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Rome - A travel report by Alexander
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Rome,  Italy - flag Italy -  Lazio
3103 readers

alexsbg's travel reports

The eternal city revisited

  16 votes
It's been almost 20 years that I was in Rome. Twenty years are not many, when compared to eternity. Nevertheless, times have changed, even in Rome.

The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps
The bad news: traffic rules are more strict - you have to wear a helmet on motorbikes, fasten seatbelts in your car and red traffic lights, believe it or not, are no longer just a recommendation to move on slowly. The good news is: nobody cares.

Favourite spots:
Nice view from Pincio
Nice view from Pincio
Some things never change in an eternal city. Traffic is chaos, no matter if you choose public transport or drive your own car. If you don't have nerves of steel or you mind little damages, better leave it at home. Public transport is two underground lines, a third is under construction. The rest are crowded busses and tramways which have much improved over the last twenty years: they work reliably and don't break that often. Which doesn't mean that they operate frequently or are reliably on-time. So what! You'll get there, sooner or later...

What's really great:
Fontana di Trevi
Fontana di Trevi
I'd say the best time to visit Rome is September. It's too hot in summer. Fall is usually sunny and very warm, more than a shirt is never necessary, not even at midnight. I said shirt, not T-shirt. If you want to delay your coming out as a tourist for an hour, wear a shirt, leather shoes and leave your day-pack at the hotel room. Italians know about fashion, they live it. And to be honest: you just look ridiculously misplaced in your jeans and sneakers in a Gucci or Armani shop. Rome is a perfect place for a spending spree in fashion. Dozens of exclusive designer stores are concentrated in the area around Piazza di Spagna. And it's no problem to spend thousands of Euros just for a few items. Anyway, a corner away from the famous Via Condotti are small no-name shops that sell designer labels with 50% discount. The fashion of last year, of course. But that last year's fashion may exactly be what is hip in your country this year. Regarding fashion, Italy is ahead of its time.

Forum Romanum with Colosseum in the background
Forum Romanum with Colosseum in the background
The dome of St. Peter is impressive, even if you are not catholic. It is breathtaking and humbling, in a positive sense. I did not have enough time to visit the Vatican which I would have liked to see, the many museums of the Vatican alone take more than a day.

Another highlight was the Colosseum, which hasn't changed much in the last twenty years, but was fun to visit again. If you find the long queues at the ticket counter annoying, here's my tip: go to the Forum Romanum first, which is next to it. Forum Romanum is free to enter but you have a much better view from the park at the rocks above - called Palatino. The ticket for Palatino/Colosseum is a double-ticket, no matter where you buy it. But less people wait at the ticket counter there.

Hotel rooms in Rome are expensive, small, dirty and loud. Unless you can afford a luxury hotel, be prepared for some surprises and don't expect too much. Feel lucky if you found a room for less than 70 Euros with a working toilet and a warm shower. An exception to that rule was Hotel Contilia, Via Principe Amadeo 81, that's 3 minutes walking distance from the main train station Roma Termini. The street doesn't look promising, but the rooms are clean, nicely decorated and the staff is friendly. Anyway. You are not here to spend the days or nights at the hotel, are you? The street is where life happens. And there happens a lot.

Tiber by night
Tiber by night
Especially the nightlife in the pedestrian zones at and around Piazza Navona with millions of small bars, restaurants and tavernas. This is the center of Rome and definitely the place to go if you want to see or be seen (if you wanna be seen, you'll face really tough competition by the Romans). When you are through with that, go south for the Trastevere quarter. But I guess you won't get through unless you are there for more than a week. I did not.

By day it is Via del Corso that goes from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo for shopping, shopping and shopping. When you have reached the latter, save some breath for a walk to the Pincio, the park to the right side of and above the square. A beautiful view is guaranteed and perfect sunsets as well. Next to the Pincio is the park of Villa Borghese, the largest park of the city.

Other recommendations:
And and and... you cannot discover this city in a couple of days. There are so many sights, so many ancient buildings, so much to learn... you touch 2000 years of history wherever you go.

Ok, one more thing: Fontana di Trevi. The fountain is disappointing (because the square is so small and the masses of tourists are so large - you hardly have a chance take a close look at it), but 100 m away from that is Via della Panetteria, and the best icecream in town ;-)

Published on Tuesday October 12th, 2004

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Fri, Apr 09 2010 - 06:17 AM rating by sujoy

A good report with tid bids of advantages and disadvantages of the place . Very realistic and touchy. Thanks

Wed, Oct 13 2004 - 07:39 PM rating by italian-link

Very well done! I liked your little part about "nobody cares", as it is very true :-)
Nice pictures too.


Tue, Oct 12 2004 - 10:46 PM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii alex,
how r u ,i read your report which is excellent to read and the way you have written made it excellent.
from the report it seems that ur a having a great sence of humour

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