Sunday, 19 April 2015

10 things I learned in Rome

So I visited Rome last weekend. And although it was a flying visit, it was long enough for me to completely fall in love with the city. Here are just 10 things I learned about Roma Aeterna (The Eternal City):

1. It's effortlessly beautiful
Unlike Paris, which can be a bit pretentious and over the top at times, Rome feels like it's just breathtakingly beautiful without even trying. The juxtaposition of the simple and the grandeur, the awesome history and architecture, the nature and the quirky modern artwork makes for a feast for the eyes.


2. Crossing the road can be tricky
One of the things I loved about Rome was the constant buzz of the city - the energy, the sounds of horns beeping and Vespas cruising by. It does make crossing the road a bit daunting, though! However a seasoned Roman knows that confidence is the key to success.

3. The people are super friendly
No matter where you are- a bar, a pizza place, a little boutique or just wandering round a piazza admiring the artwork - everyone you meet in Roma is friendly, smiley and happy to chat. The warmth and hospitality of Italians is famous for a reason.

4. Courgette pizza at 3 a.m. is the best thing ever
Just trust me on this one.

5. It's a shopping paradise
Not just for clothes, shoes and bags.. everything in Rome from the designer to the shabby chic markets is enough to make a shopping addict like myself squeal with delight. Like the Champs Elysses in Paris and Las Ramblas in Barcelona, wandering down the Via Del Corso is a joy. (And the Zara is over five floors).

5.5. Sometimes people take their pet pigs out for a stroll...

6. They know how to make cocktails
From classic mojitos to tiki rum concoctions, I didn't have one bad cocktail experience while I was here (and I sampled a fair few). Like most things in Italy, the preparation of drinks is an art form, not to be taken lightly. You might have to wait a bit longer for your drink, but it'll be worth it.

7. It rivals Paris for passion
Everywhere you look in Roma, it seems like there's evidence of amore - brides and grooms dashing off to be married packed into the back of a tiny Fiat or rickshaw, couples on street corners locked in a passionate embrace, or street performers showing off their sizzling Argentinian Tango:

8. They're serious about coffee
It's true what they say about Italians and coffee. The Romans have espresso down to an art form here - the key is not too hot, not too cold (and it's cheaper if you drink at the bar). Italians aren't big on breakfast but every day will start with a good cappuccino.

9.  The Italian ritual of "Aperitivo"
This literally translated means "to open one's stomach" and it is the glorious Italian tradition of having a drink (usually a Campari  or Aperol spritz) and a small snack n the evening, at a bar, just before dinner, to get your appetite ready and warm you up for your meal of pasta carbonara! How wonderful.

The Roman Supplì (wonderful balls of Rice and mozzarella goodness) are a favourite Italian street food and only I euro each.
10. Go once, and you'll immediately want to return
Sadly the Trevi fountain was being renovated during my visit so I didn't get to throw my coin in and make a wish. But if I could, I would have wished more than anything to come back to Rome soon! There's still so much more I want to see of this place. Now I understand the magic of it, and why Audrey Hepburn's character in Roman Holiday was so enamored by it! La Vita Bella...

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