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Report 903: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum & Other Misadventures in Rome, Naples & Amalfi

By Nancy and Dick from California, Fall 2005

Trip Description: Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Naples, September 10 - 30, 2005.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Amalfi Coast, Campania, Rome

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Day Tours; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 9: Rome, Days One and Two

photo by Dick Fosselman

Our nine months of planning paid off: we had a wonderful B&B in Trastevere to call home, A Casa di Giusy. The B&B is, as its name suggests, Giusy’s three-bedroom apartment. She lives in one room, and rents out the two others. The apartment was beautiful, breakfasts bountiful, and Giusy herself a delight. The location, just off of Viale Trastevere, also could not have been better.

Our first day, we stayed close to home, wandering from Giusy’s to Santa Maria in Trastevere, crossing the Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) to the Jewish Ghetto. We finished at the cat sanctuary at Largo Argentina, buying a few cat calendars and making a donation. Next time we’ll volunteer.

Our second day, also known as “A funny thing happened at the way to the Forum,” began with a recommendation over breakfast from the other guests at the B&B, a couple from Luxembourg, for the open air “stop and go” bus that circles between sites. This sounded like a good idea, given my crummy feet. We proceeded to the nearest stop, the Bocca della Verita, where we realized that we only had 10 euros between us, and that the bus would certainly require more (a ridiculous 13 each). We asked directions to the nearest Bancomat, and were sent to the Piazza Venezia.

At the first Bancomat we saw, I put in the card and, no money. The message said to contact my bank. I went inside, and they told me to try another bank. We tried another bank and same story. I was beginning to panic, since we brought no cash or traveler’s checks, and the prospect of relying solely on my credit card was not appealing (especially since the B&B accepted cash only). The second bank sent me to a third, the Banco di Roma on Via del Corso. This bank at least had a beautiful interior (especially the ceiling!), but unfortunately, I still couldn’t get cash. I waited to see a teller, thinking perhaps they could figure out the problem or give me cash on my credit card, but they wouldn’t even talk to me without my passport, which was at the hotel. Merda.

So we walked to the Forum. I made some sketches, Dick took pictures. The big advantage here (in addition to the free admission) was that when the tour guide wannabees approached us, we could honestly say that we had no money. We walked over to the Celio, where we stayed on our previous trip, and ate at the very good, inexpensive Trattoria Luzzi. This was the high point of the day.

That evening (after 9:00 am Pacific time) I made a $30.00 phone call to my bank, finally learning that the banks I tried were on networks other than those my bank honor. Further, my bank, Wells Fargo, recently dropped Cirrus, the most common network in Italy. We ran out and tried the card at the bank down the street. It worked, and surprisingly, we had no further trouble with the card.

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