Apart from being pioneers of underfloor central heating* and the first ever shopping mall**, Rome has to be one of the most photogenic cities in Europe. Touted as the world’s largest open-air museum, Rome is indeed as magnificent in real life as it is was in my history books.
This honeymoon, our first stop did not disappoint, even with the immense anticipation we had as first timers to Italy.
Thanks to an online promo by Singapore Airlines, we managed to get a really good deal on flights – from Kuala Lumpur to Rome, and back via Paris. Prior to this trip I had not done a sector longer than 8 hours with Singapore Airlines, but the recent experience proved that their award for being the world's best airlines (for flying economy class)*** was well deserved.
Total travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Rome = 17 hours + 20 minutes (inclusive of a 3.75-hour layover time at Changi International Airport).
What we liked about this flight was the arrival in Rome at 7.50am, giving us 1 full day unwasted. Granted, the line for non-EU passport holders at the immigration was long...
...and the traffic jam into the city set us back by an hour.
However, we still arrived at our Roman accommodation just before 10am, giving us ample time to settle in, unpack and head out for our first day of exploration.
What To Expect
Only after scrambling to grab the irresistible flight deal did I eventually find out that the best time to visit Italy was between the months of April to May, and late September to October; so you can only imagine how pleased I was with myself that week. Lol.
If you’re planning a trip to Rome, do note that the entire country goes on vacation from August 15 onwards, hence many family-run hotels, restaurants, and shops will most likely be closed. Also, we were told that it can get uncomfortably hot, muggy, and over-crowded in August, which is a very good reason why you may want to avoid that time of the year altogether.
Our arrival in Rome during the first week of October was greeted by 28 degrees of heat, clear skies and no sign of rain, so if you’re packing for that time of the year, you can be prepared to travel relatively light. :-)
Expact to do a lot of walking so pack in a pair of comfortable walking shoes, or sandals if you like. Bear in mind though that there is a sensible dresscode for certain churches and of course, the Vatican City:
"Access to Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens and Saint Peter's Basilica is permitted only to visitors dressed appropriately (no sleeveless blouses, no miniskirts, no shorts, no hats allowed)."
For other information on backpacks, photography, etc. you can visit this link:
Budgeting for Rome
Depending on the number of sights you intend to see and how picky you are with food, you should be prepared to spend an average of between €40 to €100 per day for two, inclusive of bus/train tickets.
You can get a decent pizza meal with 1 drink in the city centre for about €10 per person if you’re not too fussed about food.
One of the more impressive pizzas we tasted this trip was at a neighbourhood pizzaria called Remo, just around the corner from our apartment.
2 yummy large pizzas + 1 big bottle of sparkling water + tiramisu to share cost us €21.50; which we thought was fantastic, considering the fact that a pizza half as decent would cost us the same, if not more, at an Italian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.
Where to stay
The apartment we stayed in was approximately:
- 12 minutes walk to the Mouth of Truth
- 15 minutes walk to the Pyramid of Caius Cestius and the metro station
- 30 minutes walk to the Trevi Fountain
- 35 minutes walk to the Colosseum and the Pantheon
- 40 minutes walk to the Spanish Steps
So it wasn’t smack right in the middle of the action, but it was close enough.
Will share more next week!
** Wolf, Greg, ed. 2003. Cambridge Illustrated History: Roman World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press