Great Base Cities: ROME

Apr 25th, 2008, 08:21 AM
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Great Base Cities: ROME

I am a devotee of the Base City Strategy. Though many folks like to go to a place like Rome and spend all their time in the city, i am the type who enjoys using cities like Rome as a base and then doing a series of day trips out of it
(Of course if i had not been to Rome ever i would first spend some days there but now i use it more as a base - going to any of several great nearby day trips and returning to Eternal City at night when i actually find it most romantic and rather lively, given Italians' penchant for strolling around at night.)
So i come back to the same hotel in Rome everyday rather than say relocating to a new city every day, avoding much of the travail i find in travel - packing up, getting to the train station (or car) - and then later in the day unpacking, getting to the hotel, checking in, etc.
Anyway many of Europe's most popular cities make great bases as there are lots of exciting places an hour or two (at most for me) away by the excellent public transportation system. (Driving into or out of Rome several times would be a drag to me)

So I plan a series on Great Base Cities from my experience and will start with one of the best - Rome
(I Encourage others to give their favorites or demur from my opinions as this type of thing is always subjective and depends on what turns you on, etc.)


You can hop a bus or train from Rome to Tivoli, a rural retreat for ancient Rome, where the VILLA D'ESTE awaits - a Bishop's pleasure villa it's known for its fab Water Gardens - with a zillion ornate splish-splashing fountains spouting, if drought conditions do not put a damper on them
Then hop the bus the few miles to HADRIAN'S VILLA, set in the dustry countryside. This is one of the most evocative Roman archaelogical sites i've been to. Emperor Hadrian developed it as his personal pleasure palace and indulged in his passion for young men here and other debaucheries. There are substantial remains - water pools, etc. Buses from the site go back to a Rome metro station.
This is a very easy on your own day with buses running frequently and dirt cheap.

PalenQ is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 12:31 PM
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OSTIA ANTICA is one of the easiest day trips from rome, being a short metro ride away - the metro takes you right to the entrance of one of classical Rome's best remaining archaeological sites and sights - Rome's old port, now silted up

Here are substantial remains of the old city - the fish market, etc. Read up on it a bit and to me it's nearly as good as Pompeii but a lot closer to Rome.
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Apr 29th, 2008, 05:18 AM
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Great idea for a topic, PalenQ, keep it coming...
amyb is online now  
Apr 29th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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thanks amy

Want to see a proverbial Hill Town as an easy day trip from Rome? Then head either to Orvieto (bout an hour or less by train) or to VITERBO, a bit longer by train.
ORIVETO is an amazing place - plopped on top of an ancient core of a volcano i think this very medieval looking city sits on a huge lava pile and from up top you can see the bucolic countryside for miles around.
Orvieto is known for both its gaggle of old churches and its subterranean city - the soft lava has been easily hewn out for centuries by folks who for various reasons sought refuge there. You can now tour the fascinating subterranean Orvieto.
Up top is a wondrous maze of cobbled ancient streets - a superfine cathedral and many other old palaces and churches.
The lava pile is so honeycombed that some feel Orvieto is like a house of cards - could all crash down but studies prove this unlikely in the near future.
Getting to Orvieto by train is a snap - hourly trains to the station at the bottom of the volcanic pile and then a funicular train swoops you right up top to start your engagement with the medieval fantasy

and others


PalenQ is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 09:04 PM
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PalenQ -- great idea for a thread! Thanks!
dina4 is offline  
Apr 30th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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grazie (sp?) dina4!

Another fantastic quintessential Italian 'hill town' not far from Rome is Viterbo, about 1.5 hours by train north of Rome.
Nestled in an area of hills Viterbo is actually two hill towns - one occupying two ridges running off one hill (or so it seemed to me) with the requisite number of old churches, a cathedral, palace, etc. and worn old cobbled streets and lanes.
On the day i was there there was a great old-world open-air market by the bus depot (another viable way from Rome)
Viterbo has two train stations - the Trenitalia one reached via regional trains via Orvieto and another train station with regional trains back to Rome, via a different route, going via BRACCIANO, an ancient town overlooking LAKE BRACCIANO

PalenQ is offline  
Apr 30th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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Echoing Amy and Dina, great idea for a constructive thread. Especially for Rome, my fave as well. Keep it coming PalenQ!
pkt is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 07:53 AM
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grazie pkt too!

When i took the train back from Viterbo to Rome i went via Bracciano (came via Orvieto) and got off at Bracciano only because the Tom Cruise wedding had been famously staged in the town's dreamy old castle just a few months before and with that hoopla i had heard that Bracciano was a neat old town.
And right that was - a small town with some incredibly quaint cobbled lanes surrounding its formidable castle topping a hill right in town and awesomely overlooking Lake Bracciano, lying hundreds of feet below.
If it weren't January i'd been tempted to bus or walk down to the lake (extrememly steep hike however coming back up) - i think there are boats on the rather large lake in summer, making Bracciano a perfect day trip in and of itself.
Odd thought that only though it was several weeks after the Cruise wedding here i did not see one single postcard attesting to that event as i supposed would be in the newsstands and cafe postcard racks!
Trains roll between Rome and Bracciano very frequently and go via San Pietro station in Rome.
PalenQ is offline  
May 1st, 2008, 02:45 PM
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PalenQ, I'm enjoying your list. When I'm in Rome, I always intend to take daytrips but somehow never do (except I did finally go Ostia Antica in Feb). I want to go to Tivoli and Hadrian's Villa in July, and the others are sounding good, too, if I can drag myself away from Rome!
SusanP is online now  
Jun 4th, 2008, 12:48 PM
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The Roman Castle towns, Castelli Romani, make a swell easy day trip from Rome - easily done by train or car.

Apparently wealth Romans fleeing the city's heat and squalor built lavish villas and palaces up here on these sizeable hills just south of Rome.

I first got off the train at Frascati, an ancient city with some great fountains, churches, etc. then headed higher into the hills - to Castel Gondolfo, where the Pope has his summer palace - an awesome castle-like thing hovering over the town.

The train line ends at Abano Laziale, which i believe hovers over large Lake Albano (been a while since i did this - the lake may be far below Castel Gondolfo as well)

but there is a large lake that also is worth exploring - regular boats to towns along it - an impressive lake as it seems to be the center of an extinct volcano.

trains roll regularly from rome to all towns mentioned - Albano Laziale is just 29 km from Rome Termini station.

abano laziale
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