Do As Romans Do, Rome
Everywhere you go in Rome, you can see spot these water fountains called "nasoni" (big noses) because of the shape of their spouts. At first we were wondering if they were there just for animals or if the water was drinkable. After seeing plenty of people bend down to have a sip, we decided to try it for ourselves. Turns out the water coming out of those fountains tastes really good! And it sure beats having to buy bottled water, which can sell for as much as 3 Euros in some stands. Since Rome tends to get really hot in the summertime, or even during spring and fall (we were there in October and temperatures were around 30ºC), these fountains can be real life savers. If you don't have a bottle and just need to take a quick sip, the trick is to block the end of the spout: this will cause the water to come out of a small hole the way it does in typical water fountains. You might get a bit wet on your first couple of tries (I know I did!), but eventually you'll get the hang of it and come out looking like a local!
I’ve always liked artichokes so I was quite happy to try the carciofi alla guida at one of the many kosher restaurants in Rome’s Jewish ghetto. As we perused the menu, we overheard this dish being offered to practically everyone who walked in. It is touted in guidebooks and cookbooks as a special Roman Jewish delicacy. So although the price seemed a bit steep, I said sure. After trying it, my advice to you is: Skip it.
Carciofi alla guidia, also called “Jewish artichoke,” is basically an artichoke that has been smacked on the table to flatten it, and then deep-fried. The leaves lose their fleshiness and become brown and papery with a slightly burned taste.
Artichokes are the bud of a flower. They have grown in the Roman countryside for centuries, and like most flowers, they are in season in the spring. But carciofi alla guidia is one of those dishes that the tourists ask for. So restaurants store half-cooked artichokes in the freezer to keep them on hand all year round, and toss them into hot oil when you order them.
My appetizer, consisting of one artichoke, cost EUR 5. The pizza was much better.
this was closed during the day in summer we were but it seems a nice place to be inside the villa borghese and a marionnette theater for kids and old alike. the teatro dei burattini at San Carlino
It came in 1978 at Torino to begin the story of the theater, and by creating the Teatro Popolare dei Burattini in 1990 it became known as the San Carlino in 1992 in the owners native Napoli. In 1994 it comes to Rome,and by 2004 the city owns the theater as today.
All this transport passes by it
Metro A (Flaminio) on foot from Piazza Del Popolo and exit Pincio; or as we did Metro A (Spagna) and we climb by Via Trinità dei Monti to the villa Borghese. also tramway 2 – 19; and Bus: 61 89 116 117 119 120F 150F 160 160F 490 491 495 89 926 C3
we try the 116 and it is very nice short bus.
This wonderful old palace was residencty to Popes and now to the PResident of the Italian Republic.
It is located on a hill at Piazza del Quirinale ; it has nice gardens nearby, a great obelisk and steps climbing to memorial monument to the fallen and plaques along its long semicircular staircase
A nice way to get to know the country you are visiting is to past by here, and take a peek into Italian military rendition a la Repubblica!
You can visit it every Sunday from 8.30 to 12.00, with the exception of the Sundays on 6 January, 31 march, 2 june, 3 november, 8 december, 22 december, 29 december, and the period from sunday 23 june to sunday September 8. Just show up otherwise and pay 5€ admission.
Piazza del Popolo, is a huge square with three roads coming into it , the Via del Corso was our entry point into it always. Once there you will the writing by Bernini over the northern gate, Porta del Popolo, (the former Porta Flaminio) “Felice faustoque ingressini MDCLV” “For a happy and blessed entrance”; a message left for Queen Christina on her arrival in Rome following her conversion to Roman Catholicism. In the piazza there are the twin Churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto, with the obelisk at center (known as the Oblisco Flaminio) which is the oldest and second tallest in Rome and the two Valadier fountains, also, see the wonderful Church of Santa Maria del Popolo ,built on the burial site of Emperor Nero.
Piazza Venezia, is very popular with filmgoers, and it has the impressive The square is of course dominated by the overpowering “Altare della Patria” (Altar of the Fatherland) a monument to honour Victor Emanuel II, unified Italy’s first king. You will see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Incorporated in the massive pure white marble structure, which was built between 1885 and 1905, it serves to honour and remember every soldier who lost his life during the First World War and who remains unidentified. From here Mussolini used to make his speeches. After much work to preserve the character of this square , Palazzo Venezia,and Palazzo Bonaparte where Napoleon’s mother, Letizia Ramolino once lived until her death in 1818.
Piazza Santa Maria in Trasteverde, located in the popular district and on the spot of the beautiful church basilica of Santa Maria in Trasteverde; its sparkling fifteenth century fountain, said to be the work of Bramante, 17C Palazzo San Callisto, and glittering gold mosaics of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trasteverde, while in the evening it is transformed into a lively meeting place for night-lifers, with the restaurants and bars’ tables overrunning the paving and all and sundry soaking up the atmosphere on the steps of the fountain.
Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, a very nice fashionable area today. As it said churches started from private homes that allowed worshiped on them this is what is thought of the one here ,church of San Lorenzo in Lucina (b. 4-5C A.D.). It was dedicated to St. Lawrence the Martyr as late as in the 12C, when some relics (including the alleged grid-iron of the saint’s martyrdom) were placed here. The tourist office will ask you ,who is Lucina? Tradition has it she was a rich pious Roman matron, owner of the original home on which the church is built. However given Lucina was an epithet for Juno, the Roman Goddess of heaven and also protector of Roman women, it is feasible that the church may at one time have been a temple, a shrine dedicated to her. Nice story , I buy it lol!
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, this is a huge square, also known as Piazza Vittorio,in the Esquilino Rione. Surrounded by palazzi with large porticoes of nineteenth-century style, the square was created by Gaetano Koch shortly after the transfer of the capital of Italy from Florence to Rome (1871). With nearly 10,000 square feet in addition to St. Peter’s square, the largest square in Rome (316 x 174 m). In the middle of the square umbertino style emerged spontaneously since the late 1800s, with large blocks of flats that the recingevano, a large open-air market, especially of food but not only. The food stalls were placed daily, from sunrise to two long sides of the large garden. The market remained in business until the 1990s, much frequented by the Romans for the convenience of prices, and also by tourists hunting for folklore. The Nuovo Mercato Esquilino reflects the multi-ethnic characteristics undertaken in recent decades by the square, and a strong foreign pressure, both in personal goods. In the middle of the square there is a garden that shows the remains of the nymphaeum of Alexander, and the so-called magic door, the entrance to Villa Palombara, residence of the Alchemist Massimiliano Palombara.
The piazza Cavour was very nice along the palace of justice and behind the castel sant angelo, with an imposing statue of Mr Cavour. Piazza Colonna is the center of it with nice old palazzos and buildings with the great galleria alberto sordi and many shopping areas.
Piazza di Spagna is the famous one of the steps, with great shops and history, Bernini’s fountain and the celebrated Spanish Steps rising up towards the Church of Trinità dei Monti. Home to English poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, the world-famous piazza, located at the foot of the Pincio Hill, has always been considered both a priceless cultural gem as well as popular tourist attraction.
Piazza San Giovanni in laterano is where the huge beautiful cathedral of Rome is located. Decorated in its center with an Egyptian obelisk in granite from the 14C BC that was at the place of the Grand Circus for a long time and now gives access to the Palace of Laterano.
Piazza Napoléone I, is right inside the Villa Borghese, at the mont of Pincus, offering a plunging view of the city towards the Piazza del Pololo to which it is link by stairs ,giving a wonderful panorama of the city.
Piazza Navona, is a wonderful one that we like a lot. It is the most elegant and cheerful of all Roman piazzas, and we agree. It was built on the site of Stadium of Domitian in the 1C A.D. This is where Roman children received their gifts from the wise men by Jan 5th, and you should not missed seeing the Fountain of The Four Rivers and Church of Saint’Agnese in Agone.
Rome is still blessed with a number of the aqueducts that served the ancient city. With so much available water, the Romans built fountains everywhere - in piazzas, at intersections, sometimes on the walls of buildings (think: Trevi Fountain).
You will see all over Rome a small tower of metal on the sidewalk (photo #1), with a pipe sticking out and water streaming out the pipe into a drain. It would be a pain to get low enough to drink from the pipe, so they put a hole in the top of the pipe, so that when you put your finger to block the end of the pipe, the water shoots out the hole (photo #2), making drinking the water much easier.
This metal tower is called a "nasone", literally, "big nose".
You will also see pipes coming out of the sides of buildings and other walls, pouring water into a basin (often a repurposed sarcophagus). This water is also safe to safe, so long as you get it from the pipe and not from the basin...
Really, such public water is all over Rome (and in other places in Italy), and it's perfectly safe to drink
Because I'm covering multiple locations in The Boot, I found it easier to group my insights about travel in Italy under a general heading. This way I can add/update as needed without having to go into the customs pages for each place unless it's unique to that particular city or town.
So if you're interested in some how-to-dos and things to expect on your trip, please see my 'An American in Italy' pages for the scoop.
News: TUSCAN VILLAGER WINS 148 MILLION EURO ON SAT, AUG 22!
This week, Aug 20, was the 86th draw without a winner and pushed the pot to 146.9 million euros for Italy's SuperEnalotto jackpot. It remains the world's biggest prize. Germans, Austrians and other foreigners are heading into Italy to play the lottery ahead of a record euro131.5 ($186 million) jackpot, including some who flew into Milan for a few hours just for a chance to win Thursday night. Since the last six-number win at the end of January, Italians have bet some 1.5 billion euros in the hope of becoming a millionaire, which translated into revenue of about 700 million euros for state coffers.
The advantage of the Italian game over others, especially those in America, is that SuperEnalotto pays out the full prize almost immediately, while US games give winners the pot in long-term instalments or pays a single, reduced prize.
SuperEnalotto winners also receive interest on their winnings from the time they redeem their slips to when they receive full payment, which usually takes two months for big payouts.
In order to win at SuperEnalotto, betters must choose the correct six numbers drawn from one to 90.
Ironically, this Italian lottery is one of the most difficult to win in the world.
* The odds of being able to win the jackpot by matching all six numbers are 1: 622,614,630!
* The odds of matching five numbers including the ‘Jolly number’ are 1:103,769,105.
* The odds of matching any five numbers are 1:1,235,346
* The odds of matching any four numbers are 1:11,907
* The odds of matching any three numbers are 1: 327
Yet, the Italian lottery has given out some of the biggest jackpots in recent times. A jackpot of euro 72 million went to a single ticket bought by ten people in a bar in Milan. A schoolboy is also known to have won a jackpot once at the Italian lottery.
Of course, there is a catch - you have to buy a ticket!! Buy at any sign-posted lotto seller in Italy or buy on-line from where ever you are.
As of April, 2011, the record lottery winners are:
*An unnamed player from Bagnone, Italy, who won €147.8 million in the SuperEnalotto game on Saturday 22 August, 2009.
* The largest lottery winner in the USA (as far as single ticket-holders are concerned) is Andrew Whittaker, a West Virginia player who picked up a $315 million Powerball jackpot on Wednesday 25 December, 2002.
* The largest lottery winner in the UK was an anonymous player who won £113 million in the EuroMillions game on Friday 8 October, 2010.
Here are a few photos of the water fountain in the Piazza beside the Pantheon. Signor Nasoni - the Romans call these water faucets that you see throughout the streets of Rome "big nose" ("nasoni") - and nasoni was serving everyone well today - a warm summer day in bella Rome. Children were playing - tourists were filling their water bottles - a woman was washing a spot from her skirt - men were dowsing their faces - and, as intended, those who know how to drink from the top were quenching their thirst. Note the locals way of drinking from the faucet in photo 1 - you don't need to stoop too much to drink - just stop the water flow with a finger at the main spout and the water will come up through a little hole at top of the faucet.
Photo 1 - Dad knows how to do this
Photo 2 - We can just play in the water, can't we
Photo 3 - One of the nice looking faucets
Photo 4 - Be sure to do it right by closing off the bottom faucet as that is where these guys drink!
* Note that these are the same water fountains you should use to fill your water bottles - buy your bottled water just once and here you will find the best-tasting water in Rome!
The water in Rome is of very high quality. The fountains that you see around town are potable water. So when you feel the need to have some water do not hesitate to use them.
We Americans are obsessed with bottled water. Aside from the obvious environmental effects of billions of plastic one time use bottles, bottled water is some of the least regulated water you can drink in the first world countries.
So dump the plastic and do as the Romans do. When in Rome….
In my wanderings across the city, I saw people drinking water from fountains, not with cupped hands below the spout. The proper way to do it is by plugging the spout with a finger, so the water sprays out from a hole or two on the top of the spout. It seems a bit messy at first, and you have to be prepared to have some water splashed on you the first times you do it, but it is actually more practical, and seems more hygienic. You don't have to wet both your hands (which may not be so clean to start with), and you don't have to bend that low or make too much of an acrobatic pose to drink from cupped hands without spilling too much water. It takes a bit of practice though.
A common question on the Forum here is "What do I wear when visiting a church in Italy?"
It is often posted outside the church door but if you are getting dressed in your hotel room, that doesn't help much. I just happened to take a photo of the door in the cathedral in Arezzo and it applies to most churches in Italy. (The red underline is my own.)
Rule #1 is "Use proper dress" and underneath is says "Shoulders and legs must be covered."
Elbow-length sleeves are all right and knee-length skirts seem to be okay too. We've seen various lengths of shorts treated differently at different churches. Sometimes, the knee-length shorts are allowed and sometimes they are not. I'm not sure how you know until an usher asks you to leave so it might be better to skip the shorts if you know you will be visiting churches.
Ladies can carry a sarong or wide scarf and it can act as a shoulder wrap (covering those scandalous arms) or as a wrap skirt . . . depending on which you need. Slacks are okay for ladies and capris are another thing that are allowed in some churches and not in others. I'd opt for a skirt rather than capris in town . . . or just wear light slacks if it's hot.
Gentlemen might find it easier to wear slacks or khakis in the city. If it's very hot, wear lighter ones. It works for my husband.
It may seem a nuisance and you may not do it at home, but "when in Rome . . . "
BTW, I took the "rules" photo in Arezzo but you will see the same rules all over Italy and in larger churches there will be ushers to enforce the rules.
if you are going to go to Italy, understand quickly that this is the fashion capital of the world! And they really mean it.
Someone suggested to me the following tips and I'll pass these tips on to you.
On the whole, Italians dress far nicer than most of America. They are very fashion conscious. And if you show a bit of respect for their culture, they will most certainly treat you better. And being treated better is very important.
The nicer you look, the better table they will give you. The better the service will be and in general, the level of respect you will receive will be much much nicer.
This doesn't mean everything has to be super expensive, but looking well put together represents you and our country better.
Also, the more you fit in, the less you will be hounded by pick pockets and street beggars as they won't so much think of you as a tourist right off the bat. and that's a good thing!
Almost no man wears short sleeves. Even in the summer an Italian would prefer to roll up their sleeves than where a short sleeved shirt. Almost all men wear shirts with a collar, slacks and nice and usually black shoes. If you are a man and you are wearing a decent button up shirt that fits well, some comfortable black slacks and black slips on's or lace up's, you'll fit in fine. In the evening you may want to add a nice jacket to this. If the weather permits a nice jacket all day is fine and will also give you a place to hide your money in an inside pocket. And i'm talking about a blazer here.
If you are a kid (16 to 24) you could probably get away with some very nice jeans as long as they are fashionable and a trendy t shirt and belt. Leave your white tennis shoes at home and addidas is KING.. don't ask me why, but the kids love them.
if you are a woman, dress up a little. Dresses, skirts and even suit like fashion is ok. The woman in Italy certainly over do it. Their hair, little makeup and clothes are always in taste and usually a bit risque. So if you have it in you, flaunt it a little. More mature woman in Italy dress accordingly with their age and they always stay very well Kept.
And of course it's very important that you stay comfortable, that's obvious, but do take some time before you go to shop a little so step off the plane feeling like you fit in. It's ok to act any more richer than you might be while you are there, it's actually fun even.
As far as Rome goes, the clothing stores are out of this world! I would actually suggest you have room to buy some clothes there. Anything you could eve need is right there.
Be sure to have comfy shoes but also shoes that look nice. Last time I went I found a pair of Bruno Magli slip on's that is the most amazing and comfortable shoe I've ever worn. Like a tennis shoe inside but super sharp on the outside and you would have never guessed. They were a tad expensive but for two weeks saved my feet and i love to wear them today still.
(cut and paste link below into your browser)
Woman, you're on your own, but be comfy but nice. Most woman I saw wore these heels that made MY feet hurt.. tough one. And most of the streets are no where near level with cobble stone streets and holes all over them. They seem to navigate it amazingly, looked hard to me.
No sweats! No Sports shoes (unless you are about to play soccer)
No tank tops for men, my god no tank tops! And absolutely do not try to go into a church with bare shoulders or legs. Woman with nice shoulders can do the summer tank but men, forget it. and anyone going in a church should cover up.
no ill fitting clothes, no stupid t shirts, leave your nascar #3 hat at home.
If you have a very nice mono tone t shirt under a blazer, that's probably ok. Tuck it in and look well put together. Also, turtle necks in the winter look nice under a jacket as well.
No shorts for men if you can help it! You stand out like sore thumb. NO ONE wears shorts. Young girls do, but they usually opt for the very very short skirt instead... don't trip when your walking behind one, your wife will smack you!
Absolutely no shorts in the evening!
No flip flops unless you are at the beach
NO NO NO white socks under slacks. If you didn't know that already, you probably shouldn't go in the first place. Socks should blend in.
No short sleeved shirts, again especially in the evening. No tie is needed unless you are really going to a very nice restaurant or being entertained
Also, think subdued. Most Italians stick to the basic colors with almost no one wearing anything too flashy or bright. Maybe some very hip young single people, but even that's kind of rare.
And the woman LOVE their purses, so if you got a Fendi, pull it out, if you don't have one, buy one.. along with a nice pair of Versace sunglasses, you'll fit right in. The woman pride themselves on these things.
Be Stylish and be elegant and comfortable. It's easy to do if you just try a little.
Watch these videos.
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.
Check on my Restaurant tips for 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).*