After the top DONT’s that I wrote about in this previous post here are some absolutely must DOS and hidden places that I read about and I personally checked. I do not want to mention the classic attractions and things to do that you find on major tourist websites. Do them also, keeping in mind not to follow them blindly and to add some local flavor and local experiences to make your stay unforgettable.
- do book your accommodation through http://www.booking.com as you can get a discount code for many attractions. I enjoyed it in transport from airport with SIT and some attractions as the Vatican Museum. If also a wizz discount club member you get an additional 10% in wizz credits.
- do take public transport from any airport or don’t be ashamed to ask other arriving tourists at the airport or departing from Termini station to share a cab. I have done it and never been rejected.
- do choose accommodation in Trastevere to sense a special local flavour. Other neighborhoods are great, like Pigneto area and Coronaro street, but please avoid Termini station area.
- while in Trastevere you are close to the best pizza in Rome at La Boccaccia www.pizzerialaboccaccia.it, Via di Santa Dorotea, 2, 00153 Roma RM, Italia. Pay close attention as you might miss it.
- also you are 500 meters from the best view in Rome and maybe one of the most beautiful public fountains in Rome, Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, Via Garibaldi, 00153 Roma RM, Italia. I personally like it more than Trevi as it is an unknown and less touristic spot. Makes you feel so special without the crowds of Trevi and the calm of the surroundings. You might recognize it from the movie Beauty.
- do prepare your trip keeping in mind that you need maybe one month in Rome to have a better sense or at least 4 city breaks.
- do visit churches even if not catholic, the four papal basilicas but also some hidden gems, for the work of arts displayed there; no need for a museum at your first trip. Rome is a living open air museum. Absolutely check for the Bormioni’s Chiesa di San Carlino alle Quattro Fontane, for Bernini’s Sant’Andrea al Quirinale on the same street with his rival masterpiece, and for Bernini’s two angels displayed at Basilica di Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, santandreadellefratte.it
- if in need for museums do visit MAXXI at least for the architectural masterpiece or Zaha Haddid, Centrale Montemartini where ancient classical art meets machines, Caius pyramid, National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. I recommend contemporary art museums as the others are all over Rome in every street and piazza.
- do visit parks and neighborhoods by foot, Appia Antica regional park, villa Doria Pamphili, Janiculum terrace, Quartiere Coppedè, monumental cemetery,
- it’s a MUST to eat at Pastificio, pastas for 4 euros with a glass of wine or water, near the spanish steps, on Via della Croce, 2. Have a traditional ice cream at Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè, http://www.ilgelatodiclaudiotorce.com , try the celery flavored. Have specific pastries at Zia Rosetta at Monti neighborhood and then a cannolli at Giuliani Caffe near Termini.
- do go to Farmer’s Market on Saturday and Sunday. This is real Rome.Via Francesco Passino, 00154 Roma RM, Italia.
- do shop for souvenirs as they are cheap or try something different from Flying Tiger, Via Cesare Battisti, 130, 00187 Roma RM, Italia, flyingtiger.com.
I shall definitely come back with another list of DOs and DONT’s as I already plan my next Rome city break.
I usually try to taste the local feel of any city I visit and to build my own experiences so I do recommend to get off the beaten touristic path and go wander the unknown streets, neighborhoods, parks, museums or churches. Do take a free tour by locals, eat in local tratorias where Romans eat, or in local Italian fast foods. Look for concerts or events during your stay. Hunt for famous work of arts or artists. If enough time try to take some classes about food, cooking, photography, language. Meet the locals in the markets and using the public transport. Use house sharing for a unique experience.