Just back from Rome -- trip report soon!

Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 03:09 AM
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Just back from Rome -- trip report soon!

We just returned from our trip to Rome, Italy, last night. We had a wonderful time and had AMAZING weather for February. The temperatures were in the low/mid sixties just about every day we were there. People were having picnics in the Borghese Gardens with short sleeves, and we even saw some people barefooted!

We had a fantastic time. I will write a full trip report as soon as I have time. I did take notes.

Ciao!

Sherry
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Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 03:39 AM
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I'm looking forward to your report. We go to Rome in early May for the first time. I'm reading everything I can.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2007, 07:01 AM
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Opaldog, I hope you have a great time in Rome!

I have just finished downloading my 800+ pictures to the computer. Now I have to select which ones I want to print.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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Looking forward to your Rome report. How's it coming?
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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Really interested to hear your report we leave in 13 days!!!!
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 06:53 PM
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I am going to try to do it by this weekend, I promise!
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 04:43 PM
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Samsaf,

We leave on the 9th, so I'm looking forward to that report!

Bill
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 05:10 PM
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I will have a few days in Rome in mid-June and I am ahving a terrible time picking just the right place to stay - we were in the Piazza Navona area last time we were there, this time it will be only my oldest daughter and I-so, any recommendations? Weer you satisfied with your lodgings? Thanks for any input
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 07:51 AM
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In case it helps, here's my trip report from wonderful Rome, with details about our hotel and some restaurants.

"Rome, three nights in May 2006

I arrived at Romeís FCO airport around noon, having flown in from the States. I took the hotel shuttle to the Domus Julia, a nice little B&B type hotel, just below the Barberini Palace and very near the Spanish Steps, at via Rasella 32. I had time to get settled and refreshed before my daughter arrived from Florence at 5 p.m. I was not feeling at all tired or jet-lagged, just excited to be there and see Rome for the first time.

Domus Julia is a great value and nice little hotel. Itís the apartment annex to the Hotel Julia, so you check in and have breakfast buffet at the hotel. It is a fine little place, in a great location, at a very reasonable price. We had a double/twin room, which was large enough by European standards (and is pictured on their website quite accurately). It was 170EUR, with a private bath, and including the breakfast buffet. We entered our room via a nice dining room/kitchen common area. There were two other units which shared that space, and I think they are larger apartments and might suit our family of four. They offer a 13EUR shuttle from the airport, which is a big cost-savings.

As soon as she arrived, we headed for the Spanish Steps. It was a beautiful and sunny day, with all the deep pink azaleas in bloom, and lots of people lounging on the steps. We looked around, took pictures, and then walked down to see the designer shops on via Condotti.

Next, we stopped for dinner at Rosa Rosae Ristorante, via di Pietra 88. It was a very nice atmosphere, but a bit touristy. Food was just so-so, but service was friendly. Prices were on the higher side for the quality, at about 52EUR for two, with a half-liter of house wine. My veal was ok, but a bit tough.

After dinner, we ended our day at the Trevi Fountain, because we wanted to see it all lit up at night. It was very pretty, if somewhat crowded. We sat on the steps to enjoy it and chat. The street vendors are especially annoying there, though. They simply wonít take ďNoĒ for an answer, so itís best to totally ignore them, but thatís a tough thing to do at first.

Anyway, I discovered that itís a mistake to pay any attention, as the street vendors take that as showing interest, and they persist endlessly. You just have to ignore them, or they follow you and stay right in your face. I was surprised when I found out that the vendors come right into restaurants and walk up to diners at their tables, too. Itís a sad situation, really.

The next day we had reservations at the Vatican Museums at 2:00. We had a leisurely morning, enjoyed the Hotel Juliaís breakfast buffet, and then took the metro over to Vatican City. We were thrilled we were able to walk to the head of the line, which was about two blocks long. (So the hassle of faxing to the Vatican and waiting to hear back was all worth it!) we were very glad we'd gone to the trouble to get the Vatican's Museums tour confirmation. It was fantastic to be able to walk directly to the head of the line, which was about two blocks long.

The tour guide uses head sets to communicate, and it makes it so much easier not to have to stay right next to her to hear, because there are many people there, of course. The tour took two hours, which left us in the Sistine Chapel at 4:00. Perfect timing to enjoy the Chapel for a nice long time, then exit through the back door, which closes at 4:30, and takes you to the St. Peter's Basilica. That's the best travel tip I had on our trip.

(Another tip is to make sure you bring ID, as the Museum checks for your name on their list and wants proof of all visitors' names.) Other people didn't know about the Sistine Chapel back door, and would leave the Museums to go stand in line outside again to enter the Basilica. So, we never were in the Basilica line proper, and didn't notice students offering tours. Since my daughter studied in Italy last semester and had already toured the major museums to study art history, I was lucky enough to have my own personal student tour guide! I was most interested in seeing Michelangelo's Pieta there.

Our tour was very nice, with an informative and interesting guide. We had headsets, which are a huge convenience in enjoying the tour. It took two hours, which left us in the Sistine Chapel at 4:00. This was great timing, since the door from there into St. Peterís Basilica closes at 4:30. We had 30 minutes to enjoy the chapelís masterpiece ceiling, which is barely enough time. We then headed directly into St. Peterís to admire its dome, and especially Michelangeloís Pieta.

It made for a great day of art appreciation, without any of the headache of waiting in lines. We figured we would have spent about four hours standing in lines in the sunshine, if we didnít have the Museums reservation and didnít know about the back door from the Sistine Chapel into St. Peterís. I donít think they advertise that little shortcut, but, thanks to Rick Steves, we knew about it.

After enjoying St. Peterís Square and seeing all we wanted to see at the Vatican, we crossed the Tiber and walked around that cute neighborhood for a while, finding a nice little café to sit for a drink and a salad.

We wandered around some more, took lots of photos and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Later, for dinner, we headed back toward a restaurant where my daughter had eaten earlier that semester. Itís very casual and good, called the Maccheroni Ristorante at Piazza delle Coppelle, 44, phone 06 68307895. Itís very popular with locals and gets very busy. The service is friendly and the atmosphere is lively and interesting. About 47 EUR for two, with one-half liter of house wine.

The next day dawned with pouring rain, which was a bit concerning as it was our last full day. and we planned to visit the Coloseum and the Forum. Our luck was good, though, because after weíd finished breakfast and were ready to head out for the day, the rain had stopped. It continued to clear throughout the day, and turned into very pleasant weather after all.

When we arrived at the Colosseum, a guide was selling space in the next tour of both the Colosseum and the Forum, so we jumped in. He was interesting, but rather rushed. He gave a quick history, and then we had just 15 minutes to look around, take pics, and meet the next guide for the Forum tour. That guide was quite a bit more interesting; a self-proclaimed history buff who knew all the background stories that make a place come alive. We walked to the top of the hill, and then stopped several times throughout the Forum, and he gave a lot of information and answered all the questions. After that, we wandered around a bit on our own, then headed into the adjoining Roman neighborhood to get lunch on our way back toward our hotel.

Trying to eat Ďlunchí in Italy in mid-day is a big problem, as probably everybody already knows. Once they close after lunch around 3:00, restaurants donít open again until at least 7:00, and it wasnít easy to find a market for picnic snacks. Finding a place to sit and enjoy a salad in the afternoon is a big challenge. We didnít have much choice, so when we found a place that looked nice and was serving food at that time of day, we didnít care much about the price or the menu. Of course, it was outrageously expensive and rather mediocre. (Can you say ďtourist trapĒ?) But, it was worth every penny to get some food and take a break. And it was a really charming place, with very nice outdoor seating.

We then wandered over to Piazza Navonna, and the Pantheon. We were so amazed by the interior of the Pantheon, and marveled how all that engineering and design talent existed in 100 A.D. Then we found Santa Maria di Sopra Minerva, a church that has Michelangeloís Risen Christ.

Finally, we found a Foot Locker store to get a pair of shoes my daughter needed to hike the Cinque Terre. Hers had completely worn through after her semester of walking everywhere in Italy. That accomplished, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

We had reservations to meet my daughterís friend for dinner at 9:00. He had studied in Rome that semester and recommended his favorite restaurant in the neighborhood where heíd lived, called Il Matriciano, on Via dei Gracchi, 49- 61. (Reservations advisedóphone 063213040, or 063212327) Itís perfect for a more special dinner, but certainly not over-the-top. For three people dining, we paid just 103 EUR, which included a liter of house wine. We shared two appetizers, and two of us had veal dishes, one had just spaghetti. We each enjoyed coffee and dessert. It is a very, very friendly and pleasant place. We completely enjoyed it.

The next day, we slept in a bit, and then took a cab to the train station to take EuroStar to Florence.

Itís my habit to peek into little hotels that look nice, as we wander around in any city, anywhere. Iím collecting research for our next visit, and besides, hotel lobbies are always interesting and sometimes beautiful. While in Rome, I picked up cards from these three hotels, which looked very nice, but also more expensive than our Domus Julia:

La Lumiere di Piazza di Spagna (Spanish steps), has rooftop dining, is in an old mansion on Condotti street. More expensive than our Hotel Julia, I'm sure. www.lalumieredipiazzadispagna.com.

Hotel Barberini, Via Rasella 3, a four-star just up the street from the Domus Julia, across from Barberini Palace and near the Spanish steps. [email protected]

Hotel Bramante, near the Vatican in the 'ancient urban neighborhood of Borgo Pio". www.hotelbramante.com."
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Thanks very much for posting your report. Sounds as if you had a lovely time with your daughter. Your information on the Vatican is particularly helpful.
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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We had a great time. (Sorry for the poor-editing in the Vatican section!) We loved Rome.
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 01:29 PM
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Okay, I've posted the first part of our trip report. It's titled "Rome - 2007 - Trip Report."
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 04:13 PM
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Thanks so much, Samsaf, my daughter and I are having a trip abroad this summer also and the only city I have not booked yet is Rome, there are so many choices, but all so expensive. We stayed in the Piazza Navona area last time we went so I really would like to stay thre again, but, goodness, the prices have skyrocketed - I intend to check out our Hotel Julia - thanks again, look forward to the rest of the trip tales.
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