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.
Please beware of people trying to overcharge you for taxi fares from the airport. I booked an apartment through the website www.feelhomeinrome.com and they booked me a taxi for 65 Euros. I only found out later, when the taxi didn't turn up for the return journey and I had to hail a cab from one of the main streets, that the official charge is 30 Euros to the inner city. You can also get a bus for eight Euros to termini.
By the way, even though the apartment was good, I wouldn't recommend feelhomeinrome.com as they apply hidden charges for cleaning the apartment and work with a dodgy taxi company that is charging more than double the official fare.
The Yellow is a funky hostel close to termini, I recommend it just because of the great time I had there. They've got a brand new reception and a cool bar with cheap drinks for guests.
I've stayed all over Europe and the States in hostels and this place is at the top of my list.
A massive and excellent eatery in central Rome (two minutes off via del Corso), incorporating a posh restaurant, more homely osteria, wine and cookshop and - the highlight for this family - a pizzeria, which on weekends serves a magnificent brunch.
You take a large tin plate, heap it with food from the buffet, and pay by weight (returning as many times as stomach and wallet permit). The kids loved it - as did the many Italian families queuing for tables. Brilliant.
Piazza Augusto Imperatore
If you are thinking of coming to Rome, this is just to let you know that in order not to queue for hours to get into the Coliseum, you can buy your ticket (valid for Palatine and Coliseum) at Via San Gregorio which is just few metres away from the Coliseum.
Please be aware that the “Gladiators” around the perimeter of the Coliseum will ask you some money to take a picture with them (at least you can decide if you want a picture with them or not).
There are a lot of illegal tour guides pretending to be professional ones, always ask to see their badges and to get a valid receipt of your payment.
Be aware of pickpockets, they are in the crowd pretending to be tourists like you.
Hope you will enjoy Rome and the friendliness of the real Romans.
Charming apartment in a historic house a few hundred yards from the Colosseum, in a quiet backstreet. Giulia, who manages this small family business, speaks English and is happy to help you with all sorts of insider tips on the city.
I am so so glad that we decided to stick to La Casa di Asa instead of somewhere closer to the centre of Rome.
It takes about 30 minutes to travel from the doorstep of La Casa to the closest metro station, but it's very very easy to do so.
The people there are lovely, the rooms are cleaned daily, there is air conditioning, the breakfasts are filling but very simple.
It's just a really nice place to stay and not too expensive. I would thoroughly recommend this place for anyone who is staying in Rome for more than three days, just because it's nice to be able to leave the city behind and be around true Romans instead of just tourists.
Basically, the rooms are fine, not fantastically great or anything, but very clean and serviecable.
It's the neighborhood that really makes La Casa di Asa worth the stay.
La Casa di Asa Via Achille Mauri 13
I recommend this area because it is full of things to see and to experience too.
Let's start from the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran, the cathedral of the Pope, the main Basilica in the world for Catholics.
This is unique because there are different styles and the result is perfect. In case you want to know more about the complex, you can get an audio guide at the information point which is beside the statue of Constantine in the main porch.
Other interesting sights include; the 12th century cloister; the Baptistery (the Basilica and the Baptistery were the very first Christian sites in Rome); the Scala Santa that was walked on by Jesus on his way to trial by Pontius Pilate and brought from Jerusalem in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine’s mother, St. Helena; the Sancta Sanctorum, the private chapel of the Popes and the Triclinium where you can see the very first flag of the Vatican State.
You need to spend at least 2 days within this area because nearby you can visit the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, the small and cosy church of the SS 4 Coronati and its cloister, visit the Villa Celimontana Park, the church of SS Giovanni e Paolo, the very well preserved Roman houses of the Celio, they are located just beside the church.
Remember, just in front of the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran you can get the bus 218 (blue one) that will take you directly to the Catacombs.
Metro Linea A-B and Bus N. 16-81-85-87-117-186-218-650-714-850.
This is the only hostel by the sea in Rome. I stayed here and loved it. It's a newly renovated building, very spacious and comfortable. Staff is the best...really fun and helpful. It's about a 30 minute train into central Rome very easy, and more relaxing than staying in Rome. Mediterranean is just across the street...and rooms have views of the sea.
via cozza, 7
00121 Roma, Lido di Ostia
train from Piramide to Ostia Centro
Stayed at the very reasonable Appartamento Piazza Re di Roma over new year. Really liked the area, San Giovanni, only a handful of tube stops from the Spanish Steps and 'walkable' to the Forum and Colosseum - preferable to staying bang in the centre. Friendly and helpful landlady.
The Palatine Hill, located beside the Forum, is definitely worth a visit, and a great place to grab a break in Rome.
Also, go there before you visit the Colosseum, as the ticket is valid for both places - this means you can avoid the lenghty queues at the Colosseum.
It was like a burst of sunshine and all that I had hoped for. A relaxed and fun holiday set in the Sabine Hills just north of Rome. Cooking lessons, luxury accomodation, a stroll through an olive grove and a day trip to Rome. Eating the fabulous food and wine tasting really topped it off. Our host, Sally, and the chef, Guido really looked after us.
If you're new to Rome, and have no idea where to start, I recommend swallowing your pride and getting a ticket for one of the Big Bus Sightseeing Tours. These can be purchased at the main bus terminus in Rome. Once you're on the bus, you'll be taken round ALL of the sights, and you can hop on and off etc. And no, I don't work for this company, and this isn't a marketing ploy; I just found it an invaluable way to plan your attack on this beautiful city.
Main Bus Station - Rome
If you're in Rome make sure you take a day or afternoon trip out to Ostia Antica (30 mins by train). It was the ancient port city of the Roman Empire & when the river silted up it was abandoned and the silt preserved the city beautifully. What's left is a huge ghost-town several miles inland with amphitheatre, apartment blocks, forum, bath houses and villas.
You can enter and walk around most buildings - even go upstairs and walk in gardens - and there are few of the restrictions you'll find in Pompeii. We went on a Sunday afternoon and the place was spookily almost deserted.
In the summer, the amphitheatre often hosts open air performances of folk and opera. A real find. Plus you can round off the day with a swim with the surf girls and boys at Rome's funky beach suburb, Ostia, a train stop away at Lido Centro.
Take the (very shabby)overland from Piramide/ Ostiense towards C. Colombo or Lido Centro. Costs about 3 Euros.
The Palatine Hill is next to the Roman Forum in central Rome. Access is via the Forum but most people tend to bypass it due to the 8 euro (approx) entry fee. But it is well worth it especially in high season when the forum is heaving to breaking point with tired tour guides shouting over each other about 'interesting' ancient Rome stories.
The Palantine Hill is quiet by comparison and the ruins are set amongst pleasant settings. Being away from the crowds allows for a more authentic picture of ancient Rome with some buildings in tact. Great for an early evening stroll (check opening times!!)
Booking directly through Trenitalia's website is easy, and a bargain compared to rail travel in Britain. There are lots of discounts available too, we were able to find Eurostar tickets between Rome and Venice for Eu29. However, the standard first class fare is only Eu74. That is the most you could possibly pay, for a journey that is the equivalent of London to Edinburgh (but is over faster).
For our convenience their website is even in English.
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