Rome: July 2, 2012
I simply loved the TV series “Rome” (see Wikipedia). It gave a great insight into how the normal Romans lived . To get an idea of what the apartment blocks for the poor were like you should go up the right-hand side of the Vittoriano to the bottom of the Campidoglio (see Google map). An apartment block was called an “insula” and the ground floor was usually filled with shops. Here’s a great webpage Roman Living: Inside an Inula.
The Via dei Fori Imperiale is the long, wide road that joins Piazza Venezia with the Coliseum. This road was built by Mussolini and destroyed large parts of an important historical area of Rome. Thankfully there is still plenty to see of what remains of the heart of the Roman Empire. The best time to walk around this part of Rome is on a Sunday when it is closed to traffic, however this also means that the queues for tickets are even longer.
The first shopping mall in the world may well have been part of Trajan’s Market which you will find on the left as you walk down the Via dei Fori Imperiale on the way to the Coliseum. This area is now open to the public and is a fascinating place to explore. Watch this excellent video on Trajan’s Market on YouTube. For information you need to plan your visit see the Rome Comune website (in English).
On the other side of the Via dei Fiori you will find the Roman Forum. There are many sites online giving lots of information about this ancient Roman area and what life was like in the past. See Roman Foranum for The Private Life of the Romans. However, no matter how much you study in advance nothing will bring the past to life for you in the way a good, knowledgeable guide can. See our Baroque Rome tour here and our daily Coliseum Tours here.
Rome: June 23, 2012
Rome is so ancient what could possibly be new? For visitors it is all the great things hidden in plain sight! There are so many places to see and some great views of the city that few get to enjoy. I will show you some of these here and in future posts.
Like our little film with Frankie and Benny (see post below) I will start at Piazza Venezia. You really can’t miss the “wedding cake monument” in the very centre of Rome – one of the city’s most striking buildings: Love it or hate it, you certainly can’t ignore “Il Vittoriano” (designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885 – see Wikipedia).
What is overlooked, however, is the fabulous view of Rome you can get from the Terrace of the Quadrigas at the top of the monument. If you get the chance to go up in the glass lift to the viewing platform you will be rewarded! Have a look at this video.
I say if you get the chance because when I rang the information office (06 69202049) to check the price for this service they told me that it had been closed for a few days and they didn’t know when it would be open again. I asked if it would be closed all summer and the lady replied she didn’t know. Not really surprising in Italy, but we live in hope!
Beautiful photos taken from Il Vittoriano hosted on TripAdvisor.
Great photos taken from the Terrace of the Quadrigas hosted on Virtual Tourist.
If you visit il Vittoriano you might enjoy the Central Museum of the Risorgimento . For info on the Museum see the Rome tourist site (in English) and the official site of the Risorgimento Museum (in Italian only). Or read a brief history of the Risorgimento (the Unification of Italy) on Wikipedia if you want to know the background.
Rome: June 17, 2012
See Frankie & Benny exploring the streets of Ancient Rome with Adriana from our Welcome Center. Sorry the camera work is a bit shaky, but we’ll get better! Hope you enjoy the pups and the tour. It was a lovely summer day and the pups had great fun. Rome is wonderful walking city.
Rome: May 19, 2012
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions – but all my roads are filled with good intentions. I have so many good intentions I could cover Italy twice over with roads. I am going to pretend that today is January 1st and start 2012 again. I promised myself I would follow a sensible diet and exercise regime and please God I will stick to that. Another promise I made was to start writing my blog on a regular basis – this time I have to be consistent.
But what about content for the blog? Most blogs I read talk about the weather and other bits and pieces that I find boring. Once I had envisaged keeping everyone up to date with the gossip from the area around our office but this type of blog would only have been of interest locally so it was a non-starter.
Finally I found inspiration!!I have a lovely golden retriever called Charlie – he is just over one year old and very sociable indeed. A bit too sociable actually, he will go with anyone! Well, Charlie went missing for a month and I got two new puppies – Frankie and Benny. They are incredible – so cute they melt my heart and keep me laughing most of the day! I thought it would be great to have them take the lead (pun intended!) in little films introducing the various parts of Rome/Italy and aspects of life here that I want to write about – Frankie and Benny in Rome – at the Colosseum, at the Vatican, in the Ghetto etc. etc.
I had to get a video camera immediately – these puppies are so gorgeous. I decided to buy one online because most shops in Italy can’t keep up with all the new technology etc. I was promised that the video camera would be delivered within 2-3 days and it took me 3+ weeks to cancel the order and get the offer of a refund on May 30th. I am so angry about the whole episode and especially because I have missed 3 fun filled weeks of my babies’ lives preserved on film!!!
Then I received a phone call to say Charlie had been found – via the microchip that all dogs here have implanted when they are puppies. And then there were 3 – wild!! I bought a really good video camera in a local shop and a new lens for my camera – I am now all set to write the very best blog online.
I hope you like my first attempt at a film. It was taken on the beach at Focene (Comune of Fiumicino) which is 5 minutes from Fiumicino Airport. As you will see some parts of the sand are quite dark – I thought this would be a good background for the honey colour of the dogs – there are golden beaches as well in this area.
Focene is very popular for surfing and water sports especially in the spring and autumn. It is a quiet resort that is popular with Roman families in the summer and would be a good place to pass the time if you have a long wait for a flight!
Frankie & Benny on the beach in Focene
Venice: June 9, 2011
Finally there is a moment to take a breath after the frenzy of the opening week of the Venice Biennale of International Art. This year already is the year of records being broken – a record number of national pavilions, a record number of parties and a record number of luxury yachts in the Venetian lagoon. The atmosphere is charged with energy as everyone clamours to cram in all the new exhibits and see the newest thing. It’s times like this I am grateful to know my way around so that I can avoid the congested areas without stress.
Now it’s a little calmer and there’s more space to relax and enjoy the city, dropping in and out of the exhibitions as you please. Even if it gets a bit hectic, there is so much fun in the air you don’t mind. It is easy to take a break, enjoy a refreshing prosecco in stunning surroundings, and then dive back into the fun. If there is a problem it is that there is too much to see. But it has always been that way in Venice. You have to make choices and sometimes it feels like you need a magic carpet to beat the clock, especially if everyone else wants to go to the same place.
But that’s also part of the fun. Even better if you have a bit of time to explore and discover what’s happening where. A little bit of planning, time management and discipline will go a long way to help you enjoy the smorgasbord on offer, and still feel relaxed at the end of the day. Best advice is make your choices, then relax, concentrate on one thing at a time and soak it all up.
Rome: June 2, 2011
Today is a holiday celebrating the abolition of the monarchy and the foundation of the Italian Republic (link to Wikipedia) in 1946. It’s also 150 Years since Italian Unification. Some countries have their public/national holidays at weekends so they don’t break up the working week.. but not Italy. The Italians love a holiday in the middle of the week so they can have a “ponte”, meaning bridge. This is a prolonged break which will normally last from a day or two before the official day off work to the Monday following it. A nice long weekend is very useful at the start of the summer, so everyone can increase their tans and look even better in their new clothes!
There is an exhibition of some sort in the Vatican on June 21st and sales of pre-booked tickets have been blocked off, this could change but it will probably mean an even longer line than normal! June 29th is the feast of St Peter and Paul and the Vatican is closed completely on that day. It is also a public holiday in Rome – wonderful!!!!
Rome: May 30, 2011
With these blogs I hope I will be able to create a small window into my world where I can share what is going on. I am aiming to show a little of what life is like in Rome and Italy, make some friends and provide useful information to anyone coming over here for a visit.
We had another public transport strike today – no buses or trains – a real pain in the neck. These strikes are occurring more frequently this year, the political situation is extremely volatile and it is best to try and be prepared in advance. These are a few sites that might help – however you should remember facts in Italy are fluid, never take anything as fixed!!!!!
I just stayed at home – it was a hard decision to make, struggle with the Rome traffic or remain at the beach here in Focene (between Fregene and Fiumicino). The weather is nice but there is too much of a breeze to go in for a swim.
I had a great weekend and was really happy that ItalyWithUs was mentioned twice in the media. I never imagined we would be linked to an article about sexy places to visit! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-perrottet/the-sinners-grand-tour_b_867696.html#s284242&title=Rome_Secrets_of . Keeping art to yourself is more my thing http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/artsandculture/8539377/Cultural-city-breaks-Great-art-kept-all-to-yourself.html
Ciao until the next time…………
Rome: May 17, 2011
My first blog (I think/hope!!).
I live at the beach very close to Fiumicino Airport. It is so wonderful here. Close to Rome but far enough away to be peaceful and relaxing. This evening we had a really beautiful sunset and hopefully it signals the start of a long spell of good weather