I booked this bus hours before boarding. I decided last minute that I’d head to Rome! If you’ve been following my Instagram stories throughout my time in Italy, then you would already know that I didn’t plan anything for this trip and even had my followers vote and decide on where I’d go and what I would do. Long story short, I left Positano, arrived back in Sorrento at night, found a hostel at 9:00 pm, booked a bus to Rome around 11:00 pm, checked out at 5:00 am, and went off to catch my bus.
4 hours later, I arrived in Rome! Well, now what?
First, I got gelato. Second, I charged my phone. Third, I needed a place to stay. I booked a hostel that was near Roma Termini, Rome’s main train station, which would make it easy for me to find and also easy for me when I leave for my next city. Luckily, I had TripScout, which I was excited to use for the first time! TripScout is an app that provides self-guided city tours, lists of curated sites, site info & tips, and offline maps with GPS. In fact, the whole app works offline, which is perfect for me because I never use data and my phone is always on airplane mode the entire time I’m traveling. Yes, finding free wifi is extremely exciting for me.
Using TripScout’s offline map, I was able to find Roma Termini and just two blocks away from there was my hostel. After checking in, freshening up, and relaxing for a bit, I decided I wanted to do a bit of exploring. I opened up TripScout to see what was close. Turns out the Colosseum was not far from me.
After about 15 minutes of walking using TripScout’s offline map, I was able to find the Colosseum!
The GPS is accurate too. As I walked a bit closer, my blue dot moved with me. As you can see, there’s little thumbnails on the maps that you can click on.
Clicking on the thumbnails on the map takes you to another page where you can see more information about that particular landmark or location. Some even have audio guides, which was a pleasant surprise.
If I didn’t have TripScout, I would probably still be in my room researching for hours about Rome since this was a last minute decision to come. Luckily, I had my trustworthy guidebook and map all on my phone!
It’s not just landmarks and museums on TripScout, there’s also FOOD! While laying in bed at night, I started getting hungry but didn’t want to wander too far from my hostel since I was alone and wasn’t familiar with the city yet. I opened up the app again and saw Mercato Centrale, which is a food hall along Roma Termini’s southern perimeter that opened in late 2016 which is open from 7:00 am – midnight. I would have never known about this if I didn’t see it on the app!
I also used TripScout’s offline map to find my way to the Vatican. On my way there, I noticed a lot of people stopping to take pictures so this must be a famous landmark, right? I learned from the app that this was the Column of the Immaculate Conception.
I then noticed there was an unusual amount of people walking up and down the street. SO many people! This column is as popular as the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain but I never heard of it?? I checked the map and saw the Spanish Steps were just down the street from where I was standing. You know what that means. Time for a quick detour!
The design of the Spanish Steps is an example of Baroque style, but isn’t Baroque French? Why is this called the Spanish Steps then? I learned from TripScout’s audio guide that the square the 132 steps are connected to is called Piazza di Spagna, which is a Spanish square named after the Spanish Embassy right next to it.
Self-timer selfie time. I can’t leave without a selfie right?
I completely forgot about the Spanish Steps so I’m so glad I had TripScout with me or else I would have missed it!
I continued my journey to Vatican City by making my way across the bridge. It was a long walk and by the time I got to the city walls, I was starving. I thought about stopping by the many tourist restaurants around the area but decided to check on TripScout’s map to see if there were any recommendations nearby …and there was! Pizza!
I made my way to Pizzarium Bonci and it what an experience! It was so busy and all the employees were behind the counter so it’s nearly impossible to ask for help to figure how to order because there was no line. I needed a moment to stand back and observe. So all you have to do is take a number and wait for your number to come up on the screen inside. Once your number shows up on the screen, hold your breath, and maneuver your way through the crowd and to the counter. I guess you don’t need to hold your breath if you’re tall. 93% of the time, I’m shorter than everyone else around me so I have to burrow through the crowds.
There’s a large selection of different pizzas behind the glass case at the counter and it’s impossible to choose which ones to get! I narrowed it down to these two. I got the classic margherita and pointed at this tomato parmesan one. Behind the glass, the slices looked small. They even look small in photo, but after having them handed to me, they were much bigger when right in front of me and it was definitely too much pizza …but I loved how fresh the toppings were!
After pizza, I waddled towards the wall of the Vatican but where is the entrance?
I found this entrance but it looked like it was only for tour groups. This where my new favorite travel buddy comes in handy.
I used TripScout’s map to make my way to St. Peter’s Square and it is absolutely breathtaking! I didn’t realize how massive it was in there. It’s definitely somewhere you have to see in person in order to see how vast and incredibly beautiful it is.
So of course, I needed a picture here but it’s impossible to fit everything in a photo!
This is also the entrance to go inside the Vatican if you didn’t book a tour, but be prepared for the ridiculously long line that stretches all along the perimeter of the square.
Yes this is the line. And yes way back there is still the same line.
So what was my first impression on using my first travel app? I will definitely keep using TripScout. In fact, I used it when I was in Venice. Trust me, you’ll get lost in Venice. This app is perfect for travelers like me: the ones that don’t plan, don’t use mobile data, and don’t like carrying guidebooks. I also saved a lot of time by not having to sit for hours researching the city. If you travel solo like me, then you most likely also like to do things according to your own time, so TripScout’s self-guided tours are a great alternative to group walking tours. If you want to check out the app, you can get a free city guide by using my promo code: “dianajlee.” TripScout has guides for over 60 cities and is available on both iOS and Android. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Thanks for the self-guided tour, TripScout. Ciao and see you next time!
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