Sunday, September 22, 2013

Italy 2013 - Rome Summary

This is meant to be a summary of Rome, places I went, places I eat at, and recommendations.

Name: Arches B&B.
Location: Rome. 5 minute walk from Cipro metro station.
Cost: 590 euro after taxes / 114 euro per night.
Wifi: Included.
Breakfast: Included.  Each room (there are 3 rooms) has a cupboard for their breakfast, fridge is available for use (each room has a rack in the fridge) and full kitchen available if you want to cook, breakfast includes a croissant, a dessert pie, bread, something like malba toast, juice, yogurt, and coffee/tea.
Washroom: Private (shower stall, toilet, sink, weird european genitals sink).
Payment: Cash or credit at end of stay.
Would I go back?: Definitely, although maybe to their other location which is closer to the city center.
Comments: We enjoyed this location and the host was great. We were late by an hour for our check in time and he was still there. Provides a map and details on what is available and where. Right outside is quick access to good restaurants, groceries, metro line A, and a 5-10 minute walk to Vatican city. We never saw the host after the first day but readily available if needed.

Length of Stay:
Our duration: 5 nights
Suggestion duration: Minimum 2 days
Comments: We stayed 5 nights and this was probably the right amount of time for us.  If you are a big fan of museums and art, you can stay for much longer.  Vatican City / St. Peter's is 1 day, Colosseum / Palantine Hill / Roman Forums is 1 day, Ostia Antica is 1 day.  The piazzas and churches you can plan as you go along.  There seemed to be no end to my 'that looks neat, let's go see that' in Rome.  You can just walk and stumble onto neat squares/churches.

Name: La Montecarlo.
Would I return?: No. Food was okay, nothing special.

Name: Pane Vino e San Daniele
Would I return?: Yes. Food was very good. They have specials based on northern Italy.

Name: al Picchio
Would I return?: No. I would avoid this place.  How does a spaghetti alla carbonara look like spaghetti mixed in scrambled eggs?

Name: alle Fratte di Trastevere
Would I return?: Yes. Food was good, nice location.  Good value.

Name: Ciro & Ciro
Would I return?: No. There are nothing special about this restaurant.

Name: Spanish Steps (free)
Would I suggest this?: Maybe. If you can go see this on the way to something, sure, otherwise I think this is skippable.

Name: Trevi Fountain (free)
Would I suggest this?:  Yes. Try to see this both during the day and night (although I feel it looks nicer during the day).

Name: Colosseum (about 10 euro)

Would I suggest this?: Yes. Try to get the guided tour with the third level and underground dungeon. This grants access to 3 areas that are only available to people who take this tour (third level, underground dungeon and a special platform on the main level).

Name: Vatican Museums (about 10 euro)
Would I suggest this?: Yes. Try to prebook this, the lines are long even at 9:00am in the morning.  Lots of tours go through this. Lots of paintings and sculptures.  Even if you don't like these things, when you look at some of them, you will be amazed.  I was slightly disappointed with the Sistine Chapel since it was smaller than I imagined, but it is definitely worth a visit.

Name: St. Peter's Basilica (free, tower climb is around 5 euro)
Would I suggest this?: Yes.  This place is big!  The sculptures, painting, mosaics inside are unbelievable.  If you want a nice view of the city, pay to go up to the top of the Basilica.  You can either take the lift part way up (but you still need to walk) or just walk the entire thing (the lift option is slightly more expensive, but if you can walk, just walk the entire thing).

Name: Piazza Navona (free)
Would I suggest this?: Yes. Worth a visit to see the fountains here. Lots of tourist things which annoy me during the evening (people flinging twirly things and green laser lights), but during the day these don't really exist.

Name: Palantine Hill (included with Colosseum)
Would I suggest this?: Maybe. It is a nice walk to see this area, but I would suggest skipping this if you don't have time (even though it's included in the cost).

Name: Roman Forums (included with Colosseum)
Would I suggest this?: Yes. There are very interesting ruins here. Not a very big area, but one with a lot of different ruins in a small compact area.

Name: Vittorio Emmanuel II Monument (free, panoramic view lift is around 7 euro)
Would I suggest this?: Yes. A very nice building that you cannot miss if you look from the Colosseum. Just a short walk away, there is not much inside, but the exterior is really nice. If you like panoramic views, make sure to take the lift to the top.

Name: Teatro Marcello (free)
Would I suggest this?: No. It is a building that is built on top of a set of ruins. Not really that interesting to see.

Name: Pantheon (free)
Would I suggest this?: Yes. The exterior is really cool looking, although the inside is pretty dull (at least to me).

Name: Castel St. Angelo
Would I suggest this?: Yes (if you are near). The exterior looks really interesting. Inside is a museum which we did not go to. Apparently is in the Angels & Demons movie.

Name: Ostia Antica (about 10 euros + train fare)
Would I suggest this?: Yes (if you like ruins and climbing things). This place has really cool ruins. Many of which still have their upper floors. Some which even have stairs that allow you to climb up them (I couldn't stop saying, let's go climb that as soon as I saw someone on top of another building).  It is not within the city though, about a 30 minute train ride there.

Name: Piramide (free)
Would I suggest this?: No. Only if you are nearby maybe (right outside piramide train station), the pyramid itself is not very big, and it was under restoration when I went.

Name: Piazza del Popolo (free)
Would I suggest this?: Yes. It is a really big circle plaza with two nice fountains and a big monument at the center.  This is just right below the Villa Borghese.

Name: Borghese Villa (free)
Would I suggest this?: Yes. Imagine your city's biggest park and that is probably what this will be like. Now add a big museum, a zoo, and other things we didn't see and you have this park.

Name: Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (free)
Would I suggest this?: Yes. Probably the nicest church we saw in Rome and the trip. Very bright, not dark like the others and not a lot of emphasis on sculptures and statues.

Name: San Giovanni in Laterano (free)
Would I suggest this?: Yes. The sculptures in this church are unbelievable.  The paintings have this 3d look where you think it may be real until you look closer.

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