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The little adventures of Jo! Travel with me on my overdue gap year around the world :)

When in Rome...

ITALY | Thursday, 27 June 2013 | Views [460]

Do as the Romans do. Yesterday I had the shock of my life when I saw the price of a coppa piccola of gelato near Piazza Navona. I've been paying between 1.50-3€ all over Italy. A lot of the gelaterias around Piazza Navona were charging 8€!! Of course being the backpacker I've become, I refused to pay an exorbitant amount and as soon as I saw a local with gelato, I looked around for the shop. Della Palma, a fantastic gelateria that claims it does 150 flavours with quality, was where I ended up in. Highly recommended and only 2.50€ for a piccola!

I spent most of today in Trastevere, the area across the river Trevere  from the main attractions, just as its name suggests. While other tourists have also caught on to visiting this lovely neighbourhood, it is definitely not claustrophobically crowded like the Trevi Fountain or Spanish Steps. I felt more at ease, had space to appreciate my surroundings.  I liked Trastevere and would recommend it to those wanting a more peaceful visit to Rome.
Sadly, I made two rookie errors with my Rome trip. The first was accidentally booking six nights at a hostel instead of three. The other was buying the Rome pass.
I didn't have as bad a time as  I thought would have changing my booking, but instead got overcharged. When trying to sort out how much I owed the hostel, the receptionist dismissed the deposit I paid to HostelBookers as part of the total payable. It's the first time it's happened, so I tried to sort it out the best I could. One thing learned from this experience - Italians are as fiery when angry as they are friendly when happy. I couldn't get my point through and gave up the fight. Even now, I'm not willing to try again especially after seeing how unnecessarily rude and unprofessional these ladies are with guests. I'm just trying to take my loss (which isn't too much but enough to get me upset) as a lesson to make sure everything is perfectly correct in the future before clicking ok.
The Rome pass is a good buy for most but probably not for someone like me. Being burned out by trying to utilise the Florence card to its maximum, I'm questioning why I went and spent money on something similar. Many of the major attractions are free in Rome and easily walkable (for people used to it). I would only suggest paying for a combined ticket to the Colosseum and the archaeological area surrounding it, and a ticket to visit the museums in the Vatican. If you're super frugal, you can really do away with paying any entrance fees because the ruins are so big and not concealed, and it's free to go into St Peter's Basilica.
That said, I made it a point to visit the two free museums in Villa Borghese I get to see with the pass. Even though I was sore with the money I spent on the pass, I was definitely pleased that it triggered me to see these two museums which I thoroughly enjoyed and would've missed. If you like modern art, Museo Carlo Bilotti has a small but beautiful and well-explained collection. Pietro Canonica's old home and studio, is located not too far away and is filled with his amazing sculptures and paintings and you can even visit his former living quarters.
Rome is certainly a place of history with ruins hanging about and excavation sites popping up here and there in the city. It's interesting to see how old things are and how commonplace they are in this city. Even with the crowds that almost overwhelm its ambience, it's definitely a city worth visiting, if only for a lifetime.


Tags: cities, european adventure, history, museums, sightseeing

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