Day 1 When in Rome

Day 1 – Rome Italy
Today we began our “Tour of Tuscany” with a one day stop over in Rome Italy.  We flew Non-Stop from Detroit to Rome arriving around 9:30 in the morning. The important things first: a stop at the ATM to get some Euros, usually a  better exchange rate than one of the change booths.  Hint: If you are traveling out of the country check your fees from your card before you go and always let your bank know. Next stop was the “Tim store” where Steve had preordered a Sim card to put into his phone for use in Italy.  It gave us 4 gigs of data and 100 minutes of call time to the US. So much better than our choices from the states which was $10.00 per day.  Always an option when you are traveling.  On to the ticket machine for train tickets, two machines right before the escalator on your way to the train platforms, these are the most crowded.  If you by pass these and go straight to the train there are additional machines; purchase a ticket to Rome City Center, Roma Termini.   It was about 32 minutes to city center. Our Hotel for the evening was called Palazzo Montemartini Hotel although it was a  little pricey the location was perfect for us.  Easy walk to and from the train station, restaurants, and lots of the major sights of the city.

Since we have been to Rome a number of times and have done all the touristy sightseeing things, thrown coins into the Trevi fountain, walked through the ancient ruins, toured the Vatican, sat on the Spanish steps and marveled at the Coliseum to name just a few, we decided to go a little of the beaten path.
    We walked through the city and across the Tiber River to Trastevere, a charming neighborhood  with magical feel . Just across from Rome’s central ruins stroll just 3 minutes to the Tiber and cross the river via the stone foot bridge, Ponte Sisto, to reach Trastevere.

Tiber River
Head towards Piazza di Maria, the heart of this labyrinthine district; take Via del Moro, with its many shops and cafes, then divert into the quiet cobblestoned side streets lined with crumbling buildings with faded paintwork. Plants and religious shrines brighten up the streets, washing is strung up between buildings, and graffiti covers the shutters of closed bars. Lemons, artichokes, and cafes were everywhere.

When you reach the piazza, join the locals, tourists and take a seat on the steps of the fountain – a great spot for people-watching.
This lovely neighborhood square is dominated by 12th-century Basilica di Santa MIMaria; step inside its dimly lit interior to see the glittering Cavallini mosaics depicting the font of oil that spouted when Christ was born – according to myth, the church was founded on that very spot.

Cut across busy Viale Trastevere and wind your way down peaceful lanes to Piazza di Santa Cecilia. The Basilica di Santa Cecilia was built on top of the saint's house; in the year 230 she supposedly survived decapitation for three days and when her tomb was opened in 1599 her body was incorrupt. Visit the crypt, admire the mosaics, and if you ring the bell the nuns will show you the last remaining Cavallini frescoes in Rome.

If you are hungry just follow your nose and take your pick from the many fine dining establishments, so many to choose from, pizzerias , trattoriass,  Wine bars , Gelato shops, Pastrami shops,

and microbreweries , this neighborhood had it all. The charm of the city ,the beauty of the well kept unique old buildings, the food stands, markets, and fun shops will take you in. A great way to spend the day in Rome and off the beaten path.

We had dinner at an Historical Trattoria called Taverna Frovia.  It was amazing!  We were greeted by the owner and welcomed enthusiastically!  It seemed like he knew everyone that came in he knew by name.
 The walls were adorned with pictures and signatures of movie stars and the owners dating back to 1968.  We dined with Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Mel Gibson, and Jackie Gleason just to name of few.  Our meal was even more special, to start a steamed artichoke with white wine and Olive Oil followed with Roasted Lamb and a creamy Pasta dish.  Every bit was Yum!

We opted out of dessert because we were also told about the best Gelato place to go to that was not to far for the restaurant.  OMG by far the best Gelato we have ever had, so yummy.  A must on your list if you are ever in  Rome!  It is called Gelateria La Romana it will not disappoint!

Hopefully our pictures will tell the story and you’ll want to spend an extra day exploring some of these neighborhoods, away from the tour guides, double-decker buses, and the long lines for the historical attractions.  I guarantee you will fall in love with it. Additional posts will be added as we continue on our adventure on our tour through Tuscany!


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