When in Rome, Speak as the Romans do!
So we made it to Rome - now what? Finding a place to stay and getting around town really shouldn't have been a problem, since between the 2 of us we had English, Spanish, German, French, Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, and some broken pieces of other languages here and there. Especially with the Spanish, the fact that we didn't speak any Italian shouldn't have been a problem... so we thought! :-D
Lessons learned: Spanish is not as similar to Italian as is commonly assumed. In fact, nobody understood a word of Spanish. English, to some level, is spoken in the very touristy areas, but otherwise it seems the only language spoken in Rome is - ITALIAN. Here's some Italian that we picked up on our trip and that might come in helpful:
~ Grazie - Thank you!
~ Per piacere - please
~ Scuuusiiiii - sorry
~ Mama mia - expression of surprise
~ Nessun non desidero comprare alcune rose! - No I don't want to buy any roses.
~ La u mi non ha dato il mio cambiamento completo indietro! - You have not given me my complete change back!!
~ Potete tasto aumentare prego la vostra camicetta? Sembre distracting il mio fiancee! - Could you please button up your blouse? It seems to be distracting my fiancee!
~ Mama mia!!!! Quella E Catherine Zeta Jones!!! - Oh my mother!!!! That's Catherine Zeta Jones!!!
~ Mary Santa, madre del dio!!! Ci e il papa! - Holy Mary, mother of God!!! There's the Pope!
~ Spaghetti, Pizza, Pasta!!! E quello tutto che abbiate? Ottengami qualche tacos ora! HRMPH!!! - Spaghetti, Pizza, Pasta! Is that all you have? Get me some Tacos now! HRMPH!!!
(translations to be taken lightly, of course!)
French Embassy at Palazzo Farnese
It is generally accepted that one cannot tour the Palazzo Farnese -- not so - difficult, yes - impossible, no - worth the effort to visit - absolutely!
Palazzo Farnese is a prominent High Renaissance palace in Rome and the current home of the French Embassy in Italy.
The Palazzo was inherited from the Farnese by the Bourbon kings of Naples, from whom the French government purchased it in 1874. Though the government of Mussolini ransomed it in 1936, the French Embassy remains, under a 99-year lease.
The palazzo was redesigned in 1534 and 1541, modified under Michelangelo after Sangallo's death in 1546 onwards and completed by Giacomo della Porta in 1589. Several main rooms were frescoed with elaborate allegorical programs including a series of frescoes on Hercules, and The Loves of the Gods by Annibale Carracci and other artists, 1597-1608. For generations the room with Herculean frescoes (Sala d'Ercole) housed the famous sculpture from Greco-Roman antiquity known as the Farnese Hercules.
Photo 2 - Michelangelo's unfinished Farnese bridge over Via Giulia. (more photos on another tip) On the garden side, which faces the Tiber, Michelangelo proposed to give the palazzo's vast bulk some breathing room with a bridge to link the center of the garden facade with the Pope's villa, the Villa Farnesina on the Trastevere side.
If you have an interest, contact the Embassy with your request - either in French or Italian (they will, most likely, not respond if you write in English):
Centre de ressources
Tel : 06 68 89 28 18
fax : 06 68 80 97 91
A che ora parte il treno?
All trains eventually make it to Rome. When choosing between direct trains and regional trains the biggest factor is cost. Termini is enormous but also a great gateway to all of Europe. It's a strange feeling to stand at the ticket counter and know that you could arrive just about anywhere in Europe by the end of the day.
Hotel Forum Restaurant
Very expensive, but terrific location...right across the street from the Forum and you can sit outside on the rooftop patio with a view of the Forum and Monument Victor Emanuele while you dine. Lunch buffet--fabulous!
That fountain.. Anita Ekberg trailing through its waters in 'La Dolce Vita', one guess as to which fountain Frank Sinatra and 'Three Coins in a Fountain' refers to, and Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in 'Roman Holiday' hardly give the place a wide birth. That's just 3 films..
Fontana di Trevi has to be the most famous fountain of them all and is a magnet for any visit to the Italian capital.
And it is some magnet. Designed by Nicolo Salvi for Pope Clement XII, finished in 1762, the marble figures et al are truly spectacular. The white marble, the 'blue' water, the suprisingly small piazza in which it is based, even the hoardes of people throwing their coins into the fountain in the hope of returning to the city, all add to the incredible environment of the fountain. It gets very very busy - and the amphitheatre around the pool fills up quickly, restricting views. It's worth 2 or 3 visits - early morning is a good time, as is night-time and floodlit views.