1. Dirt and Stink: When we got off the shuttle bus at Termini station I did not believe this is a capital city. Loads of homeless people on the streets, all kinds of trash everywhere (including a huge amount of condoms) and to top it all it stinks as a shithole. I must admit that these features characterise mainly the east part of the city, but do not be surprised when you wandering around the Colosseum and you realise Rome is not as spotless as on screen (movie recommendation: To Rome with Love – Woody Allen).
  2. They want to sell anything: You cannot just walk around without interference…No! They just cannot leave you alone with your thoughts. What did you think? On the streets, waiting in lines, basically anywhere. At first they are friendly. They ask how are you, where are you from, what is your plan and then why don’t you buy a selfie stick or a bracelet or a platter. Obviously you’re not going to buy these – often pointless – products so you say: No, thanks! But the story’s not going to end there. They’ll follow you with more catchy titles. To be honest it is like mafia. Everyone has the same kinds of products and spiel. At first it can be entertaining but after three or four in a roll it is pretty irritating.
  3. It is HOT: We’ve been there for 5 days on the first days of July. There were no rains, not even clouds. If you can go earlier please go or you’ll regret it. As students this was the earliest time that we could go and our hopes were museums with air conditioning and evening hours after 8-9 pm. Unfortunately sights are closed after 7 pm so you need to prepare your body and soul to bear the Sun.
  4. Wells: You just need to buy water once and keep the bottle. You can find wells everywhere and I mean it. It is better than tap water. Clear, cold and it tastes good as well. (Imagine the huge space of the Colosseo-Foro Romano-Palatino, 3 wells can be found there, pretty good, huh?)
  5. Soldiers: Anywhere we went for sightseeing we bumped into soldiers with military vehicles. First you’re scared that something happened or it just about to happen but then you realised they’re there because better safe than sorry. With London, Paris it happened (and happening) so they can’t let that in Rome. I bet that you’ll find yourself safer and it feels good to see just as many women soldiers as men soldiers.
  6. Everything is close: Before we went there I read some stuff about Rome and almost everyone said that if something looks close on map, it is not in reality. I need to refute it. You don’t even need to buy metro tickets! By foot you can reach anything. When we left our accommodation to find the Colosseo – that looked 10 minutes on map – after 3-4 minutes we saw something Colosseo-like but for me it was to small so I thought it is another amphitheatre when we got there we realised it is the Colosseo and we just needed to go a few hundred metres.
  7. Italian Mentality: They do not care. I mean they don’t care about time and minor things that annoy us from the northern parts of Europe. Public transports are not on time! At restaurants your waiters can smoke between meals and so on…Don’t be mad, relax. You’re there to experience the best of Rome so try to act like and Italian and be calm inside.
  8. Pastries: Every pastries (croissants, donuts) are made with lemon. I tried different caf├ęs and everything had that lemon flavour. I guess it’s in their dough. It is a bit annoying if you don’t like lemons like me. Unfortunately, you can’t just experience the pure flavour of the fillings.
  9. Musei Vaticani: You’re not going to believe the size of the line in front of the Vatican Museums. It is huge! Do not go there later than 10 am or you’ll regret it. I highly recommend it because it’s an experience that you’ll never get anywhere else. But you need to be careful what time of the day you choose!
  10. Treasures: Everywhere you go you see art treasures. On the streets, in museums and churches. You just walk down on a secluded street and you find yourself beside a ruin of an ancient amphitheatre or you walk in to a potty church and there’s the Ecstasy of St. Teresa or another masterpiece of Bernini. It is truly beautiful!





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