Some insider travel tips I wish I knew before I arrived in Rome
1) Take comfortable shoes – I wear high heels 90% of the time, but this is one city where you cannot get away with it. The streets are all cobbled and you will walk at least 5 kilometres every day. It’s torture on the feet and tennis shoes as they call them in this part of the world are not only acceptable but expected.
2) Pay for a good hotel– Your hotel’s location is critical and this is a city where you get physically tired due to so much walking and que-ing up. The Hotel De Russie for example has a stunning garden where you can spend an hour or two relaxing each day – you will need it.
3) Read some history before you go – Rome is bursting with history, relics and museums. It’s a tragedy to go there without doing some research otherwise you won’t appreciate the incredible history you’re privy to.
4) Dress up for dinner – The dress code is relaxed but Italians take great pride in their food, service and fashion. It’s respectful to dress for dinner.
5) Check the prices & your bill – In 4 days, I was overcharged twice & blatantly ripped off once (when a restaurant gave me a menu with no prices). Most people are honest & care about tourists but not all. Take Care.
6) Pay for a driver to take you to the main attractions on day one. Rome has so many incredible monuments including The Collaseum, Vatican, Spanish Stepsjust to mention a few and the best way to see them is to be driven there with pre-paid tickets to avoid ques & to have your car wait until you’re finished.
7) Hire a Bike – This is a big city with lots to see, and a bike will save your feet, just take it slowly and take care.
8) The food is great – even at the cheap spots, especially pasta and pizza, so you don’t have to spend a fortune for a great meal.
9) Do your restaurant research online before you go but let the concierge decide which hot spots you should go to – This is a city where trends change fast and if you are at a good hotel, the concierge will know exactly where to send you. They know better than you.
10) Everyone smokes: The anti-smoking message hasn’t yet hit Italy, and it is a shock to the system when you are not used to it. People smoke in outdoor restaurants, and on the street and have little consideration for others, even if you are eating. It’s not personal, it is cultural, when in Rome….