Rome in 18 days

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Spending 18 days in Rome and traveling mostly on foot bright this city into a new light. Every time we left the apartment we got closer to the city and discovered new and exciting things. Our first visit was in the mid 80s. We did not return to Italy until 1998. Since then we have made several more trips to Rome if only for a few days. This was the chance for discovery and getting a feel for living somewhat like a local.

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Our Airbnb was close to Campo de Fiore. We walked just about everywhere. The market is picturesque but highly oriented to tourists.  Still many locals go each day, as did we. Fresh produce and fruit came back to our apartment. A small supermarket was also close by to supplement what the market did not have.  There were several salumerie  in the area, and well as several Macellerie for cold cuts and meat.  This became a daily ritual.

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During the next several blogs post, I will be describing the interesting happenings during our stay in Rome.

 

Caio for now.

Per dire la verità recensioni di Airbnb non dire tutto. To tell the truth Airbnb reviews do not tell it all

When you stay in an Airbnb you get to know the owners and managers well. Some times they gloss over something saying no problem. As you stay, you may be reluctant to say anything bad. One time we had no hot water in a rather nice apartment in Orvieto.  The problem was quickly resolve by resetting a breaker. Some time that location of the apartment can be a problem. In Rome we are next to a restaurant which has some early morning noises. We knew about this from the review. NO  BIG DEAL.  

Next to us, the apartment was undergoing renovation. Part of the wall was knocked out in two locations and repaired withy concrete. Plaster was not repaired, looked like a basement wall with a hole int it.  Workmen began each morning at 7:30 am and each day stone and wall fragments from this job were on our terrazzo floor. Not nice. 

Shower was difficult to use with out having water go on floor.  Floors were a little dusty, and could never be really cleaned without a professional floor machine.  Walls have marks that should have been cleaned off. The kitchen is decent, but the stainless steel sink area where you put plates does not drain into the sink.

As I looked at many, many reviews for this property, I think people are afraid to bring these items into their reviews. 

On the very positive side, the location was perfect. A two block walk to Campo de Fiore with markets and restaurants. Ten minutes to Vatican, bus stops about a two block walk away. One nice restaurant was behind our building, Polese. 

Arnbnb does not visit these places, so  you need to review ALL the reviews.  Reviews are not in chronological order. Go through all of them and see if there are negatives that are repeated. Bad reviews seem to be hidden. 

If you have a problem, use the email in the Airbnb app to connect to the host. If you can not get a resolution, than use the help button on the app and go directly to Airbnb.  We have received an offer of a 300E REFUND from our host. The construction goes on but the equivalent of $$360 US makes it a little less painful. 

Go through ALL of the reviews, it may be time consuming but it will be worth it in the end.  

I have enjoyed our visit to Rome. The location a short walk from Campo dei Fiore is wonderful. Our host has tried to make our stay enjoyable. The construction will take some time and hopefully will be complete by next years high tourist season. 

Campo de’Fiore, Alice Pizza, Rome
Market Campo de’Fiore, Rome A MUST SEE
Since construction was going on could not use closet had to use small cabinet and hang excess on windows
Concrete patched the plaster, very beautiful. Pounding continued each morning as we stayed.
A large butterfly was put up to hide the damage.
It did not do a good job.

Would I stay here again? I am not sure. The host did what could be done to improve the situation, which really was not all that much.  In researching I found another Airbnb about 2 city blocks away which had a modern kitchen and new furnishings  which  I would rather go to. Did I enjoy my stay, immensely.   No coins in fountain this year, too crowded to get in throwing range,  but I will return.

Caio.

Rome for 18 days, it is a trip.

Castel Sant Angelo, Rome
We arrived Rome on the 17th of September coming from Desenzano del Garda.  I nice trip on the high speed train from Verona. Our apartment is next to Campo de Fiore. This location has enabeled us to walk about 70 miles ( according to my pedometer app) since we arrived. To me this is the way to see the city. St. Peter’s, to the Ghetto we have been able to see so much.

A day at the Zoo in Rome

We have seen the museums, visited the ancient ruins, but most importantly is to have interacted with the people we need. We sat down to dinner last night and began talking to the couple next to us. They were celebrating the twenty fifth wedding anniversary and just arrived from Wales.  Just before they left an young man sat down next to us who was an ambassador from Belize to The Holy See, and another long conversation  began.

Antica Trattoria Polese, Rome

We enjoy being centrally located with our favorite trattoria just steps from our Airbnb apartment.  Being in the same place for so long enables us to get to know some of the shop keepers and vendors. It makes it feel like home.

A Salumeria in Campo de Fiore
Relaxing in in the Piazza Navona

Our trip will be over in a few more days, Many more posts will come from the many photos my wife Angela, and I have taken on our trip. We will have been in Italy for seven weeks, taking us from the beaches of Sicily to the shores of Lake Garda and finally to Rome.  Close to two thousand photos and visdeos will give us a number memories to share. 

St Peters at about 8pm. Uncrowded.
Colosseo

Getting Around In Rome With Google Maps

I always thought using public transportation was a good way to get around, but it takes a little getting used to in a new city.  Rome has many maps of the bus, subway and tram routes available. They use a 3pt font ( at least from the perspective of my old eyes ).  Google Maps offers real time routing for public transportation. In this case, I searched for Piazza del Popolo so I could visit the church that houses some Caravaggio paintings.  I like the fact that the map will update as you walk, or take the bus. Helps to know when to get off. 

We used this routing to get from our apartment to the Porta Portese flea market. It was a fairly quick ride with only one transfer. 
At all bus stops, fermata, you find a route listing with the sequential stops listed. The arrow points to the direction of travel. 

Some stops have the video board listing buses arriving at your stop and approximate time before arrival. We found this to be very accurate. Most of the Google routes are easy to follow. Expand the map section for details as you walk to a stop or between stops to final destination.  This does require cellular data, and I would advise on an unlocked phone and purchase a SIM card on arrival in your country of choice.  TIM has a great store at the Rome airport. Very helpful and my phone was activated in 10 minutes with all questions answered. 

Opera Arias In Rome

We happened on a small theater which presented Opera Arias and Neopolitan Songs in a small theater near the Pantheon.  The performance starts at 7:30 pm and runs a little over an hour.  The performance was wondefful and they got several ovations. You can not get a bad seat in this theater. It is in a old church building on Piazza Santa Chiara.   Google Opera Arias in Rome and you will get the web site. Tickets were 40 Euros, but the cheaper seats would have been just as good.  There is a small bar in the theater that serves drinks beginning at 6;30 PM. 

Inside of the theater
Performers on stage.
Outside on our walk back to our apartment near Campo De Fiore
Photos from the theater lobby.

Garda to Rome

After 12 days in Desenzano del Garda, we head for Rome.  Garda has been a slower paced visit than our time in Sicily. Driving is less challenging. The temperatures are cooler. I love Sicily, but the more controlled pace of life in the lake region is definitely more relaxing.

One of the nicest things about the lakes is the boat transport that is readily available.  From Desenzano you can get a lower lake travel pass for about 23E. 

Villa Romana Desenzano del Garda
Villa Romana Desenzano del Garda
Villa Romana Desenzano del Garda
 
The Villa Romana is an amazing place. Small enough to visit in an hour and filled with information.  They heated tha baths with underground fires that went through the walls and under the pools.  We worth the visit. Cost 4E. The mosaics are exceptionally beautiful. 

Library, Desenzano del Garda
Library, Desenzano del Garda
Library, Desenzano del Garda
Library, Desenzano del Garda

For a quite experience in Italy try to find a library. Free entry, and sit down. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Ciao 

At the beach La spiaggia 

Knowing that we would most likely be in an August heat wave, we have tried to stay  close to the water. 

We are about 50 feet above the sea and 50 feet away. The views are stunning. Temps have been in the upper 80s and the sun is intense. Really intense. Fa caldo.

This is the perfect spot for diving and snorkeling. When we were in the water yesterday small fish kept checking out our legs.

Access to the beach is free, but if you wish the comforts on a lounge chair, and umbrella you must pay. In this case it was 25 euro for the day, and well worth it. Today we will bring an umbrella from our apartment and give it a try on the cheap side. Means no fresh water shower and sitting on the rocky shore on a borrowed towel. We will see. The water is so clear you can see the bottom  in 6 ft depths.  Fish swim by and not plastic or pollution is in evidence. A note about the beach lounge chairs. They are far superior to the ones found in the US. If you wish to lean back, there is a line with a hook that releases the chair to find a comfortable position. What I really like is the folding sun screen to keep the sun our of your face. Wish they were available in Florida. 

Some scenes from last night as the sun set.

I love the middle photo my wife took took through the window last night.

Below shows where we are in relation to the town of Siracusa in Sicily. 

Saving Money On Car Rentals

Car rental rates have soared in the last several years.  Even using  sites like Kayak and Priceline you tend to get some high rates.  Some time ago I saw a reference in the New York Times to a site called Autoslash.com.   I tried it earlier this summer and was able to get a very reasonable rate for the July 4th week in Hartford, Connecticut.   previously my best rate for the week was about $400. I ended up paying $241 and got the car from Hertz. That was a substantial savings thanks to AutoSlash.

I have booked a 21 day rental in Sicily and did quite a bit of shopping.  I searched Hertz, Auto Europe, and Avis.  Each gave me rates that were in the  $800 range. AUTOSLASH 2 2017-08-11 at 4.04.39 PM.jpgAUTO SLASH SAVINGS.jpg Hertz got down to about $760 and it was looking better. I got a quote from AutoSlash and found that they could get me a $747 rate for the same period and they would continue to search for updates to the rate. Hertz is the provider.

Now  for the really good news! We leave on Tuesday and today I got an email saying they checked rates and it went from $765.51 to $305.89.  This is a substantial savings.  Note the original quote I got was $747 but Hertz raised it. When I brought this to the attention of AutoSlash they contacted Hertz and got the rate reduced.

Give AutoSlash a try and compare with other search engines. Hotwire, Hotels.com, Kayak have been helpful to me in the past, but not have reduced the rates after booking.

You do not pay up front!  Also keep in mind many credit card companies will cover your CDW which can save you several hundred dollars on a rental.

I have no affiliation with any site mentioned above. P1010826.jpg

Always good to have some tape. In Palermo a driver strayed into my land and hit the mirror. He then continued as if nothing had happened.  Luckily I had some tape and we survived.  I rented with Europcar and got it through InItaly.com.  They covered the damage  but still charged me $100.   That is why credit card CDW is better. BUT read your credit card agreement throughly.

 

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