I went to Rome for a few days this summer and while it might be an unpopular opinion, I doubt I’ll be returning to the city and here’s why:
So a few days before we arrived our Airbnb cancelled on us, we’d booked a lovely looking apartment in the city centre right near where our friends were going to be staying at the same time. So we had a short while to look for somewhere else to stay but because we were due to stay in a few days there were only a few options left. We ended up finding another Airbnb that was quite far out of the city centre in a place called San Lorenzo. It was a 20 minute walk to the metro and then another 15 minutes on the train.
The first train we got on we witnessed someone being mugged, so the trip wasn’t off to a great start, plus it was about 35 degrees celsius outside so actually being on the cooler metro was a relief. We’d already been to Venice the week before where it was really expensive so we were hoping to spend a little less in Rome but as soon as we started looking for somewhere to eat we realised that wouldn’t be the case. Obviously it was to be expected that the capital city would be expensive, I was probably just underprepared for how expensive Italy as a country would be.
There is however no denying how beautiful the city is and if anything the sheer beauty of the architecture made up for the fact that we’d had a not so good start to the trip. The Trevi Fountain was stunning, I was slightly disappointed at the amount of tourists around as it was extremely hard to get a picture without at least one other head in it. We visited in the day and as it was so crowded we thought we would go back in the late evening when it would hopefully be quieter. We were wrong. It was equally as packed and chaotic. However we did see someone propose to his girlfriend in the middle of the crowd, we only realised when everyone started cheering for the couple. It was lovely to see.
We spent a lot of time in the Pantheon area, we ate at an authentic Italian restaurant called La Sacrestia, it’s down a side street about a minutes walk from the Pantheon itself. The Church of St. Ignatius (see image below) is also definitely worth a visit for a glimpse of the wonderfully painted ceilings, very similar to that of the Sistine Chapel. We spent nearly a full day with our friends sat in one of the restaurants (whichever one had the most fans) overlooking the Pantheon and drinking too much wine, that was probably my favourite thing we did in Rome.
One of the most irritating things about Rome was the sheer amount of tourists. One day we went to The Vatican with the hopes of seeing the Sistine Chapel but the queues to get in made it seem like it would be days before we got to the front, not to mention it was unbearably hot and the people in the queues were standing in direct sunlight. I really didn’t fancy putting myself through all that so unfortunately we didn’t go in. I had seen that there was supposedly a Botanical Garden near to the Vatican so I suggested we go there instead but when we arrived we were told we couldn’t go in for some reason. So we retired and sat in a cafe for the rest of the day eating overpriced chips.
I’ve already emphasised how hot the weather was while we were there, however, strangely there was an awful thunderstorm every single day around 4pm, the rain was torrential for about an hour. It was a weird thing to witness, it seemed as soon as the clock struck 4 every day, the rain would just start to pour!
I was slightly disappointed with the Colosseum, there was work being done on most of it, the amount of street sellers also put me off slightly (I hate being harassed by people selling pure tat) and as I’m sure you can imagine it was packed. We didn’t do a tour of the Colosseum because our friends had advised us that it’s not worth the money, of which we had very little left.
Overall, you cannot deny that Rome is a beautiful city, full of culture and history and it is without a doubt a place worth visiting (just maybe not in summer). However I can’t help but feel like once you have seen the tourist attractions the city doesn’t offer much else. The extortionate prices, the crowds of tourists and the queues at every attraction were enough to make me appreciate the city but also enough to make me not want or feel the need to visit again.