How to navigate one of Europe's busiest tourist spots

Travel News from Stuff - 25-09-2023
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It’s one of the busiest places to be when summer strikes in Europe, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the Eternal City.

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Pizza, pasta and gelato form the basic food triangle for many tourists visiting Rome’s Centro Historico, and you’ll find no shortage of each delicacy while exploring the cobblestoned piazzas and alleyways. The hardest part is choosing where to dine, so it pays to do some research to save yourself walking a gauntlet of restaurant staff waving menus.

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Pasta Imperiale is a no-frills chain restaurant offering hand-made pasta at student prices. On arrival, simply choose your preferred style of pasta and sauce from the chalkboard menu – a generous plate of tagliatelle al ragù or spaghetti cacio e pepe will only set you back €7.50 (NZ$13). There are three locations, including one conveniently located near the Colosseum.

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It can be tempting to pick up a reheated slice from a glass cabinet, but you’ll have the freshest pizza experience at a sit-down trattoria. For a decent hit of cheese in bustling Trevi, visit famous Piccolo Buco for Neapolitan pizza cooked by wood-fire oven. You might have to battle the crowds to nab one of the limited tables but it is well worth it.

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When ordering espresso you’ll pay more for sit-down service, so park up at the counter with the rest of the locals and leave as soon as you’ve reached the bottom of your tazzina. Nursing a globe of hyper orange Aperol spritz while watching the world go by is another quintessential activity here – visit the graffiti covered Bar Antico Caffe in bohemian Trastevere, one of the best neighbourhoods for nightlife. See: ;

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The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Vatican City might attract overwhelming numbers in the summer months, but that’s no reason to bypass these ancient headliners.

Set your alarm and head to the monuments first thing to beat the crowds and the midday heat. Hitting the streets early allows more time for long lunching or exploring lesser-visited attractions like the Appian Way, a road once used by the Roman Empire to transport military supplies.

Parts of this historic thoroughfare are well-preserved and it serves as gateway to the city’s sprawling 4580-hectare Appian Way Regional Park. Hop on the metro or hire a bike for guided exploration between several points of archaeological interest including ancient aqueducts, catacombs and a Roman circus constructed around 300 AD.

The whole centre is a Unesco World Heritage district, so you’ll encounter ancient ruins with a story to tell no matter which direction you choose to wander. It’s like walking around an open-air museum.

Located in Piazza Barberini is Sina Bernini Bristol Roma. The hotel is well located to the Barberini metro and top visitor attractions like the Trevi Fountain, a handy 650-metre amble away, and the Colosseum and Pathenon, which are both around two kilometres on foot.

The rooms and suites here are modern with floor-to-ceiling marble bathrooms and, if your budget allows, a balcony overlooking the piazza. Breakfast is included for all guests and there is a rooftop restaurant on the top level offering brilliant city views. If, for some reason you don’t have time to explore the cultural delights of the city, the hotel has its very own fresco detailing the birth of the Baroque era.

For something entirely different, San Gregorio al Celio is a tranquil 6th century monastery with guesthouse accommodation. Modest breakfast is included and the Colosseum is within walking distance. See:

There are a variety of flight options from New Zealand into Rome-Fiumicino International Airport with stops. The central city is around 30 minutes by train or 40 minutes by car or taxi.

Flying generates carbon emissions. To reduce your impact, consider other ways of travelling, amalgamate your trips, and when you need to fly, consider offsetting emissions.

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