Tell me what you love in Rome

Mar 28th, 2009, 05:23 PM
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Tell me what you love in Rome

The destination was chosen because, 1, Mom wanted to go, and 2, I found an irresistible $365 airfare. This will be my first time back since early childhood. Usually, I enjoy trip-planning almost as much as the trip itself; don't know why the guide books are just not making me excited this time. I love big old cities, old architecture, and museums, so I SHOULD like Rome, but, honestly, I'm looking forward to my 2 days in Milan far more. So far the only thing really calling out to me is the Bernini "Apollo and Daphne." Everything else sounds like an overwhelming list of "must-sees" with hours of waiting in line to get in, lines to pick up tickets, lines to check bags, huge crowds, and stressful time limits. And a gazillion Santa Someone in Somewheres.

Those of you who love Rome as much as I love Paris, please tell me about your favorite charming places that are NOT the touristy counterparts of Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, or Champs Elysee.
MademoiselleFifi is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 05:34 PM
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Campo di Fiore area with its open air market and out of this world deli's.

The cat sanctuary...
jetsetj is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 05:41 PM
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Where's the cat sanctuary?
MademoiselleFifi is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 06:32 PM
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I'm not sure where you are getting the idea that you need to spend hours waiting in lines. Book your tickets in advance and bypass the lines. I like the Roma Pass that allows two free entrances to museums (includes Borghese) and discounts at others. It also gives you a three day transport pass.
kybourbon is online now  
Mar 28th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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I do love Paris - but I love Rome even more... just walking through around the forum area on a sunny day is fabulous and there are no lines on the outside...if you walk through and get there early in the day it will be fine - it is a vast space so I have never seen it crowded.

The Campo deFiore is wonderful, as id the area around the not miss the Galleria Borghese and the gardens if you want to avoid crowds.

I found the best time to visit the Vatican is a few hours before closing - most of the tour busses and crowds fight to get there early in the day -

Walking up the Via Veneto is lovely and not crowded and walking from Piazza de Spane to Piazza della Puopolo is also lovely.
BarbraR is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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Definitely make a reservation for the Borghese, and book the group tour. It's really wonderful.

You can also reserve a time at the Vatican Museum, and do their group tour there, as well.

One of the best things about being in Rome is walking around the city and stumbling onto beautiful piazzas and fountains.

Also, we made a habit of popping into every church we came across. We were always awed by the beauty, and it was a nice place to sit for a bit and rest.
dina4 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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jestet -- what delis do you love by campo de fiori?
dina4 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 07:13 PM
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Santa Maria di Trastevere is my second favorite church in the world, with beautiful mosaics, set on a lovely piazza. A wonderful classical morning is to begin EARLY at the Coluseum (get in line 15-20 minutes before it opens at 9. You will be rewarded by no tour groups and a relatively empty Coloseum). Afterwards, stroll through the Forum, walk on to the ancient Rome museums on Capitolene Hill and see Michelangelo's beautiful Campidoglio. The museum has a cafe on the top floor with a nice view of the city. Finish your morning with a long lunch in the old Jewish ghetto (eat fried artichokes) and then either spend your afternoon shopping or napping back at your hotel before going out for a walk before dinner.

To beat crowds at St Peter's, arrive very early bewteen 7 and 8. Mass will being said in small chapels and you can see Michelangelo's moving Pieta` without others around you. What we do to avoid crowds at the Sistene Chapel is again to get on line 15-10 minutes before the Vatican museum opens then RUN through the museum to arrive at the Sistene chapel before tour groups--you will have 15-20 minutes of quite peaceful contemplation.
I take ear plugs anywhere I think will be crowded. More thoughts later perhaps.
cmstraf is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 07:16 PM
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The one on the corner to the far left side comes to mind.
Get the pesto. It is too die for.

We stayed in an apt. moments from here.
My sister made me pasta with the pesto.
One of our best meals ever.
jetsetj is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 07:40 PM
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jetset, i don't mean to be overly obsessive, but "on the corner to the far left" if you're facing which way!

dina4 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 09:12 PM
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Rome has so many wonderful places that aren't full of tourists. One reason I love Rome is that, despite all the tourists, it still feels to me like a city where real people live and work, and go about their daily lives.

Trastavere is a great neighborhood to wander through. The church of Santa Cecilia is interesting, and I LOVE the sculpture of Saint Cecila - it seems very modern to me.

People-watching at a cafe in Piazza Navona and by the Pantheon are important activities. While they are full of people, that's what makes the people-watching so good.

On our last visit, after visiting the mosaics in Ravenna, I was on a quest to see as many mosaics at churches in Rome as possible. The Eyewitness guide has a good walking tour of churches with mosaics. My favorites were Santa Pudenziana, the oldest church in Rome, with mosaics from 390 A.D.; Santa Pressede, which has a beautiful mosaic-filled chapel, the Chapel of San Zeno; San Clemente, with a beautiful mosaic with a cross with doves, and a nice fresco as well, and Santi Quattro Coronati (what an intriguing church this was).

The National Museum of Rome, which I think is not so much visited, has great mosaics and frescos, as well.

The last time we visited the Borghese, it was a bit crowded, even though the entrances are timed on 2-hour tickets. So we walked quickly through the crowded ground-floor rooms, visited the upstairs, then circled back around to re-visit the ground floor when there were fewer people (as those people had, by that point, moved upstairs).

There are so many churches in Rome with fantastic works of art (if my hometown museum had even ONE of them, it would be the prize of the museum). At one point on our last trip, we entered a church near our hotel that we'd passed several times, which we, at that moment, thought was San Luigi, and which has a Caravaggio. We were there for five minutes before we realized we were at the wrong church! Out and on the short walk to the “correct” church, only to realize that the "wrong" church, San Agostino, also has a Caravaggio. Needless to say, these churches aren't packed with people.
Lexma90 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 09:14 PM
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Sunset on the top of the Hotel Raphael near the Piazza Navonna splitting a bottle of Prosecco/dinner at one of my favorite restaurants on a summer night having seafood risotto/the Forum in the early hours without the tourists/watching the Italians at my grocery store where I shop near my hotel/having a glass of wine and snacks at my wine bar near the Piazza Navonna/nighttime at the Pantheon when the tourists are sparce/the Trevi fountain and all of the circuses there,etc.

I fly overseas everyweek and most flight attendants will tell you that Roma is the place to layover rather than Milan. I have two Milan layovers next month and am already NOT looking forward to going there!
dutyfree is offline  
Mar 28th, 2009, 11:50 PM
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That's so funny! That's exactly the same thing I did to see the Sistine Chapel and it really works. I walked there early in the morning from my Tratevere apt. and ran thoough all the galleries, arriving at the Sistine Chapel to find myself alone in there and breathless, and it still took my breath away.
bellastarr is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 02:35 AM
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The Pantheon is one of my favourite buildings in the world, because it was built by the ancient Romans and is still largely intact and in use. Behind it is the Piazza della Minerva which has a small marble elephant monument supporting an Egyptian obelisk (6th c BC). The church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva contains Lippi frescoes and a Michelangelo statue of the Risen Christ.
Londonres is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 02:52 AM
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People watching anywhere while eating gelato--from the steps of Vittorio Emmanuel was our favorite.

Renting the motorized bicycles in the park by the Borghese is great fun.

Wandering through Trastevere on an early weekend morning, watching the market open and the moms hanging laundry out to dry.

We, too, stopped in every open church we came across; with so many churches in Rome, trying to keep track of all of them becomes a game in itself.
fourfortravel is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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Hi Fifi,

I was overwhelmed while trying to plan my time in Rome as well. I felt like I couldn't get a firm grip on things in my mind. It seemed like there were a lot of things to remember and write down and the whole thing felt like a lot of work and I was worried that I wouldn't like Rome. But all of that melted away during the ride from the airport to the city. Here are a few things that I loved about Rome:

1. Everything is much smaller and more manageable than you think. The city is very compact, things are closer together than they appear on the maps, and even the buildings and piazzas and fountains were all smaller than had I imagined.

2. I found people to be warm and friendly, store clerks and shop keepers and women on the bus. The city itself was very tidy and clean, and I loved the modern efficient buses and the electronic bus signs that let you know when the buses are due to arrive.

3. You don't have to go looking for something beautiful or interesting to see- just step outside and start walking and something beautiful or interesting will find you. Whether it's a wide modern boulevard or an old twisty alleyway, there will always be something wonderful to hold your attention- some ruins, or some strange little church, or beautiful store windows, or Carabinieri officers. Roman men are very handsome and well dressed, they're a nice sight in and of themselves.

4. I'm not a huge fan of Baroque painting or design, but I loved the pagan art- the Greek and Roman sculpture at the Vatican and the Palazzo Massimo took my breath away. Photography deadens their impact. You have to see them in person. I especially loved the masculine forms- Laocoon and the Belvedere Torso at the Vatican, and the Hellenic Prince and the Boxer at the Palazzo Massimo.

5. That may be one of my all time favourite museums- the National Museum of Rome at the Palazzo Massimo. The collection of statues and mosaics is stunning, and the museum itself is light and airy and nicely laid out.

6. Santa Prassede, where an entire side chapel is covered in gold and jewel-toned mosaics. Make sure you have some 1 euro coins on you, you have to put a coin in the box to turn on the lights in the chapel.

7. The Scavi Tour, it just feels really cool to be down there peering into those ancient tombs.

8. The old Jewish Ghetto. I thought it had a bit of a feel of those old black and white photographs of Rome from the 1950's and 60's, at least during the afternoon when the men would hang out on the stoops and benches. Late at night, or early in the morning when it's still dark, it has an ancient feel to it, more so than other parts of the old centre I thought. On Friday night, people put candles outside on their doorsteps and it's very, very quiet.

9. I found the Rick Steves Rome guidbook handy for the maps, the public transportation info, and for having a few museum strategies spelled out - for example the thing about exiting the Sistine Chapel from the right corner door marked "tour groups only".

10. The Blue Guide Rome may be the heaviest guidebook ever published, but it has extensive historical and artistic detail on just about every single church, ruin, tomb, museum, piazza, you name it. 40 pages are dedicated to the Vatican Museums alone. St Peter's Basilica has 10 pages. Palazzo Massimo 7 pages. And so on.

11. Paris is still my first love and favourite city, and it's very different from Rome. Whereas for me Paris is about enlightenment and beauty and progress and art, Rome is primarily about history, and that makes it darker and more layered and in some ways more thrilling.
Apres_Londee is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 06:51 AM
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If you want to see wonderful paintings and sculptures (Velazquez, Caravaggio, Titian Bernini) in Rome, I strongly recommend the Galleria Doria Pamphili. Great audio guide, fascinating insight into a noble family’s history. I’ve been there many times, and it’s never crowded. The Velazquez portrait of Pope Innocent X and Bernini’s bust of the pope a few feet away, in a private room in corner of the galley, are worth the visit alone.
wanderful is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 06:56 AM
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Im not the best with direction but I think that
if you are coming from Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
then straight on via dei Baullari,
you will come to that entrance into the Campo.
Turn left into the market and walk to the farthest upper corner.

The Campo isnt that big and as you go around the perimeter you will see the deli on the corner.
jetsetj is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 07:47 AM
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My sister says it was called Ruggeri's.
jetsetj is offline  

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