Rome Journals

Four Days in Rome

Best of IgoUgo

A May 2001 trip to Rome by Mary Louisa

Hanging out in Rome Photo, Rome, Italy More Photos
Quote: My husband and I visited Rome on our May anniversary trip. Although there is an unending supply of awesome sights, we managed to comfortably fit all of the highlights--plus several stellar meals--into four lovely days.

Four Days in Rome

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Next Door to our Hotel . . . Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Rome’s charms are myriad. There is something for every visitor here: ancient grandeur and mystery, religious fervor and pageant, big city bustle and sophistication, the history of Western art and architecture, sidewalk café and wine culture. Four days is a laughably small amount of time for exploring several millennia’s sights, but four days might be your saturation point, as it was mine. Another four-day trip is in store a couple of years down the road—and it’s guaranteed because I threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain! Our most memorable experience in Rome: The four-hour tour of the Colo...Read More

Hotel Cesari

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Albergo Cesari"

Hotel Cesari Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This lovely three-star hotel is in a fairly quiet and central part of the the city. Surrounded by several major sights (Pantheon, St. Ignazius, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain), the Albergo Cesari--pronounced "cheh-zah-ree"--is just two blocks off the main north-south drag, Via del Corso. When I booked our reservation over the internet, I noted that it was to be our anniversary, and when we arrived to our room, escorted by our helpful porter, a bottle of chardonnay spumanti and two glasses were waiting for us, compliments of manager Cinzia Farias. We were quoted a rate of 400,000 lire/night, or $200, when we booked and this is what we were charged. This included a buffet breakfast every ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 18, 2001

Hotel Cesari
VIA DI PIETRA 89 A
Rome, Italy
390-667-49701

Rosa Rosae

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Caffeteria Rosa Rosae"

Rosa Rosae Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This outdoor cafe had lovely tables lining Via di Pietra and a little side street, and we had been studying it from out our hotel windows (read my Albergo Cesari entry) for several days. The staff was pleasant and fun to watch as they chatted with passers by on the street. An added attraction was the strolling Elvis approximator (certainly he would never be mistaken for an impersonator) who was busking the tables joyfully. We gave him a couple thousand lire, I think. We saw him the next day at the Spanish Steps, too. This is the first restaurant we went to in Rome that served bre...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 19, 2001

Rosa Rosae
Via di Pietra, 88
Rome, Italy
(06) 678-6789

Cafe Barocco

Restaurant

Quote:
This outdoor cafe is in Rome's Piazza Navona, an oval pedestrian plaza teeming with Italians, tourists, cafe tables, and street vendors. It is an excellent people-watching venue, but it seems the cafes are priced higher than the food is worth. For lunch, we spent $40, and all we got was a salad to split (tomatoes, lettuce, and mozzarella) and two pizzas! I would take the time to search out a cheaper place in the Piazza.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on May 19, 2001

Cafe Barocco
Piazza Navona
Rome, Italy

Ristorante Clemente alla Maddalena

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Ristorante Clemente alla Maddalena Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Our hotel (Albergo Cesari) recommended this nearby restaurant for a romantic dinner, and we agree. It is a bit expensive, but then again, we ate quite a bit. It was a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience, from the caring waiters, to the lovely outdoor weather, the pleasant Swedish women we dined adjacent to, to the exquisite food. Remember that Italian food is simple food. But when lovingly prepared, there is no cuisine more heartwarming. The lovely piazza in which we dined al fresco is built around a small church, Santa Maria Maddalena, and her oval portrait on an opposite str...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 19, 2001

Ristorante Clemente alla Maddalena
Piazza della Maddalena 4
Rome, Italy
(06) 683-3633

Cave di S. Ignazio da Sabatino Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This little restaurant seemed like a good bet. It was just two blocks from our hotel (Albergo Cesari), was homey-looking, and had pizza on the menu. In fact the evening began pretty well. An older gentleman was our waiter and brought us fried cheese balls while we thought about our order. We laughed over some silly English translations on the menu (what are "meat cushions with tomato sauce"?).We started with some pasta; my fresh ravioli with spinach and cheese was really quite good but Dave's pasta with porcini wasn't. Then our pizzas came (margherita--tomato and cheese--and napoletana--anchovies) and the waiter just forgot about us altogether. We didn't see him or much of anyone for...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on May 18, 2001

Cave di S. Ignazio da Sabatino
Piazza S. Ignazio
Rome, Italy

Gran Caffe Rossi Martini

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Gran Caffe Rossi Martini Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
We decided to lunch at this cafe due to its location. One, it sits across the road from the Colosseum, affording a pretty great view; and two, it was where we were to meet our Scala Reale guide and group at 2pm for our tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. It turned out to be a fine lunch spot, but was a bit pricey (you pay for the view, maybe?). The wait staff was friendly and helpful here, and the outdoor tables were beautifully decorated with pretty cloths, umbrellas, and hanging flower baskets. We started with a hot vegetable antipasto: yummy sweet red peppers, sauteed broccoli, spinach, artichokes, and potatoes with rosemary. Dave and I each got a pasta dish, he the spaghetti vo...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 18, 2001

Gran Caffe Rossi Martini
Piazza del Colosseo 3A/3B
Rome, Italy

Ristorante Taverna Antonina

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Ristorante Taverna Antonina Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
We asked the front desk clerk at our hotel (Albergo Cesari) to recommend a nice seafood restaurant in our area, and boy did he! Taverna Antonina prepares seafood in the style of Puglia, on the southeastern shore of Italy. The restaurant was only a few blocks from our hotel, it was an incredible treat. For the first and only time in Italy, Dave and I decided on the fixed price menu: several antipasti, two small pastas, and a main dish. We asked our very helpful waiter for his suggestions. After he suggested a white wine from Puglia, he walked me to what Dave and I called the "fish...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 18, 2001

Ristorante Taverna Antonina
Via della Colonna Antonina 48/49
Rome, Italy

Church of San Ignazio di Loyola

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Church of S. Ignazio di Loyola"

Church of San Ignazio di Loyola Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This Jesuit church dedicated to the founder of the order, St. Ignatius of Loyola, was begun in 1626. It was the first church Dave and I visited in Rome, and when we stepped inside, we turned to each other and said, "Wow! I wonder what St. Peter's is going to be like." We wouldn't even have visited had it not been only steps from our hotel (Albergo Cesari) and an hour before our dinner reservation. I am so glad we went and recommend all do the same. The chapels are each touching and memorable in unique ways, especially the 19th-century Chapel of the Crucifixion, on the left hand s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 19, 2001

Church of San Ignazio di Loyola
Piazza San Ignazio
Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain

Attraction

Trevi Fountain Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The Fontana di Trevi is a huge tourist attraction; nonetheless, it is perhaps the most beautiful fountain I've ever seen. Built in the mid-1700s by Nicola Salvi, it is Rome's largest fountain, in fact, and if you want to come back to visit Rome, you've got to throw a coin into it (which I did, TWICE for good measure). In La Dolce Vita, the pool area looked much smaller as Anita Eckberg frolicked through it, and I seem to remember Marcello driving his convertible right up to the edge of it, but both of these ideas I had were wrong. The fountain is in a sunken area that you can only reach on foot. Watch your wallets and pockets here, by the way. Take special note of the love...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 19, 2001

Trevi Fountain
Piazza di Trevi
Rome, Italy 00187

Domus Aurea di Nerone

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Domus Aurea (Nero's Golden House)"

Domus Aurea di Nerone Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The Domus Aurea, or Nero's Golden House, was opened for public tours in 1999, after many years of excavation and study. In fact, what you can tour right now is but a fraction of a fraction of Nero's original domicile, which once covered most of downtown Rome. The Roman emperors who succeeded him won lots of points with the citizens by filling in, destroying, or converting his home for public use. Hence, much of it is unrecoverable. Regardless, ALL of it is simply underground, as is the case of most ancient Roman ruins in the city. The historical way of dealing with old structures in this town was to . . . what else? . . . bury them with the rubble of demolished buildings and build new things on t...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 19, 2001

Domus Aurea di Nerone
Via della Domus Aurea
Rome, Italy 00184
+39 0685301755

Scala Reale

Attraction | "Scala Reale's Ancient Rome (Roma Antica)"

Scala Reale Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This particular tour--Roma Antica--led by guides for Scala Reala covers ancient Rome's highlights in four hours. We saw the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (the Palatine Hill was closed off or something or we would've gone there too). The $70 per person we paid Scala Reale includes a membership to their cultural organization (promoting preservation and understanding of Rome's history, etc.), a welcome packet that they have waiting for you at your hotel when you arrive (maps, brochures, recommendations, itineraries, etc.), invitations to any available orientation strolls in Rome (1-2 hour introduction walks) at no extra charge, and $50 for the actual Roma Antica walk. Our days in Rome were already wel...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 20, 2001

Scala Reale

Rome, Italy

Roman Forum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Roman Forum Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The Foro Romano, or Roman Forum, is a collection of ruins and restorations from several millennia. Before its excavation beginning in the late 19th, it was . . . a cow pasture. Imagine! But as people started unearthing a column here and a capital there, interest grew in discovering what lay beneath the soil. We visited with the aid of a Scala Reale guide (read this journal entry for description of the overall tour), and frankly, without him, I would've been clueless and frustrated trying to educate myself about what I was seeing. The sites are sometimes improperly marked, and the odd...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 21, 2001

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

The Colosseum/Coliseum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The Colosseum"

The Colosseum/Coliseum Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This sight, Il Colosseo, is almost as stunning seen at a distance from the outside as it is on the inside. Once you pay the 10,000 lire entrance ($5)--and watch out for pickpockets outside the entrance--you can go in and wander around at your leisure. My husband and I took a Scala Reale tour that included this venue (see my IgoUgo write up of the tour here), and we were able to learn much about the Colosseum that we would never have known with just a guide book. In fact, our guide told us that the Colosseum was never flooded for mock navel battles, and that there is no documentation or...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 21, 2001

The Colosseum/Coliseum
Piazza Del Colosseo
Rome, Italy 00184
+39 (06) 7004261

Vatican Museums

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Musei Vaticani"

Vatican Museums Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Visiting the Vatican Museum complex is one of the most thrilling experiences I've had--so much history, so much beauty...and so little time. We spent four hours there (including a quick lunch in the cafeteria) and didn't touch three-quarters of the museums. We arrived at about 10:00am expecting to wait in a very long line, but moved in quickly amid throngs of people, got tickets for 18,000 lire ($9), and then proceeded to the audioguide rental desk (up more stairs) to get a CD guide for 10,000 lire ($5). (I highly recommend the CD audioguide.) It is a good idea to read up on what is in the museum and plan your trip ahead so you will not miss what you absolutely want to see (like I missed Laocoo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 22, 2001

Vatican Museums
Viale Vaticano
Rome, Italy 00165
0039 06 69884676

St. Peter's Basilica

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

St. Peter's Basilica Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Our first introduction to St. Peter's Basilica was heavenly. Although my husband and I aren't Roman Catholic, we were privileged to see and hear part of Mass at St. Peter's on a Friday at 5pm. For those who want to participate, the guards will let you past the cordon to sit in the pews. Of course, all in the entire church are requested to remain silent. The priest sang the Mass, with his assistants chanting after him (apologies for not knowing the terminology). It was absolutely beautiful. We had arrived at St. Peter's Square at 3pm and had lots of fun looking at the perspective trick of the colonnades--when you stand on a particular disk in front of them, the four rows appear as o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 22, 2001

St. Peter's Basilica
Piazza San Pietro
Vatican City, Rome 00193
+39 0669883462

Santa Maria d'Aracoeli Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This is purported to be one of the earliest Christian church in Rome, erected as an altar to heaven (ara coeli means just that in Latin) after the Sybil prophesied to Augustus a redeemer's coming.

It is best known for its seemingly unending staircase, reaching up from the Piazza Venezia to the church's red brick facade. The bones of St. Helena (Constantine's mother) are said to be buried within. The art of note is in the first chapel on the right, where you will see 15th century frescoes by Pinturicchio.

Hours are 7 to noon and 4 to 6, generally.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 1, 2002

Santa Maria d'Aracoeli
Piazza d'Aracoeli
Rome, Italy

Spanish Steps (Scalinata)

Attraction | "The Spanish Steps"

Spanish Steps (Scalinata) Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The Scalinata di Spagna, or Spanish steps, is a must-see for all visitors to Rome. On chilly, cloudy days you will still find tourists making the climb, snapping pictures all the way. In the warmer months, street vendors sell their cheap baubles and families lounge on the steps among beautiful flowers in spring. (Remember Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck there in Roman Holiday?) When we were there in May 2001, however, police guards were not allowing anyone to eat or drink while sitting on the steps. Whether this was a litter or a loiter problem, I'm not sure.You can shop till you drop at the base of the steps, along Via Condotti, or visit the quiet Church of Trinita...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 1, 2002

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

Pantheon

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Pantheon Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This building is Rome's best-preserved ancient structure. Originally, before Hadrian had the current temple erected around 120 A.D., there had stood a Pantheon built by Agrippa, also with a dome and opening through which to view the sky. The Pantheon is a marvel of architecture, studied by Renaissance engineers in their quest to build the domes of the great Italian churches such as Firenze's Duomo and St. Peter's Basilica. Its preservation through the centuries is due first to the fact that it was donated to the Roman Catholic church, who converted it to Church of Santa Maria ad Martyres. The Pantheon's interior is balanced: the height from the floor to the oculus, the 30...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 1, 2002

Pantheon
Piazza della Rotonda
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 0668300230

Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini/Capuchin Crypt

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Capuchin Crypt"

Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini/Capuchin Crypt Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This crypt comprises five vaulted rooms containing the bones and graves of over 4000 Capuchin Franciscans, assembled in a unique ornamental fashion in 1764. All decoration in the white-painted rooms is made only of human bones. From the light fixtures to the crucifixes to the angels--all ornamentation reminds the viewer that human life is ephemeral. The spirit is what prevails. The final room of the quiet journey through the crypt contains these words from beyond: "What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be." It is a dislocating yet moving sentiment to the tourist, who may have just toddled across the street from Rome's Hard Rock Cafe unknowingly entering this world...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 31, 2002

Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini/Capuchin Crypt
Via Vittorio Veneto 27
Rome, Italy

Explora: The Children's Museum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Explora: The Children's Museum Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Explora: il Museo dei Bambini di Roma (opened in 2000) is in the style of those found in many US cities: the hands-on exploration center. It is organized into four color-coded areas exploring how various systems work in a child’s day-to-day life. The four areas are the human body, the environment, the "square" (or public life), and the company. Kids can follow the path a letter takes through the postal system, they can learn how a credit card works (scary?), they can even help produce a television program! The tours begin at set times and last one hour and 45 minutes. The most recent schedule listed on the web site shows the following: Tuesday thr...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 9, 2002

Explora: The Children's Museum
Via Flaminia, 80
Rome, Italy