We know many people are busy planning those dream trips that they’ve had to put on hold, which is why we started our travel mishaps series. For the month of January, we are sharing our top tips for things to avoid in the world’s most popular cities. Last week we were in Paris and this week we are in Rome. Trust me, I got married in Rome, studied abroad there, and both Juliana and I have spent a lot of time in the city, so we share lots of insider tips and tricks in this episode. Listen for all our insider tips for visiting Rome and some advice on what not to do in the Eternal City! Listen Now: Transcript: Juliana: Ciao ragazzi!  dreaming about seeing the Colosseum, the Vatican, and maybe the Trevi Fountain. Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world. A trip here should be a dream. But trust me, there are a few tips and tricks you’ll need to make that happen and we can help. JQ: This is travel babes. We’re just two sisters trying to travel the world in style, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Each week we talk about important travel topics to help you decide when, where, and how to explore the world. I’m JQ from jqlouise.com Juliana: And I’m Juliana from Travel Juliana. Now let’s get to it. So this is our second episode of 2021 and we’re continuing our Travel Mishap series. Our New Year’s…
Home Europe travel Podcast Episode 6: Tips for Visiting Rome (& What Not to Do) – J.Q. Louise

Podcast Episode 6: Tips for Visiting Rome (& What Not to Do) – J.Q. Louise

Podcast Episode 6: Tips for Visiting Rome (& What Not to Do) - J.Q. Louise

We know many people are busy planning those dream trips that they’ve had to put on hold, which is why we started our travel mishaps series. For the month of January, we are sharing our top tips for things to avoid in the world’s most popular cities. Last week we were in Paris and this week we are in Rome. Trust me, I got married in Rome, studied abroad there, and both Juliana and I have spent a lot of time in the city, so we share lots of insider tips and tricks in this episode. Listen for all our insider tips for visiting Rome and some advice on what not to do in the Eternal City!

Listen Now:

Transcript:

Podcast Episode 6: Tips for Visiting Rome (& What Not to Do) - J.Q. Louise

Juliana: Ciao ragazzi!  dreaming about seeing the Colosseum, the Vatican, and maybe the Trevi Fountain. Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world. A trip here should be a dream. But trust me, there are a few tips and tricks you’ll need to make that happen and we can help.

JQ: This is travel babes. We’re just two sisters trying to travel the world in style, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Each week we talk about important travel topics to help you decide when, where, and how to explore the world. I’m JQ from jqlouise.com

Juliana: And I’m Juliana from Travel Juliana. Now let’s get to it. So this is our second episode of 2021 and we’re continuing our Travel Mishap series. Our New Year’s resolution is to share all of our travel mistakes with our travel babies so you can avoid all the things that have gone wrong for us while traveling.

JQ: Over the years we’ve learned a lot about where to go, where to eat, what to see and what to do. But even more importantly, we’ve learned a lot about what not to do. Over the next month, we will be discussing major cities that you should definitely go to, but we’ll be focusing on all the mishaps you’ll definitely want to avoid. This week we’re headed to Rome. Keep listening for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

Tips for Visiting Rome – Getting to Rome

rome colosseum
Rome, Italy – Palantine Hill and the Colosseum

Juliana: OK, great. So let’s get started. So let’s start with getting there. So what’s the best airline to take if you’re going from Boston JQ?

JQ: So just like Paris and lots of other major cities, Rome actually has two major airports. So when you’re looking at flights, be sure to know which airport you’ll be flying into. Most flights from the northeast in the U.S. fly into there Fiumicino Airport, which is FCO, but they also have another airport called Ciampino, and that’s CIA as the airport code. So those that’s kind of the first thing to check out makes you know which airport you’ll be flying into.

Juliana: OK, great. So can you expect to take direct flights or are there usually layovers?

JQ: So from Boston on Alitalia, there is a direct flight to Rome and that flies into a few Fiumicino. And I know from New York they have the same thing. So there are definitely a lot of direct flight options. But when, you know, the last few times we’ve flown into Rome, we’ve actually flown through London or Dublin for a quick layover and then head over to Rome, because the great thing is Rome is one of those cities where you can get some great flight deals.

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

Getting into Rome from the Airport

spanish steps rome

Juliana: Yeah, definitely. OK, great. So once you’re at the airport, what’s either one, I guess, what’s the best way to go into the city from there?

JQ: So Fiumicino is a little bit further outside of the city than Ciampino. So Ciampino. So if you’re flying into there, which honestly most likely you’d be flying from somewhere else in Europe if you’re flying into that airport, I would just say take a taxi because it’s so cheap. It’s only like thirty euros, I believe, to go from the Ciampino airport into downtown Rome.

But from Fiumicino, there’s a few more options because it’s about a fifty or fifty five euro taxi into town. They also have there’s like a five dollar shuttle bus you can take. And if you want to take the train, it’s about ten euros. So there’s lots of different options, depending on how much you want to spend, how much luggage you have and how many people you’re with. So definitely just look at the options. It’s actually super easy. So that’s a nice thing. It’s it’s not confusing at all.

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

Where to Stay in Rome – Tips for Visiting Rome

rome colosseum visiting rome

Juliana: Yeah, exactly. And OK, great. So when you’re on your way into the city, what are what are some of your favorite areas to stay in?

JQ: So if it’s your first time to Rome, I definitely recommend staying in the center of the city near the Trevi Fountain and near you know, there’s kind of two areas. There’s either you’re in the actual center near the Trevi Fountain or you’re a little bit outside of the center towards Colosseum, which is they call it Colosseo.

So I’d say those are probably the two areas. If it’s your very first time visiting Rome and you plan on hitting all of the major historical sites, I’d recommend one of those, too.

Juliana: OK, so those are great places to stay if that’s your first time. But you’ve been in Rome a lot. I know. So where have you stayed otherwise?

JQ: So, I mean, the great thing about Rome is that it’s truly a walking city. So honestly, no matter where you stay in kind of that general center area of Rome, you’ll be able to walk to pretty much wherever you want to go. So each time we visited, we’ve really chosen where to stay based on the hotel that we wanted to stay at. So like, you know, we find a cool hotel that we were interested in and honestly, we just stayed there. But some of the other cool neighborhoods in Rome are Tastevere, which is on the other side of the river. It’s kind of a cool, funky, trendy neighborhood. And then there’s also some really nice neighborhoods near Vatican City. And then also just anywhere along the river. There’s been a lot you know, there’s a lot of interesting places to stay.

Juliana: And what are some of your favorite hotels?

JQ: So the great thing is, you know, again, Rome is a huge, major city that has a lot of tourists that visit each year. So there are plenty of amazing hotels like there are so many.

Juliana: Yeah, I know. When we went for your wedding, there was so many on the same street and we were when we were picking which hotel to stay at, you know, for your wedding. We had so many options, it was hard to choose

JQ: Exactly so I mean, there’s some of the amazing grand hotels like the Hotel Hassler where we got married. There’s the Hotel De Russie, which is one of the most classic hotels right near Piazza del Popolo. There’s the brand new Hotel de la Ville, which is also by Rocco Forte, just like Hotel de Russie. So those are our top three favorite hotels of all time. But there are lots of, you know, more affordable options and, you know, kind of funky or boutique hotel options as well. And also, Airbnb is huge in Rome. There’s lots of beautiful apartments that you can rent out from locals. So it really depends on what type of experience you’re looking for. So I’d really say the travel mishap, it would be to book kind of a generic, you know, big brand of a hotel.

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

Juliana: Yeah, you definitely want something more boutique. Even if it is expensive. You can get something. Really, Román.

JQ: Yeah, like I think you want something really authentically Roman and Italian. So on the luxury end, you know, the Hassler, the Hotel de Russie, the Hotel de la Ville, those are all great options. And then kind of on the more affordable side, I mean, definitely check out Airbnb, look for some of the local little boutique hotels. I would avoid all the big chains because also any big chain hotel is going to be more on the outskirts of the city. And like I said, you want to be right in the center where all the action is.

Juliana: Right. And another thing to mention is Rome. They don’t really have Uber there, right?

rome tips

JQ: Yeah. So that is one thing that don’t expect that you’ll be just hopping around an Uber everywhere. It’s kind of funny when it comes to taxes and Uber, you’ll it’s a lot easier to find a taxi and there are a few local taxi apps, but Uber does not have a good relationship with the city. So when you’re getting around, you need to do a little bit of research and usually just book a taxi in advance if you’re going like across the city. But again, I would just recommend walking because again, the weather is usually nice and the streets are so much, you know, they’re so interesting. Honestly, half the fun is just getting to your destination.

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

Juliana: I know, right? Just walking around, hearing everyone speak Italian and just, you know, all the action is so much fun.

JQ: I love just walking around Rome, but now let’s move on to restaurants. So Rome is another one of those foodie cities everyone dreams of visiting. You know, this is where you can get authentic Italian food. And in Rome particularly, you can get some of the classics like cacio e pepe, amatriciana, you know, the really flatbread pizza and just so many great things. So. So what are some of the mishaps people should avoid, Juliana?

Where to Eat in Rome – First Time in Rome

rome tiramisu

Juliana: So when you’re in a restaurant, they typically always give you, you know, like bread and olive oil to start even if you don’t order it. And, you know, as that might seem like really Italian to a lot of tourists, you actually don’t really want to eat it because typically it’s usually yesterday’s bread.

So it’s not very fresh and they always charge you for it if you touch, you know, one piece of it when you didn’t even order, order it. So that’s one thing to definitely keep in mind.

JQ: Yeah, you’re right. And so kind of the another name for that bread fee is also a coperto in some restaurants will either charge both a fee for the bread and this coperto or they’ll just charge you one kind of random fee that you might see on your receipt or you might see on the bill.

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

Juliana: And it’s just like a random it’s not like they’re trying to charge you, you know, like double the price of your meal. It’s just like these little hidden fees that I feel like happen all the time. You need to just watch out for.

JQ: Yeah. And they do this to Romanes to it just kind of like this weird thing that a lot of the restaurants do. And it depends on the restaurant also. But technically copertos are legal, like one of my professors on study abroad told us that she fights with restaurants about this all the time because they’re not supposed to charge like a table fee where it’s like two euros per person just for sitting down at the table. General advice is to never take the bread. So that’s one way to hopefully avoid it. And then also just, you know, look on the menu. Sometimes they say, oh, it’s on the menu coperto or just expect to pay this small fee and it’s usually per person

Juliana: And so are the restaurants, just like Paris you know, if it says tourist menu, you should probably avoid it, right?

JQ: Yeah. So just like a lot of major cities in Europe, there will be a lot of restaurants near kind of the major sites like in Rome, near the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps. You know, there’s, of course, a few restaurants that are trying to cater to tourists in in one way they are you know, they’re serving pretty basic food at what seems to be a reasonable price. But if you really do your research, you’ll know that you can find some truly amazing restaurants for probably even a cheaper price.

Juliana: I know if you’re paying more than you know, how much do you think? Like, how much do you think for, like, a really good bowl of pasta? Like, it should be pretty cheap.

JQ: It should be like ten euros or less. You’re paying 15 or 20 or 25 euros for like a basic cacio e pepe or carbonara pasta dish, you’re overpaying unless you’re, you know, a very luxury, you know, premium restaurant.

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

Juliana: That’s more like you’re paying for the fine dining, not just the food.

JQ: Exactly. And in Rome, honestly, most of the restaurants are nice and casual. You can sit outside. You know, the whole vibe of Rome is very casual. They love the whole cafe culture. So honestly, most of the fun is in these casual hole in the wall restaurant. So.

Juliana: Right. And I know, like in Paris, a lot of times you need cash. A lot of smaller restaurants sometimes prefer cash. They are you know, more places are getting card readers. So in Rome, you think that’s like pretty similar?

JQ: Yeah, I agree. I mean, it’s definitely helpful because, you know, you’re not even spending a lot of money at these places. So sometimes you can just be easier if you have euros just to pay, because then it also kind of helps you blend in. You don’t look like as much of a tourist with like an American credit card or something like that.

What to Do When Visiting Rome

rome pantheon
View of the Pantheon

Juliana: OK, now, so let’s talk about what you should actually do when you’re in Rome. So what are the sights you should definitely see JQ in Rome.

JQ: There’s so much to see. I mean, the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, you know, there, the Borhese Gardens. These are some of the big sites. But it really depends on what you’re interested in. So I think the biggest pitfall people fall into is trying to do too much, too fast in Rome.

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

Juliana: Yeah. And I mean, Rome is a smaller city, although, you know, we can definitely feel huge with all of the massive sites. So you can walk everywhere. But at the same time, you don’t want to do too much in one day. You should try and spread it out.

JQ: Exactly. Because like, for example, if you go to the Colosseum, you know, you have to get to the Colosseum. But then once you’re there in on a tour or doing a self guided tour, you’re going to be walking for probably two hours inside the Coliseum.

Juliana: Yeah, it’s huge. It’s huge.

JQ: So just plan on, you know, you don’t want to be exhausted while you’re seeing these sites. So I would say pick one major site to see per day.

Juliana: Yeah, that makes sense. So, yeah, like I said, I mean, you’re going to be walking those places.

So like any major city, you got to kind of keep in mind some just general safety tips like watching out for pickpockets, you know, just keeping be really, really aware of all of your surroundings and be more aware of, like, who you’re with.

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

JQ: Yeah. So Rome is one of those cities where there definitely is a pickpocketing presence. You know, it’s unfortunate to say, but some pickpockets can even be children. So when we were on study abroad, there was a girl in our class and she actually got picked, pocketed on the subway by a bunch of gypsy kids that all kind of crowded around her and grabbed her phone out of her pocket. So, again, like, just be aware of your surroundings. Don’t keep anything valuable in a loose pocket or have it hanging out of your pocket or have your purse closed all of the way. You know, Rome is very safe. I’ve always felt safe walking around no matter what time of day it is. But just be aware and definitely, you know, watch out for things like that.

Juliana: Yeah. And one other thing I remember I mean, when we were there for your wedding, you know, we were so busy. And so we were we were trying to take a lot of photos everywhere. And like around the Spanish steps, it’s a you know, it’s a gorgeous area. But one thing you do have to watch out for is these guys selling like roses or flowers, and they’re always there with, like, their little cart. And, you know, they seem completely harmless at first. But then they when you get close to them, they try and hand you a flower, like, right into your hand, like, actually put it in your hand and then they run. They’re going to want money from you after it. So you need to just ignore them. Don’t even make eye contact, don’t really engage. I think that’s the best way to go about it.

JQ: Yeah, I would definitely agree. I mean, there’s definitely little guys running around near any popular site in Rome either trying to sell these flowers or little trinkets and they literally try to put it into your hand. So honestly, just keep your hands closed or in your pocket when you walk by and just ignore them. Don’t give them any attention because that’s what they want. They want attention and they want you to take these things that look like they’re free, but they’re obviously not. So just be aware, you know, stay away from them. Don’t make eye contact.

Juliana: Yeah. And I mean, there’s, you know, people like that in any major city, especially near these really big tourist sites, like you go to the Eiffel Tower and there’s so many guys trying to sell little trinkets and Eiffel Towers to tourists. But if the best thing to do is just not really engage. Exactly.

JQ: So, you know, I think the mishap here is just, you know, don’t be frightened when you see this. Just be aware that this you’ll run into these types of people. And the other thing is, you know, like I said, Rome is a great city where there’s tons of outdoor dining. Sometimes when you’re sitting down, these guys will even come up to you when you’re seated at your table. So just be again, be aware they’re not giving you something for free. They’re trying to get you to pay them for their flower or they might even be trying to distract you while their friend tries to steal your purse or your phone or something when you look away for a second, so, you know, just be aware.

gelato pantheon visit rome
Rome, Italy – Gelato is just as tasty all year round!

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

Juliana: Yeah. And I mean, that’s just something you have to kind of comes with the traveling, like the act of traveling there you just have to know that that’s part of part of it. And maybe, you know, in Boston, like, we don’t really have that here. And especially with covid, it’s not been super touristy anyway. So you just have to be aware that that’s you know, that’s you’re going to run into it and just be aware of it.

JQ: And like Juliana said, like, I think once we all start traveling again after covid it, you know, these types of things will probably be a shock to us, even people like us who travel all the time because we haven’t been doing so the last year and a half. So, you know, when you are planning those post covid trips, just plan ahead, you know, bring bags that can close fully and just be aware of your surroundings and just be aware that these things might happen so you know what to do.

JQ: So is there anything else people should know about Rome and what they definitely shouldn’t miss? One of the huge things about Rome that I think some tourists miss out on because they’re too busy looking at all the historical sites is just a fun cafe culture. So each morning, kind of your normal Roman person, usually you’ll find them at their local cafe just grabbing an espresso and a Cornetto.

Juliana: So what’s a Cornetto?

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

JQ: So a Cornetto is basically the Roman equivalent of a croissant. It’s it kind of looks like a croissant. It’s a little denser and it kind of has a slight lemon zest and they’re delicious. So if you have a little coffee and, you know, maybe a cappuccino or an espresso and just with that, like, that’s what most Romans do every morning.

Juliana: Right. And you really want to experience that even if you’re a tourist, you just want to do what the locals do, like in any big city. I think that’s the best part of it, is just experiencing what the locals do.

JQ: The mishap here is don’t get caught up and just checking off a million things from your list of, oh, I have to see this. I have to see this. I have this.

Juliana: Yeah, definitely. I know every time I go to Paris, I know now to just do like one thing a day and just, you know, experience like how the locals do. And same next time I go back to Rome, same thing. Like you just want to get caught up in, like, all of the everyday touristy things.

Keep listening or reading for lots of tips for visiting Rome!

JQ: Exactly. So, you know, in Rome, definitely take some time to slow down, enjoy your coffee, enjoy a snack and just, you know, sit at one of the amazing cafes.

Juliana: Yeah. And that’s more of the Italian lifestyle to just, like, slow down and relax and enjoy things we hope.

rome views

JQ: We hoped you liked our discussion of what travel mishaps to avoid in Rome? We love Rome so much, but if it’s your first time going, hopefully you can learn from our mistakes. Catch us next week when we talk about our travel mishaps to avoid in London. Thanks, Juliana.

Juliana: Thanks, JQ!

We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the travel babies podcast and that you learned lots of useful tips for the next time you are able to visit Rome! We know we are looking forward to our next trip to Rome for sure once things finally open back up!

The post Podcast Episode 6: Tips for Visiting Rome (& What Not to Do) appeared first on J.Q. Louise.