Prepared in Rome
Rome is fascinating! It is filled with historical monuments and art. I had never been to Rome before and thought it might be a city like Florence: slow and with small crowds. At first, I actually thought Florence was a busy city. Compared to the suburbs where I live, Florence was a little shocking for me. However, compared to Rome, Florence seemed deserted! It turns out, Rome was more like New York - a giant, bustling city. Had I been more prepared to visit a city this big, I would have had a better experience.
Me and my sister in Florence
3 Most Popular Things to See in Rome
This is Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain, a majestic fountain in the center of Rome. I highly recommend a visit here. The water from the fountain comes from the Salone Springs, approximately 12 miles from Rome. It travels through an aqueduct built in 19 BC. Now, that's old! If you are a fan of Roman and Greek mythology like I am, you will love the characters depicted in the fountain…especially the giant Neptune.
This is what Trevi Fountain looks like when you get in the front and past the crowd. There are about a thousand people behind us when we took this photo!
Next, you could go to the Colosseum. It may be one of the most famous tourist attractions in Italy, for good reason. You can actually see the interior architecture of the building, due to the deterioration of the structure through the ages. I stood there and wondered how in the world they built such an amazing structure over a thousand years ago.
You can also go to the Vatican; that's where the Pope lives. At 0.2 square miles, it is the smallest country in the world. The Vatican museum is massive and holds some of the most important works of art in the world. You will not want to miss seeing the Sistine Chapel. Even with the huge crowds, I found a space on the floor, laid down, and just stared up at Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling.
If you are clever, you can get up front and get a photo without the crowds!
Top Tips for Visiting Rome
The one thing to watch out for in Rome is to not go with a tour group in a museum. I did, and it was too crowded and moved too slow. It's worth it to avoid the tours. I suggest you get the audio tour - they have prerecorded summaries of the main exhibits in the museum and you can listen to it at your own speed and skip around if you want to. Audio tours can be found in most museums. They are good because they allow you to abandon the long and boring tours and go through at your own pace. It's easier and inexpensive.
Inside The Vatican Museum
This is a better example of the crowds, you can't always get them out of the shot!
Also, during the tourist season of late spring and summer, the crowds in Rome can be pretty hectic. I would suggest coming off-season, fall and winter, to avoid them.
Rome is a stunning city, filled with historical sites. There are so many breathtaking things to see. I suggest you plan where you are going ahead of time, so you are prepared. With a little more preparation, I would have had a much better time. Hopefully, I will get the chance to go back some day. It would also be helpful to study up on the history before you go. That way, you will better be able to understand everything you see.
So remember, Rome is really an incredible city…just be prepared for a big city adventure with lots of people. Have a plan, but if something cool comes up, don't be afraid to abandon it - that's part of what makes traveling so much fun.
Rhythm Turner is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
All photos courtesy and copyright Rhythm Turner