Doing a free walking tour is the best way to begin exploring any city. Since doing one in Prague in 2016, they are something I always consider when travelling to a new city – especially one I’ve never been to before.
As I was arriving in Rome by myself, a city (a country) I’ve never been to before and I don’t speak any Italian, taking a free walking tour was the logical step for me to gain my bearings and not get hopelessly lost every five minutes.
Oh my god Sorrento is divine. I wasn’t really sure what to expect – I had heard good things but I didn’t know if it would be my cup of tea or if it would live up to the hype. After twelve intense days in Rome, relaxing by the seaside in the beautiful little town that is Sorrento. It was the best way to spend the rest of my time in Italy.
I found Sorrento to be the perfect base for exploring Campania. It is a bit cheaper and less busy than the likes of Amalfi and Positano on the Amalfi Coast and 100 million times nicer than the biggest city in the area, Naples. It is the perfect mix of seaside town with a Napoli flair.
Rome is a lot. There is a lot there. It is a very old city with thousands of years worth of history spanning across different eras in time from the Romans to the Papacy and the Renaissance to unified Italy and post-1945 Rome. I knew I would be fascinated by the history side of things (History student and all) but even I was shocked by the sheer scale of on-your-doorstep sites literally around every corner.
The history of Rome through the ages is blended seamlessly into the modern Italian city and you will find yourself stumbling onto beautiful and ancient things as you make your way down the sweeping boulevards and tiny cobbled streets that make up the city. I was in Rome for 12 days which is a long time to spend in one city and it is safe to say I’ve done nearly everything that will be on most weekend visitors to-see list.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t love Rome to begin with. In the first couple of days it didn’t sing to me and I was worried about spending nearly two weeks somewhere that I disliked as much as Paris. And now I’m so thankful I had all that time. Because Rome grew on me a lot and I got used to the bustling Roman way of life.
Before arriving from Stansted to Ciampino I had never set foot in Italy before. I had no prior knowledge of the culture or way of life before arriving aside from what I had researched. I don’t speak any Italian and can only do a hello or a thank you. I knew nobody in the city, hell the country. And I was going to spend six days there on my own.
When I decided to do a project on Roman bathing, a slight motive might have been my desire to visit Bath. I’ve barely seen anywhere in the UK and the southern English city has been on my bucket list for a while thanks to its stunning Georgian architecture and reputation for being lovely. And I wasn’t disappointed.
One slight regret I have about my trip to Bath is not doing sooner. I tacked it on to the end of my Italy trip which meant I was tired and missing home a lot so I didn’t give Bath all the love it deserves. I would definitely go back for an independent weekend visit!