After our shoot, we went on for our 1 week trip to Italy – Rome and Milan. We chose Italy as we thought it should be easy to navigate and tour around. We initially planned for Morocco but decided we would be too tired.
We stayed at Bettoja Hotel Mediterraneo, which was an excellent location. It’s situated just beside Termini Station, and it was very convenient for us to lug our luggage to the station when we headed to Milan. It was a 15-minute walk to Colosseum but we were fine with the walking around. We stayed for 3 nights at a total of SGD516 (with breakfast), which was pretty decent. It’s clean, old-school vibes, attentive customer service. We enjoyed our stay there.
They have few breakfast area but their rooftop was only reserved for those living in suites. I don’t think it’s a good idea to differentiate in this manner and disallowed guests for rooftop access. Big minus point here.
Of course, the first order of business was to get some shots with the iconic Colosseum.
We were not prepared for the crowd. It was crowded everywhere we go and the queue was so long. We couldn’t make it on the first day as we got there late but we planned for the visit early the day after. One tip for those who’s planning to visit Colosseum – the queue may be too long at Colosseum gate. You can go to the ticket counter at Palatine Hill (5-minute walk away from Colosseum) and purchase the pass for Rome/Palatine Hill/Roman Forum. It’s faster for us but you just had to start from Palatine Hill and Roman Forum before Colosseum.
We got our gelato before entry. Cold weather ain’t stopping us! Gelato in Italy was really smooth and awesome.
After queuing for close to 40 mins, we finally got into Colosseum. If you have visited Athens and like what you see at Acropolis, then this is the place for you.
We had lunch nearby, the first row of Italian stores before you turn into the main road to Colosseum. It’s a very popular place with reasonably-priced pasta and pizza! Their portion is huge and for the first time, I love drinking espresso. 🙂
However, I have to say there’s hits and misses to Italian food. We tried this carbonara at a restaurant near our hotel. But the taste wasn’t to my liking, or rather I wasn’t used to it. So I was careful to avoid carbonara from that onwards lol.
We went to Palatine Hill and Roman Forum first, before heading to Colosseum actually. Palatine Hill is the centremost of the seven hills, and if you are a big fan of Roman history, then you will love it.
To be honest, after walking through and reading the history of it, it got tired and maybe the retention of it is so little. We walked to a secluded spot to enjoy the view of Colosseum from afar.
It’s just right beside Palatine Hill, a rectangular forum between Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. A relaxing walk amidst the ruins but it got crowded soon.
It’s located at the heart of Rome, consisting of museum which showcase art collections. Fully packed and brimmed with crowd at every corner, still a good place to get a good view of Rome.
Basically everywhere we go, even on the main streets pavement, it was packed. Very packed. Perhaps it’s close to the festive period (new year) and suddenly Rome felt so crowded – very different from what I see on IG posts haha.
Of course, we couldn’t miss the Roman Pantheon, a Roman temple (now a church). It’s the most well preserved building of Ancient Rome. It’s a public site and free entry for all.
Again it was so crowded… everywhere we go, it had become the norm to queue. The interior was really exquisite and the concrete dome was magnificent.
We chanced upon this hidden gem while strolling towards Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps – Galleria Doria Pamphilj.
Galleria Doria Pamphilj
It is a preserved palace which houses a large art collection of paintings and sculptures. We paid 12 euros for the ticket and I would say it’s the right place to slow down your pace and enjoy art. Another tourist attraction that tourists may not have heard of!
Of course, we had to visit Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous touristy places in Rome. So crowded that we didn’t even have much space to take photos and we were vying for empty spots.
The irregular butterfly design was really pretty but as you can see, expect big crowd during festive period. We did a fair bit of walking to reach here, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere for few minutes.
One of the largest and beautiful squares in Rome, there’s restaurants, street artists, Christmas market; the Christmasy vibe filled the air.
My overall experience in Rome was… ok. Other than the good food, I would say the crowd may not be for everyone. I understand why a lot of people keep saying it’s over-touristy. Within 2 days, we actually covered a lot of places in Rome. I’ll cover Vatican City in the next blog entry… how we survived the guided tour! lol.