Travel to Rome – Episode 288

categories: europe travel


The Amateur Traveler talks to Andy Steves from Weekend Student Adventure about Rome, Italy.

Andy talks about practical issues like how to get into and around Rome, how to connect to the Rome of the Roman Empire (the Colosseum, Forum and Circus Maximus, Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, Pantheon). He also talks about a tour of the Sistine Chapel without all the crowds and not easy to do. Andy also gives us his favorite spots from Renaissance Rome like the Galleria Borghese and how to get under Saint Peter’s to the excavation of older Saint Peter’s. Follow Andy to places where you can meet modern Romans on your evening passeggiata to Campo di Fiori, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. And then meet one of his favorite Romans who runs a hang out for students near the Pantheon.

Andy is the son of travel author and tour guide operator Rick Steves and is following in his father’s footsteps running weekend tours for students studying in Europe.

right click here to download (mp3)
right click here to download (iTunes version with pictures)

Show Notes

Weekend Student Adventures
WSA Rome
Andy Steves – WSA Blog
Circus Maximus
Crane (machine)
Roman Forum
Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine
Pantheon, Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica
Sistine Chapel
Galleria Borghese
Castel Sant’Angelo
Angels & Demons
Santa Maria del Popolo
Crucifixion of St. Peter
Campo de’ Fiori
Piazza Navona
Trevi Fountain
Spanish Steps
Trajan’s Column
Arch of Titus
One Day in Rome
Top 10 Things to Do When in Rome, Italy


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

3 Responses to “Travel to Rome – Episode 288”

DP-San Diego


This is now one of my favorite episodes. Andy had good tips on getting the most out of Rome, including seeing the Sistine Chapel without crowds. I wish we had had that opportunity.



Some things to add on:

– It is horrendously hot to be in Rome in Summer. I was there in July and wanted to die – the heat makes not wearing shorts really hard
– The fountains all over Rome spouting clear, cold water make summer more believable. I really missed them in Florence and the rest of Italy
– The catacombs outside Rome were cool. In more than one sense – in Summer underground areas are refreshing
– I really like Roman pizza (sold by the gram) as its crust is chewy (must be something about the water) and they have really innovative toppings
– Usually you ask the interviewee about the language barrier but I don’t recall you doing so here. I found Rome easy to get about in 2006, and I’m sure it’s better now!



I really wish this episode had been published before our April trip. I don’t think I could have gotten our group moving early enough to get to the Sistine Chapel as it opened: that would have been great! πŸ™‚ We had a wonderful trip, and concur with most of the comments in the show. A few of my own:

1. If you like thriller novels, definitely read Dan Brown’s “Angels/Demons” before going if only for the geography/history background. I ran out of time to reread it before our trip, I think I would have appreciated Rome even more. There’s a lot of good background info there. We stayed less than a block from the “Fire” Church, and went to the “Water” and “Air” areas as part of our explorations. Watching for some of the book’s details would have been fun.

2. What was the name of the Gelato place on the blind curve near the Vatican? Was it “Old Bridge?” We really enjoyed that one.

My favorite was Giolitti’s near the Pantheon. We walked into Gelateria Della Palma just to see 100+ flavors, but were on a mission to find Giolitti’s. I’m sure they were both good.

3. Strongly agree with the comments about the best places to eat are where the menus are not in 6 languages.

4. Warnings? I realize you asked for only one warning, and I don’t want to scare anyone off, but there should have been at least a mention about Rome’s world class pickpockets. Your best defense here is education: there’s plenty of info on common/new scams via Google. Be familiar with the tactics. My brother watched the “fish swimming upstream against the current” scam on the Metro, and my sister-in-law almost got PP’d on the Metro by someone who had casually draped a scarf over her purse, while her fingers were underneath working the zipper. Like a certain well known travel author recommends, I also *STRONGLY* suggest a money belt and maybe a diversion wallet. πŸ™‚

Again, *PLEASE* don’t let this warning stop you from going, or have you scared and ruining your time there. Being prepared can prevent headaches if you happen to be the unfortunate target.

(And I hope this note doesn’t give Mr. “Darker Side of Travel” any ideas. πŸ™‚ )

4a. Taxis out to the airports are now priced by the ride, not on the distance. I *THINK* it was 40 Euros when we were there.

5. If you can do it, Spring/Fall are the best times to be there. Not too hot, not too cold.

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