Rome, Italy

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Rome, Italy is one of the most exciting historic cities of the western world. It is where the ancient past of the Roman Empire and the busy, often chaotic present coexist in one space. The modern city of Rome is huge and sprawling, host to 3.8 million people--and in the famous Coliseum, almost as many stray cats. All joking aside, Rome is one of the most densely historical and yet in-the-moment cities you can experience.

One word of advice when visiting Rome, especially for the first time: have a definite plan. Your time is valuable while you're on vacation, and in the case of Rome, before you know it, time's up. There's just so much to see, most of it right in the ancient city center, from the Coliseum to the Forum, the Piazza di Spagna to the Vatican.

Smart Travel in Rome

Even a few days in Rome are often not enough for visitors to really take in they're seeing. However, the overwhelming nature of seeing Rome can be converted into pure frustration if you waste time through poor planning. Poor planning consists of failure to put an itinerary together, not researching the city to find specific sites of interest to you, and finally, such basic failures as traveling without maps, credit cards, identification, and cash (or, if you prefer, traveler's checks).

Getting lost in Rome is not necessarily an unpleasant experience, but it certainly can be. Without a map or a rudimentary grasp of Italian, you may end up going in circles and wasting time before finding some Samaritan to help you get your bearings. For this reason, it's always important to bring along an Italian dictionary and phrase book. Even better, enroll in a convenient online or CD-ROM Italian course a few months before traveling.

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