When I think of Rome, I think of Russell Crowe in sandals looking sexy as hell as he wows the crowds at the Colosseum. ‘My name is Maximus Descmus Meridius, father of a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life of the next.’ Or something like that anyway.

The Colosseum is just as spectacular in reality, if filled with tourists rather than Romans, and that is just one of the many incredible things to see in The Eternal City…

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Seeing the Unique Side of Rome

Rome is beautiful city, with so much to explore, learn and admire. However, many tourists find that they are overwhelmed when exploring the city. If you are looking for a unique tourist experience, there is much to learn from the city of Rome, you only need to know where and how to find the unique spots.

This summer I planned to see the Rome that is not in the brochures. With the help of local guides, I discovered the Rome underneath the tourist frontier. Whereas it’s important to visit the famous spots in the city, such as the Colosseum, for a greater adventure take to the underground cities. Ancient Rome is still buried in what is now the new Rome. Surprisingly, underneath, the city there are tunnels, showing the former layout of one of the greatest ancient cities.

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Rome is most beautiful in the evening hours, and especially in the summer is rather lovely. I left my room for a simple walk, and ended up venturing into a small cafe for dinner and then exploring Rome’s night clubs. Lively and exciting is an understatement.

The Vatican and St Peter’s

A group of friends advised me to purchase tickets to the Colosseum and Vatican well in advance. The Vatican is packed out with tourists on a daily basis, so the queues are always incredibly long. It’s best to be at the queue very early in order to get a good time for exploration. At St Peter’s Basilica, the simple trick is to carry some luggage, check the same into a nearby church and then walk right into the front of the line with your baggage ticket.

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Rome is a relatively safe city, however in the past decade there has been an increase in terms of the number of petty crimes especially those directed to tourists. As a young woman traveling alone, I was especially prone to scams and thefts. During the second day of my trip, a small distraction by an elderly woman cost me a camera and almost ruined my trips. When walking or traveling, do not be distracted and keep all your property with reach. Make copies of all your travel and identification documents, and leave the originals in the hotel safes. Theft of this could cause much more trouble than you had anticipated.

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The Weather

Of course, in your planning keep a good eye on the weather. During my visit to the Acropolis ruins, I made the mistake of visiting the nearby museums first (and Rome has plenty museums). Unfortunately it rained when I just started my tour of the ruins, which in turn was completely ruined.

During my entire tour, I found that my most memorable experiences came from scraps of conversation with locals and experienced tourists. Learn to ask questions and socialize with the locals. They know the city better than any tour guides, or even brochures. The locals are the ticket to a more exciting time in Rome.

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About Ella

Becky, Steve or the other two useless ones (shhh they won't read this) form part of the Openstories team, a collaborative travel blog that we use to dump our ideas, plans and experiences onto the worldwide web. We're honored that you're hear reading this, and we'd love to hear from you. Thanks for dropping by!