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“The ups and downs of Rome”
Review of Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome
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Ancient Rome Bike Tour
Ranked #456 of -19,665 things to do in Italy
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“The ups and downs of Rome”
Reviewed 1 June 2014

Oh dear, Rome, all those wonderful places to see and admire tarnished by a grubby, run-down, cash-starved city.

If you're disabled, or less-mobile, be prepared to be frustrated, and give the Roman Forum a miss as it's undulating, cobbled pathways make it almost impossible to negotiate.

Be prepared, also, to be disgusted by public toilets, even in some nicely presented restaurants you'll find a single loo with no seat and so over-used that the flush can't catch up, so the loo is blocked. Few had hand-drying facilities, none had hot water and cold water is pumped out by foot on a floor button.

Hygiene in cafes and restaurants is not a top priority. We were very disappointed in the food in restaurants, too. The pizzas are ok, but everything else we ate lacked imagination and was dull and, usually, dry for lack of sauce.

The familiar, red, hop-on-hop-off citysightseeing buses, so good in British cities, are a much poorer relation in Rome. The commentary is occasional, rather than 'running' and is often out of sync with what's outside the bus. We crawled through the traffic-congested streets and passed so many unannounced, interesting buildings, landmarks and statues that we were bewildered as well as deeply irritated by the constantly interrupting piped music (I'll never be able to enjoy Boccarini's minuet again), which looped round and drearily round.

For goodness' sake, buy your Vatican passes for the museum and Sistene chapel online before you visit Rome and print them out, to save a great deal of time; the queues are truly flabbergasting! When you arrive at the Vatican, keep right, walking past the long, winding line of hot, bored people who didn't pre-book.

If you want to hire the audio guides for the tour of the Vatican museum, make sure you have proper ID, eg, your passport, or a credit or debit card. But you don't really need a guided tour; observing the groups of guide-led tourists, we saw only bored, 'get-me-out-of-here' faces. Stroll around and don't linger too long by any one statue, vase or exhibit, there are many more, very similar ones to be seen! If you want some extra info other than that given by the exhibit, evesdrop on a passing tour group!

It's well worth buying a Roma Pass as it buys you three days of public transport use and entry into two of the museums. We used ours to avoid long queues at the Colosseum and castel Sant Angelo. With a Roma Pass, you can ignore the countless touts trying to sell you a 'fast queue' pass.

The queue for St Peter's basilica will look daunting, but it moves constantly, since the basilica is vast and free to enter and the wait isn't nearly as long as it looks like it'll be.

Do visit the Pantheon, it looks like it was dropped into the city centre by aliens, doesn't take long to look round and is quite bizarre.

Public transport is quite punctual, but always - ALWAYS - crowded. Be prepared to shoehorn your way onto the Metro trains. Oh, and pinch your nose as you walk into Metro stations, they all stink of urine and some pong of poo, too; but do take a deep breath before squeezing yourself into either train or bus, since all that heat generates an awful lot of sweat and your nose WILL be pressed up into someone's armpit.

Metro trains and buses are rickety and Metro stations are scruffy, gloomy places.

We had a tight schedule for our 3 days, but, avoiding queues as we did, only missed out a couple of lesser-important wanna-sees. An earlier arrival than 2pm, or a later departure than 9am would've sufficed to cover all the 13 main must-sees.

Whatever you do choose, if you have to miss something on your itinery, do not miss St Peter's basilica.

The city needs a massive clean-up and its service-providers need a shake-up.

There are far too many jobless immigrants selling tat and far too many beggars, including a disturbing number of severely disabled ones, scuttling along the pavements on home-made trollies, a la Dehli or Mumbai, for the comfort of the social conscience, so, be prepared to be seriously disturbed.

Romantic tradition says throwing a coin into the Trevi fountain ensures a return trip to Rome. My coins stayed firmly in my purse.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank Annette C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Eye opener”
Reviewed 13 May 2014 via mobile

So much to see in close proximity to each other. We're here for 3 nights for our 7th anniversary and wanted to do something interesting. This is my 2nd visit and my partners 1st and I was still as excited as if it was my 1st visit. Wished we were staying longer, so much to see and not enough time to fit it all in. Coliseum, Pantheon, Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain, to name a few. We walked everywhere as we didn't want to miss anything. We'll have to visit again to see what we've missed and see our favourites again.

Thank Tiny2golly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
303 reviews
120 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 May 2014

Ancient Rome is impressive. From the Coloseum to the Pantheon, you can only marble at these achievements for that time period. It is incredible how advanced that society was for the time in those areas.

Visited April 2014
Thank HectorFL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Commerce Township, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Be prepared”
Reviewed 12 April 2014

Rome has many antiquities to see. One of them, the Colosseum, is a tremendous masterpiece of architecture. Considering they've lasted over 2000 years is quite remarkable. You don't want to miss it. Be ready for some serious walking and stair climbing. The public toilets are like porta potties but they don't always work well. Just remember they didn't build this structure with toilets in mind so bring lots of hand sanitizer and/or some type of hand wipes along with some kleenex or toilet paper. Crowds were thick but it was definitely worth seeing. Amazing to think of the battles between gladiators and the death of Christians. This was also a place that the flooded on purpose. If possible we'd recommend getting a guide who can give more information and perhaps save you from missing out on the details. We didn't and were disappointed we had so many questions that weren't answered when we were there. Our time was limited too.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Edie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
92 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“walking in to the history!”
Reviewed 12 April 2014

you must walk in the area and it'll throw you in the ancient Roman civilization.wonderful atmosphere.

Visited March 2014
Thank leila m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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