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Travel Diary Rome 2011, July
They say that there are certain sense memories we carry with us throughout our lives. I always thought that was a beautiful idea. However, it had never happened to me. At least, not until I returned to Italy. We were on the train, looking through the watercolors of the countryside at 300 km/hour. I could feel the warmth of the sunflowers through the window. We arrived at Termini and I was immediately struck. I was home. Again. I am an American. I am proud to call myself such. Yet my heart, and probably my soul are made of Italy.
Termini is now also called Giovanni Paolo II since the passing of the Great John Paul. I felt as if this added a special welcome to travelers, returning to Il Papa.
Rome is one of the world's great cities. Steeped in over 3,000 years of history, it is also vibrant and beautiful. The Eternal City will open its gates to you, offering centuries of history, art and beauty. Seven layers of the same city, seven hills holding magnificent monuments, seven kings that started this beautiful adventure called Rome. There is only one thing more breathtaking than Rome during the day, and that is certainly Rome at night.
In the world today few things are free even water, the definitive gift from nature. Many are familiar with Rome’s famous fountains, but few seem to realize that the water coming from the fountains is not only free, but clean and drinkable. So when you’re in Rome be sure to take a sip from the waters of the Eternal City!
A Draw for Tourists
People living in Rome are accustomed to open air markets and their bustling shopping experience. Traditionally, tourists visit the historical places of any region they are visiting and look for the architecture, museums, sightseeing and alike. However, I believe that for a tourist it is a complete cultural experience and a chance
If you're like me you've dreamed of seeing Rome like a movie star, staying in the Grand Hotel and dining in the best restaurants. But if, like me, you don't exactly have a rock star budget fear not, there are less expensive ways to enjoy Rome. In many ways these cheaper options give a better feel for the real essence of the city.
E.U.R. – Esposizione Universale Roma
Universal Expo of Rome - An oasis in the city
EUR is one of the most beautiful and modern residential areas of Rome. It was commissioned by Benito Mussolini during the fascist era and was originally known as ‘Quartiere Europa’ (Europe’s Quarters, or E42), but is better known as E.U.R. – Esposizione Universale di Roma (Universal Expo of Rome). Its modern and rationalist architecture makes it one of the most outstanding living areas of Rome, some even call it the Vancouver of Rome! This 32nd area of the city, is the only self-administered neighborhood in the city of Rome (E.U.R. SpA).
The Tiber ( Il Tevere ) Many think that the Tiber is yellow because it became an open sewer over the centuries. Well, believe it or not, the Tiber may be a natural blond, and its a lot less polluted than many other European rivers. As a matter of fact, the Tiber is the main ecological gateway for various animal and plants species throughout the Lazio region. Over 1300 plant species - a good 45% of the region's biodiversity - belongs to the Tiber. The river is a lot better off than his European brother, the Rhine, in which not even the bravest fish would dare to live. Meanwhile the Tiber abounds with carp, eels and even mullet, which, coming from the sea swim upriver feeding on the river's leftovers.
Rome’s Opera House
The official opera house of Rome was originally known as Teatro Costanzi, from its founder Domenico Costanz., In 1928, the theatre was bought by the Rome’s City Hall and became know as Teatro Reale dell’ Opera (Royal Opera House). Today it is known simply as the Teatro dell’Opera. Of course not only operas are featured, but also ballets and other major cultural events are held at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.
Have you noticed that peculiar pavement of dark cube-shaped stones that the roads of Rome are paved with? These stones are called ‘sampietrini’ and the treacherous space between one another make them a high-heeled lady's worst nightmare. As for the drivers: hit the brakes on a wet sanpietrini pavement, and you'll wish you had ice-skates instead of wheels. Most of Rome’s historical center and main streets, are paved with Sampietrini since, having space between one another, allows the soil to breath. It also adheres itself, perfectly to the ground’s shape and, being of solid volcanic rock, can withstand heavy loads of traffic. These small cubes are cut into a half-cone like shape, about the equivalent size of a ‘quadruccio’ (small Roman brick), but people prefer to call them with their popular name: Sampietrini. These volcanic basalt cubes are as much a part of Rome’s scenery as the Coliseum, and Romans are very affectionate to them.
A Guide to the Sights of Rome's Ghetto
The Synagogue: This massive building was erected between 1901 and 1904 and designed by V. Costa and O. Armanni. The synagogue stands in the area in which the old ghetto used to be before being demolished by King Vittorio Emanuele II after Italy became united (1870). The king rebuilt the ghetto and gave full Italian citizenship and civil rights, to Rome's Jewish community. Since old examples of other similar structures were not available, an Assyrian-Babylonian style was chosen for the new synagogue. One requirement was that the Temple had to be seen from all the highest points of Rome. Today a Jewish museum is also located in the Synagogue.
Rome is a very mysterious city, as we all know. In a period of 27 centuries, of solid, uninterrupted, urban city life, ghosts became part of the city's history. Some are more famous than others, but wonder abounds in these noble palaces, monuments and forums, tied to the events of their past, still looking for eternal rest. The most famous ghosts of Rome certainly belongs to Beatrice Cenci. A beautiful, young, girl who lived toward the end of the 16th century, belonging to one of the oldest noble roman families. Accused, along with all her family, of murdering her vicious father, she was beheaded in 1599, in the square of Castel Sant’ Angelo. It is said that she can be seen, every year between the 10th and the 11th of September, having a night stroll on the castle’s bridge, holding her head under her arm.