Visiting the Colosseum was a...
Visiting the Colosseum was a great experience for me. It was a hot day on June 1st, and there was a big line to get inside the colosseum, but I managed to get up on those really large and steep steps up the colosseum. The inmensity and the history behind this magnificent building took my breath away.
Near the Colosseum (a few feet away), is the Arch of Constantine, a magnificent triple-arcarded arch. I miss all the architectural buildings, the inmensities of each and every basilica, chapel, museum, and monument I got to visit. The extensive art, history and the beautiful conservations that Italians put into their country is unbelievable.
Pack Light - but not too light. Be comfortable!
Wheels are a great idea, but if you are on your own - wheeling luggage around streets in Rome can be dreadful. You spent a fortune flying over...spring for the taxi and ride in comfort to your hotel and/or the train station. Don't think you can do it all on your own just because you are young and healthy. Save your energy for exploration once your bags are in your room! I wear dresses - I don't panic about entering certain sights. A scarf and/or light cardigan is all you need to get into St. Peters. Don't die of heat stroke wearing jeans and/or slacks. Take comfortable shoes... you'd be surprised at how many women wear high heels to explore in. I wearing hiking boots, and no one even glances. I also take a steamer and travel iron. In Italy, you are expected to wear your "nice" clothes in public. It is an insult to dress "down" and and enter someone's restaurant looking like a slob. Exceptions: Pompeii or Ostia Antica. I take a fresh cotton top in my bag if I am wearing shorts and intend to go to a casual dinner after being out all day. I take 3 pair of capri pants; 3 cotton dresses; 3 long shorts; and 5 tops for a 3-4 week trip. Also one black dress for anything dress up, along with some black sandals. And don't forget a straw hat... it looks nice and blocks sun from my eyes. If you are allergic, don't forget an epi-pen. I love Italy, but have to run from bees frequently, especially in Assisi in the summer...! Take benadryl, ibuprofen (take two tablets with your breakfast, it helps you from developing leg cramps or swelling as badly), antibact wipes, the usual stuff! I also take a small (3-4) bottle of pure aloe vera gel and wear serious sunscreen. Rome's sun can be brutal. Take a box camera along with your other equipment. If someone offers to take your picture, give them the point and shoot box camera - you won't have to explain how to use your camera, and you have less of a chance of getting a blurry pic of you in front of some important sight. If you are older, think about one of those walking sticks that has the built in sling chair when unfolded. I felt dreadfully sorry for people on the tours I have been on that were older and just completely exhausted by the time we had trapsed around sights all day. St. Peters is huge, and the Vatican is an all day event. Prepare to be exhausted. I take 3-4 large mailing envelopes, preaddressed, so I can mail back brochures, small books, etc., that weigh a ton and take up room in luggage when returning home. Just mail it back to your self...!
Shopping for Italian Designer Clothings
My favorite boutiques in Rome are:
Salvatore Ferragamo at: Via de Condotti 73, Rome.
Ferragamo also have a smaller boutique right at the foot of the Spanish Steps. Their shoes are simply to-die for! And they are almost 40% to 50% cheaper than if you were to buy them in Asia! If I can't carry too many boxes of shoes back to Singapore, I'll get them to ship it instead. The sales assistants are friendly and if you buy a few pairs of shoes, they'll even give you a discount (that is, if you manage to charm them enough).
La Perla at: Via De Condotti 79, Rome
Wearing La Perla lingerie would make any woman feel sexy. But most importantly, it costs 40% cheaper to buy here vis-a-vis shopping in Asia (the worst country to shop in Asia is Japan. Everything is so expensive there!).
Missoni at: Via del Babuino 102, Rome
I love, love, love Missoni! And the boutique is conveniently located right across the Spanish Steps. If you come from Asia (like me), most Italian designer clothings and shoes cost almost 50% more than what you would pay if you were to buy it in Italy. I am referring to big designer brands like Gucci, Ferragamo, Gianfranco Ferre, Gianni Versace et al.
So, if you ever see an Asian (Japanese or Chinese) shopping at Via Condotti or at Via Veneto like there is no tomorrow... you now know the reason why! ;-)
I usually bring along a half-filled luggage so that I can replenish most of my clothes and shoes when I'm in Italy.
Sometimes, my girlfriends give me a list of their shopping to do. That's fine for me. I don't mind shopping for them because I enjoy more discounts at these boutiques if I were to buy in bulk.
Christmas Eve 7 Fish Traditional Dinner
The traditional seven-fish meal served on Christmas Eve in parts of Italy (particularly in towns along the sea), gets its numeric significance from the seven sacraments. The type of seafood served usually changes based on what’s fresh. A list of Rome Christmas Eve traditional dinner venues. (List under construction)
Generally, in Rome you will find restaurants open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the Jewish Getto and in all major hotels (an expensive option).*
Restorante Crispi 19 - between Spanish steps and Trevi fountain, an intimate and cosy restaurant. Service Christmas Day, New Year's Eve (nothing listed for New Year's Day) - Christmas Eve Traditiona 7 Fish Dinner menu/prices here - http://www.ristorantecrispi19.com/menu_vigilia_en.htm
New Year's Eve - La Rosetta (Via della Rosetta 8-9; 39-06-68-61-002; www.larosetta.com) may be the most famous notable seafood restaurant in the city. It is “a little touristy,” but solid and classic - only steps away from the Pantheon - very expensive - menu/prices on their website.
Mussels in the heart of town
This restaurant is located just few steps from Piazza Navona, so normally crowds of tourists drop inside. In the same time, a lot of roman people like this place, cause the food is of good quality and the service is very quick. Also, comparing to the quality (and the quantity!) the price is not so high.
The dinner usually must start with mussels and focaccia (a kind of pizza without dressing), then pasta, pizza and many other kind of dishes, everything is good!
If you wish, you may settle for a scheduled menu and pay a fixed price. Mussels and focaccia, of course. Last time I had "pasta alla gricia", with eggs, parmisan and black pepper. Very appetising!