tips
Rome is a magical city to visit.
The art and architecture are breathtaking and your days will surely be filledwith roaming around in awe at the many wonders which make this city so enthralling. But as with any visit to a foreign land there is another intruiging aspect apart from what beholds the eye... the culture.
Even if you are on a very short trip to Rome these simple facts on roman lifestyle may be of use to you, or simply interesting to know...
Eating Roman Style
In Rome as in all of Italy the classic start to the day is a ‘cornetto’, ‘espresso’ or ‘Cappuccino’ in your local bar (this italian breakfast should cost you approx. 1.50 – 3 euro). The coffee culture here is to take you short shot of coffee at the bar and wash it down with a fresh croissant that can be plain or filled with marmalade, chocolate or custard cream.
It is strongly believed that the start of the day should be a sweet one and and you will find no savoury options such as bacon, egg or sausage on the menu! There are bars on every corner making an ‘espresso’ break very easy throughout the whole day (note that in general italians do not drink cappuccino after 11am).
Traditionally lunch is a big family affair. Romans tend to take a long lunch break to dine on a carbohydrate loaded meal of pasta or rice, quite likely followed by a second dish of meat or fish.
However, times are changing and work demands are forcing more and more people to take quick lunch breaks and the idea of a quick slice of pizza or sandwich are becoming more and more popular. This may also prove to be the best solution for who is sightseeing.
A quick pit stop at lunchtime (so as not to waste too long in a restaurantduring the day) followed by a relaxing meal in the evening is most peoples preferred itinerary.
Bars stock fresh sandwiches all day long, and there is an abundance of ‘Pizza al taglio’ (sliced pizza). Roman pizza can boast being one of the best in Italy and it is definately worth a try.
For approx. 3 euro you can have a generous slice ranging from the classic marcgherita to mushrooms and ham to even more exotic tastes such as salmon and salad or artichoke and tuna toppings.
Vocabulary that could come in handy when ordering your lunch.....
|Vorrei......- I would like.....||Il conto per favore – The bill please|
|Quanto costa? – How much?||Trammezini – Sandwiches|
|Panino - Bread Roll||Pizza al Taglio - Sliced Pizza|
|Prosciutto Cotto - Cooked Ham||Prosciutto crudi - Cured Ham|
|Funghi - Mushrooms||Pomodoro - Tomato|
|Insalata - Salad||Tonno - Tuna|
|Acqua Frizzante - Sparkling Water||Acqua naturale - Still Water|
|Birra - Beer||Vino Bianco - Rosso White/Red Wine|
|Bibite - Drinks||Portare via - Takeaway|
You will find plenty of options for your evening meal, quite possibly too many!, and to make your decision don’t hesitate to ask our reception staff here at Des Artistes for recommendations. Locally or further afield you wull find that you are spoilt for choice but it is important to avoid tourist traps and where prices are high and little attention is paid to the quality of the food.
Restaurants are mainly divided into 3 categories......’Ristorante’, ‘Pizzeria’, and ‘Trattoria’. The Trattoria is the most basic affair, usually family run and furnished modestly with an often rustic feel, this is where you will find real roman dishes at very good rates. Food is mainly homemade and you can taste the delights of simple italian cuisine with generous portions. More than likely the menu will feature ‘Spaghetti Carbonara’ (pasta in an egg and bacon sauce seasoned with black pepper), ‘Bucatini al’Amatriciana’ ( thick spaghetti style pasta in a tomato, bacon and goats cheese sauce), ‘Gnocchi’ (usually served on Thursdays in Rome) these are potato dumplings in a tomato or meaty sauce, ‘Pasta al’Arrabiata’ (pasta in a spicy tomato sauce), and ‘Saltimbocca’ (veal meat rolls with ham and sage in their centre).
‘Ristorante’ is usually a more expensive option compared to the smaller ‘Trattoria’. Here you will find many of the above mentioned dishes, but the menu will be more extensive and cater to all tastes. Each restaurant will have it’s own sèecialities, the cuisine is not quite so rustic and greater attention is paid to presentation and atmosphere. For a meal including the likes of seafood specialities, vegetable mousses, and delicately creamy pasta sauces the ‘ristorante’ is the ideal place.
‘Pizzeria’ doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be other options such as pastaon the menu, but it certainly means that their main attention is on the famous roman pizza. Look out for the sign ‘Forno a Legno’, this indicates that the pizza is cooked in a wooden stove and proposed to the electric oven this offers a completely original taste.
The roman pizza has a very thin base and is crispy around the edges. For a thicker pizza you would need to head further south towards Naples. The pizza can often be quite watery on top, for italians this is a good sign as it means the mozzarella used is nice and fresh. Toppings vary from place to place but you will always find the classic margherita and capricciosa (artichoke, egg, ham and mushrooms).
Eating out in Rome is a great pleasure, especially during the summer months when you can sit outside ‘al fresco’ style watching the world go by!
Italians tend to flock to the oldest quarter of Rome for a great meal at a great price. Trastevere is a maze of small streets with an abundance of every type of italian eatery possible (as well as a great set of trendy wine bars). The area has a very ‘arty’, energetic feel to it, but be aware that Friday and Saturday evenings are exceptionally busy and you may find yourself queing for a table.
A visit to this enchanting quarter of Rome is also the perfect chance to visit the Basilica ‘Santa Maria in Trastevere’, a beautiful church that is even more suggestive illuminated by night. Getting Around.
As you will discover Rome is an exceptionally chaotic city and although sanctions have been brought in to limit city traffic, roads are very busy and often exceptionally noisy! Luckily main tourist attractions are embedded in the historic centre in mazes of cobble stoned streets too small to allow cars to pass by, but it is always wise to pay great attention at all times (especially for passing scooters – the romans preferred choice of transport!). Needless to say public transport is the best way of getting around, especially considering that parking is even more of a disaster than tackling the roads!
Rome at present has only 2 metro lines... the A and the B line.
This does restrict the amount of places you can reach, but hot spots such as the Vatican Museums, Spanish Steps, Basilica San Giovanni and the Colosseum are covered. For the rest of the angles to be reached it is wise to take a bus. Buses operate from 5:30am until midnight at a frequency approx. of every 10 minutes, with a night service covering the twilight hours at a frequency of every half an hour on major routes. The main bus park is situated at Termini station (a 5 minute walk from Hotel Des Artistes). Don’t forget to ask our reception staff for your Rome map where you will find metro lines and useful bus routes indicated.
Transportation in Rome is quite well priced. For just 1 euro you have 75 minutes travelling time that includes 1metro ride and unlimited bus usage. Alternatively you can purchase an all day or weekly ticket. Don’t forget to stamp your ticket the first time you use it, after which keep it in a safe place in case of a control where you will be asked to produce it. Tickets can be bought from most ‘Tabacchi’ (newsagents) and the self service machines in all metro stations and at some bus stops.
Weather in Rome
Rome usually boasts mild tenperatures although February and March can be quite rainly months, even if it is difficult that the city experiences non-stop rain for a day or more, it is more likely to be in the form of showery intervalls. The main touris seasons include May & June, September & October, the reason for this being that during these months the sun is never far away and the temperature is just right, perfect for eating out in the evenings but not so hot and humid that it makes sightseeing hard work. For sun worshippers July and August are ideal, although hunidity levels are high and you will require more breaks for refreshments. Sun block and a good hat are important things to bring with you should you be travelling to Rome in the spring or summer. Consider that temperatures can nearly reach 40 degrees during summer heatwaves. Christmas is also a nice, relatively out of season time to visit Rome. Temperatures are approx. 14 degrees and the sun is usually shining despite the fresh winter air.
You will find in the area of Des Artistes and sparse across the city numerous pharmacies open day and night. Here you can purchase many non-prescription medicines and homeopathic products to cure a range of mild problems, as well as consult with a pharmacist. Hotel Des Artistes does have a doctor on call for more urgent matters at a cost, or alternatively Rome has an array of inner city hospitals where healthcare is believed to be to a very good standard. It is always wise if you are a member of the EU to bring with you a E111 whih can be obtained from your local post office thereby entiteling you to free healthcare whilst staying in Italy. Even without this document but upon producing a passport or identity card from the EU you will not be asked to pay for the treatment that you receive.
For persons travelling with medication that needs to be kept refrigerated there is a fridge in all rooms at Des Artistes although the temperatures are not always cool enough for that of certain medicines and in this case we would be happy to store them for you in our cooler refrigerators in the bar area.
Additional helpful tips for your roman holiday........
- Shoulders and knees must be covered when entering all churches. At the Vatican you will find security at the entrance to the Basilica controlling this fact. Paper trousers can be bought from a nearby souvenir stand.
- Commercial activity tends to cease between 1pm and 4pm and you may find that many shops close during these hours., to re-open again until 7:30pm.
- Monday mornings also see’s many shops remaining closed and opening in the afternoon only.
- Tipping in restaurants is at your own discretion but make sure that that it has not been included on the bill already as this is often the case.
- There is more than one police division in Rome. ‘Carabinieri’, ‘Polizia’, ‘Finanziere’ and ‘Polizia Municipale’. Indifferently of their uniforms and names any of these can help you with matters of emergency and in general there is a large police control in the city centre.
- Ordering a coffee to an italian means an espresso. If you want a long coffee don’t forget to state ‘caffè americano’ (with hot water) or ‘caffè latte’ (with hot milk).
- If you want to see the Pope you can go to the Vatican on Wednesday mornings from where he appears at his window to speak to the crowds.
- The Vatican museums close in the early afternoon and considering thr size of them it is advisable to go early morning if you have the intention of paying them a visit.
- The last Sunday in every month is free entrance into the Vatican museums, and every other Sunday you will find them closed.
- When taking a taxi always make sure that the metre is turned on from the very beginning. The official taxi in Rome is white and the license will be displayed as well as a list of the tariffs behind the front seats. It is best to stick to these should you decide to use a taxi during your stay.
- If you have time for excursions outside of Rome Ostia Antica is a real real treat for anyone interested in archeological sites. It can be reached by train from the station ‘Piramide’ on the B Line of the metro, and is the same ticket used for inner city transport.
- For early risers there is a huge market on Sunday mornings called Porta Portese. This market is located along the Tiber river in the district of Trastevere and here you can find just about anything you desire.