We finally land our feet in Rome, Italy!
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populous city, with over 2.7 million residents in a municipality of some 1,285.3 km2 (496.3 sq mi), while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 3.46 million. As one of the few major European cities that escaped World War II relatively unscathed, central Rome remains essentially Renaissance and Baroque in character. Rome is the third-most-visited tourist destination in the European Union, and its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
As soon as ones mention Rome, what people will soon think is "Vatican City" and "Colosseum".
So, that's the known image of rome that people commonly know around the world. But there is some other things that shocked us to no end, primarily because it wasn't mentioned in my old trusty Lonely Planet guidebook.
1. Rome is expensive, yes... especially water. It can cost 3.5 Euro for a small bottle of mineral water. Being in hot summer and did quite a lot of walking, you bound to need about 4-6 bottle of water during the day.
But there is a trick to get around this. Do you know that many water fountain in Rome is drink-able? All you have to do is to bring an empty bottle with you.
There is practically everywhere, and when you see it... you know you just save 3.5 Euro. Too bad, by the time I know this, I already waste 10 Euro!
2. Rome is dirty!
You must really watch out where you are going and what you are stepping. It can get really nastier than what you see above.
3. Rome is... CROWDED. This is one of the thing I didn't expect. Look at this!
All this people is not just hanging around taking picture. They are QUEUEING to get in!!
Apparently there is 2 queue, one to the san pietro bassilica and the other one to sistine chapel. If you get to either one of them, you can enter the other one without re-queue.
When you get in, you thought it would get better???
Shed that vain thought.
And this involve going up and down 3 storey stair case numerous of time. It was completely stuffy, hot (no air cond), and noisy. If I known this I would NEVER get in just to see some semi naked statue or picture.
(In the room below, the main chamber of sistine chapel, you are not suppose to take picture.... but....)
Okay, perhaps I was just being sinical because we have to carry a 15kg toddler plus a camera bag with another nappy bag full of water and a pushchair.
Both queue last for 1-3 hour in day time. I've learn through mistake that all major "must see" attraction in rome suffer from the same waiting time. That's include colosseum. Worst still, if you happen to be in the queue nearing nap time (siesta), the policemen will come around and told you that the enterance will be closed at 12.30 and reopened at 2.30, you are welcome to leave or remain waiting. Great...
On the other hand, there is loads of minor attraction like Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Castel Sant' Angelo , Arco di Tito and etc that you can see without queue-ing so much.
So there is 2 option to skip all this queue. First to pay hefty 30-40 Euro more for guided tour that will skip the queue for you. Other is to wait about 1 hour before the last admission (normally before sunset) to get in. We choose second method, less crowd to make the picture look better.
4. Almost anything in Rome looks good.
and...not only the building.
And this is even more interesting!
Too bad I didn't get their picture from the front, because with my 50mm lens it will be too obvious that I am taking their picture (standing like 3 meter in front of them). You can even buy a calendar full of handsome looking priest posing for each month!
Interested to get one?
5. Going stylish, even applied for beggar.
6. Good pizza and gellato is NOT in Rome.
Probably you better of sitting on one of the aircond MacD and enjoy a 70 cents burger.
7. You'll be tired of seeing painting, semi naked statue, trapestry and fountain.
8. If you happen to arrive at the last day on June, you can witness Italian national bike race. It's truly an experience to see the crowd banging bins and cheering the biker as they speed by san pietro square.
9. For a fee, you can take your picture with one of this "funky" Roman soldier.
10. Rome has a great old building with excellent wall textures for taking pictures!
That's it for now, I will post an entry soon about Italian pizza, our favorite of all time.