- Many ancient attractions preserved; many of which were very well-maintained.
- Fountains with drinkable water throughout the city. Trust me, you’ll appreciate it.
- Hardly any congestion!
- The Cotral buses were nice and modern.
- Plenty of pedestrian crossings (more on this below).
- An accident waiting to happen!
Cars will not stop for you when waiting at a zebra crossing (unlike in the UK). You will have to physically step the road with cars going 30 – 40 MPH in both directions for them to even think about slowing down. It literally feels like you have to put your life at the line just to cross a road.
- Rome is dirty in general.
It’s by far the dirtiest European city I’ve been to.
- Scammers EVERYWHERE!
The three we encountered were the “free bracelet African” scam, the “cash only taxi driver” and illegal sellers on the street. In fact, a taxi driver tried to scam us €100 in cash on our very first day!
- The buses were quite weird.
Some had AC, some didn’t. Some had charging points, some didn’t. Furthermore, the scheduling for Cotral buses on Sundays was severely lacking with buses supposedly coming in every 30 mins (which wasn’t true). Even then, that’s very poor. And, the ticket authenticator did not work half the time!
- The Metro was dirty with old stock trains and slippery plastic seats.
Occasionally, the train doors would open before the train came to a complete stop, and there were instances where it would slightly reverse before it would get going again. It’s a quirky Metro experience which would simply fail in London.
- Cobblestone roads.
It may be a nice aesthetic change for some, but I personally don’t like walking on cobblestone roads as they’re more uncomfortable than a smooth path. I especially didn’t like them going uphill.
- Racist remarks.
I didn’t experience it, but my mates certainly did which made our experience less enjoyable. As a whole, it’s not the friendliest city with some people not willing to help you. I wouldn’t recommend travelling in Rome alone. It’s best enjoyed with good company.
- Restaurant staff was a mixed bag.
Some were nice and helpful, whilst some weren’t. And you’ll definitely remember the ones that weren’t.
A Quick Hotel Overview
- 24-hour service
- Friendly and helpful staff
- Reasonable Wi-Fi speeds
- Free local shuttle service
- Buffet breakfast
- Swimming pool and gym access
- Dated interior and exterior
- Pricey lunch and dinner options
- Inconsistent AC in some rooms
- Water builds up when showering
- The shampoo provided wasn’t great (according to mates) – I personally had no issues with it.
- The lifts operated rougher than what you’d expect
- Misaligned bits and pieces here and there in my room
It’s an overall good hotel as long as you don’t mind an almost 1.5-hour trip to the centre of Rome as there isn’t much to see and do in Pomezia.
Upon arriving at FCO airport, I noticed how dirty it was compared to London Heathrow. Unusually, there were no security gates/barriers for arrivals. Plus, the taxi drivers outside the airport were not willing to help us and just kept pointing at other drivers as if to pass the “problem” to them. A disappointing start for sure.
However, a Trenitalia staff member was helpful in explaining the costs for the train ticket and the CIRS pass we needed for our journey throughout Rome.
We then boarded the last Trenitalia train from the airport to Termini (in First Class, mind you). The journey was quite pleasant, but I couldn’t believe that the last train was just after 20:45 which wouldn’t be considered “late” by London standards.
A Trenitalia train ticket bought on 21/06/2023 at 20:45 for €14
After about 30 mins or so, we arrive at Rome Termini. We again asked staff members for transport options to our hotel; they were helpful, though there weren’t any convenient options for us to take.
We instead used “FREE NOW” – a mobility service. Where in the first instance, the first driver tried to scam us €100 in cash! However, the 2nd driver was much better and took us to the hotel. Though, he likely broke every traffic rule in the book doing so!
Arriving almost midnight (yes, we survived the somewhat fun, but rule-breaking taxi ride) we checked in to our hotel which thankfully provides a 24-hour service.
Overall, not shabby for a first day.
We took the free shuttle service to the Lavinium Museum.
The front entrance to the Lavinium Museum
It was €5 per person and the overall experience was short, but nicely presented. I’m surprised they even had English subtitles for the clips they used considering it’s a small museum.
This was the first time we made use of the CIRS pass for both buses and trains.
We visited the Piramide, Porta San Paolo, The Vatican City, Stadio Olimpico, Castel Sant’Angelo, the Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain (briefly). I highly recommend that you visit these places. Maybe apart from Stadio Olimpico, unless you’re a sports fan.
However, just outside Castel Sant’Angelo, we encountered our second scammer. This time it was a “free bracelet African” scam. He approached us nicely, but asked suspiciously weird questions such as our names (I gave him a fake one), ethnicity, where we are from etc. He also mentioned something about someone getting pregnant blah blah blah and needing money (the usual sob story). This was obviously to try and persuade us to his “good side”. But as we knew it was a scam, none of that worked and he left angrily. These scammers are in major tourist attractions and are pretty obvious once spotted.
We visited the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain. The Colosseum was interesting sure, but quite underwhelming. Perhaps it’s because we didn’t see the Arena floor. Still, I don’t think it would’ve made a big difference.
However, the Trevi Fountain was great; it was amongst one of my favourite attractions in Rome. It’s such an impressively beautiful fountain. Just watch out for the crowds.
The Trevi Fountain
There is another unfortunate incident I feel compelled to share. I was slapped in the belly by one of those “free bracelet African” scammers. Rome is filled with these absolute pieces of human trash. All the guides and locals tell you to ignore them, yet they still somehow make you irritated even if you do so.
We visited the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and the Quirinale hill.
The Spanish Steps were great. We didn’t bother going all the way to the top as we were on a tight schedule to the Pantheon, but we still had a great time here nonetheless.
The Spanish Steps
The Pantheon was definitely the main highlight of this day. Its dome and open centre, whilst simple in design is impressively large. But what happens when it rains?
We headed for Quirinale Hill and was extremely exhausted after the “climb” (if you can call it that). Yes, it does somewhat overlook Rome a bit, but not by a whole lot. Sadly, I don’t have any good pictures of it 🙁
After all the walking around in the centre of Rome for 3 days, we decided on Monday to visit Torvaianica (or Torvajanica) beach. The free shuttle service proved useful here!
It was a relaxing day with a slow and steady pace. Plus, I learnt a new game which we have officially named “JomSand” (thank you, you know you are). It involves a small stone and sand. You may not ask for more context.
The “JomSand” stone
The last day in Rome! Nothing much happened here apart from a taxi ride to the airport and a flight back to the UK.
So, to summarise, Rome is a great destination for those interested in sightseeing well-preserved historical ancient ruins and indulging in delicious traditional Italian dishes at reasonable prices. Just promise me to travel with good company, okay?
Here are some more pictures of my room and the hotel in general:
The last picture I ever took before leaving and closing the door.
It’s making me emotional now..