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A Walk in the Park – Touring Rome by the Day

It’s undeniable that there are so many beautiful places that you can lay your eyes on once you get in Rome. But when is the best time to enjoy it? Of course! in the morning, especially when the weather’s just right for some strolling.

Rome Day Tours Is All about Choices

When it comes to Rome day tours, everything will be according to your choice, and it will never be that hard as you’re provided with lots of them. First of all, you can have the option of enjoying this historical city all on your own. If you have a car, then you can simply get away from the usual places of interest of Rome and proceed to the countryside and nearby villages. Certainly, these locations are not covered by professional and commercial day tours. This will surely be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Besides, travel doesn’t have to be super-expensive as there are trains that you can ride going from one point to another.

For those who are visiting Rome for the first time, however, it’s advisable to take on Rome day tours provided by local Official Tour Guides. They would cover numerous places that you can probably miss out if you’re only doing the touring alone. Besides, it’s great to have a private Official Tour guide with you, explaining the rich history of each monument and building that you’re going to pass through.

Normally, Rome day tours are referred to as the walking tours. This is because majority of world-renowned establishments are found close to one another. You can basically start your tour at 10:00 a.m. at the Roman Forum, where imposing buildings used to stand. While you’re there, why don’t you listen to the tales and anecdotes that will be shared by your tour guide? They can give you a glimpse of the political and social life of the Romans, which have been known for their philosophies and theories.

You can then proceed to the Colosseum where gladiators used to reign. They speak so much on the form of entertainment during the days of the emperors. But more than that, your Rome private day tours will provide you on the technicalities of the venue. After all, isn’t everyone always left in awe as to how the Colosseum came to be? Nevertheless, it’s ideal to bring in some cash with you, as you will likely get to pay an entrance fee. Besides, this will help you skip a very long line.

After lunch, you can then proceed to other magnificent edifices, even including those that are found at the back streets. These include the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Pizza Navona, and Trevi Fountain, among others. A fountain that has been the fruit of the collaboration of great Italian artists, such as Borromini and Bernini, is found within the area too.

Rome private day tours can be a lot of fun. However, it’s not only you who share the same opinion. So if you don’t want to have anyone taking on your spot, it’s always best to book your private tour days ahead, especially if it’s going to last for some

Great books about traveling to Rome

This is a selection of books from different genres that make for a good read in the eternal city.

Italo Svevo – ‘A Life’, 1999. Novel, translated.

Anthony Barrett – ‘Agrippina’, 1996. Historical.

David Yallop – ‘In God’s Name’, 1997. Finely researched nvel about papal intrigue.

Irving Stone – ‘Agony and Ectasy. 1989, Fictional novel based on facts about Michelangelo.

John Cornwell – ‘Hitler’s Pope’. 1999. Historical.

Steven Saylor – ‘The House of the Vestals. 1999. Accurately documented fiction set in Ancient Rome.

Edward Gibbon – ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’. 1982. Historical literature.

Elizabeth David – ‘Italian Food’. 1998. Cookery book from the English-language doyenne of European cuisine.

Richard, Francis and Robert Graves – ‘I Claudius, Carcanet Press. 1998. Accurately documented fiction in Ancient Rome.

Alberto Moravia – ‘Racconti Romani’, 1997; ‘The Confromist, 1999. Contemorary fiction, translated.

Colleen McCullough – ‘The First Man in Rome, 1992; ‘The Grass Crown, 1992; ‘Caeser’s Women, 1997. Finely researched fiction set in Ancient Rome.

Agustus Hare – ‘Agustus Hare in Italy’, 1997 (19th century text, re-published)

Italy By Bike: Bike Hotels Near Rome

Open stretches of land and sweet hills make up the scenario that Lazio, the ancient home of the Romans, offers bike enthusiasts who would like to enjoy their favourite sport while on holidays.

Cycling tourism, which has become increasingly popular over the last few years, offers the possibility of a healthy holiday based upon cycling trails, typical products and wellness treatments.

In response to the need to maintain a healthy mind in a healthy body also while on holiday, the bike hotels on the hills of Lazio provide an all-inclusive holiday for cyclists.

Expert guides take guests along the most famous routes between Rome and Naples and bike hotels provide unique bike services, from bike deposits to sportswear, cycling maps and energy food.

Fiuggi is one of the best places for all those who love cycling holidays and would like to combine the fun of a ride with body treatment by the therapeutic properties of the water of Fiuggi spa.

Many bike hotels are equipped with sports and wellness centres for their guests. Others offer cycling holidays, trekking routes and fully-equipped golf centres to live a real active holiday.

The hotel propose many itineraries for cyclists and just as many golf competitions for green enthusiasts also available in the Fiuggi Golf Club and golf calendar full of events.

In addition…. Fiuggi Spa offer curative water treatments and therapeutic paths in the wellness centres: beauty care and tailor made diet for all needs.

Fiuggi and its hotels are a perfect alternative for all those who wish to spend a holiday between sport and wellness to live a special holiday of nature and relax.

In the heart of Ciociaria, one can also taste the typical dishes of Lazio cuisine and visit the historical sites between Rome and Naples to live the ancient tradition.

Rome: Influential Empire, Great Tourist Aim

Rome was originate as distant back 753 BC by the clone, Romulus and Remus. It grew substantially until it became the Roman kingdom which was control by an Emperor from the year 27 BC.

The Roman Empire became a following and economic center for the Western World. Its influence stretched far and wide and it was said that “all transportation lead to Rome.” This most powerful Empire, however, fell in 476 AD. It had a uneven history next its fall. The city preserve its rank as the capital of the Papal States and later on it became a center of culture and imaginative activity which it has somewhat retained to this day.

Over its turbulent history, the inhabitant in the area has risen and fallen depending on the style of the time. In modern times, Rome seems to once again be on an upward scale in terms of its permanent population.

It is a very popular tourist destination seeing around ten million tourists through its city every year. The city is a city of contrasts. On the one hand, tourists will find busy thoroughfares and expensive prices. On the other hand, it is full of small sheltered parks, fountains and piazzas. It is full of ancient ruins, famous monuments and fascinating museums. You can view the remains of ancient times, see the extraordinary architecture from the Renaissance period, enjoy a gastronomical treat in a traditional Italian restaurant or relax in the gardens of European sovereign.

Due to the huge number of tourists that visit Rome per annum there are a vast number of holiday accommodation options to choose from. From the traditional to the unique, visitors can choose the place that appeals to them most. Hotels are a popular accommodation choice in Rome. They range greatly in price and quality. You can choose to stay in luxury hotel or you can easily find a budget hotel often in the area surrounding Termini Station.

Holiday apartments or villas can be found to rent. These are a good option for small groups or families as they provide more space and soltitude than a hotel. Bed and breakfasts are fast becoming popular in Rome. If you go for this option be prepared that they may simply be a room in some-one’s house.

Rome If You Want To – A Traveler’s Guide To Rome

Rome is one of the most beautiful areas in the world. The very cradle of human civilization, its many landmarks are a joy for the eyes to behold. The Eternal City remains unrivaled when it comes to the sheer aesthetic supremacy of its antique structures and its impressive, widely-venerated history. It doesnt come as a surprise then that Rome has claimed the #2 spot on the top travel destinations in the world.

1. Rome

With a climate mild and rainy in winter rather than full of snow, many find Rome the perfect place to vacation during any time of year. You do not need a Visa if youre only staying for 90 days or less. Experts recommend visiting Rome in the off-peak months between October and March to avoid the summer rush. If you can, try to book a hotel near or within the centro storico or historic district.

2. Take The Tour

Be sure to make a list of locations you intend to visit within Rome beforehand to save you time and money. Private tours are a great way to get around and at the same time soak up the local culture. Another great way to economize is by taking the TramBus system, that goes around the city and provides a fascinating tour of Romes neighborhoods.

3. Don’t Miss These Locations

The Coliseum is probably, next to the Vatican, the best structure to visit in the city. You can tour the premises on your own or join those conducted every hour by guides dressed as Gladiators. Operating hours vary throughout the year, so you will want to call in advance if at all possible.

4. The Roman Forum

Check out the civic center of Ancient Rome where political, religious, and economic activities took place. Many of its columns remain standing among the ruins even after 2000 years, displaying the intricacies of Roman architecture. Admission is free, opens at 9 am and closes an hour before sunset. If you want, you can spend a little more to get a personalized guided tour complete with audio pedestals where you can learn more.

5. The Vatican

One of the most popular spots to visit in Rome is, of course, the Vatican. In addition to its religious importance, the Vatican has a fine collection of sculptures, paintings, books, and many other artifacts that chronicle the Catholic Churchs history. You can view St. Peters Basilica, marvel at Michelangelos Pieta, its detailed masonry, or the papal catacombs. Move on to the Vatican Museum where even more magnificent antiquities are housed, not the least of that are Egyptian mummies from B.C. era.

6. The Sistine Chapel

If pressed for time, skip everything else and proceed to the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo, primarily, was known as an excellent sculptor so when Pope Julius II commissioned him to paint the Bible on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he thought it was a ploy by his rivals who thought Michelangelo, not being a full-on painter, would yield mediocrity and eMBArrass himself. Of course, we all know it didnt quite turn out that way. In fact, the Sistine Chapel is probably the most recognized piece of work from the Renaissance period.

Tips for visiting Rome – Part 9

We arrived in Rome at a time of great celebration and high spirits. It was the evening when the Italian team returned to the city, to hold up the shiny, coveted World Cup on an open top double decker, waving at streets lined with revelers. This joyful occasion set the tone for our visit to the Italian capital, as we enthusiastically joined in with the million spectators at the Ancient Circus Maximus.

Over the next six days, we aimed to see all the top tourist sites, and immerse ourselves in the culture and history of Rome. We found that most of these were accessible on foot, and within a fifteen – twenty minute walk of our Via Veneto based hotel. Later, when the July heat finally sapped up our early enthusiasm, we discovered the Metro, which is a very convenient method of travel. It only costs one euro for an hour’s travel, and is easy to navigate around. We used this for areas which were further afield, such as the Vatican.

Of all the amazing sights which we packed into our six day city break, some of my favourites included the Trevi fountain, the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel.

Wonderful, ornate fountains are dotted across the city, and the Trevi is to me the most magnificent of all. This monumental fountain was completed in 1762, and the area around it is now bustling with tourists, throwing in coins, or admiring the ‘sea-horse’ sculptures ascending from the water. On the day we visited, we had to fight the temptation of jumping into the giant pool surrounding it, to cool off from the blistering thirty five degree, mid day sun heat!

When visiting the colosseum, it is advisable to take a tour with one of the many tour guides standing at the front of this ancient gladiator arena. It was worth paying to find out the history of such a building, and imagine the atmosphere that once infused the white marble interior, as Caesars and slaves cheered in unison, whilst wild animals were released from the cellars below. It is also worthwhile to view the colosseum in the evening, when it is lit up, and stands out in the backdrop of the Roman Forum.

The Sistine chapel can be found at the end of a long tour down the many corridors of the Vatican museum. The museum itself is decorated with mosaics, sculptures, tapestries and paintings in every corner. There are so many, that at times it is hard to take everything in. The Sistine chapel, which is the last part of the museum, is covered in paintings by Michaelangelo, which are worth studying in detail. We bought headphone sets from the reception at the Vatican museum, which will tell you detailed information about each exhibit, and are much cheaper than an actual tour guide. As we looked at each painting in the Sistine chapel, a vivid description of each painting, from the Last Judgement to the Old and New Testament scenes depicted on the ceiling, could be listened to on the headset. One detail to remember however, is that flash photography is not permitted due to the effects of fading the paintings.

These are just some of the main attractions we enjoyed when visiting this historic city. We hope you fall in love with Rome as much as we did.

Know All About Rome: A Travelers Guide To Rome

The city of Rome is very impressive mostly because of the antique structures it has. It also has a great history attached with it. Rome was ranked at number 2 position in the 2004 Readers Choice Awards for the Top 10 European Cities (for Conde Nast Traveler). It was behind Florence only.

Rome is dry and hot in summers and rainy in winters. The city has a population of 2.7 million. You need to have a passport to visit Rome, as it is for most of the Italian countries. But you do not have to worry about the visa if your stay is not more than 90 days. You should visit Rome during the off-season that is from October to March. There are too many tourists during the summer months. Try to get accommodation into hotels near the historic district or the centro storico. Hotel de Russie is the situated perfectly between the Spanish Steps and the Piazza del Popolo. This way you will get to visit these places first and then move on to visit other places of interest.

You should explore Rome on your own. You should make a list of the sites you intend to visit. This will make traveling a lot easier for you. It will also help you save time. Private guided tours are also a good option. You can get the bookings done from your hotel only. You can also opt for the TramBus system. It is cheap and good. This bus system takes you to all the beautiful places in and around Rome.

Different people visit different places in Rome however there are certain sites which one should never miss. The Coliseum is the most popular structure in the city. You must visit this place. You can either look around it on your own or go for guides who are part of the conducted tours. The guides dress up as gladiators. The time when these tours are conducted are not fixed so you should call earlier and inquire about them.

After Coliseum the place to visit should be The Roman Forum or Foro Romano. This place has significant historical importance as it was the civic center of old age Rome. This was the place where all the significant activities took place be it political, religious or anything else. Even after 2000 years, its structures depict the Roman architecture in the true sense. There is no entry fee for visiting this place. It opens at 9 in the morning and closes 1 hour before the sun sets. Paid audio and guided tours are also available.

The Pantheon is a very old structure, around 1,800 years old. However the structure is still intact. This structure was built around 125 A.D. the word Pantheon literally means temple to all gods and it was built by Emperor Hadrian. It has got a huge 9 meter opening. That is the only source of light here. Some famous people like Vittorio Emmanuel II, Renaissance painter Raphael, Umberto I and two Kings of Italy are buried here. The building has remains of so many civilizations. You can know a lot about Roman civilization from here. You can learn about their sculpture, clothing, woodwork, language and many other things. You can actually learn about their thoughts also. There is no entry fee for The Pantheon. It is open for visitors throughout the week. It is closed on all holidays excluding Christmas.

You can visit all the listed placed in Rome in a single day. After this, you can spend a 3 hours at The Vatican. Here you can find huge collections of books, paintings, sculptures and many other things related to the history of the Catholic Church. But this time is not sufficient to examine each and every piece out there. You can not go through the entire Vatican collection at one go. In St. Peters you can have a look at Michelangelos Pieta. Then there is the magnificent Vatican Museum where some great antiques are placed.

There are also some Egyptian mummies here. However one place which you must visit is the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo was a great sculptor and Pope Julius II asked him to paint the bible on Sistine Chapels ceiling. However his aim to embarrass Michelangelo wasnt fulfilled as Sistine Chapel went on to become one of the greatest pieces of art from the Renaissance period. The schedules here arent that regular so you should inquire about it well in advance.

Cafes and restaurants are there almost everywhere in Rome so there is no problem in finding them when you are feeling hungry. For traveling, wear comfortable dress and shoes. Do not carry too much luggage with you. To know all the things you need to do and need to visit, consult the hotel concierge or some other tourist information.

Italian travel guide

Italy as one of the most ancient European civilizations is unknown to none. Italy had been the land of Roman Empire for long. Today the country has a rich history and tradition that speaks for itself and gathers tourists from all round the world. Italy is a place known for its wonderful cities and their archaic art and architecture. There are great Roman structures like Roman Colosseum and Pantheon; the Sistine Chapel, sculptures by maestros Leonardo, Michelangelo etc. and many more attractions that can make your vacation a dream come true.

A Walk through the Italian Cities-

The cities of Italy are quite popular across the globe. For instance the land of Julius Caesar i.e. the city of Rome also known as the “Eternal City” has an aura of exotic Roman art and architecture. Rome is famous for its architectural masterpiece of the Colosseum, the National Gallery of Ancient Art which in itself is a magnum opus and displays the work of Bernini, Raphael and Titan. The Capitoline Museums houses the complete history of Rome, the Gallery of Modern Art presents the 19th and 20th century at work by eminent artists and the Galleria Borghese museum in Rome has the largest art collection in the world.

The city of Venice seeks no introduction. It is the city where tranquility prevails and the beguiling art and architecture makes everyone’s day. The visitors are attracted by pulls like the Grand Canal, the museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Oriental Art in the Santa Croce region of Venice, which put at parade the art work from countries like Japan, Indonesia and China. Also worth visiting are the Academy of Fine Art and the Correr Museum known for its Renaissance art.

The fashion city of Milan has always been inviting visitors. It is a primary economic and cultural center of Italy. Milan is popular for the Romanesque architecture in the Lombardy region of which Milan is a part; The Cathedral of Milan that is a paradigm example of Gothic architecture. The Milan museums include some of the fascinating museums in the world. For instance the Brera Gallery that presents the tour de force of geniuses like Raphael and Giovanni Bellini. You can also gaze at the awesome “The Last Supper”, Jesus and his disciples at the Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie church.

Since the entire Italy is swarming with museums and art, the city of Florence too grounds few wonderful ones. The Uffizi Gallery which is best known for the art work of Sandro Botticelli – “Birth of Venus”, Leonardo da Vinci’s strokes, and apart from these the Dutch, French and Spanish work of art it displays.

Besides this, Florence is thronged for its delectable cuisine, hill slopes and the oldest archaeologically significant region of this place i.e. the Tuscany region. One among the wonders of the world, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is nestled in the Italian town of Pisa in the Tuscany region.

The Vatican City is a center of attraction in Italy particularly for magnificent Sistine Chapel, designed by the architect Baccio Pontelli and feathers added to it by Bernini. The galleries of this Chapel present some of the exclusive art works-paintings and sculptures like “run-of-the-mill”, the archaic bronze statue of Apoxyomenos, Michelangelo’s sculpture ‘The Pieta’ and so forth.

After these Italy has many other cities that have always been welcoming visitors with their pleasant surroundings and amazing art work.

So one should, in one’s life time definitely bask in the glory of the skill of distinguished artists, painters and architects, no where else but Italy.

Rome Tourist Information: Weather in Rome, Italy

Autumn Weather in Rome

Without fail, Romans recommend that the best time to travel to Rome is from mid-September to October. Yes, it might rain, but the temperatures turn out to be quite nice, even if it is getting a tiny bit chilly at night. Almost no one recommends November, but I’ve had very good luck the last few years with weather in the first half of November.

Spring Weather in Rome

May has almost the same temperatures as October, and April, while you’re likely to feel chilly at night, is almost as good.

The effects upon tourism and the tourist industry could be numerous, though I will only mention a couple. Many people complain about hotel and apartment rates increasing, not only during the summer months, but throughout the whole year. And quite right I say, when there are 300 rooms with air-conditioning systems set to -5 degrees Celsius all day, (whilst the guests themselves are stripping off beside the pool trying to soak up every last heat ray that the sun exudes). Add to that, the fact that the hotter countries, including Italy, often experience troubles such as water shortages during the summer months. One cannot travel more than 20-30 kilometers outside of the center of Rome, without spotting a water tower; ready and waiting for such emergencies.

Then again, as a frequent traveller myself, I have to admit that I am amongst those who whinge about the cost of holidays and the annoying chamber maid that turned off my air-con again. I also complain after 3 days of staying in an air-conditioned room that my asthma is playing up and find myself, throughout the remainder of my holiday, popping anti-histamine tablets and taking my inhalers to counter the side-effects of my “cutting-my-nose-off-to-spite-my-own-face” overindulgence. (But that’s part of being on holiday is it not?) I am of course trying my best to play devils advocate. But, again in favour of hotels, the hotter the weather, the more washing of sheets and towels the hotels are required to do as people sweat and consequentially shower/bathe more, (affecting the volume of water).

As far as the industry its self is concerned, yes; people do flock in their thousands, from the colder parts of the world to the heat, as soon as the summer months arrive, BUT, when you feel like the core of your body has turned into volcanic lava, are you really going to want a 10oz Sirloin Steak and all the trimmings for your dinner; or (to use Italy as an example) a 4-5 course dinner of starter, pasta dish, meat dish, dessert and coffee/spirit? I know that I personally lose 90% of my appetite for large and hot meals in the heat. Then again I do drink more, so do the restaurants and bars rely on this to make their money?

For residents, the temperatures can cause several problems. People taking time of work due to problems such as heat/sun stroke, problems with dehydration or people generally taking days off to go to the beach. Add to that, everything in Italy slows down. The Italians are well-known for being “laid-back” and “easy with time”, but the truth is that in the summer months, it’s hard to get anything done. I know that I personally find it difficult to move some days without finding myself “glowing”. Older people in Italy are told to visit supermarkets and shopping centers to help them cool down. Last year I found myself looking forward to going to a well-known Italian meat supermarket, simply because the entire store is a freezer. The only problem was, I’d feel sick as soon as I stepped outdoors, as it was like jumping from Scotland to Italy. The heat, after the extreme cool, was thick and choking. Driving your car can be a nightmare, anywhere from not being able to plug in your seat belt or touch the steering wheel because they have been heated to melting point; to getting stuck in hot, sticky, airless traffic jams. Weeds and bushes on the sides of the road have been known to set on fire, by a combination of the sun drying them out and the heat from the tarred roads setting them alight. Occasionally there are problems with power-outages in homes and shops, because the generators, wires or transition boxes have overheated. Or how do you feel about brushing your teeth in hot water? The pros of course… if like me you are to tight-pursed that you refuse to fork out for air-conditioning, your power bill in the summer months can decrease to almost nothing in Italy. Unlike the old cold summers I used to endure when I lived in Scotland, there’s no need to have your water heater on all day to take a shower or wash the dishes. No need for heating or lights on all day thanks to the light and heat of the sun. And finally, my personal favourites, you can put away your winter duvet at nights and enjoy the reduced quantity of laundry, thanks to the fact you wear less clothes and used less bed linen.

Now in 2007. This year, June was HOT. Very hot. By far, warmer than last year, but it followed a very wet April and May. July has been up and down. I am lucky to live north of Italy in the mountains where we get some breeze; but on a trip to the south of Rome (where I used to live also), to visit friends a few weeks ago, I realised just how lucky I really am. The change in temperature from the north to the south was uncanny. There was literally a 5-10 degree drop that day between my home in the north and my friends in the south. More shocking to me, was the change in air. Being situated in the countryside here in the north, higher up and surrounded by fields and trees etc. our air is fresh and soft on the nose and throat (terrible for any one with Hay-fever, but none the less a good clean air. In the south however; my friends live in a reasonably built up area, even the countryside full of houses and small repair garages and abandoned buildings. The air is thick, smoggy and hot. My father, on a trip to visit, once described it as holding a hair dryer in front of your face and I cannot think of a better explanation.

I cannot determine whether the increase in the temperature within Italy, or the effects; are caused by Global warming, or if we are quite simply receiving a freak weather change; but as an expat in Rome, I can say that the weather change is certainly noticeable. As for the effects, well I could be right I could be wrong, I cannot know, but I would like to hope that tourism and peoples desires to visit hotter countries such as Italy will not be affected too much, as Italy is a truly beautiful country to visit and with so much to enjoy and such easy access to low cost flights and airports and with the ease of self-booking thanks to teletext and the Internet; it would be a shame for the weather to spoil it all.

Tips for visiting Rome – Part 11

“Are you English?” your new friend says excitedly, “I love London…my favourite city. And the girls, belissimo!” he bellows, whilst kissing his palm and throwing the residue into the breeze. “What size are you sir?” he continues “I have some leather jackets here. I’ve just been to a fashion show and I don’t want to return to Naples with any stock left over, so I’m going to give you one for free!”

So here you are walking around Rome somewhere near the Fountain of Trevi, minding your own business, a snout buried in a street map and suddenly a car pulls up. The driver asks for directions and then discovers you’re new around here too. Hello, you think, he sounds suspiciously Italian!

“I’m sorry but I’m only a visitor here myself” you say with a friendly and concerned gesture. And that is the cue that he’s been hoping for.

My goodness, what a nice man you think. He passes it through the window, hoping you’ll caress it like a kitten. Are you smitten? Who cares? It’s free! Just as you’re about to give thanks and toddle off, out drops the metaphorical bombshell. He’s got an empty tank, and worse, he’s lost his wallet with the credit cards and cash in them! Well do you say to yourself “dear oh dear, the poor man. How is he going to get home? I must give him 50 Euros at once to help him reach his destination? After all, he’s been kind enough to give me a free leather jacket!” Or do you return him the garment with a poverty stricken look upon your face, perhaps with a few choice words to suit the moment?

That little scenario happened to me on three occasions in one day. There’s a small platoon of these peddlers around. I was prepared the last time however. Before my lost friend could utter a word I was primed. “Keep your jacket” I said proud and bold, “I’ve got no money!” That sorted him out alright. He happily drove off looking for someone else. He didn’t drive too far either as less than 200 yards further he was accosting some other poor mug, I mean tourist. The nerve of the man!

It struck me then that perhaps I was standing out like a sore thumb. Well, of course I was! It couldn’t have been clearer than if I had “tourist” stamped across my forehead with a flashing neon arrow pointing at it. So I looked around and noticed that the locals all dressed rather stylishly. Italian men in Rome like their hats. I don’t mean any old hat, no no, I’m talking about fedoras together with a tasty flowing scarf worn with aplomb. That was the solution my wife suggested. So off we trotted and bought a trilby from a charming little milliner a stones throw from the fountain. I already had a scarf, it was January. I was made! After that, I happily roamed around Rome free from harassment. Yes, nobody messed with me, it was clear that I was a local lad.

What then, is the moral of my little tale? It is this. Just because you are a tourist in Rome (or anywhere else for that matter) doesn’t mean you have to look like one! So if you’re wearing a baseball cap, carrying a back-pack, have photographic gizmos slung around various appendages, and a bum-bag around your hips, be prepared for the worst. You’ve flagged yourself up good and proper, and you can happily explain to customs how you acquired all that leather wear.

Provided you don’t do this you should pass with flying colours. Reconnoitre the places you are keen to see by climbing on board a hop on/hop off tour bus. They’re one of the few good values for money. Get up on the top deck, plug in the commentary, then plan your route. Most of the great sites are within reasonable walking distance, but remember…. if you want to get ahead, get a hat!