Rome behind the closed doors of Italy






Rome is a beautiful city and as you would expect full of tourists and all that.  Pick pockets, extortionate pricing, crazy traffic, no one drives like the Italians.

RomeI am extremely lucky to have an Italian friend living there so this trip we did Rome Italy like the Romans.

Avoiding the tourists in Rome

We ate in restaurants with no name over the doors but yet were located in the middle of the chaos and the tourist spots, we went to beautiful fountains and no we didn’t do the Trevi fountain, why? toooooooo many tourists!  During dinner I did not hear a single word of English spoken and the bill was cheaper than I pay in Ireland for one yet it was for 3 people.   We Saw all the sights. Including the coolest Italian piazza’s, great coffee spots and the best Gelato places.  romeromeWhat I love about mainland Europe is that people live in the city centers. Over restaurants and cafe’s and the cities have life.  Kids run and play in the streets or you see them going and coming from school or if your out walking you can be struck by the screams of children playing and when you stop in your tracks you realize that its a school.


Sandra and Sandro

Rome, do they speak English?

Another thing to note is that relative to other European countries, the level of English knowledge in Italy is very low.  So unlike northern European countries where so many people speak at least a bit of English. In Italy these people will tend to be fewer and further in between. It may be less evident in the expat community or in popular tourist areas but it is common.  Learning a few phrases does come in handy.  This trip however we did not have this issue my friend has about 5 languages and his friends spoke excellent English also. In general people from mainland Europe put us to shame most have at least 3 languages.Rome

This is my 5th trip to Italy in 2 years. Its June 26th and its hotter than hell. The traffic is terrible and parking is difficult but not impossible.  We do find a place and walk everywhere for the day.

Transport in Rome

The public transport here is excellent and good value. There is a metro and a bus service and endless amounts of taxis.  I love trains in Italy, its a bit confusing that there are so many different companies involved? The reason I cant figure that out at all????


sheer beauty, streets of Roma

Rome – cost of living

Despite Italy’s economy being so bad at the moment and unemployment being very high. Things are very affordable and they are functioning unlike other European cities where marches or strikes are becoming the norm now.

Avoiding Tourist Traps in Rome

The one place I avoided as I found it the most over rated and disappointing place the last time I came was the Vatican.  My son’s friends dad works there and even that wasn’t enough to entice me to do go.  The queue, the tourists, the price? Oh dear God a visit to the dentist would be more enjoyable.

Rome The Colosseum

on the other hand did not disappoint. It’s sheer size and grandeur still impresses almost 2,000 years later. When it was inaugurated in 80 A.D., the Colosseum could hold up to 70,000 spectators. They came to the arena to watch gladiatorial contests and daring animal hunts.

The Pantheon is one of Romes oldest intact buildings and one of the best preserved ancient buildings in the world. This is also the burial place of the artist Raphael and Italy’s two kings, Vittorio Emanuele II and Rome RomeUmberto I.  The Pantheon sits on Piazza della Rotonda, very close to some beautiful churches, rare shops, and some excellent cafés.

Also a short walk behind the Pantheon is Piazza della Minerva, where you’ll find the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Rome’s only Gothic style church. RomeConnected to Piazza della Minerva is Via dei Cestari, which has served as the main shopping street for religious vestments for centuries.  If your in the market for robes, jewelry, books, and other religious objects this is the only place to be and is an experience particularly unique to Rome. The area near the Pantheon is also known for its coffee shops.   I love coffee and cafes so I pretty much in heaven in Italy.


My favourite church in Rome

RomeFor a first time visit to Rome I’m sure you want to visit the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.  Both will be thronged with tourists but its still beautiful.  Many people gather on the Spanish steps to watch the sunset.  



Rome has many famous churches and Piazzas but really the smaller ones found on backstreets are they most beautiful.  They are also busy but it seems with Italians and I think they know the secrets of their beautiful city with such a cool vibe and a history that not many countries can top.  The Romans were so advanced and the gifts they gave to the world truly amazing.  Its a great city. It can be hugely expensive or fantastic value for money depending on your budget.

Rome free walking tours

We had a local guide who was free and I highly recommend taking a tour from a local. There a many tours available and a few free tours also. Here is one to get you started.

Favourite Rome Restaurants

Vintage Bistrot. Whether you’re craving a nice glass of wine in lovely ambiance or you’re just hungry. This is a fantastic option. Their aperitifs are wonderful. First they ask your tastes and then serve you great little dishes filled with a variety of traditional aperitif options. Freshly made based on what you have specified. They cater for food allergies so just mention it to them.

Enote Cacorsi. This is one of  This is one of the few non-touristy places to eat in the heart of the city. It’s a traditional osteria with just a few seats and a few dishes to enjoy with a glass of great wine.  It’s a typical Roman osteria. They serve traditional Roman dishes and specialise in wine with a selection of around 100 labels. The atmosphere is familiar and the design is rustic. Come here for a taste of everyday Roman life! According to tradition you must try the “tonnarelli all’amatriciana”. Note that this restaurant is only open for lunch. They also have accommodation and a cookery school.

Tucked into the less ‘touristy’ part of Trastevere, I Vascellari is the perfect place to grab lunch while you’re exploring the tiny piazzas that bloom at the end of the winding cobblestone streets in this neighborhood. This neighborhood feels quintessentially Roman, so it seems fitting to eat some local dishes while you’re here! Vascellari is simple and hearty, both in terms of its cuisine and its ambiance. If you’re looking for really good traditional Roman fare at a reasonable price, swing by for lunch or dinner, and dig into a typical Roman pasta dish. Tip: don’t miss the after-meal espresso, as the coffee here is reliably good! Special tip I’m a huge fan of the carbonara, which is a difficult dish to get just right – Vascellari does!

Cul de Sac – Piazza di Pasquino, 73 (Via di Pasquino), 00186 Roma Lazio

Renowned pate, an incredibly large wine menu, exquisite traditional Roman cuisine, cheese and meat platters, and perfectly proportioned desserts. You can eat great food at a cheap price (the most expensive traditional main is €10.50), but if you have money to spend there are some fancier options. A 16th century Charlie Hebdo, ‘pasquinate’ translates in Italian as lampoons, and the worn statue called ‘pasquino’ in the corner of this piazza was the first of ‘the talking statues of Rome’, where citizens would anonymously stick leaflets criticizing or poking fun at the government of the day. Tip : Found at the end of the Piazza Navona which is close to the Corso Vittorio Emannuele.

Rome where to stay: Trastevere area.


Rome and Using hair appliances

I’ve been asked by an American about hair dryers, voltage and wattage. Just yesterday about where to buy a hair straightener or a GHD as they are called also.  Be warned that if you don’t use the correct voltage and converter with the electrical item you will damage your product and your converter and probably trip the electric supply to the entire hotel. Ive seen this and the guests were evicted. More importantly you could fry your hair.  If you need to buy hair appliances go to Via della Lungara located down the street from John Cabot University, in the downtown Trastevere area) at a place called Di Salvo S.r.l.  Here is the address: Via della Lungara, 33  00165 Rome, Italy.  Telephone: +39 06 687 5022

It was a great trip I loved it, would I go back? I don’t have any reason to return to Rome as its off my list now it wasn’t one of those cities that I would race back to in a heart beat.  Like Naples for example which is my favourite Italian city.

Would I live in Italy? yes absolutely. In Rome? no.

Related Posts:

About Sandra

Just a girl from Ireland who wants to live everywhere. Not a planner, a winger when it comes to travel. I don't even like people who plan too much. Without spontaneity there is no depth. A jack of all trades. A great friend, loyal and passionate and I expect the same in return. Always ready for the next adventure at a moments notice.
This entry was posted in Europe, Italy, Rome and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
Loading Facebook Comments ...

You must fill in your Livefyre SiteID in the Comments Evolved plugin options.

Loading Disqus Comments ...

One Response to Rome behind the closed doors of Italy

  1. Pingback: Naples - most under rated city in Italy - Irish Nomad

  1. […] Ventrella Alessandrao who I have only seen twice in 25 years.  He is from Naples but living in Rome. The day I was on the train he happened to be visiting his mother in Naples and suggested I get out […]