My dearly beloved and I took the train to Rome from Venice on a beautiful clear day in the spring. The journey takes about 3 ½ hours of rolling along through the Italian countryside, reading a book, drinking coffee, having a nice cold beer and some tasty snacks, stress free travelling, you just can’t beat it.
When the train pulled in to Roma Termini Station it was a short cab ride to our hotel at the top of the Spanish Steps. I was going to review the hotel but it has since closed down as their lease had expired, probably just as well as they seemed to be letting it go downhill a bit, it certainly wasn’t the same as when I’d stayed there 10 years ago, but no matter, it was perfectly adequate for our simple needs…
If you’ve never been to Rome then you should prepare yourself for a lot of tourists, I wouldn’t dream of going in the summer as it can be very hot and the teeming hordes will make everything difficult and it’s an annoying distraction from one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the world., go off-season and it will be much more enjoyable, still busy, but manageable.
You should also be prepared to put on a bit of weight. The food and wine in this part of the world is arguably the best there is, and it’s usually pretty reasonable. There are what must be hundreds of very good family-run restaurants all over the city. I like to wander off the beaten path a bit and find somewhere that doesn’t really cater to tourists, some little place full of locals. I’ve had some truly wonderful meals in restaurants like this and you get a clearer picture of a city if you eat and drink with the people that live there. Rome is known for a great deal of different dishes, like Spaghetti Carbonara or Veal Saltimbocca, fried artichokes with mint, Burrata and fresh mozzarella, absolutely divine. There is so much great food here it’s hard to know where to start, but to be honest, start with a coffee in a street café and take it from there. Don’t be asking for a skinny latte either, generally they drink cappuccino in the morning, and expresso all the time. All over Italy they have the best coffee I’ve ever had, as well as wine, food, architecture, art, olive oil, cinema, cars and of course Sophia Loren.
When in Rome, as they say, you’ll find yourself walking a lot. Taxis are all well and good but the traffic in Rome is so bad most of the time and the majority of the sights you’ll want to see are never that far away, so make sure you bring your favorite ‘stout walking shoes’ with you. Lots of cobblestone streets and alleyways, you’ll find yourself wandering for miles getting completely lost in the history of the Eternal City, there really is no place like it. Get yourself a nice gelato and stroll around the city, taking in the sights. The sights are everywhere, it’s unbelievable.