If you want to have a sort of 'critical' viewpoint of life in Italy from an expat's point of view, check out a terrific blog which discusses all the things we foreigners always end up talking about at the parties and cocktails...some great insights also on current news in Italy, all a bit tongue in cheek!
Better than the Porta Portese Flea Market?
On Sunday mornings, lots of tourists head for Porta Portese flea market in Trastevere, but nearby, there's another market which I think offers a little more local color and a little less of the piles of cheap, new, plastic junk. Instead of going into the Porta Portese main entrance, continue heading west, to Viale di Trastevere and turn left. Walk down the street, noticing the impromptu shrine on the left to the Blessed Virgin, with many plaques thanking her for favors granted. At Piazza Benardino da Feltre, turn left and follow the hordes to Via Benedetto Musolino on the right. Just before the market stalls begin, there's a great little pastry shop on the left. To be sure, you'll find cheap, new, plastic junk here, too, but there are some real flea market finds as well.
EasyJet bus to Termini (Train Station)
If you fly into Ciampino Airport via EasyJet or RyanAir...I recommend taking their bus to the Termini Station. Termini is at the center of the Metro and Train system. You can take the A or B trains from this location to your destination.
***If your plane leaves out of Ciampino...Buy the round-trip ticket instead of the one way. It is good anytime and I didn't see anywhere at Termini to purchse the return ticket!****
The (artichoke) heart of the Jewish ghetto
Excellent for lunch or dinner, Il Portico is an indoor/outdoor restaurant that serves authentic Roman/Jewish food. No need to mention that the carcioffi fritti (fried artichokes) are a must. Besides artichokes, their meats, pastas and salads are very good. NOTE: although it's in the heart of the Jewish ghetto, I can't say for sure if they are kosher or 'kosher-style.' That you'll have to check when you're there.
It is frightening to think about the number of people that died for the entertainment of the Romans, however it is rather impressive their endeavor to build the facilities in which they did so, especially considering the technology that was available at the time.
The Colosseum or Flavian Amphitheater was constructed through the reign of several emperors. Construction began in the reign of Vespasian, continuted in Titus' reign, and completed by Domitian. It is large enough to have accomodated 50,000 spectators. In the bowels of the Colosseum, underneath its wooden arena, there were a series of rooms and passages that were built to accomodate animals and to facilitate the staging of events. Although there is only one entrance into the Colosseum now in modern times, in its hayday, there were 80 entrances/exits that helped diffuse spectator traffic.
Oct-Jan 15 daily 9am-3pm
Jan 16-Feb 15 daily 9am-4pm
Feb 16-Mar 17 daily 9am-4:30pm
Mar 18-Apr 16 daily 9am-5pm
Apr 17-Sept daily 9am-7pm