What is Rome like?
Rome is beautiful and extremely interesting, an intriguing mixture of very ancient and very modern. The traffic is intense, but as a tourist you can mostly avoid it by walking everywhere (you will need to take buses or taxis to get to some monuments like the Coliseum). There is a river that flows through the center of town, and neighborhoods are full of cafes with outdoor tables. Romans are extremely social and friendly, from my experience.
Rome is a lovely mish mash of humanity. Incredibly busy, bustling and frenetic. All amidst centuries old remnants of past history. Exquisite art everywhere the eye can see, whether it is a monument, a building or a window display in a shop. The people are a beautiful mix of business people, shop keepers, families and immigrants. Restaurants proudly serve their specialties and the simplest fare can be mouthwatering. Outdoor Cafe's allow leisurely people watching. Church bells toll, cats meander suspiciously through the two thousand year old ruins excavated throughout the city. The atmosphere of chaos during the day slowly fades to find cool nights with far less traffic and couples, friends and families emerging to take pleasant strolls down cobblestone streets and lush parks. Any church you wander into will take your breath away with exquisite art of all sorts. You find yourself sensing the echoes of the past as far as your gaze can see. The smell of the food, the pungent, humid plants you walk past mix with truck diesel fumes and sometimes the urine of the homeless. The same people that were gruff and business-like during the day now give you a friendly nod of the head as they stroll past. All this in a city mixed with modern amenities within ancient buildings. Decaying columns protrude from apartment buildings which were constructed within the remains of Roman architectural foundations. Fountains designed by Bernini splash water and young couples kiss and laugh in the piazzas. Gypsy youth try and sell art prints or glowing trinkets, often dashing away if a city police car cruises near. Street performers entertain with surprising skills. Often comedy, sometimes musical or magical. Gelato is the treat of choice. People lick their exotic flavored ice creams with appreciation. It is other worldly. I highly recommend a trip there. If you can accept the daily chaos you will slowly grow to love the magical, history steeped mass of humanity that is called the Eternal City.
Rome is a big city and old. You have to expect that the roads will be cobbled and rough on your feet, that paint will be peeling from ancient buildings, that there will be crowds of locals as well as tourists and that at times there will be queues to see the sights.
Yes there is graffiti, you may see people illegally selling items in the streets, if you don't take some precautions you may be pick-pocketed and not all the streets and houses look pristine.
If you love history, architecture, art, amazing churches, fountains and piazzas, 2000 year old buildings, good food, good wine, watching social life unfold in the squares and can overlook some imperfections, you will love Rome. If you want clean, pristine and new, then it is probably not for you.
Rome is a city that contains in it all the history from the Roman Age to the present. If you have the luck to visit the city, you will see with your eyes.
For more information about Italy and Italian cities, please visit Italy Archives - Epicwander