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Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

Philadelphia...
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Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

Well, here we are... back home after two weeks in Rome (including a two day side trip to Orvieto) and we had a great time. We did many of the things we wanted though many others will have to wait 'til next time. We averaged a little over 9 miles a day walking and used the Metro, trains, buses and cabs. We celebrated my dear wife's birthday and our 20th anniversary... made new friends, received TWO pairs of paper pants... We bought souvenirs and gifts for folks back home and managed it all with carry on baggage.

Within this thread I'll talk about a lot of things we noticed about Rome on this trip (our 5th to the Eternal City)... some concerns and cares, but mostly about joy and beauty of this vibrant city.

Today I need to deal with client demands and jet lag, but over the next days, as pictures are sorted and I have time to post, I will share our trip with all of you who helped me plan it. Let me again thank you all for your help in making this trip to Rome very, very special!

:-)'

Philadelphia...
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41. Re: Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

Thanks again for all your comments and especially for sticking with it so far... only a few more installments and then I'll post some pictures on the web.

But first... A TRIP TO THE AQUEDUCTS!

In Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” there’s a scene where a group of conspirators complain about living under Roman rule. One of them sneers “what have the Romans ever done for us?” …and the list achievements begins; the aqueducts, sanitation, roads, irrigation, medicine, pubic baths, education, law and order, peace and (the thing they’d really miss)… wine!

Is it any wonder that seeing an aqueduct up close has been high on my list of priorities? Certainly this trip we’d find the time! The problem in the past has been that I didn’t know how to find them,,, luckily, other TA members (thank you jjkdc & Tiber2) shared my interest and posted directions to The Aqueduct Park!

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187791-i22-k11814…

So on a Saturday morning we made our way to the Barbarini stop of the Metro A line and rode out to the stop at Lucio Sestio. This part of Rome is fascinating because it is so unlike what the casual tourist sees. There are no crowds to speak of on a Saturday morning and the modern blocks of commercial shops, flats and homes are well kept and often have plantings and small gardens where space allows. It has a distinct late 20th century feel but nothing as oppressive as the housing blocks you sometimes encounter.

As we entered the park we first encountered the “squat” Aqua Felice, a Johnny-come-lately affair from the 1500’s that offers all the functionality but none of the grandeur of ancient Rome. Behind that are a few standing arches from the Aqua Claudia (or perhaps the aqua Marcia?) that started a gap-toothed line heading back towards the distant mountains. Paths throughout the park provide suburban Romans running trails and as we progressed into the park these became more groomed and the surrounding fields more lush and inviting.

The aqueduct itself became more solid as we progressed and eventually turned into a long run of complete structure. The Archeobus pulled up, paused and then zoomed down a tree lined road back on it’s loop of sites. Although this was an option for us to get to the park, I am glad we had the chance to walk through the suburb on our way.

The Park is in the landing path of Ciampino Airport and it was fun to watch the planes come in about every 5 minutes or so and a reminder of the never ending stream of visitors gorging in and out of this central hub of Italy.

Now I’m no expert on aqueducts but I can tell you that seeing one up close is very impressive. High above our heads, the water channel of the aqueduct is tall enough to walk in (the maintenance crews would be able to walk through them comfortably while cleaning or repairing them) and they are covered. Although I didn’t see any, there were large settling tanks, set at intervals, to allow sand, pebbles and other debris to filter out of the water supply on it’s journey to Rome. I’ve also read that the Aqua Claudia collected water from a source of springs in the mountains beyond Tivoli, some 61 km from Rome... This is the kind of engineering feat that that makes seeing the aqueducts a must!

Southend-on-Sea...
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42. Re: Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

EC1 - I particularly enjoyed your last post (I have been reading all the others and enjoying those too!) but when I come to Rome, maybe two or three times a year, I stay in a friend's flat which is in Via Ponzo Cominio, metro Lucio Sestio (you probably walked up this street to get to the acquaducts, it goes over two railways lines). So I know that area well. It is indeed like actually living as a Roman, all the local shops know us as the Inglese. One good thing, you can get shoes, handbags, clothing, groceries, etc. for half the cost than in the City Centre. As we come into Ciampino from London Stansted we fly over the flat and look out for it as we prepare to land and think - yes! we're back! To come back to Lucio Sestio in the evenings always gives us a great feeling of belonging. This year though, I actually stayed in Trastevere as my friend had never visited Rome before and I didn't want to spend too much time travelling on the metro each day, but I missed the local ice cream parlour (just as good as the city centre), the supermarket on the corner, the takeaway pizza and lasagne shop and the little market stalls outside the flat selling all sorts of kitchen gadgets. Roll on my next trip!! And keep the reports coming - they bring back lots of happy memories. I might even try Orvieto one of these days!

coxs creek, kentucky
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43. Re: Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

Thanks EC !! Wow !! We are going with you on our next trip !!! LOL ! I saw a program on t.v. about the aquaducts in Rome--it was so interesting ! One of those things that most of the time we don't think about at all. It is amazing how intelligent they were all those years ago. Makes me really wonder just how far we've really come?

Philadelphia...
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44. Re: Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

Thanks for your comments Chris, I think that staying farther outside historic Rome may be our choice next time too. I share your love of Italian kitchen gadgets! We had cheese graters, ravioli makers, vegetable peelers, oil/vinegar cruets, cappucino foaming cups, majolica mugs/cups/plates/sugar bowls... etc. A little bit of Italy that we use at home everyday.

Witty, it's pretty amazing what the ancient civilizations were able to accomplish, and even more amazing how fragile that knowledge was in the face of collapse and how long it took to reinvent things lost... our own is moving so fast that it's hard to imagine what will come next. Flight, the atom, computers, medicine, communication satellites, the space program.... it boggles the mind.

Eleni, thanks for reading my posts! How is your school year going?

j3dnight, your report brought tears of laughter, glad you had such a blast!

Hagerstown, Maryland
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45. Re: Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

You were served a pasta with canned mushrooms, eh?

Goodness. What the hell is going on over there?

Philadelphia...
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46. Re: Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

a pizza (from a TA recommended pizzeria in Trastevere no less) ... and yes, what IS that all about?

:-)'

Montreal
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47. Re: Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

I agree, canned mushrooms are beyond the pale, but I hope you weren't expecting porcini mushrooms on a pizza: Porcini cost a bomb, even in season, even in Rome. And reports have it that they were not very plentiful early in the season this year.

coxs creek, kentucky
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48. Re: Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

EC, the funniest of coincidences !! I was going through past B&B reviews for Il Colle degli Ulive, Ivano's place where we will be staying in a few weeks, and lo and behold there was a photo that someone had taken of an aquaduct!!! I think it was in Zagarolo, where we will be staying. So, you know what I will be checking out soon !!

This is going to be a very different perspective, I think, staying outside of Rome. I know that it will be probably the best part of my entire trip, but there is a little part of me that feels like I am betraying my first love!! LOL. I will--will-will get back inside the city at least for one day though--still haven't seen the Caravaggios in Piazza del Popolo.:-( And of course, what would a trip to Italy be without being caught up in the Roman traffic and the feeling the thrill of crossing the busiest streets of Rome? Be still my heart !!! ;-) :-)

West Chester, Ohio
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49. Re: Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

Witty,

I think you're going to discover a new love once you stay outside of Rome. It's a different pace, but still rewarding. Ivano and Tehri will provide incredible experiences for you, and you'll get a taste of Italian life outside of the big city. Give them my best.

EC - love your posts. Any time I'm in a store and see a diamond patterned coat, I think of you :)

BB

Philadelphia...
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50. Re: Back from Rome Oct 2 - Oct 16

Hah! You're still reading... well here's more.

EXPLORING A NEW NEIGHBORHOOD… part 1

On each trip to Rome we like to explore a new neighborhood on foot and see if our view of Rome grows a bit. With each visit our explorations have gone a little further from the tourist center, although I’m sure those who are residents would say we’ve barely started.

While planning this trip I stumbled on “The Magic Door” located in Piazza Vittorio just south of Termini, an area that I know very little about. Now the Termini area has what may be an unfair reputation… sure, the area around the train station in almost any town can leave a little to be desired but while this area may not be Rome’s nicest it may be one of the most affordable areas and with easy access to all public transport it should not be overlooked as an option.

There is a large Asian community in this area now, and while it hasn’t assumed the form of a “Chinatown” in the way we’re use to in the U.S., it’s obvious when you see the faces, the markets and restaurants that this is a healthy and growing section of Rome.

We had wanted to see Piazza Vittorio, Santa Maria Maggiore, and two other churches with wonderful mosaics (Santa Prassede & Santa Prudenziana) which we missed as the itinerary, as is often the case, flew out the window.

The Piazza Vittorio also holds the original location/ruins of the site that held the trophies of Marius and so we were happy to see both that and the Magic Door located together in the north corner of the piazza.

I had planned to use the incantations and translations of the alchemic signs and symbols on the door as a way of financing this trip to Rome. One of our Rome Experts (Rome 70) had given me enough information that I thought this would be a cinch… in fact, I had been spending with this expectation for the entire trip. Imagine my surprise when I found the door to be fenced off, far out of distance for an effective spell to be cast. I’m pretty sure the folks from Mastercard has a spy on TA Rome Forum, learned of my plan and moved to foil it before my arrival. I guess this is the danger of sharing your intentions online! We drowned our sorrows in gelato at Fassi, Via Principe Eugenio, 65… just down the street from the Piazza. I had Riso, a rice flavored gelato that is becoming harder to find now in Rome. Fassi claims to be the oldest Gelateria in Italy and has the feel of an old malt shop… Italian style!

We had run out of time that day but not out of curiosity of what the area above Termini might have in store so we made our escape knowing we’d have to return.