Having grown up in NY, it’s partially culturally engrained in me to dislike tourists. But there is definitely something magical about childlike wonder in tourists faces.
And although I’ve never liked being a part of tourist groups following an umbrella like ducks in a line, I had my turn to be a duckling; hanging on every word and piece of knowledge our private guide would share on tours of the Colosseum, Forum and Vatican (being an Art History student, I was major fan girling).
Those tours weren’t even the beginning. There’s something historical or monumental around almost literally every other corner.
Also around every corner: tiny cars and mopeds. So. Many. Mopeds. But considering how hilly Rome is (it was built on 7 hills after all), biking doesn’t seem like a viable option and most cars definitely require some serious handling talent to navigate all those tiny streets.
The locals do their fair share of unintentional direction giving; you know you’re in proximity of any well known monument by the names of all cafés and hotels becoming “hotel pantheon” or “cafe quattro fontane.”
Also, Italian is such a lovely language; albeit one I don’t speak. unfortunately. Because having a marginal fluency in Italian would have made this trip a bit easier. So basically: when in Rome, do as the Romans do; in this case, know some of the language.
Overall I found Rome to be magical. From the awesome mix of art and architecture from both Antiquity and the Renaissance to the pizza and plentiful gelato.