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Xmas in Rome

Christmas time is coming and Rome is preparing to welcome the Holidays with lights, decorations and events.

Like every year, the markets of the Roman tradition will be the most important attraction of the Holidays. In particular the Christmas market of Piazza Navona will delight adults and children during the month of December, until after Epiphany. The numerous stands that will be among the ancient buildings and the wonderful Bernini’s fountain, the lights and the parfumes will give a unique athmosphere to the famous square.

But also in other places you will find traditional events, such as concerts and exhibitions of cribs in via dei Coronari, in via dell’Orso and in Sant’Eustachio area. Walking in the city centre you could also meet minstrels and fictional characters.

Even Piazza Re di Roma has been honoring this tradition for some years with stands full of sweets, decorations and crafts, in a setting reminiscent of the Advent markets of northen Europe (in fact this square is twinned with the ones of Heidelberg.

The conditions are excellent for nice walks in the heart of the Eternal City, at the sound of pipers and the possibility to warm holding in your hands a bag of roasted chestnuts, drinking a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of mulled wine.

Best Roman Piazzas

Are you keen on visiting all the great Roman Piazzas?

Write this down, because these on the list, not only are beautiful but also contain a large quantity of stories and legends behind them, moreover they host many art masterpieces.

  1. Piazza Venezia: in the middle you will see the impressive monument Vittoriano. In front at the left you’ll see the balcony from which Mussolini used to give his speeches.
  2. Piazza Navona:One of the most splendid piazzas, with the Fountain of the four Rivers of Bernini. During day and night is full with street artists and lovely restaurants.
  3. Piazza di Spagna: The spanish steps are actually french, because they were sponsored by that country. The piazza took the name after the Spanish Embassy situated just at the end of it.
  4. Pizza della Repubblica: Near Termini, outside the Metro Repubblica. The walls that surround the piazza are beautifully floodlit by night, check the 4 nude nymph on the fountain, their nudity and relaxing poses were outrageous for the church.
  5. Piazza del Campidoglio: Next to Piazza Venezia. Originally designed by Michelangelo, including the 12 points star on the floor.
  6. Piazza della Rotonda: Here is the perfectly well maintained temple the Pantheon (free entrance), which was the first pagan temple converted to the catholic cult. In Roman times, the dome was considered to be built by the devil, because of its great size.
  7. Piazza della Minerva: just behind the Pantheon, here you can see a curious obelisk which lies on an elefant designed by Bernini.
  8. Piazza della Bocca della verità: where you can find the famous stone where Audrey Hepburn put her hand in the movie Roman Holiday. It is definitely worth to see also the 2 roman temples in front of the church that host the stone.
  9. Piazza Colonna: Approximately at the middle of Via del Corso, where you can see the Column of Marco Aurelio.

There are many more Piazzas in Rome, no matter where you go, there   is a Piazza, big or small. Just make sure that on your next visit to Rome, you don’t miss the ones from this list, because they are definitely enchanting!

      Paulina Ceballos

Free things to see in the center of Rome: itinerary to follow

      This itinerary that we propose takes around 2 or 3 hours,  depending on how fast you want to walk; it covers many of the Must to see points of the Eternal City:

  •       A) Church of  Santa Marìa della Concezione: The walls and roofs are  “decorated” with the Cappuccini Friar’s bones.  Offer: €1. Where:Red Metro A: Barberini, take the Via Veneto exit and find the number 27.
  •  B) Spanish Steps: It was called after the king Ferdinand the Catholic, who gave the construcciòn of these steps as a present.
  •  C) Piazza Navona: one of the most famous piazzas of Rome  and the whole world, due to the beauty of the sculptures, fountains and churches in it.
  • D) Pantheon: Circular temple built in the beginning of the Roman era, dedicated to all the gods, it is also known as La Rotonda, because is placed in this piazza. This is the onlypagan temple of the antique Rome that has survived intact.
  • E) Trevi Fountain: Don’t forget to throw a coin above your shoulder if you want to come back to Rome. Another legend assures that if you throw 2 you’ll have a new romance, with 3 you’ll get married.
  • F) The Vittoriano in Piazza Venezia: the monumento to Vittorio Emmanuele II, has also received funny nicknames  as the “typewriting machine” or “the wedding cake”
  • G) Campidoglio: When a tourist see a photo of this piazza, it is said that he or she will immediately identify it as roman. The Capitoline is also one of the 7 famous  hills of the city.
  • H)Roman Forum: If your budget doesn’t allow you to buy the ticket you can walk along  Via dei Fiori Imperiali, you can admire it anyway. If you are in the Campidoglio, walk behind it and you’ll get to the beggining of the street. You will have the Colosseum in front of your eyes so don’t miss your camera.
  • I)Constantine’s Arch: One of the most old arches of the Roman Empire.
  • J)San Clemente Church: It has 3 levels, the lowest has a pagan altar, the second has a cristian basilica and in the superior level you can admire the middle age frescos.

Certainly there are other things that can be admire for free, among them: Saint Peter’s dome, the Bocca della Verità, the Storical Museum of the Roman Liberation, apart from the rest of the piazzas and public parks as theVilla Borghese.

Don’t forget to check this map!

Paulina Ceballos

Visualizzazione ingrandita della mappa

Trastevere Charm behind the river Tìber


Charm behind the river Tìber

This is one of the most famous and old quartiers in Rome, its name comes from the latin trans Tiberis, which means “Behind the Tíber”. It is always full of tourists and locals for many reasons;coblestones roads (girls wearing high heels may show their best skills walking here) ancient buildings, street artists, alleys, piazzas, fountains, restaurants, pubs, cafés and more.

The arquitecture is charming: medieval houses with the original facade, in light and neutral colors, some of which have climbing plants on the walls, trees and flowers; in many corners there are still images of the Madonna or the Virgen Mary, that have been there since the time when Rome was owned by the Vatican;it is a trafic limited zone during the the night, so if you’re coming with a car,you better inform yourself about the forbidden hours because if you break the rule, no matter from where you’re coming from, you’ll receive a fine afterwards!.

The neighborhood has many museums, from which the Museo di Roma in Trastevere stands out, there you can see “Landscapes recalled: watercolours of Rome between 1876 and 1895 by Ettore Roesler Franz” . The districts, narrow streets and houses of times past shown in the watercolours provide a record and a reminder of how Rome looked up until the end of the 19th century. His work reflects the provincial city Rome once was, evidently behind the other european capitals, nevertheless after Italy became one country, great advances were made which the artist decided to disregard maby out of melancholy. The museum has another exhibitions, so it’s worth it.

One of the most popular restaurants is “La Parolaccia” which means “The dirty or the four-letter word”, this place is a typical trattoria where the funny thing is that you’ll be insulted by the waiters, some of the comments are really offensive, therefore sensitive or thincklish personalities will do better not going. The clients already know what to expect, actually they wait with pleasure the first “slap”, if you dare to confront them you may have some digestion problems, because the waiters wont leave you in peace for the whole night! According to the reviews online, fun is guaranteed though.

For a sweet treat, go to the ice cream chain “Ciuri-Ciuri” at Piazza San Cosimato, where you can taste a traditional sicilian dessert, best flavors to try are nociola (hazelnut) and almonds. Not very far from there over the Piazza San Calisto you’ll find a Bar (same name as the piazza) chocolate ice cream here is absolutely superior, the place is open up until one or two in the morning, depending on the day, beers cost not much (around €3) they also have these vodka sorbets, that are just perfect for the summer heat. Other choices are Fior de Luna and Da Checco, but don’t worry, the gelato is never running short!

If you’re on a low budget and you still want a nice evening, you could make an aperitivo for just €7 at Freni e Frizioni, served from 7 to 10 pm, it includes a drink and all you can eat buffet, which is pretty assorted with salads, pasta, rice, many dressings like hummus, bread and fruits, the staff is always checking that there is no empty plates; the bar is at Via Politeama 4, near Piazza Trilussa. If your budget is really limited you can go to that piazza and bring your own beer or wine, the place is always crowded and a meeting point to start a walk in Trastevere, just be careful not to drink outside after 11 pm because is not allowed, at least up until march 17 you can’t buy a drink to take away.
Another cheap solution is the trattoria and pizza place Carlo Menta, at Via della Lungaretta, be sure of arriving early because people do know about its low prices, a simple Marguerita pizza costs €4, while a pasta dish goes from €5 depending on the ingredients, anyway this is a well known restaurant with a good price/quality food.

At the street Vicolo del 5 there is a special Café called Rivendita Libri Cioccolata e Vino, we suggest to pay a quick visit and drink one of the very original shots, not only the mix is a house creation but they flaunt erotic names that prone to fantasizing like: “Quickie” “Orgasm” or “Lovebite”,the shot will be served in a little chocolate shot . It’s an tradition to put it the whole shot in your mouth, so you can enjoy the liquor and chocolate at the same time.

What else is waiting for you in Trastevere? Clothes shops, vendors street, comediants, magicians, like the AKA “The magician Guarda”, guarda in italiano means ” to look” he does his show with simple magic tricks, he’s pretty obvious but funny too, if he has a big audience who participate, they will usually get excited by asking him not to stuck a sword in his throat.
To reach Trastevere you could catch one of the many buses like the H or tram 8, you could even walk from the center, is not far.

Paulina Ceballos

Are you coming to Rome on Valentine’s Day? Best Places to watch the sunset!!

view from gianicolo hill

view from gianicolo hill

Without doubt Rome is one of the most romantics cities in the world, full of : little streets, lovely cafés to sit and enjoy a cappuccino,
charming piazzas with street artists playing tarantella (a folk italian music) or even singing opera and  beautiful fountains in every corner.

If you are coming with that special someone, don’t forget to take a minute and watch the sunset in one of these places:

  • Gianicolo: if you are in Trastevere is really easy to get there: take Via Garibaldi, that street leads onto the place, on your way you’ll see a big fountain called Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, it’s really impressive and also offers a great view, nevertheless keep on going, because the Gianicolo offers a unique opportunity to get a panoramic view of Saint Peters dome on one side and on the other the center of Rome. Best things is that it’s free!
  • Castel Sant’ Angelo: try to visit it in the afternoon, in the winter you can catch the sunset at 17:30 more or less, from the top you can enjoy the view of the river Tiber and the storical center.
  • Giardino degli aranci (Orange Trees Garden): In the winter the trees are full of fruits therefore since you get in you’ll sense its perfume, the view is fascinating: the river Tiber, Trastevere, the domes in the center, the gianicolo hill, the Tiber Island. In the same street at the end, you’ll see a big gate, look closely through the little hole, you can see St. Peter’s Basilica. From the metro B Circo Massimo: Take Via del Circo Massimo, when you get to the Piazzale Ugo La Malfa turn left at Via di Valle Murcia, go straight, that street turns into Via di Santa Sabina, the garden is at the Park Savello at the end.
  • Pincio: From it’s terrace you’ll get the view of the storical center, the Castel Sant’Angelo and Saint Peter’s Dome. The easiest way to get there is by metro A Flaminio, got to the Piazza del Popolo, there is a ramp, go up, if had eaten a big pizza you might need a few minutes to catch your breath, but believe me, it’s worth it!! Anyway there is another option, go to the metro Spagna, take the Monti steps, pass the church at your right and continue until you get to Piazza Napoleone I, then you’re there!

BTW if you decided to visit the last suggestion and you still can’t get enough of romanticism, perhapes before that you could go to the
Lake’s Garden in Villa Borghese, you could rent a boat there and row in front of the Esculapio Temple, which is an imitation of a greek temple.

Rome is always enchanting, full of colours and terribly romantic, so for those who are single in this day: take precautions!!!. No matter where you go, you’ll surely find something that will take your breath away.  Don’t forget to take your time sit somewhere to just observe the people walking, the voices of the Italians (loud enough trust me) and a big gelato.

Paulina Ceballos




This is one of the most famous medioeval legends: Joan is a young English woman, educated at Magonza. Because of her love for theology, she decides to dress-up like a monk and thanks to her great culture, once i Rome, rising through the Church hierarchy, she is chosen as Pope. She took the name of John VIII and reigned between 855 and 857.
Joan became pregnant by one of her lovers. While in Easter procession between Saint Peterʼs and Saint Joan the Lateranʼs Basilicas, meanwhile the crowd was growing its pressure, her horse got scared, frisked and she fell off. People watched in horror and astonishment when she gave birth to a child, revealing her female nature. The angry mob tied her feet at her same horse and dragged her to Ripa Grande. There she was stoned to death together with her baby.
it is a harsh story which takes us back to the darkest centuries of Rome. According to some scholars this legend, this is what it is, could have born as a “satire” against papacy and a ferocious criticism of some female personages as the corrupt noble ladies Teodora and her daughter Marozia, who during the 10th Century were at the same time lovers, mothers and killers of several popes.
The story of “popess Joan” gave rise to the following odd legend: since then, to avoid a repeat of such a shaming event, as soon as elected, popes had to sit on one of the thrones, with a potty-style hole in the seat, while an examining cleric felt under it to check his sex. Though, one of these two thrones, the so-called “sedes curules or prophyreticae”, according to recent studies, was actually established to be a thermal de-luxe water-closet, dating back the time of Emperor Hadrian.
The result is a complicated plot we better leave to historians. Lovers of Rome can satisfie their curiosity in Via dei querceti, by looking up at the niche on the wall with a Vergin Mary with child, which was built up on the same spot where our heroine is said to have given birth to her child.


caravaggio-bacchino-malato.jpgIn the occasion of the 4th centenary of the death  of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio,on
February 20th opened up the exhibition dedicated to him and going on until June 13th.

We will find his works coming from all over the world, for the first time gathered in an exhibition
also telling us about his tormented life through 30 out of his 40 paintings.
Only the works clearly signed up by the master were chosen, leaving aside those attributed to
his work-shop.

The artist who painted revolutionary and shocking canvasses commissioned by the Church and other
wealthy lovers of art, full of a deep religious feeling but  even of such a tormented and harsh realism
to make customers feel so embarassed to sometimes prefer to refuse his works.
The artist who was painting during the night, maybe while drinking wine, or taking a walk with his friends
through the old Roman alleys, taking part to riots and fights and even brutal crimes.
But no other painter was ever able to render such a tangible reality of life through that mysterious darkness
and that filtering and almost divine light which still capture our eyes and our souls.

It is worth taking this trip through his works of art, especially now that they are concentrated in one only

Lorenza Faraone
Roman Guide Centre

TEL: 06/39967500 – 06/696270  FAX: 06/696271



Ever since the earliest times, water has played an important role in the life of the city, a source of health and hygiene, but also part of the classical quest for beauty.

Water flowed constantly into ancient Rome along eleven major aqueducts expertly built by Roman engineers and was distributed to every district in the city. The carefully regulated flow was then piped to fountains, palaces, villas, apartment blocks and arenas not only to quench the population’s thirst but also to supply the cisterns and pools of the many public and private baths. Water was not only a basic necessity but also a decorative element incorporated into the architectural fabric of the city. Monumental cascades, nymphaeums of all sizes, artificial lakes and water-features were highly fashionable then, as later on in Papal times from the fifteenth century onwards. Rome is still today a city of magnificent squares and striking fountains witnessing the ideals of Renaissance beauty to recreate the glory of Antiquity,  a constant source of inspiration and renewal.At the time of the Empire over one million Roman citizens had 1000 litres of water available per head per day, and now? The city counts three million inhabitantsand each person has 500 litres of water a day. A real privilege! Visitors to Rome can drink the fresh water at any time from the 2,500 little street fountains called nasoni (big noses), cylindrically shaped and made of cast iron or travertine stone. At home tap water is generally excellent, considered among the best in Italy, according to a recent study on Italian drinking water involving 35 cities.A water sample was taken in Saint Peterʼs Square to check the quality, and the calcium level, hardness, fluoride and sulphate levels, low pollution factors and absence of solvents or metals, make it excellent. “Rome water is good quality and safe” declared Mrs Silvia Castronovi of Altroconsumo, a consumer organisation. The water of Rome is a valuable asset, distributed through 5,600 km of pipes and regularly analysed, by the Roman Water Company ACEA, to certify its quality.  

International Tennis’ championship of Italy

For lovers of Tennis, in these days the International Tennis 2009 will be presented at Stadio Olimpico of Rome.
Like every year, the competition, scheduled from April 25 to May , will have around 60 among the best players in the world.

Rafael Nadal

The 79th edition of the “Internazionali BNL di Tennis d’Italia” will share all the major stars of world ranking.
This year the premium for the winner is: 2,750,000 euros, for the men and 2,000,000 U.S. dollars for women.
At the championship, so with a total prize fund of over 4 million of Euros , organizers have to overcome the public record established last year: 162 thousand paying spectators.
For the occasion, the capacity of the central field was increased to 9500 seats.

The test male will start April 25th, the female one, on May 3rd.
The two main innovations in the bill are Big Sunday of May 3rd (when both the male and female round) and the anticipation of the women’s final on Saturday May 9th.
The decisive stages of both tournaments will again be broadcast live by Italia 1 channel, which for five years, has been the broadcaster of “Internazionali BNL d’Italia”.
SKY Sport will send all sessions of the game of the championship.

Pallina Tennis The International is also a way to spend a pleasant evening in an open space, in fact the area has a restaurant / bar just near the tennis courts, whose view is definitely breathtaking: at a glance you can see the cupolas of the most beautiful basilicas in Rome, the roofs of the houses and the cathedral in its many architectural styles.
During this event, it becomes an enchanting place for meeting for each age group.
Flavia PennettaIn conclusion, for those who believe that Italians are dedicated exclusively to the game of football, will be glad to know that are 5 Italians among these tennis players.Well … not only a nation of writers, surfers, poets, but also sports lovers.

Romantic Rome

As is well known to generations of couples, romantics and travelers from every country, from the long avenue of trees Janiculum you can admire one of the most evocative view of the universe. The walk moves to the south, among the marble busts depicting illustrious garibaldini that helped the unification of Italy. To the west, however, you can admire the wide and scenic “Fontanone,” erected by Giovanni Fontana and Carlo Maderno for Pope Paul V. Nearby, stands the famous church of San Pietro in Montorio, known for the temple of the Renaissance Bramante enclosed in the yard and become historical goal of several couples who formalized their union religiously.

The view from the wonderful Gianicolo Hill is perhaps the best in Rome: in a single glance you can recognize all the major historical sites in the capital and the major basilicas. In the background the imposing Colli Albani, once a sacred and religious center for the first Romans, dominate the scene. According to one of the legends of ancient Roman mythology, the hill of Gianicolo have hosted the city founded by the God Janus, that he had several children one of whom Tiberino, from which derives the name of the Tiber (Tiber in Latin). The site acquired, over time, the vocation to inspire heroic acts by Muzio Scavola Garibaldi that in legend or in fact, have shaped the history of Rome. The Gianicolo, was also a theater where the battles took place for the Unity of Italy: in 1849 there Garibaldi defended valiantly the Roman Republic from French troops. At the top of the hill below the statue of Garibaldi is, from 24 January 1904, a gun that shoots, at noon.

The shot when the city is less noisy you can hear up until the Esquilino. This practice was established in 1847 by Pius IX, to give a standard to the bells of the churches of Rome, so that not to play at noon each of its sexton, but all together at the same time. Who went to Rome can not miss the opportunity to visit the hill of Gianicolo.

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