Rome, revisited

Old Nov 5th, 2009, 08:57 AM
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Rome, revisited

I've copied this from a Word document, and apologize for any formatting glitches, and any factual errors, which I am confident will be pointed out to me.


Nowhere else are the right shoes been as important to me as they were and are in Rome. It is not enough that they be comfortable, they have to be sturdy and safe. If you tour the Forum, for example, you will be walking on broken pavement, slippery rocks, up and down inclines and steps, etc and your limbs, if not your life, will be in jeopardy if you are not sure-footed. Most public sites in historic buildings don't have elevators, and most have many stairs to climb.

Rome is renowned for the purity of its water, which comes from underground springs. Outdoor drinking fountains are plentiful, they are sometimes labeled "acqua marcia" and they have a little drinking spout. Don’t drink the water from ornamental fountains or hand-washing sinks, as it is usually chemically treated--often it is labeled "non potabile."

Insight Map: Rome is very good for a macro-orientation and for metro stops, but that map, as well as "Streetwise Rome", omit some small streets and alleys. On the other hand, Michelin Rome Mini-Spiral Atlas No. 2038 is my best friend, though sadly, it seems to be no longer available at . It is a 5X8 spiral-bound book, and it has an alpha list of seemingly all streets. It doesn't however offer a city-wide view, so that's what the Insight Map or the Streetwise map can do for you. The free maps that hotels offer are often all you need.

There is a souvenir book that you can get from street vendors or
souvenir stands all over Rome that is called Rome Past and Present: With
Reconstructions of Ancient Monuments that has photos of various ruins inside the Forum,Trajan’s Markets, the Palatine, the Coliseum, and the Catacombs. The transparent overlays
illustrate what these areas probably looked like when they were built. The book is not expensive and is about a 4”x8” size.

Rome metro and buses:

There are two main subway lines, Line A from Via Ottaviano (near St Peter’s) to Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano. Line B runs from the Rebibbia District to EUR. The two lines cross at Termini. The Metro is easy to use but the stops are few and far between. Booklets of tickets (carnets) can be purchased at tabacchi (tobacco shops) and in some terminals..

How to use the metro:

Interactive map of Rome

a great interactive map

Information on the Roma Pass (3 days of transportation, plus museum priority entry, and discounts)
On this last trip to Rome I became a big fan of the Roma Pass. Even if you don’t take advantage of all the discounts or don’t use the metro pass, it saved significant waiting time by allowing us to bypass the ticket-buying lines at the Forum and Colosseum, among other locations.

Rome Leonardo da Vinci Airport (aka, Fiumicino, FCO) /

Many museums are closed on Mondays. I make no representations that any of the indicated days and hours of operation are still accurate—places change their policies (or ignore them) often. Consult, not your guidebook, but your hotel front desk, and the websites, where available, and then hope for the best.

Arch of Contstantine
Just to one side of the Colosseum. In 312 Constantine battled the then-emperor Maxentius for supremacy over the Roman Empire. The night before his victory, Constantine saw a vision in the sky of a cross, with a banner stating "Under this sign you will conquer." Constantine won his battle, and later converted to Christianity. There's a great painting of Constantine's vision in one of the Raphael rooms in the Vatican museum. The Arch was put up in 315 to commemorate Constantine's victory, but many of the sculptural decorations were taken from older monuments.
Because of his conversion, and even though he moved his capital city to Constantinople, in Turkey, Constantine was a very popular figure with later Church officials and historians. Sites and monuments associated with him were generally left intact, unlike monuments associated with paganism which were usually ransacked.

Campidoglio—Capitoline Hill
The steps were designed by Michelangelo, as was the piazza at the top. Michelangelo placed the statue of Marcus Aurelius in the center, but the original has been moved inside. The statue of Marcus Aurelius is the only bronze equestrian statue to have survived from ancient Rome. It was preserved only because for a long time it was thought to be a statue of the emperor Constantine.. Next to the south side of the statue of Marcus Aurelius, walk into the Palazzo del Conservatori and head to the courtyard. The pieces of huge stone body parts along the wall are all that remains of a 4th century statue of Constantine..

Capitoline Museum closed Mondays. free on last Sunday of each month. Oldest museum in Europe. As you face out toward the Forum (facing the same direction as the equestrian statue), the museum building on your right has the more compelling collection, imo, including sculptures such as The Dying Gaul and the Capitoline Venus.

Campo dei Fiori'_Fiori There is an open-air market every morning. In the center of the Campo is a statue of Giordano Bruno, a monk burned for heresy in 1600 because, among other things, he agreed with Copernicus that the sun, and not the earth, is the center of of the solar system.

Churches—a sampling

Many churches contain masterpieces of art but are closed during the daily riposo period, so plan your church visits for before noon or after 4pm unless you know for certain the one you want will be open mid-afternoon. See also the Quirinale Walk, below.

Sant’Andrea della Valle, Corso Vitttorio Emanuele II, about 10 minutes from Pantheon or Piazza Navona. Its dome is second only to St Peter’s in size and the Sfrozzi chapel was based on Michelangelo’s designs.

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, one block from the Pantheon, across from the Grand Hotel Minerve. The only Gothic church in Rome, begun in the year 1280. Outside is a sculpture of an elephant, designed by Bernini. Inside are many art treasures, including a sculpture of Jesus by Michelangelo. Renaissance artist Fra Angelico is buried there.

Santa Maria Vittoria. Bernini’s “Ecstasy of Saint Theresa” is there.If you can’t see the Bernini sculptures in the Borghese, don’t miss this one.
For a photo preview: See also Quirinale Walk, below.

San Pietro in Vincoli (St Peter in Chains): The precious relics are the chains used to restrain St Peter in his imprisonment in Jerusalem and in Rome, where he was martyred.
The tomb of Pope Julius II by Michelangelo was originally going to have more than 40 statues, but delays and quarrels reduced this project. Two of M's "Prisoner" sculptures, originally designed for this tomb, are in the Louvre and there are some in Florence’s Accademia Museum.. His "Moses" is the only work on this tomb which is solely his work and not his assistants'. Moses has horns on his head due to a mistranslation in Michelangelo's time, of the Jewish Bible: the text actually says that Moses had rays of lights emanating from his head, but the words for "rays" and "horns" are similar. more info and photos:

Quirinale area walk (which I'd posted here at fodors once before, and got some great feedback)
Begin near Piazza della Republica. In the center of this hectic traffic center is the Fountain of the Naiads. The church of Santa Maria degli Angeli faces the Piazza. Behind the church are the other remains of the Baths of Diocletian (closed Mondays). Diocletian's Baths were built over 10 years between the last years of the 3rd century and the beginning of the 4th century A.D. Emperor Diocletian lived in Asia Minor and Croatia and never visited Rome. The Baths could accommodate 3000 bathers and it included concert halls, picture galleries, and exercise rooms.
According to tradition the Baths were built by Christians forced into labor; in 1561 a pope decided to convert most of the baths into a church, Santa Maria Degli Angeli. Michelangelo, in his late 80s, was originally in charge of the design,which closely followed the ancient architecture. When he died, other architects took over and changed his design. What I remember about this church, in the main nave, are the painted areas made to resemble real marble, which they are not. Running across the floor is a meridian with signs of the zodiac; for two hundred years, clocks in Rome were regulated according to this meridian.See and

From the Angeli church, head northwest toward Via Giuseppe Romita, onto the Piazza della Repubblica. Continue for a couple of minutes on Via Orlando. Across the street, at #20 Via 20 Settembre, is the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. In my opinion, Bernini’s sculpture of Saint Teresa in the church’s Cornaro Chapel is a don’t-miss. Open daily 9-12 and 3-6; Sunday 3-6 only. For a photo preview:

From the church, head southwest until you reach Via del Quirinale. On the left is San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, at # 23, where Via del Quirinale meets Via delle Quattro Fontane, (Four Fountains). The fountains were designed by Bernini’s rival, Borromini. The fountains’ two river gods are the Tiber and the Arno, and the goddesses are Diana and Juno. and San Carlo (sometimes called San Carlino, because it is small) is open M-F 10-12 and 1-3, Sat 1-3 only, Sun 12-1 only.

Option: Turn left on Via delle Quattro Fontane and walk downhill to Palazzo Barberini at # 13 (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica) at mid-block. Closed Mondays.

Leaving San Carlo, continue on Via del Quirinale, arriving at Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, another church designed by Bernini. (church is closed on Tuesdays.)

From Sant’Andrea, continue on Via del Quirinale for 3-4 minutes. Keep to the right to stay on Piazza del Quirinale until you arrive at Palazzo Quirinale, the official resident of the President. The fountain in the square depicts Castor and Pollux, the twin sons of Jupiter, and the patrons of horsemanship.

From the Piazza del Quirinale, find Via 24 Maggio which leads to Largo Magnanapoli. Follow it as it turns right, and then becomes Via 4 Novembre, and then again Magnanapoli. Turn left at Foro Traiano, and you will be at Trajan’s Market. If you take Via Magnanapoli west toward Via del Gambero and take a slight left at Foro Traiano, Trajan’s Column will be on the left. A statue of Trajan once was perched at the top of the column; today the statue we see is of St Peter.

Across the street is Piazza Venezia and the monument to Victor Emmanuel II.

Roman Forum - Originally a marshy valley flooded by the Tiber. The early Romans drained and paved the area and this became the religious, political, and commercial center of ancient Rome. In warm seasons go early in the day because there is no shade. Note: the word "Basilica" in classical use signified a meeting place or large public building, it had no religious significance.

ticket information and opening hours: but I highly recommend the Roma Pass to bypass lines at the Forum and Colosseum.

Jewish Ghetto
an article on Jewish history in Rome:
Museo di Arte Ebraica, Lungotevere Cenci, Ghetto, , Admission includes visit to the Sinagoga. Entrance is at via Plebiscito 112. Check current hours. The Synagogue offers a brief guided tour in English but no photography is permitted, and security is very tight. The interior has soaring columns and gilded carvings, but as Rome buildings go, it's not very old. At the end of via del Portico is Ponte Quattro Quattro Capi, San Gregorio church. Bears an inscription in Latin and Hebrew asking Jews to convert to Christianity. Since the Ghetto, a dreadful place to live if only because of the Tiber flooding all the time (plenty of other reasons, too), was razed in the 19th century, walking around the area is mostly a case of "and here USED to be..."

There’s no reason to eat bad food in Rome. We had several good lunches in touristy areas around the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, where the pizza and pasta and salads were excellent each time. On our first day, we had a truly dreadful lunch at La Taverna del Ghetto, Via del Portico d’Ottavia 7/b-8. That’s one of several cafes on one of the main streets of the Ghetto. It was raining, (the only rain we had on a 10 day trip to Italy), we were pressed for time, we were hungry, and boy, did we choose the wrong place on this busy street. Despite Cicero’s aphorism about hunger being the best sauce” hunger didn’t help the food in this case. The food was expensive and nearly inedible and we left most of it on our plates. Years ago I had a great (though expensive) meal in the Ghetto at Piperno, famous for its Jewish-style fried artichokes. I don’t know if the food is still good there, but given that we were only a block or two away, I wish we’d gone a bit farther.

Pantheon - The first temple (to “all gods”) on the site was built in 27 BCE by Agrippa. The inscription across the top refers to the building being built by Agrippa, but Hadrian wrote the inscription when he rebuilt it around 120 CE. Originally a pagan temple, the Pantheon became a church in 608, which is why it has survived relatively intact. Pagan temples were usually plundered to provide building materials for churches. Bronze from the Pantheon did end up inside St Peter's.

The dome, (the same size across as the height of the walls, creating architectural symmetry) was constructed from poured concrete. The dome is larger than the dome of St Peter's, and of St Paul's in London. The central oculus (hole at the top of the dome), (30 feet in diameter) provides the only natural light for the building and was used as a sundial to show the hours and dates of the equinoxes and solstices. This building was the inspiration for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, and the US Capitol, among many other buidings. The tombs of Raphael and the kings Vittorio Emannuelle II and Umberto I are here. Raphael's epitaph reads "Here lies Raphael; while he lived, Nature feared to be outdone, and when he died, she feared to die with him."

Spanish Steps (Scala della Trinita dei Monti) - The 137 steps were build in 1725. Historically this was the site of the Spanish Embassy. At the bottom of the steps, Piazza di Spagna: you can see the Boat Fountain and, to the left, Keats’ House where he died in 1821. I find these famous steps disappointing; the area seems littered and crowded, and the Piazza almost seedy, although it leads to some great shopping streets. To the right of Keats house is Babbington Tea Room (see more in restaurant listings.)

Trastevere This area’s name, meaning “across the Tiber,” is one of the most picturesque old quarters of Rome with its narrow, cobblestone streets. The piazza in front of Santa Maria in Trastevere church is the center of Trastevere. There are bars and restaurants all around the square. . For sightseeing details see Vicolo dell’Atleta, a secluded little street in Trastevere, is still medieval.

Vatican City
Getting There by metro
A line - Cipro is the closest stop though not all trains stop there. The (preceding)
Ottaviano stop at which all trains pause is only a couple of blocks farther from the Museums.) If
you take a bus to St. Peter’s square you may want to visit the church first if you’ve not arrived early in the morning. The walk between the Museums and the square is only a kilometer, about 15 minutes.) You can take a bus to Piazza di Risorgimento; the Piazza is a 10-15 minute walk from the Museums’ entrance. Or, take a cab.

Vatican Information Office location: As you face St Peter's, it's on the left side of the Piazza. Can book tours of the gardens and of St Peter's. Vatican Bookshop weekdays 8:30-7, Sat 8:30-2. Can buy Vatican stamps and coins at the shop next to the information office. Any mail with Vatican stamps must be mailed in a blue Posta Vaticana mail box. Also next to the information office are public toilets. More toilets are opposite under the colonnade, and outside the exit of the crypt. The Fodor's guidebook for Rome suggested dividing up your Vatican visit into two days so that you won't be overwhelmed. Do Saint Peter's Basilica and Castel Sant' Angelo on one day, and the Vatican Museums on another day. St Peter's and Castel S.A. stay open later in the afternoon than the Museums do.

The Vatican Museums:

I have used Context Rome tours in the past, and enjoyed them very much. This time I arranged a tour for myself and my travel companions with Daniella of Mirabilis Urbis tours. My sister and I are history sponges and it was my cousin’s first time in Rome. Daniella was pleasant, but we will go with a different tour agency in the future official website, Open every day except holidays.On Sundays the museums close at 2pm with last
tickets sold at 12:30 pm. On other days, they are open until 6pm, but the last tickets are sold at 4pm. On the last Sunday
of each month, admission is free. good site, has suggested itineraries for 2 and 4 day visits quite religious, but good photos and diagrams of Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel, etc
Book tickets in advance:

Photos without flash are permiteed, except that photography isn’t permitted in the Sistine Chapel.

Hint regarding the Vatican Museums—Go to the VM after 2pm, when the crowds are starting to thin out. I can’t speak regarding summer or at Easter, but two different guides told me that there is no line, or a very short one, on weekdays after 2pm, and I found this to be true, twice, on this trip. If you do enter first thing in the morning, skip ahead to the end of the route,
where the Sistine Chapel is, and then backtrack to see the rest of the museums.

For seeing the Sistine Chapel ceiling, binoculars are recommended. Each time I’ve entered the Sistine Chapel I have been struck by the noise and the oppressive crowding. Very few seats are available; most people mill about trying to stare at the ceiling and at the Last Judgement on the rear wall. Once in a while a guard shouts "Quiet!" to the crowd, which has a 4-second effect. I’ve now been to the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel three times. I have done my best to look at the Sistine intently and try to engrave it on my brain, but I have a better experience scrutinizing Michelangelo's great works by looking at the pictures in a good art book. The real thing is just not the spiritual or aesthetic experience I hope for.

Tip: When leaving the Sistine Chapel try using the exit door on the left (as you face the Last Judgement). If you exit there, you come out right at St. Peter's Square (the Sistine Chapel is physically part of St. Peter's.) It saves you a 15-minute walk from the Vatican Museum exit to St. Peter's. If you take this exit, you can't go back to the Vatican Museum's cafeteria or bookshop or bathroom. On my visits, I have had no problem using the St Peter’s exit.

Sistine Chapel: has a virtual visit

St Peter’s

St Peter's Basilica is open for tourism daily except for times of worship, or special occasions.
The basilica originally was built in 324 at the request of Constantine on the site of the tomb of the apostle Peter. For more than a thousand years it was the center of Christian worship, until the rebuilding began in 1506, under Julius II. He gave the task to Bramante, who made a plan in the form of a Greek cross, with a large central vault and four small domes. After Bramante’s death,the work continued, until 1546, when Michaelangelo took over, and designed a basilica in the shape of Bramante's Greek cross, but including a new dome that would constitute the dominant element of the entire structure. Michaelangelo died in 1564. In 1605 Pope Paolo V wanted his architect to transform the plan to a Latin cross (one "arm" longer than the other). The resulting problem with the facade is that it obstructs the view of Michelangelo's dome. Eventually, Bernini was assigned the task of continuing the work.

Bernini designed the Baroque decorations inside, including the bronze canopy (baldacchino) over the main altar. The bronze canopy was made from bronze removed from the Pantheon . The main altar (the Confessio) is placed, according to tradition, directly over the actual tomb of Peter. You can visit the crypt underneath which contains the tombs of the Popes, open 8am to 6pm.. (Not to be confused with the Necropolis, or Scavi, tour.)

Inside St Peter’s, the first chapel on the right features the Pietà, done by Michaelangelo when he was still young (age 24.) It is the only of his sculptures that he signed (on Mary's sash). Unfortunately, it is now behind a plexiglass barrier and quite a distance from the viewer.

There is an inlaid strip on the floor down the middle of the nave (when not obscured by folding chairs set up for worship) ,that shows the relative sizes of other famous churches, compared to St Peter’s.

Restaurants from this trip
There are many good listings and threads about Rome dining on this fodors website and elsewhere. Among those, see these thread on budget-minded eating in Rome
and on Rome dining suggestions in general:
See also (eateries arranged geographically)

La Carbonara, Campo dei Fiore 23
We were sent there via a suggestion from our hotel. You help yourself from the antipasto selections (if you order antipasto.) We thought the food and service fine, but not memorable, and there are so many other choices in the area.
more reviews:

La Cisterna in Trastevere Via della Cisterna,13 phone 06-581-2543 It’s not a place you’d easily stumble upon, as it’s on a quiet side street in Trastevere. The strolling musicians were fun, especially for our last night. They took requests, and complied with our tacky suggestions. Our service was good and we were warmly welcomed, and treated very well. We thought the food good, but not outstanding, and I don’t think it’s worth the trek if you’re staying in another area. closed Sundays

Costanza Piazza del Paradiso 63/65 (Pompey’s Theatre,supposed site of Julius Caesar’s assassination.) Closed Sundays. It’s within easy walking distance of the Pantheon, a 15-minute walk. The service was warm, friendly, and helpful, the prices moderate, the food very good. Traditional décor. Reserve in advance. Highly recommended.

La Tartaruga,via del Monte della Farina 53, 06 686 9473, closed Mon.
I mention this one though I haven’t been there for years, and I am not even sure it’s still open. I intended to look for it again, but ran out of time. On my first trip to Rome, I had had dinner two nights in a row at this place--I've never done that anywhere before. The address is 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. It was family-run, and the same family owned a farm in Tuscany where they produce their own olive oil and wine vinegar. All the food was outstanding on both nights. I haven’t seen much in the way of recent online reviews, so make sure it’s still open. I hope it is.

In a busy gelateria, first you pay for the size you want, then you take your receipt to the counter. At the counter, repeat your order, showing the receipt, which they will tear or take. Una coppia=a cup of gelato, una doppia coppia=a double cup.
Another source (among many) for gelato suggestions:

As far as I'm concerned, I now know the place for the best gelato in the world. Since I haven't yet tasted gelato from every place (though it's a life goal) I suppose I should day that perhaps this gelateria could be equalled, but I simply can't conceive that any place is better. It's a few steps away from the more famous San Crispino, between the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain (but very close to the Pantheon). It's called Della Palma. Via della Maddelena 20. They have hundreds of flavors (sorbets also), and even have a small selection of (non-dairy) soy-based gelati. They were very crowded each time we went there, and sometimes we went three times a day! They open earlier than San Crispino, (which never appeared crowded when it was open). Della Palma’s service was harried but efficient and polite. Even in the smallest of cups, you can combine two flavors.
The gelati were to die for, honestly, they set such a high standard that gelato from anywhere else may be good, but to me it will be slightly disappointing. To start your mouth watering, see

As I said, there is a lot of great Rome infomation on this Fodors website.
I keep a much longer Rome travel file; if you’d like to see it, email me at ESL1051 at yahoo dot com
elaine is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2009, 10:01 AM
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Thanks Elaine. Great info for our trip next month. I will be emailing you. Looking forward to Gelato di Melone.

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Old Nov 5th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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Glad to see you and your files are still out there globetrotting. Thanks for the report! I love Rome and try to get back at least every other year. I have always had Hostaria Costanza on my radar because its location is so convenient. Good to know it's good.
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Old Nov 5th, 2009, 10:34 AM
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Your Rome file looks alot like mine except I didn't have anything about gelato. Thanks for the rec for Della Palma and the yummy youtube vid. Is it bad that I paused it on the case of what looked like a variety of chocolate flavors?
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Old Nov 5th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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not bad, just dangerous.
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Old Nov 6th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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elaine, Thanks this is great. It will be handy for my trip in May.
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Old Nov 6th, 2009, 06:07 PM
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Hi Elaine, great report! I love that you have so much factual info in this report. I had forgotten about the water fountains, they are wonderful, especially as we last year were in Rome in the summer and drank lots of water.

My only argument - The BEST gelato is in Florence!!!

Thanks again for a great report, we will be in Roma for a week next year so I'll be taking this report with me for sure. Cathie
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Old Nov 6th, 2009, 06:39 PM
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Great report - thanks.
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 04:45 AM
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Hello Elaine, this is a fantastic report. We are in the midst of organizing a trip for the end of December and I have printed your report to help me plan.
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 05:13 AM
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Great report and will help during our December trip to Rome! Grazie molto!

I sent the youtube link to my sons with the caption " never too cold for gelato" -never!!

Shoes, hmmm, comfortable, warm and not ugly. This, & an outerwear decision, in December are my current dilemmas- but what a wonderful problem
I do not want to wear sneakers but the feet have been hurting with metatarsalgia (sp?)- I LOVE high heels-
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 06:56 AM
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Here we've just returned from our trip to northern Italy and now we are dreaming about/planning for our next trip which will definitely include Rome! Your trip report is filled with useful & interesting information! Thanks, Elaine!

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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 07:14 AM
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>>>Booklets of tickets (carnets) can be purchased at tabacchi (tobacco shops) and in some terminals..
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 06:45 PM
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I can't personally swear to it, as I didn't buy any myself on this trip (had the Roma pass) but the following is a frequently-updated
website (you might have been the one to steer me there)
and it says you can.
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 11:33 PM
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Brilliant trip report Elaine, thanks for taking the time to post this. Very informative. Where did you stay?

Thank you.
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 11:40 PM
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Hi eyemom84, I love high heels too, but I couldn't imagine tottering around those Italian cobblestones in them!! I've always chosen flat and sensible over the broken ankle that I'm sure would eventuate. Plus flat shoes are so much less tiring when you are out and about for hours each day.

All is not lost though - pop the heels in your bag and wear them out to dinner!
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 07:00 AM
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 07:57 AM
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ditto all the praise above - what a comprehensive thread. I am very impressed - and grateful.

FYI - i just checked on RIRome and he now makes no mention that I could find of the carnet of tickets.

as we are going to be there for a week, we have the "roma pass" or weekly bus pass dilemma to work out. we have never been to the borghese and failed to understand the Forum the last time we went so it's very probable that we would want to go to both, which means that the roma pass would be a pretty good deal. OTOH, the convenience of just having the week transport pass and not having to think about it is very attractive.

I suppose I've got til February to decide.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 12:02 PM
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On the page from the link I posted above, if you scroll down to the "Where can I buy tickets" section, he mentions being able to buy them in tobacco shops.

just keep in mind, that for the Borghese, you want an advance reservation. Your hotel can do it.

We stayed in a great hotel, the Grand Hotel Minerve, a block from the Pantheon. It was indeed grand!
Not perfect (which at those prices, it really ought to be), but very very nice. I posted a review on tripadvisor.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 12:57 PM
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When in Rome spring 2009 went back there after (like you )two consecutive dinners a few years earlier. With our previous visits, the food and ambiance were both outstanding and I can still remember the Gorgonzola and fig compote we had after dinner. Our waitress explained that the Gorgonzola came from a very small producer outside Rome and it was not even available in Rome. The portion seemed small but the flavor exploded in the mouth and more would have been overkill.
Different story with our visit there this spring. We were so anxious to go back we walked by to make a reservation for our first night in Rome. Turned out we were the only ones in the restaurant all night and when I asked if they had the Gorgonzola cheese course ( did not show on the menu) what was served was only fair quality without fig compote. While the rest of that meal was not was not what we remembered and there is something vaguely uncomfortable being the only patrons in a restaurant.
Just returned Monday from a 5 night stay again in Rome and did not go there. Now, favorite restaurant is Osteria del Pegno...3 nights there...fabulous.
Two of the nights we were made special pasta by "Massimo" who seems to be part maitre d', waiter and possibly partner of the owner. These 2 pastas were the best I have ever eaten.

The restaurant seems to be filled with mostly locals and reservations are a must. On our last night we stopped counting after the 10th couple was turned away as they were full but some diners finished...seems they do not believe in turning the tables as in other establishments or quite possibly they do not want to be overrun with tourists and unable to serve their local patrons.
lowcountrycarol is offline  
Old Nov 8th, 2009, 01:24 PM
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On the page from the link I posted above, if you scroll down to the "Where can I buy tickets" section, he mentions being able to buy them in tobacco shops.

just keep in mind, that for the Borghese, you want an advance reservation. Your hotel can do it.>>

thanks elaine, I already knew about advance reservations for the Borghese, which as we're going to be staying in an apartment I'll make by phone before we go, so that we can use our roma passes when/if we get them.

I still can't find any mention of those carnets though, not even on the link you've posted!

if we get the passes we'll have to try to organise our stay so that we get to the Borghese and the Forum/colosseum in the first three days and then buy three day passes for the rest of our stay though I gather that you don't have to use the two parts of the pass at the same time.

Pity they don't do one that lasts a week!

LCC - for the reason you give it seems very difficult to follow restaurant recommendations - what's marvellous one year may be awful the next. I think in the end you have to follow your instinct - or in the case of restaurants, should that be your nose?
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