Trip report for Rome

Old Jun 10th, 2007, 08:05 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Trip report for Rome

May 13- arrived in Rome in the evening & our luggage didn't show (it got lost somewhere in Heathrow). We were on British Airways & they were quite helpful at the airport with letting us know when we could expect it. (although it would have been nice to have received it right away of course). We had previously arranged a shuttle service with & they were waiting for us outside the baggage claim area. Unfortunately- due to arguments with traveling partners, I did not go & let them know that we needed to file our lost baggage claim. They were nice about it but did tell us we should have come out & let them know. (more about the traveling partners later)

After a very long & traffic filled ride from the airport to our hotel on Via Duilio in Northeast Rome (by metro stop Lepanto) we arrived & I was worried that there wouldn't even be anyone there waiting for us. There was, even though we were hours behind our expected arrival. The 2 guys that drove us (a couple/car) only asked for 79 Euros between us. They totally could have screwed us as we had arranged for only one vehicle, we were late & didn't even have the courtesy to come out to tell them about our luggage & the ride took way longer than they expected it would. I would definitely book with them again.

Our hotel was amazing. It was a cross between a bed & breakfast & a hotel. We had our own ensuite bathroom & the beds were comfortable & large & the rooms were very clean.

I was wide awake at 1AM, took a gravol & went back to sleep till 4AM. I was ready to go. Anyway- after breakfast at 8AM we headed out to the Colosseum (we needed to be back at 1PM to receive our luggage). Just a quick note- our hotel made various phone calls & helped us a lot with retrieving our lost luggage, I am so thankful for that.

Some pointers about travel partners. We went with my sister & her husband. I get along & am really close with my at home. In Europe- quite another story. Make sure that the people you are traveling with our somewhat "involved" in the planning. It helps a lot. I had tried to involve her but she was always too busy & figured she had helped out lots by sending me names of hotels to look at as possible places I should look into. I am posting a different thread on travel partners & I'll leave that subject for now.

We did not go into any of the churches I would have liked to see. Thats ok- I knew I wasn't going to be able to see everything before I went but I probably should have been able to see at least a few of them. We saw all the major sights though. My husband & I will definitely go back to Rome & will see more then. Everything about Rome was amazing & I'm just going to say a few things on the most memorable parts of it.

Traffic- I loved it. I loved the organized chaos. I loved navigating my way walking across it. In North America you have to wait to see if the vehicles will stop. In Rome you just pick your best time to go & keep going at a steady pace. Don't speed up, don't slow down & the drivers will either hurry to beat you or slow down to miss you but they will rarely hit you. I loved all the parking which was so different from North America. Everyone just goes when they can go & parks where they can park. Or as I saw once, a young woman was moving someone else's scooter over so that she could fit her scooter in to a parking place that probably didn't even exist in the 1st place. I loved how thats not even really considered rude & almost expected. Its funny- in Canada, if someone parks too close to my vehicle I get REALLY annoyed. In Rome- they park so close you literally cant even walk between the cars at times & yet....I find it "charming".

The Roman people- they seem so much more civilised. They don't walk around with dirty clothes, they don't wear "questionable" clothing. They are very confident, classy & proud. But not in an arrogant way, just in a way that says "I take care of myself." Sorry- but there are a lot of places in North America where people walk around, seemingly, with no pride & no shame. I shake my head at the things people here will walk out of their house wearing. Its not that I'm expecting them to wear designer clothes. ( I shop often at Wal-mart myuself). I loved people watching in Rome & I miss people I never even met...does that make any sense?

Colosseum- amazing- don't miss it. My husband would have set up a tent & lived in it if he could have. We were also there druing Culture week so all the admission fees to the major sights were FREE!!! We saved so much that way & it was a total fluke.

Trevi Fountain- Only saw it an night, would have liked to have seen it during the day as well. See it both ways if you can.

Pantheon- saw it an night & then went back to see it in the morning. Its huge, & its wonderful. When we were there 2 bands outside were "battling" & it just added to the atmoshpere.

Vatican- we went at 9AM. Planned to go earlier but whatever. The guys stood in line while we walked around the square & took pictures. Then vice versa. In all the line took about 40 minutes. We went into the Basilica & whatnot then went to walk the dome. I thought it was great fun but people really need to know what they are getting themselves into before they go. There are many many many steps to climb. They are claustrophic, narrow, slanted & stuffy. There are a lot of them AFTER the elevator. The pictures I have from the top are wonderful & you can walk around on top of the roof & its pretty cool. The museums are......long. You must go through many many rooms before you get to the Sistine Chapel. I definitely would not suggest NOT going & I'm glad that I did but if you are not that interested in art & culture (I am)you will have to go through a lot of rooms, a lot of tour groups before you get to the Sistine CHapel.

We did not do a tour & I'm very glad we didn't as it would have taken even longer.

Vittorio Emanuele(sp?) monument- I love climbing whatever steps there are anywhere so my husband & I did this on our own. Our friends didn't want to climb anything after the dome at St Peters. It is probably still under scaffolding now but I still got some great pictures & I'm very glad I did it.

Foro Romano (ANcient Rome- we went in the early evening which was a perfect time to go. The Colosseum & the "ruins" were mine & my husbands favorite. Walking around on Palatine Hill (that was also free!!) was so peaceful during that time of day as well. Loved Ancient Rome!!

Eating in Rome- the best places really are the "out of the way" places. We loved walking down the side streets & it was great atmosphere. One night we did eat at a place because we hadn't seen the colloseum at night & so we purposely ate at a rest. that was on the main tourist street that goes along the Roman Forum. We had a lovely time & it was great atmosphere but it was more expensive & it wasn't as good. BUT we went there for the location so everything was just what we wanted. Also- that night Roma had just won a football game & it was so entertaining to be on that street with all the impromptu "parades" , the kids walking around draped in Roma flags, the bikes going by with Roma flags, the cars going by with Roma flags & the people singing. I loved it! I think some Americans beside us were annoyed but whatever. We also took the bus home & had some late teenage boys on the bus. They were VERY excited about the game & sung their little hearts out & had flags hanging out the window & people on the street would cheer a few decibels louder when the bus drove by. Again- I thought it was thoroughly entertaining, other people.....not so much. No one was acting in a way I felt dangerous & everyone was just having some "good old fashioned" fun.

Petty crime in Rome- didn't experience it. I'm not saying it doesn't happen but I think we knew how to make sure we weren't easy targets. I was wondering beforehand if I would even be able to feel relaxed, if I would be too worried about someone robbing me. I kept my bag in front of me (it was a purse with a few zippers inside & it slung over one shoulder) & in the back of my mind, was always aware of my surroundings but I didn't obsess about the thought. We rode the metro a few times a day & found it very easy & did not feel threatened while we were on it. I'm sure there were times when we probably stood right beside a pick-pocketer in the metro but we didn't have a lot of money on us & my credit card was hidden away in zippered upon zippered pockets. I always kept my hand over the opening of my purse & camera case & didn't act like a "completely clueless" tourist. I saw many people who I considered easy targets so I'm sure someone who makes a living of it probably considered them VERY easy targets. Just be aware, be careful & relax.

I miss Rome- I love Rome- I can't wait to go back & I would probably move there if I could.

chopinplayer is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2007, 08:25 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Sorry about your travel partners and your luggage.

What hotel did you stay at?
WillTravel is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2007, 08:33 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I love Rome too and am glad you and your husband experienced it. Believe me, the more you go the better it gets! So definitely return. Thanks for the report. Would love to see photos if you happen to post some online.
Leely is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2007, 08:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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79 euros for the limo from FCO to your hotel is a ripoff! Please people-no matter what or how many in the vehicle never spend more than 50 euros for a ride from the FCO airport to your hotel in Rome.
Yes, I understand that you had circumstances but that is not the price to be paying.
dutyfree is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2007, 09:38 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Love your style of writing - totally took me back to my whirlwind day in Rome - have dreamt about going back ever since!

Your and my hubby would get along great re: the Colisseum - it was the highlight of the entire trip for him.

Can't wait for more!
camelbak is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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"79 euros for the limo from FCO to your hotel is a ripoff! Please people-no matter what or how many in the vehicle never spend more than 50 euros for a ride from the FCO airport to your hotel in Rome.
Yes, I understand that you had circumstances but that is not the price to be paying."

It wasn't a taxi- & like I said that was between the 2 vehicles. How much would you say was a decent price? This came to about 39 Euros/couple. It would have included all of our bags as well (if we had received them).

These were pre-arranged transfers with people waiting for us. I didn't realise it but we had booked some very nice cars as well.

chopinplayer is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2007, 11:00 AM
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Duty-free- I just re-read your post & saw that you had said we shouldn't pay anymore than 50 euros for a ride from the airport to the hotel. While we paid 39 Euros/car so I guess we were under your price.
chopinplayer is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2007, 11:13 AM
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willtravel- sorry I got sidetracked there...the hotel we stayed at was Best B&B Sistina. They have one near the Pantheon & one near the Vatican. It is more like a small hotel with only 3 or 4 rooms. ALl the rooms have an ensuite rather than going out to the hall to an external bathroom. The breakfasts were delicious & as I said earlier the service was amazing.

We are not high maintenance people but as long as it is clean we are good. The beds were large & comfy & the bathrooms were large as well. We loved the location because, even though it was away from the tourist spots it was a way to experience "normal" Rome. Also- the metro station is right there so its not hard to get to the tourist spots right away.

If you expect people to be there at all times though & more like an "american" hotel it probably wouldn't be what you are looking for. We were happy with a more unique experience & enjoyed this hotel than other Americanized hotels we stayed at during our trip.
chopinplayer is offline  
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