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eirissa Rome - A travel report by Irene
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Rome,  Italy - flag Italy -  Lazio
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eirissa's travel reports

My memories from Rome

  21 votes
I stayed in Rome from 6th to 15th August 2006. I focused entirely on the city, doing only two side trips to Tivoli and Bracciano just to rest a bit from the crowds which dominate this major Italian tourist attraction. Rome is overwhelming...

St Angel's bridge leading to the labirynth of the old town
St Angel's bridge leading to the labirynth of the old town
Rome is a huge city and it can be best seen from one of the seven hills. It's a good idea to go to one of them to get a panorama view with all the churches and landmarks. Most of these spots are in green areas, parks and gardens which provide a nice shadow in the summer and give you a moment of rest from the crowds. My favourite panorama spots are: Pincio (next to Villa Borghese park), Aventine hill and a beautiful orange garden, Capitolinian hill from which you can see the Forum and Janiculum hill with a lighthouse in the park. When you come down from the hills it's time to get lost in the city and its narrow streets with churches hiding artistic gems, squares with romantic cafes and gelaterias, fountains and old palaces. It's important to find balance between visiting the famous places and finding time to feel the atmosphere of the city and just stroll around.

Favourite spots:
The view on St Peter's church from the orange garden on Aventine hill
The view on St Peter's church from the orange garden on Aventine hill
I loved the places without tourists, calm and peaceful. I loved strolling along Via Giulia, where you can see old palaces, small churches and orange trees in big pots on both sides of the street. It is parallel to the Tiber and it can be easily found after you visit Campo dei Fiori. I loved Villa Borghese park with its small lake and a small temple. I was surprised to see not only ducks or swans there but also turtles which swim in the lake. Aventine hill with its orange garden is my absolute favourite. You can climb the hill after you visit Circus Maximus. The narrow, winding streets lead you next to several monasteries and soon you reach a small garden with orange and pinia trees. There is a terrace from which you can see the panorama and St Peter's church copula. Continue walking up the street until you find a square with a gate on the right side. It is the gate to the Order of Malta Knights with its famous key hole through which you can see the miniature St Peter's church.

What's really great:
A cute elephant near the Spanish steps
A cute elephant near the Spanish steps
When I finally left calm and peaceful parks and hills I joined the tourists in exploring the major attractions. I sat on the Spanish steps and observed people from all over the world. I didn't throw a coin into Fountain di Trevi but I admired its marble tritons. I entered the Pantheon and watched the spot of light coming through the opening in the ceiling. I entered at least 15 other churches, those famous ones like St Peter, Santa Maria della Vittoria (with the famous sculpture Ecstasy of St Theresa mentioned in Da Vinci Code), St Giovanni in Lateran (beatiful cloister) and these less famous like St Maria della Concezione with its shocking crypt full of monks' skeletons and bones. I had a Vatican day with St Peter, the square and Sant Angel's castle. I saved more than half a day for the Vatican museums which are an absolute must no matter if you like museums or not. Finally I spent another day in the Ancient Rome walking round the Colosseum and Forum Romanum.

Don't disturb the cat's nap
Don't disturb the cat's nap
One special place for me was Area Sacra del Largo Argentina. It is a small, fenced square with the ruins of old Roman temples. However, tourists visit it mostly to watch the hundreds of cats ruling the area. Cats of various colours and sizes lie in the sun among the ruins of sacred Roman temples. I believe that these are the Roman gods worshipped by the tourists:)

I stayed outside the centre of Rome but close to the Vatican and the underground stations. It was Campsite Roma ( where you can rent one of fabolous bungalows with your own bathroom and air conditioning or stay in your own tent. There is a nice restaurant, a swimming pool, internet point, a supermarket just on the other side of the road and a bus stop just outside the gate. The staff are friendly and helpful. The prices are reasonable but of course you aren't in the centre of Rome and you can't stroll around the city after midnight because you have to catch the last (always crowded) bus to the campsite.

Depending how much money you want to spend you have a variety of restaurants to choose from. Remember that in the centre you will always pay the cover, usually 1-2 euro. If you are a budget traveller try eating in such small takeaway pizzerias where you can buy slices of pizza, rice balls with mozzarella, boiled vegetables and chicken. It's cheaper, faster and equally tasty. They are easily found near Fountain di Trevi and Pantheon.

Other recommendations:
One of the fountains in Villa d'Este
One of the fountains in Villa d'Este
I went on two side trips to Tivoli and Bracciano. Both places are easily reached by wonderful Italian trains. Tivoli is a beautiful town around 30 km from Rome. You can stroll along medieval streets with stone buildings but most tourists go there to see the fountains in Villa d'Este, the summer residence of cardinal Ippolito d'Este. There are several big fountains in different stone forms and at least a hundred of smaller fountains hidden in the park. All in all a great place for a Sunday afternoon. Bracciano is the name of the town and the lake 20 km from Rome. The town is dominated by a medieval castle. If you go down to the lake you can take a cruise around the lake or just step off the boat in Anguillara, a fabolous medieval village, much nicer than Bracciano. In order to get back to Rome you have to catch a bus to the railway station which is quite far from the village.

Published on Sunday October 1th, 2006

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Wed, Apr 02 2008 - 01:22 AM rating by quintonm

Irene, i would really like to visit Rome sometime! Thank you for a stunning report!

Fri, Feb 29 2008 - 11:55 AM rating by ramesh1909

Great report with further awareness

Wed, Feb 14 2007 - 08:23 PM rating by travler

This review was full of useful information and wonderful pictures.

Thu, Oct 19 2006 - 10:50 AM rating by frenchfrog

Irene, it is a really lovely report, there's so much to see in the city, that you need a month to see every thing, have you try the "Andels & Demons" tour?. Great report, lots of Info provided. Very well written.

Tue, Oct 10 2006 - 10:49 AM rating by marianne

Perfect report, very informative. Excellent photos.

Sun, Oct 08 2006 - 11:32 AM rating by porcupine

I wish I had seen the congregation of cats when I was in Rome. I loved your inclusion of the panoramic viewpoints such as Vila Borghese and Pincio. Next time I'm in Rome, maybe I will stay closer to the Vatican at your campsite. I guess it will have to be in the summer. Great report!

Fri, Oct 06 2006 - 12:16 PM rating by italian-link

Nice report, I also loved the Villa Borghese. Next time, I would also like to see Bracciano. Thanks for sharing!

Tue, Oct 03 2006 - 07:56 AM rating by terje

Great report with a personal touch!

Mon, Oct 02 2006 - 10:17 AM rating by eirekay

Irene, this is a beautiful report! I really like your descriptions! Just Excellent!

Sun, Oct 01 2006 - 04:26 PM rating by mrscanada

Thanks for the memories. I've been to Rome a few times. I loved Trevi Fountain the best.

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