For a Dutch language post: “Rome: ik ga zeker terug!“
I wrote some blog posts on Rome in Dutch a few years ago when I visited Rome for the first time in 2012. They receive a lot of traffic since many tourists are looking for information on Rome. So after this second trip I decided to write them also in English for all other visitors.
We arrived on Monday evening and parked our car in the pre-booked Prati Parking ( online via My Parking: we paid 63,80 for 4 days: from July 13 to July 17th ). It is not really a public parking, cars are just parked in a large underground space and you have to leave your keys, because they will park you car for you and take it out when you pick it up. What was not clear to us, is that we had to pick up the car on the 4th day before 12 AM. When booking for four days, you expect to have 4 x 24 hours from the time you bring in the car, or at least from the morning of the first day until the evening of the fourth day. So we were really surprised when picking up the car at 3 PM the owner of the parking immediately started angrily pointing out we were three hours late! And that the cost was 13 euro for the three hours overtime ( which was advertised on the wall of his office). I was really taken aback and when I said I had paid for 4 days and had brought in the car only at 6 PM on the first day, he was getting angrier, saying I had to pick it up at 12 AM, as stated on the confirmation mail of the booking. When I checked this mail it mentioned indeed that the parking time ended at 12 AM on Friday July 17th . The problem is that when booking online this is not clearly stated and probably many others as me, do not check the confirmation mail do closely. Especially since we did not receive the confirmation mail automatically and we had to mail twice before getting it two days after booking and paying online! The owner stayed very cross and unpolite and we had no choice but to pay the 13 euro, which is heavily overpriced for three hours. I am afraid it is a not so friendly way of getting more money from unsuspicious tourists. Our car was only parked there for 3,5 days, but we paid for 4 days plus 13 euro. Just around the corner of our B&B I found another public underground parking also named Prati Parking where you paid 20 euro for 24 hours, my guess is that this parking place is a better and clearer choice, where you get a ticket when coming in, and where 24 hours is indeed 24 hours, for the four days the cost would have been similar! They did take good care of our car, no complaints there, but they are not entirely correct with their customers.
We walked to Artemesia B&B, that we had booked via the Bed & Breakfast association of Rome, just like last time, but this time we took the whole floor ( they only have two double rooms) price: 90 euro per room breakfast included. You can check-in from 1 PM onwards and have to check-out before 10 AM, but you can leave your luggage at the B&B. (Address: Via Caio Mario 7, 4 th floor, there is an elevator). We were welcomed by Serena, the owner. The B&B is good, but without frills, good beds, there is AC in the summer (although quite noisy), there is a good put pretty basic breakfast every morning ( you just tell Serena at what time you want your breakfast). One room has an in-suite small bathroom, the second room also has its own bathroom but at the other side of the hall. You eat breakfast in the kitchen, but guests cannot use the kitchen to cook. You are allowed to store foods and drinks in the refrigerator. You have free Wifi in the B&B. The greatest plus of this B&B is the location. It is in walking in distance (just a few minutes) from the Vatican and Saint-Peters basilica. For the other locations in Rome: there is a metro stop a block away (Ottaviono stop on line A) that takes you to the Collosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi fountain, Borghese gallery, the central train station….
The first evening we took dinner at Flavio al Velavevodetto which opened a second location in Prati, near the Vatican, at Piazza dei Quirita 4/5.(very near the b&b) Dinner reservations are recommended: 0636000009 or online on their website. Open for lunch and dinner: 7:45 to 11 PM. We booked a table online at 9 PM. They have an outside terrace, great in the evening! The pastas taste great!
Everyone warns you, I know but still: there are many pick pockets in Rome! Because even if you do know, it only takes one second of being inattentive to get something stolen. So be attentive of all your stuff all the time!
Another tip: taxis are quite inexpensive in Rome. They run on meters, and are more expensive in the evening and at night, but during the day are not much more expensive then the bus or metro if you can share your ride with three or four people. We took a taxi from the Vatican to the Pantheon during the day and only paid 8 euro! At night we took a taxi from Termini station to our B&B near the Vatican and paid double: 16 euro.
Another tip: Italians are terrible in showing you the way! Often they have very little knowledge of street names or directions, but instead of just saying so, they convincingly show you the (most often) wrong way! Stick to the map, especially if you have some orientation, and/or some map reading skills.