Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Rome - off the beaten path, need suggestions

Rome - off the beaten path, need suggestions

Old Oct 31st, 2001, 09:23 AM
  #1  
Marianna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Rome - off the beaten path, need suggestions

Calling all Rome lovers!! I leave for Rome in two weeks and can’t wait! This board has been very helpful in planning my trip. I’ve got just about everything set…flight, hotel, walking tours for major sites, general itinerary, etc. I will be there for 7 days and plan to cover a lot of ground. What are your recommendations for the “not so touristy” things that should not be missed? Any recommendations for wineries? Any top picks for restaurants? Thanks for your feedback.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 09:35 AM
  #2  
Vita
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Marianna, Not sure if these are 'off the beaten path,' but they were definitely not as highly touristed as, say, the Roman Forum:

1) Gianicolo, a park in Trastevere with great view of Rome.

2) Castello Sant'Angelo in the Vatican City also with a great view of Rome and St. Peter's, stay and watch the sunset

3) Just walk through some of the narrow leading nowhere in particular.

4) I also really enjoyed just walking along the Tiber at night.

Also, if you've never tried it, get ice cream drenched in espresso or your favorite liqueur.

Rome is so packed with things to do, you don't even need to try to make a vacation out of it. Just walk around and soak it in. There's art, history, and beauty everywhere.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 09:41 AM
  #3  
Vita
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Sorry, that was supposed to be narrow *side streets* leading nowhere.

Buon viaggio!
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 09:44 AM
  #4  
dan woodlief
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I just returned, and I can't say I got too far off the beaten track in 5 days. However, I can offer a few suggestions that are less touristy than others. A real highlight was the Scavi tour at St. Peters. A guide takes up to about 10 or 12 people down below the floor of St. Peters for an hour or so tour of ancient tombs and what is believed to be the actual tomb of St. Peter. In two weeks in Italy this was one of the best things we did. It is not advertised much, if at all. We only had two couples on our tour because of 8 cancellations. Normally you have to book well ahead, but I bet you can get on a tour now because of the lower numbers visiting. See www.twenj.com for good information on the tour. You must visit the Borghese Gallery, which has stunning sculpture. The park around the gallery is nice, and I would imagine it would be a great place for a picnic. Definitely walk some of the streets of Trastevere and have dinner there. The other poster mentioned the Tiber. We loved the area around Tiber Island. Two very good restaurants we tried are Ristorante Abruzzi and Al Fontanone. Abruzzi is located at Via Vacarro 1, go to the north end of Piazza Santi Apostoli, and you will find it - it is not that easy to find without these instructions, which I got from www.twenj.com. Al Fontanone is located in Trastevere, in the back corner of Piazza Trilussa, just across Ponte Sisto.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 09:57 AM
  #5  
marianna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Vita/Dan: Thanks for the feedback.

Dan: I do have tickets to the Scavi and am really looking forward to the tour (I reserved about a month back). What was the weather like for you? I'm expecting temps in the mid 50's, do you think this is accurate?
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 10:00 AM
  #6  
dan woodlief
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Don't know about the weather in two weeks. A week ago, it was 75-80 every day and sunny. Actually it felt pretty hot a couple of days. Of course, normally it is rainier in October-November. I wore a jacket for about 3 hours on the whole two-week trip and never wore a long sleeve shirt.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 10:16 AM
  #7  
GAC
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I recommend the Basilicas of Sant'Agnese and Santa Costanza, and the small churches surrounding San Clemente.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 10:17 AM
  #8  
elaine
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Marianna
To follow one of Vita's suggestions,
on Gianicolo hill, halfway up, is the church of S. Pietro in Montorio.
Very nice church in its own right, with
a Bernini sculpture. From the plaza in front of the church, wonderful panoramic view of Rome. And next to the church, in a courtyard, is Bramante's "Tempietto", a tiny church, resembling the Pantheon, that only holds about
10 standing people. Beautiful, and charming. Church closes during riposo.
Nice walk down the hill into the heart of Trastevere.
Here's my off-the-beaten track restaurant which was originally a tip I'd gotten on this forum:
La Tartaruga.
via del Monte della Farina 53, 06 686 9473, closed Mon.
Last month I had dinner two nights in a row at this restaurant--I've never done that anywhere before. The location is on a small street that starts next to the church of St Andrea della Valle, immediately south of Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle, near the Pantheon/Piazza Navona area. What a great little restaurant! It is family-run, and the same family owns a farm in Tuscany where they produce their own olive oil and wine vinegar. All the food was outstanding on both nights (the second night I went with some new acquaintances) and as simple as it sounds, the mandarine (tangerine) sorbet was to die for. Cost for one, full meal plus a glass of wine and coffee, was about $40 and worth twice that.
And as Dan mentioned, the Borghese Gallery was one of the highlights of my visit as well.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 10:23 AM
  #9  
Kris
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
If you have an extra day and want to get outside of the city, the ruins at Ostia Antica are about a 1/2 hour by train from Rome. If you're really ambitious, you can also do day trips to Pompeii (maybe 3 hours from Rome) or Florence which is 1/12 or 2 1/2 hours from Rome depending on what kind of train you take.

I'll second the recommendation for the Borghese Gallery. We made reservations before we went in May, not sure if they were necessary or not. There's a website at www.galleriaborghese.it. I tried to make reservations from that site unsuccessfully so I emailed [email protected] and I received a reservation back within an hour.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 10:58 AM
  #10  
Paul
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Ditto on the Scavi. We've been to Rome 3 times and that was perhaps one of the most unexpectedly rewarding sights. The Borghese Gallery is wonderful, too. Consider, too, the Domus Aurea (Nero's golden house). It's available by tour only. Just reopened after being closed for about 20 years. Advance reservations usually needed. Also, a walking tour of the private Vatican Gardens is available each morning at 9:30AM and runs about 2 hours. Advance reservations necessary. If you want the phone #, e-mail me and I'll look it up.
 
Old Oct 31st, 2001, 07:18 PM
  #11  
kelvy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
OK, I had to post after reading some of the stuff re. the Scavi tour, just did it in early October (and YES it is fabulous)...seems like others on the board were there for the tour around that same time and I just have to ask: WHAT WAS UP WITH THE GUY WORKING THE DESK AT THE SCAVI OFFICE?!? (The guy with the big oozy Captain Hook slash on his face - anyone have to deal w/this character?!?) I swear, some of the funniest trip memories are stuff like this...anyway, My God, talk about the Prince of Darkness! DO NOT get on this guy's wrong side, I'm serious! I arrived (traveling solo) about 10 minutes before the appointed time, checked in with him at the desk, "Buon giorno, I have an 11AM appointment..." and he snapped his book shut in my face, slapped it down on the counter and hollered, "WELL THEN WHY DON'T YOU COME BACK AT 11 O'CLOCK!" Harumph! Then as each of the other people in the 11AM group arrived over the next few minutes he "greeted" them the same way, herded us all together outside, yelled at me again (um, I'm just doing what EXACTLY what he says, standing where he tells me to stand, and, um, breathing, and that's about it...!), we were all convulsed with laughter (but trying reaaaaaly hard not to laugh), just hoping to keep it together for fear of having him yank the rug out from under us, thank god our docent arrived at about 11:05, she was terrific and a real breath of fresh air after Mr. de Sade...fair warning, folks! Do exactly what he says, speak only when spoken to, have your money ready (I thought he was going to slap me when I was getting my money out of my waller...got yelled at again, I mean, COME ON!) and BEHAVE YOURSELVES around the Scavi dude!
 
Old Nov 1st, 2001, 05:17 AM
  #12  
dan woodlief
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
That's funny Kelvy. My wife actually delt with the guy at the desk because I was climbing the dome until time for the tour. She did say he wasn't particularly accomodating, but I think the guy you mentioned is now working at the food bar at the Borghese Gallery. He was about the only rude person we encountered on our trip, and let me tell you he was either having a very bad day or he is not a person I want to be around very long. We were buying a bottle of water to take with us when we left. He assumed we wanted two, when in reality we wanted one plus a Coke. When I asked him how much the water was (in Italian), he replied in English, but we couldn't understand him. I knew 1,000 lire couldn't be right but that sounded like what he said. I said "1,000?" in Italian, and he said "4,000" very deliberately and very very loudly in English, then muttered a few things to himself as he walked off with a sneer on his face. My wife just looked at me and said "I think we can understand the word 'four' better than him." He was pretty grumpy with the next people too. I thought of the guy on Seinfeld - "No water for you!" In fact, the price was 2,000 each.
 
Old Nov 1st, 2001, 06:24 AM
  #13  
Dean
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
First off, I agree with the others on the Borghese. You can reserve by phone once in Italy, you may be too late to reserve online. Same thing with the Domus Aurea. Both are spectacular.

Here are some other things we loved to do (this will require 3 posts):

Therme di Caracalla (Caracalla's bath)-- this sight will give you real insight into what it was like being a roman citizen. 6,000 people a day came here to chat, play games and eat. The audio program here was one of the best we have ever used in Italy. By the way, purchase the combination ticket here and get reduced price entrance to 7 archeological sights including the Coliseum. That way you avoid the line at the Coliseum.

Foro Palantino e Romano- Most people see the Roman forum. But few go up the hill to the Palantine. Here you can tour/see the ruins of the homes of the rulers of Imperial Rome. There is a book available at the ticket boot called Archaeological Rome with pictures of the ruins today and plastic overlays showing you how they looked originally. It is a superb aid to visiting the ruins.

San Clemente- an 11th century basilica that would be a must see on its own. But it is built atop a 4th century Christian church which was built atop a 4th century BC Mithraim (sp?). There is an early acquaduct that may even date back to Etruscan times. As you walk from the Coliseum to S. Clemente you will pass nameless trattorie where you can dine for next to nothing and eat well. We had pasta for 4 with almost drinkable house wine all for L45,000. What a bargain for huge plates of delicious penne amatricianna and arrabiata (spicy tomato sauces with and without pancetta).

Walking in Trastevere- Trastevere is Italian for across the Tiber. It has the feel of what the Village has to New York. It’s a vibrant area with a high concentration of younger Romans. There are art shops and great food stores. It is a warren of tiny streets and beautiful and inviting piazze. We found a wonderful “Paleo Christian” basilica along Viale Trasevere where you can view the body of a beatified women under glass. She died in the early part of this century and her body has nor decomposed. Be sure to stop at the many frutteria stands and try some fresh fruit to refresh yourself as you wander.


 
Old Nov 1st, 2001, 06:25 AM
  #14  
Dean
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Rome recomendations part 2:

Therme di Caracalla (Caracalla's bath)-- this sight will give you real insight into what it was like being a roman citizen. 6,000 people a day came here to chat, play games and eat. The audio program here was one of the best we have ever used in Italy. By the way, purchase the combination ticket here and get reduced price entrance to 7 archeological sights including the Coliseum. That way you avoid the line at the Coliseum.

Foro Palantino e Romano- Most people see the Roman forum. But few go up the hill to the Palantine. Here you can tour/see the ruins of the homes of the rulers of Imperial Rome. There is a book available at the ticket boot called Archaeological Rome with pictures of the ruins today and plastic overlays showing you how they looked originally. It is a superb aid to visiting the ruins.

San Clemente- an 11th century basilica that would be a must see on its own. But it is built atop a 4th century Christian church which was built atop a 4th century BC Mithraim (sp?). There is an early acquaduct that may even date back to Etruscan times. As you walk from the Coliseum to S. Clemente you will pass nameless trattorie where you can dine for next to nothing and eat well. We had pasta for 4 with almost drinkable house wine all for L45,000. What a bargain for huge plates of delicious penne amatricianna and arrabiata (spicy tomato sauces with and without pancetta).

Walking in Trastevere- Trastevere is Italian for across the Tiber. It has the feel of what the Village has to New York. It’s a vibrant area with a high concentration of younger Romans. There are art shops and great food stores. It is a warren of tiny streets and beautiful and inviting piazze. We found a wonderful “Paleo Christian” basilica along Viale Trasevere where you can view the body of a beatified women under glass. She died in the early part of this century and her body has nor decomposed. Be sure to stop at the many frutteria stands and try some fresh fruit to refresh yourself as you wander.
 
Old Nov 1st, 2001, 06:28 AM
  #15  
Dean
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Somehow part 2 was just a repeat of part 1. Sorry. This time I'll actually check what I post before I hit send:

Rome is not all museums and churches and ruins. You must take care of the soul and body as well. Here are a few of our favorite eating places:

Campo di Fiori for the morning market. Be sure to stop off at Il Forno di Campo di Fiori for Pizza Bianco o Rosso or a sweet treat like the torte di ricotta. There are also many bars surrounding the Campo for caffe and paste (pastries). We always come to Campo di Fiore, even if we are not staying where we can cook, for fruit and other picnic supplies. A few baskets of frutti di bosco (wild berries) makes for a wonderful breakfast. But if we are in an apartment with a kitchen, the Campo is a daily stop for us.

Volpetti (in Testaccio) for a look at the best cheese shop I have ever been in. Watch your wallet if you love cheese as they will sell you enough to feed an army. They specialize in more traditional producers who still hand make their cheeses. There is also carry out food such as lasagne, baked pasta, porchetta. Attached is a small snack bar as well.

Checchino dal 1887- the place to go to dine on deconstructed cow. They serve every part of the cow you thought was edible and some that you never would have thought of. For the squeamish, they have lovely lamb stew and other run of the mill parts. But if you love the odds and ends of the animal, here is you place. Very traditional Roman food. Highly recommended.
 
Old Nov 1st, 2001, 06:28 AM
  #16  
Dean
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Last add for rome

La Rosetta- right around the corner from the Pantheon, this is one of the great seafood restaurants of all time. Expect to pay a bundle but also expect perfection. Start with the mixed antipasti, a procession of 13 or so small plates of seafood: raw, marinated, cooked. All are very simple and screamingly fresh. You will feast on squid, clams, shrimp, langustino and fin fish in a mind boggling array of preparations that never hide the fresh flavor if the fish. Skip the pasta or risotto course unless you are truly starved and have a whole fish baked in salt. The wine list is filled with great whites from Alto Adige and Friuli. I especially love either an Alto Adige gewürztraminer (very aromatic, lush and intense yet not sweet like American versions and not as heavy as Alsatian, perfect for the varied and abundant flavors of a meal at La Rosetta, or a Tocai Friulano. The staff will help you find a specific producer. They have a changing selection because the restaurant chooses many wines from tiny producers with very limited quantities. This is a great wine list to splurge on). Desserts are wonderful as well. Massimo is the chef and you will see him during your dinner. In fact he had to make some emergency electrical repairs during our dinner. Dinner for 4 was about $125.00 per person with a great bottle of wine, three courses and a dessert. We easily could have skipped our risotto course.

Finally, there is a great Gelateria and restaurant (both owned by the same folk) but I don't have an address or street name so here is how you can get there. Start out crossing the Tevere at Ponte Sixto into Trastevere. Just to your right and ahead of you is Piazza Trilussa. Head out of P. Trilussa to the right (at a 45 degree angle) and you will come to P. San Giovanni degli Malva. Bear right out of this Piazza passing a wonderful little glass shop at number 5. You will have a pizzeria on your right. Follow this street a half a block ad you will come to a restaurant, bar and gelateria all with the same owners. They all three are spectacular. The bar has a wonderful selection of pastries and serves a great caffe or cappuccino. The gelateria has a small selection of gelato, all house made and naturally flavored. The restaurant has an inside garden and offers fresh seafood as well as traditional Roman offerings. They make a mean carciofi alla Giudea or fried artichoke. Try the Roman antipasti plate and you will get arancini (fried rice balls), fiori di zucca (stuff and fried zucchini flowers) the above mentioned artichoke and more. Dinner for 4 with seafood and a nice bottle of wine was L300,000.

 
Old Nov 2nd, 2001, 06:56 AM
  #17  
Maria
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Everyone has mentioned all the ancient art and historical things, but for some reason my husband and I love the outdoor markets in Italy. We found Porta Portese very interesting and the food vendors there sell the most awesome fried zucchini flowers!
 
Old Nov 2nd, 2001, 04:39 PM
  #18  
Don
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
The Scavi tour and San Clemente were excellent. We also thought that the desk person for Scavi was rude. However our guide was one of the best.

Also, try walking aroung the Colosseum and the Forum at night. It is very nice. Lastly for a slightly wierd stop, try the Cappuccin Crypt on Via Veneto. That was truely strange!
 
Old Nov 3rd, 2001, 05:33 AM
  #19  
Nancy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I found the City Secrets Rome (Robert Kahn) to be very helpful in pointing out some great spots. The book is made up of personal visions of their contributors.

Piazzale Girabaldi is a nice place to watch the sunset over the city. There are vendors hawking their goods but it was still a wonderful sunset.

I loved the Borghese Gallery too. A tip, when you go in, head for the highlights right away so you can have your own viewing time. We headed straight for Pauline while everyone else stayed in the first room, so we had the room to ourselves for a bit. Same with Apollo and Daphne, etc.
 
Old Nov 3rd, 2001, 10:35 AM
  #20  
Marianna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Marianna,
It's funny because this is my name as well!! I live and work in Rome as a tour guide so if you would like to email me direct at the above address I would love to give you some suggestions of "off the beaten track" places to see and great little family run trattorias to eat etc.
One of your posts said the weather was very warm!! it was!! Today it was a beautiful clear sunny day of about 21 degrees celsius. However when you were out of the sun it was really quite chilly. The mornings are now getting very chilly as are the evenings. I strongly recommend layer dressing and a warm coat for the evenings.
If I can help you in any other way, as I said please feel free to email me direct.
Regards
Marianna
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:04 PM.