There’s a huge difference between sightseeing a city and experiencing it. Rome is one of those cities that is much enjoyable when you allow yourself to wander its streets, not knowing where you’ll end up. You’ve probably heard the phrase “when in Rome (do like the Romans do)”. Its meaning stems back to following customs and traditions of the foreign land that you’re in. In simple terms, it means to go with the flow. But you can’t go with the flow when you have a plan set in stone and your only aim is to see massive architecture, while dining at restaurants catered to foreigners. Rome requires a “when in Rome” mentality to truly feel and experience its atmosphere. It’s meant for roaming and finding the authenticity that lies in the mysterious cobblestone streets and hidden alleyways.
When I first landed, I had the mindset of most tourists. I came with a long checklist of places I wanted to see. Doing this, I thought the city had little to offer to me. It seemed far too overrated and touristy for my liking. Had I not put down my map and checklist, I would have completely missed the point of being there. I only realized what the city is all about once I started wandering the streets, slowly forgetting about my original plan.
If you fear the unknown, try letting it go in Rome. The most authentic restaurants, cafes and boutiques are in the maze of alleyways completely off the beaten path. If your mindset is to sight-see the city and report that you’ve seen all the things that everyone else has seen, then you’ll completely miss out on Rome’s charm and culture. You’ll miss out on the city’s enchanting streets, traditional Italian cuisine and fascinating atmosphere that you read about in the magazines.
When planning your itinerary for visiting, save a few days for sightseeing the main attractions. But for the most part, allow yourself the luxury of genuinely doing like the Romans do. Let yourself be immersed into the depths of Rome and experience the charm and mysterious romance that echoes throughout the beautiful city of love.
Fino alla prossima volta!
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