Saturday

My Vacation Rental in Rome

It's named "La Citta Eterna" (The Eternal City) and for good reason, as some of Rome's
Architecture is more than 2000 years old. But what makes such an old city so wonderful, that people worldwide, flock here in there thousands every week? Is it the late night
Pizzerias? The rich, succulent tasting wines? The enormous, but beautifully carved
statues of gods, soldiers and past leaders? Or is it something much more complex, like
faith?

Entering Rome from Campoleone, Lazio, on a my first double-decker train; was
awe-inspiring in itself. The remnants of Rome's ancient city walls are my first
introduction to Rome and a polite one at that. Starting as simple fallen bricks, as we
travel they grow back into their original viaduct arched construction; as if we were
watching 'domino toppling' in reverse.

However, this gentle calm of train rhythm and soft scenery is soon broken, upon arriving
at Termini Station. One of the largest train stations in Europe, Termini includes: a
shopping mall; several restaurants, including Chinese cuisine, sandwich bars, pizza
restaurants and a McDonalds; gelateria's (ice-cream parlours), coffee bars and cafe's;
two metro lines; over 20 platforms, not including the Fiumicino airport express train;
tobacconists; hotel and car rental desks; ticket offices and machines, and much more.
This train station is almost a village in itself. It is the hub of Rome city centre and
one of the few places in the world where I wish the walls could talk!

The metro ticket machines are in four languages, including English, Spanish, German and
Italian. The main trenitalia ticket machines are also in these four languages, but may
have the availability of more. Most of the desks and bars etc. in Termini speak
English, but if not, they will always try to point you towards somebody who can. The
trick with navigating the many, (and often confusing) routes through Termini is to
always head up and if that doesn't work, follow any and all signs for 'Treni' or Piazza Cinquecento. Although, if you already know where you are going in Rome, you are
probably heading towards one of the two metro lines by now; but if you don't, you are in
for a treat.

Piazza Cinquecento is home to one of Rome's several major bus stations. Here you will
find the ticket desks for most if not all of Rome's guided bus tours, as well as taxi's
and local buses that will take you around the city. I will not claim to be an expert on
Rome buses, because I am not. I have never travelled on a roman bus, but only because
if I am too tired to walk I take the metro.

As we stand in Piazza Cinquecento we are surrounded by rows upon rows of Scooters, or "motorini" in Italian. Buses and taxis rush past as fellow travellers gather their suitcases and family members. Tall elegant buildings stand in front and to the right of us and a row of shops lie to the left.

Finding your hotel or apartment from termini, in my experience, has never been a
problem. This time, because I had bags, I decided to take a taxi. (Note: When taking a taxi in Rome, always make sure you know what street you are heading to. Do not rely on your taxi driver knowing where your hotel, apartment or restaurant is. Rome city center is huge and hotels, hostels, b&b's and restaurants are like pennies in pounds, there are hundreds of them).

For this trip to Rome, I decided to rent a holiday apartment. I had received numerous recommendations from friends and family that Roman Reference were an excellent company to rent with - great customer service, inexpensive and of a fantastic quality. I was told the apartment was near to Piazza Navona. The original-art buyers capital and one of my most favourite places in Rome. The ad did not lie. I am in the street directly behind the square, surrounded by restaurants and gelateria's. Via del Governo Vecchio, is a peacefully busy street, covered in a sweet mixture of both locals and tourists; often a sign that you have found a city 'hot-spot'.

The apartment it's self is stunning. A large kitchen-dining area, with a small toilet
to the right. Next to that a bedroom with a bathroom ensuite. From the kitchen-dining
area a long hall, filled on one side with shelves of books and furnished with a couple
of comfortable office chairs and a desk, leads to a small living-room (sitting-room),
furnished with a sofa-bed and some comfortable arm-chairs. This room has a view to the
main street below and could easily be used as a second bedroom. I was not disappoint by
this apartment; and especially enjoy my rare encounter with air-conditioning.

Travelling to Rome, is always special, whether it be via air or land. There is always
something to see that you haven't seen before. That is the beauty of such an old city. If you take the time to look, you will always find a little extra. Rome is particularly special in this instance as there are lots of little treasures, just waiting to be discovered...

More coming soon...

Friday

Roma Roma Roma (Official Song of AS Roma) Antonello Venditti