It isn't uncommon for travelers to have misconceptions about popular travel destinations. I, of all people should have remembered this quick stat because I live in a city that travelers don't even realize people live in. So when I touched down at the Rome airport and took the drive into town for my visit, I was surprised by a few things, and because I share everything here on Lifecycle Diaries, I decided to give you my inside scoop on four things that I wasn't expecting during my visit to Rome.
1. Shopping - You hear about Paris and London, but the shopping in Rome is full of treasures. From small boutiques to large shops there is something for every budget. They also have huge Mango stores (look here, you are welcome). My favorite place to shop was a tiny NYC studio apartment sized tee shirt boutique. The material was soft, they had a lot of fun designs, and to this day the Audrey Hepburn shirt I bought is my go-to staple.
2. Aggressive hagglers - I've been to Mexico, I have seen hagglers, but WOAH. In Rome, particularly around the major tourist hot spots, those hagglers are aggressive. To the point, they will put something in your hand and demand money. It was very uncomfortable. However, don't make eye contact and you should be good for the most part.
3. How many places serve Pizza - I knew I was going to the mecca of all pizza mecca's, but I was honestly surprised at how much pizza and gelato for that matter was available. They take pizza very very serious. If you are by the Vatican, stop at Pizza Zizza. It is hands down the best pizza I've ever eaten. It took me months to eat American pizza again.
4. Close together everything is - This may sound silly, and I'm sure someone if out there saying "duh" right now, but everything is so close together. From the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain to the Spanish Steps, landmarks were so easy to walk to. A fun fact, if you visit on Easter weekend as I did, they will shut down a lot of the major streets because of how many people there are which makes getting places so much more accessible (crowded, but more accessible).
Have you been to Rome? Share what was unexpected to you, in the comment section.