Rome

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Rome , the 'Eternal City', is the capital and largest city of Italy and of the Lazio (Latium) region. It's the famed city of the Roman Empire, the Seven Hills, La Dolce Vita (sweet life), the Vatican City and Three Coins in the Fountain. Rome, as a millennium-long centre of power, culture and religion, having been the centre of one of the globe's greatest civilizations ever, has exerted a huge influence over the world in its circa 2500 years of existence. The Historic Center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With wonderful palaces, millennium-old churches and basilicas, grand romantic ruins, opulent monuments, ornate statues and graceful fountains, Rome has an immensely rich historical heritage and cosmopolitan atmosphere, making it one of Europe's and the world's most visited, famous, influential and beautiful capitals. Today, Rome has a growing nightlife scene and is also seen as a shopping heaven, being regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world (some of Italy's oldest jewellery and clothing establishments were founded in the city). With so many sights and things to do, Rome can truly be classified a "global city". (less...) (more...)

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Points of Interest in Rome

Italians are very fond of their landmarks; in order to make them accessible to everyone one week a year there is no charge for admittance to all publicly owned landmarks and historical sites. This week, known as "La settimana dei beni culturali", typically occurs in mid-May and for those 7 to 10 days every landmark, archaeological site and museum belonging to government agencies (including the Quirinale presidential palace and gardens, the Colosseum and all of the ancient Forum) is accessible and free of charge. For more information and for specific dates see [8] or [9].

You are able to buy full day passes for €12 or a 3-day pass for €23(not up to date). This pass gets you in to the Colosseum (Colosseo), Palatine Hill (Palatino Hill), the Baths of Caracalla (Terme di Caracalla), and the catacombs as well as the Terme di Diocleziano, Palazza Massimo alle Terme, Crypta Balbi, Palazzo Altemps, Villa dei Quintili, and the Tomb of Cecilia Metella.

Ancient Rome

The main area for exploring the ruins of ancient Rome is in Rome/Colosseo either side of Via dei Fori Imperiali, which connects the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. Constructed between 1931 and 1933, at the time of Mussolini, this road destroyed a large area of Renaissance and medieval buildings constructed on top of ruins of the ancient forums and ended forever plans for an archeological park stretching all the way to the Appian Way. Heading towards the Colosseum from Piazza Venezia, you see the Roman Forum on your right and Trajan's Forum and Market on the left. To the right of the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine and the beginning of the Palatine Hill, which will eventually lead you to ruins of the Flavian Palace and a view of the Circus Maximus (see Rome/Aventino-Testaccio). To the left, after the Colosseum is a wide, tree-lined path that climbs through the Colle Oppio park. Underneath this park is the Golden House of Nero (Domus Aurea), an enormous and spectacular underground complex restored and then closed again due to damage caused by heavy rain. Further to the left on the Esquiline Hill are ruins of Trajan's baths.

In Old Rome you must see the Pantheon, which is amazingly well preserved considering it dates back to 125 AD. There is a hole constructed in the ceiling so it is an interesting experience to be there when it is raining. If you are heading to the Pantheon from Piazza Venezia you first reach Largo di Torre Argentina on your left. Until 1926 this was covered in narrow streets and small houses, which were razed to the ground when ruins of Roman temples were discovered. Moving along Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle and crossing the Tiber river into the Vatican area you see the imposing Castel Sant' Angelo, built as a Mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian. This is connected by a covered fortified corridor to the Vatican and served as a refuge for Popes in times of trouble.

South of the Colosseum are the Baths of Caracalla (Aventino-Testaccio). You can then head South-East on the old Appian Way, passing through a stretch of very well-preserved city wall. For the adventurous, continuing along the Appian Way (Rome/South) will bring you to a whole host of Roman ruins, including the Circus of Maxentius, the tomb of Cecilia Metella, the Villa dei Quintili and, nearby, several long stretches of Roman aqueduct.

Returning to the Modern Center, the Baths of Diocletian are opposite the entrance to the main railway station, Termini. The National Museum of Rome stands in the South-West corner of the Baths complex and has an enormous collection of Roman sculptures and other artifacts. But this is just one of numerous museums devoted to ancient Rome, including those of the Capitoline Hill. It is really amazing how much there is.

Catholic Rome

There are more than 900 churches in Rome. Probably one third would be well worth a visit!

In Catholic tradition, St. Peter is said to have founded the church in Rome together with St. Paul. The first churches of Rome originated in places where early Christians met, usually in the homes of private citizens. By the IVth Century, however, there were already four major churches, or basilicas. Rome had 28 cardinals who took it in turns to give mass once a week in one of the basilicas. In one form or another the four basilicas are with us today and constitute the major churches of Rome. They are St Peter’s, St Paul’s Outside the Walls, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni. All pilgrims to Rome are expected to visit these four basilicas, together with San Lorenzo fuori le mura, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, and the Sanctuary of Divino Amore. The latter was inserted as one of the seven at the time of the Great Jubilee in 2000, replacing San Sebastiano outside the walls.

Take a look inside a few churches. You'll find the richness and range of decor astonishing, from fine classical art to tacky electric candles. Starting with several good examples of early Christian churches, including San Clemente and Santa Costanza, there are churches built over a period of 1700 years or so, including modern churches constructed to serve Rome's new suburbs.


Some churches in Rome deny admission to people who are dressed inappropriately. You will find "fashion police" at the most visited churches. ("Knees and shoulders" are the main problem - especially female ones.) Bare shoulders, short skirts, and shorts are officially not allowed, but long shorts and skirts reaching just above the knee should generally be no problem. However, it's always safer to wear longer pants or skirts that go below the knee; St. Peter's in particular is known for rejecting tourists for uncovered knees, shoulders, midriffs, etc. (You also generally won't be told until right before you enter the church, so you will have made the trek to the Vatican and stood in a long security line for nothing.) The stricter churches usually have vendors just outside selling inexpensive scarves and sometimes plastic pants. But relatively few churches enforce dress codes and you can wander into most wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts, or pretty much anything without problems. It is, however, good to keep one's dress tasteful, as these are still churches and houses of prayer for many people. (Older Romans might comment on your attire and perhaps harass you if it is particularly revealing.)

The Seven Hills of Rome

To the modern visitor, the Seven Hills of Rome can be rather difficult to identify. In the first place generations of buildings constructed on top of each other and the construction of tall buildings in the valleys have tended to make the hills less pronounced than they originally were. Secondly, there are clearly more than seven hills. In Roman days many of these were outside the city boundaries.

The seven hills were first occupied by small settlements and not recognized as a city for some time. Rome came into being as these settlements acted together to drain the marshy valleys between them and turn them into markets and fora. The Roman Forum used to be a swamp.

The Palatine Hill looms over Circus Maximus and is accessed near the Colosseum . Legend has it that this was occupied by Romulus when he fell out with his brother, Remus, who occupied the Aventine Hill on the other side of the Circus. Also clearly recognisable as hills are the Caelian, to the southeast of Circus Maximus and the Capitoline, which overlooks the Forum and now hosts the Municipality of Rome. East and northeast of the Roman Forum are the Esquiline, Viminal, and Quirinal hills. These are less easy to distinguish as separate hills these days and from a distance look like one.

The red line on the map indicates the Servian Wall, its construction is credited to the Roman King Servius Tullius in the Sixth Century BC, but archaeological evidence places its construction during the Fourth Century BC. Small bits of this wall can still be seen, particularly close to Termini railway station and on the Aventine hill. As Rome expanded new walls were required to protect the larger area. These were built in the Third Century AD by the Emperor Aurelian. Lengthy sections of this wall remain all around the outskirts of Rome's center. Much is in very good condition.

Among other hills of Rome, not included in the seven, are that overlooking the Vatican; the Janiculum overlooking Trastevere, which provides excellent views of Rome; the Pincio on the edge of the Borghese Gardens, which gives good views of the Vatican, and the Monte Mario to the north.

Museums

If you are in Rome for the Arts there are several world-class museums in the city. The natural starting point is a visit to the area of Villa Borghese in Campo Marzio, where there is a cluster of art museums. Galleria Borghese houses a previously private art collection of the Borghese family, Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia is home of the world's largest Etruscan art collection, and Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna houses many Italian masterpieces as well as a few pieces by artists such as Cézanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh. The Capitoline Museums in the Colosseo district opens their doors to the city's most important collection of antique Roman and Greek art and sculptures. Visit the Galleria d'Arte Antica, housed in the Barberini palace in the Modern center, for Italian Renaissance and Baroque art.

A visit to Rome is not complete without a trip to the Vatican Museum. You need to go to the museum if you want to see the Sistine Chapel, but there is an enormous collection. You cannot miss part of this, such as tapestries, maps and the rooms painted by Rafael, as they are en route to the Sistine Chapel, but there is much, much more to explore, including a stunning Egyptian collection, and the Pinacoteca, which includes a Portrait of St. Jerome by Leonardo da Vinci and paintings by Giotto, Perugino, Raphael, Veronese and Caravaggio, to name just a few.

Rome's National Museum at the Baths of Diocletian in the Modern Center has a vast archaeological collection as does the national museum at Palazzo Altemps, close to Piazza Navona. Further afield, the Museo di Civilta Romana (Museum of Rome's Civilization), in EUR is most famous for an enormous model of Imperial Rome, but also has an extensive display of plaster casts, models and reconstructions of statues and Roman stonework.

If you have plenty of time there is absolutely no shortage of other museums covering a wide variety of interests. Examples include the Museum of the Walls (see Rome/South), the Musical Instrument Museum and a museum devoted to the liberation of Rome from German occupation in the Second World War (Rome/Esquilino-San Giovanni).

Check museum opening hours before heading there. Government museums are invariably closed on Mondays, so that is a good day for other activities. The Rome municipality itself operates some 17 museums and attractions. Info at [10]. These are free to European Union citizens under 18 and over 65. Web sites for other museums are listed on the relevant District pages.

Just walking around

Much of the attraction of Rome is in just wandering around the old city. You can quickly escape from the major tourist routes and feel as if you are in a small medieval village, not a capital city. If you can do so while watching for uneven cobblestones, keep looking upwards. There are some amazing roof gardens and all sorts of sculptures, paintings and religious icons attached to exterior walls. Look through 2nd and 3rd floor windows to see some oak-beamed ceilings in the old houses. Look through the archway entrances of larger Palazzos to see incredible courtyards, complete with sculptures, fountains and gardens. Take a stroll in the area between Piazza Navona and the Tiber river in Old Rome where artisans continue to ply their trade from small shops. Also in Old Rome, take a 1 km stroll down Via Giulia, which is lined with many old palaces. Film enthusiasts will want to visit Via Veneto (Via Vittorio Veneto) in the Modern Center, scene for much of Fellini's La Dolce Vita.

The Piazzas

The narrow streets frequently broaden out into small or large squares (piazzas), which usually have one or more churches and a fountain or two. Apart from Piazza Navona and Piazza della Rotonda (in front of the Pantheon), take in the nearby Piazza della Minerva, with its unique elephant statue by Bernini and Piazza Colonna with the column of Marcus Aurelius and Palazzo Chigi, meeting place of the Italian Government. On the other side of Corso Vittorio Emanuele are Piazza Farnese with the Palazzo of the same name (now the French Embassy) and two interesting fountains and the flower sellers at Campo dei Fiori, scene of Rome's executions in the old days. All of these squares are a short distance from each other in Old Rome. The enormous Piazza del Popolo in the North Center, which provided an imposing entrance to the city when it represented the northern boundary of Rome, is well worth a visit. A short walk back towards the center brings you to Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the Spanish Steps. Yet another fascinating fountain here. The area was much used as backdrop for the 1953 film Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

On the other side of the river is, of course, the magnificent square of St Peter's at the Vatican. Further south, in Trastevere is Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, a great place to watch the world go by, either from one of the restaurants or bars that line two sides of the square or, if that is too expensive, from the steps of the central fountain. The square attracts many street entertainers.

Moving back to the Modern Center you have to see the Trevi Fountain, surely a part of everyone's Roman holiday. Visitors are always amazed that such a big and famous fountain is tucked away in a small piazza in the middle of side streets. Take extra-special care of your possessions here. Further up the Via del Tritone you will come to Piazza Barberini, now full of traffic but the lovely Bernini fountain is not to be missed.

Overlooked Places

EUR provides a selection of Fascist Architecture, including the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, often referred to "the Square Colosseum." It was designed to honor the historic Colosseum. This would be an interesting place to visit after seeing the Colosseum to compare their differences and similarities.

Viewpoints

With no tall buildings in Rome, views of the city come from climbing the many hills, either the original seven hills of Rome or others that surround them. The two most popular views of Rome are from the Janiculum hill overlooking Trastevere and the Pincio at the edge of the Borghese Gardens. The former, best reached by car, has sweeping views of the center of Rome, as long as the authorities remember to prune the trees on the hillside in front of the viewpoint. Cross over the piazza for an excellent view of the dome of St Peter's. The Vatican is the main sight from the Pincio (metro Line A, Piazza del Popolo, and then a good climb). Less popular, but just as nice, is the orange grove at Parco Savello on the Aventine Hill. Even less popular among tourists, as it is better accessed by car or moped, it the small square in front of the Zodiaco Restaurant in Monte Mario, a very popular spot for Romans young couples.

Rome for kids

If you are planning some serious sightseeing then leave the kids with their grandparents! They don’t take kindly to being dragged from ruin to ruin and church to church. A common sight in Rome is miserable looking kids traipsing after their parents. Also, push chairs/buggies are difficult to use because of the cobbled streets. If you are a family, do not try to do too much. It will be a big strain on kids and in the end everyone will be tired.

Apart from the major attractions Rome has relatively little to entertain kids. If you noticed a big Ferris wheel on your way in from Fiumicino Airport, think again. Lunapark at EUR was closed down in 2008. A few of the other ways to bribe your kids, however, are:

  • Children's Museum. Via Flaminia 82. Just north of Piazza del Popolo. Controlled entrance at 10.00, 12,00, 15.00 and 17.00 for visits lasting 1 hour 45 minutes. Closed Mondays and for much of August. Best to check the web site for up-to-date info and to book in advance.[11] Hands-on science, mainly for pre-teens, housed in a former tram-car depot.
  • Bioparco. The renamed Rome Zoo. On the edge of the Borghese Gardens. From 09.30 to 17.00 or 18.00 depending on the month. They try hard, but San Diego this isn't. If you are a regular zoo-goer you will be disappointed.[12]
  • The Time Elevator. Via dei Santi Apostoli, 20 on a side street between Piazza Venezia and the Trevi Fountain. Daily 10.30 to 19.30. "Five-dimensional" shows on the Origins of Life and on the History of Rome, plus "The House of Horrors". Not for the faint-hearted: your seats move all over the place. Kids love it. [13]
  • Rome's Wax Museum. 67 Piazza di Santi Apostoli, next to Piazza Venezia. Few good reports about this museum. Comments invited.
  • Planetarium at EUR. This also has an excellent astronomy museum and is conveniently next to the Museum of Rome's Civilization [14].
  • The Vatican is, by and large, not a great idea for kids although they often enjoy the Sistine Chapel and are impressed by the beauty and the fact that it was all done in just four years. However, the Sistine Chapel is very crowded and getting there through the corridors of the Vatican Museum is even worse. It is easy for families to get separated so determine a meeting point. The best part of St. Peter's Basilica is that kids can go to the top of the dome. It is 500 steps but you can take the elevator up to the third floor. From there there are another 323 exhausting steps. So it is fun for older kids who can both climb up all the stairs and walk down as there is a huge line for the elevator.
  • Zoomarine. Dolphins, sea lions, exotic birds, splashy rides and swimming pools, some 20 km south of Rome near Pomezia. A good day out, but is this really why you came to Rome? Free transport from EUR and Pomezia railway station. Check web site for details. [15]

Palazzo dei Conservatori

Capitoline Museum

Foro di Cesare

Piazza del Campidoglio

Arch of Septimius Severus

Temple of Saturn

Basilica di Massenzio

Arch of Titus

Santa Francesca Romana

Colosseum (Colosseo)

Portico di Ottavia

Pantheon

Column of Marcus Aurelius

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

Piazza della Minerva

Arch of Constantine

Palazzo Montecitorio

Piazza Colonna

Piazza di Pietra

Piazza di Montecitorio

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Popular events in Rome in the near future

Date: Category: The event list provided by Eventful
The event list provided by Eventful

About Rome

History

Rome's history spans over two and half thousand years, which have seen its transformation from a small Latin village to the center of a vast empire, through the founding of Catholicism, and into the capital of today's Italy. Rome's history is long and complex. What follows is merely a quick summary.

Rome is traditionally thought to have been founded by the mythical twins Romulus and Remus, who were abandoned as infants in the Tiber River and raised by a mother wolf before being found by a shepherd who raised them as his own sons. Rome was founded as a small village sometime in the 8th century BC surrounding the Palatine Hill, including the area where the Roman Forum is found. Due to the village's position at a ford on the Tiber River, Rome became a crossroads of traffic and trade.

The settlement developed into the capital of the Roman Kingdom, led by a series of Etruscan kings, before becoming the seat of the Roman Republic at around 500 BC, and then the center of the Roman Empire from 27 BC on. For almost a thousand years, Rome was the largest, wealthiest, most powerful city in the Western World, with dominance over most of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. Even after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Rome maintained considerable importance and wealth.

Beginning with the reign of Constantine I, the Bishop of Rome (later known as the Pope) gained political and religious importance, establishing Rome as the center of the Catholic Church. During the Early Middle Ages, the city declined in population but gained a new importance as the capital of the newly formed Papal States. Throughout the Middle Ages, Rome was a major pilgrimage site and the focus of struggles between the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy.

With the Italian Renaissance fully under way in the 15th century, Rome changed dramatically. Extravagant churches, bridges, and public spaces, including a new Saint Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, were constructed by the Papacy so that Rome would equal the grandeur of other Italian cities of the period. In the 19th century, Rome again became the focus of a power struggle with the rise of the Kingdom of Italy, which wished to see a reunification of Italy. The Papal States remained in control of Rome under French protection, but with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, French troops were forced to abandon Rome, leaving it clear for the Kingdom of Italy to capture. Rome became the capital of Italy, and has remained such ever since.

Rome today is a contemporary metropolis that reflects the many periods of its long history - Ancient times, Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Modern Era. With the rise of Italian Fascism following World War I, Rome's population grew. This trend was stopped by World War II, which dealt relatively minor damage to Rome. With the dismantlement of the monarchy and the creation of the Italian Republic following WWII, Rome again began to grow in population and became a modern city. The city stands today as the capital of Italy and one of the world's major tourist destinations.

Climate

Rome has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. In the winter months, daytime temperatures are usually pleasant and range from 10-15 °C, while nighttime temperatures tend to stay slightly above freezing. That being said, the occasional cold snap can cause temperatures to fall below freezing, and it is not unheard of for light flurries of snow to fall on occasion, though accumulation is rare, and major snowstorms are known to occur once every 20-25 years.

Activities

  • Take in a show. There are lots of theatres, but you will need to know Italian to enjoy them. The main concert venue is the Auditorium in Viale Pietro de Coubertin to the north of Rome.[16] The Auditorium at Parco della Musica is a large complex composed of three separate halls whose shapes are inspired by musical instruments. These are positioned around an open air amphitheatre, that is used nearly every night in the summer for concerts. The Parco della Musica hosts a constant stream of classical, popular, and jazz music, featuring national as well as international musicians and groups. Really big names perform outdoors in the summer; usually in either the Olympic Stadium or in Stadio Flaminio, which is next door to the Parco della Musica. In winter the Palalotto in EUR is an important pop concert venue.

To get full details of what is on, buy a copy of the La Repubblica newspaper on Thursdays, when it has an insert called TrovaRoma. There are a couple of pages in English but even with no Italian you should be able to decipher the main listings. This is not published in late July and August, when half of Rome heads to the beach. Both La Repubblica and Il Messaggero have daily listings.

  • Walk and feel the energy of Rome; sights are everywhere waiting to be discovered.
  • Explore the Trastevere neighbourhood for some great cafes and trattorie, and a glimpse at a hip Roman neighbourhood.
  • Take in a game of soccer at the Olympic Stadium. Rome has two teams, A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio and they both play at this stadium.

Events

  • Estate Romana Festival (Roman Summer Festival) - from late June through early September offers various musical events of jazz, rock, and classical music, and film, sport, theater and children’s fun.
  • White Night (Notte Bianca). In early to mid-September, various events until dawn, plus shops and restaurants, museums stay open while the Roman Notte Bianca stages music, dance and theater events. Expect enormous crowds; buses and trams will be packed to the brim.
  • Opera at Caracalla, Baths of Caracalla (see Rome/Aventino-Testaccio). If you are in Rome during summertime don’t miss the chance to experience a lyric opera in the truly unique setting of the Caracalla Baths. The 2009 program included Tosca, Carmen and Midsummer Night’s Dream. Performances start at 21.00.

Food

Rome is full of good restaurants, many in attractive settings, particularly when you sit outside in the evening. No one location can be recommended to search for a good restaurant: some of the best places to eat are in the most unpromising locations while well-situated restaurants can often live on their reputation rather than the quality of their food. Restaurants in guidebooks can be good but prices can be inflated because it is more than likely a "tourist trap". To find an authentic restaurant that won't break the bank, try to find a place in a more residential area or somewhere that isn't in the middle of the tourist locations.

Many of the good restaurants in Rome are hard to find, but a good tip is to go where Italians live and eat. On the top of the green, old mountain (Monte Verde Vecchio) there are some trattorias with authentic Italian cuisine at an affordable price. Rome also has many beautiful spots to eat, so buying some delicacies to make up a picnic can be a great experience. In Via Marmorata you find Volpetti's which is known for its amazing selection of cheese, prosciutto and delicous pastries (and also for its prices!). A more affordable choice is to go to a local supermarket which will also have good fresh foods for lunch.

Pizza

Most pizza restaurants serve it only in the evening. Try some of the fried things like baccala (battered salt cod) for a starter, followed by a pizza for a really Roman meal. Roman pizzas tend to be very thin crusted. Avoid the tourist areas where you'll often pay double the going rate just to get a badly reheated frozen pizza. Your best bet is to cross the river and find a restaurant in Trastevere--the food is authentic and a lot cheaper than in the rest of downtown Rome. Make sure you eat it with a fork and knife; Romans don't eat this kind of pizza with their hands.

Pizza al Taglio is pizza with a thicker crust, cooked in a large pan. This is served by the piece, usually to take away, and is a good cheap way to get something to fill you up. Point to the one you want, indicate if you want more or less than your server is indicating with the knife. It's sold by weight (the listed price is usually per 100 g, known as an etto, short for ettogrammo, i.e. hectogramm). This kind of pizza is eaten with the slices stacked on top of each other like a sandwich.

Ice cream

Look for a gelateria. Remember that it usually costs extra to sit inside. You pay for your ice cream first...take your receipt and go fight your way through the throng to choose your flavors (Italians don't believe in lines). You will be asked "Panna?" when it's almost made - this is the offer of whipped cream on top. If you've already paid, this is free.

There are a few signs to keep in mind: "Produzione Propria" (homemade - our own production), "Nostra Produzione" (our production), "Produzione Artigianale" (production by craftsmen). If the colors seem dull and almost ugly it is probably natural, the bright colors being just a mix. Keep in mind, Italians usually won't queue, but if they are in line for gelato, get in line yourself: you may have hit the jackpot. Producers to try include Gelato di San Crispino [19]; Giolitti [20]; and Fassi [21].

Vegetarians

Vegetarians should have an easy time. Buffets in many restaurants usually have a good range of delicious vegetarian stuff - e.g. gratinated roast peppers/aubergines, etc. Vegans should do all right too; pizzas don't always have cheese - a Marinara for example, is just tomato, garlic and oregano.

Kosher dining

While there is not much choice, at least Rome's Kosher cooking is truly excellent. Try La Taverna del Ghetto in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.

More places can be found near the synagogue in via Padova, close to the "La Sapienza" university and the Bologna underground station.

Pricing

You can get cheap food in Rome, the problem is that if you don't know the city well or are forced to eat out in the centre, the prices go up.

  • €3.50 - You buy the pizza and eat it walking around, since it's a bread shop with no sitting area. You can choose how much you want to eat, but you'll be spending about €2 per slice + about €1.50 for a can of soda or €1 for water.
  • €15-20 - At lunchtime if you go to a restaurant you'll be spending between €15 for a set menu (not always good, try to go where you see Italian office people having their lunch as your best bet) and €20. For this you should get a pasta dish and a second course (meat) ending with coffee. Obviously if you have special wine the price will increase.
  • €20 - At night you can spend about €20 at a pizza restaurant or if you have only one main course. Again, if you have special wine it will cost more. The cheapest food you can get at a decent restaurant is a pizza marinara (that is, without cheese) for about €6. The price goes up from there depending on the toppings.
  • €20+ - For a sit down lunch or dinner in a restaurant €20 is cheap and if you want you can go up to €200 a head.

Chinese restaurants are still quite cheap but other ethnic restaurants (Thai, Indian) are generally expensive (think €30 upwards per person). Sushi is very expensive (€40 minimum per person).

Waiters have been known to take advantage of patrons by bringing more expensive items than what was ordered or asking for a tip although it's not mandatory and should be included in the price by law.


Drinks

Coffee

Starbucks has so far avoided Rome. And no wonder: Italian coffee is great so our friends from Seattle would face a lot of competition. A latte in Italian is just a glass of milk. If you're expecting coffee in that glass, you should ask for a caffe latte. A latte macchiato (meaning "marked") is steamed milk stained with a smaller shot of espresso. "Espresso" or "normale" is just that, but more commonly just referred to as caffe. Espresso doppio means a double shot of espresso, while espresso macchiato is espresso 'marked' with a dab of steamed milk. Americano — the one to order if you like filter coffee — is espresso diluted with hot water and not drunk much by Italians. Cappuccino is well known outside of Italy, but be warned: it is considered very un-classy, and somewhat childish, to order one after 11AM (and certainly after a meal). Decaffeinato is self-explanatory, but often referred to by the common brand-name Caffe Hag.

Wine and water

House wines are almost always drinkable and inexpensive (unlike, say, in the UK). You are better off ordering a bottle rather than house wine in most establishments in Rome due to some places watering down their wines. You may often find a bottle of wine on the table for you. Believe it or not: this bottle will be less expensive than a glass would be in the US or UK, possibly only €4 or €5. This does not always apply to those places that look really tourist-trap-like! Slightly better quality wines are usually sold at a relatively small mark-up on shop prices. Most Romans drink water with their meals. In restaurants it normally comes in 1 litre bottles and can be had normale (still water) or gassata (carbonated water).

Water is free at designated water fountains, called "nasone" (big nose). Some of these date back to ancient times, and the water is still very good. It's fresh spring water coming from the famous underground springs of Rome and is safe to drink. If you carry an empty bottle, fill it up for the rest of the day. Look for the drinking fountain with constant running water, plug the bottom hole, and cool water will shoot up from a smaller hole on top of the tap. Don't put your lips round the hole at the bottom, as stray dogs tend to like to get a drink.

Before dinner

Pre-dinner drinks (aperitivi) accompanied with small hors d'oeuvres (antipasti) are very popular with Romans: 1) chic yuppies in their 20s-30s crowd the area around Piazza delle Coppelle (behind the Parliament) and Piazza di Pietra (near the Chamber of Commerce); 2) younger generations sprawl around the square and streets of Campo de' Fiori; 3) everyone sits to drink in the narrow streets behind the Pantheon (Piazza Pasquino and Via del Governo Vecchio).

Clubbing & Night Life

Given a heart for exploration, Testaccio is the place to wander for after-dinner partying on the weekends. Head down there around 11PM (take metro Line B and get off at Piramide station) and listen for music. There are usually loads of people simply walking through the streets or looking for parking. Be brave, walk in, meet some wonderful Romans. This area is best in the winter. In the summer, the dancing moves to Ostia and Fregene, 45 minutes by car from Rome, at the seaside. Many clubs in Rome close in the summer months.

Many visitors like to go on Roman pub crawls. The Colosseum Pub Crawl [22] for example, has been throwing parties since 1999.

To the east of Termini Station, and near the first University of Rome "La Sapienza", is the San Lorenzo district, where you will find many pubs and clubs where university students and young Romans in their twenties spend their nights. On Saturday night the streets are crowded with people moving from one pub to another. On the city side of the railway, near Santa Maria Maggiore Cathedral, are some great Irish pubs, i.e. the Fiddler's Elbow [23], the oldest in Rome, where many English-speaking residents and Italian customers like to sip their pints. It's a good place to meet Romans who speak English. Also nearby are the Druid's Den and the Druid's Rock [24] .

On Via Nazionale there's a huge and beautiful pub called The Flann o'Brien [25], one of the biggest in Rome. On the same street near Piazza Venezia there is another cluster of pubs including The Nag's Head Scottish Pub [26]. After 22.00 it's very expensive as it becomes more like like a disco. Entrance with first drink costs €13 and drinks cost €8. Before midnight they sometimes host live music concerts. In the same area, at the beginning of Via Vittorio Emanuele II you can find The Scholar's Lounge Irish pub [27] with nice music. This is definitely worth a look but there is no room to dance. During winter American colleges students residents in Rome end up their highly alcoholic nights here. Also nearby there's the Trinity College Irish Pub [28]. Drinks are quite expensive there.

Also on Via Vittorio Emanuele, near Piazza Navona, there's the Bulldog's Inn English pub. DJs play very good music there and there's room to dance, although few do. Nearby in Campo dei fiori there are several crowded pubs. Beware, there have been huge and serious fights there. In the narrow streets behind Piazza Navona there are also many places to go. Try Jonathan's Angels in Via del Fico. Also the Abbey Theatre Irish pub [29] is a good place in Via del Governo Vecchio.

On the other side of the River Tiber (Tevere) is Trastevere district where there are many places to eat and drink. This is also a good place where to enjoy a walk in crowded streets at night. In summer time on Isola Tiberina, the island in the Tiber, temporary bar are built and there are all sorts of things to do.

Far from the center there are some other good places. The Palacavicchi in a small suburban town called Ciampino is a multi-dance room area where they play different kinds of music, mostly Latin American. You definitely need to get a cab to get there and it won't cost less than €20. South of Ciampino Airport there is The Ice Palace [30] for ice skating, and the Kirby's[31] and the Geronimo pubs. All of them are nice places. At the Geronimo[32] pub before midnight there usually are live music concerts with many bands covering different genres. On Friday and Saturday nights after the concert they play disco music. Entrance is free and you may drink and eat as you feel. Very cool place and for every budget. Unfortunately you need a cab to get there.

Those Romans who speak fluent English usually have a great deal of confidence with tourists, so just offer them a beer and they will be glad to share with you their tip & tricks about night life in Rome.

Discos: There are many beautiful discos. Unfortunately the city is huge and it's not very easy to find them, unless you have a very good guide.

The best way to start is from the most established ones: Piper, Gilda, Alien, all of them run by the Midra Srl [33]. Their website is nothing to write home about but can be used to discover telephone numbers and addresses. Gilda is near the Spanish Steps, and the others not too far from Termini station. During summer they close to move to the seaside of Fregene (north of Fiumicino and Ostia) where Gilda on the Beach can be found.

A pint of beer in pubs usually costs around €6, entrance in discos around €20 with first drink included. Drinks in discos cost around €10.

Gay travellers

One of the places to be on Friday nights is Giardino delle Rose in via Casilina Vecchia 1 (rather central but reachable only by taxi): a luxurious garden with open-air bars and tables. Two large discos are Mucca Assassina in via del Gazometro and Classico in via Ostiense. During the week the main meeting place after dinner is Coming Out (a bar right in front of the Colosseum) where crowds of gay Romans and tourists gather in and outside, all year round but overwhelmingly crowded during the summer or late-night clubs such as Hangar in Via in Selci (Metro Line A, get off at Manzoni station). The best sauna (open 24 hours during week ends) is Europa Multiclub in via Aureliana (behind Piazza Esedra, Metro Line A Repubblica station). A meeting spot for gays day and (especially) night is Monte Caprino, the park on the Palatine hill behind the City Hall (Piazza Venezia) with spectacular views over the temples and ruins of ancient Rome.

Shopping

Rome has excellent shopping opportunites of all kinds - clothing and jewellery (it has been nominated as a top fashion capital) to art and antiques. You also get some big department stores, outlets and shopping centres, notably in the suburbs and outskirts.

Main shopping areas include Via del Corso, Via Condotti, and the surrounding streets. The finest designer stores are around Via Condotti, whilst Via del Corso has more affordable clothing, and Via Cola di Rienzo, and the surroundings of Via del Tritone, Campo de'Fiori, and Pantheon are the places to go for cheaper items. Upim is a good shop for cheap clothing of workable quality. Some brands (like Miss Sixty and Furla) are excellent, some are not as good - be sure to feel garments and try them on. There are also great quality shoes and leather bags at prices that compare well with the UK and US. But when shopping for clothes note that bigger sizes than a UK size 16/US 12 aren't always easy to find. Children's clothing can be expensive with basic vests (tank tops) costing as much as €21 in non-designer shops. If you really need to buy clothers for kids try the Oviesse chain. Summer sales in many stores begin around July 15 and Rome also has New Year sales.

As mentioned above, Via Condotti is Rome's top haute couture fashion street (equivalent of Fifth Avenue in New York City, Via Montenapoleone in Milan, or Bond Street in London). Here, you can find big brand names such as Gucci, Armani, Dior, Valentino and Hermès, and several other high-class shops. However, the streets around the Via Condotti, such as Via Frattina, Via del Babuino, Via Borgognona and the Piazza di Spagna also offer some excellent high fashion boutiques, including Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Prada and Givenchy (and several others). So once in the city, the big boutique names aren't absent. In these luxurious streets, however, you needen't only do clothing shopping - there are some really good and funky jewellery (e.g. Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffany's & Co.), pen and accessory (i.e. Mont Blanc) and artsy stores peppered here and there in these streets.

If you want to spend a day in a large shopping mall, there's the Euroma2 with about 230 shops (mainly clothes and accessories) and restaurants, to be found near the EUR district. Take Metro B line from Termini to EUR Palasport station, cross the road and take the frequent free bus (ride takes 5–15 minutes) to the mall. In addition to many shops and food, the conditioned air and free toilets may be a welcome relief if you are in Rome during mid-summer. La Rinascente, Rome's first department store, having been opened in 1887, is also a good retail department store, selling fashion, design, houseware and beauty products. If you like Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister, you have an Abercrombie & Fitch Italia store in the Via Collatina.

There are lots of fake plastic 'Louis Vuitton' bags being sold at the side of the road. Be aware, that buying of fake products is illegal in Italy. Fines up to €1000 have been reported. If you are happy to take the risk, make sure you haggle; unsuspecting tourists pay up to €60 for them.

If you want to buy souvenirs or gifts, a museum would be the worst choice since there are many stalls along the streets of touristic areas that offer reasonable prices. It is likely that the same item in the gift shop of any museum will cost much more.

Factory outlets

  • Castel Romano. Near Rome, along the Via Pontina highway. A very large Factory Outlet with more than 100 branded shops. A car is needed to reach the place but a 30% discount in a designer shop is surely worth the 20 km trip.
  • Valmontone. A little further away from Rome than Castel Romano, you can find Valmontone outlet on the motorway towards Napoli just 50 km far from Rome. Valmontone itself is a delightful little town - 30 mins by train.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Rome on Wikivoyage.

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