When in Rome...
Where else but in Rome could you admire a 17th-century colonnade designed by Bernini while resting against an Egyptian obelisk carried off from Heliopolis while Jesus was still alive? Or stand amid the splendor of Renaissance frescoes in a papal palace built on top of the tomb of a Roman emperor? Where else, for that matter, are vestal virgins buried adjacent to the Ministry of Finance? Rome went all out to spruce up for 2000, and when you visit in 2002, you'll benefit from all those improvements made at the end of the 20th century. For the Jubilee, decades' worth of grime from car exhaust and other pollution was scrubbed from the city's facades, revealing the original glory of the Eternal City (though Rome could still stand even more work on this front), and ancient treasures like the Colosseum were shored up. Many of the most popular areas (such as the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona) are sparkling and inviting again.
Whether they're still time-blackened or newly gleaming, the city's ancient monuments are a constant reminder that Rome was one of the greatest centers of Western civilization. In the heyday of the Empire, all roads led to Rome, and with good reason. It was one of the first cosmopolitan cities, importing slaves, gladiators, great art, and even citizens from the far corners of the world. Despite its carnage and corruption, Rome left a legacy of law; a heritage of great art, architecture, and engineering; and an uncanny lesson in how to conquer enemies by absorbing their cultures.
But ancient Rome is only part of the spectacle. The Vatican has had a tremendous influence on making the city a tourism center. Although Vatican architects stripped down much of the city's glory, looting ancient ruins for their precious marble, they created great Renaissance treasures and even occasionally incorporated the old into the new--as Michelangelo did when turning the Baths of Diocletian into a church. And in the years that followed, Bernini adorned the city with the wonders of the baroque, especially his glorious fountains.
Carabinieri Pomp and Pagentry
On June 1st, we had just left the house and turned the corner onto Via Veneto and I stopped in my tracks - this group of Caribinieri in full formal dress, all mounted on white horses was passing by us heading South on Via Veneto. I was told they were celebrating an anniversary of some particular event - I'm still trying to find out the significance of June 1st in the Carabinieri Corps.
Italy has both a local police force (Polizia) and the National Carabinieri.
The new Corps, created to perform both military and civil functions, was called the Carabinieri not only to avoid any comparison with the former napoleonic "Gendarmerie" but mainly because, like all elite units of those years, it was equipped with carbines.
The Carabinieri Corps was created on July 13, 1814, by resolution of Vittorio Emanuele I which established a Corps, known as Carabinieri Reali, of mounted or foot soldiers rigorously selected "... for their distinguished good conduct and judiciouness" whose task was "to contribute to the necessary happiness of the State, which cannot be separated from protection and defense of all good subjects."
These particularly sensitive functions, specified in the Regie Patenti (Royal Licenses), the official document comprising the aforementioned resolution, underlined the importance attributed to the personal skills required of the selected soldiers, as well as their dual military and civil task. From the very beginning, the Carabinieri demonstrated a heartfelt sense of duty, honor and top level conduct, and quickly gained people's respect and devotion.
Swap Meet at Campo D'Fiore
This place has the greatest outdoor spice vendors. I even had to send my friends back to resupply my dwindling frittata and bruscheta mixes. They also brought me some carbonara mix. Obviously there are clothes vendors, and second hand stuff. Plus all around the area are antigue dealers.
The morning we went, there was a fire in a nearby building so we also had drama.
In the middle of the picture is an Italian talking.
Train from the Airport. Fast,...
Train from the Airport. Fast, efficient and cheap.
Walking, or day ticket (buy from Tabaconnists) costing the equivalent of £2 per day. and you can use as many times as you wish within that day. Great value. Also local transport to outlying regions. Most on time and again excellent value.
Ristorante, Pizzeria e Bisteccheria
An Italian restuarant chain of Calabrese origin. We discovered it lately as a new branch opened very near our place.
I should say they are better than an average pizzeria and can be considered indeed a restaurant, with nice interior presentation and yes, great food. Try any of their first plate. Tonnerelli, vongole, porchini e pomodori... yummy!
One thing I can say is, if it's of South Italian origin, it must be good!