We left Milan by train on 3 October going from the 2nd largest train station, Milano Centrale to the largest station in Italy, Roma Termini which is less than 1 km from our Airbnb in central Rome. IMG_3569

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Roma Termini in the background, not nearly as impressive as the Milan train station.

We walked to our new home and were met by our lovely host Stefania who oriented us to the apartment which is the home that she grew up in and lived with her parents for over 30 years.  The flat is on the 6th floor of a concierge building built in the late 1800’s and is larger than our home in Boston.  We have three bedrooms, three baths, a long private terrace and a sunroom which catches the morning sun.  It is still decorated as a true home rather than an Ikea Airbnb so it is very warm and homey.

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Entryway to the unit.
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Largest bedroom, used to be the dining room of the house.
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Workable kitchen with a five burner gas hob or range.
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Great bathroom!

We also have great views of both the sunrise and sunset.

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Sunrise the morning of the Red Sox first World Series victory, up early to watch the end of the game.
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Sunset

As of this writing we have been here three weeks and we are still rearranging furniture, redecorating and we even changed bedrooms today in anticipation of our first planned guests.

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Living room when we arrived.
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After Sandy’s redecorating.
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The terrace when we first arrived
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and after Sandy’s plant additions.

After the 10 days of daily touring with friends we are enjoying being alone and just living a leisurely life in this wonderful city.  We have settled into a routine of running every other day, doing the New York Times Crossword before the run, doing a little exploring, a lot of shopping and then making an early dinner at home.

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Very pleasant dinners at home.

Our first full day here we took a run down the street on the side of our building, Via delle Quattro Fontane (road of the four fountains) which goes by the four fountains two blocks away.  It then goes through Piazza Barberini and by the top of the Spanish steps, by Villa Medici and then we turned into Park Villa Borghese where we meandered through the park to the Museum and Gallery of Borghese at the far corner.

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Tough running with narrow cobblestoned streets, uneven narrow sidewalks with a lot of people, cars and scooters everywhere.
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Museum and Gallery of Borghese.

We ended our run about one mile from home at the Via Vittorio Veneto which is home to Harry’s Bar, many fancy hotels and the American Embassy.  We have been to Rome before but only for a few days so we have spent a lot of time just orienting ourselves to the city, come to find out we are less than one mile from The Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Coliseum and Piazza Venezia.

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Spanish Steps at 8am, you can hardly walk up them later in the day due to the crowds.
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Trevi Fountain, always very crowded but still awesome.
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Coliseum.
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Piazza Venezia, you can see the horses on top from our terrace.

We can see the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica from our terrace which is about two miles away.

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St. Peter’s Basilica through the trees.

Two of our favorite places, Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto are also about two miles away.  We would have preferred to be living in Trastevere but ended up where we are due to a number of factors.  Actually this is a much better location for our friends who will be visiting and want to see the tourist sights of Rome and it is OK for us as there are a plethora of markets, restaurants, and other stores that we need very close by.

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This is not what we need, but it sure looks great.

This is our second time in Rome and we still find it to be amazing; every corner you turn there are massive statues, fountains, buildings, art and sprawling Piazza’s with numerous cafes where people sit, sip and watch the hustle and bustle of both tourists and natives.  Many people find this city to be dirty and crowded which makes them dislike it.  Although this complaint is somewhat true compared to many other cities we have been in, we have also been in dirtier cities like San Francisco and we still manage to enjoy the good about them and on the other hand we are so distracted by the history and architecture here that we barely notice the street detritus.

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This area is very close to the Vatican.  It was deserted during the day but looked to be a haven for street people at night.

We have been blessed with beautiful warm weather and have only experienced an occasional shower or thunderstorm.  Our second run here was on a rainy Saturday morning but it let up enough for us to venture out and run to and along the Arno to the Vatican.  On warm summer days it is sometimes pleasant to run in the rain.

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Campidoglio, a hilltop square designed by Michelangelo, lined with museums & offering views of the Roman forum.
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Our first time on the Arno this trip.

We have signed up for a 10K on All Saints Day which is a holiday here and also happens to be Jim’s 69th birthday.  Significantly the run starts and ends in front of St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City so we will be covering two countries during the run.  The run also goes by the corner of our home here so all of our runs since have been on the 10K course so we will know it well by race day.

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Piazza del Popolo, part of the 10K.
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The 10K begins and ends here in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
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The fountain in Piazza San Pietro.
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Swiss guards at the Vatican.
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Piazza San Pietro.  We were here two days later with 70,000 other people.  Stay tuned for that story.

Signing up for a 10K in Italy, like everything else here involves a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy.  We signed up on the Italian web site and paid the €15, then we had to obtain an Italian run card for another €15 and download a medical form to be signed AND stamped by a doctor verifying that we were fit to run as proven by a resting and post exercise EKG, spirometry and urinalyses.  We will not name the physician who signed and stamped our forms but we have been approved to run.

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Approved runner for la Corsa dei Santi on All Saints Day.

Eating out in Italy has been similar to Paris as almost every restaurant has the same menus and the food seems tourist oriented and dated.  You can find hidden gems but you either have to search for them, get recommendations from friends and locals which are not always worthwhile or you just trip upon them spontaneously.   In the three weeks we have been in Rome we have eaten out in restaurants only about six times.  We have searched out local open markets where we have bought produce and spices and have also found a great butcher as most small markets do not sell the meat products that we are looking for.  The search for fall chrysanthemums took us on a three mile walk, but we were successful.

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This guy is selling vege-gadgets, quite a salesman.  Sandy bought them all.
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She also bought those flowers from this guy.
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There is a pumpkin in the green bag.

So we have been in Rome for three weeks and have not yet paid an entrance fee for anything as we have been very low key tourists.  We have visited Palazzo Barberini which is about two blocks away but The National Gallery of Ancient Art which is displayed there was closed which will give us something to do nearby on a rainy day.  Maffeo Barberini who purchased the site went on to become Pope Urban VIII.

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Square staircase of Gian Lorenzo Bernini
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Spiral staircase by architect Francesco Borromini.

IMG_2614.jpgWe are also only a few blocks away from Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore which is one of four highest ranking Catholic churches also called major or Papal basilicas.  We did spend about thirty minutes there yesterday but would like to return for a guided tour when we have guests in town.

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Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore

IMG_2702IMG_3599Speaking of guests we have had some surprise visitors which will be covered in the next blog.

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Piazza di Spagna which we run through quite often.
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One of the hills of Rome.
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Another view of Piazza Venezia.
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Our large sun room which will be great in November & December.
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A sea of motor scooters runs all the way down one city block near Government office buildings.
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Nunsense.

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The End

 

4 Replies to “Roma”

  1. The architecture IS stunning. Love the stairs/columns. So enjoy your ‘home decorating’, rearranging furniture to fit your touch. The open markets look so colorful. Thanks for sharing. Kathleen

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  2. Joe and I stayed about 100 feet from the Palazzo Barberini at the Anglo Americano Hotel! There is a restaurant across from the Palazzo called Taverna Barberini at #160 where we had dinner 5 of the 7 nights we were in Rome. It is run by Tiziana, Sandro and Christian Trenta, three siblings, whose father started the business about 50 years ago. They have a singer a couple of nights a week named Jerry Vasi, who makes amazing sounds that sound like musical instruments. If you go there, say hello to them from their recent friends from Boston.

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    1. Wow, you were 450 meters away from us. We have passed that hotel numerous times in the last three weeks. You could have stayed with us for free though. We will have to try that restaurant as we are struggling to find good food away from home. We walked to Trastevere tonight to check out a restaurant for Thanksgiving only to find it shuttered and closed for good. We chose an alternative place across the street and it was terrible.

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