Weekend in Rome

Old May 22nd, 2024, 01:50 PM
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Weekend in Rome

I've just returned from a few days in Rome, with my daughter and granddaughter. They were flying back to the US after visiting me in Le Marche, and I went with them to Rome a few days before the flight. I hadn't been to Rome in several years and badly missed the city I used to visit about once a year.

Train travel between Rome and Le Marche is a mess right now because of (long-needed) track work. To avoid having to do part of the trip on a bus, we made a detour through Bologna.

We stayed in an apartment called Domus Paolina west of Piazza Navona, very near the Tiber. It's a quiet neighborhood although conveniently located. The nearby bus stop is served by multiple lines taking you just about anywhere you might want to go. The Vatican, Trastevere, and Piazza Navona are within easy walking distance.

The apartment was very nice; it would be great for two people. With the sofabed pulled out, it was a bit cramped. It has a small kitchen, which we didn't use at all, and it a small but complete bathroom, with a washing machine. There was a fold-down table and some chairs, but we would have had to fold up the sofa bed to have been able to fold down the table. There was air conditioning, WiFi, a coffee machine with coffee pods, and an electric kettle with tea bags. The proprietor had left some cookies and a bottle of sparkling wine. The sofa bed wasn't the most comfortable I've ever slept on, but only real problem we had was the unreliable hot water, which failed us completely the last morning, when we had to leave at 6 AM.

That first afternoon, we walked along the Tevere (Tiber) and wandered around the streets near our apartment, ending up at Piazza Navona, where we ate at a little restaurant on a side street, whose name I forget. It was a decent, fairly inexpensive restaurant. I had pasta alla gricia. My daughter, who's allergic to many things, had a salad. I forget what my granddaughter had, maybe lasagna.
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The next day we visited the Roseto Comunale, the Comunal Rose Garden. This was one of the things on my list of things I still haven't seen in Rome, I'm spite of many visits to the city. It was open this year only from the 21st of April to the 16th of June. The visit is free, and you can request a free guided tour by sending an email to [email protected].
Unfortunately I didn't think to ask whether they also have guided tours in English

The guided tour was most interesting; the guide had a wealth of knowledge of both history and botany and communicated it very well. Unfortunately part of the garden was inaccessible when I was there because they were dismantling the exhibition and competition for the Rome prize, one of Europe's oldest rose competitions. Also a heavy rainfall the night before had caused a lot of petals to fall. Even so all three of us were charmed by the garden and the tour.

I highly recommend a visit to this rose garden if it's open when you're there. In some years, it also opens for a few weeks in October.

The Roseto Is near the site of the ancient temple of the goddess Flora. It was also part of the ancient Jewish community, which existed in Rome since well over 2000 years ago.

The site of the Roseto was used as vegetable gardens by the Jewish community. Later part of it was a Jewish cemetery. The cemetery was no longer being used, although it was still a holy site, when the city began negotiations to take it over for the construction of the road that now runs past the Roseto. In exchange for various promises, including the relocation of the graves to a new Jewish cemetery, ownership was ceded to the city.

After WWII, the Comunal Rose garden was created in part of the space where the cemetery had previously existed. (The previous Comunal Rose Garden, in a different location, had been destroyed during the war.) The paths of the garden were laid out in the form of a menorah, and a sculpture of a Jewish star and another of the tablets of the Law of Moses, were installed.

There are all sorts of roses there, from botanic roses (unmodified by selective breeding) through ancient roses, to modern roses. From the Rose Garden you can see the Circo Massimo, with the massive walls of the ancient Palatine Hill as a backdrop.

​​​​​The city orange garden is a bit further up the Aventine Hill, and still further up you can visit the Basilica of Santa Sabina, a beautiful ancient Roman Christian Basilica. Above the door of the Basilica is a mosaic picturing the Church as two women, one in Jewish dress and one in Greek dress, representing the union of two main branches of early Christianity. There is also preserved there an ancient carved wooden door illustrating Bible stories, including one of the earliest depictions of the crucifixion of Christ.

This website has a good description of the Aventine Hill.
https://mamalovesrome.com/aventine-hill-visit/

​​​​​The website doesn't mention another important site, the Villa of the Knights of Malta, which is actually an extraterritorial state. (The keyhole mentioned on the web page is in the gate of their villa.) The villa itself has limited visiting hours.
https://turismoroma.it/en/places/villa-magistrale-sovereign-order-malta-aventine

Also near the Rose Garden you can visit the impressive Baths of Caracalla or the Circo Massimo, which you can see from the Rose Garden, with the massive walls of the ancient Palatine Hill as a backdrop.
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You could really spend two days just in this neighborhood. This is why I never see everything on my long list of things I want to see in Rome.

We had a late lunch at Zerosettantcinque (075) near
the Circus Maximus.
http://www.075roma.com

We were looking for a different restaurant, but didn't see it, so we stopped here. It's a simple, unpretentious restaurant. The waitress was unbelievably helpful with finding something my daughter, with her many allergies, could eat. I had a hummus appetizer, and a Caprese salad. My daughter had a specially designed salad, and my granddaughter had something, maybe it was lasagna this time.

After lunch we walked back down towards the Tiber. We saw the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, which is known for having the famous Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth) at its entry. There's always a long line of people waiting to have their photo taken while they're sticking their hand inside the voracious mouth, but hardly anyone ever goes inside the church. (I had actually never done either.) My granddaughter had never seen the Bocca della Verità, so we wandered over to have a look. None of us wanted to risk having our hand snatched off, but you can see the thing through the fence without getting in line. Apparently it's really a very ancient manhole cover, dating back to the days of the Etruscan kings who created the first sewer system, the Cloaca Maxima.

The Basilica is a Catholic church of the Melkite Byzantine rite, which is an Arab Christian Eastern Orthodox rite. Its present form is mostly from the 12th century, with a much earlier crypt and it incorporates parts of the ancient Roman Ara Maxima (Great Altar) of Hercules, which dates to the 5th century BCE, and which was converted to a Christian Church in the 6th century CE. It's a lot more interesting than the Mouth of Truth! And it also has on display the relics of Saint Valentine, in the form of his skull.

That evening, we had an excellent dinner at Osteria dei Cappallari with a friend who lives in Rome. Excellent traditional Roman food, and very attentive service. Cappallari means hatters, and they had lamps in the shape of derby hats, and all sorts of other little hat motifs.

https://osteriadeicappellari.it/

​​​​​​​The next morning we left very early, my daughter and granddaughter to the airport and I to the train home. I was lucky to find one of the few trains that didn't require transferring to a bus for part of the trip. It avoided the track work by taking a detour along Lake Bracciano, to Cortona, and then passing Assisi before returning to the normal route. It took five hours, but I was able to ride comfortably in the same seat all the way.



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bvlenci is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2024, 07:47 PM
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Your Trip Report was caught up in the moderation filter. Sorry for the delay
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 11:18 AM
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Lovely report! I know what you mean about always having more to see in Rome. I've spent a great deal of time there but continue to learn about more things. I've been to Santa Sabina and the Key of Malta but wasn't familiar with the Rose Garden. I would like to see it when I'm there next month, but the 16th, last day, is the day I arrive, and my train doesn't get in 'til 1:00, so it would have to be late afternoon. How much time did you spend there? Can you go in without a tour?

I agree about going inside the church at Cosmedin, definitely worthwhile.
And I think I might need to try Osteria dei Cappellari, the menu sounds great, so thanks!
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 08:12 PM
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Great report, thank you! I’ve made note of several things for our trip next year.
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Old May 24th, 2024, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by SusanP
Lovely report! I know what you mean about always having more to see in Rome. I've spent a great deal of time there but continue to learn about more things. I've been to Santa Sabina and the Key of Malta but wasn't familiar with the Rose Garden. I would like to see it when I'm there next month, but the 16th, last day, is the day I arrive, and my train doesn't get in 'til 1:00, so it would have to be late afternoon. How much time did you spend there? Can you go in without a tour?

I agree about going inside the church at Cosmedin, definitely worthwhile.
And I think I might need to try Osteria dei Cappellari, the menu sounds great, so thanks!
You can enter the Rose Garden without a tour, and entry is free. Our tour lasted a bit over an hour, and we stayed for about another 20 minutes.
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Old May 24th, 2024, 08:00 AM
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Great, thanks!
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Old May 29th, 2024, 07:14 AM
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Tracy will love Roseto Comunale. Hopefully they'll be blooming in early May next year. Grazie!
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Old May 29th, 2024, 08:29 AM
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What a lovely report.
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Old May 29th, 2024, 08:29 AM
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Thanks! Some new sites to see in one of my favorite cities.
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