The last five weeks in my study abroad program were spent in Rome, Italy. While I loved Ireland and France- Italy was by far my favorite country. I got there mid-April right as things were heating up. The weather was perfect, the people were friendly, and I started to get close to some amazing people on the trip. Below are some tips I wish people had warned me of that I thought might be beneficial if you are interested in spending some time in Italy.
- Bus or walk
- Unfortunately, the metro system is non-existent, and I only used it to get to and from the train station. I usually prefer to learn a city by walking it but sometimes walking for an hour to a particular restaurant or sightseeing attraction did not sound appealing. In those situations, I used the bus. Not impossible to understand but it can be tricky. Also, do not recommend using the bus alone at night. Stay safe people.
- Uber and Lyft are not allowed in the city but MyTaxi is basically the same concept and there is a free app. It was perfect when I needed to get back from a club at 4 AM
- If you are studying abroad in Rome, take advantage of the trains! I went to the beach for about 10 euros, and it was about a 45 min train ride.
- Also, bus systems like Flix Bus are a great and inexpensive way to get to other cities
Other places to go
While in Italy I visited
- Amalfi Coast (Capri, Positano, Sorrento)
Definitely recommend spending weekends in all three locations because there is so much to see! I took a bus to Florence and train to Venice. The Amalfi Coast I bought the trip through Bus to Alps. If you are not in college and don’t want to travel around with 100+ college kids, I do not recommend. But if you are in college, this is a great way to visit the Amalfi Coast and for the first time and not have to plan every second of your trip. They handle transportation and accommodations. Adulting can get exhausting, and it was so nice knowing I didn’t have to plan every second of the weekend myself.
While In Rome
- Try every gelato place you can
- A personal favorite is Gelateria LaRomana because they have biodegradable utensils and cups! Also, pro-tip always have euros on you because most gelato shops are cash only
- Do the touristy stuff: Pantheon, Vatican Museums, St. Peters Basilica, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Roman Forum
- Homebaked has American style breakfast food (pancakes, bacon, etc.) and the ladies that work there are the sweetest. While I highly recommend immersing yourself in Italian culture and cuisine, a taste of home was nice when I was feeling homesick
- The parks overall kind of suck in Italy they are usually dirty and overgrown. The two that I loved are Piazza Cavour (right by the Vatican) and Villa Doria Pamphili (this park is HUGE)
- For a less touristy area, I would recommend walking around Trastevere. Lots of street art and cool shops and a great way to avoid some of the crowds on the weekends
- If you are looking for markets, visit Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona. It is so much fun and a great place to buy gifts. Also always bargain with the owner.