Keep Your Eyes Open
Keep your eyes open when touring the city, or you'll miss an ancient statue, overlook the columns of a former monument, or entirely bypass the remnants of an ancient structure, such as an aqueduct which looks fused upon the modern building.
Calcata "the gooviest village in Italy'
Imagine a quiet Italian hilltop village about an hour from Rome that's been taken over by hippies. This town may not be the most visited or well-known excursion out of Rome (such as Ostia Antica, Viterbo, Assisi) but maybe it should be. I found out about this place after havng read in article in NY Times. So when we went to Rome a few months later, I mentioned that I'd like to see the town to the guy we rented our flat from. He was so amazed we even knew about the place he actually drove us up there one night. During the week, it's an enchanting ghost town, where you'll see maybe a cat or the occasional local (likely barefooted in a sarong). On the weekends, the arts and craft shops come alive as Romans head to the hills to buy some funky Calcatan art. The views are really nice, as the town itself is perched on a cliff. All of the village houses have caves underneath of them so it makes for an interesting experience when visiting the local restaurant, butiques. The town square is also interesting....the Church Clock no longer functions...so it's as if time stands still here. Also, there are signs of modern art, placed amongst the oldness of the village (a Jimi Hendrix painting on a building, concrete modern chairs in the square). It's a really nice, relaxed deviation from the noise and vastness of Rome. The history of the place and how the hippies arrived is also very interesting.
Take Metro to Piazzale Flaminio. Outside the square is a train station (Ferrovia Roma Nord) for urban/extra-urban trains. Take train to Saxa Rubra (direction Prima Porta). Tickets can be purchased from the machines or the tabaccaio inside the station. After you get off at Saxa Rubra, you go to bus terminal (COTRAL Pullman), buy ticket in office and go to platform #2 (ask to be sure). Bus goes in direction Civita Castellana (ask to make sure it stops in Calcata).
Quirkiest Bar in Rome!
Jonathan's Angels is one of the most bizarre bars I have ever been to.
It is owned by an ex-circus acrobat, Jonathan, who is also a bit of an artist......the bar is decorated in paintings of the man himself, impersonating famous people - eg. Jonathan as the Pope, Jonathan as Napoleon etc
Any wall space not covered with paintings of Jonathan is covered with other quirky paraphernalia. But the most bizarre of all is the toilet, which is worth a visit, even if you don't need to "go".
Staff are friendly and drinks are good, but not cheap - well worth a visit though!! No one takes any notice of you, there is too much else to see here!!
Intimate Vibrant Italian Restaurant
Gorgeous food in a small, intimate Italian restaurant.
The tables are so close that you're practically sharing starters with your neighbours but nonetheless it gives a lovely cosy atmosphere and is very romantic as you huddle closer to your loved one! We had bruschetta to start (what else!) and pizza and chicken spaghetti for mains. LOvely jubley!
Pantheon best thing it is free
The Pantheon is one of the great spiritual buildings of the world. It was built as a Roman temple and later consecrated as a Catholic Church. Its monumental porch originally faced a rectangular colonnaded temple courtyard and now enfronts the smaller Piazza della Rotonda. Through great bronze doors, one enters one great circular room. The interior volume is a cylinder above which rises the hemispherical dome. Opposite the door is a recessed semicircular apse, and on each side are three additional recesses, alternately rectangular and semicircular, separated from the space under the dome by paired monolithic columns. The only natural light enters through an unglazed oculus at the center of the dome and through the bronze doors to the portico. As the sun moves, striking patterns of light illuminate the walls and floors of porphyry, granite and yellow marbles.