Back in Leiden now, spent a good 3 days in Rome. Beautiful city with ancient architectures but you get used to it and desensitized after a while. Still a place definitely worth visiting, not forgetting the gelatos, pastas and pizzas.. Accommodation and food can be quite expensive in Rome. My personal take would be to stay in a cheaper yet decent place while spending the rest on food and attractions. Still trying to work out how to use this and post photos so just mainly information here.
Accomodation: 2 nights in Casa Barberini (about 60 euros a night for a standard en-suite twin/double room).
This is more like a guesthouse with decent and clean rooms, simple breakfasts are served in the morning and the location is rather central to attractions like the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Colosseum and the Vatican etc.. Can be rather hard to find since there is no standard hotel signboard, just one of the apartments along a rather dodgy street. Be sure to hold the exact address when looking for this site (spent a good 30-40 mins going rounds while searching). Also remember to check and make sure that the keys work (several needed to various gates), got locked out on the first night with a faulty key with no valid sim card to call, nearly ending up in the streets if not for some genius's idea to tap on the wifi and whatsapp the number on booking.com.
Transport: traveling around via the metro is rather easy. Costs about 1.50 euros per trip, discounts available for tickets bought in bulk. Only expensive part is getting from the airport to Termini (city center) itself, 14 euros per way.
Some of these attractions are featured in Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, also my main motivation to visit them. 3 days is more than enough for Rome actually. History fanatics may need more
Day 1: Took a walk using google maps to the following attractions
- Colosseum (book tickets online before going,skips the que)
- Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (huge place,can take some time to fully explore it)
- Pantheon (free entry,not opened on Sundays)
- Trevi Fountain (prettier at night I think)
- Vatican City
- Vatican museum and the Sistin Chapel (purchase tickets beforehand, bring a map along. Entrance is located at the side, 10mins walk from St Peter's Square) Key highlights lies within the Sistin Chapel, where the conclave is held, a process which they select a new pope.
- St Peter's Square (go in the morning to avoid the queue, the queue is crazy)
- Castle St Angelo
- Spanish Steps
- walk around, food hunting
Food: googled and searched Tripadvisor for recommended restaurants.
Some things to note,
- most are closed on sundays
- open on specific lunch and dinner timings (12-3pm, 6-9pm)
- require reservations for really good ones
- L'Antica Salumeria, must visit panini, bread and dessert store just outside the Pantheon
Amsterdam next. Grazie and ciao.