What is it about Italy that seems to make my heart go a flutter? For some reason unbeknownst even to me, it has always been the European country of my dreams. Rome seemed to call for me, and I was the happiest kid to finally get the chance to heed it. I can’t even begin to share the feelings of what I can only describe as “bewilderment” when I finally got to see, hear and breathe the beauty that is Roma. I was with my family the first time I traveled to Italy, and it was one of the bestest things ever to explore Rome for the first time with them. We took a group tour on the very first day that lasted til the night. There’s a video somewhere in that clutter so that you can see Rome through my eyes. :D Below that, there’s also a breakdown of costs in Rome, in relation to this blog post. Scroll further down to see and experience my first date and exploration of La Citta Eterna (The Eternal City)!
Since the tour that our mom signed us up for didn’t start til mid afternoon, we had the whole morning to walk around by ourselves. We took a Hop On, Hop Off bus, to kick start our day of exploration! Hop On, Hop Off buses are perfect for tourists because these buses go around the city the whole day, and their only stops are at famous tourist spots. It’s best to take them if you prefer to take your time visiting each tourist trap. Your ticket can be used for the entire day, so you can just jump on and off, looking around all on your own. The only downside though is you won’t have a guide who knows all the juicy tidbits about each place. There is more than one Hop on, Hop off bus so you don’t have to worry about the waiting time when you want to flit off to another place!
Rome is one of the most visited cities in Europe, and all year round it never runs out of tourists. For this reason, there are SO MANY options for tourists. There are a lot of variations of hop on, hop off buses. There are lots of tours available for you depending on your language, budget, interests, preferred places. There are many merchants, either stationary or roving that are waiting to stab a hole on your pocket with their overpriced items. It is one of the easiest places to be a tourist because you have a wide range of choices. It’s even possible not to plan way ahead because so many will help you when you’re there!
One of our latter stops is the Trevi Fountain. This is one of the most famous spots that people know about in Rome. It’s a beautiful fountain with extravagant and elegant sculptures. Seeing these up close actually creeped me out a bit. They were sculpted so intricately that they looked like real life humans who were layered with stone. My creepy imagination instantly made me think that magic was the cause for the demise of these humans turned to stone sculptures. Haha. :)) Yes, I know. I’m weird.
Upon reaching Trevi Fountain, it is important that one must have a coin to throw into the fountain. There is a famous legend that if you throw a coin into the fountain, this will ensure you a return to La Citta Eterna. I didn’t have Euro coins with me at the time cause all of them were in bills, but my family and I decided to throw Philippine coins in there. Don’t throw your coin in just yet though! Make sure that you are facing away from the fountain and then throw the coin over your left side. :) There’s a portion on my video at the end of this post where I did my coin toss. And hopefully, I will return once more into the loving arms of Rome. :)
Fun fact! Because this is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, most especially for visitors of Rome who throw coins in… The Trevi Fountain reaps almost 800,000 Euros annually! Crazy, right? No, gnomes don’t come and steal it for themselves at night. Rather, these coins go into the restoration and preservation of the fountain. :)
The group tour was mostly done inside of a bus. We were going around Rome, and our tour guide, a very entertaining woman, was constantly feeding us information from EVERYTHING we saw. I’ve been to a lot of tours and I must say that she is one of the best ones I’ve had. She never had time to shut her mouth! The reason for this is not only does she know hordes of information on pretty much everything including drinking water fountain history, but she was also translating everything she said into Spanish, German and Polish! Before she started the tour, she asked what our nationalities were, and when she saw that we had some Spanish, German and Polish in the group, she said it would be no problem cause she could translate the tour (which was majority in English). And boy, she did. She had a rapid mouth firing out translations so fast it was even quite a Roman wonder in itself. haha.
The hotel we stayed in was Aphrodite Hotel. It’s very accessible as it was really close to Termini Station. Termini Station is the central station of Rome. They say “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. I was so happy cause I was able to do just that, even on my first trip to Rome. Despite all the touristy things we did on the first day, I got a glimpse of Rome in the eyes of a local. I met an Italian named Marco through CouchSurfing (I’ll be putting up a separate blog on the wonder that is CouchSurfing) on my first night and he took me around Rome the way Romans do. Local street food that were wayyyy cheaper than the ones sold at the tourist shops, a nice pub that was cozy and had the friendliest and hipster-est Italians, and so much more. Our night, to me, was a solid description of “On An Evening In Roma”.
VIDEO OF GROUP TOUR SUMMARY:
BREAKDOWN OF COSTS IN ROME:
(This breakdown is only for what you see in this blog post)
|COSTS FOR ROME TOUR AND MISCELLANOUS|
|Food & Water (mix of budget & nice restos)||90 Euros (for 3 days)|
|Accommodation (Aphrodite Hotel, 4 star hotel)||170 Euros (per night, good for 3 people)|
|Entrance Ticket (covers Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill)||12 Euros|
|Hop On, Hop Off Bus||20 Euros (adult, 10 euros per child)|
|Rome Metro Day Pass||6 Euros|
|Comprehensive Tour Around Rome (Includes Bus Travel, Tour Guide and Entrance Tickets)||45 Euros per head|
|Italian Dick Shorts||15 Euros|
|Straw Hat||10 Euros|