Rome Journals

Roam in Rome

A May 2001 trip to Rome by Shetraveler

Residenza San Pantaleo Photo, Rome, Italy More Photos
Quote: Rome is not for the faint of heart! The city pulsates with traffic, heat, and noise so much so that pockets of serenity are few and far between. Even these spots may be too scarce for the traveler looking for a place to relax. But Rome's greatest weakness can also be its greatest strength. The city delivers when it comes to the sheer number of historical sites and art masterpieces. As the city is best seen on foot, you’ll find yourself tripping over the same cobblestones that Roman senators walked over and dodging cars and vespas like a running back. Be prepared for the hustle and bustle of a city that's been operating in much the same way it has for centuries. The constant reinforcement of S.P.Q.R. will attest to that. Luckily many of the most popular sites are clustered around various parts of the city, so you can see a lot each day. This is very good strategy for visiting the city.

Roam in Rome

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Overview

Why look at a facade during its renovation... Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
1. Visit the Domus Aurea (Neros' Golden House).00002. Take part in a Papal Audience.3. Take a Tour of the Scavi of St. Peter's and begin to understand this saint's importance to the foundation of the Catholic church.4. Buy yourself a drink at the rooftop bar of the Hotel Raphael, near the Piazza Navona. 5. Have a picnic while enjoying the cool breeze on the Palatine hill. 6. Enjoy an unobstructed panoramic view of Rome from the top of the Capitoline Museum.Quick Tips: 1. Above all, wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes. The cobblestones are very unforgiving, so this is not the time to break in a new pair. 2. The churches h...Read More
Residenza San Pantaleo Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
English is spoken here. The rooms are simple, spacious, and contain private bath, TV and air conditioning. You must ask for a courtyard room to cut down on the Piazza Navona traffic noise. The location is ideal; centrally located to major monuments and local restaurants/cafes, a stone's throw to the Campo Dei Fiori, three-minute walk to Piazza Navona, and a 20-minute walk to Vatican City.

Their web page is .

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 26, 2001

Residenza San Pantaleo
Piazza San Pantaleo 3
Rome, Italy
06-6832345

Cul de Sac

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Restaurant

Cul de Sac Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Never mind that the wine is stacked up to the ceiling - Rome hasn't had a major earthquake in decades. Rather, be grateful that they've stocked so many bottles of local vino, several that are available by the glass. This is the true "Gustovino." Tables may be family style (shared) if the dining room and tiny patio are full, but you can meet lots of interesting Romans this way! This is only a minor inconvenience for one of the few places that's open on Sunday and serves hearty soups, pastas, paté, dips (the babaganoush made with aubergines and garlic is to die for) and a bountiful selection of cheeses and cured meats.. For a starter, try a plate of the delicate San Daniele proscuitto. The Greek s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 26, 2001

Cul de Sac
Piazza Pasquino, 73
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 0668801094

Da Baffetto

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Restaurant | "Da Bafetto"

Quote:
There are very few things Romans will line up for. This institution is one one of them. Prepare to wait with your Roman bretheren if you show up after 9 pm. No reservations taken here. You might even have to share a table. If you get there early (i.e. around 7:30 pm), you can avoid the crowds. Heavily frequented by locals, this small but famous, pizzeria is convenient to those using Piazza Navona as a meeting place for dessert (it's located right next to the Piazza) and easy on the budget--you could get a small plain pizza with a half-litre of wine for about $8-$10. Only open for dinner, a large pizza would feed a choir! The crust is typical Roman: thin and crispy, and the sauce is mild (but c...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 5, 2002

Da Baffetto
Via del Governo Vecchio, 114
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 066861617

Quote:
Brush up on your Italian because there's very little English spoken here (and no translated menu) and for good reason. Almost everyone who eats here is Italian. There is no translated menu. But the fish is very fresh and they have a delicious pounded chicken breast. They serve the freshest, most creamy mozzarella (and tomato salad) here. There's a rumor that Madonna ducked in here for dinner while trying to escape the hordes of screaming fans.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 27, 2001

Fiaschetteria Beltramme
Via della Croce, 39
Rome, Italy 00187

La Carbonara

Restaurant

Quote:
It's touristy, but surprisingly decent for serving that many covers a night in such a central location. If you have the signature dish (Pasta Carbonara) there, don't be surprised if it's different from other's interpretations (their's is much dryer). Other specialties done very well are the fried artichoke and the scampi. If you want to sit outside, make a reservation. Otherwise, they'll put you on the second floor with no view. If you do sit outside, watch your bags. Vespa swoops have happened.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 27, 2001

La Carbonara
Via Panisperna, 214
Rome, Italy 00184
+39 064825176

Enoteca Il Piccolo

Restaurant

Quote:
This is a tiny but toney winebar on one of the Centro Storico's restaurant rows that serves a refreshing wild berry wine - complete with a long spoon to scoop out the now wine-soaked fruit to eat! It may be even better than Sangria. It's in a giant bowl at the bar, so you can just point to it. It's usually full of locals dropping by for a drink after work.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

Enoteca Il Piccolo
Via del Governo Vecchio 74-75
Rome, Italy
(066) 880-1746

Filletti Di Baccala

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Restaurant

Quote:
Also known as "Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara", this family run restaurant does only one thing here: deep fried cod. But this isn't your mother's fish sticks. The cod filets are fried until the coating is golden brown, crunchy and melt in your mouth light. You order them by the piece: depending on your appetite, 2-3 of the generous portions may be enough, since the batter really weighs you down. And it's okay to eat them with your fingers! Starters include cold white beans with onions or the seasonal puntarelle salad (a Roman favorite green that's in the chicory family, served only in winter) and the wine list is limited. Filled with locals (very little English spoken here), the place is awa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 30, 2001

Filletti Di Baccala
Largo Librai 88
Rome, Italy
(06) 686-4018

La Scaletta Degli Artisti

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Restaurant

Quote:
The multi-paged menu (also available in English) will keep you busy for a few minutes, but what's the rush? In Rome, no one is in a hurry when they're dining. They serve most of the recognizable Italian dishes you love, including several types of pizza, all deftly executed. There's also an extensive listing of local (i.e. Roman) specialities, like tripe, wild boar and roasted lamb. If you're not that adventurous, try the Polpette, good old fashioned meatballs, served in a hearty marinara. Served without spaghetti (that's an Italian-American convention), the tangerine-sized pork/veal meatballs are deceptively light upon the first few bites. But wait until they hit! My suggestion is to split an orde...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 30, 2001

La Scaletta Degli Artisti
Via Di Santa Maria Dell'Anima 56
Rome, Italy
(06) 6880-1872

Gran Caffe Rossi Martini

Restaurant | "Caffe Martini "

Quote:
This cafe has arguably one of the best views in all of Rome. Sitting at one of the outdoor tables, you'll feel very much like one of the ancient Romans who must have done a similar thing before attending an afternoon gladiatorial bout. The cafe is so convenient after a long walk around the Forum and Colosseum. The food is decent and the service is eager. Pizzas and salads are tasty and generous. The bathrooms are quite clean and the owners really don't mind if you use them and don't dine here (but leave a few coins in the box to help the "cause"). After dining, they'll present you with a postcard (and if you're lucky, a poster) of the restaurant.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 6, 2001

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

Sant' Eustachio

Restaurant

Quote:
This caffe arguably serves the best coffee in the city. Frequented by the most fanatical of espresso drinkers, the coffee bar serves its product heavily sugared (unless you ask for a caffe amaro) when it is magically produced by the barista - you can't actually see them making it and they won't tell you their secret. Surely the coffee must be blessed by the saint himself as the froth is so thick, you can finish it with a spoon. Don't bother asking for a cappucino or caffe latte here ... unless you want to be branded "tourist"! Be sure to leave a little change for the barista. You'll find it was worth it!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 8, 2001

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

Pantheon

Attraction

Pantheon Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Stepping into this perfectly preserved monument is like stepping back into ancient Rome. As you approach the building it will seem sunken into the Piazza, almost disproportionate to its space. The closer you get, the columns seem to grow exponentionally until you are confronted with the massive doors and an interior space that is spacious and yet surprisingly intimate. It's even better when it's drizzling. When the raindrops mix with the light as it drifts through the forver opened oculus, it's magical. If you have time, walk around the outside of the building. You'll easily understand how the Roman engineers managed to build so many monuments that are still standing.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 27, 2001

Pantheon
Piazza della Rotonda
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 0668300230

Domus Aurea di Nerone

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

Quote:
A welcome relief from the heat of summer (it's about 60 degrees inside), the cavelike Domus is softly lit to preserve what little is left of Nero's Golden House, once the biggest palace Rome had ever seen. Much has to be left to your imagination (including the grand scale, gold leafed wall, rotating dining room and massive fountains), but the descriptive tape recorded guide will help you manage this. This site is worth visiting if you are a Roman history buff (and a Nero fan). Reservations are required. The easist way to visit is to book a tour through Select Italy (www.selectitaly.com); or when in Rome, call 06-39967600, where you'll hear a recorded message in Italian and English with reservation ins...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 27, 2001

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

Palatine

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Attraction | "Palatino"

Palatine Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
There's a reason Augustus chose this site as his home base. The Palatine hill gets the cool breeze in the summer, lots of sun in the winter and a lovely view all year long. You can escape the crowds of the city here and really enjoy some peace and quiet. In the cooler months it remains astonishingly green and in the warmer months, there are wildflowers everywhere. It's the perfect spot to wander from rubble to rubble, picnic, and imagine the Emperor's palace, courtyards and gardens. There's a tiny museum, housed in a former convent, of artifacts found on the site, including statues, busts, wall hangings, and frescoes. This site also affords one of the best unobstructed views of what was once the Ci...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 27, 2001

Palatine
Via San Gregorio
Rome, Italy 00184
+39 066990110

Piazza Navona

Attraction

Piazza Navona Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Another one of those piazzas where people "hang out", it the home of Tre Scalini and its "tartufo" chocolate ice cream balls and Bernini's Fountain of the 4 Rivers. More people are drinking coffee and people watching than looking at the fountain. Still, if you want to study the fountain, notice that one of the river gods is supposedly recoiling in horror at the facade of the adjacent Church of St Agnese (designed by Bernini's rival Borromini). Must be an urban myth since the church was built after the fountain! What is known is that Bernini hated what we consider a masterpiece, exclaiming "I am ashamed to have done so poorly." there's an interesting toy store at the north end of the Piazza (Al Sogn...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

Piazza Navona

Rome, Italy 00186

Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini)

Attraction | "Capitoline Museum"

Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini) Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Recently re-opened after extensive renovation, this museum, which is split into two buildings across with the piazza between) will thrill art history students (and Roman history junkies). On one side - the Palazzo Nuovo - you'll find the Dying Gaul and the luscious Capitoline Venus. Wander the hall of philosophers and see if you recognize Socrates (look for the guy with the pug nose) and Homer. The adjacent Palazzo Dei Conservatori houses the famous bronze Romulus and Remus with the She Wolf, the Colossal Head of Constantine (and other parts of his body!), and the bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius (the one outside on the piazza is a replica). there's a little cafe on the roof of this building where yo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2001

Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini)
Piazza Del Campidoglio, 1
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 (06) 67102475

Studio Arti e Mestieri

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Attraction

Quote:
These ceramics are not the traditional "deruta" type that you might find throughout Italy. Rather, this shop specializes in floral, amimal and abstract motifs, all hand painted and hand-crafted, definitely one of a kind. The prices are quite reasonable and many of the items, like the smaller bowls and vases, make nice and unusual gifts. They will pack your purchases in bubble wrap for the airplane ride home. It's located right next to Campo Dei Fiori.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

Studio Arti e Mestieri
Via Dei Baullari 146
Rome, Italy

Vatican Museums

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Attraction | "Musei Vaticani"

Vatican Museums Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Remember that it's more than just the Sistine Chapel and Raphael masterpieces-though they are important. There's the Portrait Collection, decorative arts, Egyptian artifacts and much more. Even the rooms where the art pieces are displayed warrant a second look. There's so much to see that you'll have to narrow it all down and be strategic, otherwise you'll just be overwhelmed. If you are interested in the whole, plan for 2 half days. You could combine it with seeing St. Peter's or the Vatican Gardens. There are two strategies that I have taken that were very different, but fulfilled my needs. The first was do some research on my own (I used an old art history book and the Eyewitnes...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

Vatican Museums
Viale Vaticano
Rome, Italy 00165
0039 06 69884676

Est Re Mi

Attraction

Quote:
It's kinda like Rome's version of a Pier One Imports. Lots of funky, ethnic do-dads. My friend bought an African drum and I bought some porcelain tiles. If you're in the neighborhood, it might be worth a browse. Also a location at 101 Via Monserrato (near Piazza Farnese).

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

Est Re Mi
Corso Rinascimento, 54/56
Rome, Italy

Scala Reale

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Attraction | "Context:Rome Scale Reale Itineraries"

Quote:
The 4-hour intensive walking tours are conducted by classical historians, art historians, archaeologists and scholars. By putting the monuments, buildings and artwork in a framework, you'll begin to see them as a part of the whole history of Rome, and not just as buildings and works of art. The folks at Context: Rome are utterly committed to educating and enlightening visitors about the wonders of Rome and her history. Take, for example their Vatican Specialist (whomever it may be at the time). As an art historian, he/she is committed to educating his/her visitors and has a lot of knowledge and opinions on the inner workings of the Vatican art circle. He/she covers everything that you might not know w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

Scala Reale

Rome, Italy

Taba

Attraction

Quote:
This little shop sells lots of ethnic looking knick-knacks, like headbands and scarves, but it really specializes in unusual candles. The floral candles (unscented in the shapes of pansies and sunflowers) make a very unusual and easy to carry gift. Around Valentine's Day they make heart shaped candles out of a mold of baby roses. It's very popular and a perfect place to pick up that last minute gift from Rome.. Other locations are Piazza di Pietra, 35; Corso Vittrio Emanuele, 42; and Corso Pisacane, 25.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

Taba
Piazza Campo Dei Fiori 13
Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain

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Attraction

Trevi Fountain Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Even with the crowds of tourists lingering nearby, you can still hear the roar of the rococco-style fountain from a block away. This is no trickle ... the power and majesty of the running water only accentuates the masculine figures of the Tritons. It's worth a 15 minute linger, then the crowds will get to you. No matter how hot it is, don't even think about jumping in (like Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita). You'll be arrested before you even get your toe wet. Rather, throw that coin in over your shoulder and commit to returning to the Eternal City.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

Trevi Fountain
Piazza di Trevi
Rome, Italy 00187

St. Peter's Basilica

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Attraction | "Basilica di San Pietro"

St. Peter's Basilica Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
St Peter''s basilica is another of those Roman buildings that has mastered the use of interior space. Like the Pantheon, from its exterior, it''s deceptively compact, but once you get inside, you realize this building can hold a lot of people. But it never feels crowded, and that''s why it''s so extraordinary. On any given day, you can see visiting pilgrims, school groups, tourists and scholars from everwhere in the world, all drawn to the seat of the Catholic religion. Spend some time watching the light come through the dome, hitting Bernini''s baldacchino and notice how he got it so right when he designed the stained glass window on the back wall of the basilica. Wait your turn to step right up ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

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

Officina Profumo Farmaceutico Santa Maria Novella

Attraction | "Officina Profumo-Farmaceutico Santa Maria Novella"

Quote:
This is the Rome branch of the original "pharmacy", located in Florence. Opened by Dominican monks in the 17th century, the original pharmacy in Florence has all kinds of natural soaps, oils and the most heavenly signature potpourri. This branch houses all these products in a tiny shop. I love their baby soaps and lotions. Their olive oil soaps come in a pretty box and makes a great gift (easy to pack). They will ship overseas and later, you can order more products by fax.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

Officina Profumo Farmaceutico Santa Maria Novella
Corso Rinascimento 47
Rome, Italy

The Colosseum/Coliseum

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Attraction | "Colosseo"

The Colosseum/Coliseum Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The Flavian Amphitheater stands the test of time. From the outside it looks much like many of our modern day arenas, reinforcing the fact that the Romans built things to last. The central walkway over what once was the arena may be unattractive, but it allows the visitor to now see the infamous animal holding cells and gladiator "locker rooms". A typical game day went like this: animal hunts and ordinary executions (basic drawing and quartering) in the morning. In afternoon one could enjoy a feast of the recently "hunted" (and killed)animals (they had concession stands then), gladiator games (between professionals and other misfortunates like slaves, prisoners and Christians). After that the aren...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

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

Roman Forum

Attraction

Roman Forum Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
I admit it...it looked like a bunch of rubble when I first saw it in person (and I was a Latin major!). But I knew that this was the nerve center of the Roman Empire, so I had to try to understand it. Luckily, I was with a tour guide that made the Forum come alive by telling me what actually went on there from day to day and what each remaining monument was. He explained how the Forum fit into the Roman mentality and by extension, the Empire. The key to understanding the Forum is knowing a bit about Roman politics, history and architecture. If you haven't studied this before, find a guidebook to pre-educate you or take a walking tour that will help to recreate the city's most historically significant...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 28, 2001

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

Quote:
The best thing about this strange little museum (located in the EUR suburb) are the "plastico" or the plaster cast model of Roman monuments. It's helpful to visit the museum before you start wandering around all the ancient monuments of the city. There's an excellent model of the Colosseum, with a visible cross section so that you can see all the lifts and tunnels. The gigantic model of the city circa 4th century A.D will put all the buildings into perspective and give you an idea as to the scale of the entire complex before it became rubble.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 8, 2001

Museo della Civilta Romana
Piazza Giovanni Agnelli 10
Rome, Italy

St. Peter's Basilica

Attraction | "Scavi of St. Peter's Basilica"

Quote:
The Scavi or undergound necropolis of St. Peter''s Basilica is ground zero for the Catholic church. By going underneath the basilica and seeing firsthand how the city has been layered over the centuries, you''ll easily understand how St. Peter''s remains could have been "misplaced". You''ll be assigned to a group of no more than 15 and your guide will lead you back into another century when Romans buried their ancestors in these literal "cities of the dead." The excavation is continual and recently better lighting has been added. Reservations are a must: send an e-mail to uff.scavi@fabricsp.va. Try to give a range of dates and language preference in your request as tour availability is limite...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 6, 2001

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

Strategies for seeing the city

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Depending upon how long you are spending in the Eternal City, many of the major monuments can be seen (but not necessarily absorbed) in a few days. This is one strategy I used on one of my earlier trips (if you are doing this without the benefit of a walking tour, be sure to have an excellent guide book and map handy--I like the StreetWise Maps and the Eyewitness Guides). Day One: An orientation of the Centro Storico. Starting at the Campo Dei Fiori, working my way on a diagonal toward the Spanish Steps, stopping at the Piazza Navona, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain along the way. Day Two: A trip through Ancient Rome. Starting at the top of the Forum (behind the Vittorio E...Read More

About the Writer

Shetraveler

Shetraveler
Campbell, California