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Rome 1st Time - Wish you'd known, tips, unexpected surprises

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Hello to "Rome been-there, than that" travelers. As Fodorites, you all are well-researched travelers. But no amount of research beats experiencing the reality. Please share tips, logistics and insights and wish you'd known this or that in your travel to Rome. But only found out the reality of it once you got there. Such as you'd rather have stayed in this area or that. I'm very interested in areas that have easy access to good restaurants, dinner.

I will be in Rome 4 nights next year, 2nd half of May. My last trip to Italy was 5 years ago. in the past, instead of Rome, I visited other Italy destinations such as Venice, Firenze, Liguria, etc.

I'm very interested in time saving tips, how you grouped together the sites you wanted to see. Practical aspects such as if you had problems using a certain credit card brand. I have various Chip/Signature cards that I've been using in France and Spain as recent as 3 months ago with no problems.

I'm interested in the big attractions : Colosseum, Forum, Vatican, etc. and just wandering around the city for 1 day to soak in the Roman atmosphere and seeing Pantheon and various Plazas, Borghese gardens etc. I am very well-traveled. I know the drill. It's just that, it's been a long 5 yrs since my last trip to Italy and I'm sure a lot of things has changed. Yeah, it is time to go back.
I have read 4 books in Rome. But you know that's dry narrative VS your actual tips and insights. Thank you all.

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