Tips for Exploring Rome

Matthew Sill
October 10, 2019

Last weekend my roommates and I finally made it to Rome and enjoyed the incredible sights the city has to offer, but there are definitely some tips I wish I had before our trip. Although the trains in Italy and Europe are very accessible and convenient, they can be expensive if you are booking on short notice. So, in order to save money, my roommates and I took an overnight Flixbus from Milan to Rome which took 12 hours... So book in advance! The bus was long, but somewhat comfortable and very affordable.

On arrival Friday morning, we were surprisingly well rested from the drive and checked into our hostel to drop off our luggage. Hostels are a great way to stay in cities around Europe at low costs and you get to meet some very cool people from around the world. We also bought a 48-hour metro pass which is worth the price if you use the metro more than twice. Our first day in Rome was very efficient as well as breathtaking. We visited the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Victor Emmanuel II National Monument which are all surprisingly within walking distance of each other. I highly recommend visiting each of these sights. The line to get into the Colosseum can seem daunting, especially on busy days, but it moves very fast and admission is free! Same goes with the Roman Forum and the Pantheon. The sights are worth the wait! My absolute favorite thing in Rome was the Trevi Fountain. I've seen countless pictures and movies with the famous fountain but to see it in person left me speechless. I also highly recommend going to the fountain at night! There are much less people and it is almost more beautiful when illuminated by lights. 

Our second day in Rome is where we did not experience quite such efficient sightseeing... After taking the metro to Vatican City, we waited in line for 3 hours to see the Sistine Chapel. Not only was the line agonizingly long, but after entering Musei Vaticani, you have to navigate through the museums, which takes about 45 minutes of walking amongst a sea of people. The chapel was unbelievably beautiful and seeing Michelangelo’s paintings is something few people get the opportunity to do. However, the process we took to see the chapel, unfortunately, lessened our appreciation for the whole thing. To avoid our mistakes, I would recommend buying a skip-the-line ticket online to bypass the 3-hour wait. And to avoid the 45 minutes of shuffling through the museums, I was told later by my Italian language professor that there is a door on the opposite side of the museum to get into the chapel… I really wish I spoke with her before we left… Despite our mistakes, Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel are amazing and a definite must-see while in Rome. 

Overall, Rome was so far my favorite trip in Italy considering the historical sights and the amazing architecture. You have to mind the crowds of tourists and sore legs after lots of walking, but Rome is beautiful everywhere you turn. 

Here are some photos from our trip;

Matthew Sill

<p>I am a collegiate rugby player for Claremont McKenna College and I enjoy the outdoors and physical activities. I like to spend most of my free time playing sports or exploring the outdoors but aside of athletics I like to woodwork and craft objects like jewelry boxes, wooden puzzles and other small projects.</p>

2019 Fall
Home University:
Claremont McKenna College
Arroyo Grande, CA
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