When in Rome - roam.

Within the hacking circles there’s a saying that goes, “All good things take time – Rome wasn’t burnt in a day”.

And I don’t normally write about my travels but in this case I’ll make an exception. Because although I’m not quite sure how long Rome burned, it sure did leave a lasting impression on me.

Actually the main reason I write this is because, before leaving for the trip we checked out a whole load of websites on what to see and expect; but most of them kinda fell short on one aspect or another. If you’ve ever wandered to a site looking for info, you immediately find there’s usually more advertisements than useful data on them.

So for the benefit of all wannabe Rome-travelers I’d like to present, my take on the city in a completely unconventional way:

  1. Rome wasn’t built in a day: And there’s no way you can see it in one. If you’re not gonna be in the city for more than a day; the only thing you can do is head over to the Colosseum (which incidentally ranks among the most recognized landmarks in the world) for a few pix before getting out. Everything else needs more time. For instance, I've never really seen a view of the Colosseum this way:

  2. All monuments are so huge that you can’t really pose in front of one and still hope to get a good picture of both you and the monument. I’d suggest you take a camera that’s got some sort of panorama modes and take multiple pictures that you can later stitch up together.

    Your only other option is to take a really expensive pro-camera with a super wide-angle lens, which is more than what a lot of budget-travelers care to take. However, our experience showed that the panorama mode is quite sufficient for the everyday tourist, like this pic of the Fountain of Trevi below:

  3. Within the main stations and airport, all arrows pointing to anything, ANYWHERE, are ridiculous; and do more harm than good.
    For instance, a sign board with “Tickets => ” probably means there’s a ticket counter somewhere 2floors up and on the side, the first step of which starts in the direction indicated.
    We found this out the hard way while trying to locate a toilet based on an arrow that said “Restrooms =>” …and eventually found it in a narrow corridor 300m away in the 2nd level basement.

  4. The Vatican Museum is a waste of time. If you must see it, the best way is if you go there on the last Sunday of the month when the entrance fee of €14 is waived. Even so, we figured the only people who’d appreciate or even understand it are historians – specifically Christian historians for that matter.
    We, for the life of it, couldn’t tell the statues of the Popes from Popeye.

  5. ALL Asian-looking people, Indians and people from the sub-continent look suspicious. Don’t ask me why.
    Now I’m not a racist and don’t mean to say it like that, but seriously, every single non-white guy on the street we saw looked like they were gonna run away with your wallet any moment.
    If there’s any Asian, Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi living in Rome reading this – please, please, please write to me and explain what’s up with you guys. I really want to know.

  6. The view from the top of the main dome at St. Peter’s Basilica is simply breathtaking. But it comes at a price. In this case, in the form of 560steps snaking your way up through a narrow one-way-only corridor in the side of the interior of the dome, up to the 140m high observation platform!
    And even though there’s an elevator that takes you up half way, the rest of the 320steps can get claustrophobic. But its worth it.

  7. Everything you would've read about on tourist sites about Rome being a not-so-safe destination is true.
    Yes, we are sorry to state this, and I really hope the Italian Government takes note. Of all the countries I’ve seen, this was the only place where a member of our group was actually mugged. Luckily, the only thing he lost was a pack of cigarettes when the guy bumped into him on an escalator and grabbed his jacket for support. But the point is, it could have been anything. And we’re just glad it wasn’t his wallet or camera or worse; passport.

  8. Italian Pizza really is good. Very good. In fact, the best pizzas I’ve ever had. Pizza Hut and Domino's should be ashamed of themselves…and is probably the reason why we never saw any American pizza outlet branches in Rome.
    It figures, doesn’t it?

  9. Ditto for Italian ice cream. Nowhere else did I relish 3 exotic flavors on a single cone for just €2!

Anyway I really hope people don’t take it the wrong way; but this is just something that I felt I really HAD to share.



Anonymous said...

interesting.. :)

haze said...

i loved the part about the restrooms !!!
people in europe apparantly love treasure hunting and maps ... which is y the elaborate scheme to make u follow the signs correctly to the loo before u lose control !!! =P ....
u say that this place is breath taking ??? wait till u see barcelona and all !!!=D

Rayees Ahamed said...


I heard that many Italians are still as aggressive as they were during the age of Colosseum. No single government stays more than a year or two.

Man.. cigarette pack is ok, exactly as u pointed, some of my friends really lost their passport and were in a big trouble, roaming around the Embassy. After reading a news
here,! I feel that even loss of passport is ok..

Ela said...

Got to agree with everything except the part with the Vatican museum....i felt really awed at the amount of gold and other valuables these people have managed to gather from all over the world...talk about pirates!

-=A.R.N.=- said...

Well it was more than just 'interesting'. That was a really good trip:)

Yup...Barcelona is on the cards. Might go there during easter

Actually they really are. In every traffic jam we saw, the driver literally stood outta the window and yelled at the guys in front.
And boy, that article you sent was scary!

Really? Gold in the Vatican Museum? Must've missed that. Actually we got so bored in there that the only thing we were interested in looking for was the exit