Sunday, July 23, 2017

Four Days In Rome Part 2

Rome_Italy_Vittorio Emanuele Monument_3754We slept late on Sunday morning and missed breakfast at The Beehive, but in Rome – or anywhere in Italy – a coffee and a croissant are as close as the nearest bar. We stopped at a bar near Termini for a quick breakfast then once again walked down the via Nazionale,
towards the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, nicknamed “the typewriter” or “the wedding cake”. The street in between the monument and the Coliseum is pedestrian-only on Sundays, which makes the area feel a little calmer, and certainly less dangerous when crossing the street!

 Although there were no cars there were lots and lots of people. Despite the heat, a beautiful summer day in Rome is not to be wasted, and the street, and the steps of the monument were crowded.

Rome_Italy_Capitoline Museum_Piazza del Campidoglio_3902

We walked around the monument and up the broad stairs that lead to the Compodoglio, the piazza designed by Michelangelo at the top of the Capitoline hill. The two buildings that house the Capitoline Museums face each other across the piazza, and are connected by an underground passageway. Although the museum is quite large, and you might be tempted to see one building and skip the other – DON'T!

 I say this for several reasons, but first let me say that yes, I do understand that for most of you, your time in Rome is limited. You want to see the 'big' sites: The Forum, the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps, St Peter's and the Vatican Museum. Spending time in a museum, even a smaller one like the Borghese, might not be on your list, and I get it. However, if you've been to Rome more than once, try to expand your list, add something new. Additionally, sometimes it rains when you're on vacation. Sometimes it's miserably hot. For these times it's always nice to have an alternative, and a museum can save the day. Be sure to make note of the closing day (usually, but not always, Monday), and if you plan to visit a large museum like the Capitoline, pace yourself!

Rome_Italy_Capitoline Museum_View of St Peter's_3946 One of the nice things about the Capitoline Museum is their restaurant, which includes a terrace with a view of the dome of St Peter's. We reserved a table at the restaurant's covered, protected, outside area, but either things have changed dramatically, or, more likely, I'd just forgotten how outrageously expensive it was. Next time we'll grab our food from the cafeteria-style counter (inside) and eat our meal inside, then walk out to the terrace to enjoy the view and snap a few pics. To add insult to injury, the waiter we had in the outdoor section was arrogant and condescending, so, lesson learned. The nice thing for a larger museum like this is that you can easily break up your visit with a meal, or just a snack, then continue your visit refreshed.

Rome_Italy_Capitoline Museum_View of Forum_3954Another tip: when walking through the underground passage connecting the two buildings, don't miss the corridor (accessed up a small staircase) that will give you an incredible view of the Roman forum. It's easy to miss, but well worth the diversion!

Although not every piece is marked in English, most, if not all of the exhibits and explanations are in English, so you can read as much detail as you want – sometimes it's too much detail, but it's always nice to know some of the history of the pieces you're seeing. 

The first building you visit, the Palazzo dei Conservatori, is filled with sculptures and artwork, while the second building, the Palazzo Nuovo, is a work of art unto itself.  The rooms!  The ceilings!  The chandeliers!  The frescoes! Much like the Borghese, the rooms in the Palazzo Nuovo were designed to impress, to dazzle and to amaze, and they do all that and more!
Rome_Italy_Capitoline Museum_Ceiling_Chandelier_3971
Rome_Italy_Capitoline Museum_Chapel_Ceiling_3898Rome_Italy_Capitoline Museum_Ceiling_chandelier_3892

Walking around on hard surfaces all day is tiring. The heat is tiring. Trying to absorb all the art, history and beauty is tiring. Pace yourself! We stopped in the mini Eataly in the Piazza della Republica.  Yes, it's a great place to find food items from all over Italy, but I didn't see anything I couldn't live without.  In retrospect we could have bought some snacks for dinner, but at the time we weren't sure what our plans were.  Later we walked up to the bar near Termini and bought two panini, some fruit and a small bottle of wine for an alfresco dinner on our tiny balcony.

Mondays can be tricky because many (but not all!) museums are closed on Mondays.  It was way too hot to go wandering around the Forum, Coliseum and Palatine Hill, so we decided to take the advice of a fellow traveler from the Slow Europe Forum and visit CineCitta, founded in 1937 by Mussolini (!), and made famous by Federico Fellini.  CineCitta is home to such blockbusters as Ben Hur and Cleopatra, and the spaghetti westerns of the '60's.  Martin Scorsese filmed "Gangs of New York" here, and more recently HBO's "Rome" ☺was shot here.  It's an easy Metro ride to the studios, which are located right next to the Metro stop, about 15 minutes from Termini.

Cinecitta_Rome_Italy_movies_3985We had a little over an hour to wander through the exhibits, housed in two buildings.  We saw costumes, posters and read about the many, many films that were made here.  Our guided tour in English through the lot was scheduled for 11:30.  The meeting point was the gift shop/cafe, where I found the souvenirs, like this clever fan, to be out of my price range.  (The fan, designed to look like strips of film, cost €23)



The lot tour took us to a large soundstage, then to various sets, all very realistic until you tapped them or took a look behind them to see the scaffolding that was holding them up. We saw sets for "Gangs of New York" and "Rome", as well as a production in progress.

At the end of the tour we took the Metro back to Termini, and walked down to the new Mercato Centrale, a huge, modern food court which has just recently opened.  There are many, many choices for food here.  We selected a table, chose a pasta restaurant, ordered our food and watched as it was being prepared.  The plates were handed over the counter to us to enjoy.  Servers came around, circulating from the large bar that's in the middle, taking drink orders.  We shared our table with a couple from Sicily who now live in Milan, so yes, all roads do lead to Rome!

After lunch we walked back to the Beehive to retrieve our bags, then walked back to Termini to catch our train back to Umbria.  Due to increased security, you must now show your ticket before being allowed to enter the boarding area for the trains.  Unfortunately our train was delayed 35 minutes, which affected our connection in Foligno.  We could have stayed longer in Rome and taken the direct train back to Ponte San Giovanni, but it's impossible to predict something like this.

We had a great time in Rome, and despite the heat I'm glad we went.  There is always something new to see in Rome, whether it's a newly discovered/opened site, or something we just haven't gotten around to seeing before, and of course there are old favorites like The Borghese, The Vatican, The Forum and Coliseum that can be visited again and again and again.  Rome is indeed the Eternal City.

Click on the link for all the photos from the Capitoline Museums: Capitoline Museum, Rome Italy 2017

Click on the link for all the photos from CineCitta: Cinecitta Rome Italy 2017


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