Last year I managed to visit Bologna and Venezia for the first time, it was beautiful places but at the same time very touristic.
I guess I felt the same when I was visiting Roma, which I could say probably the most touristic places in the whole Europe (or come second after Paris).
In general, I already fell in love with Italy, for several reasons.
Italian people are very warm (in my opinion) compare to north European of course (and I was staying in Denmark for a long time, so my definition of 'warm people' probably has a huge bias).
I remember the first time I visit Italy in 2010, I was arrived in Bologna airport.
At that moment, something went wrong with my cell phone so my SIM card was blocked!
I could not contacted my friend with my cell phone, so I tried to change my money with coins.
Unluckily, not every Italian understands English! Yes, it was really an effort just to exchange paper money for coins from people. I was a bit panic and even asking the information center was not very helpful.
In the end, I managed to get coins to make a call with public phone (with only Italian instruction) because these young Italians couples who understood English and even gave me 50 cents, for free. Sweet.
Anyway, so this is my second visit to Italy, but my first visit to Rome. And it was July, high season for the tourist. I was traveling alone and most of the times I felt I was trapped between these English-speaking tourists from the States, or UK.
Strange, I didn't feel like traveling in Italy at all.
People around me speak with obnoxious American/Bristish accents.
Hmmmm.... So that's the story how I developed resistance towards US/Brit accents (or the people, because then I could hear their pointless conversations accidentally).
Back to the reason why I love Italia, not just the people. But also the foods. I love pasta and pasta sauce and gellato and tiramisu (I love all the Italian desserts besides Tiramisu).
And the weather! It was a bit too hot even for a tropical girl like me, in the mid of July. I wish I could revisit Rome later during autumn or spring to experience more convenient weather.
Rome is on my top wish of travel lists, since I love the story of Roman history when I was young. When I was a kid, I was basically raised by comic books and one of them was Asterix.
I learned that Roman history conquered many places in Europe in the past, and Giulius Cesare as one of the big famous (or infamous) conquerors during that golden period of Roman emporium.
il Colosseo Amphiteatre :: built in ca. 70-80 ADTo actually visit this historical places where Colloseum, tombs, statues, ruins from hundreds, even thousands years ago felt like a dream come true for me!
It was half unreal, and half realisation from a pilgrim like me :)
It was too short to visit for 4 days actually, I actually missed Museo di Vaticano (because I didn't want to wasted time queue for 5-7 hours to get inside the Sistine Chapel- and will spend only couple of seconds only to see the ceiling painted by Michaelangelo Buonarotti.)
Not that I don't like works of art from this Italian maestro, but simply in the name of anti-hegemony I refused to give more money to Vatican.
All my Italian friends have warned me that Vatican has loads of money but still steal from tourists, in the name of religion or historical arts.
BUT, I could say that I was happy enough to be around the city and surrounding areas, even though I missed the museum.
It was trully historical places all over the cities.
My host, an Italian man originally from Bari but has worked in Roma for years, told me that recently the government has stopped to dig a place to work on a new metro line.
Just because everytime they dig they found a new archeological sites. Just as awesome as that.
My tips how to get around Roma is,
1. Bring a bottle for water (water could be get freely from the fountains almost everywhere).
2. Be careful of your belongings, especially when taking the public transport (metro). There are many pickpockets, don't look too 'flashy'.
3. Speak a bit of Italians (with the right accent!) it's so annoying when American tourist saying 'Grazie' and pronounce the 'z' wrongly !
4. It's so easily to get lost in this city, even with the map in your hands. Don't be shy to ask people. And if a guy asked you out for a coffee instead of giving the right direction, just lie to him and say you already have Italian boyfriend at home :-)
5. For those who wanna buy souvenirs, find a place a bit further from touristic places. Magnetic fridge should be cost 1 Eur if you find a right place.