Rome Journals

CRASHCOURSE - Modern Day Gladiator 101

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A March 2000 trip to Rome by Jose Kevo

Heavenly hosts Photo, Rome, Italy More Photos
Quote: With abundant tourists fighting to see an even greater number of world-renowned attractions, frenzy is about as inevitable as travelers' desires to experience the Eternal City. Prepare for combat? Here's Rome inspite of, beyond the Tourist Trap so you can leave the armor at home! VUELVERE - I will return!

CRASHCOURSE - Modern Day Gladiator 101

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Heavenly hosts Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Nowhere else in Europe has history in every aspect come to life with such mental intake overload. Everything you've ever read or heard about is still here from remains of the 735 B.C. hut of Romulus to Mussolini's balcony. No matter how long you stay or how well you've prepared, it could never be enough. I consider this Italy's Art & Architecture capitol because there's so much more of it! Even if you never enter a museum, you'll see more than anywhere else in the world. Cathedrals are masterpieces both inside and out; even small churches are too great to pass up with many hidden finds. And the Vatican Museum made a museum patron out of even me! With all there's to see and do, Rom...Read More

Chelsea Motor Inn

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Hotel | "Locanda Otello Rossi"

Quote:
I was most thankful to FINALLY find a room in a private residence...though I''m not wild about the "invading house guest" feeling. However, many Italians rent out rooms in their homes. In this building alone, there were two other homes with rooms and two hotels; all of which have insignia plaques posted on the front of the building. Locanda Otello Rossi is the name of the lovely lady who seemed to understand every word I said, but only replied with smiles and gestures. The warmth and hospitality of she and her family made up for any personal incoveniences from within. They''ve 6 various sized rooms for rent - of which mine was a basic single that was plain and simple with sparse furnishings. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

Chelsea Motor Inn
Via Marghera 13
Rome, Italy

Budget Hotel

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Hotel | "Accomodation Nightmares (Budget Hotels)"

Quote:
Never have I seen SO MANY accomodations! Also, never have I experienced such a hassle and hustle trying to find a place to stay. Without reservations waiting, you''re at the mercy of seek and find after a long flight over. Budget travelers are especially victimized into paying a higher price in effort than would normally be expected. In my vacation planning, I did contact the Italian Board of Tourism and received 6 free sheets with double columns listing places to stay that were 1-star rated hotels and pension/boarding houses - well more than 100 listings. (They''ve the same lists for 2-5-star hotels.) Lonely Planet''s Rome also had numerous budget listings leaving me to fantasize about walk...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

Budget Hotel

Rome, Italy

Rome Dining

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Restaurant | "Dining In General"

Rome Dining Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
This will likely net backlash from readers, but - I wasn't impressed with Rome's reputable, endless wealth of dining opportunities. No matter how large/small the Trattoria/Ristorante, Italian waiters seemed peeved when you didn't order off the tourist menu - antipasti or pasta, second course of salad, meat, vegetable followed by dessert; with drink usually costing $12-up. It wasn't about price, but I don't eat that much...nor, do I like being told what/how to order! RISTORANTE DONATI FRANCO, at Via Marghera 27 near where I stayed, served up excellent grilled Italian sausages with salad and a steamed spinach-florentine side dish with bread for $10. On another night I had a bowl of Cream of Artic...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

Rome Dining
Throughout Rome
Rome, Italy

Havens from the Hustle

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Story/Tip

First Glimpse Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Immense amounts of green on maps acknowledge Rome has an abundance of city parks. Whether large or small, these are excellent retreat places helping keep the "Eternal" in the city, allowing needed breaks to keep you going indefinitely.COLLE OPPIO linked with PARCO DI TIANO is where I spent the most time based on proximity to where I stayed and the Colosseum. On my first approach from the east heading west along Viale Del Monte Oppio, anticipation rose with every step knowing the borders skirted the Colosseum...and there it was beyond the groves of trees with the sun sinking behind. I'll never forget those first glimpses...nor following times spent gazing amid playful children under wat...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Nero's Golden Palace

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Attraction | "The Passed Haunts of Nero's Golden Palace"

Nero's Golden Palace Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Roman history wouldn't be complete without the rotten scoundrel Nero during his reign as Emperor 53-68A.D. After almost two milleniums of trying to forget and erase his legacy, a new attraction officially opened for the Jubilee Year - public tours of what reamins from Nero's Golden Palace; also known as the Domus Aurea. It's located underground along the western edge of Parco Colle Oppio with entry in view of the Colosseum. Escorted tours are with reservation only based on availabilities and cost L10,000. The guide explained in several languages about this - the major wing of Nero's digs surviving ONLY because it was used as foundational support for Trajan's Baths. Separate palaces were destro...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Nero's Golden Palace
Colle Oppio Park
Rome, Italy

Roman Arches & Towers

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Attraction | "In Honor of Their Efforts - Arches & Towers"

Roman Arches & Towers Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Rome's former emperors ruled the world in a larger-than-life way. And to make sure no one would forget, from centuries ago until now, an intact host of intricately designed arches and towers are scattered among the ruins. When entering the Forum from the east along Via Sacra, you pass under the Arch of Titus which was built in 81 A.D. following reconquering the Jews in Jerusalem. The inner-archway has detectable carvings of Roman soldiers carrying off spoils from the Temple and Judea. I overheard a tour guide explaining how these have significance with the book of Revelation and prophecy fullfilment...that Rome will someday return the haul to Jerusalem. If entry from the west forum was ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Roman Arches & Towers
Throughout Rome
Rome, Italy

Roman Museums

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Attraction | "Museum Madness - An upended extravaganza"

Roman Museums Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
During my visit, Capotiline museums were closed for renovations; most of their significant works were displaced to various other museums. Whether due to confusing inconvenience or what, the network of National Roman Museums ran "free admissions" during my entire stay; an offer too good to pass up for even someone like me who's "not the museum type". Little did I know! The Vatican Museum, covered in separate entries, initially tweaked my new-found craving, but it was the sculptures that really drew my attention. The Palazzo Altemps, located at Via di' Sant Apollinare 44, north of Piazza Navona, is an architectural wonder unto itself with large collections of Greek and Roman statues/sculptures th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Roman Museums
Throughout Rome
Rome, Italy

Piazza Venezia

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Attraction | "Egotistical Eyesores in the Middle of Mayhem"

Piazza Venezia Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
If you want to figure out where a lot of Rome's modern-day negative attributes stem from, check out Piazza Venezia that's definitely the pulse of the chaotic frenzy. The old saying that all roads lead to Rome - well they all appear to intersect here and from what I saw, Rome's traffic is at it's heaviest and worst in this notorious plaza. If pedestrians have cause to get sweats/cold feet for trying to cross traffic, this place is it...all but unavoidable! To further compound the problem, the area is a central magnet for dropping off/pick-up points of motorcoach tour buses; especially along Via Dei Fori Imperali. And with the crowds come hordes of street vendors selling trinkets, discussed furth...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Piazza Venezia
Piazza Venezia
Rome, Italy 00187

Ancient Rome

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Attraction | "Ancient of Ancients"

Ancient Rome Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Tucked away along the banks of the Tiber River is an unsuspecting quiet area where much of Rome was thriving around the period of Christ's time on earth and before. Rather than bore you with details/directions, the Eyewitness Rome Guide has an indepth street-by-street walking tour map in the Aventine section on page 200 complete with directions, photos and information that should certainly merit at least a couple of hours of your time. Also not to be missed are the nearby remains of San Nicola in Carcere and the Theater of Marcellus. When wandering this area among the relics, try to imagine it as what it was - Rome's central market area where foods, livestock and goods were traded next to what w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Ancient Rome
Central Rome
Rome, Italy

Avoiding Scams

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Attraction | "BE"a"WARE of what spoils Rome"

Quote:
No matter which guidebook you use, there'll be a long list of what to avoid for safety. Sad but humorous, it's all obviously there as if a scripted part of the daily side show! Bands of women with ruffian broods could be seen "working" the Colosseum area causing distractions for pickpocketing. Begging ladies and fortune telling gypsies tried to get too close too quick. I saw police apprehend juveniles who'd snatched a purse. Why repeat this news again? Because we can ALL be "clueless tourists" at times or else the success of such criminals wouldn't make them akin to Betty Crocker - "They'll always come back for more"! Cashiers, especially in eateries, seemed more prone to fulfill the "short-...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Avoiding Scams
Throughout Rome
Rome, Italy

Pantheon

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Attraction | "The Pantheon - Worth a second look or more"

Pantheon Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
When ambling around the central part of the Old City, you'll likely happen upon the Pantheon unexpectedly unless you're specifically looking for it. It somehow doesn't seem fitting that Ancient Rome's most well preserved, intact building is all but hidden and obscurely swallowed up by it's environs. But once you've found it - I consider it second only to the Colosseum! There's free admission with opening times from 9:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. making it easily accessible for as many times as I couldn't help but pass through this central area. Seeing the Pantheon at all hours of the day is one of the added bonuses thanks to the oculus - the circular opening in the dome that provides the cavernous inter...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Pantheon
Piazza della Rotonda
Rome, Italy 00186
+39 0668300230

Mausoleum of Hadrian (Castel Sant'Angelo)

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Attraction | "Mausoleums - Respecting or Disrespecting the dead"

Mausoleum of Hadrian (Castel Sant'Angelo) Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The commanding presence of Castel Sant' Angelo across the banks of the Tiber is impressive to say the least...until looking at the illustration on top of page 248 in the Eyewitness Guidebook. What we see today is considered Rome's stronghold that in the 14th century was claimed by The Vatican as a "safehouse" for Popes. The Eyewitness illustration details the striking, yet simple beauty of a mausoleum built by Hadrian in 139 A.D. to serve as final resting place for him and all the families of the Antonine and Severine emperors through Caracalla. As for the dead, typically their memories are about all that's left. Converting a mausoleum into a castle fortress involved leveled layers of both hori...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Mausoleum of Hadrian (Castel Sant'Angelo)
Lungotevere Castello
Rome, Italy 00193
+39 0639080730

Spanish & Egyptian Influences

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Attraction | "Spanish + Egyptian = Italian?"

Spanish & Egyptian Influences Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
The title seems like an unlikely equation and if you haven't figured out what I'm getting at, there'll be enough hints scattered about so you'll soon catch on. Spanish-like plazas, called piazzas, and Egyptian obelisks are about as likely a combination pair as pasta and sauce or Termini station and trains. Added to the likely mix covered in separate journal entries are fountains/statues and Cathedrals/churches, but these are all aspects which cater to the leisurely enjoyment of both locals and tourists in cities and towns across the European continent. The concept of piazza likely originated from the ancient Roman Forums or Greek Agoras as a central meeting place for the people...and adapted in ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Spanish & Egyptian Influences
Throughout Rome
Rome, Italy

More than the Mind & Eyes can Handle

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Story/Tip

Sounding the conch shell Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Formerly living in Kansas City, MO I'd often heard claim that they were second only to Rome when it came to the amount of statues and fountains scattered about the city. Make that a long, far second! Despite what I'd heard, read and seen in pictures, nothing could have prepared me for the abundance of art in the streets; especially in the forms of statues and fountains. And as written in this journal's highlights, one would never have to enter a museum to still witness more forms of exquisite craftmanship than likely seen in one's previous life and travels combined!!!The fountain craze stemmed from what most of passed and present Rome has been built on - power and ego. Rome has long-p...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Roman Basilicas and Churches

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Attraction | "The Bigger the Better! - Basilicas and Churches"

Roman Basilicas and Churches Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
For having such a pagan history despite it's "Christian claims", the over abundance of worship centers in Rome is astounding. Exactly how much "worshipping" takes place these days can be your guess, but it's no waste for the structures which further enhance and overload the arhitectural and museum themes with their artistic wonders both exterior and interior. Going fuzzy in the mind from looking at too many piles of ruins is one things, but when the same symptoms take place with the overwhelming, magnitudal amounts of arts one's seen, I was somewhat troubled with my purpose of a tourist and why bother coming? I'd about seen all I could intake, still feeling compelled to look. Yet I no doubt short-...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 17, 2001

Roman Basilicas and Churches
Throughout Rome
Rome, Italy

Sistine Chapel

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Attraction | ""MUST KNOWS" for the Sistine Chapel"

Sistine Chapel Photo, Vatican City, Europe
Quote:
For touring the Vatican area, Linea A of the Metro has been expanded and "Cipro" is now listed as the stop for the Vatican Museum. Unless you're looking to do some major back-tracking, don't bother. Exit at "Ottaviano" which is marked for The Vatican. There were many eateries along the way to catch coffee and pastries, but don't linger long. I'm not sure if I read or was told this, but the biggest secret for enjoying the Sistine Chapel is to get there early!!! I arrived just before 8:00 a.m. for the 8:45 opening and was about the 30th person in line; within minutes, the line had snaked down the long street before disappearing around the corner. Larger escorted tour groups were allowed in earl...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

Sistine Chapel
Vatican Palace Viale Del Vaticano
607
+39 (06) 8530 1758

Vatican

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Attraction | "A World Unto Itself - The Vatican Museum"

Vatican Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
First, I advise reading my "Sistine Must-Knows" entry for details on how to semi-privately enjoy the top attraction as well as directions/times/admission fees. If using/following these hints, it might seem kind of pointless to further explore the Vatican Museum, but I'm not sure which nets more insanity - skipping all else that's there or trying to take it all in! I'd have to presume the Vatican Museum encompasses one of the top three art collections in the world. I write "presume" because before my experience here, I never considered myself the museum type; especially one for the arts. How that did change! Even not knowing much about anything when it comes to paintings, sculptures and other f...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

Vatican
Vatican City
Rome, Italy

Vatican Museums

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Attraction | ""Take a load off!" - Vatican Museum"

Vatican Museums Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Half-a-day seemed to fly by while gawkin' thru the Vatican Museum...though I can easily see where a person could spend days. Whether for physical or mental breaks, there were a couple of key places to enjoy while looking to recharge your batteries like the Energizer Bunny. Towards the beginning of the tour on the lower level is an inner courtyard that can't be missed. A good way to find this place is to follow one of the large tour groups that's entering when you do. From what I detected, every group stopped here first as the inner courtyard walls are lined with maps, details and other added information for spending your day within the Vatican Museum. Possibly you, too might find this helpful ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

Vatican Museums
Viale Vaticano
Rome, Italy 00165
0039 06 69884676

St. Peter's Basilica

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Attraction | "St. Peter's - Rome's present circus?"

St. Peter's Basilica Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
In ancient days, "circus" was the term used to describe the great stadium areas where the general public gathered to watch chariot races, athletic events, and other popular extravaganzas. When considering the ancient significance with the modern-day term, I'm not so sure that St. Peter's Square and Basilica in The Vatican might not also qualify as a modern day circus...without the three rings! I'm not Catholic so I wasn't sure what to expect - religious or tourist experience? Aside from this being home of the Pope and a place seen often in various outlets of the media, this was simply one more stop on the jam-packed list of attractions I felt compelled to see while in Rome. After poking ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

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

St. Peter's Basilica

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Attraction | "Wishing it WERE "Lonely at the top" - Vatican Dome"

St. Peter's Basilica Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Without a doubt, my personal favorite of St. Peter's was making the strenuous effort to reach the top of the dome. Near the right, rear parts of the Basilica are exits which allow tourists to wait in a quick-moving line for exploring the dome and the roof/upper terrace areas of the Basilica. For going to the top, ticket info is kind of misleading since it cost L7,000/$3.50 to take the stairs all the way, or L8,000/$4.00 to take an elevator part way. For St. Peter's sake, splurge and take the elevator for the short ride because there were STILL 320 grueling steps to the top even more gut-busting than climbing the spires of Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Stairways were steep, narrow, le...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

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

Roman Ruins

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Attraction | "If I had a Shovel...The immense amount of Ruins"

Roman Ruins Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
After touring Athens a year earlier, I thought I'd be prepared for the "boggling of the mind" which takes place being surrounded by ruins, piles of rubble everywhere you go. Well I wasn't; the problem further compounded by the overload of art/architecture. Still, you can't come to Rome without at least trying to take all this in. When beginning to look around, it won't take long for everything to begin looking the same despite former sifnificance. If you're guidebook doesn't have illustrations of what original sites supposedly looked like, I recommend frequently stopping in one of the many gift shops or bookstores where indepth study books, posters, and pictures give some formational shape to w...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

Roman Ruins
Throughout Rome
Rome, Italy

Termini Train Station

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Attraction | "Suprise at the end of the tracks"

Termini Train Station Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
If anyone would have told me that I'd come to Rome and find so much enjoyment at the Termini Train Station, I'd have thought they were crazy! But with the grotesque amount of accommodations located around the area, it was a great place to pass the time of an evening when feet were too tired to go any further...but yet you weren't ready for bed either. Throughout the tri-leveled complex are a large assortment of eateries/stores selling just about everything you'd want or need. As for souvenir-type things, there were at least a dozen places with varied items, inexpensively priced, and great for other ideas to do comparative shopping when out and about on the town. And as in most European cities, ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

Termini Train Station
Piazza dei Cinquecento
Rome, Italy
+39 06 36 004 399

The Colosseum/Coliseum

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Attraction | "My Ultimate Destination - The Colosseum"

The Colosseum/Coliseum Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Some things can't be explained - like my obsessive fascination with the Colosseum, but Rome wouldn't be complete without it...like Athens without the Parthenon - the only place I consider a far second to this ancient structure. After settling in, the Colosseum was the first place I set out to find and was the only place I made a conscious effort to return to at least once in the day/night. "If these walls could talk" was a cliche usually floating within my mind whether gazing while walking around the base or from afar. Even best summarized still, the Colosseum is something you'll simply have to exprience; to see and "feel" that my many but mere words/photos can't begin to describe. For t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

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

Additional Tips & Hints

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Story/Tip

The Presidential Palace Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
GEOGRAPHICAL ORIENTATIONPerhaps it's because Fiumicino is west of the city and the train loops around the south and unloads in the east, but my highly reliable inner-compass was definitely thrown off for the better part of my stay; the problem further compounded by the maze-like streets. I spent the first full-day thoroughly covering the entire city by foot just to get my bearings and back-tracked from there. Not only did this help with orientation, but by getting all the touristy "must see's" out of the way in the first few days, the last half of the trip was leisurely spent wandering around with no specific plan wanted OR needed. It was by far the most enjoyable in discovering Rome b...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 18, 2001

What lies beyond Photo, Rome, Italy
Quote:
Writing this journal has been very much like planning my trip to Rome - for whatever reasons, I put it off as long as possible. But some things in life simply have to be done and I've no regrets for either of these efforts...no matter how "overdone" they were. Living in such a large city, I'm somewhat apprehensive of seeking "vacation" in a potentially hectic environment that can yield much of the same of what I'm trying to leave behind. It's also why a seasoned traveler like myself could so unorthodoxly grimmace at the thoughts of extensive time in Los Angeles, London, or Paris despite their popularities. If you count Athens as part of Europe's "BIG 4" with must see's, Rome was the only one le...Read More