Thursday, 22 November 2007

No place like Rome

Well, the football is over and England are out. The face behind the blog is very upset today but I will try and pull myself together and write a blog entry about my favourite city and the headquarters of HotelsClick, Rome.

Rome - the QT
Rome is surely on everyones "top 10 places to visit" list. Everyone I know either has been or desperately wants to visit Rome and with good reason. Rome is all things to all men with an ancient quarter, gothic quarter and modern areas. Rome is also all things to all women with Via Condotti (high end shopping), the world's most fabulous Ice Cream and Italian men dressed as Gladiators. Surely there can be no finer city to visit? That's right, there isn't. Wonderful cuisine, museums and public spaces make Rome my favourite city and if you come in Spring, the best time of year, it may just be your favourite city too. Just do yourself one small favour... leave the car at home. The Romans drive like today is their very last day on earth and everyone is going to pay! Look both ways before crossing the road people!

Who flies to Rome?

What hotel deals can you offer me?
Finding hotels in Rome in Italy can be a hit and miss affair. There are many budget options around Termini but whilst this area if convenient and well connected it is a little "dodgy" shall we say. Below we've recommended some hotels in the safer area's of Rome. These prices are an example of 11 January, 2 Nights, 1 Double Room.

Click to see all ROME HOTELS

What can I see and do in Rome?

The City of Rome is more compact than you'd imagine and it's quite possible to walk from the sights in the East (Colosseum and Forum) to the sights in the West (St Peters and the Vatican) though taxi's are cheap and frequent. Much of Rome is covered by the local Metro although some areas, notably Piazza Navona, are not covered by Metro due to the possibilities of endangering many historically important buildings by digging underneath them and the constant vibrations from a metro could cause damage. So, it's out with the old comfy trainers to see Rome on foot. The summer in Rome can be extremely hot with temperatures regularly soaring over 40°c. Many Romans leave the city in August and Rome basically shuts down including many shops, business' and restaurants. The best time to visit Rome is just after Easter, after the christian pilgrims have left the city or in September and October when temperature can stay in the pleasant 25°c range.
The Holy See and the Must See - It's impossible to write about Rome without mentioning the Collosseum, the Forum, the Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and St Peters but please, we all know about these. Half of us have visited these before, and maybe more than once so what I want to talk about today is the lesser know tourist attractions; the path less travelled. I am not recommending that you don't see these wonderful attractions, of course, if you've never been to Rome these are must see, 5 star attractions and among the very best spectacles anywhere on the planet. Today we're going to talk about the Roman Catacombs, Villa Borghese and Trastevere.

The Roman Catacombs are not as famous as their Parisian counterparts but still intriguing in a morbid way. All history buffs should set some time aside to visit the catacombs. A burial place from the 2nd Century for Christians and Jews the catacombs have lived a chequered life. Originally just a place of burial they have served also as a place of refuge from persecution and the shrine of actual Christian martyrs. The catacombs came into effect simply for financial reasons. Unable to afford to bury their dead spread out across expensive Rome, they had to dig down, creating an underground world full of corridors and, well, dead bodies. The catacombs continued to be used until the 5th century after the fall of Rome and invasion of the Barbarians.
The relics and jewels once buried with their owners were then taken away to churches throughout Rome away from the hands of the Barbarians. With their removal there was no longer an urge to visit or guard the area and the catacombs were deserted and well into the middle ages were considered "lost", noone knew where they were anymore. Not until the 17th century were the catacombs found once more and are considered amongst the most important archaeological sites of Christian history. At the catacombs you can witness the burial chambers in something of a labyrinth, many of the inscriptions on the "tombs" remain as well as some emblems and relics.
Trastevere is my favourite area of Rome. This medieval district on the left bank of the Tiber was once home to the poor of the city and looked down upon by the grand Imperial Romans. Today Trastevere is the most trendy area of Rome with the best restaurants and bars in the city. With an international atmosphere it is common to walk around hearing as much English as Italian. Many American and British Ex-pats have made Trastevere their home seeing the potential in this medieval quarter that looks more like Barcelona's Barrio Gotico than anything resembling Rome. It's also home to many famous Italians as well an International artists who have helped raise the areas profile, and it's property prices.
Filled with antique stores, books shops and quaint old knick knacks you can spend a day walking its narrow streets and just enjoying Trastevere for its ambiance. The area's life focuses around the famous church and the square in which it sits, the Santa Maria in Trastevere. Wonder around, get lost and enjoy a long lunch at one of the great traditional Italian trattoria's.
Villa Borghese is hardly a secret but it's still under appreciated. It's the best place to bring kids in Rome with huge outdoor spaces and a zoo. As the best open space in Rome, home to a fantastic art collection, and host to outdoor events all year round it's a hub of Roman life in the same way Hyde Park is in London. It's huge. If you've had the fortune to walk around the circumference of Villa Borghese then you know you've put in some km's and deserve that Spaghetti Carbonara.
The Bio Park, the city's zoo, is a valiant attempt to educate Rome's young about the plight of animals and the dangers of global warming. The message gets lost in the cute monkeys and lion cubs though.
Galleria Borghese, is an impressive 17th century villa housing the work of famous artists including Bernini and Canova. The museum is more for history fans as its first floor is dedicated to Roman antiquities, busts and mosaics. The Galleria Borghese is open all year round.
Where can I eat in Rome?
Where can't you eat in Rome? All the districts have traditional trattoria's as well as cheap pizza stands where you can get yourself a filling slice of pizza for €1.50. No matter what your budget you can eat well in Rome.
Here are some recommendations (£ - Inexpensive - under £10 for a main course - ££ - Reasonable £10-£15 for a main course - £££ - Pricey £15-£24 for a main course- ££££ - Expensive £25-£35 for a main course - £££££ - Daylight Robbery - £35+ for a main course)
  • GUSTO - Upmarket Italian restaurant - ££££
  • IL PASTARELLARIO - famous restaurant in Trastevere - £££
  • REMO - best place for traditional roman pizza- ££
  • IL CON VIVIO - One of Rome's most fashionable restaurants, great foodie place - ££££
  • DAGNINO - 50's style Sicilian patisserie, great food and ambiance - £
That's it for Rome. There are a million other attractions worth seeking out but hopefully we gave you some new ideas to get excited about.

Ciao for now HotelClickers!

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