Rome Day 3: Audio tours FTW

Rome Day 3: Audio tours FTW

Today was full of ancient ruins! The Colosseum and Roman Forum are central to Rome’s ancient history, and they’re mighty impressive to look at. But even though I was here in 2012 and saw both I didn’t take a tour, and of course I didn’t look up any information before this trip because that would have been sensible.

Enter: The Rick Steves Audio Tours. If you’ve traveled much, you know the name Rick Steves. If you’re like me and grew up on a television diet of PBS, you know him from the Saturday afternoon lineup (probably right after Bob Ross). He’s a be-khakied, be-polo-shirted Very Nice Dude who has traveled the world and he brings it to your living room in soft-spoken, digestible 30-minute nuggets. It’s delightful! And today we learned, he has an app for Europe. Day = enriched.

All four of us were able to download audio tours of the Colosseum and Roman Forum, then plug in our ear buds and meander on our own through the buildings and ruins. It worked really well for our group. We kind of stayed together without having to stay together or talk to each other. Plus we were still able to talk about what we learned afterwards. Each tour took about an hour start-to-finish, so if you play your cards right — or skip the line by buying your tickets ahead of time (this link is not an endorsement!) — you could easily get to both of these sights before noon. We took a bit longer than that, but we also didn’t have a whole heckuva lot else to do today, so we definitely meandered more than we might have if today were our first day.

We also ate some delicious pizza, fried anchovies (surprisingly delicious!), perfect pasta, and of course MOAR GELATO. Because when you’re in Rome, the food is as much of an attraction as anything else.

For those of you keeping track at home, today makes three gelatos in three days. Batting 1.000! I’ve tried lemongrass, pear and cheese, strawberry, giuliano chocolate (traditional Italian flavor), and “black passion” which was mega chocolate plus berries. OM NOM NOM.

4 Comments
  • Ellen!
    Posted at 06:22h, 02 January Reply

    I surely will! We had homemade gelato with Romano, Elisa and Alessandro at dinner and it was amaaaazing. 🙂

  • Ellen Says Hola! | Rome Day 4: Day Trip to Pompeii
    Posted at 20:06h, 14 February Reply

    […] super frantic. The ruins themselves have enough to look at for at least a day. Rick Steves (of Colosseum/Roman Forum fame) suggested three hours to follow along with his podcast on the site. You could very easily spend […]

  • Katie - Round the World Magazine
    Posted at 17:15h, 23 January Reply

    Wow, we didn’t even realize you could pre download an audio tour? Is the app free and available globally do you know?

    We went to the Colosseum last year and wandered ourselves then learned all the facts afterward which made our time there less appreciative as we probably should have been!

    Thanks for the tip 🙂

    • Ellen Schwartze
      Posted at 16:15h, 03 February Reply

      Hi Katie! The app I used was Rick Steves audio tours, but lately it’s been a bit buggy 🙁 There are a couple of cheap audio guide apps ($1-3) out there though that are well worth a look.

      And I 100% know what you mean about learning after the fact. I had that experience for the entire city of Budapest – talk about frustrating!

      Thanks for reading the blog!

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