A few helpful hints for visitors to Roma, the Eternal City.

Some general points.

  • The spring and autumn seasons are usually warm in Roma so wear light materials (cotton) but bear in mind that you must be covered to enter St Peters and the Vatican City, as well as most churches. Light showers are possible. Summer is hot and sometimes very hot.
  • Roma has a large population of gypsies and petty criminals and pickpockets. Be aware that tourists are the easiest targets so be careful and never carry loads of cash. Avoid large handbags and wear bags on your front (where you can see them) and not on your back.
  • If a child or group of children gather round you with newspapers or maps then SHOUT AND MOVE AWAY. They are very talented and fast, while they push against you asking for money they move unseen under cover of the newspapers and very quickly take your bags/money or whatever.
  • Always ask the hotel to help you with bookings, taxis, map of the city etc. One excellent taxi service I use is 06 5551, the biggest is 06 3570. Taxis to and from the airport can be prebooked and the rate is fixed, ask your hotel reception for details.
  • Bars have several prices for a coffee: the lowest price is standing at the bar, you pay more if you sit at a table and more again if you sit at an outside table. Prices should be clearly shown.

Shopping.

  • Window shopping: Via Condotti and all of the area around the Spanish Steps where you will find Gucci, Armani, Valentino, Fendi and all of the expensive brands.
  • Buying: Clothes, bags, leather goods etc in Via del Corso, Via Nazionale and Via del Tritone (Benetton, Rinascente).

Sights to see.

  • Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, St Peters Church and the Vatican City (a wonderful view of Roma can be had from the top of St Peters church but the lift only takes you halfway up so you must be fairly fit), Colosseum and Roman Forum, Circo Massimo, Campidoglio, Pantheon and sooooo many more.

A few places to eat (note that you generally eat well in most of Roma and indeed Italy, these are just a few places I know). Eating times are a little later than the UK but not as late as Spain so typically lunch between 13-00 and 15.00, dinner from 20.00 onwards.

  • Excellent pasta, pizza and meat at a very fair price: Disco Volante, Via Alessandria 50, Porta Pia area tel 06 44249849. Ask for Mimmo or Ignazio as they both speak excellent English. They have good reviews on Trip Advisor and plenty of seating inside, plus in the summer 20ish places outside.
  • Excellent pasta and meat dishes in the centre very close to the Roman Forum, Trattoria Romana, Via Madonna di Monti next to Via Cavour, tel 06 4745325. Small family run business with only a few tables so book and get there early and you will need a guide book or some basic Italian. Meat is the speciality and is wonderful.
  • Fairly posh place in centre but not too expensive, Roof Garden on the top floor at Hotel Bernini Bristol tel 06 488931 see http://www.berninibristol.com then Roma.
  • Best place to eat in Roma is La Pergola at the Hotel Cavalieri Hilton roof garden, the chef is Hans Beck and must be booked well in advance, needless to say very expensive but worth the experience. See Hilton web site.

Hope this helps!!

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