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Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

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Fayetteville...
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Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

Arriving Rome July 7. We're staying near the Spanish Steps. (Near shopping!) Family traveling with 2 Older teens, boy and girl. Not much on museums! Have planned to visit the Coliseum and Catacombs, a "Night Tour" of the monuments, and the Vatican's two hour tour. Looking for any other "must see" sights; any fabulous restaurant finds (good food, but not ridiculously expensive, since the dollar is already so low!)Any shopping outlets in the City? We're also doing a day trip to Pompeii and Positano. Thank you so much.

Le Marche, Italy
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1. Re: Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

How long will you be in Rome? If not museums, what are you interested in? Historical sites? I suggest you get a good guide book, with lots of pictures; the DK Eyewitness guide to Rome is good for this. Let the kids look at it and let them plan part of the itinerary.

At the very least, you should walk around the historic center: Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and Trevi fountain make a good walking itinerary and it's well marked.

It's hard to make a mistake with restaurants. Stay away from restaurants that have a hawker outside and restaurants that have menus printed in three or more languages. Most restaurants have a complete menu posted outside. However, if they don't, before sitting down, ask to see the menu they bring to the table and don't rely on a menu posted on a sign. Check out the price of beverages; sometimes restaurants seem reasonable but have outrageous prices for beverages. (You will find that carbonated beverages are expensive everywhere; better get used to drinking water.) Also check the cover charge ("coperto" or "pane e coperto"). This is for bread and table setting, and it's not optional. And finally, see if there's a service charge (servizio). If there is, it's usually 10%, and you don't need to tip.

By the way, there is a transport strike on the 7th. How are you getting to your hotel? It affects trains and city buses. For transportation around the city, on that first day, you might want to use the Open 110 hop-on, hop-off bus (which isn't going to be on strike) or else walk everywhere. The strike will be over the next day.

Fayetteville...
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2. Re: Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

Thanks for the info. I have the DK Guidebook. We have a car picking us up on the 7th. Thanks for the info about the strike! I was just wondering if there is anything that is just "breathtaking" that isn't on the normal "must see" list. (For example: In Paris, Sainte Chappelle, with its 360 degrees of stained glass windows, only gets a small footnote in most guidebooks, but it was one of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen!)We also enjoy "soaking up" the culture, and sampling food, shops, etc. Your info about menus/fees/tips is going in my palm. Thanks again!

Fayetteville...
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3. Re: Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

ps--Rome 5 days, Venice 3, Florence 2

Le Marche, Italy
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4. Re: Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

OK, if you're going to be in Rome five days, here are some of the lesser seen things I would recommend:

The Palatine Hill. Everybody goes to the Colosseum, and a lot of them also go to the Roman forum. Very few go to the nearby Palatine Hill, which is a shame. An added value is that it's greener and shadier, so it's not as broiling hot in summer. They have recently opened a few rooms with frescoes in the house of the Emperor Augustus for visits. They only allow five people into these rooms at a time, so there is usually a line. However, it moves pretty fast. The same ticket which gets you into the Colosseum is good for the Palatine Hill, and you can use it for two days. It's also good for the Roman Forum.

Even if you don't much care for museums, I suggest you visit the Capitoline Museums. They have a great collection of ancient Roman and Greek sculptures, and there is also a wonderful view over the Roman forum.

Ostia Antica: the ancient Roman port city, just outside Rome. You can get there on a commuter train. It's different from Pompeii in many ways, but just as interesting. There's also some shade, which is good in summer, and you will find almost none in Pompeii. Here is a good web page:

http://www.ostia-antica.org/

Galleria Doria Pamphilj: a Renaissance palazzo still occupied by descendants of the Doria Pamphilj family. They have an excellent audio tour narrated by a member of the family. It's sort of a museum, but it's very interesting to see how the wealthy lived in the past. The family's art work is displayed on the walls the way people used to display their art in the Renaissance, nearly covering every inch of space.

http://www.doriapamphilj.it/ukipix.asp

Villa Farnesina: a Renaissance villa, with several rooms covered with frescoes. Here is the web page; if you click on the links, you can see some pictures:

www.lincei.it/modules.php…

If you go to the Villa Farnesina, I suggest you also walk to the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere, which has exquisite golden mosaics both inside and outside. Both the villa and the church are in Trastevere, and you would probably enjoy wandering around the little streets. There are also lots of restaurants there, although most of those I've tried lately are too oriented to the tourist market.

Other churches with great works of art are Santa Maria del Popolo, San Pietro in Vincoli, San Luigi dei Francesi, and Sant'Agostino.

San Clemente is a beautiful church and underneath it are two older churches, the earliest one dating from Roman times.

If you want to see a catacomb, one of the nicest, and one that hardly anyone visits, is the Catacomb of Priscilla, in the northern part of the city. In it are some frescoes from the 2nd century. There are excellent guided tours in English.

There are several nice parks in Rome, especially the Villa Borghese Park and the Doria Pamphilj park.

Here are some places to get great views of the city:

Janiculum Hill

Pincian Overlook in the Villa Borghese park

Upper terrace of Castel Sant'Angelo

Fayetteville...
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5. Re: Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

Thank you SO much! That was exactly the kind of info I wanted! I'm going to check everything out on the web, and list them in my Palm!

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6. Re: Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

You can rent bicycles in the Borghese Gardens.

St Paul, MN
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7. Re: Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

Which catacombs are you going to see? Do you know how to get there?

St Paul, MN
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8. Re: Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

This is one of my favorite restaurants near the Colosseum. Very reasonably priced

La piazzetta

Map

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

Antipasto bar

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

Dessert Bar

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

Bucharest
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9. Re: Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

About restaurants: try to eat at least once in the jewish area of Rome; the roman-jewish food is different from the "classical" roman, and it is delicious. One of our favorites is "Da Gigeto" on the Via del Portico D'Ottavia; its terrace is just near the portico and you can walk after lunch/dinner throught the Jewish quarter, to see the Fontana delle Tartarughe and reach in about 10 min the Area Sacra (Largo Torre Argentina) where the older temples in Rome were.

More upmarket, Osteria Margutta on Via Margutta, near your hotel, have delicious Roman Food.

Kamloops, BC...
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10. Re: Need Quick help on Rome's "Hidden Gems," please!

If your guide books don't have any of this (very basic) information you need to get at least one more.