Vacation lookback: Italy (Part III)
|Romulus and Remus|
We stayed at a hotel called Villa Tassoni, where out hotel room had a small kitchenette. This made is possible to not eat out a lot and sample the local food, like the locals do. It was great to both be able to cook in, and have someone clean up daily. When we returned I really missed having someone else clean the bathroom every day ;-). At the open air market (Nuovo Mercato Trionfale) you can get cheap, but quality produce. We also got some pretty tasty wine for not that much money (3 litres for 5 euro!). We also got some pretty good cold cuts at Salumeria Paciotti which was a little pricey, but the salamis were great and the people there were nice. We also got pizza (and bread) from a local bakery (Bonci) which was pretty awesome.
When we did out we went to two place: Da Francesco and a pasta place that was literally a hole in the wall. Da Francesco got a lot of good reviews on Yelp (and apparently on foursquare) but I really thought it was overhyped. Sure the food was good, but the price you paid for it was disproportionate to what you were getting. On the other hand, the whole in the wall (which also got good reviews) was well worth the price of the food. The food was filling, it packed a flavor blast and it wasn't that expensive!
In Rome there was no one card like the Amsterdam card that covered transportation as well. However, you could get a 7-day unlimited transportation card, which we did, for not a bad price (not as good as Greece, but what can you do). Public transportation was pretty clean and efficient (or at least it seemed like it), so it was worth getting the week-pass if you are going to stay for at least 5 days.
We visited the national National Museums by getting an archeology card (or something like that) that was 30-40 euros. This got us into all of the national museums, so it was a time and money saver. I honestly can't remember how many places were on the list (I think 7-8) but the Campidoglio Museum, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the National Museum were on there. Everything was pretty great, but the Forum as a bit underwhelming, like Pompeii. I really had hoped that there would be buildings that you could go in (like the senate) and actually see the interior...but of course things were closed.
The Vatican was an adventure. St. Paul's was interesting to see (and free), but the line to get into the dome was crazy. After 20 minutes of waiting almost at a standstill we decided to give up, at least for this trip, since we had tickets for the vatican. The vatican seemed overpriced and underwhelming. It seems that quite a few wings were closed, but at the same time there were museum gift shops everywhere. This type of merchantilism was a little off for my tastes. Yeah, we saw the Sistene Chapel, and all I have to say is "m'eh." Nice to see, at least once in one's life, but I am not sure I'd go back to the vatican museum. Too much hype, too expensive, not enough interesting stuff to see. By comparison the Rome Card that got us into all national museums was a much better price and historical culture value.
Finally, in Rome, unlike Naples, they spoke a language that I could actually understand and communicate with (Italian)! It was really amazing to me that there would be such variation in the language just going from one region to another. I think that this is something that should be covered in Italian Language courses when people learn Italian as a Foreign Language.