question about entering rome

Old Apr 10th, 2004, 07:36 AM
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question about entering rome

This will be my first time as an adult in Rome and my husband's first time ever...
we will probably have a car on entering rome and drop it that evening or next morning, since we will be going to rome last. For me it will be a great symbolic way to enter Rome the same way I saw in one of Fellini's movies - they entered it thru a half-circled collonade as I remember.. (was it Fellini's "Roma"? I don't remember and don't have a tape, unfortunately, but I do remember that massive structure that I saw more than 15 yrs ago in his movie..) - does anyone remember the movie and know the route they took on entering this eternal city, so that we can recreate it?
and another variation on the theme - in your opinion, what is the most beautiful way to enter rome with a car?
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 07:45 AM
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I have not seen a movie such as you describe, but we have entered Rome by car through the Porta Princiana which goes through an arch in the city walls. This puts you near the Borghese Gardens and near the Via Veneto. More recently we have come in either by train or by shuttle from the airport, neither of which are particularly attractive.
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 07:51 AM
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Thank you, TWSD, maybe that is the arch I'm thinking of... did you feel driving a car was manageable in Rome? I understand it will be quite a challenge, although I don't want to give it up, at least for several hours...
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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I didn't see the movie but thinking of entrances into Rome, it sort of sounds like the Porta di Popolo, entering into the Piazza di Popolo. Who is going to be doing the driving--you say you haven't been to Rome since you were a child and your husband has never been there. While driving into Rome through one of the many scenic routes sounds romantic, Rome is no place to drive for someone inexperienced in Italian driving and the city of Rome itself. Many streets are closed to traffic, many more are only one way, or buses and taxis only or buses and taxis one way and cars the other. I would advise dropping the car outside the city and taking a taxi or train into the city.
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 08:07 AM
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Good morning RB1 Have seen "Roma" at least twice and would bet that the entry into Rome was from the east from the direction of Tivoli, will all the rain in those scenes couldn't determine much else. First drove in Rome in the early 70's and was a fairly good non-congested city to drive in, nowever by the mid 80's the
car was running supreme and the Pza Venezia became a vast parking lot. I
lost my courage amd gave up driving in Rome then, streets that were one way
were reversed and was difficult getting from one point to the other and was driving offensively in order to
exsist. Last November we drove from Fumicinio to Firenze and I was able to
get drivintg directions from Mapquest.
Perhaps you can get the same forRome.
On very difficult thing is to following
street signs as the names of streets can almost change everother block or two and streets signs are carved blocks of stones on the corner of buildings. I have a copy of Roma and will look at it to see if I can determine the colonade you describe.Richard of LaGrange Park, Il..
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 08:08 AM
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Thanks Grinisa, now you put some doubt in my mind about the car situation... we will have the car for the majority of the trip prior to rome, so we will get accustomed to the Italian driving. Plus we both drive well in Manhattan, which is considered to have crazy drivers so we are comfortable in expecting the unexpected from everybody around us... on the same topic - do you know how to get Italian road signs manual in english, preferrably?....
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 08:20 AM
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RB1, I don't know where else in Italy you are going before Rome, but driving the countryside or the autostradas isn't going to prepare you for Rome. And driving in Manhattan is child's play to Rome. Manhattan is laid out in a grid with clearly marked (at least to an English speaker)road signs. As Richard says, the signs in Rome are sometimes hard to find and they can change from day to day depending on what's going on in the city: motorcades, parades, demonstrations not to mention the usual construction. This is one reason I wouldn't rely on an online map service to find directions for Rome because it changes so frequently. If you are still intent on doing this, get a Michelin map or street atlas of Rome which will help somewhat, although it does not have a full collection of Italian street signs and their translation.
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 08:26 AM
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Thank you so much dickv2! I am almost certain it is ?Roma?. My other thought was ?Intervista? but I saw it again and could not find any grand entrances to rome there, so it must be ?Roma?.
Regarding the car situation?. more doubt is creeping. Although we will have a general direction of where we are going, and we have the experience of entering rainy London in the evening where we could not see any road signs and still managed to get straight to our hotel? we just love car travel and are so used to it? starting carrying our luggage from train to train seems more of a hustle than getting lost in Rome. I would love to hear your comments after seeing the movie. Thanks a lot!!
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 08:28 AM
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Are you entering from the south or north? Generally, Porta Pinciana is a nice way to enter through the city walls on the north side and thence onto Via Veneto, one of the nice streets in Rome. I haven't ever used the gate into Piazza del Popolo, so I can't comment on that entry. I've come in from the east, and you could say it's somewhat scenic, as you pass by St. Peter's on your right, and the Colosseo, Constantine's Arch, and Roman Forum on your left, up the via Fori Imperiali, and toward the Victor Emmanuel monument. Overall, it's probably the most scenic route, even with a few turns to stay on the one-way streets.

Driving into Rome isn't any more dangerous than driving in New York City, Dallas, or Los Angeles; it's just that you need to know where you are headed ahead of time. Actually, I have found the drivers in Rome to be pretty tolerant of others, but they can squeeze their cars past yours in spaces that you wouldn't believe possible. My advice is not to drive into Rome because of the scenery, since you will not be looking at it for the traffic, but instead drop off the car at the airport if that is reasonably convenient on your route. Then take public transportation or a taxi into the city.

If you do decide to drive into the city to your hotel, get a map that shows the one-way streets and study it so you will know the names of major streets in the area. Pick a specific route to the hotel that you will use, and be prepared for possible detours along the way for various reasons -- construction, accidents, strikes, and so on. Good luck no matter which you choose.
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 08:37 AM
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Thanks Grinisa and Wayne for the great advice! Knowing me, once I decide on the route ? I will remember all the street names, the layout and such. Regarding the one-way streets ? any map you found to be the best in showing those minute details?
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 09:21 AM
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RB1...
We drove into Rome after a two week trip through France and Italy.

My advice is....Get rid of the car as soon as possible. Driving the Autostadas was a piece of cake..even fun if you like to drive 110mph! Everyone follows rules and drives the way you would expect them to. Directions are fairly easy to follow.

Driving into a city in Italy is impossible! I was the navigator driving into Florence. I thought I knew where I was going. We got lost. It was rush hour and it was miserable!

My husband studied the maps with lots of detail for over an hour before we entered Rome. We still go lost! Hopelessly lost. The one way streets on the map did not match the actual layout. The only thing that saved us was we got there on a Sunday and the streets were fairly empty.

Get rid of the car and find a taxi to take you on a tour of the city. If that's what you want. Then you will able to enjoy what you are seeing instead of fighting with your husband. ;o)

Have fun in Italy, it is a wonderful place! We are going back in June and can't wait! (But we are not driving into Florence this time...we are staying in the country taking the train!)
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 09:31 AM
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Hi RB,

Since you really oly want the car to be able to enter the city through the lovely gate (and take pictures), don't worry.

Get an early start in case you get lost. Take your time finding your gate.

If you can't figure out how to get to your hotel or car dropoff, get a taxi. One of you goes in the taxi and the other follows in the car.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 09:35 AM
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..RB1..you stated that doubts were creeping into your mind re drivng in rome...shouldn't be creeping..should be galloping!! please follow the above advice..there is a certain elan (i guess i am mixing languages but..) and spontiniety about the romans which translates in spades to their driving..laws (if there are any) seem to be made to be broken...dump the car asap!! otherwise risk life, limb or marriage..leave the "entrances" to de mille, caesar and others..
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 09:50 AM
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Thank you DebiC, Ira and travelbunny, now I?m really curious to see how bad it really is, although maybe thru a taxi window... I still have to think about it. I have dreamt for too long on making it a really memorable first experience, just as I remember as a child stepping out of the train station in Venice in early morning. You know - these are private memories for a lifetime, the way you first get exposed to a city.
Ira- I LOVED your idea! Maybe we will do just that if, or should I say when, we get lost! BTW ? I loved your trip report and other postings, I will certainly take a lot of tips from them as I plan this trip. Thank you guys!
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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Enjoy your trip RB
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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If you're comfortable driving in Manhattan you should be OK in rome. It's more like downtown (no grid pattern, narrow streets, almost all one way) but without the traffic lights and with an occasional traffic circle. The overall technique is like dealing with the kamikaze cab drivers - assume an attitude, press forward and pretend you don;t see the other cars - and then they'll give you right of way. Definitely use one of the web sites to get an exact route to your hotel - since most streets are one-way a typical tourist map is useless for driving.

As for how to enter the city - I would e-mail the concierge of your hotel - he'll know the place you'r referring to and if it's still open to general traffic (often you can't drive where they do in movies - its open only by special permission). It sounds to me like the Porta Pinciana (sp?) as well - near the top of the via Veneto - but I can;t be positive.
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 10:21 AM
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Thank you ira, this trip is still in early stages of development and I'm enviously reading the postings of those lucky ppl who can count the days to their trip or those who have just returned . Nevertheless, I've got great ideas from this thread and always hope for more.. as I can concentrate on other arms of the trip.
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Hi nytraveler, you put my mind more at ease. I am quite an aggressive driver myself, according to my husband, although I think I'm an aggressively safe driver(unblemished record). Small streets, one-way streets, even an occasional obscene gesture don't scare me, I see it as part of the ambiance, but maybe I'm just naïve. Your suggestions are much appreciated, I will definitely use my hotel for info on directions. Thanks
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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..do let us know how things go..arrivederci..and bonna fortuna..
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 10:55 AM
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Although the majority of posters responding have either themselves given up driving in Rome or advised you to not drive into Rome, you are going to listen to the ones that say it isn't going to be a problem. I sincerely hope it isn't and that your entry into Rome is all that you dreamed it would be, but I just don't see how you are going to be enjoying all that scenery while you are either driving in an unfamiliar city or navigating through it. What hotel are you staying at? Just for fun, I went to MapQuest to see how they did with directions on my last entry into Rome in October. My husband and I dropped our car at FCO after driving in from Umbria. We took a cab to our hotel on the Piazza della Rotunda. The usual route was closed because of a marathon that day so our driver took an even more circuitous one. MapQuest, in 42 "easy" steps, laid out a completely different route from any I've ever taken into the centro storico and would have left us on a street across the Piazza from the hotel. The Piazza is closed to traffic so we would have needed to try to find parking on this narrow little street for the car and then carried our luggage to the hotel.
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