Rome

May 7, 2012
We also took Trenitalia from Florence to Rome. The train ride was 1.5 hours and €45. We weren’t able to get seats together but we managed just fine. When we arrived in Rome we purchased the 3-day Roma Pass (€30) this provides you with all types of transport and admission to two museums, plus a bunch of other discounts.

We quickly learned that Google maps no longer worked for directions. We had to navigate the old fashioned way; fortunately, the Roma Pass also comes with a map. We took the subway to Flaminio where we would be staying at a boutique hotel named FacetoFace. We found our way, and were happy to find a tram that took us most of the way – our feet were killing us. Every step counted. It was a bit tricky getting into the hotel since it’s located in an apartment building on the 3rd floor (which is the 4th by American standards). There was a lift, thankfully. Frank missed it at first and tried to lug our suitcases up each flight. I snapped at him out of frustration and suggested the lift. It made the climb effortless.

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I liked FacetoFace best of all the places we stayed. It was modern and swank. What it lacked in size it made up in comfort. The shower had great water pressure and the bed was comfortable. Our key allowed us to buzz ourselves in and we had access to the kitchen and living area. I enjoyed the neighborhood around us. The only tourists we encountered were those staying at our hotel. The grocery store and area restaurants were fantastic. As far as I am concerned it was an oasis from Rome.

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Across the way were the medieval walls once you pass through them it was an entirely different world. One filled with complete chaos. Hordes of tourists, hawkers, gawkers… you name it. We couldn’t rely on Google maps so it was frustrating trying to maneuver through the masses. It was so crowded; I cannot even begin to fathom Rome during peak season. Peak season also means hot and humid. Temperatures were very mild and comfortable during our stay - low 70’s for day time highs. I would be positively miserable.

Even under the best conditions I was downtrodden. It was the 64 bus that did me in, we were trying to get to Trastevere and after a few unsuccessful attempts we settled on the 64 because we were tired of waiting. We quickly learned there is no bus schedule in Rome – busses come when they come. One stop filled the bus or so I thought. They just kept adding more passengers. None were getting off. We were packed like sardines and still more people fought for space. Frank and I got separated. At first I did ok, but when I had no air and just two dozen arms in my face panic set it. My hot sweat turned into a cold sweat and I knew trouble would follow, I screamed for Frank, I had to get off. Safety is no concern – none. You’d think it was a third world country.



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We had a long walk along the Tiber to Trastevere. My body ached; my feet had been abused long enough. My ankle killed, exhaustion got the best of me and tears rolled when we couldn’t find the restaurant we were after. I was over it, but I sucked it up and we settled on the next restaurant we could find. We ate at Enoteca Trastevere.

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We had bruschetta, pasta and diavolo pizza. It was decent, but it was nothing special. Fortunately, the Tucher Hefeweizen was. I could’ve used a second, but I knew it was a long way back to the hotel. And it was.

As much as we hated the crowds we fought the crowds and saw as many sights as we could.

We went to the Vatican. It was over a five hour wait to see the Sistine Chapel. I did not travel to Italy to wait in lines so we skipped it.

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We were able to get into the Colosseum without waiting thanks to the Roma Pass. Construction began in 72 AD and it was completed eight years later. I think it was this stat that impressed me most.

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The Colosseum may offer the best views of Roman Forum and ruins. However, I was unable to do them justice because of the glare of the bright sun. Timing was poor for photos.

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We sat on the Spanish steps, stood by Trevi Fountain and passed the Piazza Navona. Rode by Castel Sant'Angelo and Campo de Fiori. I couldn’t bear most for long because of the massive crowds.

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We took a bus ride out to Appian Way and saw the entrance for the catacombs. We didn’t take the tour. Again the crowds were just too much.



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It was the Pantheon I liked best. It was built as a temple to all gods in 27 BC and rebuilt in 126 AD. Today, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. It’s quite the marvel. The interior of the dome is said to symbolize the arched vault of the heavens. The entryway and the oculus at the dome's apex are the only source of light. Throughout the day, the light from the oculus moves around this space. The oculus serves as a cooling and ventilation method and a drainage system below the floor handles the rain that falls through the opening.

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Near the Pantheon we grabbed a sandwich and had gelato from Cremeria Montefiore. We had a nice picnic on the base of the Pantheon column.







We had two meals in our neighborhood. For lunch we stopped at La Fiseria, we had cold Peroni, eggplant parm and pasta with eggplant and veggies.

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We had dinner at Sicilia in bocca al Flaminio. We wouldn’t make it to Sicily this trip so we figured why not get a taste. It was a great find! We had nice conversation with our server and we stuffed ourselves silly with delicious eats.

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We had arancini to start and then had branzino their house specialty. It was the best fish I’ve had to date. It was very affordable too. We downed two bottles of a fantastic chardonnay and enjoyed a cannoli and dark chocolate gelato covered in dark chocolate. Simply decadent. This was the second best meal we had in Italy. And best yet we didn’t have to fight crowds or traffic to get there or back to the hotel.

It’s probably needless to say Rome was not to our liking. We wished we hadn’t booked three nights. It was far too long, but a daytrip to Orvieto was a great way to pass the time.

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