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Favorite thing: As I planned my trip to Rome, I was hoping to get some good photos from various vantage points in the city. The weather, although wintertime, cooperated with me and we didn’t experience rainy days, although we did have some clouds so my photos didn’t always have the blue skies and fluffy white clouds in the background that I like so much. But the sun was bright when it was out and that usually worked to my advantage. Timing being everything with the sun, there were some things I purposely planned in order to have the sun at the right angle for my photos. Fortunately, there are so many great places to get photos in Rome, no matter where you are in the city you have opportunities for good photos.
Some of my favorite places for photos:
~ At the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. Okay, it meant climbing up the steps to the top of the dome, but it was worth it! I took my zoom lens with me and thankfully it wasn’t too crowded so I had time to make adjustments as well as take enough photos for panoramic photos. We went around noon so the sun would be high in the sky, allowing me to take photos pretty much all the way around the top of the dome, both of St. Peter’s Square and Rome and its monuments, but also of the Vatican and its gardens.
~ Behind the Capitoline Museum. We toured the Roman Forum so I was able to get lots of up close photos of places in the Forum. But for that overall photo, I went up to the Capitoline Museum and walked around to the right side of the museum on Via d. Campidoglio, which led to a terraced overlook near the Temple of Saturn. From that vantage point, I could get photos almost the entire Forum in my photos and a hint of the Colosseum in the background.
~ For some photos of the Colosseum from a little higher up, walk up to the Palatine Hill (this is in the part where an admission fee is required) to the northeast corner that overlooks the Colosseum. From here we were able to get a couple photos of each other with the structure behind us, and then I took some of just the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine in the foreground. Again, I took these mid-day when the sun was overhead so I really didn’t have to deal with the lighting so much.
~ For some good photos of the city from the other end, try the overlook near the Villa Medici looking towards St. Peter’s. These are best in the morning with the sun behind you – I was there at sunset and the sun was right over St. Peter’s and I wasn’t really pleased with the effect. Ideally, if I could do it again, I would be at the Villa Medici in the morning and at St. Peter’s in the evening for my sunrise/sunset photos.
~ We happened upon the Janiculum Hill setting on our last day and it provides a nice overlook of the city of Rome. It is a little farther away than other sites, but if you have the right equipment and the day is clear, this is a nice location with flat ground and walls that you can set up your tripod. We were there in the morning and my photos didn't turn out well -- later in the day would be better from this location.
~ Another location that I came across during my trip to Rome was the top of Castel St. Angelo (nice mid-way between the city and St. Peter’s). This is best in the morning if you want St. Peter’s photos and you have to pay the admission fee to get to the top. Also, from here you can get some nice photos of the Tiber and Ponte St. Angelo.
~ Although I didn’t go to the top, the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument near the Capitoline Hill is a great location for photos since the monument stands up higher than most buildings in the area. You pay to go up to the top in the glass elevator but it would be a great view for the Forum, Colosseum, and the rest of the city.
Updated Mar 22, 2013
Favorite thing: Over two trips and 10 days in the city, we've rarely taken public - or any other type - of transport and not because it's inconvenient, expensive or complicated. On our feet, we could wander into narrow rustic streets, up ancient back stairways and into lush green spaces that we would have missed had we taken taxi, bus or Metro. On foot, we were often surrounded by more Romans than tourists, and the music that is Italian conversation. Rambling the backstreets you can smell the aromas of roasting meat and simmering sauces from the kitchens of weathered, cantalope-colored flats, hear children at play in postage stamp-sized courtyards, see the riot of flowers that spill from window boxes and tiny terraces, and experience little corners of the Rome that is home to thousands of people.
Here are a couple areas that have been particular favorites (so far):
• Trastevere: considered by its population to be "authentic" Rome. Very rustic, very beautiful; take a wander to Santa Maria in Trastevere, see the church and explore at least the 5-6 block area surrounding the piazza.
• Via Giulia: a roughly 10-block stroll of 16th - 18th-century pallazi, churches and antique shops, it's included in many guidebooks but there were almost no tourists around when we were there
• Any of the routes right along the Tiber - especially in the evening and early morning
• Villa Borghese and bits of Parco Colle Oppio
• Portico d'Ottavia area in the Jewish Ghetto: Roman ruins, medieval and renaissance buildings
• Aventine Hill
• Ponte Sant'Angelo
• Anywhere on the Appia Antica
Fondest memory: A favorite memory is of walking to the Capitoline very early on our first morning in Rome: the slow-moving Tiber reflecting Bernini's angels on the Ponte Sant'Angelo, passing shuttered shops along quiet, cobbled streets and trading buon giornos with a few locals on their way to work. Too early for the museums to be open, we wandered into a virtually deserted Forum to marvel, in the grey mist of a light rain, at the crumbled, silent remains of what was once the center of the most powerful empire on earth.
Updated Sep 23, 2012
Favorite thing: I would like to offer just one piece of advice. Spend as much time as possible to prepare before you go. Decide on the places you want to visit then read and read. This time will be well worth it as you look at "one more piece of rock or on more sculpture" and see not this but the purpose and history of each piece and the difference in every stop you make. It will come to life for you and open itself up for you.
Fondest memory: I miss the surprise around each corner.
Written Aug 30, 2012
Favorite thing: Unfortunatly, I have heard numerous stories about people who have had their cameras stolen. Not only were they upset because of the loss of their camera, but also about all the pictures that were on the memory cards as well. Some people said they had 1300 photos on their 2 gig cards and now they are all gone because their camera was stolen. My suggestion is to invest in more of the smaller cards. You can buy 3 or 4 2gig cards for the price of one 10 gig card. You can carry these in your pocket and change when the card is full. This way you protect the pics you have already taken. I use 2 gig cards most of the time. I can get about 500 pics on them at 9.0 megapixels. If your camera has less megapixels you can fit more, if it has more you will fit less. I also download all of my pictures every night to my laptop or ipod. This way, if my camera is lost or stolen, I have only lost 1 days worth of photos and not an entire trips worth. I do have a 10 gig card and will certainly use it on my next trip, but I will still download it at night. Protect those photos!!!!
Updated Jul 2, 2012
Favorite thing: I think you have to weigh the Pros and Cons of buying a Roma Pass. For EU$25, you gain free entry to the first two museums and/or archaeological sites, then discounted entry to all other museums and/or archaeological sites, free use of the city's public transportation network, discounted tickets to exhibitions or events, a map and few other items. It's valid for three days from their validation date.
We didn't end up buying the Roma Pass. And, I don't think it cost us too much more by not buying it. Their are many places you can visit for free. Look at your itinerary, the cost of just the transportation ticket (various prices for different time frames) and see if the cost makes sense to you.
Updated Apr 29, 2012
Favorite thing: The city of Rome is divided into 22 "rioni" and each of it has its own coat of arms. Rione originates from the Latin word REGIO, meaning for region, and is term to name the district of Rome according to the administrative divisions established in the Middle Ages but used even today.
The first division into the city regions started in times of Servius Tullius, sixth King of Rome. After the Republic collapsed the first Emperor Augustus created the 14 regions of Rome.
In case this borrowed picture is too small to be read, this are the rioni of Rome: Monti, Trevi, Colonna, Campo Marzio, Ponte, Parione, Regola, Sant'Eustachio, Pigna, Campitelli, Sant'Angello, Ripa, Trastevere, Borgo, Esquilino, Ludovisi, Sallustiano, Castro Pretorio, Celio, Testaccio, San Saba, Prati.
Written Dec 1, 2011
Favorite thing: EUR is both residental and business district in Rome located in the southern part of the city, it is first what one can see of Rome if arriving by the road or from the airport. Actually, EUR was idea of Benito Mussolini in order to expand the city towards south-west and sea.
The construction of the complex started in 1930 and was planned to be the home to a World Fair. It was planned to be open in 1940 to celebrate 20 years of Fascism.
The idea of Mussolini was to built the city in classical forms of ancient Roman architecture, I guess world is lucky that it never occured.
Updated Dec 1, 2011
Favorite thing: In its long history Rome was open city area, welcoming all people of good will. During many centuries the town wasn't surrounded by any walls at all, but then around the third century A.D. Barbarian thretenigs become more evident and the Empire decided to protect the city from invasions. A line of city walls was built between 271 and 275, it is what we know today as The Aurelian Walls. The walls enclosed all seven hills of Rome and the full circuit run for over 19 kilometres......
Updated Nov 30, 2011
Fondest memory: Palazzo Farnese is named after Alessando Farnese, a member of minor noble family who was appointed cardinal in 1493 at the age of 23 only. Later on in 1534 Cardinal Farnese became Pope Paul III and comissioned Antonio de Sangallo the Younger to enlarge his private small palace which stood on this spot. Sangallo redesigned palace to reflect the change in status of its owner. After Sangallo's death the palace was yet to be completed and Michelangelo was asked by the pope to take over.
Michelangelo modified Sangallo's project in the design of the first floor windows and in the overall height of the building. The cental window is in particularly beautiful and the coat of arm of the Pope Paul III above it.
After pope's death his heirs entrusted Il Vignola and later on Giacomo della Porta with the completion of the palace.
Updated Nov 26, 2011
Favorite thing: Piazza Colonna is situated in the historic heart of Rome. It is named after the marble Column of Marcus Aurelius which stood here since 193 C.E. One of the Popes, who doesn't deserve to be named, ordered bronze statue of Saint Paul to crowns the column.
The fountain is designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1577 and was restored in 1830 when two sets of dolphins were added.
Fondest memory: Galeria Colonna is Art Nouveau construction from the beginning of the 20th century. It is shopping arcade with some very nice shops. Since 2003 the gallery is named Galeria Alberto Sordi, after great Italian actor, one of my favourite.
Palazzo Chigi is the official residence of Prime Minister of Italy. It was built in the 16th century to be a residence for some noble families and the last owner was Chigi family. In 1878 it become the residence of the Austro-Ungarian Ambassador in Italy. In 1916 the palace was bought by the Italian state.
Updated Nov 26, 2011
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