Living in Rome is not for all – it’s a challenge for few ones.
A challenge for those who are ready to live every day in absolute splendor and majesty in a imperfect city – yet rich in its flaws.
Rome is not in a hurry, Rome is not “a city that never sleeps”, Rome enjoys its life and let the ones who know it enjoy their one. Rome is the lover who doesn’t let you go to work in the morning when you are in a hurry, “are you sure you don’t want to get lost in another amazing unknown alley with me? Or that you don’t want to throw a coin in another pure with marble fountain so you will come back to me once again?”
To unearth this city a life won’t suffice, and the bravest ones won’t be satisfied by visiting it only once.
And you? Are you brave enough?
Well, if you are, a few tips to enjoy italian-roman Dolce Vita.
Throw away your guide
Before leaving you have read that there is so much to see, so much to do and you don’t know where to start from. “Should I visit Colosseum first? Or maybe Imperial Fora?” These questions will drive you crazy. Try to improvise and go with the flow, start walking around and you will find thousand of places to visit and things to do – they are in every corner of the city.
Let locals be your guide
If you really can’t avoid knowing what to do, ask locals for advice. They know what it is worth to see and they probably know which restaurant serves the best coda alla vaccinara in town (here there is the one for me: Enzo al 29). Plus, don’t trust the ones who want to sell you cheap tours of Vatican City or something like that, they will cost you more. If you plan to visit a place you cannot improvise (Sistine Chapel for example), do it yourself.
Throw even your map (and get lost)
There is no pleasure like getting lost in Rome: an intricate labyrinth of picturesque and historical alleys will let you discover all the secret places that a guide doesn’t know. And we don’t want to get bored and follow all those rules, do we? Visit museums and monuments, ok, but take your time to feel free.
Do it slowly
Living Dolce Vita means enjoying every moments according to our own rhythms. Don’t get obsessed over visiting everything you have planned: it’s probably impossible. Take your time to relax in one of the thousand parks and villas in Rome, lay on the grass of Giardino degli Aranci and enjoy one of the most beautiful sunset you have ever seen in your life (and take a picture of the many brides taking their photographic services), take an ice cream while walking in Villa Pamphili and socialize with new people while taking an espresso at Sant’Eustachio.
Make new friends
Probably romans will never admit it, but I will tell you a secret: we enjoy compliments about Rome like they were for us. And we will be even happier helping you visiting our town: check on Couchsurfing if you find someone who will take you around the city or someome who will go out with you for a glass of wine. Chatting with locals and establishing relations in a foreign city will make you feel like you really became part of that place, and when you will come back, you will find someone happy to see you again.
I will never stop saying it: sunsets in Rome are not just sunsets. Save an afternoon to go and admire it on Gianicolo or Zodiaco, the places with the most breathtaking view on the city: you won’t regret it (believe me).
Explore perifery and underground cultures
Rome’s city center is enormous but periferies are even more. By the way, tourists never visit them if they want to see monuments or museums, but Roman suburbs are full of street art and strange places, they are the cradles of underground culture. If you are into alternative music and art don’t expect finding pubs and discos you like down town: yes, roman center is full of nice bars and much more but they are all very classy and chic. Take the tram from central station and visit Centocelle, discover Forte Prenestino (the biggest and most important community center in Europe) and I am pretty sure that tonight that doom metal band you like is going to play somewhere.
If you are planning to stay in Rome for a quite-long period of time (even if you are not, of course) don’t forget to explore Roman surroundings. Only 40 minutes away from Rome there is the amazing Tivoli where you can visit the beautiful rinascimental Villa d’Este (UNESCO world heritage) and Villa Adriana (and also you can eat the biggest sandwich of your life at Pippo’s). Or if you have time to take a whole day, you can go and visit Canale Monterano (where many movies have been set) and have a pic nic near the old abandoned Cathedral. By the way, Italy is not that big and you can even plan a one-day trip to another region.
Do what you want.
You are on holiday, you don’t have duties or a time table, do what you feel. We always have something to do, someone to please, tasks to perform, stop. And when we want to go against the “rules” (which rules?? Why do I have to do what they tell me?) we feel scared and don’t know what to do. Rome teached me how to enjoy little moments and appreciate beauty in everything. That’s what I mean with “Be brave”: find the courage to reconquer your freedom and your right to be astonished in front of the world. If you feel like your are put in a cage, if you are reading this and telling “Yes, I feel like this and I want to relax”, the only thing you have to do is booking a flight, doing the luggage and come to Italy.