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The Accidental Tourists-the Adamsons hit Rome (and Rome hits back)!

The Accidental Tourists-the Adamsons hit Rome (and Rome hits back)!

Old Sep 17th, 2012, 03:06 PM
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The Accidental Tourists-the Adamsons hit Rome (and Rome hits back)!

The Accidental Tourist-the Adamsons hit Rome (and Rome hits back)!

Prologue:

As I start, let me say that we had an incredible time in Rome. We also have never been more lost in our lives. Is it just me, or is Rome a tangled mess of streets, piazzas, alleys, unmarked streets and passageways? Even with a map and two college degrees, we have never gotten more lost, more times. Now, that said, we accidentally found more incredible sites because we were lost. We made the best of it and maybe it was just lucky that we were lost so much!

I also did some incredibly absent minded things on this trip...I accidentally lost my camera, credit card and sunglasses and (get this) got them ALL back!  Are you kidding me....more happy accidents!

Part One:

We have a new international terminal in Atlanta and while I have flown out of it domestically a few times, the flight to Rome was our maiden voyage out of terminal F.  You now must park and take a shuttle to the new terminal to check in. It is also a bit further drive for us. There is only hourly parking right by the terminal, so you are stuck with a park/ride shuttle but a shuttle was waiting when we got parked pretty quickly. We walked in the terminal and got through security in a few seconds. 

We decided to have a late lunch at One Flew South in terminal E. Great wine list and food, so Chaz had sushi, I had the most creative BLT and a glass of sparkling wine (OK, it was two). Way better to get on the plane full and not wanting the bad airline food. Feeling good and ready to go!

Got to the gate and within a few minutes, "Adamson party of two" was called by the gate agent. Heck yeah, upgrade! What, what? Life is sweet.

And, they were serving Duval-Leroy champagne in first, so it was really sweet.
The food was not bad, but not good...but wasn't really hungry anyway.
I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's and I swear, then they were serving breakfast! Flight landing in an hour and a half! It literally flew by.

Landed at 7:30am. Deplane, immigration and Rome Cabs driver waiting at meeting place. Record time! Right to the car and right to the Waldorf Astoria, Hilton Cavalieri.

Marialaura at the hotel sat us down at her desk for check in and our room was ready and waiting. Although our room was not on the Imperial Club floor, we were taken up by the private elevator for the Imperial floor and to the Imperial Club to be shown around. Then one floor down to our gorgeous room. We had access to the club and the private elevatorfor our stay and were also told, as a Hilton Diamond club member, our breakfast would be included every day (plus club access for drinks, snacks, breakfast). We got the hookup! After Marialaura left, I looked at the clock and it was 9:30. Yep, we got in, through customs, to the hotel, checked in and in the room by 9:30am!

Hotel is beautiful! They have quite an extensive art collection and the property is really gorgeous.  No, it's not right in central Rome, but it is a great hotel. The staff was wonderful. I would mention, Adriano, at the concierge desk who was immensely helpful. He is a classically handsome Italian gentleman and he looks like a concierge! Everything we asked him for was done professionally and quickly. Couldn't ask for more.

We had a quick drink and snack in the club and then a cab to Piazza Barberini, to explore Rome on our own. We had a food tour scheduled with Elizabeth Michilli at 5:00 but we wanted to get going.

And go, we did. In. Absolutely in the wrong direction, all day!

Now, admittedly, we didn't have a specific plan but we went the opposite direction of where we thought we were going the entire day! We absolutely had to laugh at how badly we did! I think we thought we would wander over to the Pantheon,  but we first found ourselves at a small church and decided to wander in.

Well, we accidentally stumbled into Santa Maria della Vittoria and about 10 minutes before a man came out to shoo us all out. So there we were in this gorgeous church, by accident. And there is Bernini's St Teresa in Ecstasy, right in front of us....all because we couldn't figure out the map! Pretty cool, huh?

Across the street, the Fontana dell'Acqua Felice (the Moses fountain). Also, very cool. We still hadn't figured out where we were so then we wandered down and ended up Piazza Repubblica. Gorgeous fountain there but we knew we weren't near the Pantheon, Spanish steps, Trevi or anywhere else we had thought we would try to see that day. So we walked back to Santa Maria della Vittoria and accidentally, took a wrong turn, again.

And then another....I started realizing what we were seeing was the Aurelian wall. Nope, no where near the Pantheon but worth seeing.  Somehow, from there we determined we would now try to get to the Spanish steps from there and we actually made it there.

Amazingly, the area was not that crowded. Mostly, it was loaded up with the flower guys and we were ready for them (thanks to all our fellow Fodorites).

Some shopping, a few purchases (but not the awesome Missoni dress that caught my eye) and then back to the hotel to clean up for our food tour at Campo dei Fiori.

Fast forward to Campo...we met Elizabeth Minchilli at the Giordano Bruno statue. Off to a lovely cheese store for soft cheese (2 fresh mozzarellas, burrata and a smoked mozzarella). The girl at the shop also threw in a little Romano for us to taste. Next up, Forno for pizza bianca. We watched the pizza maker quickly work the dough so lightly...then work it almost into an accordion shape  and pop up into the oven.  That shape makes some nice airiness and bubbles and perfectly chewy! Lots of olive oil, some coarse salt. Totally delicious. 

We sampled our pizza cheese at Piazza Farnese. Elizabeth is so knowledgeable about the area and the food. It's a great spot for your first Roman culinary experience. 

From there back to the piazza Campo dei Fiori and to porcine heaven. Norcineria Viola.  If you like salami, prosciutto, guanciale....this is your Utopia. All kinds of good looking salumi hanging from the ceiling and in the cases. The owners are pork priests and had a beautiful tray of sliced piggy perfection waiting for us. It was served with bread and a cold red wine that their family makes....it was perfect with the meat somehow.  I hated not to eat every last bite but we had another stop to make, so a few slices remained as we walked on (and my sunglasses stayed happily behind at the pork paradise-who could blame them as they are Italian)!

Elizabeth then led us through a passageway and past a crescent shaped theatre...the light was just hitting all these ancient buildings just right. Everything was the prettiest shades of gold, amber, sienna...just what you image Rome will look like. On past Roscioli ( but we would make our way beck there) to Beppe in the Ghetto.

This is an incredible cheese shop that has a great seating area and also sells wines. Three more cheese and one hard cheese like Parmesan that was the most amazing cheese I have ever had. It kind of had a caramel apple taste in it somehow, I can't explain it but it was good. Elizabeth left us there with the rest of our white wine and cheese.  We just sat and enjoyed it.

Really great tour and great food to sample. Check out Elizabeth if you are interested in food, she does all kinds or tours and workshops.

We hit Obika back at Campo for a prosecco or two. Now I don't know for sure if it was on purpose, but they overcharged us when the bill came. We did resolve it and headed back to the hotel.  

Back to the club and the AMAZING view of Rome from it. All of Rome is in front of you and St Peter's and its dome are right there! One last glass of prosecco and then a fabulous night's sleep.

Up next#160;

"Hey, do you have the camera", Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este
denisea is offline  
Old Sep 17th, 2012, 03:23 PM
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>>Is it just me, or is Rome a tangled mess of streets, piazzas, alleys, unmarked streets and passageways?
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 03:27 PM
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What a great trip report! I can't wait for the next installment.
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 03:42 PM
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No, not part of the tour, we just wanted to stay out a bit longer and it was accidentally right there.

Thanks for the validation on the streets...am pleased to know Mussolini and I are on the same page!

Thanks for the replies. More coming.
denisea is offline  
Old Sep 17th, 2012, 05:10 PM
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I'd love some more information on your food tour. Does Elizabeth have a website? If so, do you have a link? Or do you have contact info for her? Most food tours I've seen are in the morning, and like you, we'd love to do one on our first afternoon or evening in Rome.

I'm looking forward to hearing more of your adventures!
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 05:28 PM
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http://www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com/

Info and contact is on the site and she is excellent about getting back to you. Ours was at 5:00 or 5:30 and was about 3 hours. Great way to get into Roman life a bit and no need for dinner reservations.

Elizabeth also has an excellent food app for Rome (Eat Rome).
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 05:29 PM
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Bring it on Denise...reads like a novel. Most entertaining!
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 06:03 PM
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Great trip report so far Denise!
I would love to do that tour with Elizabeth Minchilli some day . I just bought her Eat Florence app for my I-phone last week for my upcoming trip.

Waiting for more!!
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 06:03 PM
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I am so worried about your lost glasses, I am anxious to hear how they found their way back to you Great trip report, keep it coming....
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 06:27 PM
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Ironic! We got lost looking for Santa Maria della Vittoria and you found it by getting lost! Did you buy the 1/2 euro of light for the statue?
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 06:40 PM
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So glad to read this - we leave for Italy this week! Keep writing!
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 06:46 PM
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Thanks everyone (hi weekender)! AJP, someone had just lit up the statue so we got that for free! More tomorrow at some point and I am working on the photos also.
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 06:53 PM
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We also have never been more lost in our lives. Is it just me, or is Rome a tangled mess of streets, piazzas, alleys, unmarked streets and passageways? Even with a map and two college degrees, we have never gotten more lost, more times.

Uh, have you been to Venice???

Great start, looking forward to more.
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Old Sep 17th, 2012, 07:16 PM
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The center of Rome is 2500 years plus old. There were no cars - in fact foot traffic was the norm. So, there is no grid pattern and yes, it is is "a tangled mess of streets, piazzas, alleys, unmarked streets and passageways"

The only answer is a really detailed street map showing all of the tiny alleys and walkways. Part of the fun of visiting is exploring and getting lost. (You can't get lost for more than a few minutes in the historic center.)
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 01:59 AM
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Great report!!! You travel a lot more luxuriously than we do, but I can't wait for more!
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 02:42 AM
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LOL,Leely - I have been to Venice but it was years ago!

Ackislander....Hilton points! I live in hotels most of the year, so this is my reward, thankfully!
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 04:18 AM
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Day one photos link:

http://photobucket.com/adamsonromeone
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 06:07 AM
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Loving your trip report - can't wait for more. It's easy to get turned around in Rome - we've done it so many times. It took several trips to Rome before we figured out the lay of the land. After the first trip, I spent plenty of time studying the map before we went back. Second and subsequent trips were much better.
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 07:24 AM
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Enjoying your report and looking forward to more!
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 09:36 AM
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YAY! I am excited to read your trip report and return to Rome vicariously through you!

You are so good about posting your reports so soon after you return, I've been back from Russia for a month and still haven't have the inclination to sit & write!
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