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Report 2094: A Wonderful Four Days in Rome and One Day in Florence

By JMW BHM from USA, Winter 2014

Trip Description: Family of three adults spends five days in Rome, including a day trip to Florence, visiting the highlights.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Florence, Rome

Categories: Vacation Rentals; Shopping; Sightseeing; 3-4 people; Adult Children w/ Parents

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Page 1 of 6: Day One - Arrival, St Peters in Vincoli, Colosseum and Palatine Hill

After a hard nights travel with little sleep my wife Robin, my adult daughter Page and I arrived at FCO on schedule and after a fast passage through Immigration and Customs we were met by our RomeCab driver. The trip into Rome was uneventful but we were glad we didn't have to deal with the aggressive Italian drivers who would force their way into a line of traffic where there was no room. We were delivered to the front of our apartment at Residenza Giubbonari, located two blocks off of Campo dei Fiori, where Cristina was waiting to show us to our apartment (the Green apartment) and given a tour and instruction on how everything worked. Cristina also answered questions about where the bakeries and grocery stores in the neighborhood were located. Of course we didn't remember much of it once she left. Robin and I had been to Rome twice before and had stayed in the Campo dei Fiori area before so we were somewhat familiar with the area.

We were determined to stay awake until evening and immediately set off for cappuccino and pastries at Café Farnese which was close by. I had forgotten about giving the cashier the order and paying before going to the counter with the receipt to get the cappuccino and pastry. The barrista served us first since we were standing at the counter and with a smile pointed to the cashier. The coffee and pastry was delicious.

Then it was off to San Pietro in Vincoli by taxi. I was determined to keep my plantar fasciitis from acting up and did not want to walk up the long, steep steps leading up from the Colosseum. St. Peter in Chains itself is rather nondescript on the outside but inside it is beautiful and houses a beautiful sculpture of Moses (with horns) that is best viewed by feeding a €1 coin into the box to turn on the lights. The chains that are reputed to have bound St. Peter are also displayed.

Since the restaurant where we wanted to eat did not open until 12:30, we walked down to Palatine Hill to purchase our tickets for the Colosseum since the line at the Colosseum ticket booth was really long. We walked right into the Colosseum without a wait and saw the engineering marvel from antiquity. The best views are from the top so Robin and Page climbed up the steps while I waited below. Page marveled at actually being there.

We then caught a taxi to Broccoletti which is up on the hill close to St. Peter in Chains. This was the only time on the trip that a taxi driver did not start the meter or take the direct route so he charged much more than he should have but there was no point in arguing so I paid up. Broccoletti was open and we were the first patrons of the day. The restaurant is fairly small and the service was slow since it appeared one person was greeting, cooking and serving. A friend had eaten here in the fall and recommended the octopus so we ordered it as an appetizer and each got a pasta dish. The octopus was pounded very thin and marinated but not cooked. Served with lemon and a garnish, it was interesting. Page liked it but since I am not a sushi person all I can say is that I tried it. The pasta and the wine was very good. Before we finished other people who apparently worked in the neighborhood started coming in and the atmosphere improved.

After lunch, we walked down the curving road to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. Palatine Hill, which is often overlooked, is vast and very interesting. Page insisted on walking every inch of the tunnels and buildings. It is hard to imagine how fantastic the palaces here must have been. We then walked down into the Forum but since it was closing soon after we got there, the visit was rushed. Part of the Forum was closed off for restoration and my attempt at a short cut for myself did not work out since the steps going up to the Capitoline Museum Plaza on the right side were blocked off. So I had to walk one half of the way back through the Forum so that I could catch up with Robin and Page and exit to the Museum plaza. So much for saving walking.

I had read about the Museum Café, which has views over the Forum and the City so we decided to try to find the entrance on the side of the Museum facing via di Villa Caffarelli. We found the door and walked up to the Café and enjoyed the view of the city from the outdoor terrace.

We then walked back to Campo dei Fiori by taking the back streets through the Jewish Ghetto. We each had a glass of wine at an outdoor café, with heat overhead, and then I went to Ruggeri Vito to get bread, wine, cheese and salami. Ruggeri did not have bread so I settled for crackers rather than hunt a bakery that was still open. It felt good to get back to the apartment, take off shoes and relax with the wine and food. Then along nights sleep.

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