INFO on Italy
Rome, the capital of Italy, rises on the banks of the Tevere about 25 kilometers from its main outlet in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Rome is situated at the center of an undulating plain, the Campagna Romana, which is confined to one side by the hills of Monte Mario, Gianicolo and Monteverde and on the other side by smaller hills of volcanic origin - the so-called "Seven Hills."
Roma:The name inverts neatly to form amor[e]. No wonder that a natural occurrence is to fall in love with Rome, the fabled Eternal City, the city that exerts the most fascination in the mind of the traveler, and can reward as no other city can. Do not expect her playful, exuberant fountains to cease from casting their liquid diamonds into the sky, even during the quiet hours of the night, for there is no stopping the water-flow of her hundreds of miles of acqueducts, which will also be serving your hotel room. Yet, as no other city has been the focal point of the world for such a long period of time, few have such a long and turbulent history as has Roma. Lavished with architectural jewelry from republican to imperial to early-christian to medieval to renaissance to baroque to modern times by history's greatest artists, the queen of cities has also experienced sieges, raids, fires, and earthquakes that left their scars; but each time the Eternal City recovered from her injuries in glorious form.
Rome is a very walkable experience [but look out for pickpockets], and bikeable too, or you could do the Dolce Vita thing and rent a scooter, especially if you're fond of Ben Hur-style chariot racing.
The ruins of Emperor Nero's legendary "Golden House," the Domus Aurea remains one of the most unique and impressive sites in Rome . Mon-Sun 9am-7:45pm . Metro Line B: Colosseo, or bus 87.
The granddaddy of all Roman monuments, this arena known to the ancients as the "Flavian Amphitheater" hosted 450 years of gladiatorial contests and wild beast hunts... "games," as they were called in antiquity. 9am-7.30pm end March-end August; until 7pm September; until 6.30pm October; until 4.30pm end October until mid-February; until 5pm mid-February until end March. Metro Line B: Colosseo, or bus 87.
This is where Rome began, back in 753 BC when Romulus killed Remus. The Palatine Hill was the best real estate in ancient Rome (the emperors chose to live there, after all), Metro Line B: Colosseo, or bus 87, or a 5-minute walk from Piazza Venezia.
This was the downtown area of the ancient city, where you could cross paths with Cicero or Caesar himself on their way to the political, religious, and commercial buildings which are still visible here today, 2000 years later, in various states of preservation. Very evocative of the power of Rome in her Golden Age. Entrances at Largo Romolo e Remo 5-6, Piazza S. Maria Nova (Arch of Titus), and Via del Monte Tarpeo (Capitoline Hill). Open daily 9am -one hour before sunset. Admission until 2 hours before closing time. Admission free. Metro Line B: Colosseo, or bus 87, or a 5-minute walk from Piazza Venezia.
Very dear to the hearts of this guide-book's authors, the Pantheon is by far the best place in the city to experience the true splendor, harmony, and elegance of Roman architecture, inside and out. This 2nd century AD pagan temple to all the gods was converted into a church in 608 AD and today, nearly 1900 years after its construction, is still almost completely intact. From outside in the piazza, feel the solidity and permanence of the rectangular portico; inside, marvel at the vault of the hemispherical concrete dome, pierced by a 9m oculus open to the sky, and take in all the colors of the marbles that line the walls. Piazza della Rotonda.
This monument hardly needs an introduction as it enjoys a great reputation as the place to go in Rome to meet those handsome young Italian men. Foreign women can almost certainly expect to be offered a rose and/or marriage proposal here. Go at sunset when the light is divine and most of the bus tour groups have left. Metro Line A: Spagna.
A delightfully extravagant Rococo creation with travertine palm trees, tritons, seahorses, and Neptune himself. Throw one coin over your shoulder for a quick return to Rome , two for a fling with an Italian, and three to marry an Italian! Best experienced in the evening. Metro Line A: Spagna, or bus 62 or 492 to Via del Tritone.
Trajan's Markets and Forum
This area immediately east of Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill was developed in the 2nd century AD and included a massive basilica, Greek and Latin libraries, a temple, Trajan's column, and a sophisticated marketplace. The column, widely regarded as one of the greatest works of Roman art, and the markets, known to archaeologists as the world's first shopping mall, and in excellent states of preservation today.
During the Christmas season this square is packed with stalls selling toys, sweets and decorations for the Nativity scene or Christmas tree, making it a favourite spot for children. Its unusual shape recalls the time of Domitian, who built a stadium for equestrian displays here. The Fountain of the Rivers, with the obelisk, and the Fountain of the Moor, with the god of the sea, at the centre of the square, are both by Bernini.
Made up of two separate buildings: the Palazzo Nuovo houses an incredibly rich collection of Roman sculpture (including the original of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius); the Palazzo dei Conservatori and Braccio Nuovo house more ancient sculpture as well as Renaissance and Baroque art. Piazza del Campidoglio.
Piazza del Colosseo
No visit to Rome is complete without having seen its magnificent Colosseum, a vast amphitheatre with seating for 55,000 that was designed as a horse racing circuit and arena for animal fighting and gladiatorial battles. Upon its completion, spectacular 100-day celebrations were organized as part of the opening ceremony in 72 AD. Its name is believed to come from Nero's enormous statue of Colossus that stood close by.
Rome's mild climate makes it visitable year-round; however, spring and autumn are without doubt the best times to visit, with generally sunny skies and mild temperatures (although late autumn, November, can be rainy). July and August are unpleasantly hot (many Romans desert the city in August so many businesses close at this time); from December to February there is briskly cold weather, although it's rarely grey and gloomy
Rome has two airports - Fiumicino (Leonardo da Vinci) and Ciampino.
This Rome's main airport is well-connected with the centre during the day by an express train.
The express train between Fiumicino Airport and Stazione Termini (Rome's main train station) costs € 9.50 and the journey takes about 30 minutes. The train departs from and arrives at Termini station at track n.27 and runs from 6.30am till 11.30pm.
Rome's smaller airport, is mostly used by charter flights and budget airlines.
To get to the centre from this airport, take COTRAL bus (costs 1EURO), get off at Metro A: Anagnina station, then to Termini Station.
Contral bus runs every 30 minutes, until 11pm. The only way how to get to Rome after this time is to take taxi.
The airport code is FCO. It's 26 km from Rome (16 miles).
How to get to Central Rome (Termini Station)
After you've picked up your luggage, follow the signs to Stazione FS/Railway Station.
You'll have to go up 2 floors to find it.
Buy a ticket "Per Termini" at the FS ticket counter or from one of the machines in the station.
Upon returning to the airport from Termini, you'll find the train on track 22 or 23, a bit behind the train station and a short walk from the normal boarding area. You can buy a ticket at the Alitalia office at track 22 or from other places and machines in the station.
From Rome Termini: Trains to the airport start at 5:52 in the morning, with trains running at 22 and 55 minutes after the hour. The last train of the day departs at 22.52 (10:52pm)
From Rome's Fiumicino International Airport: Trains to Termini Station start at 6:37 in the morning, with trains running at 7 and 37 minutes after the hour. The last train of the day departs at 23.37 (11:37pm)
The train to Rome's Central Station (Roma Termini) runs frequently between 6:37 am and 10:52 pm and takes 31 minutes.
The train covers the 37 km in 31 minutes.
The Roman metro goes round rather than through the historic city. It has only two lines, A (red) and B (blue), which cross at Termini Central Station.
Trains run approximately every 7-10 minutes, from 5:30am until 11.30pm every day (until 12:30am on Saturdays).
Roman cooking is generally identified with that of Lazio. It is not excessively sophisticated but is among the most flavored of Italy.
The most authentic dishes are prepared with simple ingredients: pasta, tripe, chicken giblets, baccalà (salted fish), beans, artichokes, brain, beef tail ("coda di manzo") - although there is no lack of richer dishes like lamb, goat's meat, pork, and various types of seafood.
The meal usually begins with an antipasto: cold meats, raw vegetables soaked in olive oil or vinegar, olives, "bruschetta" (toasted bread with olive oil and garlic and various toppings such as tomatoes), and seafood.
The real main dish is the first: spaghetti carbonara style, bucatini (a type of pasta) alla matriciana (tomato, bacon and onion), penna all'arrabbiata (tomato, parsley, and peppers), gnocchi alla romana, spaghetti with garlic and oil, fettucini with butter or tomato sauce.
Also traditional are country soups like pasta with beans, or with chickpeas or lentils, or potato gnocchi with tomato sauce.
The second dish can be meat or fish: beef stew, oven-baked lamb or goat, chicken with peppers, lamb alla cacciatora (hunter's style, with rosemary, garlic, peppers, white wine, sage), tripe with tomato and mentuccia romana (a local herb), beef tail "alla vaccinara","baccalà in guazzetto" (white wine, garlic, and parsley) or with "pastella" (fine pasta of water and flour, fried), "ciriole" (bread) "alla fiumarola" and cuttlefish with peas.
Among the fresh cheeses, ricottas and mozzarellas.
As dessert, fruit in season or fruit cocktail, ice cream, "maritozzi" (horn-shaped pastry filled with cream), "mostaccioli," "pangiallo" (a type of fruitcake that contains peanuts above all), "cavallucci" (cookies) and ricotta cake.
Among the wines the Castelli Romani whites are outstanding: Frascati, Monteporzio, Marino, Albano, Lanuvio, Genzano, Velletri. Of particular esteem is the Malvasia of Grottaferrata. Among the reds, the Cesanese of Olevano produced in the Castelli region, the Baccanale of Campagnano, Torre Ercolana, Colle Picchioni and Velletri rosso Riserva.
Shopping in Rome
Rome in an expensive city, so don't expect to find too many bargains. Nevertheless, window shopping is a joy and you will find good value for money, especially if buying leather goods (shoes, bags, gloves and belts) and certain decorative items (lamps, Italian modern designer goods and glassware).
The area around Piazza di Spagna is where to find the boutiques ( for ladie's suits, jewellery, shoes, etc.)
- Prada, Valentino, Gucci, Fendi (which takes up a large tract of Via Borgognona)
- Missoni and Armani are all to be found within a short distance of one another.
The more prestigious antique shops, as well as several smart restaurant, are to be found in Via Margutta, Via del Corso, and contemporary designers and stylists in Via del Banbuino.
INFO on Italy