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A Roman Holiday

Rome is one of the most uniquely beautiful cities in the world. Many travellers can recall the thrill of walking through the city and having ancient ruins suddenly appear between the buses and taxis whizzing by.

Central Rome is considered to be the area within a large ring road called the Grande Raccordo Anulare. Within this circle, you’ll find more than enough to keep you busy, such as the Colosseum, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Via del Corso, Fountain of Trevi, Spanish Steps, Roman Forum, the Vatican and more.

For getting around Rome, the public transportation company ATAC provides bus, train and tram tickets for $1.34 (€1) which can be used within central Rome. One ticket is valid for unlimited transportation within 75 minutes of first use. Information booths are posted all over the city with multi-lingual staff and are fantastic for pointing you in the right direction.

Public transport (or by foot) is the best way to get around Rome, and the ATAC system is economical and convenient. You can buy tickets from Tabacchi stands (similar to newsagencies, look for the ‘T’ sign).

Rome is famous for many things, but unfortunately pick pocketing is one of them: it is extremely important to be aware of your belongings and bags on crowded trains and buses. What feels like jostling could actually be your camera and priceless memories being stolen, so make sure your pockets and bags are secure and don’t carry all your valuables on you.

Besides the main tourist attractions within Rome, there are plenty of other places to channel Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.

For that quintessential Roman feeling, the medieval quarter Trastevere is full of winding cobblestone streets brimming with bars, restaurants, piazzas and cafes. Here you will find washing hanging from windows, tourists getting snap happy and locals enjoying aperativo.

Across the Tiber River, Campo de Fiori is a large square with daily fresh flower and vegetable markets and buzzing nightlife. The square is fringed with delicious restaurants and cafes, and the surrounding streets are full of boutiques.

If you’re after a little slice of the ‘real’ Rome, Testaccio is an ideal place to start. Only a short walk from the Piramide Metro station, this ancient working-class suburb is known for trendy clubs specialising in jazz and restaurants serving traditional Roman dishes. There is also plenty of shopping along Via Marmonata and an outdoor market.

Aventino is an area on a hill right by Testaccio among dignified streets and gorgeous homes. At the top of the hill is an orange grove garden boasting a panoramic view of Rome. Nearby, look out for a dark green door with a line of people behind it. Peep through the hole in the door for an almost impossibly perfect view of St Peter’s Basilica, framed by two rows of trees. You will also find the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verità) in Aventino.

Rome is as vibrant, historically important and culturally rich as ever. Don’t be afraid to chat with locals and find out their tips to enjoy the city that wasn’t built in a day.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Sydney
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
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Sonia Taylor