No skyscrapers in Rome!
The first time I climbed to the Pincio terrace I found it wonderful that there was not a single skyscraper, not a single tower, not a single high building at the horizon.
No architectural injury was made to this city.
Even if the Romans disliked their Vittoriano monument, finally it is not far from being now a major tourist attraction.
OK, I have no problem with the skyscrapers of NYC or Dubai but I prefer a horizon made of cupolas, or palaces of the baroque period of architecture.
Look here at some photos made from the Capitoline or the Castel Sant' Angelo. Isn't that sublime? Now this horizon virgin of high buildings is not limited to the historical centre of Rome, outside the Mura Aureliane apartment buildings were also kept low as I could observe on my recent stay at the Monte Mario area.
Regional trains are actually pretty affordable in Italy. If you're planning to make a one-day trip outside of Rome, go to the Trenitalia site and see for yourself! You can go to Florence from 14.31 euros one-way (3.5 hour trip), thru a 17.31 euros one-way rate (2.5 hour trip) up.... reducing your trip to some 2 hours one-way, for much bigger bucks. The round-trip tickets are slightly discounted.
Uhhhhh, by the way..... if you go from Rome to Florence in your own car, you're going to spend some 20 euros each way (gas + highway charges).
A VT Meeting in Rome!
That night I met Poda and Janchan in a lovely restaurant close to the "Corso". We had a lovely dinner talking about ALL OF YOU!
Here the full team with two more friends.
check the price
Be carefull going here for a feed, For a start the food is not that good, worst thing is all the add on costs on top of the meal stated cost, i had Risoto and it was the worst i have ever eaten. none
skip the tour guides at the front, do audio tour
The tour guides can be hit or miss. We usually try to take one when we arrive at the different sites, but the quality really varies. There is also a good deal of competition for business and it can get nasty between the guides sometimes yelling at each other.
(note: these are the guides who hustle you at the entrance to the coliseum, not the cruise ship guides, or greyhound type tour guides, so you get what you pay for, which sometimes means that the quality and professionalism will vary dramatically)
Our guide at the coliseum started off OK, and even had a headset with megaphone which meant you could at least hear him which was a great start. But they can be quite mean. He started blaring with the megaphone at this poor tourist who had wandered up to hear what he was saying, deliberately singling the guy out and then telling him loudly to get lost. Hint: If you're going to stand on a sidewalk, in front of a major historical monument and and you're using a megaphone, this is called a public space and you might attract attention. He then spent the rest of the tour telling other passerby not to listen to him since it was for paying customers only...
He was wearing a Belfast jacket if you ever bump into him...
The guide at the Pompei site was nicer, but his English was really indecipherable, although he smiled a lot and seemed to think he was saying important stuff, which I'm sure he was, except no one in the group could figure out what he was really saying. Then he got into a fight with another guide who kept saying all the guides are in a union run by mafia and not to use them, etc, lots of unnecessary drama.
If you want some kind of standard, probably better to go with a pre-arranged tour, but you'll pay more, and sometimes you end up in large groups, which is the downside. We ended up taking the audio tour afterward and it was much better and much more comprehensive.