Thursday, September 6, 2007

A Visit to the Great City of Rome

The great city of Rome is an amazing place to visit. The entire downtown area is like seeing one big collected museum. Wherever you look, wherever you go there are historic buildings, fountains, statues, monuments, and palaces. History is plentiful in Rome. Visiting this great city is very exciting and educational. See what has been one of the most important cities in our western history when visiting Rome.
The streets of Rome are narrow and winding. The building plan of Rome is somewhat confusing; so many streets, and many of them change their name along the same road. Even with a good map it can be quite hard to find your way around Rome.
There are plenty of tourists in Rome. The most renown sights are very crowded with long lines of people waiting for admittance. The typical tourist traps can be found in Rome, lots of street salesmen offering souvenirs of all sorts. Apparently it is against the law for these street salesmen to set up their goods on the streets of Rome. So I've been told.
When visiting Rome it is adviseable to take a bus tour and get familiar with the general plan of the City. There are several tour operators that run guided tours from Stazione Termini. Buses are open-roof in Rome, so bring a hat to protect yourself from the sun. There are also bus tours that run to the outskirts of Rome, e.g. to catacombs, aqueducts and along the Via Appia which is the ancient road on which the Imperial Roman army returned in triumph after successful campaigns. Parts of Via Appia are preserved, as you ride on 2000 year old pavement.
Walking is a very good way to see Rome, but be prepared for long distances and heat. It is very easy to find nice outdoor places to sit and have a rest and get something to drink along the road. Be careful if you have a limited expense account, at some places they will charge you 5 euro for a small bottle of water or 7 euro for a small glass of beer. Also note that there are public drinking fountains everywhere in Rome. The water is said to be of good drinking quality.
Taxi services are a great means to get around Rome. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to catch. There is also a large number of city buses that run frequently more or less everywhere in Rome. The subway system in Rome is good but there are only two lines crossing each other at Stazione Termini. So far it has been impossible to expand the subway system; wherever they want to dig a new tunnel they run into some archeological finding.
You will find that Rome is a beautiful city with a friendly atmosphere, lots of historic sights, good restaurants, and a lovely climate so it makes for a nice vacation.

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