Our Senior Contributor Chris Osburn recently hopped a quickie return flight from London Heathrow to Fiumicino Airport in Rome for an overnight visit, compliments of British Airways… but where did he stick his six pins?
A free holiday you’re thinking? Not quite, because I was on a mission… The folks at BA had been in touch asking for a rep. from Urban Travel Blog to play around with and add some content to their new Perfect Days application. “Part travel diary, part inspiration guide, the app for iPhone had been designed to inspire our customers by providing them with the best things to do across all of our short haul destinations.” A favourite destination anytime of the year for me, I was more than game to try out the app a la Romana.
Put up for the night in the Hotel Artemide, a smartly situated and very comfy four star hotel in the heart of town, I was able to explore much of central Rome on foot and had no problems accessing the Metro or buses for a couple of jaunts slightly further afield. I suppose I should direct you to the app to read about how I spent my time, but needless to say I had a blast.
The gist of my brief Roman holiday was pretty basic: eat a lot of pizza, walk around all over the place and brush up on my street photography. And, in that sense, the day was indeed a perfect one for me. Whether you’re seeking a lavish Michelin-starred feasts or a handy scoop of gelato, Rome is a brilliant place for foodies. And with aeons of architecture forming what might be described best the world’s largest open air museum, it’s a mesmerizing city to break in a pair of trainers. As for the shutter buggery (so to speak), impeccably stylish and rather dramatic Romans, vying their way along cobbled lanes with an endless onslaught of tourists from all over the world, ensures plenty of street photo fodder.
As for actually using the app to plot my visit, I enjoyed mapping out my rambles on my phone while contemplating how best to pare down my itinerary and share my experiences with others. My favourite aspect of using the app as well as the only really frustrating thing about it was that you’re only allowed to add a total of six pins per itinerary. Thinking about my “perfect day” in Rome, there were way more items than six things that I wanted to input. Having to be concise served as a great exercise in thinking about what the main highlights of a trip truly are.
Building my Perfect Days itinerary, I stuck with the basics: getting there, what to eat, major sites, shopping – stuff like that – and backed up every one of my six pins with a specific location to visit along with tips on how to make the most of each.
For example, one thing that I reckon everybody ought to try when visiting Rome is an on-to-the slice of pizza taglio. The word “taglio” essentially means “cut”. Grabbing a freshly cut rectangular slice of pizza priced by its weight offers a tasty and inexpensive chance to do as the Romans do. In the itinerary, I suggested La Focaccina di Serafina as a worthwhile pizzeria to check out. Pizzas are served hot and to a high standard to a mix of happy locals and obvious out-of-towners. Super close to both the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, La Focaccina’s got an epic location working in its favour as well.
Currently, British Airways’ Perfect Days app features a handful of “top” itineraries for destinations such as Berlin, Madrid and Milan and for not so short haul cities like Mumbai and San Francisco. Of course, what’s key and most fun about the app is that it enables anybody to easily create and share an itinerary for anywhere serviced by BA. I’d recommend giving this app a look see. It’s free to download. And if one of the itineraries truly manages to inspire you to go somewhere, the app makes booking a trip via your phone a fairly facile process.
You can find out more about the Perfect Days app for iPhone at the British Airways Facebook page.