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Rome Notebook: Postcard from Roma

The greatest thing about European travel in the age of the EU is that you can get dirt cheap flights for these short haul jaunts and although you have to go through security, you no longer have to go through customs all the time. Its more like flying from state to state or province to province than it is from country to country. The only downside is that you no longer get stamps in your passport but we managed to get three return flights on Veuling (Spain's budget airline) from Paris to Rome for $100 CD each so I will live without the stamp at those prices.

For once, I didn't research the hell out of Rome and apart from booking an apartment and making two dinner reservations, we just winged it. We landed, we got a taxi to our apartment, just a five minute walk from the Vatican, and started our adventure by the seat of our pants. Rome, as it turns out, is the perfect city to do this since, even if all you do is wander about for a couple of days, you are going to have an amazing time, eat delicious food and OD on beauty.

I had spent the day in Rome a number of times but so long ago that I barely remember anything other than weeping in St Peter's Basilica because the beauty was overwhelming and eating artichokes every chance I could so this was like discovering a new city all over again.

Getting Around

You can get around easily by foot, taxi or metro. Metro passes range from €7 for a 24 hour pass to €24 for a 7 day pass, with individual trips costing €1.50

There is an amazing service called Scooterino  - instead of a taxi, you get picked up on a scooter and whiz around Rome like a local!

Uber is more expensive than a taxi in Rome but they do have My Taxi which works the same way. You download the app and pay with the credit card you used to sign up

Honestly though? Just walk everywhere as much as you can. It's safe, it's gorgeous and it's almost more gorgeous at night so walk as much as you can.

Check out my list of our favourite places to eat here!

Somehow, we ended up in the very front row and suddenly, there was a roar in the crowd as we realized that the Pope had turned a corner in his Pope Mobile and was heading straight for us. He passed by us, close enough for us to touch him, and I shocked myself by bursting into tears - you can take the girl out of the church but you can't take the Catholic out of the girl, I suppose.

Our first morning started out with an unexpected encounter with Pope Francis. The Kid and I were sleeping in while Shack left to explore the neighbourhood in the early hours, as he often does. We awoke to frantic texting ordering us to get up and get down to the Vatican as the Pope was "going on at 10"! It seems that we had arrived at the beginning of Lent and the Pope was going to preside over a gathering in the square.

Skip the Line Tour of the Vatican Museum/St Peter's Basilica 

We opted for the Skip the Line Tour with an upgrade to the small group for about $78 CAD . I am not sure that the small group upgrade is worth it though since everyone wears a portable headset so that you can hear your guide talking to you the entire time, even when you get separated due to the huge crowds.

Keep in mind that unless you spend much more money to do a tour after hours in the evening, you are still going to contend with a sea of people so if you can't stand crowds or are claustrophobic,  a general, daytime tour might not work for you.

We chose to skip going into the Colosseum because we have seen our fair share of Roman colosseums, the line ups are hours long and we did not want to spend another $100++ to do a skip the line tour for this one. To be perfectly honest, we spent an hour or so walking around the outside of it and wandering the grounds, looking at the surrounding sites through the fence and taking photos of everything.  What you choose to budget your money for is up to you. You might want to skip the Vatican Museum and spend your tour dollars on getting inside here or blow the wad and pay for Skip The Line Tours for both!

 Castel Sant'Angelo

We walked by this structure every day that we were there and so when we finally decided to see how long the line was to get in, we were pleasantly surprised to see that there was NO line up at all. We were also happy to see that kids under 18 paid only €5.50 compared to the €15.50 for adults although, as always, our 6'1" kid with five o'clock shadow had to show photo ID and the guy was still giving us the side eye.

Castelo San Angelo

Just wander: It's free and you can't really go wrong in a city like Rome

Rome at Night

Just one of thousands of beautiful doorways that make up the faded beauty of Rome

from sun up to sun down, there are always crowds at the Trevi Fountain

Eat Gelato. Every day. Life is short.

Skip the Line Tours Rome

Castel Sant'Angelo

the Bone Church/Capuchin Crypt

Get a Metro Pass

My Taxi


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