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Trip Report Rome Trip Report, March 2012

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Hubs and I recently returned from a 10-day eating and sight-seeing trip to ROME! We had a fabulous time, and I'm recording my trip report here as a thank you to all the great travelers who helped us plan our adventure!

Day 1
We touched down in Rome at 6:35 a.m. We couldn't show up at the apartment we rented until 10 a.m. to check in and ditch our bags, so we had a leisurely breakfast at the airport. A few espresso and pastries later, we hailed a cab to the historic city center. Now, this cab ride is usually supposed to cost a flat 40 Euros. But on the day we arrive in Rome, there was a HUGE marathon going on in the city center, so the flat rate was not being offered. We hopped in the cab anyway, and our driver made a valiant effort to get us to our rented apartment, dodging yellow tape, swerving around runners, stopping other drivers to ask which paths were clear, etc.

I was so glad to see the little green door of our apartment building! We booked an apartment through Homeaway.com (http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p491386), and we honestly couldn't have been more pleased with it. On the second floor (though Americans would call it the third floor), we had a bedroom, office closet, bath, closet/storage space, kitchenette, dining table, and a living area with a sofa and television set. There was plenty of room for spreading out, making espresso in the mornings, and unpacking. Free wifi was also available, which turned out to be a huge plus. The apartment practially abuts the Imperial Forums and is within blocks of the Colosseum. Our location made all major attractions easily walkable.

Once we'd checked in and put our things up, we explored a bit. We were very near the Vittorio Emanuelle Monument, a large, white, statue-topped structure that pays tribute to the first king of a united Italy. The structure also houses the eternal flame of Italy's unknown soldier. But for us, the best part of the monument was the amazing view you got of Rome's rooftops from the summit. Though we didn't pay to go up even further in the elevator at the top, we could still see for miles.

We wandered a bit before sitting down for a forgettable lunch near the apartment at Mario's Restaurant. I had the pasta carbonara, and hubs had the lasagna. We ordered a side of grilled vegetables and a big bottle of still water. After eating a bit, we couldn't keep our eyes open any longer, so we headed back to the apartment for a nap!

Rested, we ventured out again for exploring and dinner. We took some beautiful photos of the Colosseum lit up at night. Quite by accident, we stumbled onto Iari the Vino Restaurant and Pizzeria. They had a prix fixe dinner special, so in we went. I chose the pasta amatricana for my first course - bucatini pasta in a tomato sauce with sausage/bacon. The pasta was nice and al dente, and the sauce had good flavor. For my second course, I had veal roullades with ham and mozzarella. A nice arugula and tomato salad rounded out the plate, and our server brought oil/vinegar/salt/pepper to dress the greens. To finish, I had a delicious tiramisu with coffee. Everything was tasty, and with wine, my whole dinner was 16 Euros. A great value. Hubs ordered a Coke and a sausage and mushroom pizza (also good).

We had grand plans to walk around the city after dinner, but we were so pleasantly full, and so tired from traveling and the time change, that we headed for bed!

Day 2
After a nice hot shower, I was off to track down breakfast. Ideally, I was searching for a local bakery. But I didn't find one. Stomach growling, I eventually settled for a small touristy restaurant where I could at least get a crema croissant and an espresso. It wasn't overpriced, but I knew I could do better.

After eating, we headed for the Roman Forum. (We'd started out at the Colosseum, but the ticket line was heinous. We went to the Forum first, and we only had to wait in a two-person line for admission. That same ticket gets you into the Colosseum as well, allowing you to skip the awful line there.) I was really glad that we had both a book to guide us and our Rick Steves audio tour (a FREE app!), because unless you have someone telling you what you are seeing, you have no idea what you're even looking at, much less its significance.

I really enjoyed the Temple and House of the Vestal Virgins, and learning about them, and I marveled at the spot where Caesar was cremated. (People still leave flowers there today.) I think I would have enjoyed the Senate building more, but it held some other exhibit of artifacts and was clogged with teenagers on group tours, making it difficult to get a sense of the place and appreciate all that had happened there.

After the Forum, we were starved. We tracked down a restaurant in one of our guide books - Pizza Forum. I chose the Pizza Margherita, and hubs had the quattro formaggio. They were both DELICIOUS! Thin, chewy/crispy crusts, delicious toppings, and great flavor. Two pizzas, 2 waters, and a Coke ran us less than 20 Euros. Yum!

Afterwards, we headed to the Colosseum. Because we already had tickets, we breezed past the line and got right down to sightseeing. Again, our trusty guidebooks and iPhone audio tours saved the day. They walked us step-by-step through the site, and we roamed around at will and learned all about the ancient "games." (Romans were a bloodthirsty bunch. The thought of the number of people who died at the Colosseum is chilling.) And incidentally, everything about the Colosseum reminds you that it's an ancient site. I kid you not, as I watched, I saw a chunk of rubble fall from one of the interior arches into a roped-off area below. In some ways, I am amazed that the place is still standing, what with all the foot traffic it gets.

Feeling a little weary by this time, we headed back to the apartment for a quick nap. After resting, we had a great Skype call with family back home, and we were on our way. (We'd bought an iPad just before the trip specifically for this purpose. The wifi in the apartment made it possible for us to keep up with our sweet son back at home, as well as our parents. It was a great investment for the trip, and we later used the device to show off some of our vacation photos!)

As dusk was falling, we set our sights on the Trevi Fountain. It was easy to locate (follow the sound of water), and I was surprised by how massive it was. (We'd seen the miniature copy of it in Las Vegas at Caesar's Palace. The original is, naturally, much more impressive.) We both threw our coins in, took some photos, and people-watched for a bit before deciding to find dinner. There was a local recommendation in another one of our guidebooks - Bruschetteria Nonna Papera. After a few wrong turns, we practically tripped over it, so we settled in for some food. We felt we had to start off with tomato bruschetta, which featured delicious grilled bread. Then, hubs had the veal saltimboca, and I chose the seafood risotto. The risotto was excellent, with plenty of seafood throughout the dish. Clams, fish, shrimp, even some squid ensured that I had a delicious seafood surprise in each bite. We washed it all down with wine and beer.

As we walked out of the restaurant, we realized that we hadn't had a single bite of gelato since arriving in Rome. Nearly all of our guidebooks agreed that we were very near one of the best spots to sample it in the city - Il Gelato de San Crispino. Hubs' excellent sense of direction led us right to it, and I got a cup of the house specialty - Sardinian honey gelato. It lived up to the hype. I savored it slowly as we laughed, talked, and ambled back to the apartment.

Day 3
Day 3 of our trip dawned early. We'd reserved tickets at the Vatican, and we didn't want to be late! We skipped breakfast and took our inaugural Roman subway in order to arrive at the Vatican well before our 9 a.m. reservation. Even so, we were rushing to make it! Luckily, because we'd booked ahead, we were (again) able to skip the horrific-looking line and breeze right into security. After trading our paper reservation for a formal ticket, we were in!

However, we were mightily regretting skipping breakfast by this time. Growling stomachs led us to a beautiful little museum cafe, where we got pastries and espresso for a mere 6 Euros. We were able to enjoy them in an alfresco dining area bordering a lovely (and uncrowded) garden full of citrus trees and fountains. Fortified, we began our attack on the Vatican Museum. We first headed for the Egyptian and Etruscan rooms, which feature gorgeous sculpture, pottery, and jewelry. (While the main hall of the Vatican Museum was completely packed, we had the Etruscan rooms practically to ourselves. There's solitude even at the Vatican Museum, if you know where to look!) We loved the octagonal sculpture gardens, too, and enjoyed the tapestries in the long hall whose eyes seemed to follow you!

We finished up with the Raphael Rooms, which were terribly crowded, and the Sistine Chapel. (What is there to say about the Sistine Chapel? It was crowded, but it was sublime. I turned my eyes heavenward, plugged my earphones into my iPhone for my audio explanation, and I was in heaven.)

Next up, St. Peter's Basilica. There were lots of people there, but the massive space didn't feel crowded at all. The airy dome, the amazing sculpture, and the paintings were all gorgeous. I stood in front of the Pieta for a long while. It's mesmerizing. I gave the foot of St. Peter's statue a quick kiss before we left.

Famished, we left St. Peter's in search of food! We walked a block or two off the main drag and starting looking around. We quickly found Verina al Masherino and plopped down at an alfresco table. We started with a liter of water (We were PARCHED!) and a mozzarella and prosciutto appetizer. Yum! The generous plate came with bread, olives, and a tangy artichoke heart. Then, I had the fettuccine papalini, with delicious eggy noodles, peas, finely sliced mushrooms, and bacon in a creamy sauce. This was amazing, one of the best pasta dishes I had on the trip, and I cleaned the plate. Hubs had the canneloni.

After dinner, we were pooped! We shuffled back to the apartment for a rest. We woke up with feet itching to walk, so we legged it through the shopping district to the Spanish Steps. The steps were crowded and touristy, and I was underwhelmed by them. However, the real purpose of visiting the area was to sample one of the restaurants our guidebooks told us was a justified splurge - Il Gabriello. A few blocks from the Spanish Steps, the restaurant's white, unassuming little sign leads you down a staircase and into culinary happiness. I had the lamb, and hubs had the veal. We ordered grilled vegetables as a side and a nice amount of house wine. My lamb was perfectly cooked, and the house wine more than met my expectations. With water and bread, this would have been a full meal, but we couldn't resist dessert. I chose a giant cream puff smothered in chocolate, and hubs ordered a molten chocolate cake (the kind with the gooey center). Dessert and a few espressos later, we felt we were definitely living the sweet life! The tab for the whole meal was 61 Euros. Not cheap, but not outrageous. We felt it was an excellent value for the food and the service.

We took a leisurely stroll down Condotti to get back to the apartment, finishing up by admiring Trajan's Column and the Imperial Forums, lit dramatically at night.

More to come . . .

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    Day 4
    Hubs wanted to sleep in on Day 4, so I was left to my own devices that morning. Still luckless in my pursuit of a bakery, I grabbed a quick pastry and espresso on my way to the Church of San Clemente.

    Though the breakfast wasn't much to write home about, the church was. On the ground level, San Clemente is a 12th- century Christian basilica. The church, built at a time when Rome barely tolerated Christianity, features beautiful frescoes of St. Catherine. I lit a candle at the altar and explored a bit. Then, I went to the ticket office. For 5 Euros, you can descend two layers below the current church, and thousands of years into Roman history.

    Down the first set of steps, you can immerse yourself in a fourth-century Christian church, featuring both Christian and pagan inscriptions. Ancient mosaics of St. Cyril, who is assumed to be buried here, flicker at you in the dim light. Go one more level down (into the dark, cold ground), and you'll find yourself 2000 years earlier, in the pagan temple of Mithras. You can check out the temple's worship hall and Sunday school room, in addition to nosing around in adjacent ancient Roman homes. It felt pretty profound to be down there, thousands of centuries removed from the life I live today, poking through a long-abandoned temple. Doing so gives you a very clear understanding of how Rome is built - stacked, layer upon layer, with each successive generation scavenging the buildings that were there before, filling them in, and building on top of them. I think every visitor to Rome should come to the Church of San Celemente. I was amazed. (Sadly, no photos are allowed at this attraction.)

    After I came back up into the current day, I decided to visit San Giovanni in Laterano, the first openly Christian basilica built in the city of Rome. The 18th-century facade is impressive, with large statues of Christ and the apostles at the summit. The tall bronze green doors were moved to this church from Rome's ancient Senate building in the 1650s to remind everyone that the church was Europe's lawmaker. The church is huge and impressive. No wonder, as it's where the pope occasionally holds mass. The mosaic half dome over the apse glistens, and the bishop's chair beneath is where newly-elected popes must sit before the can officially become pope. (Methinks the ceremony is likely timed so that the shaft of light entering the window above left falls squarely on the bishop's chair.)

    After seeing the two churches, I headed back to the apartment, grabbing a pistachio gelato cone along the way. Then, hubs and I set out together to find some lunch. We stopped at Ristorante Due Colonne Di D'Annunzio Angelo, which was just a block or two from the apartment on Via Serpenti. What a find! I chose a ricotta and spinach ravioli in butter sauce, and hubs had a sausage pizza. This pasta, and this restaurant, became favorites during the trip. The pasta was tender, the filling flavorful, and the sauce creamy. To wet our whistles, we ordered both red and white house wine. (The white, mine, was a snappy frascati. Delicious.) With water for both of us as well, the tab came to only 30 Euros. Afterwards, we did a little grocery shopping at some of the nearby markets. Fruit, milk, pastry, cheese - just a little something to have on hand in case we wanted to sleep late or have a quick snack.

    We took a little break back at the apartment before heading out to find the Pantheon, Rome's oldest continually operating church (and one of the best-preserved monuments in the world). It's massive, and the dome and oculus are very impressive. We checked out Raphael's tomb, examined the portico's giant granite columns, and sat on the steps outside to visit a bit. (We really enjoyed photobombing all of the high school tour groups' pictures. Heh.) We ambled around the piazza a bit and took in the fountain before hunting up dinner and heading for bed.

    Day 5
    After an early pastry, espresso, and some strawberries in the apartment, we were off to the Villa Borghese. We had reservations for 9 a.m. sharp, so we took the metro as far as we could, then walked through the Borghese Gardens to the entry point. First off, we toured the Pinoteca (to avoid all the crowds on the first floor). Cardinal Borghese, though not an overly religious man, was the nephew of the pope. He was wealthy enough to amass quite an art collection, and much of it is religious in nature. After exploring the Pinoteca, we headed towards the amazing sculpture and Caravaggios on the first floor. I LOVED Bernini's Apollo and Daphne. I thought it was the best sculpture we saw on the entire trip. The stone of Apollo's cloak and Daphne's leaves was translucent; I can't believe stone can be carved like that. Also flabbergasting is the fact that the statue has remained so perfectly intact all of these years. Clearly, it's always been someone's treasured possession. Bernini's Rape of Proserpine was also gorgeous, and hubs loved his David. (I sorely wish I could show you some photos of the statues, but cameras must be checked at Villa Borghese. Boo. And, may I also say, hiss.)

    After enjoying the art, we walked around the Borghese Gardens. They are now a large public park, replete with fountains and trails. (I tried desperately to pick an orange off a tree inside a small gated garden, but I couldn't reach the fruit! Curses!) We ambled out of the park in search of food. We found Ristorante Vladimiro a couple of blocks off the main drag and settled in for lunch. We started with a delicious plate of fresh mozzarella and prosciutto, followed by tortellini for hubs and a gorgeous porcini mushroom risotto for me. We used plenty of bread to mop up the sauces and stayed there, talking and laughing, until we realized we'd consumed a whole bottle of wine between us! (Whoops.) Our bill was around 50 Euros for this meal, which is a bit pricey for lunch, but we loved it!

    We took a very slooooow walk back to the hotel and had a nice nap. We were lazy once we awoke, choosing only to stroll around our neighborhood and return to a convenient favorite - Ristorante Due Colonne Di D'Annunzio Angelo - for dinner. This time, we started with olive bruschetta (yum), moving on to the ravioli (for hubs) and the mussels (for me). The ravioli was again a hit, and the mussels were delicious, served in a winey broth with plenty of crunchy bread for dipping. We washed it down with house wine and headed back to the apartment, full and happy.

    And WHAT should I find on the way home? Antico Forno, an absolutely gorgeous local bakery. I couldn't resist popping inside, where we surveyed the delightful food on offer and picked up an apple turnover and a pastry filled with pine nuts and cream. Heaven. I went to sleep that night looking forward to breakfasting there in the morning. La dolce vita, indeed!

    Day 6
    When I awoke, hubs was still sleeping. I quietly slipped into my clothes and sneaked down to Antico Forno for a leaisurely breakfast. I got a nice hot cappuccino and a giant chocolate croissant. I ate, relaxed, people-watched (there was a steady stream of customers), and planned for the day.

    I headed first to the Capolitine Museums, located off Piazza Campodiglio. I arrived at the museum shortly after they opened, stepping inside to access the oversized remains of a colossal statue of Constantine. I photographed the she-wolf of Rome, as well as a large equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelias. Fabulous views of the Roman Forum can be had from the museum's Tabularium, and it feels as though hundreds of eyes are watching you in some of the statue rooms, where busts of famous Romans line the walls. Highly recommended. Though I did encounter other visitors, this museum wasn't crowded.

    Lunch time. We popped into a little joint for a selection of pizza and fried zucchini flowers. With drinks, it was 8 Euros for both of us. A tip: you'll notice lots of these types of places, with open storefronts and a glassed-in bar with pizzas. Not only is the food really good, but if you go in and follow the counter all the way back, you'll often find more substantial fare: roast chicken and potatoes, pastas, salads, and sometimes even sweets. All delicious and inexpensive.

    With full bellies, we hopped on the metro to the Cappuccin Crypt. A word about Rome's metro - Riding the metro, while quick and inexpensive, is very crowded, particularly at peak times and in peak places (like Termini). People have a tendency to quite forcefully shove themselves on and off the trains. Unless the distance is fairly far, walk. If the weather's good, walk. Whenever you can, walk.

    Anyway, we arrived at the crypt early, so we decided to stop for a quick espresso and tiramisu at a restaurant on the nearby square. Refreshed, we got in the fairly short line to enter the crypt as soon as it opened. It was fascinating. The bones of thousands of friars (the namesake of cappuccino, for their dark brown robes and full white cowls) decorate six crypts. The friars created the crypts as a reminder of mortality and their charge to do good while on Earth. Admission is a 1 Euro donation, and you can also buy postcards in the tiny shop.

    Afterwards, we decided to visit Castel St'Angelo, Hadrian's tomb-turned prison/fortress. It's a huge, round structure outside of the old city walls, across the Tiber River. We walked the perimeter, traced the steps of Hadrian's funeral procession, and saw where the ashes of emperors were once kept. After being used as Hadrian's tomb, the building became a safe haven for threatened popes, so we got the chance to rummage through the papal apartments and the Vatican treasure room.

    Views from the top of Castel St'Angelo are AMAZING, and there is also a cafe on one of the upper floors. We couldn't resist stopping for an espresso and watching the sun set behind St. Peter's dome. After lingering for a bit, we crossed the Pont de St'Angelo and began strolling towards Piazza Navona. Piazza Navona is beautiful, but crowded, at dusk. We admired Bernini's Four Rivers fountain and people-watched a bit. The light there is gorgeous.

    After a few turns around the piazza, we hunted up Ciccia Bomba, a restaurant recommended by one of our guidebooks, for dinner. We started with fried zucchini flowers. Then, I had the spaghetti with anchovies, and hubs had the fettucine with tomatoes, zucchini, and clams. (Mine was good, but I thought his was better. I had pasta envy. I almost stole his!) We drank still water and red wine and toasted our good fortune to be in Rome together.

    Sauntering back to our neighborhood, I HAD TO stop at Antico Forno yet again for small pastry horns filled with cream and chocolate. (Once I found Antico Forno, I stopped there at least once - and sometimes twice or even three times - per day. In Rome, I saw some of civilization's grand masterpieces of architecture and art. But what do I miss most? This bakery. Art that is consumable is no less valuable, right?)

    More to come . . .

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    Day 7
    I started the morning off at what was to become my usual haunt, Antico Forno. I nibbled an apple pastry and sipped cappuccino as I planned my day. Hubs wanted to sleep in again, so I found myself with a free morning. I noticed in my guidebook that St.-Peter-In-Chains basilica was a hop and a skip from our apartment, so off I went.

    The church houses Michelangelo's Moses, originally carved in white marble for the tomb of an egomaniacal pope. (We saw one of its partners, Slaves, in the Louvre when we were in Paris more than a decade ago.) It's a gorgeous piece and very indicative of Michelangelo's style. I also got to check out what are said to be two sets of chains that held the apostle Peter, one when he was jailed at the Mamertine prison, and another when Herod held him captive in Jerusalem.

    Afterwards, I legged it over to the Museum of the Imperial Forums. Once you pay admission here, not only do you get to see some lovely little exhibitions inside the museum, but you get access to the very upper level of Trajan's Market, where fresh fruit, flowers, vegetables, oil and wine were sold to hungry Romans in A.D. 112. The museum also offers GREAT views of Trajan's Column, the ruins of his basilica, and some of the other ancient forums.

    Hubs and I met up for lunch at our neighborhood favorite - Ristorante Due Colonne Di D'Annunzio Angelo. I had a velvety gnocchi with gorgonzola and arugula, and hubs had quattro formaggio pizza. Both were delicious!

    With full tummies, we decided to walk over to what remains of the Baths of Diocletian. This ancient Roman bath later morphed into the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Here, you can see how expansive and lavish such a bath might have been. (Plus, the meridian in the floor, used in conjunction with a tiny hole in the wall, serves as a celestial clock and a calendar. Neat!)

    After a quick visit there, it was across the street to the National Museum of Rome. I loved this place. First of all, it felt as though I had the art there all to myself. There were very few other visitors, and most of them seemed to be art students sketching statues. The statuary there dates back to 500 B.C., with pagan gods, Rome's emperors, philosophers and poets all represented. On the upper floors, you can see gorgeous frescoes from the Farnese Villa, and in the basement, you can walk chronologically through all the items and coins that have been used as currency in Rome. (Early money was just misshapen chunks of bronze, which were weighed to determine value. Over time, bronze coins were developed, then silver and gold coins were introduced. You can watch as the design of the coins gets more elaborate and intricate over time. Amazing stuff.)

    We stopped for a raspberry gelato on the way home, then rested up a bit at the apartment before dinner. I couldn't resist talking hubs into going to Ristorante Due Colonne Di D'Annunzio Angelo AGAIN for dinner! To start, we tried the stuffed olives. (Out of all the things we had there, this was the one item I wasn't crazy for. It was just ok.) As an entree, I had a gorgeous vegetable pizza, and hubs had a steak with roasted potatoes. Lots of red wine later, we made our obligatory nightly stop at Antico Forno for cream horns and apricot cookies.

    Day 8
    We really didn't have any major items left on my sightseeing list, so we decided to take Day 8 and just wander. We headed west of Piazza Campodiglio, crossing the Tiber River at Isola Tiberina, over the oldest bridge in Rome. We saw the Jewish Ghetto and the synagogue there. We stopped for a forgettable lunch in Trastavere, and on our way back, we swung by the Teatro Marcello, an ancient theatre with a capacity of 13,000 during its operation. We also explored the Port d'Octtavia and the Temple of Vesta. (We saw the Mouth of Truth, too, but I was not ABOUT to stand in that line to get a good shot of it.)

    On our way back to the apartment, we took the long route, around the far end of the Forum and the Circus Maximus. We stumbled on a farmer's market, popping in for a chocolate and coconut gelato and some food items (DELICIOUS garlic and olive spreads for bruschetta) to take home.

    We went back to the apartment for a nap, and I woke up feeling sick. Stayed in that evening.

    Day 9
    Shopping day! Up early and well-rested, I hit Antico Forno for a crema criossant and a cappuccino. Today was our last full day in the city, so I figured I'd do some shopping. I went up and down Via Nazionale, where I found lots of very reasonable little shops. I snapped up scarves, tops, and a few items for little man. I also found some campy mementos and lots of food items - pasta, dried porcini mushrooms, limoncello, etc. - to take back home.

    After a quick lunch of spaghetti with clams and pecorino (and my usual stop at Antico Forno for a strawberry tart), we headed back to the apartment to pack and rest a bit. Then, it was back out for more shopping. Hubs found a great kitchen store, and I couldn't resist bringing home an Italian espresso maker, with a set of two cups/saucers/little spoons. (We've already used them at home!) We stopped for a snack (tiramisu and espresso for hubs, fruit salad for me), then it was back to the apartment for a rest before dinner.

    Of course, our last dinner had to be at Ristorante Due Colonne Di D'Annunzio Angelo. We got the grilled vegetable antipasto platter (which was amazing. I was sad that we discovered it so late in the trip!), and I HAD TO get the spinach and ricotta ravioli with butter sauce. Delicious. I savored every bite between sips of red wine.

    Afterwards, we wistfully made our last trip to Antico Forno, where I enjoyed my final indulgence and the owner earnestly told me he'd find some way to move his shop to the United States for me.

    The next morning, it was cab-airport-flight-flight-bed. It was a long day, but within 24 hours of leaving Rome, we were home and asleep. What a marvelous time we had! What food! What art! What FOOD!

    P.S. Incidentally, in the April 2012 edition of Travel and Leisure, the neighborhood we stayed in is noted as a hot spot for foodies in Rome. And they mention Antico Forno. Never again will I doubt my ability to sniff out amazing baked goods.

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    Thank you so much for your report. Now I am really happy we booked our Borghese visit even though we will only have 3 1/2 days Where did you catch the metro?

    BTW did you happen to see the Lux in arcana - The Vatican Secret Archives exhibit at the Capolitine Museum????

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    bradshawgirl1; Did you realize you were staying in Subura when your rented this apartment!!!

    It's the most dangerous crime-ridden area in Rome.

    But I guess they have cleaned-up the place in the last 2000yrs:-).

    It was where Julius Caesar was born and raised, his family was aristocratic but they didn't have money.
    They likely had a very nice/decent home but over many years the neighborhood went downhill over his family generations.

    In exploring the neighborhood you possibly walked right over his home and who knows it's even possible your apartment was right over it:-).

    And that *high* wall behind the Forum of Augustus was a fire-break to keep fires from this slum area spreading into his Forum.

    I just thought this little tidbit might interest you:-). Regards, Walter

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    Great and enthusiastic report about my very favorite city. It was fun to see Rome through your eyes. How nice to spend enough time in one place that you (or at least your husband) can relax and sleep in a bit. It is a vacation, after all.

    The link to your apartment doesn't work for me, though. I'd be interested in seeing it.

    Thanks, and very glad you enjoyed beautiful Rome!

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    Thanks, very informative. Your enthusiastic trip report clearly shows you have "la gioia della vita". I'm so glad I've found another "pastry addict" like me. :) We'll be there next month. Thanks for the lunch tip - "...you'll notice lots of these types of places, with open storefronts and a glassed-in bar with pizzas.....go in and follow the counter all the way back, you'll often find more substantial fare..."

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    jrecm - We hopped on at the Colosseum stop. To get to the Borghese Museum, we got off the metro at Barberini, then legged it up Via Veneto and through the Borghese Gardens (a beautiful walk, and not too far).

    Paradise Lost - What a hoot! Thanks for letting me know!

    Lelly2 - The listing number for the apartment on Homeaway is #491386. You should be able to look it up on the site by that number.

    Worldinabag - Have fun on your trip!!

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    jrecm - Lux in Arcana was indeed at the Capolitine, but I honestly didn't spend much time there. It was full of school groups, and the rest of the museum was much less crowded.

    Due to this exhibit, keep in mind that some of the other items in the museum (such as the she-wolf) have been moved to other rooms.

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    Great report - it made me want to go back even more! Thank you for sharing, and I'm glad you had such a great trip.

    jrecm, I loved the Galleria Borghese, and I've never been an art-aholic. Those Bernini sculptures are really incredible. I think you'll be glad you went!

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    hi bradshawgirl,

    we rented an apartment in the via serpenti a few years ago so it was nice to read about the locale again! you certainly packed a lot into your visit, but it doesn't read as if it was rushed - the sign of good planning, IMO. and it shows the advantages of renting an apartment - there is nothing like being able to go back "home" and put you feet up, or in your DH's case, just to have a lie in without worrying about the chambermaid.

    thanks for posting and reviving some good memories.

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    Thanks...great study info for us as we hit Rome in September. And I am in for chocolate coconut gelato.

    I love that you will get up and go without the hub....but, dude you are in Rome! Sleep when you get back!!! :-)

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    denisea - Agreed. Hubs and I learned a long time ago that we are different sorts of travelers. He wants more days with no plans and sleeping in, and I want to go, go, go! We've come to an understanding - I won't complain about him sleeping in if he won't complain that I've gotten up and done something fabulous without him. Works for us!

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    Wonderful report - great read as I'm finalizing plans for our Rome trip !

    Curious, what guide book did you use ? I've browsed through so many, they're running together. Trying to figure out which one may be best to pack.

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    Great report on our way to Europe the end of August! Will be going to Rome and renting an apartment for 6 days! Sounds like you got to see and do everything! What guide book did you use? Have been reading quite a few and yours sounds like a good one! Also, to use your iphone with the apps did you have to get a sim card? Thanks again for such a great report!!

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