Want to know what really to expect from a Italy tour? Well, Rome is a sweet mixture of a little bit of fiction and a few facts. If you know the facts before going there then there won’t be much expectation of failure in your Rome fiction.
Here I’ll be addressing the top 10 myths about visiting Rome City and their real case scenario. So that your jaws drop only in surprise but not in shock.
Expectation: Entrance to the colosseum is easy and I can see everything.
The Colosseum is over 1,900 years old. It is the giant amphitheater that has witnessed thousands of deadly gladiator matches. The arena was chaotic with shouts of the audience. In modern times the gladiator and their deadly matches are all gone.
Still, you can visit the world’s largest amphitheater too easily. And also get a good view of everything. The main arena, the nightmarish underground, and the dungeons. No gladiator matches mean no crowd, right?
Reality: crowded in summer and you will miss the best parts without special access.
The entrance lines of the colosseum can be quite thick during the summer. As it’s the favorite time for the visitors to visit. Each year around 6 million tourists take the colosseum tours. That means around 8 thousand tourists a day.
So there are chances that your visit to the colosseum won’t be that one-to-one visit with the history. Plus visiting the underground and the dungeons require special access.
Trick: to avoid the crowd you can try to visit in the early morning or dusk. The pressure seems a bit lighter at these hours. To get special access to the dungeons, hop on a tour. Or you can get yourself a tour guide to get all the insights into the colosseum.
Expectation: the Vatican represents Christianity only
The history of Vatican city is closely related to the origin of Christianity. And why not! The pope himself lives here. One of the biggest churches st. Peter's Basilica is situated here. I bet you have to be totally a religious person if you want to take the Vatican tours.
For what else can you go there?
Reality: the Vatican is so much more than just a religious purpose
Though it’s true that Vatican city has deep ties with the history of Christianity. Still, you can visit this city ( ops. Sorry country ) for other reasons besides religion. Yes, you have read that right. it’s a country. The smallest in the world.
Despite being small it has a lot to offer. It is the home of magnificent artworks and culture done by Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, van Gogh and many more.
Trick: if you are going for religious purposes try to attend Wednesday’s papal audience. If you are an art lover the Vatican has a Vatican museum in the offering. One way or the other you won’t be disappointed with the Vatican in any way.
Expectation: Some Resting time on Spanish steps
The Spanish Steps are the widest stairway in Europe. Most of the time it is the meeting spot for many tourist groups. Or a break time in between the tour. The wide stairs will tempt you to have a seat and chat with your group for a few minutes. But are you allowed to do that?
Reality: no, you can't sit there
Visitors are not allowed to sit on Spanish steps from 2019. To preserve the beauty of this classic monument the authority has taken this and some other measures. For instance, you can't eat on Spanish steps.
You are not allowed to dress up as roman officers. Writing on the steps is highly forbidden. Without permission, you can’t sell something on Spanish steps.
Trick: So what exactly are we gonna do when visiting Spanish steps? Well enjoying Spanish steps depends a bit on the timing. Try to visit it in spring. At this time of the year, the steps are beautifully decorated with lilac azalea plants.
You can also shop around. Just to let you know everything out there is super expensive. So you might try window shopping.
Expectation: as St. Peter's Basilica is a church that means easy entry
Vatican City has become the center of the Catholic world because of the aura of St. Peter's basilica. It is also known as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom." and it still functions as a church. Churches are quiet and vacant places, right?
Reality: Nope, might have to wait in a long line
You have to keep in mind that st. Peter Basilica is a church which is also a famous tourist spot. Every day around 50,000 people enter the st. Peter's basilica. That means a long queue in most hours of the day for the entrance.
So it’s not going to happen that you will enter st. Peter's basilica without any wait for free. Plus the Wednesdays are for the papal audience. On this day the pope addresses the mass. That means more crowds. I hope you get the point by now.
If you visit st. Peter's basilica without any solid plan your visit might not be sweet and serene.
Trick: to avoid the crowd you can join any skip-the-line tour. Which will allow you to skip the entrance line for a few bucks extra. And if joining the papal audience is not on your wishlist avoid Wednesday mornings.
Expectation: Pantheon looks the same all day round
The greatest roman pantheon is an ancient church. Rumors say It used to be covered in bronze. It’s not covered in bronze anymore, but still tons of visitors come to visit the pantheon every day. But only a few of them know that the pantheon from the inside looks different in the different times of the days and months.
That’s why you might hear some people say “pantheon’s okay” and some other people say “oh my god, I haven’t experienced something like being inside of the pantheon in my life”.
Reality: duh, not at all. Sunlight and rain makes it look prettier
There's a big hole in the ceiling of the pantheon and that makes all the difference in visiting hours. If your timing hits correctly you can see the pantheon in a different light.
Trick: If you really wanna experience the magic of the pantheon try to be there on a slightly rainy day. To see the raindrop come through the large hole of the pantheon ceiling. If the weather doesn’t favor you still you can catch up with the sun positioning to experience the golden hour.
Expectation: Calm and serene visit at Sistine chapel
It took Michelangelo 4 years to finish the Sistine chapel. His passion and love for art can be seen in every stroke. If you are an art lover you will beg the world to leave you and the whole ceiling of the Sistine chapel alone. But is it possible in reality?
Reality: Crowded so much that you can’t even move your elbow
The Sistine chapel is the climax of the Vatican tour. There are people who visit Vatican city only to see the Sistine chapel. That again means a large crowd. Sometimes it’s so big that you can’t even move your hands. How to avoid that?
Trick: if you want the Sistine chapel all by yourself then go for 7 am VIP tours. On this tour make sure that you visit the Sistine chapel when no one else is visiting.
Expectation: Lean on the trevi fountain and toss a coin
Who hasn’t heard the famous myth that if you toss a coin on a trevi fountain you will visit back to Rome again? That’s why visitors all line up with coins to make sure they come back to Rome again and again. But how many of them can shoot the coin right into the water, not on someone’s head?
Reality: hard to reach on hand level distance
Again the crowd is giving all the odds. Visiting the Trevi fountain during The day may not be the best idea. As it would be surrounded by people (tourists). All excited to get a chance of throwing their coins. And if you aren’t lucky your coin might not reach the fountain water.
Trick: instead the best idea is to visit in the evening. Even if you don’t get to throw your coin because of the crowd, you still have a chance to see The fountain lit up with beautiful decorative lights.
Expectation: There’s little distance between one tourist attraction and another
Modern Rome knows how to portray its history and tourist attractions well. Plus the countless numbers of tourist spots are there. Surely one can just drop by a spot and easily visit another tourist spot nearby. right?
Reality: you might need a ride to get from one tourist attraction to another
Yes, Rome is filled with tourist spots but Rome isn’t small either. That means you can kiss goodbye to the sweet misconception that you can visit multiple spots on foot. You will have to change rides to get from one tourist spot to another.
Trick: the best thing that I can advise you is a city tram pass. It is specially designed for the temporary travel ease of the tourists. This city pass can also be used for buses. That means a hassle-free ride every time.
Expectation: museums are quiet and uncrowded
What do we expect from a general museum visit? slow walks, gazing at the arts and artifacts, a minimal crowd as it is supposed to be a boring palace to visit. I mean who visits a museum these days, right?
Reality: not the Vatican museum
If your idea about museums is like above then I bet you haven’t visited the Vatican museum. It is an exciting mixture of art, history, myth, and magic. The Vatican museum has something for everyone. That’s why there are tons of visitors always visiting the Vatican museum.
Trick: The Vatican museum is closed on Sunday so avoid that for unexpected errors. To enjoy fewer crowds, try to go there on Tuesday and Thursday.
Expectation: pizza and pasta only
Are pizza and pasta only things that you have in mind as Italian cuisine? Already made your mind of just having authentic pizza and pasta? Well, think again. You might miss some exotic delicacies if you don't be flexible with your food choices.
Reality: there are tons of dishes to try
When in Rome do as the Romans do. Don't limit yourself to typical Italian foods served in your country as well. Instead, try exotic food to get the full flavor of roman culture.
Trick: it's always a good idea to ask the waiter for special servings of the day. But if you don't wanna do that level of experiment with your taste buds then you can try,
- Allesso di Bollito.
Rome is a lifetime experience. If you put in some effort and money you can easily enjoy Rome tours without any difficulty. Some people experience sour events in Rome because they didn't know about the real scenario.
As you have come to the end of this content I hope now you are well aware of the facts in Rome. And you will create your own kind of fiction while visiting Rome. Ciao.