Home from Rome - a trip report

Dec 7th, 2013, 03:48 AM
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KayTKay, you picked a fantastic spot!

I meant to mention, too, about the hotel:

I would have to say for the most part the noise in the piazza didn't bother me during the night. I will post a photo soon of my view - I am BLAM looking right at the Pantheon. The glass panes must be double, if I had to guess, and they also have shutters they pull across the balcony door which helps to muffle noises on that side. I can't speak for the windows in other rooms. However, I did hear some bit of noise albeit muffled. Keep in mind though that this was late November and while the piazza was always jumping when I was out and about it gets colder as the evening wears on and I can only think that the crowds stay out later in the summer. The noises died down quite a bit by 11 PM in November, I doubt that will be true in the summer. Overall the noises didn't bother me though.

LCI, I should have put a caveat - I only had high expectations because you are such a foodie and discerning restaurant guest! After I visited I noticed that the last comment on Elizabeth's app was well over a year ago. I could have had a bad night, or it could simply be that the bad wine turned me off. The pasta wasn't bad, just nothing special. I recall you had once mentioned it was one of your favorites.

Judy, I hope this helps a lot - and see if you can get room 204 (superior double). The only other balconies are on the 6th floor and they are at least double the price (at least the fancy rooms).

mmmooommm - LCI is our own LowCountryIslander. Just click on her name and then scroll down to her trip reports.

Remember, to save on data usage, you want to cut and paste the content of the report and email it to your smartphone. If you merely email the link you will have to use the internet each time to pull it up - data charges... I only emailed the pertinent stuff, not the entire report.

2010 - I am glad you like the format! I am trying something a little different from my last report (not even done yet) on the Amalfi Coast.

Thin, sorry about that! Most of my research was following LCI's reports and in fact a number of things I did we discussed over a glass of wine - I didn't poke around as much as usual. It's quite fabulous, isn't it?

Jim, it was a revelation to me. I can't believe I waited until Saturday morning for it.

Saraho and dgunbug - do it up! I hope this report helps.

Denise, as I mentioned before, I started reading your report and am enjoying it. I also did the Colosseum tour and wow what an experience. I've visited the Colosseum three times before but never like that!

Laura, I will look for that movie.

Amyb, I know you've got a Rome yearning yourself - have fun!

Jamikins and everyone else, again, thank you for the encouragement.. this report will be different in that I will probably have the text done before the photos - other than an odd one here and there...

Starting to write up the next section...
flygirl is offline  
Dec 7th, 2013, 06:53 AM
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bardo1 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2013, 07:14 AM
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Loving you report -- it's making me very hungry and very much wanting to get to Rome.
yestravel is offline  
Dec 7th, 2013, 07:57 AM
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Terrific food reorting, flygirl!

We also loved the pizza at Roscioli...the pomodoro was a favorite of the whole trip. Would love to go to Romeo when we get back to Rome and we are definitely going to stay at Albergo del Senato! We had a great time and probably shoulda bought a lottery ticket, as we got lucky a lot with all the dumb stuff I did!

The Colisseum tour we did was worth the money....again, another trip favorite.
denisea is offline  
Dec 7th, 2013, 09:26 AM
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High points and low points

So this next section will be about high points and low points. Vantage points, that is. And I spoke too soon about the photos, above, since there will be a lot of photos showing my vantage points.

First high point: the Gianicolo AKA Janiculum Hill.

As I mentioned previously, one of my mornings consisted of a walk from the hotel to Marcellus Theater and across Tiberina Island to Trastevere and up the Janiculum Hill. I have always wanted to do this, but, what prompted me to just go for it this time was my long wait in Piazza San Pietro for the Pope. As we stood in the Piazza I watched a beautiful sunrise up over the Janiculum Hill and decided I wanted to walk up there and view St Peter's from higher up. So, Thursday morning that was my goal.

The weather was pretty good when I left - blue skies all over and it was crisp and cool. I had also planned to make this day my day for the cupola climb as my ending point would be St Peter's and that made sense. However as I walked the clouds socked in and by the time I got to St Peter's, after much walking, the views that day would not have been quite as good. So I decided to save that for the next day.

After my walk through Trastevere but just before I walked up the hill I ended up at John Cabot University's gateway and stood there and reflected upon my college friend Jill. She graduated college with me back in the days of yore and immediately left to marry her Italian boyfriend whom she had met on a study abroad program. We lost touch but found each other again in the mid 2000s and not due to Facebook - due to an alumni publication. At that time she was working for John Cabot University. When I came to Rome in 2006 we met for lunch near her office and she showed off a little of her neighborhood. It was so interesting to meet someone I had spent my young adulthood with and to talk about our divergent paths - we had not seen each other since graduation. She spoke of her sons, who were truly Italian (she being the only American and being immersed in Italy) and sounded wistful for her family back home. I wasn't quite sure if she was happy in her life decision. We did link up on Facebook at some point after that and sadly she died of cancer about three or so years ago. It was so jarring to learn of a friend's illness and death on Facebook as she had not been posting anything about her illness until the very end. I think she was the first friend I've known whom I have found out such sad news on Facebook.

So I turned around and started walking up Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. If you follow this winding road, it will take you up up up and up to the Gianicolo. I took a variety of photos along the way but I'll just post the ones I took from the top.

The street was named for Garibaldi and along the way I passed his tomb/mausoleum and at the top was a large statue in his honor. You know how there is a Via Cavour and an Il Vittoriano (named for Vittoriano Emmanuele, Re d'Italia)? Well, he was a contemporary of them and quite an important guy (as if the street names and statues weren't clue enough). He was a central figure in the Italian Risorgimento. Also along my walk I briefly visited San Pietro in Montorio and had a glimpse at the Tempietto by Bramante. Allegedly St. Peter was crucified, upside down, at the site of this church.

After I wandered around the top for a while I started my stroll down the hill towards St. Peter's. As mentioned before this was my day to continue my long trek over to Pizzarium for lunch.

And here are some photos of the views. I can pick out the really obvious stuff, but there are some large structures I'm stumped on (mostly churches) if anyone would care to point any out. I do know that St. John in Lateran has all of the Apostles on top.


This second link are the sunrise photos I referenced while standing in St. Peter's square early Wednesday morning, which acted as inspiration for my Thursday climb.


Next: another high point.
flygirl is offline  
Dec 7th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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In your first set (janiculumwalk), picture #7- Just to the right of center is a tall creamy yellow building with a square dome. That is the Jewish Synagogue. It is actually very close to the Theater of Marcellus, so I'm wondering if you wandered that way. Between the theater and the Synagogue lay the Porticus of Octavia. It is a beautiful ruin of a temple that Caesar built to honor his sister (alas, also the jilted wife of Marc Antony).

Loved the pics..as I love Rome. (Why Rome? Because it is us and we are it. It is our universal "birthplace".)
sarge56 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2013, 11:36 AM
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Sigh....I love Rome.

Really enjoying your report. Can't wait to get back and try some of the restaurants!
Dayle is offline  
Dec 7th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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Enjoying your report which I'm reading from Rome.
Coincidentally we walked up the Janiculum hill for the first time on this trip and really enjoyed it, along with a meal at Trattoria Monti on another day!
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Dec 7th, 2013, 09:15 PM
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I just returned from Rome - it is one of my favorites. It's really fun reading your reports and finding out all about your trip.
LaBellaDona is offline  
Dec 8th, 2013, 07:31 AM
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Waiting for more. Loving your report.
dgunbug is offline  
Dec 8th, 2013, 12:24 PM
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Thank you everyone! And Sarge, thank you for the ID - if it is directly next to it, I would have walked by it, but if it's even one block away I probably did not.

welltraveledbrit, did you have the onion flan? Hande told me before I left for me walk there that it's possible I would miss out as the winter veg is radicchio and they start doing a winter version using that and perhaps a different cheese. That was on the menu, however, I was lucky in that they were offering the onion version as a special that evening. Where did you eat last night, and today?

LaBellaDonna, I see you've started your report, well done!

Dayle and dgunbug, thanks - and I want to get back there, too.

Here we go.

Second high point: Earning that gelato by climbing up St Peter's cupola, AKA, "Spot the Pantheon".

The next vantage point for your consumption is the view from the top of St. Peter's which I did on Friday. I love climbing things and seeing things from "up high". I can't believe it took trip number four to do this climb and I have to say this is going to be a more regular feature of upcoming visits to Rome.

Before I go too far I should mention that this was a temperature-comfortable climb in late November and in fact I took my coat off about halfway up. I also did the Duomo in Florence climb one winter. I can imagine this would not be as comfortable in July.

It's pretty simple to find - after you stand in the really long line to get into St. Peter's - which moves quickly, don't let it scare you off - you have two choices. Go inside the Basilica, or nip around the side where you enter the cupola climb. You have a choice of exercise options. You can either climb all 500+ steps for only 5 euros, or, you can spend an additional 2 euros to take the lift and then only climb the last 320 steps. I took the two scoop option (three scoops would be all 500+ steps) for 7 euros and the lift whisked us to the terrace which is about level with the statues.

When you emerge from the lift you have that large terrace to roam about and take photos. I would suggest that even someone who can't make the rest of the strenuous climb would benefit from at least going to this level and seeing the views. They are marvelous even from there. Once you enter and start climbing, the first stop is a kind of viewing platform from which you can see a closeup of Michelangelo's hard work in all its glory. I included a photo of that as well as one of the mosaics lining the walkway around the inside of the dome. That first interior level is not much of a climb, either, so again, if you are hesitant about long climbs or have health issues I think many people can still do the "inside dome view" walk - just go slowly and it's not far. The stairs at that point are not narrow or spiraled.

The rest of the walk to the top is quite the workout! And it gets narrower and narrower and narrower and near the very top it's all angled inward so you are walking with your body bent over to the inside. Watch your head! I would say this is at least as narrow as the bell tower climb in Bruges. It's also different from the walk up the Duomo in Florence as that seemed to be a lot of straight stairs for a good chunk of the climb - and then the final climb to the outside of the Duomo cupola is up a short ladder, which you wait for about 100 people to climb down before you can climb up - I called the Florence Duomo cupola the "clown cupola" because I've never seen that many people come down a ladder from such a small viewing area - on and on and on. But, I digress.

And then finally you emerge and what a view. What. A. View. It just so happened I managed to time this for near sunset so the photos all have that golden hue. How many times can you find the Pantheon in the photos I posted below? Think about the layers of ages and history you are viewing in these photos. How utterly amazing to see those layers from there.

The sunset photo, itself, was one of the last ones I took, back down on the terrace again, and in fact the last ones on that entire memory card - I didn't carry around my Big Bertha camera on Saturday at all - which was so freeing. For what it's worth, it wasn't actually that dark, yet, I just cranked down the aperture very low. The sun was setting but we still had a half an hour of dusk so by the time I made it back down to Via della Concilazione I had a final special treat. Two huge swallow murmurations! Glorious, noisy swallow murmurations. They swooped and swayed and chirped and swooped in formation again - loop de loop de loop. It was just magical. I will have a swallow story, later, and this story could easily be one for "Humans of Rome" but I'll leave that for later.

The cupola photos:


Next: yet another high point…
flygirl is offline  
Dec 8th, 2013, 01:07 PM
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Sigh.....jealous! Love reliving Rome with you!
anneeby is offline  
Dec 8th, 2013, 10:28 PM
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Wow, great pics! Thanks for sharing!
sarge56 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2013, 01:36 AM
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Loved reading your posts ! It was simply awesome. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing your experience.
MellisaTurner is offline  
Dec 9th, 2013, 04:27 AM
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Great report, thank you for taking the time. We just returned from a week in Paris, and I was thinking it was once again my favorite city. Now of course, after reading of your time in Rome and viewing your lovely photos, Rome must be my favorite city!
Ralstonlan is offline  
Dec 9th, 2013, 04:29 AM
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Good morning! Thank you for checking out my photos. What cool views, huh?

I found a few receipts from some meals so before I throw them out I will put them here so you can keep that in mind when you read my descriptions above.

La Sagrestia lunch. Pizza and bottle fizzy water. 14E.

Armando al Pantheon, two meals. First one 28E, second one 21E (no wine at second one). I got a starter and meal/bottle of water at each.

Baccano 29E. Starter, meal, glass of wine.

Antonio al Pantheon. Starter, meal, bottle fizzy water, and complimentary glass of wine when I sat down. 21E.

Matricianella 22E. I must have gotten a starter before my cacio e pepe. Glass of wine and bottle of water.

I am working on the next set of photos/text and will post soon... thanks for staying with me.
flygirl is offline  
Dec 9th, 2013, 04:53 AM
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Third High Point: Vittorio Emanuele, Re d'Italia (VERDI). Also known as Il Vittoriano, real name Altare della Patria

Another stupendous vantage point is the top of Il Vittoriano. You can't miss it, it's that big white monument to a shrinking violet named Vittorio Emanuele. In fact the only way you could possibly miss it, is to be standing right on top of it.

I'm joking, he clearly wasn't a wallflower. He was the King of Italy, a contemporary of Guiseppe Garibaldi, and was known as the Father of the Homeland/Nation (and also, I believe, related to Marie Antoinette - if I am reading the chart correctly one his grandparents would have been a sibling to her). His monument, inaugurated at the 50th anniversary of the unification of Italy, honors more than just Vittorio - including Italy's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was controversial when it was built (and may still be) because of the damage it did to an archeologically sensitive part of Rome. They plowed it into the Capitoline, from the looks of it, and they even moved a church and took out some cloisters of the convent of Aracoeli.

Apparently the lift was installed in 2007 which was the time of my last visit, in May. I guess we just missed it before.

If you want to visit it, the best way to reach it is to go up the Aracoeli steps. I think that is 100+ steps right there, so you've got another scoop of gelato coming afterwards. When I walked the steps I distinctly heard the theme to Rocky when I reached the summit.

Once you are at the top of the steps you go through the gate to the monument and then walk behind it to the lift. It was 7E if I recall correctly. I also managed to time this for sunset.

Here are a few photos of the Aracoeli steps (not taken that day, a different morning):


Here are the sunset photos taken from the top of Il Vittoriano, all taken with my iPhone as I only took out my iPhone my last day in Rome. Very freeing to do so, but, the photo quality simply isn't as good.


Next: a low point.
flygirl is offline  
Dec 9th, 2013, 05:02 AM
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ps. I thought I would add one more photo. This was taken on the day I arrived, near sunset.

It was taken from the Campidoglio and is the Forum which of course is what you see from the top of Il Vittoriano.

Not quite the vantage point as the top of Il Vittoriano, but, I wanted to show the difference between using an SLR to take a photo and an iPhone. Also of course the lighting conditions weren't exactly the same even though it was near sunset.

Again, thoroughly thrilling to see all the layers of history in front of me...

flygirl is offline  
Dec 9th, 2013, 09:48 AM
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Wonderful info and pics. I too love “high” points, and try to get up for the views. This will be our first trip to Rome, and the walk up to the Janiculum Hill does not seem to fit our plans. What do you think, should I try to re-arrange the plans? We’ll definitely climb St.Peter’s and VE monument, plus we will get to the Pincio Gardens, from where I understand we can also get nice views of Piaza del Popolo.
xyz99 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2013, 10:51 AM
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so enjoying all of this, and your pictures are terrific. embarrassed to say, I am buying a new DSLR just for this trip. Mine is 10 years old, and time for a new one...just hope the learning curve is not too great!!

Question ... way back when, I did the trip up to the top of St. P's, but not the cupola. Seems it was a winding small staircase on the left side of the Cathedral (if you are facing it). and it only went as high as the level I see in your pictures with the statues lined in front.

This Cupola staircase is not the same. And I recall, in my staircase on the left side, it was SO claustrophobic that I felt close to a panic attack!! And I have never had that sensation before or since...

Question, is that similar to the steps you climbed??

I too love vistas...so would love to do the dome, and perhaps VE as well. Great trip.

I have really bad news though, I understand Trattoria Monti is closed while I am there. I hope reports are wrong, but they don't have a website...so may have to wait til i get there to find out! (or call, yes)

Keep posting!!
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