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October 31, 2008

Rome wrap-up and theoretically helpful hints

Filed under: Italy Rome-Sicily 2008, Travel — anotherheader @ 12:31 am

Santa Maria in Trastevere (HDR processed)

Santa Maria in Trastevere (HDR processed)

This was Becky’s first visit to Rome and my second. Rome is an amazing city. It lends itself to maniacal sightseeing and is not so much a hanging out and chilling type place. There’s so much to see and the sights are everywhere. In this wrap-up, I’ve included the processed HDR shots that I took along the way in the link and pasted into the text.

Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/wonderdog1/HDRRome#

I’ve included some thoughts about the logistics of our trip in the following:

The Beehive Apartment

We liked are stay at the apartment and felt that the 70 euro price per night was reasonable. Our apartment was clean and functional. The room was quite and comfortable and The Beehive’s people were helpful and professional. We’d definitely consider The Beehive again.

Roma (& Piu) Pass

We’ve generally struggled to get full value from city passes in other places. This was not the case with the Roma Pass, which easily paid for itself (>40 euros of value for 25 euro cost). The added convenience itself makes it worth considering. I’ve read some debate about whether the Roma & Piu pass covers the train to the Rome airport. From what we could tell, the pass does not cover the 11 euro train ride to the airport. We bought our pass at Stazione Termini.

Santa Maria in Trastevere (HDR)

Public Transportation

The pricing of taxis in Rome was not transparent to us. Perhaps we should have done more research upfront on this. Nonetheless, the bus and Metro system is convenient and runs very frequently. Apart from our adventure on Bus 81, we had little trouble using the system. Consider riding Bus 116 for a cheap tour of old Rome.

See this link for some taxi discussion:

http://reallyrome.com/blog/2007/11/15/how-to-take-a-taxi-in-rome-and-not-get-ripped-off/

Visiting in October

We chose October for a visit time because it is cooler and we expected there to be less tourists. The weather was nice, but the crowds were still there. I hate to see what the crowds looked like in August!

St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City (HDR)

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

Tours

The tour we did of the Coliseum and Palatine Hills were well worth the modest cost. Though we did not do any additional tours on this trip, we will look for this on future visits. It certainly added to the experience.

Food

The food is good with no mediocre meals. Curiously, the quality of the food, or more correctly, the quality of our dining experience seemed to be only loosely correlated to the price. We found we could eat well relatively cheaply.

Guide Books

We buy way too many of these. Here are thoughts on a couple:

Not really a guidebook, “Italy, For the Gourmet Traveler,” by Fred Plotkin provides a different perspective on the food options in Rome. The lack of maps makes it somewhat difficult to locate some of the places mentioned, particularly if you don’t have immediate access to a computer. It does provide food related background information.

DK Eyewitness Travel’s “Rome” was very good. The picture format is often so clear that you feel like you are on a guided tour at times. This was easily the most common guidebook series, in its multiple languages, that we saw in Rome and throughout Italy.

Santa Maria sopra in Minerva

Santa Maria sopra in Minerva

Coffee

Our favorite place for a cappuccino and a pastry (we didn’t do the complete survey!) was Boulangerie Italiana in Stazione Termini. We’re sure there are many good, if not better places to be had, but this one was convenient to our room and had the best cappuccinos and café lattes that we had in Italy.

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1 Comment »

  1. Greetings to visitors to Italy. My book, Italy for the Gourmet Traveler, is not –per se– a listing of restaurants, even though there are more than 1500 places to eat listed in more than 500 cities. Italy has the richest and most complex food culture of any nation on earth. It is, in fact, a culture, and it relates to history, language, art, agriculture, religion and many other factors. What the book does is open the reader up to things he or she would otherwise never know, so that your discovery and experience on an Italian visit is much deeper and more memorable. It also makes you a more discerning eater when you get home. It is a way to educate yourself through visits to restaurants, markets, cooking schools, coffee bars, wine bars and every kind of food store. The Rome section is divided by neighborhood so that you never have to travel too far. And do not miss the Volpetti store in Testaccio — one of the greatest food stores in all of Italy. If you have comments, questions or updating for the next edition of the book, write to fspinnyc@hotmail.com Ciao, Fred

    Comment by Fred Plotkin — October 31, 2008 @ 3:14 am


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