If we have to use one word to describe Rome, the word we choose will be MANY.
Let’s start with stating the obvious to say that Rome has MANY beautiful buildings and MANY archaeological places. It is an old city with a rich history and that is clearly reflected in the streets. In preparation for a trip to Rome you can take in all the necessary information and look at pictures from booklets and from the internet, but only when you are really there, it starts to sink in what it means. The number of important locations, buildings or what is left of it, is very impressive. People, especially those who are interested in antiquity, art, architecture and religion, will come across one surprise after another when they visit Rome for the first time in their lives. You will find something to your liking on every street in the city center.
The famous buildings that everyone knows from pictures are the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Trevi fountain and the Vatican.
In Rome you will find MANY churches and other faith related places. The city has more than 1,000 churches. The churches that we have seen are all impressive. They are richly and diversely decorated and often have a history that goes far back in time.
All that beauty naturally attracts MANY tourists. Every visitor will of course go to the famous locations, visit the impressive buildings, the unique squares and the narrow streets of the city center. Outside that circle it is a lot quieter with visitors and there is also plenty to see there.
Very MANY cars, scooters and other traffic run through the streets of the center at a brisk pace. Some streets are so narrow that just a small car can get through. On the other hand, there are also roads that are spacious and the number of lanes cannot be counted, because all cars (Romans like to drive in small-sized cars, such as Smart, Fiat 500, Mini etc.) buses and scooters criss-cross each other. Nice to see, but it does not always make crossing easy. Pedestrian crossings are sown thinner than we are used to. The first few days you have to get used to it, but then you learn to deal with it. As a pedestrian you actually have to show guts and just start your crossing. It is surprising that the crowd usually stops nicely, and then continues its journey as quickly as possible. So don’t falter at your walking pace, because otherwise you have a chance that your backpack might stick to a piece of metal.
MANY high, often narrow, uncomfortable sidewalks, you will find and also holes in the road because of missing pavers is the most normal thing in the world. We even found a gap that was filled with some kind of book. There were 4 cobble stones missing in the middle of the road. You will appreciate a pair of comfortable shoes in this city. For the sake of convenience, we characterize the street carpet as Roman. We have walked a part of the Via Appia Antica, the more than 2,000 year old road between Rome and Brindisi. The kilometers we have traveled for the most part consisted of huge pieces of stone that obviously did not fit neatly and smoothly together. You will only have had to travel by horse and cart!
At the tourist attractions you will find annoyingly MANY pushy sellers. You have not yet shaken off one or others are jumping at your feet. With skip-the-line tickets, selfie sticks, bottled water and other merchandise, they try to lure you at busy points.
In the tourist booklets you will be warned about MANY pickpockets. So don’t get distracted! Our caution led us to devote too much attention to the survival of this jungle. Unfortunately, this does not do justice to the true experience of the impressive and interesting locations.
As a tourist, you pay MANY euros in tourist tax. If you sleep in a hotel, you lose 4 euros per person per night.
Rome has MANY bus lines and in combination with metro and tram and even local trains we could easily and cheaply reach everything we wanted to see. At the normal bus stops, however, you will not find a map with the route of the bus lines on it, which makes it more difficult to determine which line to take.
What we found really unfortunate is that we encountered MANY examples of litter in the streets, especially during our walks along the less touristy paths. Especially when we walked from Trastevere up the hill with great views to the Vatican. You also regularly come across container collection points that occupy parking spaces and garbage bags instead of trash bins that fall prey to birds, with all its consequences.
Looking back on a great journey, we close this blog with the saying that there are many roads leading to Rome and that one day you should definitely take one of those roads, because Rome is a special city that you must see!