Demonstrations and Rallys
All the rallies end in one of the historical squares of Rome. According to the size of the expected attendance the locations involved are:
a) Piazza del Campidoglio: small rallies (less than 5,000);
b) Piazza Navona: small rallies (up to 40,000);
c) Piazza del Popolo: medium size rallies (up to 150,000);
d) Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano: large rallies (up to 1,000,000);
e) Circo Massimo: very large rallies (more than 1,000,000).
Former Prime Minister (and staunch Bush ally) Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian PM who took office in June 2001 and was just defeated, claimed that the success of a March 2002 mass gathering in Rome to protest against his labour policies was due more to the beauty of Rome, than to a genuine negative opinion about the legislation he wanted to introduce.
There is an element of truth in this statement: Trade Unions organized and subsidized the trip and many took the occasion to spend a day in Rome.
The events which led to the 2003 war in Iraq and its violent and never-ending aftermath caused a lot of uneasiness and anxiety in many people. These feelings were behind the massive participation in the rallies organized to prevent the war and subsequently to call for a different approach to the many issues the intervention had raised.
While rallies organized by the Unions are very structured, these other rallies left more room for individual participation.
walk beyond vatican city
if you are standing in front of the vatican looking at the fountain, look left and start walking....toward the pillars, beyond the pillars and up the hill. you will walk into a more local neighborhood with more affordable food. there are lots of take out restaurants and a feeling of being out of the rush of the city.
Since we have two small children the only thing we did at night was go to piazza navona and see the live entertainment.
There are several street performers and some live music every night. There are several cafes surrounding the piazza where you can order a drink, a meal, or dessert like Tartufo a rich chocolate ice-cream like dessert.
When eating in Rome, follow the priests
The restaurant is small, only like twenty tables or perhaps less. We found it when looking for something, anything to eat. It was early, so most tables were empty. We asked for one and they doubted a bit and conferred, before finally finding us one. We laughed, because the restaurant seemed empty enough. As said, it was early. It filled completely up in like one hour, and was filled since. Most had reservations. One big nearby table was reserved for a group of Catholic priests, probably Welsh or something alike. I liked that, I mean, it stands to reason that the priests, being part from a community installed in the city since well, almost forever, have the best tips available.
It turned out so. The food was perfect, the service attentive and the prices reasonable. Roman food, a bit more imaginative than most. Rations were a bit on the small side, but I like that when visiting.
A couple of days later I returned there for a card, and the owner (I think he was the owner) even remembered me! That's a proof for me of attention to detail, and concentration in your bussiness.
Take your time at the Fourm
The Rouman Fourm is a great place to vist and is usually a tourist stop.
Do not, and I mean do not, plan to spend an hour there. Spend an afternoon there and bring lunch and just take in the sites and enjoy the histroy that is all around.