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Trip Report 4 Days in Rome - a brief overview

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My husband & I were in Rome for a brief visit (4/29 – 5/4/09). I have fodorites to thank for a lot of the information I got during the planning phase that made it such great trip.
In the spirit of returning the favor I’m going to write a little trip report – or expand on the post I did the other day -- but I feel like there’s already so much great Rome info here that I hope it’s not too repetitive.

We had an uneventful but sleepless flight direct from Philadelphia to Rome and were met at FCO airport by a driver from RomeCabs. It was nice to have him waiting for us to whisk us off into his Mercedes and through the countryside. I’m sure a taxi at the airport would be cheaper but it just felt nice to have a ride set up ahead of time and not have to deal with whatever hassle might be involved. We used them for another ride and had the same very professional, reliable service. I highly recommend them.

Our B&B in Trastevere, the Arco del Lauro, was wonderful. Nothing fancy, very simple and minimalist. I had read good reviews here and they were accurate. The owner was prompt and helpful in her replies to my emails. We were able to book a year ahead and lock in at that current room rate. The common area is just a tiny room with a computer (free internet access) and a fridge that is stocked with yogurt, water, juices, and lemoncello. Our room was a nice size, had a large bed, a good size bathroom, and flat-screen TV. Everything was spotless. We were on the ground floor and at the front so I’m not sure if there are quieter rooms at the back but we didn’t have any issues with noise at night. During the day there would be a certain amount of traffic (obnoxious sounding scooters) going by the window but at night there was no traffic and we slept well.

The breakfast is served at a small café around the corner – you get a ticket to take to them – coffee & a (huge) croissant of your choice.

Daniela was working the desk while we were there and was very sweet and helpful. She booked restaurant reservations for us 2 nights and made recommendations for other places.

Trastevere is a very authentic-feeling, not so touristy neighborhood. We enjoyed being able to come back after long days in the thick of the tourist frenzy to our quiet home away from home. There are several beautiful churches and other sites to see there and also a lot of good restaurants & shops – our B&B was not quite in the heart of that area so we were even more removed and quiet. Although apart from the heart of Rome, everything is within walking distance and there is a tram/bus stop quite close to the B&B.

We were able to walk everywhere – except to the Galleria Borghese and Vatican – at which we had early reservations so we splurged and took taxis. An example – the Pantheon is a 15-20 minute walk.

On the day we arrived it was too early to get into our room. We left our luggage and toured around Trastevere then had lunch where I had my first experience with ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ I asked for our check while my husband was still eating so we could pay & be ready to move on quickly and he did not like that. He ignored me, waited until DH was finished, then brought it over and said “NOW you can have.” Strike one for the impatient American!
After getting settled in our room we headed back out and across the Tiber to explore. We had a 1:30 reservation for a walking tour so we didn’t have much time but we were able to go to the Pantheon and also check out the view from atop the Victor Emmanuelle monument. Stunning views over the Forum and the beautiful rooftops of the city.

Our walking tour was of the Colosseum and Forum with Icon which I had booked online. We had only one other couple in the group and really enjoyed the guide. She brought it all to life. Not too dry or overly scholarly but really quite thorough, not Rome for Dummies. The tour lasted 3 hours. At this point we had been awake for 36 hrs but somehow the excitement of being in such an amazing place gives you enough energy to keep moving. Our entrance ticket was good for 2 days and also included the Palatine so we intended to hit that the next day but never made it. If I had it to do over I’d time it so that we could see all 3 on the same day.

We walked back to Trastevere and had time to unpack and chill out for a bit before our 8:00 dinner reservation at Da Enzo which Daniela had set up for us. Wow – great meal. Teeny restaurant, maybe 15 seats? Definitely recommend & wish we had gone back there again.

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