Rome in October - Weather, Hostel experience and the Vatican
Being solo in Rome wasn't bad at all. The weather in October was awesome as it was not very hot but also not cold as well. All you need to know about airport transfers, hostel information, Vatican Museums. Also the truth about marijuana in Rome.
Why return to Rome with a budget?
My previous trip to Rome was in luxury with family. We booked an amazing 4* Hotel and also airport transfers from the Hotel with a comfortable Mercedes Van. Finally, we booked the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus - "I Love Rome".
You can find all the information with reviews in A. ROMA LIFESTYLE HOTEL AND I LOVE ROME HOP-ON-HOP-OFF REVIEWS
We visited Rome in the middle of August and it was very hot and crowded. The humidity was creating an unpleasant environment for me.
Also, I was not able to visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, the only attraction I really wanted to visit in Rome. We were also not able to see the Trevi Fountain, although it was in the Hop-On schedule. The streets were closed.
The terravision airport shuttle outside Terminal 3
So I had to return to Rome, this time in a budget and see what I left behind. Well, not really in a budget as the trip was very comfortable at the end but not luxury.
Weather in Rome
Rome Weather in October
The weather was much better this time than in August. In the night I could sleep with just one-bed sheet and I was wearing just a sweater when going out in the night. No jacket at all.
During the day it was pleasant walking outside and it was also not very crowded like in August. As the last years, I am living in Warsaw, I really appreciated that the weather and it was awesome.
Certainly, I was enjoying long walks across the streets of Rome during the night. I could walk a lot because the weather was just perfect.
I highly recommend that the period of time to visit Rome. So let's recap about the weather. In August was terribly hot. In September when my wife was there it was the weather for the beach and in October it was the weather for walking.
Rome Trip Budget
Budget Analysis for the Trip to Rome
Below is the analysis of the budget spend for 2 nights trip to Rome from Warsaw. It was a comfortable trip and was my first solo experience and also my first Hostel experience.
- Direct Flights Warsaw - Rome - Warsaw with Wizzair -- 128 euro
- Hostel - Ostelle Des Artistes (Bed in a 3 bed shared Room for 2 Nights) -- 60 euro
- Airport Transfers from Airport to Hotel and Back with Terravision -- 10 euro
- Tour with a guide in Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel with Free entrance to Basilica -- 33 euro
- 2 x Breakfast in Hotel -- 24 euro
- 2 x Dinner in the Night with Soft Drink -- 44 euro
- 2 x Lunch -- 30 euro
- Extras -- 30 euro
Total Budget for the Trip was €360. This price can drop with better planning on flights and by spending less on food and drinks.
You can definitely save on flights when you plan in advance and when you wait for special offers. Wizzair offers 20% Discount once a week, so you can book cheaper flights during that day.
My wife flight to Rome with €60 only both ways one month before me with Wizzair.
The Vatican Museums
Always plan your visit to the Vatican - Buy a guide, it worth it.
I have seen what happens outside the Vatican in the middle of August and also at the end of September. Going without a ticket is a waste of time and energy. You might be standing for hours in a very long queue and at the end, you might not see anything.
Also entering the Vatican without a guide, even an audio guide, in my opinion, it does not worth much. Watching these amazing piece of art without knowing the history behind them is much different. Booking a tour to the Vatican in advance is a must do.
The cheapest place you can book your tour online is the Vatican website. This is the official Vatican website and as soon as you book, you are going to get everything you need to know for the time and the point to enter.
Also, you will get all the available public transports to the place.
When you have the online voucher, you go 30 minutes before the mentioned time and you just show your ticket and enter. At the same time, you can see the long queues of people waiting outside.
In case you cannot find a tour for your time or day, you can also check the tours below. You might pay a little bit extra, but better to have a ticket, believe me.
They are all tours from an authorized reseller and Vatican Partners. Also, the service is tested personally by me.
Estancia del Incendio del Borgo Incendio del Borgo by Rafael
The Entrance for the Ticket holders is very close to Ottaviano Metro station. As soon as you get out in the station you should always find someone to ask. The streets around the Vatican are full of people helping travelers to find the place.
Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Tours with Online Booking
Airport Transfers in Rome
Plan your Airport Transfers in advance
The city center is far from the two airports. There are many shuttle buses you can use outside the airports but it is very crowded. Long queues and waiting at least for 15 to 20 minutes should be expected.
Taxi service from the airport to the city center, at least from the Fiumicino Airport are €48. There is also a train going to the center but I haven't checked it. Always depend on where you have a hotel and if the train stops close enough so you can walk to your hotel.
Beautiful Fresco Paint in Vatican Museums
In case you are going to the Termini station or close enough, then I highly recommend using the Terravision service. Click below and book online as it is going to be cheaper. It is also cheaper when booking a ticket with a return.
Finally, you can use your ticket for any time and they have a lot of schedules during the day.
Just something to be aware of is that you need to wait in the queue for some time as they work on First Come First Served. But you should not wait more than 15 to 20 minutes.
You can also find tickets for Terravision outside Terminal 3, but note that there will be also a queue and the price is higher than booking online. When I used the service I bought the ticket with return outside Terminal 3 both ways for €10.
Jesus Resurrection - Carpet in the Vatican
The Terravision bus departed from Stop 13. Get out from the door and keep going to the Right side. You do not have to cross the street.
TIP: When going back to the Airport, plan your time including some delays due to traffic, Bus waiting time and airport control.
Hotels and Hostels Experience
Where to stay in Rome?
For solo travelers, it is definitely recommended to stay in a Hostel. Hostels are the most inexpensive accommodation option in Rome and it is also a good way to meet other people. See my review below for the Hostel des Artistes.
For families with kids, I recommend the Hotel A. Roma Lifestyle. It is located outside the city center but there is a good service which takes you comfortably to 3 main points in Rome city center.
See more info in my article about the A. Roma Lifestyle Hotel in Rome.
Hostel Des Artistes in Rome
The hostel is located just 700 m from the Termini central station. By combining the Terravision service mentioned above it is a perfect match. Also, it is a strategic location for moving around in the city and going to the most widely visited attractions.
Ostello Des Artistes reception - Hostel Rome
Also in a 300m distance when you get out of the hotel and walk to the right, you have buses to the city center. From this point you can go anywhere you want. Also in a short distance, you can see a small kiosk where you can buy tickets.
Tickets cost €1,50 and they are good for 100 minutes after validation. ( work for Bus, Metro and Tram).
Finally, the Castro Pretorio Metro Station is located around 300m as well. The only problem is that public transportation work only until 24:00. So in case, you stay out somewhere far, you need to take a Taxi or UBER. Or party until 5:15 when they start working again!
The rooms and common areas are clean and the cleaning service is also efficient. They have a nice breakfast for only €12 with coffee from 7:00 to 10:00. But you need first to go to the reception, buy a ticket and then go to breakfast.
Tyber River Bridge during the Night
The Wi-Fi of the Hostel works very well and it is very fast.
You need either to take your own towel or rent from the Hostel. The price I think is €3.
Next to the Hostel in just 5 meters distance there is a Cannabis shop where you can buy medical marijuana. See below a few more information about Cannabis in Rome.
Also in a very short distance, there is a nice bar called the Yellow bar in Yellow square. Basically, this bar is for people that stay in the Yellow Hotel but you can get in as well. The bar also has a club in the underground.
The entrance is for Free and drink prices are good. So you can party and go to sleep on food.
Check the Ostelle Des Artistes in Booking.com - I think they even have also private rooms. Finally, note that they have rooms with only 3 beds. This is the one I stayed together with 2 other girls.
They were very quiet and they were sleeping all the time, so I was the only one coming in late. I was trying to be quiet.
You can also use the comparison engine below to find the cheapest hotels in Rome at the time of your visit. Also, you can discover some new tools in the Hotels Main Page.
Marijuana in Rome (Cannabis)
The truth about Marijuana (Cannabis) in Rome?
The last time I was in Rome, I have seen one coffee shop from the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus. It was a Cannabis leaf outside so I was curious to see what is going on. Is weed legal in Rome? Is it going to be the next Amsterdam?
After I planned my second trip to Rome I started looking for information. I found out that Light cannabis is now legal in Italy. Cannabis is considered light when the THC content is less than 0.5% and the main effects are given by the CNB. And this is the legal one.
Light Cannabis Shop Next To Ostelle des Artistes
Well, I have seen also an article about a guy that is selling real weed that is illegal and where to find him, but I didn't investigate further. There are many shops in Rome in which they sell light legal weed. One of them was next to my hotel but I have seen it later.
I was one night walking in Trastevere, which is a very famous area for going out at night. Until this time I haven't got an idea on what exactly is going on for real, so I decided to get in and ask.
I looked around and I have seen some small glass jars with different types of weed. I checked the prices ranging from €12 to €15 per gram.
Hm, I said, light marijuana is even more expensive than the heavy one. I asked the guy in the shop to give me some more information.
Me: Is this weed?
The guy in Shop: Yes, it is.
Me: And you can smoke it?
Guy: Yes, sure.
Me: And you get stoned?
Guy: Well, it is not heavy, but you can relax a bit and it's good.
Me: Ok, can I see.
The guy opened one small jar and I smelled it. It was smelling exactly like the one I tried in Amsterdam.
Me: Smell's good. Give me 1 gram. Can I smoke this outside? Is it legal?
Guy: You can carry the pack sealed on you but not opened. It is illegal to smoke this in the street. You can smoke this in your home only.
This is the current status of weed in Rome for those wondering. For the sake of this article, I have tried that weed. It is a piece of crap and it does not worth to spend any money on it. Better have 3 beers in the bar.
Cannabis Shop in Rome - Sell light legal weed in Rome
I do not know how it works in case you have any disease. If this will help then it definitely worth it. It can be used for medical reasons and it might be helpful for fighting cancer or any other disease. But it is not for getting stoned!!
If you are used to smoking for medical reasons, therapeutic weed is allowed for a few years. Even the Italian army has started to grow it in 2016 near Florence! And from the beginning of 2018, light cannabis has become legal as well.
Famous Rome Fountain
Rome's Trevi Fountain
Only the fountain worthed my return to Rome. How we could miss this amazing piece of art?
Ιt is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and the most beautiful in the world. A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. I returned to throw the coin, so I guess I might go back again!
Pizza and Beer in Italian Colors next to Trevi Fountain
The fountain is 26.30 m high and 49.15 large. Every day it spills 80.000 cubic meters of water (2,824,800 cubic feet).
The design of the Trevi fountain is based on three architectural elements: a façade made of travertine; statues of Carrara marble; a see reef also made of travertine.
Many men were injured and few died during the construction of the fountain. In 1734 a stone-cutter was crushed by a large block of travertine. In 1736 a mason fell from the roof and died.
In 1740 an apprentice slipped on the Travertine and passed away after many head lesions.
The fountain is mostly built of travertine stone.
Close to the Trevi Fountain i tried nice Pizza and an Italian beer. The service was good and the prices was ok.
An Italian friend told me to visit Trastevere during the night. I have also missed that on my last visit to Rome. So I decided this time to check it out. Reminds me Nicosia's old town a little bit.
The old streets with restaurants, bars, and churches with nice lighting decorating that place.
Rafael Rooms The Battle Of Ostia
It is nice to go to eat something in a traditional restaurant with some good friends or for a romantic dinner with your wife. But it was not for my occasion. I walked all around the streets for a lot of time and I finally decided to have a beer in one small bar.
Although there were two barmen, I was standing around 5 minutes without getting served. I couldn't stay in this area very long because I had to return with a bus back to my hotel.
Public transportation work only until 24:00 so I had at least to be at the bus stop at 23:15 to make sure I get the bus back to the hotel.
So I said I am going back to my area and I will try to find something there. In the end, I found a very nice bar just 200 meters from my hotel. It was a good match.
Pantaleo in Pantaleo square
On my second night, I decided to walk a lot. I have been again back to the Trevi fountain, but then instead of taking the bus to Trastevere, I started walking in an unknown direction.
I was crossing the beautiful streets of Rome with amazing architecture.
I was looking at people and places and I was thinking that I will need to find at least one good place to have 1-2 glasses of red wine and eat something.
I walked a lot and I was thinking that at the end I will end up eating kebab at the back of Termini Central station when I found this nice place.
Pantaleo Bar with Live Music
The place is located in a small square and won me from the first look. Live music by two guys, a simple place with well-dressed waiters and food available. What else I need?
The weather was nice so I sit outside and I ordered a glass of red wine together with a burrito if I don't make a mistake.
The show was awesome. One guy was playing the guitar and another guy was singing and making the show. Dancing, jumping and giving all his energy for us. I highly recommend this place and they have Live Music every night.
Lessons Learned - Conclusion
Use Public Transportation
You can buy a ticket for €1,50 and you are able to use Trains, Buses, and Trams for 100 minutes. You can use the Google Maps application in order to find your way to the main attractions. I was lucky enough to be very close to the Termini station, so it was easier to return back.
The only minors of buses are due to the fact that the streets are very bad and you might get a headache from too much trembling. Also might be cases that you wait for the bus for a very long time. It happened to me once to wait for around 45 minutes.
Prepare for standing and walking
Chairs are hard to find in Rome. There might be cases that you go somewhere standing, then you stand to wait, then you walk and finally, you have to stand to wait for the bus and also standing on the bus until you get back.
Long queues outside the Vatican museums
After the second day of walking, the legs are getting used to. Maybe you can check some good travel accessories, like the Multi-functional Travel Chair - Backpack Travel.
Protect your belongings
One of the girls that were in my room lost her iPhone 7 as soon as she arrived. She was walking in the Termini central station and someone jumped on her. After this, her phone disappear. Those people know what to steal and they only steal good stuff.
If you have some valuable phone or other belongings, do not make them publicly visible because they will try to steal them. Especially be very careful in places where there are too many people.
Lost? ask for Help
I got lost so many times in Rome. I was always finding my way either by asking or by using Google Maps Go. For some reason, Google Maps stopped working, so I installed Google Maps Go instead.
Also asking people will be helpful, although is hard to find locals. Anyway, most of the Italian speak English very well!
I left the best for last :) I was recording the guide when she was telling the whole amazing story of the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately, I made my magic again and recorder without sound.
The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. In just four years Michaelangelo created this beautiful art alone hanged from the ceiling in nearly no light at all. Isn't that amazing? On top of that, he was not even a painter.
Sistine Chapel - By Michelangelo - Own work, Public Domain
This piece of art changed the whole history of art and influenced a lot of painters since this time.
Michelangelo, who was not primarily a painter but a sculptor, was reluctant to take on the work. Also, he was occupied with a very large sculptural commission for the pope's own tomb.
The pope was adamant, leaving Michelangelo no choice but to accept. But a war with the French broke out, diverting the attention of the pope, and Michelangelo fled from Rome to continue sculpting.
The tomb sculptures, however, were never to be finished because in 1508 the pope returned to Rome victorious and summoned Michelangelo to begin work on the ceiling.
Finally, the contract for money and fame was signed on 10 May 1508.
The liberation of St Peter from prison - a masterpiece by Rafaello
To reach the chapel's ceiling, Michelangelo designed his own scaffold, a flat wooden platform on brackets built out from holes in the wall near the top of the windows, rather than being built up from the floor.
Mancinelli speculates that this was in order to cut the cost of timber.
According to Michelangelo's pupil and biographer Ascanio Condivi, the brackets and frame that supported the steps and flooring were all put in place at the beginning of the work and a lightweight screen, possibly cloth was suspended beneath them to catch plaster drips, dust, and splashes of paint.
Only half the building was scaffolded at a time and the platform was moved as the painting was done in stages. The areas of the wall covered by the scaffolding still appear as unpainted areas across the bottom of the lunettes.
The holes were re-used to hold scaffolding in the latest restoration.
Painting Technique used
The painting technique employed was fresco, in which the paint is applied to damp plaster. Michelangelo had been an apprentice in the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio, one of the most competent and prolific of Florentine fresco painters.
Rafael's School Of Athens in Rafael's Rooms
At the time that the latter was employed on a fresco cycle at Santa Maria Novella and whose work was represented on the walls of the Sistine Chapel.
At the outset, the plaster, intonaco, began to grow mold because it was too wet. Michelangelo had to remove it and start again.
He then tried a new formula created by one of his assistants, Jacopo l'Indaco, which resisted mold and entered the Italian building tradition.
Source: Sistine Chapel on Wikipedia
Facts about the Sistine Chapel
Michaelangelo never wanted to paint the Sistine Chapel. Working on the Sistine Chapel was so unpleasant that Michelangelo wrote a poem about his misery.
Between 1980 and 1999, experts restored selected artwork in the Sistine Chapel, including Michelangelo’s ceiling and his famed fresco known as “The Last Judgment,” which he created in his later years.
It took nearly 19 years to restore what Michaelangelo painted in 4 years.
St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican
Sistine Chapel got its name from the Pope Sixtus IV and it serves a crucial religious function. Elections of new Popes take place in the Sistine Chapel.
The most famous panel is "The Creation of Adam" and describes a human brain. According to Frank Lynn Meshberger, a doctor who pioneered this hypothesis, Michelangelo meant to evoke God’s bestowal of intelligence on the first human.
The frescoed ceiling in Sistine Chapel has held up remarkably well in the five centuries since its completion. Only a part of the sky in the panel which portrays Noah’s escape from the great biblical flood is missing.
The section of painted plaster fell and broke into pieces, after an explosion at a nearby gunpowder depot in 1797.
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