Useful Information whilst in Rome

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Pope Francis.

Francisco_20-03-20131.- As many of our guests have confirmed, wen he was a bishop in Argentina he used the public means of transportation to get around. He hasn’t tried to do the same in Rome but keep your eyes open if you visit the city!

2.- The man seriously challenges John Paul II as the coolest pope ever: To pay for his studies he worked as a nightclub bouncer in Buenos Aires.

3.- He is a rennaisance man: he studied chemistry, but is also a professor of literature and psychology.

4.- He is missing a part of his right lung. When he was young he got really sick and at the time antibiotic treatments weren’t that common so in such cases the tissue was removed to stop the infection from spreading.

5.- The motto he chose to put on his coat of arms when he became a bishop is taken from the homilies of the Venerable Bede: Miserando atque eligendo ( literally in Latin ‘by having mercy, by choosing him’.). As a pope, he has kept the phrase and the design, with some slight modifications.


Quick Rome Tip: TrovaRoma


If your visit to the Eternal City includes a Thursday don’t forget to buy the newspaper La Repubblica (1,20 Eur).

Along with it you will get a little weekly magazine called TrovaRoma, where you will be able to find the most interesting things going on in the city (cinema, theatre, restaurants, concerts and then some!).

Of course, most of it is written in Italian, but they have also an English summary with the most interesting appointments.

Around The World In 80 Minutes With The Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio


As we have said somewhere else, we are unabashed fans of the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio.

Their story would be worth telling all the same had they disbanded after the release of the remarkable documentary that tells the tale of Mario Tronco, the director who assembled the orchestra recluting foreign musicians who lived in Rome -many of them in the multicultural neighbourhood of Piazza Vittorio- and brought their own sensibilities and personal idiosincracies into the mix.

But the Orchestra was more than a one-off, and it’s ready to perform its most recent project: an 80-minute musical journey through time, space and culture, a feat they are more than well-suited to accomplish.

The Orchestra will be playing at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome from January 21 to 26, 2014.

A Stroll Down Via del Boschetto

5901149111_3a046017da_zWhen it comes to eating in Rome there are many places where the guides and even locals will usually direct you: Trastevere, San Lorenzo and recently Pignetto. But there’s a place ( a couple of streets) not that famous that I would like to introduce you to.

Via del Boschetto and Via Dei Serpenti are located just off Via Nazionale (the big avenue that starts on Repubblica square, just beside Termini). The area is right in the center of the City, but is quiet and the atmosphere is easygoing. During the evenings you can see people sitting beside a fountain, having a beer, just like the more radical crowd do in San Lorenzo.

There are many places to eat and even some pleasant surprises: a takeaway Sushi place, a Japanese restaurant and a couple of Indian restaurants. If what you are after is Italian food you can try Osteria al 16, on Via del Boschetto 16. I have been there with friends a couple of times and I have never been disappointed. If like me, you enjoy a hearty meal, you will appreciate the spaghetti all’amatriciana (spaghetti with tomato sauce and bacon) and the meatballs with tomato sauce.

boschettoThe best is that this area is just a blocks away from the Colosseum, so if you are in the mood you can walk over there to put a perfect ending to your Roman serata.

And don’t forget to send me a line to tell me about your adventure, and to check our websites to get the best deals for accommodation in the best Hotels in Rome!

The Splendor of Ancient Roman Houses Comes Alive


A couple of days ago a client asked me about a visit to Palazzo Valentini. “I’ve read somewhere it’s the best  kept secret in Rome”, she said. “Not for long”, I thought.

In fact, her request surprised me: I thought of palazzo Valentini as the bureaucratic headquarters of the local government. Certainly not the kind of thing you want to see while on vacation!

It turns out that recent archeological excavations have unearthed a group of ancient Roman houses now open for visit. A multimedia installation of light and sound brings back the houses to their luxurious splendor through which we can read a story of the domestic life of the upper classes of ancient Rome.

Palazzo Valentini, located at Via IV Setembre (near Piazza Venezia), is open Wedenesday through Monday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM and can be easily reached from Yes Hotel or Hotel Des Artistes taking the bus 40 from Termini. Reservations are not mandatory but highly encouraged.

The best coffee in Rome!

santeu1When it comes to coffee it’s difficult to go wrong in Rome: almost avery little Bar (as cafés are known in Italy) has good or even great coffee, but as in everything else there is always one that stands above all the others.

In Rome, the place that is regarded as the best for espresso is Bar Sant’Eustachio. The place was opened in 1938 and it’s almost mythical among the horde of caffeine consumers in the capital. They have their own website where you can buy their celebrated blend to enjoy the best coffee in the eternal city even if you cannot come here personally!

But of course, there is nothing like the real deal: even if the place might seem hardly out of the ordinary from the outside, you cannot help but feel as if you are steping into a sort of temple when you walk into Sant’ Eustachio. The employees have a sacerdotal gravitas to them and clients are advised to let the personel known if they want their espresso without sugar, since you get your coffee with the right amount of sugar already on it- something not many cafes in the city do. Maybe it has to do with the fact that some suspect that the sugar is actually an important part of their secret!


Sant’Eustachio is located at Piazza Sant’Eustachio 32, near Navona square. If you are staying at Yes Hotel or Hotel Des Artistes, or anywhere near the Termini station you can take the bus 40 from the station to get there (get off at the station “Argentina”). Here you have a map showing the bus route and the part you would have to do walking from the bus stop.

Have a great vacation and do not hesitate to contact us for accomodation if you are staying in Rome!

Bob Dylan in Rome: Catch Him While You Can


When they decided to make a film about Bob Dylan’s life they nedded 6 actors to play him. Probably is the only case in which such an exaggeration seems justified: Dylan has gone thorugh such an staggering number of phases througout his career that probably no single living actor would have been able to offer a convincing performance.

The title of the film seemed to summarize Dylan’s career as a whole: “I’m not there”. Everytime audiences or critics have believed to have Dylan ready to be pigeonholed, the man has escaped and then come back with an unexpected musical direction, an unexpected look: he has gone all the way through from earnest young folk singer and then bohemian guru to his most recent incarnation as a somewhat demonic wild-west singer.

Mr. Dylan will be performing in Rome November 6, 2013 at Atlantico Roma. Get a glimpse of him while you can, or at least try: knowing him you can be sure that, somehow, he won’t be there. At least not in the way you expect.

4 Tricks To Make Your Life Easier In Rome

Today we bring you 4 tricks to improve your experience in the Eternal City!

roma_pass1.- Roma Pass: You might have already know about this one, but offers good value, so it’s worth mentioning: for 34 euros you get to use the public transportation sysem for 3 days and free entrance to the first 2 museums you visit. Besides, you get discounts on all the museums you visit after the first 2. You can find the Roma Pass in many Tabacchi shops and newsstands in the Termini station, where you will likely arrive from your airport.

2.- Book Vatican Museums in advance: The lenght of the queue to get into the museums is almost legendary among tourists, but you can easily avoid it if you book the entrance in advance.To do it go to this website ; from there you can check availability and book your tickets.

3.-Atac website: Rome is not particularly easy to figure out, when it comes to autobus-romatransportation, but the things are slowly changing thanks to the internet. ATAC, the public transportation agency of the city has o neat website that allows you to check yhe best routes toget from one point of the city to another using the public transportation system. It also shows in real time how long will it take for a bus to arrive to a given stop,so it’s a great resource to check on your mobile.

4.- 060608: This is the Municipality of Rome’s official tourist information service. You can call them at (+39) 060608 to get general information about the city and even book museums. Even if the service has been around for a while, is not very well known but it’s really useful!

A walk down via Cavour and then some


The other day I was walking down via Cavour when I saw a flight of stairs that led to an alley. Being curious as I am I decided to climb the stairs and discover what was up there.

I walked past a church with a medieval tower and along the wall of what seemed to be an old Villa to discover the entrance of a garden so spacious that made me think for a moment that I had stumbled into a little known access to Villa Borghese. I was almost alone in the park and the weather was perfect: sunny but not too warm. As I walked past a little soccer field I discerned the top of what could only be the Colosseum.


Just in front the exit of the park you will find a little caffe called “Caffe dello Studente”. The place had a certain undefinable appeal, so I decided to take a seat. A couple of signs boasted that the place “was reccomended by the Rick Steve’s guide”, which both reassured me  and gave a boost to my faith in my culinary instincts. The women who seemed to be the owner of the place was the embodiment of the Roman character: warm but in a rough, no-nonsense, way.

I was suprised to find all the available pasta was frozen. Don’t order that if you are planning to give the place a try. Get a good sandwich and a cold beer, instead. In a warm day, with the sight of the trees on one side and the Colosseum on the other, is an unbeatable combination.

If you have any query about the city, drop me a line; I’ll be happy to help.

The readers of this blog get a special discount in our hotels, so if you are planning to visit the city don’t hesitate to contact me to get a special rate.

4 New Subway Stations in Rome

After many delays, the extension of the B subway line was inaugurated last year.

Users weren’t exactly ecstatic about the new service, with initial delays of more than 8 minutes, but this new addition is welcome in a city whose subway line is rather small considering the dimensions of the urban area.

For people visiting Rome the main good news is that the new extension, called B1, will allow them to visit more easily the Catacombs of Santa Agnese. Before, the place could only be reached after a long bus ride from the station Termini. Now, people staying near the station Termini (in hotels like Des Artistes or Yes Hotel) will be only 10 minutes away from the catacombs taking the B subway line at Castro Pretorio or Termini and then getting off at the station Annibaliano.

Currently 2 other lines (C and D) are in the works, but don’t hold your breath: the small B1 extension took more than 7 years to be finished.

Here you have an updated map of the Roman subway including the 4 new stations Annibaliano, Libia/Gonda, Conca D’oro and Jonio :