Sunday, June 25, 2006

Roma-Viale Europa

Roma-Viale Eruropa01
Originally uploaded by mac_xill.
Another part of EUR... let me say a few words about it...
EUR stands for the 'Esposizione Universale di Roma' and was built to represent an ideal city and proof of the cultural development of Italy under the country's fascist rulers of the time.

The area was developed for the 'Olimpiade della Civiltà' of 1942.

The event never happened, of course, but EUR remains a strikingly different part of the capital city and a short hop down via C. Colombo from Circo Massimo or a few stops on the Linea B metro.

Interestingly, the organization 'Ente EUR' retook control of the zone in 1951 and a new period of building completed what was started in the 1930's.

The project received further impetus when Rome was awarded the 1960 Olympic Games.

It is strange to think that much of the sporting venues and structures built for the games owed a lot to the original vision of EUR and in some way the plans and designs of the architects did eventually come to be realized.

Even today EUR is seen as a clean and modern residential area for many of the city's football players and diplomatic representatives.


Originally uploaded by m.baliszewski.
A photo of the EUR area...

Roma, Eur

Roma, Eur
Originally uploaded by kpapaioanno.
A photo of the EUR area... the COngress Palace

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Romantic places in Rome

If you're travelingto Rome with your partner, there are 5 incredibly romantic places you will not want to miss, especially if you visit the Eternal City during the summer. Visiting these places with your loved one can provide a lifetime experience, a Thousand and one Night story to be told to you friends and make them envious for decades!

1 The breathtaking view from Gianicolo

Knowing that ancient Rome was famous for its seven hills, no wonder the first romantic spot is a belvedere. The number one view of Rome is that from Gianicolo, according to many. Just above Trastevere, it overlooks famous sites as the Pantheon or the monument to Vittorio Emanuele in Piazza Venezia. Rome unrolls in front of your eyes and underneath the immense vault of the sky in all its beauty, on this popular yet always cosy and full of atmosphere belvedere. Walk slightly further, and you can sit on the quiet steps of the amphitheatre Quercia del Tasso. Offering a similar view, who cares if there's no show while you're there. The company will be enough!

And to change perspective, you can try Pincio, the gorgeous terrace overlooking Piazza del Popolo, not too far from the famous Spanish Steps.

2 Strolling up Via Sacra

Thousands of years have passed since the Via Sacra was used during the parades during which the commanders of the Roman armies coming back from the provinces were welcomed home. In fact, on a warm summer's night, as you walk up this large stoned road just off the Coliseum, and continue as it twirls up the Palatinum hill, sided by thick trees, you will hardly meet anyone, making this stroll in the middle of ancient Rome, a perfectly romantic walk (with decent lighting for your own safety!).

3 A boat tour on the Tiber

For the foot sore, there's another way to experience Rome's romantic beauty by letting yourself glide on the waters of the Tiber with your other half. Starting from Ponte Duca d'Aosta and ending on Isola Tiberina and back, you will see some of the city's jewels, such as Saint Peter's or the Gianicolo, from an unusual standpoint, while in the middle of the river Tiber, framed by white marble banks and tall lime trees. And for the helplessly romantic, night cruises are also available during the summer, some of which include dinner on board. For more information visit

4 Open air live music in Villa Celimontana

Planning a romantic evening accompanied to the sound of music? Then one of the best places is Villa Celimontana, where a jazz festival takes place during the summer, with many nights dedicated to the sexiest of dances, the tango. Around the small amphitheatre and stage, tables are placed where you can sit and sip a glass of Italian wine or have a light meal. All around, impressive pines lit from below help give you the feeling of being enclosed in an auditorium which has only the Italian sky as its ceiling.

5 Discover the most curious view of Saint Peter's and walk through rose scented air

Only a few meters from the famous Bocca della Verit�, starts a little road, Clivio dei Publici, which climbs up the Aventino hill while changing name into Via di Santa Sabina. This residential area in the heart of Rome will astonish you by being the quietest place in the Eternal City. Now and then, as you walk towards the top, you will get gorgeous postcard glimpses of the dome of Saint Peter, including that from the Giardino degli Aranci (the orange garden). If you walk towards the end of this secluded, yet very safe road, you might notice people peeping into a keyhole in a large gate. Try doing the same. The most charming view of Saint Peter's will appear to you, framed by the keyhole and two lines of rose bushes which make May the best time of year to visit this spot. During the same period, try visiting the rose garden below and smell the inebriating scent of thousands of these flowers.

10 best restaurants in Rome

Top 10 restaurants in Rome
Whether you want to test mamma's cooking in a neighbourhood that or live the high life at Rome's new designer restaurants Time Out has the answer. Check out ten of the finest here and over 36 pages of other great places to eat and drink in our guidebook.

Agata e Romeo
Intimate cordon bleu haven run by husband-and-wife team Agata and Romeo, who bring a light touch to trad fare.
Agata e Romeo, Via Craloalberto 45, Monti, Termini & San Giovanni (06 446 6114). Closed two weeks in Aug.

If you can eat or drink it and it's Sicilian, it's here - in a stunning '50s setting.
Dagnino, Galleria Esedra, Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando 75, Trevi & Veneto (06 481 8660).

Dar Poeta
Generally hailed as the best pizzeria in Rome, this goes in for creative toppings: try the bodrilla (with apples and Grand Marnier). Be prepared to queue.
Dar Poeta, Vicolo del Bologna 45, Trastevere (06 588 0516).

This chic trattoria serves trad fare with a creative twist. In the evening, it's crammed with trendsters and gourmands.
Ditirambo, Piazza della Cancelleria 74, Ghetto & Campo de'Fiori (06 687 1626).

Attached to one of Rome's finest pasticcerie, it's as attractive for an aperitif as it is for breakfast. Its budino di riso (sweet rice tartlets) are the best in the city.
Faggiani, Via G Ferrari 23-29, Vatican, Prati & West (06 3973 9742). Closed two weeks in Aug.

Trad gelateria that always wins the vote. The house special is baci - a mix of chocolate and nut ice cream.
Giolotti, Via Uffici del Vicario 40, Tridente (06 699 1243).

This ever-popular designer diner offers pizzeria, restaurant and wine bar under one roof. Reasonable prices and a prime locationmean it's always buzzing.
Gusto, Piazza Augusto Imeratore 9, Tridente (06 322 6273).

Il Convivio
High-class temple of foodie excellence set in three elegant vaulted rooms.Not cheap, but worth every euro.
Il Convivio, Vicolo dei Soldati 31, Navona (06 686 9432/

Il Palazzo del Freddo di Giovanni Fassi
Famed for its breathtakingly kitsch '50s timewarp interior and mouthwatering gelati, Fassi is nothing less than a Roman institution.
Fassi, Via Principe Eugenio 65-67, Monti & Esquilino (06 446 4740).

The best place in town for Pizza Romana - and it's in Testaccio, the city's hottest night spot, so you can bar-hop afterwards.
Remo, Piazza Santa Matria Liberatrice 44, Testaccio (06 574 6270). Closed Aug.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why Rome?

The Eternal City’s ancient monuments and galleries, which for centuries have been a major draw on the international tourism map, are looking more magnificent than ever after an extensive programme of restoration: streets and squares have been repaved, historic buildings illuminated at night and fountains cleaned. Alongside the facelift, contemporary stars of the architectural firmament – including Richard Meyer, Zaha Hadid and Odile Decq – are contributing to the changing face of 21st-century Rome. No city in the world is as beautiful as Rome, and few as glamorous.

To the uninitiated, Romans give the impression that looking gorgeous and spending as much time as possible on their telefonni is the be-all and end-all of their existence, but they are also feverishly attached to their city. Thankfully, despite being a busy, chaotic labyrinth of ancient and new streets, central Rome is actually fairly easy to navigate. To give you some very basic perspective: the winding Tiber divides Rome from north to south, with most historical attractions on the east bank. Via del Corso borders the elaborate, square-filled old town (centro storico), with piazza Venezia at its southern end. The Capitoline and Palatine hills, seat of Ancient Rome, rise above it, while the Villa Borghese dominates the street’s northern end. The Vatican sits on the west bank, as does the charming, bustling Trastevere area.
Ancient Rome

Rome’s most impressive ancient ruins, the Forum and the Colosseum (for both 06 3996 7700), are both nestled snugly between the Capitoline and Palatine hills. Little is left of the Forum’s humble piazza-turned-imperial epicentre, just floor layouts and the odd scattered column and carved chunk of marble. Yet, so imposing are these remnants that it’s possible to imagine the grandeur of the place where Caesars ruled. Next to the Forum and the fourth-century Arch of Constantine stands the famed broken walls of the 1,975-year-old Colosseum (06 700 5469). Gleaming after recent renovations, the amphitheatre is once again hosting performances, though not gladiatorial ones; today it hosts huge musical events and theatre. Behind it lie the grassy remains of the Circo Massimo, long ago the site of Roman chariot races.

Capitoline Hill, or Campidoglio, overlooks it all. Best reached via the steps rising from via del Teatro di Marcello, with its breathtaking centrepiece, piazza del Campidoglio. The piazza was originally designed by Michelangelo, and took more than a century to complete. On opposite sides of the piazza, the grand Palazzo Nuovo and the Palazzo dei Conservatori together make up the Capitoline Museums (06 6710 2071, Initiated in 1471 by Pope Sixtus IV, these rank among the world’s oldest public museums and house excellent sculpture and Renaissance art.

On the brow of the hill, the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli (06 679 8155) marks the spot where the lavish temple of Juno once stood, flanked by temples to her fellow gods, Jupiter and Minerva. Obscuring these sites from street level is the hulking form of the Vittoriano monument (06 6991 718). Built at the turn of the 19th century, this monstrosity overlooks the transport hub of piazza Venezia, whose grand palace, the Renaissance Palazzo Venezia (06 6999 4318), was used by Mussolini as his headquarters.

Last but not least is the Pantheon (06 6830 0230). Built by Hadrian as a temple to the 12 classical deities, this is one of Ancient Rome’s best-preserved remains. It towers over the piazza della Rotonda between focal piazza Navona and via del Corso in the heart of the centro storico.
The Quirinale & Tridente

Bordering the northern section of via del Corso (which, incidentally, was first paved using funds raised by Pope Paul II’s tax on prostitutes) are the beautiful sight-laden districts of the Quirinale and the Tridente. Another of Ancient Rome’s hills, the Quirinale is now most famous for its romance magnet, the Trevi Fountain. Nicolò Salvi’s wonderfully overblown rococo creation is best known as the scene of Anita Ekberg’s late-night dip in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the city’s principal architect in the 17th century, was originally asked to design the fountain, but Salvi eventually took over the project. Bernini’s baroque fountains – in particular the one in piazza Navona – characterise much of downtown Rome. The elaborate Fontana del Tritone, in piazza Barberini, and the exquisitely detailed door to the Palazzo del Quirinale, where the President of the Republic now resides, are both particularly fine examples of his work.
Villa Borghese

For a shady break from sightseeing, follow the winding via Veneto from piazza Barberini to the lush Villa Borghese. This vast park (complete with a boating lake) once belonged to the Borghese family and houses two unmissable art treasures: the gorgeous Galleria Borghese (piazzale Scipione Borghese 5, 06 32810,; booking essential), with its Bernini sculptures and Caravaggio paintings, and Italy’s national collection of modern art at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (viale delle Belle Arti 131, 06 322 981, www.gnam.arti., with works by Cézanne and Kandinsky. On the eastern edge of the park are two particularly fine squares: the piazza di Spagna and the piazza del Popolo. Famed for its impressive Spanish Steps, forever crowded with young locals and tourists of all ages, piazza di Spagna was once a beacon to Rome’s 18th-century grand tourists, and was a favourite haunt of Keats and Shelley. Young Keats died in a house on the square in 1821; today it’s the Keats-Shelley Memorial House (No.26, 06 678 4235,, and you’ll find it crammed with minutiae of the poets’ lives.

The piazza del Popolo, where condemned criminals were once tortured at carnival time, contains the church of Santa Maria del Popolo (06 361 0836). Built in 1472, its grounds are said to be haunted; according to lore, Nero’s mistress secretly buried the hated Emperor’s body here, which left him a bit restless. Apart from Nero’s ghost, it is noted for works by Raphael, Caravaggio and Pinturicchio.
The Vatican

This tiny, independent city was founded in AD 90, when the first monument was built on what was believed to be the site of St Peter’s martyrdom. In the fourth century the emperor Constantine built a basilica over the tomb. And then, after a series of invasions, Pope Leo IV encircled the area with an imposing 12-metre wall, which expanded over the centuries to surround more land. Confined behind the wall after the Italian Unification of 1870, and acting as an independent state since 1929, the Vatican (06 6988 1662) leads a separate existence from the rest of Rome. Because of that, its main sights can, and do, observe a strict dress code – you will not be allowed in if you wear clothing that bares your legs or shoulders. Credit cards aren’t accepted, though the Vatican is a duty-free zone. Once inside, the first stop has to be St Peter’s Basilica (06 6988 1662). The dome, when completed in 1590 to Michelangelo’s detailed specifications, was the largest brick construction ever built. Visitors ascend via a cramped lift and then many stairs. At the top there are fabulous views of the Vatican Gardens, Bernini’s piazza and the city beyond. Below the dome, Bernini’s curlicued bronze canopy triumphs over the altar.

Under the chapels, one containing Michelangelo’s Piet� , are the tombs of recent popes, including John Paul II. Further down, the Necropolis is where many believe St Peter is buried (visits by prior arrangement only; phone 06 6988 5318 for booking details). The Vatican Museums (06 6988 3333, are so huge that there are four colour-coded itineraries to choose from.

The basilica end of the route has the Sistine Chapel, containing Michelangelo’s frescoes of the Creation and the Last Judgement, and luscious Renaissance works by Botticelli, Rosselli and Signorelli.

• Tourist information: via Parigi 5 (06 488 991,