Local Info - Roma
Where and What
Roma is halfway down Italy's western coast, about 20km (12mi) inland. It's a vast city, but the historic centre is quite small.
Rome seems to have its own gravitational pull, attracting, in addition to travelers, some of the most creative artists and thinkers of every era. All that surrounds a visitor in Rome - the art and architecture, the traffic, the lively (almost hyperanimated) citizens - guarantees an unforgettable visit.
This is not to say that everyone will like it: some people are put off by the city's seeming disorganization. But we think it's important to see the significant sights - after that, you'll either never go back or you'll plan your return journey on the plane home.
A vision from old times to nowadays
Rome means history. There are layers of the stuff - Etruscan tombs, Republican meeting rooms, Imperial temples, early Christian churches, medieval bell towers, Renaissance palaces and baroque basilicas. A phenomenal concentration of history, legend and monuments coexists with an equally concentration of people busily going about their everyday life.
It's hard to say what you'll find most breathtaking about the eternal city - the Vatican, the timelessness of the Forum, the top speed of a Ferrari or your real "capuccino".
Most of the major sights are within a reasonable distance from the central railway station, "Stazione Termini". It is, for instance, theorically possible to walk from the "Colosseum", through the "Forum", up to "Piazza di Spagna" and across to the Vatican in one day, but you wouldn't really want to ... what will you see then ...
All the major monuments are west of the train station, but make sure you use a map. The Palatine Hill and the Forum can be considered the centre of ancient Rome. "Via del Corso" runs north from the Forum to "Piazza del Popolo", with the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain just to its east. The Vatican is northwest of the Forum, across the River Tiber.
If you had only one day in the city and you visited St. Peter's or admired the panorama from the top of the Spanish Steps at sunset or walked around the Colosseum to catch a glimpse of the Forum from the gates, you'd well understand why Rome is called the Eternal City. Bustling, beautiful Rome, sprawling among seven hills, fascinates for both its ancient and its modern wonders.
Walking, Shopping and Eating
The main train Station, "Stazione Termini", is situated downtown, just northeast of the Palatine Hill and the Forum; this area, as in many other big cities around the world, cannot be considered as a touristic place where to hang around: stay there only the time you need for your business and do your best to look like you know where you're going.
Good-quality, reasonably priced meals can be found in the "trattorie": a typical area to visit and enjoy it's for sure "Trastevere", lately, with a lot of "in" places.
While you are in Italy you can taste some good wine, possibly "D.O.C." o "D.O.P.", i.e. a chill white wine on fish dishes or white meats or vegetables.
See also the eat section for more info.
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Updated 21 set, 2003