accomodation in Rome

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 http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do ; 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

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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.

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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 :


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Il Pincio: Getting Romantic in Rome


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Rome is, well…Romantic. Everyhting from the weather to the food invites to love. That’s why I’m surprised that Il Pincio is not one of the better known sights in the city.

Il Pincio is a terrace from where you can get an amazing view of Rome Visiting it is a great experience no matter what, but to be there with your significant other will reward you with one of the most romantic moments of your trip.

To get to Il Pincio from Yes Hotel or Hotel Des Artistes take the red subway line from Termini (direction Battistini) and get off at the Station Flaminio. As you get outside from the subway you will see the gate leading to Piazza del Popolo. Cross the gate, walk past the church and turn left (notice you won’t get to walk into the Piazza; you will turn just before getting to it). Then you will see stairs that will take you up to Villa Borghese. Climb the Stairs and once inside the garden follow the path leading uphill tl get to Il Pincio.

Since the terrace is part of Villa Borghese after your visit you can rent a bike or if you are of the lazy kind (just like me) you can just lie in the grass with your partner– which will of course lead to further romantic exchanges.
You’re welcome!

Rome Close-Up: The Ace of Cups of the Trevi Fountain


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We’re inaugurating a new section, Roman Close-up. Here’ we’ll try to show you the story behind some details of the city.

The Trevi Fountain is a baroque explosion of stone, muscles and sea-horses. There are enough details on it to write entire books, but there is a specific part of the sculpture around which a little local legend has been created.

The story goes that during the construction of the fountain an overly critical barber who  worked accross the street used to overwhelm Nicola Salvi, the sculptor, with his suggestions and (usually negative) observations about the artist’s work. Understandably annoyed, Salvati proceded then to add to the fountain a vase strategically located to block the view of the fountain from the barbershop to put and end to

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the unrequested artisical feedback.

The story doesn’t mention if a vase was enough to deter the artistically overzealous barber (maybe he was more into classicism– I cannot help but wonder how that reflected in his work), but the tale is popular among Romans, who call the vase “l’asso di coppe”, the ace of cups, after a figure in the Italian deck of cards.

Stayed tune for more Roman close-ups, and don’t forget to check our websites to find the best accomodation in the Eternal City!


Rome Meets The World 2013


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Rome Meets The World is already a summer tradition in the city. The aim of the festival is to bring to Roman audiciences some of the best performers from the most diverse musical scenes. These are our picks for this year’s edition:

June 15, 2013
COCOROSIE
The music they played has been labeled “freak folk”. It’s an accurate description.

June18, 2013
MODENA CITY RAMBLERS
The Ramblers and their folk sound are an institution in Italy.

July 14, 2013
NINA ZILLI & FABRIZIO BOSSO
She has a big bluesy voice and the looks of Zadie Smith; he seems ready to join Enrico Rava and Paolo Fresu in the olympus of great Italian trumpet players.

July 18, 2013
MALIKA AYANE
An Italian singer of Maroccan descent and one of the most interesting figures in the local pop scene.

July 19, 2013
ORCHESTRA DI PIAZZA VITTORIO
A multicultural Roman phenomenon whose story is worth spreading.

July 23, 2013
ELIO E LE STORIE TESE
The revered irreverent of Italy’s music scene.

The concerts take place at Villa Ada (Via Salaria 275) which can be reached from the Termini Station, just a few minutes away from Yes Hotel and Hotel Des Artistes with the bus 92. To read the full program, click here.

The Most Roman of Romans


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It has always puzzled me that many people know about Rome and its greatness but so little is known about Romans. Compared to the Londoner or the Parisian, the Roman remains a mystery, probably because like his food, he is hearty but not sophisticated, shrewd but not always insightful.

Romanity, however, captivates those who get to get to know it. If you want to get a glimpse of it without having to stay a couple of years in the Eternal City then you have to read the sonnets of Gioachino Belli, who is in my book the most Roman of Romans.

Belli was born to a weatlhy family and earned a place in the Italian literary cannon with 2200 sonnets through which the low Roman class of the time its shown as it is, “salacious, sometimes cunning and always self-centerd” as the ruthless Italian Wikipedia article about Belli puts it.

The most striking feature of the sonnets is also the reason why they are not as known as they should: they are written in the Romanesco dialect which gives them a poignantly accurate flavor when read in Italian but also eludes translation. An English version of the sonnets its available at the Anglo-American Bookstore, my bookstore of choice in Rome or online, from this website where you will find gems like this:

PIAZZA NAVONA

Piazza Navona easily stands the comparison
With both St.Peter’s and the Spanish Steps.
This is not a square, it’s like the countryside,
It’s a theatre, it’s a fair, it’s gaiety.
.
It runs from Sant’Apollinare 2 to the central pathway,
And from the central pathway to Cuccagna street 3:
Everywhere you see things to eat,
Everywhere you see people who buy them.
.
Here three fountains stand in all their might,
Here is a spire 4, as solemn as a judgement,
Here the place is flooded when summertime comes .
.
Here the whipping-trestle is raised,
Where those who look for trouble get thirty lashes
On their arse, and five more for charity .

Rome gets ready to enjoy a hot latin summer

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Words are funny. Take the word “latino”, by example. The term is used today to denote people of latin american descent, but originally it was the name given to the inhabitants of Latium, the region where Rome is located.

So we can say that the festival Soylatino is a comeback of sorts.From June through September Ostia, the beach located just outside Rome, will turn tropical with latin american music and food.

Wednesday the fee is 8 euros Wednesday and Thursday, 10 Euros Friday and  12 Euros Saturday.The entrance is free on Sundays and every day from 19:00 to 21:00 PM.To reach the festival using the public transportation system from Hotel Des Artistes or Yes Hotel, take the blue subway line until Piramide and from there take the train going to Ostia and get off at the station Lidio di Ostia.

Answers to 4 Random (but useful) Questions About Rome

Working in a hotel you get used to be asked certain questions very often. I guessed that means many people may be wondering the same things while preparing their trip, so I decided to share them with you. Here they are:

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Buses don’t tell the stops
Rome is not completely covered by the subway system, so you’ll find that the only way to get to certain places is by bus. The problem is that the buses almost never show the stops (some models have monitors that show them as you travel, but they are not the rule), and may skip some altogether if nobody is getting in or off. The best way to go about this is to find the bus you need to take and then ask the driver to tell you where to get off.

You don’t need your passport to go to the Vatican
Understandably, we get this question very often. Even if the Vatican is a different state you don’t need a passport to visit Saint Peter’s or The Vatican Museums. However, is a good idea to carry a photocopy of it with you at all times while you are abroad.

Tap water is drinkable

In fact, one of the greatest sumer pleasures in Rome is to drink from the Nasoni, the public little fountains that dispense the thirsty with deliciously fresh water all-year long.

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Get your ticket before getting on the bus

Again, buses versus logic. Some buses are equipped with ticket-vending machines, but most of them don’t have them. You can buy the tickets at the Tobacco shops (you recognize them by their typical sign: a big T), news stands and subway stations. In fact, maybe to alleviate the pledge of the foreign bus users, the ticket vending machines are quite easy to use and have a very clear, multilingual interface. You can buy a day pass for 4 Euros, a 3 day ticket for 11 euros and a week ticket for 16 euros, and let’s not forget the good ‘ol Roma Pass: 30 Euros for transportation for 3 days and entrance to 2 museums.

Well, I hope this helps you in you trip. Do you have any other random (but useful) questions to make about Rome? Send me a line and we’ll answer them and share them with everybody!

Rome Celebrates Machiavelli’s “The Prince”


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Machiavelli is an Italian icon. His shrewdness, pragmatism and fascination with power are all trademarks of the Italian temperament. With his elucidations about power and the means to preserve it he created almost single-handedly what we know as political science, securing himself a place in history and beside the beds of many leaders (Napolean among them)  who have turned to him for guidance.

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Even though Machiavelli’s name is almost universally associated with coldness and power-for.the-sake-of-power, there is much more to him than that and he has been object of an operation of rehabilitation in Italy. As a part of said operation an exhibition has just been opened at the Complesso del Vittoriano to celebrate the 500th anniversay of The Prince, Macchiaveli’s most famous work.

Visitors will be able to see on display one of the 19 known original manuscripts of the book and learn more about the Machiavelli’s relationshipo with both classic culture and contemporary popular culture. The Complesso del Vittoriano is located at Via San Pietro in Carcere, right beside Piazza Venezia. The exhibition is open everyday from 9.30 to 19.30 (until Jully 16, 2013) and the entrance is free.