Rome Journals

La dolce vita a Roma.

An August 2003 trip to Rome by melissa_bel

Piazza Navonna, Rome, Italy Photo, Rome, Italy More Photos
Quote: A guided visit through the streets of the Eternal City.

La dolce vita a Roma.

Overview

Piazza Navonna, Rome, Italy Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
It’s really hard to write about Rome because so much has been said about it already. But everything you’ve heard is true: beauty, culture, history, weather … it is really, really difficult not to fall in love in Rome. History is everywhere and different periods are intimately mixed together: Renaissance churches built on the remains of Roman temples for instance. It is a city that is both pagan and deeply religious. It's the long nights spent strolling down the streets, going to a bar and enjoying a limoncello before going dancing and the Sunday afternoons paying a visit to the Vatican, surrounded by masterpieces. More than 2000 years of history… it’s a lot and it can be overwhelming ...Read More

Della Palma

Restaurant

Quote:
Just off Piazza della Rotonda, this ice-cream parlor is not the best in Rome, although it’s in the top five, but it has the most extensive chocolate selection (chocolate, truffle, orange-chocolate, Milky Way, sacher torte…)! Getting into a gelateria is like entering a dream… there are so many flavours to choose from (50+, I think), and with flavors unknown to foreigners. Yummy!!! They also serve coffee and sodas. My favourites are tangerine with orange-chocolate, sacher-torte and pistachio, limoncello (lemon liqueur typical from Italy) and coconut, Rafaello and tiramisu. I usually love mixing a creamy ice cream with a fruity sherbet for a kick! The, you can walk back to Piazza della Rotonda and e...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 22, 2004

Della Palma
V. d. Maddalena
Rome, Italy

Sant' Eustachio

Restaurant

Quote:
On the small and cute piazza San’Eustachio, you will find this coffeehouse. Now, I haven’t found a single bar serving bad coffee anywhere in Italy, but Caffé San’Eustachio is the very best in Rome. And you can buy the beans. It’s a tiny bar but very popular. The coffee is served black and the barista serves it with the exact amount of sugar required for their coffee. That’s called perfection. I remember seeing one rolling his eye when the tourist in front of me requested milk and more sugar. Better order something else if you think you can’t handle it. So, it’s a stop for purists and real coffee lovers! I know I only grind my beans for great occasions.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 22, 2004

Sant' Eustachio
Piazza Sant' Eustachio, 82
Rome, Italy
(06) 686-1309

Roman Forum

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Attraction | "The Forum"

Roman Forum Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The Roman Forum: With Athens’ Acropolis and Gizah’s Pyramids and Sphinx, the Roman Forum is a member of the Holy Trinity of Antiquity remains. It best viewed first from the overlook of the Campidoglio, where Rome’s city hall is located. If you go behind the building, you will have a complete view of the Forum and further away, the Coliseum. And it is huge. I guess that everybody looking at it is imagining how it must have looked like at the time of Rome’s splendor. It was the center of Roman life, a place of trade, discussion and worship. The first thing you notice is the Temple of Saturn, whom according to the myth, after being banished by his son Jupiter, found a haven in the area,...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 17, 2004

Roman Forum
Largo Romolo e Remo
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 066990110

Campo de' Fiori

Attraction | "Campo dei Fiori"

Campo de' Fiori Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This Piazza is schizophrenic! By day, it is the seat of Rome’s flower market (as the name indicated) and it’s really worth seeing as it is the more "traditional" face of the Campo. By night, it’s a meeting point for Roman youth and tourists and the Campo manages to be even more cramped that the Porta Portese market at peak hour! So much that some resident are really, really not happy about the loud and rowdy crowd invading the Piazza every night. Although, it’s a lot of fun… let’s admit. But don’t hang out there for too long as you might become dizzy or claustrophobic. Though, a lot of good bars are located here (if you can find a seat!). Usually, people make a meeting point of the statue that’...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 17, 2004

Campo de' Fiori
Piazza Campo de' Fiori
Rome, Italy 00186

Piazza Navona

Attraction

Piazza Navona Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Perhaps the most beautiful piazza in the city, Piazza Navona used to be a Roman circus (that’s why its shape is elliptical). This elegant area, surrounded by beautiful houses, the Church of Sant’Agnese and adorned by three of Bernini’s fountains, is a Roman trademark. And of course, let us not forget the mandatory obelisk! I recommend you take a moment to sit down and enjoy a coffee while looking at people passing by -- very relaxing and enjoyable. The main fountain is La Fontana dei Quatri Fiumi (1651) or Fountains of the Four Rivers -- and what are those? They are the Danube, the Nile, the Ganges and the Rio della Plata (in that order). Now, the face of the allegoric figure of the Nile is vei...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 17, 2004

Piazza Navona

Rome, Italy 00186

Piazza della Rotonda Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This is another meeting point. The first thing that strikes you is the Pantheon. This jewel of Roman architecture just dominates this charming place. It is very busy, filled with terraces, restaurants and bars (and Mc Donald's handling tourists), this cool little piazza is also a nice place to stop and relax along your journey through Rome’s streets. In the middle of the square, is another fountain, this time by Giacomo della Porta (and another obelisk). As you may or may not know, most of Rome’s fountain water is drinkable and you’ll probably notice those little "nose"-like fountains you can find almost everywhere in Rome (and it’s most welcome with Rome’s hot summers). Put your finger in the ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 17, 2004

Piazza della Rotonda
Piazza della Rotonda
Rome, Italy

Pantheon

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Attraction

Pantheon Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The Pantheon is without a doubt the best-preserved Roman monument. It is also one of the most copied pieces of architecture in the world. People who know Washington DC will see similarities with the Jefferson Memorial and if you look at the ceiling of Union Station, you’ll notice it’s the same motif used in Pantheon's dome! The original building was ordered by Agrippa, one of Emperor’s Augustus’ most trusted general and was built in 26 AD. In fact, it was the Emperor Hadrian himself who designed the building we see now and had it built almost a century later but he preserved the heritage pf Agrippa as you can read his name on top of the building. It is a temple dedicated to all the gods (Pan-Th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 17, 2004

Pantheon
Piazza della Rotonda
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 0668300230

Trevi Fountain

Attraction

Trevi Fountain Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
You’ve heard it all … You know the scene with the luscious Anita Eckberg in Fellini’s "8 ½"… Blah, blah, blah… I can only add platitude about the Trevi Fountain. This huge sculpted 18th Century fountain by Nicolo Salvi is a landmark. It represents Neptune, god of the sea, and his court. It’s beautiful, it’s big, it's theatrical in all its rococo splendour. It’s also packed with tourists, of course, who are all dutifully casting their Eurocent in the water. To do it properly, turn your back on the fountain, put your coin in your right hand and throw it over the opposite shoulder. Throw it once and you’ll come back to Rome, throw it twice and you’ll fall in love in Rome, throw it three times and ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 17, 2004

Trevi Fountain
Piazza di Trevi
Rome, Italy 00187

Santa Maria sopra Minerva Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This is my favourite Roman church! It is located on Piazza della Minerva, 5 minutes away from the Pantheon. There is a sculpture by Bernini (again) of a small elephant supporting an obelisk (another one). It is one of the cutest and most surprising of Bernini's sculptures. Santa Maria is built on the site of a Roman temple wrongly attributed to Minerva, goddess of wisdom. You can visit the crypt where the ruins are for a small fee. Built by the Dominicans in the early 13th century, it is the only gothic style church in Rome (although the facade has been rebuilt in the 19th century), it is complete with the typical gothic stained glass window. The ceiling painted in night blue with golden stars gives i...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 17, 2004

Santa Maria sopra Minerva
Piazza della Minerva, 42
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 (06) 6990339

Piazza Venezia

Attraction

Piazza Venezia Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Yes, Rome is full of beauty. It’s always one visual pleasure after the next ... until you get to Piazza Venezia. In fact, you can't miss it because it is a central point in Rome and a good geographical reference to see the sights along the way. It starts okay with the Venetian palace: Palazzo Venezia (it used to be the Venetian Embassy to the Pontifical states). Pope Paul II, who was from Venice, had it built when he was still a cardinal. It truly represents the architectural style you can find in the Canals City. Mussolini had his offices there and was addressing the crowd from the balcony. He also had Via dei Fori Imperiali built so he could see the Coliseum from his office. Via del Corso, a ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 18, 2004

Piazza Venezia
Piazza Venezia
Rome, Italy 00187

Campidoglio

Attraction | "Campidoglio-Capitoline Hill"

Campidoglio Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
In the 16th century, a gem of Roman structure was discovered: an equestrian statue of emperor Marcus Aurlius, emperor, but also philosopher. For centuries, this statue will become THE reference for any equestrian sculpture. Such a treasure deserved to be displayed in the best of settings. It just happened that the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was paying a visit to Rome. Worthy of this emperor title, Charles's procession would go on the Capitoline Hill, the Campidoglio. In Roman times, this hill overlooking the Forum was the center of Roman civic life. Michelangelo was put in charge of the design of the Campidoglio and he started in 1536, once again demonstrating his abilities at multi-tasking (...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 18, 2004

Campidoglio
Campidoglio
Rome, Italy

Knights of Malta Keyhole Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Up on the Aventine hill, above the Forum, there is a nice walk to do … first visit the church of Sant' Anselmo with its lovely courtyard. Pass the Santa Sabina Church. Soon, you will see a building with a green door. This is the retreat of the Knights of Malta . The door is seldom open but you will surely notice some people peeping through a hole. They are not being too curious or impolite, they are just having one of Rome’s best views of St-Peter’s. I won’t say much about it; you’ll have to discover for yourself, but to me, it’s one of Rome’s little treasures.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 18, 2004

Knights of Malta Keyhole
Aventine Hill
Rome, Italy

Orange Park

Attraction

Orange Park Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Carry on your walk from the Knights of Malta Keyhole and you will soon reach the Orange Park, an old orange trees grove overlooking the south side of the city. You can have a great view from there, and in May-June, when the orange trees are in bloom, the fragrance and the thousands of white flowers feel like you’re in a fairy tale. You’ll probably find some oranges still attached to the trees. Don’t try to eat one. I did and discovered they are bitter oranges. They are well suited for perfumes and pastries but not for eating!

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 18, 2004

Orange Park
Aventine Hill
Rome, Italy

Roseto Comunale

Attraction

Roseto Comunale Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
June is the best month to visit the rose garden. If you walk down from the Orange Park, not far from the Circus Maximus, you will find the rose garden. It has 2 sections. The most beautiful one is with the tea roses. It is a real enchantment. They come in every color and shape imaginable: yellow, red, orange, white, pink, even blue! Climbing roses, dwarf roses, bush roses… You can go smell them, but don’t touch! The flowers will wither faster if you do.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 13, 2004

Roseto Comunale
Via Vale Murcia
Rome, Italy

Spanish Steps (Scalinata)

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Attraction | "Piazza di Spagna & Spanish Steps"

Spanish Steps (Scalinata) Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Well, everybody who comes to Rome for the first time wants to see Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps). Those beautiful staircases dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church, the azaleas (only from mid-April to mid-May), the fountain, the people, the street vendors... it's dizzying. And although beautiful, it is not my favourite part of Rome. Even during low season the place is mobbed. Although the Trinità dei Monti church and Piazza di Spagna has been paid for by the French, the square has been named after the Spanish embassy to the Pontifical States that was based here. To me, the steps and the square are best approached from the church, either coming from Piazza Barberini or the Pincio Garde...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 18, 2005

Spanish Steps (Scalinata)
Piazza Di Spagna
Rome, Italy 00187

A Bere Birra

Attraction | "... A bere birra"

Quote:
Getting Wissal, my flatmate, to get out was always kind of difficult... We were living on the southern side of town, and "downtown" was always too far. But for some reason, she was always willing to go with me to …A bere birra. Located close the Trastevere train station, the name (drinking a beer) would make you think this is drunk-infested pub... not at all! It's more a quiet "beer-garden"—green is the dominant color here. It has a charming terrace overlooking Viale Trastevere but is far enough from the busy part of the neighbourhood. We would always stay inside (as we would try to catch "calcio" there). This bat is on the small side (even the tables are smallish), but it’s cute, with a narrow s...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 19, 2005

A Bere Birra
Viale Trastevere, 284
Rome, Italy

Abbey Theatre

Attraction

Quote:
During our exploration of Piazza Navona's surroundings, Esther, Anne, and I came across the Abbey Theatre, one of the many Irish pubs in Rome. We were new, and Irish pubs are always a reassuring place to find abroad (no surprise, probably other foreigners there). The decor is utterly Irish-pub, with dark woods, a parquet that looks like it has seen it all, high stools at the bar, dark corners... During the afternoon, it's pretty quiet, but at night and during the weekend (when there is a football or rugby game in the British Isles), it's PACKED! The bar has many TVs where expats (and locals, during international competitions) can watch the game. The bar staff is friendly and efficient, a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 19, 2005

Abbey Theatre
Via del Governo Vecchio, 51/53
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 066861341

Taverna del Campo

Attraction

Quote:
Yes, Campo de' Fiori is one busy piazza, and places to drink abound, most of them catering to young adults. For those who still know how to party but feel jaded or fed up with the "trendy" scene invaded by throngs of 18-25 green tourists or students on vacation, this bar is for you! There is nothing fancy in this small bar: exposed bricks, a small counter... but the mood is always great, and wine barrels are full of peanuts for customers to take (olives and cheese are also available). In the afternoon, it's pretty quiet, and you can have lunch there with their tasty crostini, but at night... with the Campo being what it is, it's full of carefree patrons enjoying wine or limoncello (their...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 19, 2005

Taverna del Campo
Piazza Campo dei Fiori, 16
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 066874402

Il Vecchio Gandalf

Attraction

Quote:
If the San Callisto hadn't been so packed, I probably wouldn't have paid attention to this pub. During the one night that we were in Trastevere, Esther, Hubi, and I couldn't find a place at the San Callisto and looked around the piazza to find another refuge. A banner for Belgian beer Stella Artois caught my eyes... We went in. What a difference from bustling San Callisto! I must say that I didn't even know about the Lord of the Rings at the time (I am now addicted to it), and I don't remember anything that was particular to the book here, but after reading about it, the pub decided to play on the theme full blast and brings devotees of the Tolkien saga when they visit Rome. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 19, 2005

Il Vecchio Gandalf
Piazza San Callisto
Rome, Italy

Ostia Lido

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Attraction | "Beach Life: Lido di Ostia"

Quote:
Yes, when you look at the map, the sea is not far away from Rome! Even if, sometimes, if feels a world away in this bustling town. But catching some rays is just a matter of will, because the frolicking sea is easy to get to. Ostia is the obvious choice and has always been the seaside extension of Rome since Antiquity times (Ostia Antica page coming soon). Take the metro line B to the Piramide, San Paolo, or Eur Magliana stations and follow the directions for the train to Lido di Ostia. I recommend taking the train at Piramide, as it is the start of the line. The train can get very crowded. The train there is also part of the experience. I don't think there's been a weekend where I would not find ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 13, 2005

Ostia Lido
Ostia
Rome, Italy 00122

Fregene

Attraction | "Beach Life: Fregene"

Quote:
Another possibility? Fregene. It's a nice seaside town. In the 60s and 70s, it used to be the hotspot for the beautiful, rich, and famous Romans, and it still plays that old glamour card. In the summer, some Roman nightclubs hold their summer events there (like Gilda, for instance, which has its Gilda on the Beach all summer long). To get there, you have to take the metro line A to Lepanto, and then a Cotral bus to Fregene. It's about an hour away. Just make sure you have the schedule with you so you don't miss the bus going back!!! Go here: http://www.cotralspa.it/orari/cot_01002__a04.pdf I went there once and t...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 13, 2005

Fregene
Fregene Beach life
Rome, Italy

Bar San Callisto

Attraction

Bar San Callisto Photo,
Quote:
In my favourite Rome neighbourhood, Trastevere, in a little square just between Viale Trastevere and Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, lies the Bar San Callisto, an unpretentious, no-fuss bar that became one of my favourite hang-outs. The bar in itself is not much to look at with its bland walls, but the terrace gets filled up at night with students and the local bohemian crowd. The tiny square is quite cozy, it is facing the old San Callisto church, now abandoned. The drinks are cheap, it’s a very relaxing place and it’s easy to make new friends here.By day, their tartufo ice-cream and cappuccino has to be tried and by night, enjoy people watching on the terrace with San Callisto's eclectic crowd.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 23, 2006

Bar San Callisto
Piazza San Callisto
Rome, Italy

Sunday in Rome

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
Sunday is one lazy and relaxing day in Rome. Even the traffic seems to calm down. Even though it's not what it once has, Italians and Romans in particular remains pretty religious and, to my surprise, my neighbourhood church had two services on Sunday morning and it was PACKED. Funny detail, the first stop on the way back home from the mass for a lot of parishioners was... the next-door bar for a little "aperitivo"! I also indulged and loved to the bar when it gets lively with older gentlemen having a sambuca or a martini rosso (the real drink, not the cocktails), kids on their Sunday best enjoying a soda or a hot chocolate... Then, everybody's off for lunch, usually a family affair on Sund...Read More

Coffee in Italy for beginners

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Rome, Italy Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Coffee in Italy is one serious thing. This dark and aromatic brew is strong, fragrant and nothing like people in the US are used to. Even the smallest bar will serve a very good cup of coffee (to start with, they all have a cappuccino machine). To help the traveller choose the coffee, here are my tips: when you order a coffee or "caffé", don't expect a 20 oz. cup. "Caffé" is the equivalent of an "espresso". You don't even need to call it espresso - if you ask for a coffee, you'll get an "espresso". It is seriously strong and served in a tiny cup (a demitasse). The ristretto is an even tinier cup of coffee, but because it's "stopped short" of a "Caffé", it's not as bitter. On the opposite, the caf...Read More

Public Transportation

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Termini Metro Station, Rome, Italy Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
ATAC, Rome's public transportation company, is quite efficient. There are only two subway lines and they run from 5 AM to 11:30 PM. Line A, the red line, goes (more or less) east-west and stops near the Vatican (Ottaviano-Vaticano), Piazza Del Popolo (Flaminio),the Spanish Steps (Spagna), Piazza Barberini, Termini Station, and Piazza della Repubblica. The Line B, the blue line, goes north-south and stops at the Tiburtina Station, Termini Station, the Colliseum (Colosseo), the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo), the Pyramide (Piramide), San Paolo Basilica (San Paolo) and three stops at the EUR. ATAC also has some trams (the Tram 8 that you can catch at Largo Argentina will take you Tr...Read More
Capitoline She-wolf, Rome, Italy Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
To the left of the city hall, you will see a little-noticed column and an important symbol of Rome: the Capitoline She-Wolf! This is a stone copy of an original Etruscan bronze that you can see inside the museum. The figure of Romulus and Remus were added later. Here is the legend of Romulus, Remus, and the foundation of Rome. Amulius was a wicked king that was ruling the kingdom of Alba Longo. He had a brother, Numitor, that he fought and sent into exile. Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, was forced to become a Vestal, and thus, not allowed to marry or have children. Mars, the God of War, saw her and fell in love. Soon enough, Rhea Silvia gave birth to twin boys. Furious, Amulius o...Read More