Favorite thing: You will see a number of maps to choose from in all the tourist shops and offices. This appears to be the map of choice if you plan to use public transportation while in Rome. It is user friendly and gives excellent detail on all available public transportation routes and schedules. A handy little item.
Sometimes I'm frustrated that there is more interest on VT for logistical questions than for cultural and historical matters. But I admit that arriving at the right monument at the right time is not without interest so that I admire the VT members who are permanently and repeatedly advising travelers what train or bus to take to get there where my review about art and history starts.
Nevertheless VirtualTourist remains miles-kilometers in advance of Tripadvisor as what concerns cultural matters.
Do you know what is the N° 1 of Traveler recommended attractions for Rome on Tripadvisor?
Trevi Fountain? no.
Vatican Museum? no
I tell you - are you seated - it is "Cooking Classes in Rome" and refers to the commercial activity of a restaurant located in Trastevere.
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.
All the rallies end in one of the historical squares of Rome. According to the size of the expected attendance the locations involved are:
a) Piazza del Campidoglio: small rallies (less than 5,000);
b) Piazza Navona: small rallies (up to 40,000);
c) Piazza del Popolo: medium size rallies (up to 150,000);
d) Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano: large rallies (up to 1,000,000);
e) Circo Massimo: very large rallies (more than 1,000,000).
Former Prime Minister (and staunch Bush ally) Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian PM who took office in June 2001 and was just defeated, claimed that the success of a March 2002 mass gathering in Rome to protest against his labour policies was due more to the beauty of Rome, than to a genuine negative opinion about the legislation he wanted to introduce.
There is an element of truth in this statement: Trade Unions organized and subsidized the trip and many took the occasion to spend a day in Rome.
The events which led to the 2003 war in Iraq and its violent and never-ending aftermath caused a lot of uneasiness and anxiety in many people. These feelings were behind the massive participation in the rallies organized to prevent the war and subsequently to call for a different approach to the many issues the intervention had raised.
While rallies organized by the Unions are very structured, these other rallies left more room for individual participation.
Rome is, indeed, a city of contrasts.
The new with the old, the antique with the modern, the ancient with the contemporary.
Romans use their cell phones more than Americans! But, it certainly is fun to see locals standing beside an ancient monument, cell phone in hand or up to the ear.
Also, the roar of scooters resounds in the streets along with the clip clop of the horse-drawn carriages.
Even though the buildings seem ancient on the outside, once you enter, you are amazed at how modern the interiors are.
This is especially true in Roman villas and apartments. Their kitchens and bathrooms are marvels!
Fondest memory: In fashion, Romans are on the cutting edge; yet, classic suit jackets, vests, dresses, and traditional shoes are also evident, especially with the older generation.
Regardless, the Romans I saw were so well dressed and seldom in casual attire such as Americans usually are!
I appreciate this attention to attire; it indicates self worth and dignity in my estimation. Perhaps that is one of the many reasons why I love Rome so much!
Top Photo: Allan took this of me beside a horse-drawn carriage in Rome.
Bottom Photo: Allan took this of me "pretending" to ride the ever-popular scooter in Rome.
While in Rome with our military friend, Hugh, we did a little window shopping. As we were chatting and pretending to purchase all the lovely items that are readily available in Rome's most exclusive areas around Piazza di Spagna, especially the elegant shoppes around Via Condotti, we were "Stopped Dead In Our Tracks" when we saw a shoe store with a sign that read, "Bruno Magli.
Why? You might ask. Well, Bruno Magli shoes just happen to be the choice brand and really only brand of shoe that our own O.J.Simpson wears, and this brand of shoe played an important part in his murder trial.
Well, since all of America, and half of the world, had been watching that infamous trial, we were smirking and pointing to the sign. So I decided to ask Hugh and Allan to pose in front of the store, pointing to the sign. A crowd of tourist gathered round.
Fondest memory: Not all of them were American, and not all of them knew about the O.J. Simpson murder trial. We attempted to explain why we were taking this photo and why we were laughing. Some people just walked away, shaking their heads and probably thinking, CRAZY AMERICANS!
It's another of those moments that are really unimportant in the total scheme of life; however, it's a fun time to recollect. It would be impossible for me to purchase a pair of Bruno Magli shoes for Allan knowing that OJ loved them so.
Besides, I could never afford to buy them!
Marianne's cousin lives in Rome now. She left the United States many, many years ago to take a job in Rome. She loved it so, that she has made it her permanent home. She enjoyed hearing about a variety of things happening in the states....NYC was her home when she was young. She lives in a quiet neighborhood outside the city's center. We travelled by bus to find her and enjoyed a lovely lunch in her apartment.
There are wonderful courtyards filled with gardens behind the buildings, and convenient little shops close by. We walked around the block and enjoyed some of the ordinary daily life of the residents there.
I have read about VTers who have done as Marianne's cousin, and fallen in love with a city or country to adopt it as their own. It's a curious thing how a place 3,000 miles from where you grew up can sometimes overwhelm you so much as to make you want to stay forever. Is it in the water? Or are there special vibrations?
This laundry is very near the termini, has free internet access if you use their service or very cheap otherwise. (1 euro for 1/2 hour) Has 7 hour luggage storage for 2 euro, and has a couple of very friendly Indian brothers I think running it that speak very good English. It was most helpful for us to do our laundry, use the internet, and on way back into Rome we used the luggage storage.
They also have an Indian Fast Food restaurant around the corner which we did not eat at but the price was right, 5 euro for 3 courses.
Fondest memory: Via Milazzo, 20 B
Most all the statues and buildings in Rome have dates written on them - in roman numerals. It was fun, but it took us a little while to remember what is what, so here is a short-cut if you don't have the time and patience, or if you just want to be sure.
Fondest memory: The following web-sites provide tables of Roman Numerals, converters, and other useful information:
On peut être indifférent à l'histoire de l'antiquité romaine (mais alors pourquoi se taper Rome?) et ne pas pouvoir échapper à la rencontre avec les empereurs romains dans cette ville truffée de monuments, de forums, de statues à la gloire de ces empereurs.
Très rapidement le touriste se rendra compte qu'il y a les bons et les mauvais, même des empereurs "fous".
Une petite liste peut se révéler utile à s'y retrouver parmi les quatre-vingt "Augustes" sans compter les usurpateurs.
Bien connus pour leurs dérèglement psychiatriques sont :
Caligula, Néron et le moins connu Elegabalus.
Parmi les féroces les historiens peu impartiaux de l'époque romaine citent Domitien. Le personnage était brutal mais ne manqua pas d'efficacité. Ce qui fut également le cas de Dioclétien.
Parmi les meilleurs on classe généralement:
Octave Auguste, qui régna 41 ans,
Vespasien "l'empereur du bon sens" selon l'historien L. Homo.
Trajan (le premier empereur non italien, né en Espagne),
Hadrien, Marcus Aurelius, Antonin le Pieux.
Entre ces extrêmes il y eut une catégorie d'empereurs efficaces tels que Tibère, Nerva, Constantin I, Claudius un excellent administrateur mais qui eut pour épouse la dangereuse Messaline.
La plupart des empereurs romains moururent de mort violente. Le job n'était pas de tout repos et n'était pas fait pour les enfants de chœur.
Probably one of the wilder walks I took while in Rome was from the Baths of Caracalla to the Catacombs of St. Sebastian on what is more commonly known as the Appian Way or Via Appia Antica. The famed road was built in 312 B.C. and led from Rome to the seaport of Brindisi. Much of the road where I walked, especially around the catacombs, was flanked by impressive ancient monuments. Amongst them was a hippodrome, some ancient fortifications and the Tomb of Cecilia Metela. This latter monument was built during the time of Caesar. Cecilia was a wife of one of his more important generals. The tomb is the best preserved of the many tombs along the road.
Fondest memory: Walking along the Appian Way was a crazy event for me. There are no sidewalks!. Cars wiz by a great speeds. Therefore take the bus. Bus 218 will get you to all the catacombs from the San Giovanni Metro stop. I took this bus back. The Tomb of Cecilia of Metela is virtually across the road from the Catacombs of St. Sebastian.
Favorite thing: Some of my favorite colors are on the stucco buildings of Rome. There is something very special about the light just before sunset... which brings out the color of these umber and sienna structures. Architecture doesn't have to be grand memorials for me...I find such satisfaction in seeing simpler buildings which are done well and contribute so much to the atmosphere of the city. I'm not sure if it is the pigment in the paints or the rays of the sun that make these sights so special to me, but it's that warm feeling and color that stays with me long after the visit.
Favorite thing: Tossed about like children's toys, the remnants of ancient temples lie strewn around the ground. . . waiting for further study or identification or just because they are treasured as historic elements. Hard to imagine most cities assigning this valuable city space to architectural remnants of the past. I'm so glad the Italians have been gentle with their history.
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.
Favorite thing: I include this photo to give an idea of the density of art and architecture within the city. It seems that they have packed it tightly with as much art as anyone could possibly absorb. It just keeps on coming. I felt like a wet sponge..at total capacity...every night.
The Pantheon is my favorite building in Rome and might be my favorite building in the world. The...more
My husband and I stayed at the Hotel Santa Maria for three nights at the end of a three week trip...more
Stayed at Barocco September 2011 in an "annex" room. I loved being in the annex--hotel amenities...more