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Report 981: The Old Man and Me - In Italy!

By Podie from Florida, Spring 2006

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Page 3 of 10: Rome Orientation on Foot

photo by Celeste Rubanick

Tomatoes for Sale at Campo dei Fiori

As mentioned in many of the Rome-is-Home apartment reviews, owners Massimo and Biancamaria are two of the friendliest, most helpful people in Rome. Massimo got us situated in the tiny elevator and told us he would handle the luggage, that Biancamaria was waiting in the apartment for us.

The apartment was wonderful, larger than it appears on their website. The windows were open and the noise from the tiny street outside was minimal. I saw immediately that this would be a wonderful refuge after busy days in Rome. There were several English guidebooks, maps, and lovely artwork on the walls. It was clearly a home, not just an apartment rental!

Massimo showed Rich the technical stuff (how to operate the washer and dryer) while Biancamaria told me about good restaurants. They also gave us the cell phone which comes with the rental. It receives free incoming calls and we only added 10 euro to it during our week stay, and made three calls back to Florida with that.

I can't emphasize enough what a great advantage it was to have Massimo and Biancamaria for landlords. They took us outside, introduced us to the nearest restaurant owner (Arnaldo) and showed us the shortcut to Campo dei Fiori so it was less 75 yards from the front door. They pointed out the best shops and cafés, the Campo fresh food markets, and showed us how to buy bread at the local forno.

We sat at Bar Farnese, my first request due to Stella's trip report, having espresso and macchiato. Massimo explained that Palazzo Farnese, now the French Embassy, is the most beautiful of all the palazzos in Rome and we should try to make one of their infrequent tours. It was all booked up for our stay, but will go on the list for our next visit, which we will structure around when the apartment is available!

When they left, we went 20 steps up the street and found Mary and Tom ("Rome Addict" on this board) in their apartment, and the four of us struck out for Sora Margherita, a lunch only restaurant in the Jewish ghetto. This was no small feat on the narrow cobblestone streets filled with parked cars, but Tom piloted Mary's wheelchair with expertise and we were soon there.

I'll review Sora Margherita on the Restaurant Review pages, but by all means go there! This tiny place puts out some wonderful food! Rich and I had gnocchi, sausage and veal, dessert, wine, and coffee for 43 euros and it was worth every penny.

We parted company with Mary and Tom to confirm our Pompeii reservations for the next day, and then walked to Piazza Navona, about 200 yards north of the apartment. We came across hundreds of European schoolkids at Piazza Navona (and everywhere else we went), so we soon moved on to the Pantheon (jammed with students), and over to the Trevi Fountain, which was so crowded we could barely walk past.

I tried to find San Crispino for the best gelato in Rome, but took a wrong turn. Finally tired, we returned to the apartment at 5 p.m. The TV had plenty of clear Italian channels and we amused ourselves watching Bonanza with Wayne Newton. I wonder why they dub these shows into Italian using voices which sound nothing like the originals? Wayne Newton going from a deep Italian voice to his real singing voice and back to the Italian voice was more than a little strange!

Knowing we had an early, 14 hour trip to Pompeii the next day, we went to bed at 7 p.m. and fell blissfully asleep to the sounds of Rome.

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