Where to base close to Rome

Old Mar 7th, 2006, 12:54 PM
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Where to base close to Rome

We will be touring Europe for 6 weeks so will have a Peugeot lease car. We have previously visited Florence, Venice, Naples etc. but never Rome so its a priority for this trip before heading off to spend a week in Tuscany. Driving in Rome is definitely NOT an option for us (tried Florence once, never again) so can anybody help with somewhere close to the city to base ourselves for a few days and where we can hop on a train or bus into central Rome?
I have found a B &B in Palestrina, www.byanne.com/ anybody ever stayed here, it looks wonderful and has great reviews on tripadvisor. Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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I don't know the B&B, but I have been to Palestrina - briefly.

Are you sure you want to miss out on evenings in Rome? It's almost the best part of the day in Rome.

Have a look at

www.trenitalia.com

to see how late the trains run (if indeed they do; there may only be buses to Palestrina).

I can understand your reluctance to drive in Rome, but why not just park the car somewhere? I don't know how safe long-term parking at Fiumicino Airport is, but presumably thousands of people have used it, and it's easy to get to from Rome.
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 06:11 PM
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Eloise,
I have had a look at the train timetable, closest station is 2.5kms. from Palestrina called Zagarolo and is a 30 min ride into Termini. Staying in Rome for the evening could be possible as the timetables shows trains back to Zagarolo are hourly up until 11pm.
Good idea, I hadn't thought of long term parking at Fiumicino or even Ciampino might be easier as we are coming from the ferry at Ancona.
Anybody else with other suggestions?
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 03:51 AM
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One option is to stay right out in the country and drive to the nearest train station - one that connects without a change to the metro. One possibilty is Casale Treia which is a B&B near a nature park http://www.mazzano.com/accommodation.htm On the web site it says a bus passes by going to Rome but I think that would be very infrequent. Better to drive to the neaest station. Casa Treia is within an easy drive (20 mins max) of Lake Bracciano and Calcata - both good places to relax between trips into Rome. Mrs Carucci, the owner, speaks good English and provides breakfast.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 07:33 AM
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Patricia, I fully agree with Eloise, and would even go further: if you don't stay in Rome center, you're absolutely spoiling your visit there for several reasons:
1. it takes soooo much time to get into or out of Rome. In this huge, bustling city with all that traffic it is really, really tough to get around, and you'd mostly be travelling instead of visiting Rome (imagine, you're starting at Stazione Termini every day - which is certainly not the best nor the most pleasant starting point for a day in Rome). And you DO need your time for Rome; there's so much to do and so much to see...
2. As Eloise has told you, evenings and nights are much of the fun about a visit to Rome.
3. The countryside around Rome becomes very tranquil soon after the borders of the city. Palestrina is a quite amazing place, but it seems like a place extremely far away from the capital's rush and bustle. If you feel this difference every day, it's guaranteed that you will HATE Rome. You have to be part of this wonderful city's madhouse, or you won't simply stand it.
All in all, even if I were a cautious driver (what I'm not!), I'd not be shy to drive once in and once out of Rome - you don't need to use your car while staying in the city.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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Many thanks for your thoughts folks, maybe we need to rethink our plans. We are not nervous drivers, have driven many thousands of kms through Europe over the years. We both cope very well with driving on the right which is not the norm for us (we are from New Zealand) however we do find big city driving to be quite stressful especially looking for somewhere to park! So.... any suggestions on where we can park the car safely for a couple of days other than at either airport or a central hotel with easy access and a carpark. Am I asking for the impossible?
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 12:55 PM
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>>any suggestions on where we can park the car safely for a couple of days other than at either airport or a central hotel with easy access and a carpark. Am I asking for the impossible?<<

My short answer to that is: Yes.

For an amusing glance at "central" Rome combined with "easy access", have a glance at this thread that goes on and on and on about "getting out" of Rome, never mind "getting in":

http://slowtalk.com/groupee/forums/a...3591099201/p/1

And frankly, even were such a thing as a central hotel with easy access and a carpark to exist, it probably would not be in the area of Rome that I and many visitors to Rome always recommend: the historical center, defined as the area within or just outside the triangle of Campo de Fiori, the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona. Most of the points of interest in Rome are within walking distance; it's an area that is full of cafes and restaurants in all price ranges; the streets are alive with people until late into the evening.

But driving within that area is, I would think, a huge challenge. The streets are very narrow, many do not have sidewalks, the street names are inscribed into the walls of the buildings and difficult to find, let alone read. You're coping with trying to navigate while co-existing with pedestrians, scooters, Roman drivers and, occasionally, buses. I've frequently been in the area with a car, but with a driver born and bred in Rome.

I know that there are a number of large parking lots in Rome, but I don't know whether they allow long-term parking nor how safe they are. Perhaps someone who knows more about them than I do will be able to give you more information.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 01:08 PM
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A few years ago we did Rome in the middle of an extended car rental and faced the same problem you have. I'm originally from New York City and still drive in Manhattan on a regular basis but I decided I did not want to drive in Rome, and after being there and walking the streets I am very glad I made the decision I did.

What we did was to leave the car at the Orvieto train station and take the train into Rome. We left the car there for three days (and nights) and it was fine. No guarantees of course, but friends had done this previously, and I have since recommended it to others who also had no problems. We took our valuables but did leave a couple of suitcases of clothing, etc in the trunk of the car (so we didn't have to haul all our stuff with us) (nothing left in plain sight though). The Orvieto train station parking lot is huge, and free. The train into Rome was about an hour and quite inexpensive. I was glad to be staying at a hotel in Rome rather than commuting.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 01:54 PM
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Correction: Please make that "large parking garages" in Rome.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 02:27 PM
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Well, a few corrections ought to be made, excuse me, everyone. First of all, in the very heart of the historic center, driving may be a huge challenge, but more than this - it is FORBIDDEN... residents only! (Many Romans don't mind, I know, and your driver, Eloise, may have been one of them. But nevertheless: don't try it - the police of Rome uses to be very nice, but they are nevertheless ready to tow your car away.)
On the other hand, driving in Rome is by no means terrible - it's a kind of a challenge, ok, and Roman traffic may be the perfect representation of chaos, but it's huge fun - and generally spoken, as the modern physics did prove, the chaos has its intelligent features. Roman drivers e.g. are incredibly intelligent and mostly very considerate. BUT: if you, Patricia, are used to drive on the other side of the road - then I fully understand (and agree) that you wouldn't want to use your car during Roman rush hours. (I remember my one and only holiday driving on the left - truly stressful, even for a car addict like me!)
Now it depends on where you are going to live in Rome; outside the very center (but still in the greater historic center), it's NOT a real problem to park your car, let's say north of Stazione Termini (where many hotels are situated), or in the southern part of Trastevere (one of the nicest quarters of Rome), or everywhere near the Vatican. It may be annoying for who uses his car every day; but you want to come in just once, and park your car just once, and so it won't be too much of a problem to search for a free parking spot for 15 minutes or so (yes, that's the way it goes, and certainly, it can drive you mad if you have to do it day by day! - but once?)
As far as crime and parked cars, you wouldn't certainly leave anything of any value in a car parked on a Roman street; but otherwise, if you don't drive the fanciest car between Torino and Palermo, nobody will likely touch it (provided that you are not going to live in one of the far-out and sometimes rather dangerous Roman suburbs - which I wouldn't recommend, anyway). I've always been in Rome with a car (in fact, almost everywhere I've been, I've been with a car, so that's maybe of low significance...), and sometimes I've been using it every day (when visiting the not-so-centrally-located sights), and other times I've done like you will do, and parked it once and used it again only when leaving Rome, and I've never had the slightest problem - no guarded parking needed. Please don't imagine Rome as a place where bandits are lurking around every corner - they don't!
So if you tell me where you are going (or planning) to stay in Rome, maybe I can give some more precise information as to where to leave your car.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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There's a huge underground parking garage at the Villa Borghese that I think would be a safe place to leave your car.
Hertz and other car rental companies are located there, and that's where all their cars are parked, too.
I have no idea what it would cost.

I'll join the others in saying that you absolutely won't be able to really experience Rome if you don't stay there.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 03:06 PM
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Franco,

You are right: I had forgotten about the limited access to the historical center. But would tourists not be allowed to drive in to deposit their luggage?

The friend I mentioned, difficult as it may be to believe, lived on the Piazza della Rotonda for over 40 years; another friend lived on the Piazza della Trinita dei Pellegrini for 35 years. Most often, of course, we all walked, but if it was a matter of going out of town, both friends drove without a second thought in the centro storico.
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Old Mar 8th, 2006, 04:48 PM
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DH and I have talked it over, do we really want to drive in Rome - short answer is definitely no! So we have taken onboard all your suggestions and have decided to leave the car at long term parking at Ciampino and book ourselves into a hotel in central Rome for 3 nights. Now comes the decision on which hotel, so many to choose from but leaning towards Albergo Santa Chiara.
Thankyou all for your invaluable help, we are really excited about finally spending some time in Rome.
Patricia
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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 04:40 AM
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Patricia, have a wonderful holiday. You'll come back to Rome forth and forth - there is so incredibly much to see there that three days can't give you more than a first and superficial impression. But I'm sure that you'll love the experience.
Eloise, frankly, I don't know whether tourists are formally allowed to drive in and check their luggage, but obviously, you know Rome at least as weel as I do - nobody would ask in Rome, just do it. Anyway, it doesn't involve true parking; you just unload your car, and back you go, out of the restricted area. What I have experienced, however, is that they do actually tow illegally parked cars away - not within five or ten minutes, though.
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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 05:16 AM
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The Albergo Santa Chiara is in a terrific location and has had generally positive reviews from posters here.

If you put the name into the Search Box, the messages will come up on the left.

And you can also, as you no doubt know, check it out at www.tripadvisor.com.
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Old Mar 9th, 2006, 05:47 AM
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Try the sheraton roma in the EUR district.
You can leave your car and take a bus into
rome. It is not a long ride.You should really try to stay in town the traffic in rome will ruin your commute no
no matter where you stay.
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Old Mar 10th, 2006, 04:06 PM
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I did not read this thread until today, 3/10, but I did want to post that if you aren't totally happy with leaving the car at the airport, I know of a couple of good hotels just north of St. Peter/the Vatican Museums that do have parking available. The area is known as Ottaviano or Cipro (those are the two closest metro stops, incidentally).
This is much closer than the EUR, and it is an interesting neighborhood as well.

Ottaviano is just over the river from the historical center, and has nice shops and restaurants, so you could stay in the historical center and easily take a taxi or bus home in the evenings.

Unlike the historical center, which is a maze of twists and turns (for the best it's only taxis), my husband and I felt this part of town was similar to Boston or New York. Similar large boulevards with two lanes or more each way, like in Manhattan. If you did one of the various European "mapquests" (such as mappy)then you will find your hotel no problem.

We stayed in an apartment this trip, but two of my sets of relatives who joined us stayed in hotels that (I just checked) offer private parking. You will need to contact them to find out the fees for that.

Hotel Alimandi -- We stayed there a few years ago, and my uncle stayed there 12 days in December and really liked it. It has received writeups in this Fodor's Website (click on hotels, then type in Hotel Alimandi, Rome) and also in Rick Steves. They now offer a full breakfast, and my uncle said he didn't pay any extra for it. www.alimandi.it/

Franklin, Feel the Sound-- My aunt and uncle (both seasoned travelers) stayed there in December. They said it is very nice. A little bit quirky, but charming and they were glad they picked it.

http://www.romeby.com/franklin/index.html

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Old Apr 6th, 2006, 04:33 AM
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Franco, Could you help me with my parking quandry? We will be touring Italy this summer by car and I have been considering Villa San Pio in the Aventino section of Rome. Parking is available on the street there. But, we also are considering Albergo del Senato near the Pantheon. Where could we leave our car if we stayed here? We will be in Rome for 3 nights. Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old Apr 6th, 2006, 06:12 AM
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LRK, I suggest asking at the Albergo (ahead, of course, i.e. now, while planning) - maybe they're providing parking in a nearby garage? If not, and even in case that you, as a hotel guest, would be considered a "resident" of the quarter and therefore allowed to park on the street, I wouldn't consider it - around the Pantheon, it's nearly impossible to find a free spot, and you could literally loose hours searching. If you don't plan using your car while in Rome, you could leave it somewhere away from the center (southern part of Trastevere, S. Lorenzo, Testaccio, or yes, Aventine) and reach Albergo del Senato by bus (or taxi) - or you decide for the hotel on Aventine hill and park on the street.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 09:21 PM
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Hi Patricia
We too have used the Peugeot lease deal it is great. I was reluctant to drive in Rome as well. But because we stopped at Zagarolo, the trains are crowded and you spend too much time travelling waiting for trains etc. We found it much better to drive into Rome and park in the suburbs and catch the tram into the centre. It was a easy drive in as Zagarolo is a direct route. It is a small hilltop fortress town that still has bullet holes from WW2 on some of the buildings. We only stopped there because of Relatives but it was very handy. It took 35mins to drive to the suburbs all on the same road.
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