Around Vittorio and Venezia
The Piazza Venezia with Vittorio backing her up is in my opinion a splendid hot spot, for from here you may start your various walking tours within the centro storico... the white stones, marble amongst others, of the huge complex around the statue of Vittorio Emanuele II are on clear sunny day blinding - mind your sun glasses : )
An important meal...
An important meal to most Americans, less so for southern Europeans and Italians. A carafe of coffee (or tea or chocolate), usually with milk (caffee latte), and a roll (usually a brioche, though croissants are common in pricier hotels). No juice, eggs, or bacon. In upscale hotels juice, eggs and bacon are available, at a price.
These are useful, as well as enjoyable in good weather, to reduce meal costs or extend your day at places without food service like the Forum/Palatine or Ostia Antica. And don't be afraid at other times to picnic on your bed in your room ... it's a dandy, occasional idea if you're running tight on your budget.
You'll find some general groceries (alimentari, or, literally 'foods, or food stores) at which you can purchase some or all of your needs. Alimentari carry a range of goods (including laundry soap, for example) but are usually small.
Often, though, you'll need to visit several shops: the salumeria (sausage shop), frutteria (fruit shop), cheese shop, bakery, and so forth. One or more of these will usually sell bottled water and other beverages as well. Part of the joy of an Italian picnic is assembling the ingredients. And in most cases you'll be overwhelmed by the variety of choices, and the quality. Americans are accustomed to one type of salami, perhaps two, prepackaged. If you're indecisive you'll never get out of the salumeria given the choices of 'salami' you'll find.
Since Italian cooking is based on fresh food, the custom for cooks is two trips to the store for lunch and dinner. You'll find, therefor, varied opening hours. Alimentari often are open only late in the morning and late in the afternoon. Some specialty stores are open all day, as are the occasional equivalent of a delicatessen where you can buy most everything except perhaps the fruit.
Your hotel personnel will be able to tell you where the nearest stores are. You'll rarely have to go more than 2-3 blocks. Do check on the hours though ... picnics usually require purchase the preceding afternoon if you'll be leaving before mid-morning.
'Un etto' (a hectogram - 100 grams) will get you almost 4 ounces of meat or cheese. 'Un quarto' gets you more than twice as much (250 grams), enough for two sandwiches. If you're unsure of quantities you may find a peek at European Weights and Measures of interest.
Picnics (whether for the park or for back in the room) often take a few stops to put together. The effort is repaid by the quality, and the opportunity to do as the Romans do.
Restaurants are open from Noon to 2:30p.m., roughly. Some open as late as 1:00. You can't eat a restaurant lunch either early or late. Restaurants reopen for dinner at perhaps 7:30p.m. - you may find some opening at 7p.m., and many not until 8p.m. or 8:30p.m.. Bars and sandwich shops are open most of the day.
A delicatessen to drool over
How can I describe something beyond description? The wonderful mix of aromas, the shelves graoning with food and wine, the prosciutto and salamis hanging, the show cases beautifully laid out with cheeses, olives, marinated vegetables, the baskets of bread, boxes of chocolates: just overwhelming mouthwatering abundance of the finest quality. As much or as little as you like. The same attention is given to those making small purchases as to those making large, with taste, texture, origins, use all willingly discussed.
New rules for taxis to and from the airports
Effective October 1, 2006, the City of Rome has set fixed fees for taxis going between inside the Aurelian Walls (i.e., the city center) and the city's two airports: Fiumicino and Ciampino (i.e., in both directions).
The fixed fee is 40 euro to/from Fiumicino and 30 euro to/from Ciampino. This fee covers up to four passengers and includes the luggage fee.
If you had previously seen this tip, note that previous URL is no longer valid. The new URL of the press release about these fixed fares is at press release.
Note that the map of the area within the Aurelian Walls can now be found at Aurelian Walls Boundary.
Great Steamed Clams! Casual Family Run Restaurant
Update: Have Gina fix you an antipasto platter - wonderful!
Big family run restaurant, quite casual, very kind and lovely waitress Gina who helped me immensely with my Italian pronunciations and received a large tip from us. Wonderful sausage & onion pizza, steamed clams in broth over a heaping piece of bread, house wine is not the best, great rip apart rolls I think from Forno in Campo dei Fiori.