This February (2014) I took my mum to Rome for 6 nights while my dad and brother went hiking in Germany. I learnt so much and visited a good number of places that I felt my experience may be helpful to others so here is a blog-advice-guide. I’ll cover the most popular sites in Rome, as well as taking the Italian railway to Pompeii and the metro system within the Rome vicinity.
The Vatican, bus tour and shopping
My views on the Vatican may show here but it was the most expensive site to enter and the most expensive audio guide. €16 full price entry (reduced price only for students between 18-25. You need to show an international student card to have this discount) and €7 for an audio guide. We didn’t get the guide; I resented the fact they charged so much already. We didn’t stay long and pretty much just went straight for the Sistine Chapel (which I wasn’t that impressed by) and the left. We were lucky with queues- the Pope was doing a blessing in the square at the time we passed there and walked round the side to get in. Once we came out the crowd seemed to be flocking to the Vatican museums entrance, so we managed to avoid all that. We couldn’t go into St Peters Basilica because of the Pope’s presence either.
Because this didn’t take too long (although if you wanted to see the museums properly it would take hours) we took an open top bus tour which left from the bottom of Via Del Conciliazone. There are a number of tour operators but we went with these guys:
Because I know they operate in a huge number of cities and I trust the brand having used them elsewhere. There a couple of price options: €15 for a half day between 1pm-5pm or €25 for 24 hours. We didn’t need to hop off/on so just got the €15 ticket. The whole route takes about an hour (traffic depending) and does have a detour on certain days which I wish I’d known beforehand as I think I’d’ve loved to have gone that way.
A spot of shopping next! The best shopping streets are Via del Corso and Via Cavour and have clothes, jewellery, shoes, tourist shops etc. and most Italian shops specialise in what they sell. For more top line shops, head towards the Spanish Steps (Campo Marzio area).