To sum it all up--my love affair with Rome has only grown deeper. Nothing has made me change my mind. Stumbling upon every new place is a thrill of a lifetime. The weather was quite lovely while we were there. It did get cool at night and I should have taken a warmer jacket, but hubby was very comfortable without one most of the time. Ahhh, the older I get, the less I like cold!! We had about two seconds worth of rain the first day we were there but it was so short and so light that we didn't even need an umbrella. I took the advice and all the tips I could find on the forum. It paid off . I took all my index cards with info for food, churches, etc., categorized them by area and put them in separate baggies and then labeled the bags. I took my Rick Steves guidebooks and my Frommers guide book and a small translation guidebook. I picked up maps at the hotel. I took the city map that came with my Frommer's book. I marked them over and over. I learned that the best way for me was to mark a route out ahead of time if I really wanted to get there at a certain time. we visited thirteen churches in Rome plus revisited two others. We spent several hours in the forum this time. We went to the Borghese Gallery and to the vatican Museum and to the Scavi Tour. we spent a lot of time just walking and going to the park to "smell the roses". The weather was wonderful. The people were wonderful. We got lost. Even with maps amd a strategy plan--especially at night. I learned that while going in November is a wonderful time to be in Italy, it is also harder because the various places close early. The Vatican museum closes at 1:45, so you must get there early in the morning. I believe we arrived there around 9:00 and waited almost an hour in line. I did not climb the dome of St. Peter's--sorry guys and gals!!!!!! I did not feel claustophobic during the Scavi tour---not even a little--which surprised me. I was able to speak just enough Italian when I needed to, to be able to get my point across--and sometimes I surprised myself and remembered much more than I thought I would !! I wish to REALLY thank Roma72 and Nolana and Cinzia for that !!!!!!!!! A little trick that I found worked really well--I always started off telling them that my Italian was horrible, so no matter what I spoke in Italian, they seemed impressed and complimented me profusely !!! I am a naughty girl-no??? Tourists were definitely not as thick as I thought they would be but there were still quite a few there. Not as many as when we were there in March. I learned that because of the fact that most churches close for a period of time in the afternoon--it was hard to see as many as I wanted to see. I learned that no matter what--the food or gelato or church that I wanted was always across town from where I was----always!!! I learned that if you see a really scrumptious pastry shop or gelateria or sandwich or pizza place--you should eat , even if you are not hungry, because you probably will not pass that way again !!! We were not robbed. We never felt even the slightest bit afraid anywhere. I still love my hotel--Hotel Centro--because of the amazingly wonderful staff--Thank you Giovanni, Michael Bruno and Francesco again. And of course I loved their breakfast buffet !! I decided that Piazza Navonna was my favorite place this time. There we were in Rome at night listening to a young man singing Eric Clapton songs--and doing it very well indeed !!! Beeeeeautiful !!!!
There were not nearly as many street beggars this time and not quite as many rose pushers--THANK YOU LORD !!!! We missed our ES train to Florence because my hubby looked at the time wrong and I did not double check it. I found out that as long as you go to a window within two hours, you can get the next train seats available without any extra charges. Thank you again Lord! So we only had to wait for about an hour and a half. I learned then, to check and re-check everything !!! Any questions from anyone, I will try to answer. That's all I can think of for now. I am still assimilating the whole trip. If I forgot anyone's name when thanking everyone, I apologize--I think I forgot to add Brooklynnite and tkere and John and lordy just everybody !!! Oh, forgot to mention again that you need to make sure before you go that your shoes are comfortable!!! I bought the same brand but a different style(new balance) and boy did my feet hurt!!!!!!! Hope that all of you who are there now are having the time of your life---trust me, the second time is just as magical and I think the third will be too and on and on. I still feel like my heart is there and I miss every little sound and every little taste and every piece of art and mostly I miss the wonderful, wonderful people. I am a melancholy baby right now. Tears flow easily whenever I try to share my experiences. When in Florence, we bought a CD of a couple who played classical music on the accordian and violin so when I play it, I am transported back to the wonderful days in Italy. That funny shaped country has me under her spell and I think that will be that way forever. Ciao bella---