Ok, before you judge.. No, I did not plan to be there for such a short time.. As it was, Rome happened to be in transit, getting from Italy to Spain.
On a foggy Umbrian morning, I bid a super early morning goodbye to my lovely friends, Juls
as they went back home to Tuscany, Belgium and Holland; Nando
graciously made breakfast for all us departees; and, was bid safe travels by Rolando (our Umbrian host of Casale degli Ulivi - story for another post, who reiterated, I would not have as good a time in Spain.. LOL) and Karin
at Perugia train station..
(I know, I am rambling, I am barely up yet. My artistic excuse is that I am trying to recreate the brain fogginess of that morning.... So bear with me... If not, just look at the photos..
After a minor on-board tribulation with a female
Italian train conductor, an unwarranted euro 30 fine, I landed in Roma Termini, a bit worse for the wear and couple of hours to spare to be awe-inspired by this capital of Christianity...Which, meant, I steered clear away from churches and went for the rest of the history! ;-)
So, here is my list of 5 best things you can do, when in Rome on a short time leash -
1. First things first: Get a map
If you like the paper kind, get one that has reasonable street detail. If your smart phone works, you are set. I was lucky to have one handed to me, when standing in line for luggage storage at the Termini. I was kindly passed down a much dog-eared map of the city, by two German college girls, who, had just spent a week in the city (yes, the irony is NOT lost on me..) and some excellent suggestions on what's best to see...
2. Walk, walk, walk
Don't take the metro, or the bus tour. Get out of the transit station and walk around, even if aimlessly. This is true of any city but when you have little time, it is the best way to chance upon little alleys, major sights and in general (like the Santa Maria Maggiore here), the local life.
3. Head to the Colosseo
You may be recommended Piazza de Spagna
, as the place to see, the bustling heart of the city center. I think, it's far better use of time to see the Colosseo
. As was told to me, there is a Piazza in every city, but there is indeed a Colosseo only in Rome! And, I cannot concur more. The structure is truly awe inspiring. I did not have time to do an interior tour but walking around the massive structure and surrounding buildings was sufficiently breathtaking. To have built such a massive structure at that time is indeed impressive!
4. Get a coffee on the side streets
And chat up with whoever is sitting by you, tourist or local. They are great resources of non-touristy food joints! Around the streets of the Colosseum, away from the tourist trap, are some very nice, outdoor cafes to get a cuppa and catch a quick conversation
5. Have a long lunch of Roman pizza
You probably have been walking around for a bit, at this point. Sit down, give your feet a rest, get a glass of wine! One of the tourists in a cafe recommended a nice pizzeria in the network of streets behind the Colosseo (whose name, I just cannot recall now) that was just perfect my leisurely sojourn with the infamous Roman pizza; thin crusted, delicate and melts in your mouth.. Ooh!!!!
Do not leave Rome without tasting this awesome creation... You cannot but leave happy after that meal. And, the good news is, it overrides the disappointment of not having more time in the city for long enough to get you to the next destination and the thrill of a new adventure to kick in ;)