Wednesday 20 February 2013

Best Hotels in the San Marco Rome

The basilica of San Marco is near the small Piazza di San Marco next to Piazza Venezia. This smaller basilica still attracts plenty of tourists each year, and the following hotels are ones that are ranked by convenience in location to the basilica and overall impression by tourist reviews online. Note that this area is close to many of Rome’s major attractions, so you may want to comparison shop for the best deal, and book well in advance of your trip.

Piazza Venezia Hotel Rome - This site is perhaps the closest hotel to the basilica. The hotel scores high marks from tourists on its convenience in location to major nearby tourist sites. Plan ahead and make sure you are specific with size and style of room you want when reserving a room. (

Grand Hotel de la Minerve - This site is probably one of the more majestic looking hotels in the area. The site is directly behind the Pantheon. Rooms are noted for their soundproofing from the street noise below, and there is a rooftop bar/restaurant. Book a deluxe room if possible for extra space. (

Hotel Cosmopolita - This site is close to not only the basilica but also Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. Reviewers rave about its proximity to tourist sites and is recommended by some tourists as a friendly place to stay if you have children. Breakfast servings are continental but also substantial, in case you want to load up and save money on meals. (

Hosianum Palace - The hotel ranks highly when it comes to economical lodging. A full complement of breakfast items is served daily and the hotel is steps away from Piazza Venezia. The site also has a gorgeous rooftop terrace atop the 16th century building.

Hotel Della Torre Argentina - This hotel is in a former 18th century palace. This site is a good starting point not only if you want to go to the basilica, but also for those set to visit Vatican City. Rooms in the back of the hotel may be quieter for you than those in the front, but the front rooms can offer good views, along with the sounds of the streets.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Travelling around Rome by Car

If you are travelling Europe in a car rental or in your own vehicle and arrive in Rome you may find things difficult. There is no parking in the city and the drivers are a bit crazy. Half the drivers in the city tend to be unpredictable so only experienced drivers should apply, or at least drivers experienced in driving in this kind of environment.

Basically don’t drive in Rome. If you can’t help it and arrive via vehicle, get to your destination ASAP and ditch the vehicle and hop on those legs of yours to move around the place. Rome is best seen on foot because there is simply too much to see at speed. The real issue though of course is that any moment spent behind the wheel increases your chance of being cleaned up by an insane Roman doing double the speed limit on the wrong side of the road. For whatever reason the police are lax in enforcing the law on the roads of Rome, and even if they did it wouldn't matter because the road rules of Italy are a bit on the crazy side themselves. The speed limits are generally much higher than normal, with highway speed limit being 130km/h.

The fast lane though finds sports cars in excess of 150 km/h frequently so STAY AWAY from this lane.
Until recently speed limits were rarely enforced. As a result Italian roads have a reputation of being no limit which is certainly not the case. Occasionally the unfortunate foreigner would be pulled over doing 130 in a 110 zone and to their chagrin receive a scolding and a fine despite protests. Now though, the implementation of speed cameras and a policy change has seen the Italian law enforcement collecting big on speeding tickets. So be warned! Speed cameras are everywhere and the police WILL pull you over and book you. Obey the speed limits, even if the locals do not and get huffy behind you for going too slow. Unless you want to pay the cost.

In Rome central there are parts of the city that are inaccessible to vehicles unless you are a resident. It is important that you get an indication of where you can and cannot drive. If caught in these zones without the proper authority you will get fined and yelled at in a haughty Italian manner. The historic city centre is also closed off to people who are not commercial vehicles or local residents but you can purchase a pass for it. This is just another way that Rome gets an extra few bucks out of you.

There is really no benefit to driving around Rome. It won’t be quicker than public transport and the hair you will lose from the stress of it will be far worse than any stress the public transport system and having to share personal space with someone else will case. Simply put, Rome is probably one of the worst cities in Europe to drive in, so if you have a car rental, terminate it at Rome for the duration of your trip and pick it back up when you leave.
This post brought to you by the car travel enthusiasts at Skedaddle, if you’re keen to hire a car for you next journey, give them a look.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

5 Best Hotels in Trastevere Area

The Trastevere area of Rome is a popular tourist destination, mainly for its shops, restaurants and close proximity to the city’s main attractions. Listed here are some of the top-rated hotels in or near the area, as compared by online hotel guides and tourists.

St. George

A five-star boutique hotel in Trastevere offers 64 luxury rooms. There is an on-site library, cigar lounge and wine bar, which offers more than 120 labels, according to the hotel’s website. There is a rooftop bar and restaurant open May through October. The site also offers an on-site spa with Turkish bath and 24-hour room service.

Gran Melia Rome

The Gran Melia Rome bills itself as a luxury urban resort steeped in archeological history. There are different tiers of rooms to choose from, up to the Emperor Penthouse and Wellness Master Suite. The site is a five-minute walk to the Vatican and is next to the Trastevere district. From the pool area, there is a panoramic view of the Vatican Basilica. The site also offers what it bills as red glove service, a boutique hotel within the hotel that will provide private butler, concierge and limousine service.

Hotel Raphael-Relais and Chateaux

This five-star resort just outside Trastevere is within walking distance to the Piazza Navona and Pantheon. There is an onsite fitness facility and rooftop terrace with spectacular city views, along with 24-hour room service. Child care and laundry facilities also are available.

Hotel Ponte Sisto

Botanical art, marble detailing and soft pastel hues in the interior make this a soothing, relaxing site in downtown Rome near the French and Brazilian embassies. The hotel is convenient to Trastevere by crossing the Ponte Sisto Bridge. The four-star hotel is in a renovated historic building. Start your day in the courtyard restaurant with a continental breakfast and finish the day relaxing in the hotel’s parlor bar.

Grand Hotel Gianicolo Rome

This site is on Gianicolo Hill, tucked away in a residential setting. However, the facility offers sweeping views and a beautiful setting, noted for mixing Old World style with immaculate and well-appointed rooms. There is a pool on site and restaurant, as well as a continental breakfast available each morning. You can find more information on Rome from

Tuesday 16 October 2012

5 Best Hotels in Piazza Navona, Rome

The Piazza Navona area is a must-see for most tourists in Rome. The following are hotels top-ranked by individual reviewers. Each site offers accommodations that continue to receive positive reviews from tourists online. You may want to familiarize yourself with the sites you want to see to decide which hotel is closest to areas of interest to you.

Hotel Raphael Relais and Chateaux

This site is close to the Pantheon and St. Peter’s Basilica. The hotel boasts on-site feasts for the eye, such as Picasso ceramics and Mayan art, according to the hotel’s website. Babysitting is available and the staff can arrange golf and horseback riding activities for you.

Hotel Farnese

This four-star hotel has been in service for more than 60 years. The hotel offers an elegant palace setting with an impressive collection of art. The staff is happy to help you with tourist excursion planning, and the site is 20 meters from the Lepanto Metro station. The site also is minutes from Piazza Navona. The hotel’s roof garden, where the staff serves breakfast, overlooks St. Peter’s dome.

Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese

The Sofitel Villa Borghese is a five-star hotel is close to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and designer stores. In the evening, you can relax and watch the city’s twinkling lights from the hotel’s top-floor restaurant and lounge. One of the special features that the hotel’s website notes is that breakfast is served in the old stables “where Caravaggio slept.”

Grand Hotel de la Minerve

This five-star hotel is in a 1600s-era mansion. The hotel overlooks the Pantheon and is minutes from the Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. The “roof garden” is open year-round, serving Italian and international dishes. The site offers 135 rooms at various tiers of cost. Reviewers note that the site probably has the best location of all Pantheon-vicinity hotels.

InterContinental de la Ville Roma

A 17th century site at the top of the Spanish steps, this hotel offers an on-site beauty salon and cardio fitness center. The hotel also maintains an off-site health and fitness center. This location is a 10-minute stroll to the Pantheon. Tourists recommend going above the site’s third floor when booking a room for best views.

Monday 9 July 2012

Rome Wine Tours

If during a stay in the city of Rome you are looking for a break from looking at the historical sites then a perfect way to get away from the city and see the surrounding area is a wine tour and tasting afternoon.
As well as visiting a beautiful and long-established vineyard situated in the Frascati region you will also be able to see some of the stunning Castelli Romani region on a scenic drive around the area that surrounds the city. This will give you the opportunity to see a side of Rome that many others may not get during their stay in the city.

A tour to a vineyard will include a guided tour of the vineyard and estate from a hugely knowledgeable guide who will talk in detail about wine production in the area as well as some of the captivating history and culture of wine production from Roman times. After being talked through the modern methods of harvesting the grapes and the production for the wine it is a chance to taste some specially selected samples of the estates products.

This not only includes the wine but also some of the freshly pressed olive oil that the estates also produce with some freshly made and baked bread.  These tastings are usually taken by a professional sommelier or a member of the family that owns the estate and they will explain exactly what you are drinking and what you should be looking for in taste and on the nose of the wine.

If you stay within the city if Rome, there are plenty of opportunities to taste the finest wines from around the region, with most restaurants and hotel bars stocking the finest wines from the local vineyards. If you have the time though, head down to the concierge in your hotel and ask about half or full day trips to one or more of the local vineyards.

How to Taste Wine

Interested also in wines in Venice, Italy?

Monday 16 April 2012

Heading to the Pantheon, Rome

What to expect - seeing the Pantheon

Amongst all the historical buildings throughout Rome the one that has been maintained the best is the Pantheon. The Pantheon was built as a temple by Hadrian around AD 120 and its main role was as a monument to the 12 of the prominent gods followed during the time. The excellent condition of the building can be put down to it conversion to a Christian church in the 7th century when Byzantine Emperor Phocas presented it to the Pope.

Although some of the bronze cladding and decoration have been removed over the years, the beautifully simplistic exterior remains intact along with the original doors made from bronze and are the originals from Roman times.

The true glory and beauty of the building though is in the dimensions of the building as put forward by the Roman architect Vitruvius. The domes’ diameter is equal to the height of the rest of the building, which means that a perfect sphere could be placed within it. On the dome, in its very centre is the oculus which is a hole with a diameter of 9m that is the buildings only source of light and symbolises the link between the building and the heavens.

Today the Pantheon is still used as a church, with several important people from Italian history buried within its tombs, including the first king of the united Italy Vittorio Emanuele II and the artist Raphael.

Video on the Pantheon in Rome

Useful information on the Pantheon area

You can choose to stay in the Pantheon area and one company who provide a wide choice of holiday apartment rentals in the area are and they are fairly affordable when priced against other companies offering a similar service. You can find out some handy information from on the Pantheon area including restaurants and nightlife. Also interested in more Rome attractions?

Monday 16 January 2012

Reasons to visit Piazza Navona

My favourite part of Rome without a question is the centrally located Piazza Navona. This Piazza at Christmas time has a lovely market and it is also a great time all year round for relaxing in.

There is a marvellous toy shop on one end of the Piazza and this shop will interest both children and adults, given the unique toys on sale. Make sure also to take a look in the art gallery just across from the toy shop.

You can find Piazza Navona accommodation online and more information specifically on the Piazza Navona, Rome. See Piazza Navona also listed in our Rome's romantic locations list.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

5 Great Pizza Restaurants in Rome

Italy is the home of Pizza and a visit to Rome is a great opportunity to experience pizza in its best form. Below are some of the best pizza restaurants in to try in the city.

O Pazzariello
This is a small restaurant which provides a big experience. The chef is positioned in the middle of the restaurant meaning that the customer can watch them create the pizza from fresh. The skill demonstrated to create so many pizzas to such a fantastic standard is a joy to behold.

Est! Est! Est! dei Fratelli Ricci
Having served deep pan food since the 1930s this restaurant is well versed in providing high quality pizzas to locals who have high expectations. The decor is traditional Italian which adds to the experience and makes it more authentic.

There can sometimes be a bit of a wait here unless you book in advance, but it is well worth it to experience the wide thin crust pizzas which have been attracting people for decades. There is a loud and happening atmosphere inside the restaurants and outside seating is also an option.

Da Vittorio
A visit to this restaurant will enable you to experience some of the most unique pizzas anywhere in Rome. The chef prides himself on creating traditional pizza from Naples which is soft, thick and very filling, yet extremely pleasant to eat.

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Friday 11 November 2011

Travelling from Rome Airport to the City Centre

The main airport in Rome is around 30km outside of the city centre, but travel to and from the airport is made easy by the public transport networks in the area.

Possibly the easiest and most direct way of travelling from the airport to the city centre is the rail link which runs directly from the airport into the Rome’s central train station, a journey which is not affected by traffic and generally takes about fifteen to twenty minutes. There is also the option to get a train which stops at various stations on the way to the central station, and this is a popular option with many as it is a few Euros cheaper.

If you are travelling on a budget and do not mind the journey taking slightly longer, you can opt to take the airport bus. This costs around half the amount of the train equivalent and run as much as every half an hour. The bus runs to and from the central train station, making ongoing connections extremely easy.

As would be expected from a major international airport, there is a good network of taxis which trawl the airport to city centre route. These taxis are ideal for those who are in a rush but do not come recommended in general due to the fact that the prices can be quite high.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Lazio vs. AS Roma – The Ultimate Sports Experience

The city of Rome is blessed with having two top class football teams, AS Roma and Lazio. Both clubs play in the top flight of Italian football and appear in European competitions on a regular basis. Both clubs have a large fan base of passionate and colourful fans that create a unique atmosphere in the stadium that they share, the Stadio Olympico.

When visiting Rome it would be shame not to indulge in the one of the many sporting events which take place in the city, and the twice yearly fixture between AS Roma and Lazio are the most passion driven and anticipated occasions. There are two reasons that the fixture is so highly anticipated, the first being that both clubs boast a full rota of international standard players who produce the highest level of football which is on a par with anything that can be experienced in Europe, and the second being that both sets of fans are hugely passionate and create a cacophony of noise, with both sets believing that they support the best side in the city.

When the two sides come together the combination of noise from both sets of fans is quite unbelievable, and the passion felt by the fans spills onto the pitch ensuring a wonderful game of Rome football which never fails to disappoint.

Tickets for the derby games in Rome can be acquired from the ticket office in the stadium and from various ticket vendors around the city, although it is recommended to purchase early as this game tends to sell out quickly. More on the Rome v Lazio local derby game. Interested also in Barcelona football tickets for sports in Italy when travelling?