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Source: (consider it) Thread: Visiting Rome
hanginginthere
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Hello, I am shortly visiting Rome for the first time and am wondering if shipmates have any suggestions for must-sees. I can only take Baroque architecture in small doses so not too may grand churches please!

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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by hanginginthere:
Hello, I am shortly visiting Rome for the first time and am wondering if shipmates have any suggestions for must-sees. I can only take Baroque architecture in small doses so not too may grand churches please!

San Clemente? Not too big, not baroque. Twelfth century on top of fourth century with the remains of a Mithraeum underneath that.

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Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
Crist ny buv e trist yth orsset.

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Gee D
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The Raphael Rooms in the Vatican. If you can't take the Sistine Chapel, this is the place to go. You can always do both, but not the same day.

The Borghese Gallery in the Borghese Gardens. More Raphael, then Titian, Caravaggio and Rubens. The outstanding Apollo and Daphne by Bernini - baroque, but the technique defies description. On to Canova's Pauline Bonaparte, a classic nude. Lots more besides.

Finding a pleasant cafe in a quiet square, and watching the passing crowd. Avoid places like the Via Veneto, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain at all costs.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Cara
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Ha! San Clemente was exactly what I was going to say before I saw it was said! Wonderful cross-section of centuries of history. My book about it isn't handy, but wasn't there also a first-century house on the lowest level?...or maybe the Mithraeum was a room in that house...anyway San Clem is a must-see.

Plus it's not far from the Coliseum, which I think also needs to be seen.

Also Trastevere area. And Piazza Navona (once a "circus" for chariot races). And Trajan's forum (once a shopping centre).

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Adeodatus
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Roman baroque is generally (generally) more restrained than the stuff you get in, say, Germany or Spain, so you might find your tolerance levels are slightly higher, hanginginthere. Also, some of the Roman basilicas are really only baroque cladding over something much older, so you can sort of see through the baroque to the classical.

One of my favourite churches is S.Maria Maggiore. It's light, spacious, and the proportions of the interior are just perfect. And, if you believe the legends about relics, they've got the manger in the crypt.

But I'd second the recommendation of Piazza Navona - on a good day, one of the pleasantest places anywhere to spend a couple of hours watching the world go by.

(Edited because the word is "levels", not "elevls".)

[ 18. September 2013, 11:21: Message edited by: Adeodatus ]

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marzipan
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If you like ceilings, go to the Pantheon (aka Santa Maria della Rotonda) and lie on the floor.
And people say concrete's not beautiful.

Isn't there an arch you can climb up and look at the view too?

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formerly cheesymarzipan.
Now containing 50% less cheese

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Dafyd
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I'll second the Galleria Borghese. Not that Rome doesn't have other brilliant small to medium art galleries, but the Galleria Borghese is probably the best.
The Sistine Chapel - on the one hand, it's a nightmare: it's completely packed with (other) tourists. On the other hand, it's the Sistine Chapel. Obviously you can't see everything worth seeing at the Vatican Museums in a day. I'm not sure you can see everything worth seeing in them in a lifetime. You can see the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael rooms; in fact when I went the main tourist trail took you through the one to get to the other and I didn't see any way to take a short cut. (And why would you?)

[ 18. September 2013, 13:08: Message edited by: Dafyd ]

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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hanginginthere
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This is brilliant - just the sort of suggestions I was hoping for. San Clemente has definitely gone to the top of my list, but I am making a note of everything. Keep the ideas coming! Any thoughts on good (inexpensive) places to eat also very welcome.

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'Safe?' said Mr Beaver. 'Who said anything about safe? But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'

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Ariston
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Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, across the plaza from the Pantheon, is a Gothic respite from all else that is Rome. Great ceiling, pleasantly calm and dark after all that noise and light, and they've got Fra Angelico behind the altar on the left!

As for cheap food, um...well, there's The Bridge across the street from the Vatican Museums line. Great gelato for cheap, and lots of it—and since you're in Lazio, you can get it con panna, because you really do need whipped cream on your two giant scoops of ice cream.

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Adam.

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How much time do you have?

If you're going to the Spanish Steps (which you should), pop into Trinita dei Monti at the top. Staffed by a French religious community, I think they have some of the most beautiful music in Rome. Also, have a macchiato at the bottom.

Vatican museums, obviously. Also, try to see if you can get tickets for a Papal audience. Regardless of whether you're Catholic or not, it's an amazing experience.

There are so many beautiful churches in Rome, but Il Gesu and Santa Croce in Gerusaleme are two of my favorites. In the latter, pick up a bottle of the liquor, Crocino, that the monks make.

Of course, the colosseum and the forum are must-sees too.

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Ariel
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After some discussion backstage, we've decided this thread is more All Saintsy than Heavenly, so fasten your seatbelts and Romanes are eunt novus domus (Romans are going to a new home).

Ariel
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Boogie

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If you visit the Vatican Museum go very early and queue up well before it opens. If you get there just at the opening time the queue will be 3 miles long! (Luckily we were told this before we went!)

Get taxis - they are cheap and reliable and the underground system is sparse (Due to all those Roman ruins the keep finding!)

[Smile]

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hanginginthere
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@ Hart - we have 5 full days (6 nights) so will only be scraping the surface, so advice from old Rome hands is invaluable.

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'Safe?' said Mr Beaver. 'Who said anything about safe? But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'

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Angloid
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The Baths of Caracalla.
The catacombs of San Callisto.
The church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
Villa Borghese and its park: great view over to the Vatican.
The food!

Buses are more useful than the Metro but beware of pickpockets.

If you are an Anglican (or just an English-speaking Christian) you might like to sample All Saints (C of E) or St Paul's within the Walls (TEC). Both by the same architect (G E Street) but very different.

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Masha
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San Stefano Rotundo is lovely, as is Santa Prassede.

I think they were my favourites. San Stefano had nobody else in it at the height of summer and it's great. Santa Prassede has amazing colourful mosaics. Well worth seeking out.

Also, if you're fit go right to the top of St Peter's. The view is worth the steps.

Also, look at events on at the museums. I had a great night being shown around Mercato e Foro di Traiano. After a tour looking at the place by night we all ( lots of us from countries all over the world) sat round on benches sampling food from Roman recipes. It was brilliant.

Also, also: look round the Roman Forum. It's fantastic. Tere are some painting still on walls and all sorts of brilliant things to see.

Had an amazing meal in a beautiful restaurant that I'm happy to recommend but I don't know if it counts as advertising so pm me!

Can you tell I love the place?!

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Dafyd
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I think it helps to know what you're looking for. I was interested in art, mostly paintings but also statues. So I went to several churches for the paintings rather than for the architecture. On the other hand, we didn't go into the Forum or Colosseum. (It was very hot when we went and we preferred to be indoors.)

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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moonlitdoor
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There's been a lot of enthusiasm for catholic Rome here, so let me stick in a word for classical Rome. I love the Palatine hill, the Capitoline museum, the forum and arch of Trajan, the baths of Caracalla which Angloid recommended. They tend to be a bit quieter in my experience too. You can call me a philistine but St Peter's does nothing for me, though Bernini's colonnade in the square is stunning. The church I liked was Santa Maria Trastevere.

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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
After some discussion backstage, we've decided this thread is more All Saintsy than Heavenly, so fasten your seatbelts and Romanes are eunt novus domus (Romans are going to a new home).

Ariel
Heaven Host

Ouch!!! Romani in nouum domum eunt (or even better transeunt), if you please!

Hosts may be above reproach, but your attempt at Latin most certainly is not ... [Roll Eyes]

[ 18. September 2013, 20:52: Message edited by: Metapelagius ]

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Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
Crist ny buv e trist yth orsset.

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Chesterbelloc

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Not long back from my third trip in four years - we'll be going back pretty regularly for the rest of our lives, we hope. That's how much we love it. But then, we're papes.

My don't miss recommendations are the Campo de' Fiori (real Roman fruit & veg market with excellent eateries around), the Piazza Navona (one of the nicest squares anywhere in the world), nearby S. Ivo's (understated Borromini masterpiece - but almost never open...), and a climb up and along the Gianicolo/Janiculum hill ending with a trip to S. Maria in Trastevere.

That do for starters? The great thing about Rome is that there is not just one, concentrated "historic centre" - "old" Rome just goes on and on and it's pretty much all "real". I bet you'll love it.

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Cottontail

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It costs a fortune (about £90 each, I believe) but if you can possibly afford it, book an after-hours small-group tour of the Sistine Chapel. There is no comparison to the experience of the awful crowds earlier in the day. Make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Take a walk through the streets at night - the Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain are particularly beautiful then.

Perhaps my favourite place in all Rome is St-Paul's-Outside-The-Walls Basilica. It is more modern than the others - rebuilt in the mid-19th century after a fire burned the old one - and it is stunning. I love the sense of space, the alabaster windows, and the amazing malachite altars.

And I second Moonlitdoor's recommendation of the Palatine Hill - it really is lovely, and kind of lifts you up and out of the crowds. You can get a combined ticket for that, the Colosseum, and the Forum, and spend a happy morning exploring.

Last time I was there, I missed the Pantheon and the Capuchin Cemetery, where the Crypt is decorated with skulls! I intend going back to see both.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by moonlitdoor:
The church I liked was Santa Maria Trastevere.

Which is the base of the Sant'Egidio community (lay people who are engaged in various kinds of social work and meet for worship daily: very Taizé influenced, or if not influenced, sharing much of a similar ethos). They run (or did, a few years ago) a restaurant nearby called Trattoria degli Amici (of the friends) of which a large number of the staff have learning difficulties. Slightly chaotic service but excellent food.

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Lone voice: I'm not!

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
The great thing about Rome is that there is not just one, concentrated "historic centre" - "old" Rome just goes on and on and it's pretty much all "real". I bet you'll love it.

True. But at the same time central Rome is much more compact than London, for example, and it's easy to get around on foot.

Trastevere generally is the most 'bohemian' part of the city and is great fun just to wander around.

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Ariston
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quote:
Originally posted by Metapelagius:
quote:
Originally posted by Ariel:
After some discussion backstage, we've decided this thread is more All Saintsy than Heavenly, so fasten your seatbelts and Romanes are eunt novus domus (Romans are going to a new home).

Ariel
Heaven Host

Ouch!!! Romani in nouum domum eunt (or even better transeunt), if you please!

Hosts may be above reproach, but your attempt at Latin most certainly is not ... [Roll Eyes]

You made it through Latin class without seeing THIS???

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“Therefore, let it be explained that nowhere are the proprieties quite so strictly enforced as in men’s colleges that invite young women guests, especially over-night visitors in the fraternity houses.” Emily Post, 1937.

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Piglet
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Lucky you, Hanginginthere! I was on a school trip to Italy in 1978 during which Pope John Paul I died, which made life interesting - the whole place seemed to shut down and even the weather broke. We had a couple of days in Rome right at the end of the trip and IIRC I was fairly impressed with the Catacombs and the Coliseum, but obviously there's so much more to it than that.

Have a wonderful time!

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I may not be on an island any more, but I'm still an islander.
alto n a soprano who can read music

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hanginginthere
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# 17541

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Thanks once again for all these great suggestions. Sorry I haven't posted for a couple of days - have been distracted by the birth of our tenth (!!) grandchild, Leo - there's a great papal name!

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'Safe?' said Mr Beaver. 'Who said anything about safe? But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'

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Dafyd
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Couple of practical points - sorry if I'm saying the obvious.
If you know where you want to go, and it's possible to book ahead, book ahead. This especially applies to the Vatican. The Galleria Borghese is another place that has queues.
Don't try to fit in too much. I always try to and I always find I'm exhausted by the final day of a holiday. It's worth dropping one thing off the schedule in favour of an afternoon in the middle of the holiday just being.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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hanginginthere
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Thanks Dafyd, good advice. I learned the hard way in Paris many years ago; also the need for really comfortable shoes!

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'Safe?' said Mr Beaver. 'Who said anything about safe? But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'

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Sarasa
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Chipping in the second (or third) Trastevere for a wander and the area around the Campo di Fiori for eating. Rome is an amazingly small city so just wandering around you'll come across loads of interesting stuff.

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by hanginginthere:
Thanks Dafyd, good advice. I learned the hard way in Paris many years ago; also the need for really comfortable shoes!

Confortable shoes, definitely. But also modest clothing if you're visiting churches: when I was there 15 years ago men were being asked to wear trousers, not shorts. I'm not sure about the rules for women, but I'd expect it would involve covering upper arms and a reasonable amount of leg.

This thread is making me want to go back to Rome! It was late September when I went, and it was still very hot - by 9a.m. we were crossing the street so as to be in the shade. Towards the end of our stay there was a spectacular thunderstorm one night, and brief but heavy rain. The next day, we visited the Forum, and the smell of the earth and the pine trees after the rain was just delicious.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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hanginginthere
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# 17541

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Yes I have been wondering about weather, especially temperature. While it has been so chilly here recently it has been difficult to imagine needing (and therefore packing) lighter clothes.

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'Safe?' said Mr Beaver. 'Who said anything about safe? But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'

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Adeodatus
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I think this is fairly accurate:

Climate of Rome

I've been told August is the hottest month, and a lot of the city shuts up shop and goes somewhere cooler on holiday.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Piglet
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
... I'm not sure about the rules for women, but I'd expect it would involve covering upper arms ...

Yes - we were there in September too, and I remember having to borrow one of the teachers' jackets before they'd let me in to Milan Cathedral as I was wearing a strappy dress.

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I may not be on an island any more, but I'm still an islander.
alto n a soprano who can read music

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Yangtze
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I loved the Vatican modern art collection, which is in a few rooms as a sort of detour on the way to the Sistine Chapel iirc. Apparently popes get given a lot of art and some of it is really rather good.

And as most people are just hi-tailing it to get to the famous stuff the rooms had the benefit of being relatively quiet as well.

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Forthview
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For me the most wonderful place in Rome is the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli,built on the Capitoline Hill.
It contains the tomb of St Helen, the mother of Constantine and also used to have a 'miracle working' statue of the Bambino Gesu,before whom
Roman children recited poems in Advent.

You have to go in by a side door from the Capitoline Hill then come out by the front door for one of the most stunning views of Rome.

On the other hand if you climb the steps in front of the church (on your knees)you are said to have a good chance of winning the lottery.

Perhaps this is because the church is built on the temple of Juno Admonitrix and right beside where the Romans made coins.Admonitrix is the origin of the English words 'mint' and indeed 'money'.

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Boogie

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I found the Sistine Chapel quite disappointing. There were guards there loudly saying 'SHHHHshhhhhhh' every few seconds and a tannoy saying how holy the place is and to be silent.

Suitable music and notices would have been far more effective - as it was all the loud 'be quiet' noise was very irritating!


[Roll Eyes]

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by moonlitdoor:
The church I liked was Santa Maria Trastevere.

Which is the base of the Sant'Egidio community (lay people who are engaged in various kinds of social work and meet for worship daily: very Taizé influenced, or if not influenced, sharing much of a similar ethos). They run (or did, a few years ago) a restaurant nearby called Trattoria degli Amici (of the friends) of which a large number of the staff have learning difficulties. Slightly chaotic service but excellent food.
Are you not confusing the Church of San' Egidio in Trastevere with Santa Maria? It's about three years since I was in Trastevere but San Egidio community were still in their eponymous home then.

I second the recommendations of Santa Maria Maggiore, San Clemente and Santa Maria in Cosmedin. I'd also add San' Andrea della Valle for the ceiling and Santa Sabina on the Aventine. If you get to the Piazza del Populo and the twin churches either side of the Via del Corso, pop in to the one on the right hand side, Santa Maria dei Miracoli and say a prayer for Mrs Trisagion and me: it's where we married on New Years Day 1991.

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Jack the Lass

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When I went to Rome (just for a few days, so although I did the main "things to see" I didn't get the chance to go much off the beaten track) my over-riding feeling was one of terror every time I had to cross the road. I eventually overcame this by making sure I crossed at the same time as any passing huge crowd of tourists or locals (on the assumption that there was safety in numbers).

Somebody upthread said to avoid the Spanish Steps, but I found them a great spot for people watching. I also remember really liking the Pantheon, being vaguely disappointed by the Sistene Chapel (due to being part of the hordes, and feeling like we were being swished through without the time or room to really stop and take it in), and very moved by the Coliseum.

What's the name of that spectacularly ugly wedding cake edifice? It's not somewhere I'd linger, but I was glad I'd seen it so I could verify it was indeed as ugly and wedding cakey as the reviews had said. I didn't go close as it seemed to be surrounded by a several-lane roundabout, so crossing the road was too much to even contemplate!

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
What's the name of that spectacularly ugly wedding cake edifice? It's not somewhere I'd linger, but I was glad I'd seen it so I could verify it was indeed as ugly and wedding cakey as the reviews had said.

The Vittoriano? My guidebook recommended visiting it, as it's the only place from which you can see the whole city without catching sight of the Vittoriano.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
There were guards there loudly saying 'SHHHHshhhhhhh' every few seconds and a tannoy saying how holy the place is and to be silent.

I wouldn't have minded that so much if anybody had ever paid any attention.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Merchant Trader
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First buy a guide and a map. One of the best ones I came across was a series of walking tours through which you certainly could see everything in 7 days (all starting from the monument to Victor Emmanuel II which is a very convenient central point).

As someone has said Rome is relatively compact and you can walk. Once, as a challenge, we did all the main sites in a day - ok we cheated and once we could see something we said we have done it.

Allow a day for the Forum and everything around it.
Allow a day for the Vatican.
Allow a day for the Appian Way, so many things along it, maybe best to walk one direction and get a taxi back.

Otherwise you have to decide where to linger, are you interested in Roman history, Italian history, the medieval period or modern history? Are you interested in politics and the secular or churches? Unlike London or Milan where we may excavate and allow the archaeologists to record everything before building over the past, in Rome its all still visible.

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Merchant Trader
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quote:
Originally posted by piglet:
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
... I'm not sure about the rules for women, but I'd expect it would involve covering upper arms ...

Yes - we were there in September too, and I remember having to borrow one of the teachers' jackets before they'd let me in to Milan Cathedral as I was wearing a strappy dress.
There is considerable variability but a general rule is for men to cover legs (trousers and shirts, no shorts or vests) and women to cover shoulders).

Light travelling trousers probably better than jeans for both sexes.

In some well known places the 'religious police' will enforce the basic rules rigorously but also may have the required garments.

In other places used to tourists its possible to get away with more but in my view its a question of showing respect.

Off the beaten track you may find no enforcement but you may also find places who discourage jeans and trainers, who prefer women to wear skirts rather than trousers and more commonly to require women to cover their heads.

Most of my women companions have found a pashmina useful to cover shoulders or head to whatever degree required and still look elegant. This has been a god-send in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Orthodox churches in Moscow and in rural areas as well as throughout Italy.

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... formerly of Muscovy, Lombardy & the Low Countries; travelling through diverse trading stations in the New and Olde Worlds

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hanginginthere
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I am going to need a few weeks or months to do justice to all these great suggestions, rather than the measly 5 days I actually have. I am glad someone mentioned the Appian Way (thank you, Merchant Trader) as I had been wondering about that, having read Quo Vadis? as a teenager and having been obsessed with Ancient Rome for as long as I can remember. But also, as an RC, wanting to get a feel for ecclesiastical Rome!

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Forthview
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Just for the record 'San' is used before male names unless the name begins with a vowel.
The various forms in Italian are :

San Pietro San Paolo San Giovanni etc

Sant'Antonio Sant'Egidio Sant'Ignazio Sant'Umberto Sant'Onofrio etc.

Santo Stefano

Santa Maria Santa Margherita Santa Lucia
Sant'Anna Sant'Elena etc

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
Are you not confusing the Church of San' Egidio in Trastevere with Santa Maria? It's about three years since I was in Trastevere but San Egidio community were still in their eponymous home then.

I don't think so Trisagion. S Maria is (or was nine years ago when I was there) the base for their evening liturgy. It is of course quite possible that their main base and headquarters is elsewhere, and the church from which they take their name seems the most likely place.

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Trisagion
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I checked with a friend who lives in Trastevere. They are based at Sant' Egidio, which is by the back entrance to Santa Maria and they do use the latter for there Evening Prayer. Sorry for the tangent, Angloid.

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Tukai
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Two things I liked about Rome:

(1) That history of many eras is all around you. So richly that you will never see it all, so don't try to do so in 7 days. Unlike many cities which have had only one 'golden age', Rome has had at least four. Modern Rome is built on baroque Rome, which is built on medieval Rome, which is built on ancient Rome. San Clemente (mentioned above) is one place that epitomises this. So too does the nearby ancient aqueduct, with its arches filled in by medieval houses. As it happens by chance when I was last there, San Clemente was the nearest church to our hotel, so I went there for Sunday mass, despite not being a Catholic, and found a very socially aware congregation with active projects which I was invited to join. Had I been on the Ship at the time, I'd have written a very positive MW report!

(2) When in Rome, do as the Romans do... enjoy a leisurely meal at your local trattoria. On a trip long along (as students staying in cheap lodgings near the main railway station) , we became such good customers and friends of our local patrone, that after a while the wine was on the house. The wine was not exactly Chateau Rothschild, but the friendliness and thought was there.

[ 22. September 2013, 09:27: Message edited by: Tukai ]

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Gee D
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For something quite different, try Ss Cosmo and Damian in the Vespasian Forum from memory. Tiny but attractive. The church is built on a much older building. Not sure if either or both of the Saints has been struck off in recent years.

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
For something quite different, try Ss Cosmo and Damian in the Vespasian Forum from memory. Tiny but attractive. The church is built on a much older building. Not sure if either or both of the Saints has been struck off in recent years.

So "not struck off" that they are mentioned in the canon of the Mass/first Eucharistic prayer of Masses in the Roman Rite.

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Gee D
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Thanks Trisagion - as I said, I was not sure.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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geroff
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When we last went to Rome (including a minimeet with Tomb but that is another story) we walked everywhere and we got very tired! But since then we have been to other European cities and used transport systems' passes. The Roma Pass seems good value at €34 for 3 days including free use of metro, buses and trains (except from airport) and some reduced prices in museums.
Tomb also told us about the 'Church of the Holy Guts' which is his expression - perhaps I can get Tomb to make a rare visit here and comment!

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"The first principle in science is to invent something nice to look at and then decide what it can do." Rowland Emett 1906-1990

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