If you don't want to queue for hours book your Colosseum ticket before you go, on line.
We arrived at the Colosseum and found a long snake of a queue. For ticket holders you can head for a different ticket office with no queue.
This is highly recommended especially if you have children.
One of the greatest Italian painters. The exhibition is unmissable. Bellini is a master and innovative artist, though not as popular as Michelangelo or Raphael.
Scuderie Quirinale (the presidential palace)
near Via Nazionale
The Italian capital has always been particularly famous for being an expensive city, but if you like Italian culture then you can enjoy the best that Rome has to offer for next to nothing. The city houses countless churches (the Piazza Santa Maria), monuments and galleries (Piazza dell'Accademia di San Luca) that are available to visit for free, and if you feel you have exhausted those, then step just outside the city center and take a relaxing walk through the luscious greens of the Villa Ada.
Various; Rome City Centre
The Villa itself is interesting, but oh, the gardens, the fountains and the views are superb! www.villadestetivoli.info/storiae.htm
Tivoli itself is a nice hill town. too.
Tivoli is a short train journey from Rome. You can catch a bus into the centre, or walk; the Villa is signposted.
Rome is overwhelming. But I have some reservations. Compared with other European cities its facilities for visitors are primitive. The main bus and tram station in front of the central station was a free for all for traffic (this is true of the city as a whole), and the melted tarmac was churned up into waves so that one had to totter across a petrified sea to catch a bus.
The ticket machines for the Metro were generally not working and there were vast queues for the one booth that seemed to be open. Indeed, queueing seemed to be imposed upon all visitors who wished to see any of the city's sights. Moreover, if you had a mobility difficulty, such as being confined to a wheelchair, you could forget a place like the Forum, which required climbing gear to explore it - so steep were the steps. There was litter everywhere.
In contrast Vatican City appeared well cared for and receptive to visitors. I wondered how much of the money made from visitors to Rome was being fed back into the conservation of monuments and improvements in facilities. I visited Rome for the first time in March 2006, and I would be interested to know if more recent visitors have seen progress in these respects.
Rome, Italy, Eternal City.
There are many reasons for taking the trouble to queue and shuffle through the museum and to continue on to the Sistine Chapel. For although the droves of other people, some of whom have a scanty understanding of why they're there (I know, I asked them!), can make the visit pretty stressful, the sight of the Sistine Chapel and especially the work of Michelangelo is entirely worth it.
This palace contains a wonderful collection of paintings and sculpture, set in galleries of the most sumptuous rococo design. Parts of the building are still used by members of the original family and the entire collection has the strong sense of having been bought and assembled by a succession of discerning individuals. The "star" of this great show is undoubtedly the Velasquez portrait of Pope Innocent X.
Piazza del Collegio Romano, Rome.
I just happened to have a small binocular in my bag and it added to my enjoyment of the frescoes, as I could get a really close look. Also spotted someone next to me who had a little handheld mirror to save his neck muscles. Ingenious.
Not to mention the amazing art galleries Villa Borghese is an oasis of quiet in the bustling city of Roma - a must see for all visitors. If you want to visit the galleries you need to pre-book online before your visit ... tickets sell out fast but they are reasonably priced.
It can be reached by climbing the Spanish Steps but for the less energetic a taxi is relatively inexpensive.
Everyone knows about the queues to get in and that even an early arrival doesn't seem to help - all of the groups are there too, apparently. If you want to avoid paying extra to cut down on the waiting time, simply wait until mid-afternoon before going. We went at about 3.30 and waited for about 20 minutes in a rapidly moving queue. The Sistine Chapel was still packed but it was worth it for the attendants who repeatedly "shshshed" everyone and boomed "Silence!" in a deep cross-teacher voice. The ceiling is worth the neck-straining.
St Peter's Square - follow the signs;
Walking tours around Rome. More expensive than other tours, but the tour guides are reputedly experts in their fields and group sizes are small. Our tour of ancient Rome (forum, Palatine etc) was excellent - just 3 of us plus the guide, who really seemed to know his stuff. Would definitely go on another tour with them if I go to Rome again.
The large palace built by the Quintilii brothers in the 2nd century AD. Commodus was so impressed by it that he got rid of the brothers and appropriated the building. Situated next to Via Appia Antica, it is one of the most imposing monuments of Rome. The museum is very good.
Via Appia Antica. Take the Archeobus leaving from Piazza S. Marco, next to Piazza Venezia
As you face the Spanish Steps, the house is at the bottom on the right. Keats spent his last days here, suffering from consumption, and you can see relics of him and Shelley in this memorial to the Romantic poets. When I visited, there was a shop next door named Byron, but I think this was purely coincidental.
Piazza di Spagna 26 00187; www.keats-shelley-house.org; Tel: +39 06 678 4235
A palace with pictures crammed onto every inch of wallspace: founder of D-P family fortunes Innocent X (Velasquez' greatest portrait) has a room to himself while Caravaggio and Titian compete for attention elsewhere with Bernini and Raphael. Sumptuously decorated salons and a glittering mirrored gallery: space to wander and gaze without queueing or jostling crowds. Price of entrance (€8) includes excellent personal audioguide by Jonathan Pamphilj: art history interspersed with family anecdotes.
Piazza dei Collegio Romano no.2Tel: 066797323www.doriapamphilj.it
The villa of the powerful Borghese family. Not only the gardens are wonderful, the villa itself boasts some of the most famous works of the Baroque era. Some of the best Bernini sculptures are there. Booking required.
Entrance: Piazzale Museo Borghese; www.ticketeria.it/ticketeria/borghese-eng.asp
Etruscan museum. If you're tired of Roman ruins covered in scenes of warriors and gods, meet the older and more laid-back inhabitants of Central Italy. Particularly good for couples, it's often quiet and is a lovely building to boot.
Piazza di Villa Giulia 9 Tel 06-3201951
An outpost branch of the Capitoline museums. An old power station, like Tate Britain, but braver (the machinery has been left in place) and with some of the 'best of the rest' of their classical sculpture collections.
It's an odd building for a museum, and there's - mainly - only one route round. Play this to your advantage. Stop where you can and wait for it to get less crowded (at the Sistine Chapel, obviously, but elsewhere too). And if a gallery isn’t open, nil desperandum! - it might not be closed all day (I managed to do three circuits in a day, during which the Bracchio Nuovo, with its Augustus etc, was closed, open, closed respectively!).
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