Have you ever returned from a trip and, upon reflection, found yourself thinking, “If only I had known some of this stuff BEFORE I went!”? At this point, you probably just shake your head and then convince yourself to move on without any regrets ’cause YOLO. Along with a timely reminder about the value of real-life experiences.

If your answer is yes, then high five! I feel ya. If not, then you’re probably a lot more travel savvy than me – please teach me your ways and I will arrange a triple chocolate chip cookie for your efforts c:

The very first time I wished this was upon my departure from Rome. Since Rome was the last stop on our crazy Europe itinerary (it probably wasn’t even that crazy, I just like using that word to make it sound cooler), it was the first chance I got to take a deep breath and look back at our adventures.

Just to be clear: Some of these might not even just be specific to Rome. They could very well be general travelling tips. However, in my head, they will forever be associated with Roma.

1. The Weather is Bipolar

For a Karachiite used to 365 days of sun with maybe 2 days of drizzling (if we’re lucky), the idea that, at any given moment, the sky can burst out into big, fat tears and thunderous rage (literally) is a little difficult to grasp. The three days that we were there, we felt like we experienced three different seasons each day! Thankfully, we had learned our lesson in Florence – check the weather forecast before stepping foot into the great outdoors.

Colosseum Rome
One of those days when the sun shone brightly. A little too brightly, perhaps. I remember my hair feeling like it was on fire until I purchased a hat.

2. The Catcall(er)s Are Worse Than the Pickpockets

Everyone had warned us about potential pickpockets in Rome. But no one had mentioned that catcalling was a thing! I mean, you’d think two girls born and raised in Pakistan, wouldn’t really be surprised – we either develop really thick skins or get ready to take off our chapals every time there’s even the hint of a whistle while walking down the street. When it happens in a place you’d least expect it to though, you can’t help but be a little taken aback. Followed by the realisation that you’re not wearing chapals you can easily take off. On the bright side: we did manage to avoid the pickpockets.

P.S: Not trying to say that the city is full of creeps or anything. Just sharing an experience we had so you can be extra prepared.

3.  The Tourist Spots Also Like To Go On Vacation

As it turns out, it’s kind of important to make sure that a touristy place you’re headed to isn’t currently taking a break from tourists such as yourself. I guess we’re kind of presumptuous like that – just expecting a place will be there looking all grand, waiting for us to take selfies with it. So when we reached the Trevi Fountain, coins on the ready, list of wishes prepped, the last thing we expected was for it to be under renovation. In retrospect, it might have been a good idea to look that up before we showed up, dripping wet, after battling 2 hours of rain.

Trevi Fountain
Wearing a plastic bag posing as a rain coat and getting a picture with whatever can be seen of the Fountain. You can try to avoid me, Trevi Fountain, but you will not succeed! *evil laugh*

Despite everything though, we still managed to have a jolly good Roman holiday (minus any encounters with modern day Gregory Pecks). And just so you’ll believe me, here’s some pictorial proof (yeah, just gonna pretend that you’ll doubt my word because I couldn’t think of any other way to force these photos into the post).

Rome Colosseum
Inside the Colosseum. It was fascinating! I kept getting visions of scenes from ‘Gladiator’. Also, it’s kind of impossible to get photos without anyone else in the frame -.-
Colosseum Rome
I tried to politely ask this kid to get out of the frame for a minute but he just pretended not to understand English. Kids these days. What can ya do.
Colosseum Rome
Just posin’ with some ancient rocks and gravel cause the lighting was good and we managed to find someone willing to take a photo of both of us 🙂
Wishing Well Rome
Showing the Trevi Fountain that we don’t need it by throwing a coin into this random wishing well/pond.
Rome Palatine Gardens
Among the ruins of ancient Rome, posing like a proper young, lady. The truth is my hair was about to catch on fire had I not invested into this hat.
And there you have it: A view of the Colosseum from Palatine Hill.

Final words: The historical charm of Rome, for me, was incomparable to any other city I’ve visited. The haunting ruins of eons past are a reminder of the time when it served as the hub of the Roman Empire. Temples, basilicas, the remains of imperial palaces and the rich mythology that accompanies them is exhilarating.

So, while I wish I had been a little more knowledgeable, I wouldn’t ever want to go back in time and replace it with another city.

That’s all for now. Ciao!

26 thoughts on “3 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Travelling to Rome”

  1. Oh I hate when tourist attractions are closed! That’s something we learned the hard way too. Spend all that money you’d think we’d google as much as we can about our prepared itinerary! It looks like you guys had a lovely time regardless 🙂

  2. Wow, love these photos. Rome is my favourite city in the world! There’s no place like home, but there’s no place like Rome. And it’s so true what you say. The catcalling isn’t local to Rome either, I’ve definitely had these problems in other Italian cities. Not everyone likes the Italian capital, but I kinda love that’s it’s a bit gritty and dirty too. It has a darker side. What do you think? How did it compare to other places you’ve visited in Italy/elsewhere?

  3. I’ve been caught out a few times, showing up to a monument or particularly touristy spot, only to find that it’s closed for renovations or it has scaffolding surrounding it so there’s no way that you can see it properly or get a good photo of it. It’s annoying, but it’s got to be done to keep them beautiful and preserve them. I went to Rome in the middle of Summer I think, so it was just really hot all day, every day! It’s a bit of a shame that it rained so much during your trip, but I love your maxi dress!

  4. Haha! Your piece made me lol so many times. As a British person I am used to the rain (always have an umbrella) but noone really talks about the rain in Rome. Still, it meant you got to wear your plastic bag posing as a raincoat so it’s all good!

  5. I totally agree with the weather being bipolar! Coming from India and living in Europe, I’m amazed how one can witness 3 seasons in a day but that’s Europe for ya 😀

  6. I was also disappointed when the Trevi Fountain was under renovation when we visited Rome. But instead of feeling bad about it, perhaps its a good excuse to have a reason to revisit Rome again.

  7. Happened so many times that I’m not prepared for the trip coz well I wag too caught up with finishing my work before the holiday – umbrella in Netherlands, jacket in Japan and many more.. Lovely take on the topic.

  8. It’s such a bummer when you find things under renovation. It’s a great excuse to come back for another visit though! It sounds like you managed to have a fantastic trip even without the Trevi.

  9. The photos are beautiful I have always wanted to visit there but I’m glad you warned me about the creeps! Thanks for sharing.
    Julie*www.hdthreviews.com

  10. I’ve been meaning to comment here. Can’t wait until we tackle Rome in the near future. I will be planning our trip soon so these tips are great! Good to know about the weather…just in case! The pictures came out beautiful!

  11. Rome is definitely on our must see list! I love posts like this because they help give me an actual idea of what a place will be like before we get there (the guidebooks don’t always do a good job of this). I’d heard about the pickpockets, but not about the catcallers–SO annoying!

  12. glad your hair didn’t catch on fire great post. I heard on the news today Trevi Fountain collected 1.5 million dollars of change that was tossed into the fountain. It all went to the catholic charities. Hopefully it will be open when if you go back.

  13. Hey Rimsha! Loved this post. I was in Rome some time around 2004 if memory serves me right. The Colosseum has got to be my favorite! Although something was up that day and they were only allowing paid, escorted tour groups to enter the building. The lines were so long I would have aged! So I toured from the outside, and YES, Gladiator was coming back to me! Did you get a chance to visit Pompeii? Please tell me yes! (I get excited!) The Trevi Fountain is my favorite as well – and there are those famous steps there too where people take photos. I was told if you toss a coin in the Trevi, you visit Rome again. I tossed! Let’s see if I go back. I do want to! SO BAD! Many years back – I believe in 2001 – some rebel had thrown red paint in some stream outside the Trevis compound. Turned the entire fountain water red! People had such a big photo opportunity DO GOOGLE!
    You look so, so beautiful. I wish I could meet you some time InshaAllah.

  14. thanks for sharing, been to Italy several times and what a place? it`s like opening a pandora box.
    As you mention in your post, be on the look out for pick pockets who can really ruin any vacation.

  15. We are heading to Rome next month!! When will the renovation be over?? Do you have any other posts about Rome. Email the links to me!! 😀

  16. What a shame the Trevi was like that when you arrived! We went to Rome last summer and although I had been before, it was still a lot hotter than we expected. The Spanish Steps were closed for restoration as well when we went – I wanted to live like Audrey in Roman Holiday with my Giolitti gelato cone on the steps but sadly it wasn’t meant to be! Beautiful city though, I love visiting Rome. My top tip for anyone is to research the attractions they really want to see – we booked ahead for the Sistine Chapel and Colosseum and sailed past all the queues when it was scorching hot!

    http://victoriaspongepeasepudding.com/

  17. I’ve always wanted to visit Rome, and your points about checking weather and renovation projects in advance are a great reminder for any vacation! Loved your pics at the Coliseum 🙂

  18. great list!

    I’ve been to Rome twice before, and I do plan on going again – it’s a great city and I’m a big fan of classical history, culture, language, and architecture, BUT… it’s a bit of a pain in the ass to me now. You really do have to go in Winter/early Spring in order to not melt in the heat and also to avoid the absurdly massive crowds in Summer. During my visit in 2015, the Trevi Fountain was ALSO on vacation! haha, quite unfortunate, but I had seen it once before so I wasn’t too upset.

    As a guy, I have virtually no experience with catcallers – and luckily also none with pickpockets. It’s sad that catcallers are still a thing, and rather annoying for people, especially foreigners, to go through that when they’re not expecting or used to it. It’s just inappropriate and also offensive to many women. Good on you for the stiff upper lip attitude and powering through.

    Again, great post and photos! looking forward to reading more. You’ve got such an interesting perspective!

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