A September 2002 trip
to Rome by AndrewL
Quote: My wife and I were married on 9/27/02 in Rome. This journal contains information on how we managed to pull this off. If anyone is considering the same idea the information here should be helpful. Even if you aren’t there is some useful information for anyone planning a trip to Rome.
We’ve been asked many times since the wedding how we were able to pull it off. I’ll try and shed some light here. Mainly it was a lot of hard work, planning, and perseverance. We were able to work out a lot of the arrangements through email and over the phone. We were able to work out a tremendous amount of the planning just through email. It would have been much harder to pull this off 5 to 10 years ago when everyone wasn’t on email. A number of things we simply had to wait to the last minute to decide on once we were in Rome.
Palazzo Olivia is a newly restored 17th Century Palace that has been converted into seven apartments that are rented out on a daily basis (3-day min. stay). The apartments are all one or two bedroom, but have a fold out sofa in the living room. The living room can also be sealed off to make a 2nd or 3rd bedroom so that a two-bedroom apartment can sleep six pretty comfortably.
We rented four apartments and were able to accommodate over 20 people among the four. For most of our stay there, we had the whole Palazzo ourselves, except for the owner/manager who actually has his own apartment as well on the top floor.
The Palazzo Olivia is a great place to stay. It is situated a great location, just 2 blocks away from Piazza Navona on a quite side street. This location is very central to everything in Rome; you can walk easily to the Vatican, the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, and most of the other major sights. About the only thing that isn’t close to the Palazzo is a Metro stop, but if you don’t mind walking, the location can’t be beat. As you can imagine, we were running all over Rome for the days leading up the wedding; during this time we never took a cab or the metro. We were able to walk everywhere we needed to go.
The rooms in the Palazzo are just as nice as any modern apartment in the U.S. The bathrooms are very modern looking and have true walk-in showers (not converted bath tubs). There is a comfortable living room with satellite T.V.. The apartments all have a small kitchen equipped with a refrigerator, gas stove, pots and pans, plates and utensils.
The owner/manager (Stefano) of the Palazzo was extremely helpful. He met all of the guests on their arrival and took care of special requests for many of the guests, such as arranging for tours or providing information on attractions. On our last night we wanted to take Stafano out to thank him for all of his help, but he insisted on treating us out.
The next time we go to Rome we will definitely stay at Palazzo Olivia. We preferred staying there to the other hotels we have stayed at previously in Rome. The price for a one bedroom is about what you would pay for a nicer 3 star hotel in Rome. It becomes a very good deal if you are traveling with a small group. You can share an apartment and still have some level of privacy.
Checkout the website http://www.palazzo-olivia.it
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 9, 2002
15 Via Dei Leutari
Hotel | "St. Regis Grand"
The hotel is incredibly lavish with marble everywhere. The hotel went through a major renovation in 1999 and the results show. This has to be one the most lavish and beautiful hotels I have ever stayed at. I felt like I was royalty staying here. Despite all of this I don’t think I would stay here again unless I win the lottery.
My recommendation would be to pick a less expensive hotel unless you are after an extravagant and lavish experience.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 8, 2003
St. Regis Grand Hotel
Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, 3
As the name would suggest they specialize in salads. There were about twenty different salads on the menu and we were able to try several different ones. While over all the salads were not bad, all of the different ones we tried tasted the same since they were all soaked in the same dressing.
In addition to salads there is a good selection of the typical pizza and pasta you'll find in every restaurant in Rome. The pizza and vongole (clams) that we ordered we actually quite good.
Overall I would give the food an average rating. However, I would rate the service as very poor.
The first time we visited the restaurant there were three girls who were waiting quite a while for their order to be taken. They eventually got tired of waiting and decided to leave. After they left, the waiter and waitress started talking very badly about them right in the open. They basically said how terrible it was for them to walk out like that and that was typical of Americans. I actually found this amusing because the girls weren't even American, they were Australian.
Despite this experience we actually went back again since some people in our group insisted on going there. This time the waiter messed up our order and brought us the wrong wine. This would not have been so bad, except that he refused to take it back and bring us the correct wine that we ordered.
I would not recommend going here to eat. There are a number of other restaurants in the area with far better food and service.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on June 7, 2003
Piazza Pasquino, 72
+39 (066) 830-7881
We stumbled upon this restaurant quite by accident and we are very glad we did. The food and service were excellent and very reasonably priced. The house red wine was very good and very inexpensive. Lunch four four including wine was about US$50 and we didn't even come close to finishing all of our food. The house salad and several different pasta dishes were excellent.
We went during lunch and it was not very crowded at all. We were told that it does get very busy for dinner, so you may need to make a reservation for dinner.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 7, 2003
Via di Parione (near Piazza Navona)
The most difficult part about having the wedding at St. Peter’s was the timing involved. All of our paper work and documentation could not be submitted or even dated earlier than six months out. The problem with that being you could not set your wedding date until the paper work was submitted and approved which could take several weeks. So we were not able to set our wedding date till almost four months before the date. This made planning very difficult since we weren’t able to confirm any of our other plans including travel arrangements and receptions until we had the ceremony date confirmed.
First of all let me say that I think Rome is a one of the best food cities in the world. You may not have as much variety as you would in New York or London, but in terms of quality and choices of local cuisine Rome cannot be beat.
My number one suggestion is avoid restaurants that are too touristy. They will generally be overpriced and the food not up to the quality that you would find in restaurant that caters to locals. Most restaurants that are situated right on the main piazzas and other prime spots fall in to this category. Though these restaurants do offer the most convenient locations and often time have great views. There is nothing quite like have dinner al fresco right on one of the beautiful piazza of Rome. If you go this route I would make sure you pick a place that someone recommends or simply save this experience for cappuccino and dessert. I would suggest trying the many restaurants that are located on the small streets.
In the area around Piazza Navona and The Pantheon, there some great restaurants on the small streets just of the Piazza. While I’ve found all of the restaurants I tried that were immediately on Piazza Navona or directly in front of The Pantheon to be so-so and overpriced.
Though there is nothing like a nice, long, sit down meal at an Italian restaurant in Rome, they can be long affairs. So if you want to have any time left for sightseeing, some of your meals will need to be on the go. No need to worry though, some of the best dining experiences quick bites or taken on the go.
Gelato (Italian ice cream) is simply the best. Ice cream served in the U.S. and elsewhere that I’ve tried just does not compare to. There are gelato shops all over the place in Rome; you can’t walk for more than a few minutes without passing one buy. This makes it very easy to succumb to temptation. Most places make it fresh and serve dozens and dozens of different flavors.
There is nothing quite like a quick cappuccino to start your day off with in Rome. Unfortunately I’m a bit of a caffeine addict so that quick cappuccino to start off the day is the first of many. Fortunately though it is quite reasonably priced. For under US$1 you can get a cappuccino that blows away anything that they make at Starbucks and is usually whipped in about 30 seconds. One thing to note though, if you sit down and order from the waiter as opposed to ordering and drinking at the counter, you will be charged more.
A great quick bite on the go is a slice of pizza served from one of the small pizza shops located everywhere, usually on the main street. They typically have five to ten types of pizzas sitting out at that glass counter top. The usual way of ordering is done by telling the person working the counter which one you want and indicating with your hands how big of a slice you would like. The pizza is then cut and weighed since it is sold by weight, not by slice.
Santa Monica, California