Spoilt for choice!
There simply too much to do in Rome: too many monuments, churches, piazza´s, bars and restaurants to visit during on stay! Therefore it´s also the ideal destination to return to. But whatever you do, don´t miss the Roman ruins and the Vatican. You can easily visit them during the day and there´ll be lots of time left for food and wine in the evening! It´s hard to determine what was best in Rome; there´s so much to like. The stroll on the Palatine was something else, alright. Very peaceful, with beautiful sights over the modern city and the Forum (pic).
Modern day talking Statues of Rome
The monuments of Rome are often used by protesters to support their views - in some cases the result is pretty amazing - as were the ancient "talking statues" in the days when citizens left notes of protest on those monuments. (see our Off the Beaten Path Tips pages 1 & 2 for all the ancient talking statues). Here, The Albanian Leader Scanderberg is turned into a peace supporter while Emperor Trajan is worried by the rise in oil prices.
Giorgio Castriota Skanderberg (Skanderberg - bey Alexander) was the son of an Albanian Prince, sent by his father to the court of Sultan Murad II. He became a military commander of the Ottoman Army until in 1443 he led a rebellion of the Albanians against the Sultan's rule and for twenty years by using guerilla tactics he managed to circumvent the Sultan's attempts to regain control of that country. He is remembered for some particularly cruel massacres.
In 1939 the King of Albania was dethroned by the Italians and the title was assumed by the King of Italy: to celebrate the friendship between Italy and Albania a monument to the Albanian hero was erected in 1940 in the large alley leading from Circo Massimo to Porta S. Paolo. It is highly unlikely Skanderberg would have objected to the war in Iraq.
Photos and reference text by permission of Roberto Piperno for non-commercial purposes only.
Benetton is everywhere, and is pretty reasonable price-wise. If you have a 'clothing emergency' due to weather, or you are understandably embarrassed by your sweatpants-based wardrobe, stop by benetton to blend in with the locals.
Rome's broad gauge tram tracks make the ride very stabile. There are 6 tram lines, 2 of which running all the way to Trastevere. The main hub is Porta Maggiore a few stops from stazione Termini, lines 3, 5, 14 and 19 intersect there, as well as Roma-Pantano railway line. Take tram 5 or 14 to Via Giovanni Amendola for Roma Termini, 19 for Vatican City. Step on tram number 8 and it will take you all the way to Argentina :)
The old TAS trams dating far back to last century are really classic. Newer, partially low-floor SOCIMI trams have doors and driver's cabins on both ends, so they can run in both directions. The newest, partially low-floor Cityway trams on line 8 aren't exactly what you'd expect of a modern European tram, but then again, they're running in an ancient Italian city, so it's more about soul and passion... Damn, now I'm gonna have to but an euro in my Italian cliché swear box.
I stayed in a B&B near Via Prenestina, so I used trams several times a day to get in the city center. In daytime the trams are very frequent, often the next tram coming right after the previous one. In the evening, service is dramatically reduced. On line 3, there are major restrictions at the moment, due to construction of metro line C. In weekdays, trams on line 3 are replaced by buses, but no bus can normally replace rail transport, so they are packed! There are also some restrictions on other tram lines in the evenings.
Stop names are not announced on trams.
Fantastic Sicilian Pizza
There's an amazing little pizzeria on Via Carlo Emanuele I, just south of Termini, which unfortunately I never got the name of, but it seems to be Sicilian from the posters on the walls! It has a superb selection of pizza al taglie to eat in or take away. I personally recommend the tomato, ricotta and basil one, although the raw tomato mozzarella & basil and four cheese ones are also very good. We took a variety back to our hotel to eat on our balcony with a bottle of wine from the local supermarket!
The man who runs it is very friendly and will tell you what the different pizzas are, and ask you whether you want a big or a little piece.
Three big pieces came to 13 euros tomato, ricotta and basil pizza - heated up til the ricotta is just melting - delicious!