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5000 stairsteps, 40 ciao bellas, 12 trains, 8 pizzas, 3 women, 1 report

5000 stairsteps, 40 ciao bellas, 12 trains, 8 pizzas, 3 women, 1 report

Old Jun 9th, 2013, 01:23 PM
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KayTKay, was your new registration after April 23?
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Old Jun 9th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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<<<Still, walking on those stones, seeing the ruins, hearing the stories, you start to be able to rebuild and repopulate the place in your mind.>>>

That's exactly what I do, without the stories and the people involved it's just a pile of old rocks.

And seeing that this was a 'girl trip' I'd like to comment on a couple of your photos.
I once sent this to my friend's daughter who is a romantic and was going to Rome on her honeymoon, I just basically added your photos to it.

TEMPLE OF ANTONINUS PIUS AND FAUSTINA

http://karentk.smugmug.com/Travel/20...539025_XqvgDSn

Death, hate, cruelity, violence is historically everywhere in the Forum in that photo in front of that temple Caracalla's assassins murdered a Roman Equite (knight) just because he was a friend/ally of his brother whom Caracalla murdered in front of their own mother and his brother Geta died in her arms.

So romantic tales of Love are very rare here but this Temple is one of them.

Antoninus was 1 of the 5 'Good Emperors', the best out of all of them and a really decent guy to everyone while he was Emperor.
He had a Rabbi as his close personal friend and advisor and he didn't hassle the Christians.
And he truely loved his wife of ~25yrs as she truely loved him.

Faustina was known for her beauty, wisdom and helping Rome's poor with charities and education.
And she is known as Rome's most moral, stable, respected Empress.

Antoninus became Emperor in 138AD and Faustina died 3yrs later.

He then had this Temple built in her honor and with the Senate's approval had her Deified.
Her statue was placed within.

For 20yrs it was the 'Temple of Divine Faustina' and attended to by female priestesses.
And Antoninus continued her chariable work with Rome's poor esp the education of poor girls.

In 161AD Antoninus died, the Senate deified him also and placed his statue in the temple next to his wife and added his name to her inscription which you can still see today 'DIVO ANTONINO ET DIVAE FAUSTINAE'.

200+yrs later the Christians are in control, Antoninus and Faustina's statues are smashed and thrown to the ground outside.
They are then used as road fill for the street in front of the Temple.

In the 19C Faustina's headless seated statue is excavated along with fragments of her husband's statue.

Her statue is then placed on the porch of the temple (seen in your photo) and the fragments of her husband's statue are placed around her.

After ~1500yrs they are together once again as they were in life.

ARCH OF TITUS

http://karentk.smugmug.com/Travel/20...540801_2bMP4J5

During the 1st Jewish-Roman War Titus and the Judaean Client-Queen Berenice have a passionate love affair.
Both are unmarried, she is Queen by co-ruling with her brother.

Nero commits suicide and Roman Generals march on Rome to attempt to become Emperor, Titus' father Vespasian eventually wins and becomes Emperor.
Leaving behind Titus to finish-up the War and afterwards he returns to Rome.

Political pressure is possibly put on Vespasian not to let Berenice follow Titus back to Rome?

4yrs later Berenice travels to Rome, she and Titus resume their love affair, they live in the Palace and she is treated like the Empress.

But public opinion, anti-Semitism, xenophopia and fears by the Roman people that she is the 'new Cleopatra'.

Suetonius;

"...and his notorious passion for queen Berenice, to whom it was even said that he promised marriage."

With Titus as heir to the throne and with the political pressure and perhaps on his father's orders he's forced to send Berenice back home to Judaea.

Emperor Vespasian dies and Titus becomes Emperor.

Berenice returns to Rome but it cannot be, he is now Emperor and will be expected to marry an aristocratic Roman woman who hopefully will bear him a son and heir to the throne.
It's his duty as the Emperor.

Suetonius; "Berenice he sent from Rome at
once, against her will and against his own."

Titus is Emperor for just over 2yrs and then he dies with these last words.

"There was no act of my life of which has cause to repent, save one only."

Only Titus knew what his one regret in life was... or perhaps there was another that also knew his life's regret?
----------------------------------------
Suetonius;

"Then at the very first stopping place (outside of Rome) he was seized with a fever, and as he was being carried on from there in a litter, it is said that he pushed back the curtains, looked up to heaven, and lamented bitterly that his life was being taken from him contrary to his deserts; for he said that there was no act of his life of which he had cause to repent, save one only.
What this was he did not himself disclose at the time, nor could anyone easily divine."
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 04:54 AM
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Great trip report!
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 06:41 AM
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Rostra - thanks so much for taking the time to give me all that information - none of which I knew. Love it.

Thanks again to all for the enocuragement. Interestingly enough, I'm not a big talker in person. Yikes.

This was the morning of our Pristine Sistine tour with Walks of Italy. This was also the only thing I scheduled without discussion with the girls because *I* really wanted to do it and I knew that they might balk at the early arrival time. However, they were good (great) sports about it. We arrived at the meeting point by 7:15 - yes early. Afterward we all agreed that the Sistine Chapel was worth the early wake up call.

One sidenote that I found interesting, we took a taxi to Vatican City because we were running a tiny bit past our scheduled departure time for walking and I didn't want to be the ones who kept everyone else waiting. It was 6E for the ride and I only had a 10. The cab driver asked if I had something smaller, but I only had a 5E bill. I had used all my coins the day before. He took the 5E bill and sent me on my way. I don't know the moral of the story. Have change for cab rides? Or perhaps don't have change for cab rides?

Our tour first led us through the empty halls of the Vatican. Even that was a great experience, then standing in the Sistine Chapel with only about 40 other people...nobody shushing you...nobody rushing you...nobody bumping into you...it was a sublime experience. We spent over 30 minutes in there before anyone else arrived. It was perfect and one of the highlights of the entire trip. Possibly my favorite moment in Rome.

The rest of the Vatican experience? Not so great. Loved our tour guide, she was knowledgeable and animated. Her verbal dynamics and dramatic facial expressions kept you interested. However, the crowds were dense. More dense than I had ever imagined or experienced. Our guide said that it was unusually crowded. By the time we got to the Raphael rooms we could barely squeeze in and were being pressed and bumped from every side. Not a good experience.

Ok, I thought, It will get better in the basilica. It has to, right? It is immense. I mean, how many people will that building hold? More than 60,000? We did get to bypass the lines which was good, but the press inside was unbearable. A shoving match to see the Pieta. We were miserable and couldn't wait to get out of there. Our poor guide did her best to tell us about the basilica, but we couldn't walk anywhere! She strongly encouraged us to come back later that afternoon when it would be better.

Honestly, it was with great relief that my daughters and I emerged from the church and onto the square and away from Vatican City into a sunny, but chilly and windy day. The walk across the bridge and back into our little section of Rome felt amazing, like the wind was blowing away the crush of all those people.

We were so glad to see Campo dei Fiori. By now we thought of this as "our" place as it was only a 5 minute walk from our apartment. Lunch started at Forno. You have *got* to go here. Just walking in and ordering is an experience not to be missed...and the pizza...Oh. My. Goodness. It is a wonder and a delight. We each got a different kind and shared. Best bread with stuff on it I have ever, ever put in my mouth. The bianca is perfect, just the right amount of crunch, chew, salt, and oil. The ones with other toppings were almost as good.

We finished lunch with salads and wine at Obika. We really enjoyed this place as well. We sat outside for a couple of hours relaxing, having a glass of white wine and enjoying the people watching. A perfect antidote to a stressful morning. We tried a tasting plate of Mozzarella here, very fun. I had melon, arugula, and tomato salad which was delicious. In addition, the service was extremely pleasant.

We went back to the room for a rest and later that evening after joining the passagiata on Via Giubbonari we decided to try Rosciola bakery. We had heard about the rivalry between Rosciola and Forno. We tried their bianca and their rosso which were coming fresh out of the oven. For us, there was no comparison. None. Forno won hands down. Rosciola was good, but, it wasn't Forno. We even stopped back in Forno on the way back to our apartment to pick up a selection of cookies/pastries. They were gone by the time we arrived at our door. By the way, Forno didn't have hot pizzas coming out in the evening, but Rosciola did so that might help your decision if selecting between the two.

We were in early this evening to pack and get ready to leave for Cinque Terre in the morning. We were all excited about this next phase of our trip.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 07:28 AM
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Thanks for your report..it's great. We had sort of the opposite experience in Septemeber. We went to the basilica first and enjoyed it in relative comfort. We went up into the dome. After a bite of early lunch (great pizza in the Pope's cafeteria no less!), we went to the Vatican museums. We had reservation and so skipped the line, but the crush of people was horrendous. We were just carried along in a crowd, feet barley touching the floor. When we got to the Sistine Chapel we could hardly even look up, let alone sit and look. We finally just gave up. If I were doing it again, I would make it two early morning trips and move on to something else in the afternoons.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 09:34 AM
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when we were in Rome in February, we were doing a language class in the mornings so didn't have the chance to go to St. Peter's or the Vatican museums early, which would have been my choice. instead, our wonderful italian teacher from home made it her task to get our tickets for the Vatican museums while we were having classes so that we wouldn't have to queue.

guess what? when we arrived at about 2pm, no queues. amazing. nor were the museums that crowded. and, when we got into St. Peter's [via the group exit at the back of the sistine Chapel] it wasn't very crowded either.

However, every other day that we were there, whenever we went past St. Peter's, the queues were immense.

i'm not sure what the moral to this story is - if it's anything, it's that you just can't tell when the hoards will descend.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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annhig - I'm sure you are right. You just never know. My husband and I went to the Vatican in the early afternoon and the crowds were light. Luck of the draw?

Another sidenote about Rome: One thing that came up several times in our dealings with the Italians were the cobblestone roads. Those small black stones. Perhaps this was such a topic of conversation because we were living on a street paved with them that was very uneven. They call them Sampietrinis or little saint peters. Love the nickname.

We learned that they are a source of controversy and dissension for the Romans. Some detest them and want them all removed and others believe that removal will cause Rome to lose some of its characteristic charm. Anyway, the cobblestones are already being removed in areas of higher traffic. They are lovely to look at, but I can attest to the fact that they are very hard to walk on (I can't imagine pushing a stroller on them) and they are very slippery when wet. Dangerous for both pedistrians and motor scooters. As a tourist I hope they aren't removed, but I can certainly see how they would be difficult to live with day after day.

Anyway, these are the types of things that I find fascinating when visiting other places.

My daughter's impressions of Rome:

Em:
First impression: I didn't think I would make it out of there without being run down by a scooter or a smart car.

Favorite: All the history and the pizza at Forno.

Least favorite: The crowd at the Vatican.

Lasting impression: There is so much to see and do that you feel like you can't begin to touch it. The beauty. I would go back in a minute.

El:
First impression: Shock at all the graffiti.

Favorite: Forno! Seeing the Forum and Colosseum. All the pretty piazzas.

Least favorite: The crowds at the Vatican.

Lasting impression: So much safer and calmer than I expected. I never felt uncomfortable the way I have in New York. I was surprised that it was so beautiful.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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KayTKay: I don't know a restaurant Da Ghetto in Rome. Were you perhaps at Da Giggetto? I ask because spinach ravioli is one of my favorite dishes and I would go there to have it.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 11:32 AM
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Great report.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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tuscanlifefeedit - Yes! Giggetto. Thank you so much for the gentle correction. That was it. I had it written correctly in my notes so I'm not sure how it transposed itself when it came from my brain through my fingers. I blame being 50ish! And trying to type too quickly!
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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KaytKay - i like your faves/least faves lists.

I'd do the same but I can't think of one thing that I dislike enough to give a "least favourite", except the fact that my DH likes Rome much less than I do.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 01:52 PM
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KayTKay: I really will go there, if (more likely when) I'm back in Rome. I've eaten there a few times, but never had the spinach ravioli. Thanks and the report is great.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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annhig - I'm the same. I love Rome, it wasn't my husband's favorite either. Although from this trip my least favorite would have been the same as my girls - the crowds at the Vatican.

Trying to post the link to our photos from Cinque Terre. These were hard to cut down and I still have way too many. It was one of those places with so much beauty around every corner that it was hard to stop snapping photos!

http://karentk.smugmug.com/Travel/20...9874673_J4bj8G
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 02:37 PM
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We also had the same experience with cab drivers accepting less that fare on the meter. At first I thought it was a ploy to get a larger tip-- fare is 6 euro, we have only 5 or 10 euro and driver says he has no change. At first we thought he wanted us to give him the 10 euro but instead he would accept the 5. Happened to us several times-- go figure!
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 02:49 PM
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lovely pics of the CT, KayT - love the goat!
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 12:50 AM
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Italian taxi driving is a controlled employment, it costs a lot to buy a license (I've heard Euro 100k) but one you have it your income is assured, so while they want to earn great money the difference between 5 and 6 when they could be out earning 20 while you search your purse.... It makes sense to move on and anyway your daughters are bella..
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 05:15 AM
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Stunning pix! What is your camera please? You really captured the beauty of that area. Hub and I had a LOL moment when we encountered a basketball court high above the sea--no fences. He


I'm really looking forward to more of this TR.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 06:02 AM
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Our experience has been that Italian merchants in general either don't want to or can't give change for anything over about a 10E bill. In one supermarket, all I had was a 20E bill, and the clerk looked disdainfully at me and said, “No moneta” (no change). So I didn’t buy anything. The one place where someone did change a large bill for me (50 euros), and even did so cheerfully, was an Autogrill between Naples and Rome. I told the woman, “Lei e multo gentile,” (you are very kind), to which a coworker jokingly replied, “No sempre” (not always)!
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 06:46 AM
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Enjoying your great report of Rome - so many memories flooding back! We took our three late-teen kids in December, staying on via Monserrato - one street over from you. It was cold in December, but relatively crowd free - time to dawdle in the Sistine Chapel, wander at will in St Peters, and even saw the (now former) Pope up close at audience (a satisfying experience for the Catholics in my family!).
I am currently reading "Rome" by Robert Hughes, and thinking that I now need to go back again with all my extra historic knowledge!

Looking forward to the rest of your report.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 12:38 PM
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Yes, I finally figured out that for some reason making change is sort of frowned upon in Italy. After a supermarket incident similar to tom18 and the taxi - I finally learned to get change from 10E bills whenever I could and to keep a stash of the 1 and 2 Euro coins.

TDudette - glad you like the photos. I use a Nikon D80. My hope was to upgrade before the trip but just wasn't able to do that. The camera was acting up a bit while we were there - not autofocusing properly at times and not setting the shutter speed properly when I went into aperture mode - so I was thrilled that I was able to get some good images.
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