I didn't know where else to put this information, so I thought I would try putting it here. These are some of the lessons my husband and I learned from our trip to Rome this past summer.
A few practical pieces of advice while visiting Rome:
* Exchange some money at the airport so you can get around, but the best exchange rate you will get is withdrawing money from the ATM (just be sure to check with your bank before you go to make sure your card will work.) Many of the banks would not allow us to exchange money.
*Try to make sure you are never lugging more than one suitcase. I insisted on this (as I have traveled Europe before) and my husband understood why once we were there. Cobblestones and public transportation areas with lots of stairs make it difficult to maneuver more than one suitcase at a time.
*Most of the public transportation ran on time, but don't expect everyone and everything to be efficient all the time. Embrace the culture and the speed at which it moves. Take a deep breath and fine some wine or gelato. You'll relax quickly. :)
*If you eat "early" dinners (6-7pm), you may find that some of the restaurants aren't open that early. You may also find that the reason why you need reservations (at certain places) is because many of the restaurants only turn the tables over once. We observed the people walking in around 8:30-9:00pm and leaving around 11pm.
*Make sure you eat gelato at some point. :)
*We didn't have one bad meal in ALL of Italy. It didn't matter where we were. There are TONS of places to choose from. Many times, if you wander off a public square, where everyone else is, you will find a meal for half the price.
*If you enjoy wine, always order the house wine. Often times it is served by the liter and it is awesome.
*If you don't purchase your tickets ahead of time (we didn't really know how everything was going to go, so we purchased most of our tickets in Rome) and are going to the Colosseum, buy your tickets at the entrance to the Palentine. The line is much shorter over there.
*If you are going to visit the Vatican, reserve your tickets online (via the Vatican's official website.) It helps to do this before you go as you need to print out a voucher to bring to the ticket office.
*Be mindful of the dress codes that the churches and the Vatican have. Make sure you bring/wear the appropriate clothing so you don't miss out on those experiences!
*Have a wonderful trip, eat and drink whenever you can, and take lots of pictures! :)