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When in Rome...Do as the Romans do?

Rome Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 16 › view all entries
view of the busy street from our hotel balcony.

Our arrival at Fiumicino Aeroporto (Leonardo DaVinci Airport) was pretty smooth and only marred by the cutoms agent, as usual! I happened to get an agent who decided that his day's mission was to make me pee my pants from fear! Daniel sailed through cutoms being a UK citizen, therefore part of the E.U. Me on the other hand had to stand in a long line of non-Eurpoean Union citizens with one cranky customs agent. I had to stand there for a good five minutes at his little window while he leafed through my passport muttering things in Italian, eventually calling over another agent to look at my information. He asked a few brusque questions in Italian which I didn't understand and then made hand gestures at me.

me in front of Santa Maria Maggiore
  I think he waited until the sweat began to bead on my forehead before waving me through with a dismissive hand and an abrupt "Pronto!"

Once through with baggage in hand we had to figure out how to get from the airport to the actual city of Rome. Anyone who has been to Rome knows the the Airport is a good 30 minutes or more outside of the city by train, which at the time I did not know. For about 19 Euro each we were able to get our tickets from Fiumicino to Roma Termini, which was a block or two from our hotel.

Our hotel (Hotel Scott House-see my review*) was in one of the best possible locations! It was so close to Stazione Termini, where you can catch buses and trains to just about anywhere you need to get to in Italy.

statue in Santa Maria Maggiore.
It was also within walking distance to the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, and the church of Santa Maria Maggiore , which we explored after dropping our baggage off at the hotel.

For those of you who have never been to Rome let me explain how perilous it is just to walk down the street or try to cross the street. You really do put your life in your own hands when you try to do either of those activities. I watched scooters and cars alike drive up on the sidewalk to get around other cars. I think we stood at our first intersection for at least 5 minutes while we tried to figure out how we were going to get across the street. It is no joke when I say that we often waited for nuns or priests to walk across the street first so we could follow in their wake, figuring that Roman drivers would let them and therefore us, cross safely.

Arch of Constantine with the Colosseum in the background.
We were saved at that first intersection by a young Italian mother pushing her baby in a stroller (pram). She bravely walked out into traffic, stopped the cars and proceeded to get into a yelling match with one of the drivers. We took that moment to cross the street and arrive at the piazza of Santa Maria Maggiore. Our thanks to that Italian mother or we might have been there for an hour!

The church of Santa Maria Maggiore is a beautiful site! There is a magnificantl medieval bell tower and statues with flowers strewn at their feet. Renaissance and Baroque mingle with history. It is said that the ceilings were gilded with the first gold brought back from America by Christopher Columbus.

After we left Santa Maria Maggiore we wandered off to the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine.

me in front of the Colosseum.
After seeing all of the street venders selling knock off designer handbags I'll forever be sceptical of anyone who  comes back from Rome saying they bought a genuine Gucci handbag! Every vender had the same wares spread out on blankets right on the walkway, vying for the same space and the same customers. Fortunately they were not obnoxious and we were able to get to the Colosseum without being accosted and bombarded- which was to happen other places! We decided not to go into the Colosseum having seen it many times on travel programs and feeling satisfied with that, so we sat and just watched the people go by. We didn't stay long as we had so much to see on our first day in Rome and plenty of daylight left to see it in!

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view of the busy street from our h…
view of the busy street from our …
me in front of Santa Maria Maggiore
me in front of Santa Maria Maggiore
statue in Santa Maria Maggiore.
statue in Santa Maria Maggiore.
Arch of Constantine with the Colos…
Arch of Constantine with the Colo…
me in front of the Colosseum.
me in front of the Colosseum.
Rome Hotels & Accommodations review
Hotel Scott House is situated only a block or two from Rome's main train station, Stazione Termini. It is on a busy street but the windows block out t… read entire review
Rome Sights & Attractions review
Is the Trevi Fountain overrated- yes, a resounding YES! I was really surprised to find that the fountain is small and not at steet level. It was crowd… read entire review
Rome
photo by: vulindlela