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Rome with a View

By Steve Kopandy - Bike Tourist and Cycle Cities Manager.

I’m enjoying writing these destination guides for Cycle Cities ‘cities’. I have travelled to many places where our bike tour partners are based, so in thinking of creative things to write about, I go searching back through the memories, and it’s a fun journey.

Can I say that Rome is a frustrating city? Let me elaborate by saying frustrating in a good way, and in a way that is appealing and easy to overcome.

I was frustrated on my first visit to Rome because I didn’t know where to start. Arriving at the Central ‘Termini’ railway station, you really are spoilt for choice, but as any first time visitors to Rome would do, We headed for one of the main attractions. The Colloseum is easy to find, and you have to go there some time, so why not start there. What frustrated me were the tourists. I didn’t feel very relaxed. I was walking amongst a throng of Americans mainly, slowly, taking photos. I was also surrounded by street souvenir sellers. Any kind if feeling of a sacred place, lost world, step back in time, was quickly quashed by the crowds.

Through the ruins and on to the Altare della Patria or Wedding Cake’- big attraction number 2. This was different. This imposing monument commands your respect – quite literally – as guards and signs at the bottom ensure you get the message that you should be silent and respectful when walking on the monument. So we ascended, and it was slow and serene; quite the contrast to the frustrating hustle and bustle at ground level.

From the top of the Monument we could see an amazing view of the whole city. Everything we wanted to see in Rome in the 2 days we had to explore was laid out before us, and much more. It was at this time that I developed a new sense of frustration.. there were monuments and buildings that weren’t on our list, that looked amazing. We didn’t even know what they were, or that they existed before we laid eyes on them. If you want to see Rome and you don’t have much time, climb to a vantage point and feel the frustration.

Our 2 days in Rome came to an end as quickly as they started. We got to the main attractions, but we missed so much; there just wasn’t enough time. In 3 hours on a guided bike tour, you can get a great overview of a city, and be shown the hidden gems that the tourists don’t get to see.

So my Rome tourist advice:

1. Enjoy the Colloseum and the crowds

2. Get a serene view top of the Wedding cake

3. See the rest on a bike tour.

Steve Kopandy spent his 20's taking short trips to Europe from his base in London, and has taken guided bike tours and cycle trips in, and to, many European cities. He works as the Business Manager for London Bicycle Tour Company and started Cycle Cities to give more profile to bike tours worldwide.