Green Rome

Posted on Mar 5, 2015 in Children, Outdoors, Sport, Music... | No Comments

There are so many  parks in Rome, it would be a pity not to enjoy one, at least!

Buy a ball, rent a bike and “live” the cheerful atmosphere of the gardens next to the Roman families.

Why not to buy some freshly baked  (warm!) bread or “white pizza” (we do not say “focaccia” in Rome, but “pizza bianca”), mortadella, salumi or your favorite cheese, a bottle of wine, a good  crostata or the unforgettable Pompi tiramisu’ (find the new central shop in Via della Croce)  and go to Villa Borghese? After your pic-nic and a nap under the trees, you have several cultural options. You are in the “Park of the Museums” and you can chose among the important Borghese Painting Gallery, the interesting Etruscan Museum housed in the Renaissance Villa Giulia, the Modern Art museum La Galleria Nazionale  or just a pleasant quick look at the House of the Artist-workshop-museum Pietro Canonica dedicated to an Italian sculptor of the XIX century.

And remember… Relax, you are on holiday!

How to reach Rome from Fiumicino airport

Posted on May 22, 2013 in Planning Your Trip | No Comments

DSC007121Many visitors reach Rome by plane and Fiumicino airport is the first approach to a new country, a new currency and a new language… after an intercontinental flight this might result into an exhausting experience and all you really want is a safe, easy way to reach the city centre and a comfortable bed in your hotel or B&B!

Of course, there are always cabs. Just line up outside the airport in the designated queue and you’ll get a flat rate. A fast train (Leonardo express) or several private shuttle services are also available.

If you’d prefer a private limo service, we recommend the company “CONCORA”  which can always offer you a Class E car or van, even if you have not reserved one (in this case, you’ll just have to wait a bit and they will arrange your transfer).  They have a desk inside the airport and will never charge you for any flight delays upon arrival.

If you book a transfer with them, here’s how to find them once you arrive: as soon as you leave the Customs area, you should already be in Terminal T3 (International flights) and you’ll find their desk right in front of you!

 If you exit from Terminal T1 (National flights),  just walk towards your right and you’ll find T3.  You’ll see there is a photo of their desk, so it should not be difficult to find them. But in case you can’t, here are their phone numbers: +390665012069 or +39066507266.

There are also special promotions should you decide to book the transfer back to the airport: you can enquire and settle directly with them.


Calessino: the modern rickshaw

Posted on Feb 22, 2013 in Children, Outdoors, Sport, Music... | No Comments

ape-piaggio-calessinoWhat’s a “calessino”? The Piaggio commercial states:“…the folding top and the four seats make the Calessino ideal for a leisurely drive, perhaps with a picnic hamper in the back”.

Yes, why not? All the tours we can offer you by bike, by scooter or on foot can be much more relaxing with a driver and a calessino at your disposal, don’t you agree?

Have a look at this  video: this is not in Rome of course, you will film the ride in Rome, ok?

Meeting points

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 in Planning Your Trip | No Comments

Your Friend in Rome always prefers to meet you directly at your place in Rome, especially on the first day of tours. But sometimes this is not possible…Maybe you are staying far away from the centre or we meet in the afternoon and you’ll  be in the centre already. Or simply you wish to find your way in town and meet us in front of the main sites.

In those occasions, we prefer to give you exact information on where to meet for the two main attractions which are often crowded, i.e. the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum.

Meeting point Vaticano-2For the Vatican Museums we always recommend pre-booking tickets, which allows you preferential entry, just along Viale Vaticano and easily identified by  a special brown sign. We will be there!
Meeting point ColosseoFor the Colosseum and Roman Forum, we’ll meet you just outside the METRO B “Colosseo” stop, to the right, where the green stand is located. We will show a sign reading “A Friend in Rome” with our logo.

See you soon in Rome!

Longing for a pool…?

In summer we can hit 40°Celsius some days, so we post this “survival” advice to travellers  who plan a trip in the warmest months of the year. If your hotel or B&B has no private pool (which is more likely, as this is not a common feature in Rome), you can enjoy some public open-air pools. This is surely the best way to spend a few hours during the summertime after a cool early morning tour of the city’s attractions.

  • Piscina delle Rose (Viale America, 20.Transport:  Metro B to EUR Palasport): an Olympic-size swimming pool that the public can use for nominal fee. Visit on weekdays to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Sporting Club Ostiense (Via del Mare, 128. Transport: Metro B to Marconi): an outdoor pool that’s part of a larger sports club,  in EUR district.

  • Belle Arti (Via Flaminia 158. Transport: Metro A Flaminio) Well worth a mention for its fantastic central location tucked behind a church on Via Flaminia. A quiet atmosphere makes it good for those with very young children.
  • Grand Hotel Gianicolo    (Via delle Mura Gianicolensi 107) Part of a luxury hotel, this pool is located in elegant surroundings with palm trees and views of Trastevere from the Gianicolo hill. Lunch and dinner served at pool-side restaurant. Of course many other deluxe hotels have pool facilities but a much higher rates.
  • Hydromania (Casal Lumbroso 33 – Aurelio). If you prefer a water park with slides and wave pools, this is the place to go. A discounted rate if you go only for the afternoon. Not so easy to reach, Metro A to Cornelia and then a cab ride is probably the best way. Your teens will thank you!

Summer in Rome

Posted on Jun 12, 2012 in On your own, Outdoors, Sport, Music... | No Comments

ROME is a city made for the summer. The sun shines, the classical, medieval and Baroque settings are sublime and the balmy evenings offer a long, languorous round of warm cobbled streets, candlelit trattorias and fountain-splashed piazzas“… this is how an interesting article by Tim Jepson starts…and we totally agree!
Many visitors are worried about the heat but it’s just a matter of good planning and scheduling activities smartly.
Wake up early and explore the city in the cool hours at dawn: galleries, churches, museums and ruins will be flooded  by a magical light. After a fresh light lunch, relax in your air-conditioned hotel, in a park, on the beach or next to a nice pool and “resist the temptation to sightsee in the heat of the day“. At night you will discover a city full of events, terraced restaurants, open-air concerts…you can enjoy the breeze of the night during a scooter tour, have a romantic walk with your sweetheart or simply enjoy the bars under the stars with your friends and find more!

And, as Tim Jepson rightly underlines, “don’t be tempted to tackle too much: a single visit, even one that lasts all of a long Roman summer, is not enough to do justice to a city with an eternal past“.

Nightlife along the Tiber during summertime…

Feeling like home in a “palazzo”

Posted on Feb 1, 2012 in Arts and History | No Comments

palazzo doria pamphiljDid you know a large number of Roman masterpieces remain tentalizingly behind the gates of private palaces? Of all European cities, Rome has most of historical palaces and villas still in private hands, due to the papacy tradition. Every time a new Pope was elected, another family came to power and was able to commission wonderful buildings and collect major works of art.

Some of these palazzos were acquired by the governement, some others are still owned by the illustrious families, but in any case most of them can be visited now. Some examples?

Palazzo Barberini, which houses the exceptional “Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica”, but it would be a treasure even completely empty with its wonderful ceiling by Pietro da Cortona, the gardens, the staircases by Bernini e Borromini, the magical atmosphere of bygone days.

Or Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, preserving major works by Velasquez, Caravaggio and Raphael, but not only (it is one of the major private collections in Europe!)

Not to forget  Palazzo Colonna dating back to the XV century when the pope of the family, Martino V, started it.

A world of splendor and opulence will be revealed in front of your eyes while you enjoy incredible masterpieces far from the tourist crowd. If you wish to feel like home in a a palace, do not forget to include a visit to one of this sites during your next trip to Rome!

“Family travel grows up”

Posted on Jan 25, 2012 in Children, Time out to reflect | No Comments

Family Travel“It’s no longer automatic that a vacation with the kids means a week in Waikiki or four days at Disney. Increasingly, parents are figuring out how to bring the family along on trips to explore the world in all its complex glory”… this is  the incipit of  an article from Conde Nast Traveller published in March 2006.

We encourage you to plan a trip in Rome with your family and we’ll help you through some blog posts and special tours and tips ready for your children !

Here some interesting  passages of the article:

  • Families that feel at home abroad raise children to have a global outlook.
  • A bored child is never a fun traveling companion. So from a purely selfish point of view, you want to make sure you have an endless supply of age-appropriate tricks up your sleeve (or more likely in your bag or their backpacks) to keep the dreaded boredom at bay.
  • In the end, children are not very different from the rest of us. They appreciate lovely food and beautiful hotels, they prefer not to be bored, and they like to be treated as reasonable human beings.
  • When you travel with your kids, you have the added delight of introducing them to all the places you love and watching as they, too, enjoy the ride.
  • Kids just wanna have fun. Ever notice that when a child is having fun, he/she doesn’t get cold or hungry or tired? The moment the fun stops, the whining starts. Forget the goal-oriented adult approach.
  • The trick is to figure out not just where and when to go but also how to travel and what age the children should be. (…) make sure the destination and the activity are appropriate for your child’s character and interests.
  • Street markets and grocery stores are good places to introduce kids to local culture, to find out what people eat, wear, make. When we hire a guide, we make it a habit to ask friendly questions about his or her family (…) Navigating a foreign subway system, eating at a restaurant where you can’t read the menu, and calculating a strange currency all constitute adventures for kids, especially if you get them involved.

And finally…our favorite statement: “It goes without saying that travel feeds a child’s curiosity and contributes to good citizenship by encouraging human contact and tolerance of cultural differences.”

To be or not to be (a guide!)

Posted on Jan 8, 2012 in Time out to reflect | No Comments

touringI found this article about tour guides interesting: our job is wonderful, but not so easy as it might seem!

From the list of 10 major qualities you can read in the article, we expecially believe in interaction and flexibility…a tour guide is not a teacher, but is someone who helps you to understand and appreciate the city, the site, the museum you are visiting… YOU are the leading actor, not the tour guide!

On top of that, the tour guide is a “local”, he (or she) is someone living in the city you are visiting, maybe he (or she) was born there and has experienced this place since his (or her) childhood, therefore is able to tell you how the city changed and “where it is going”…

The tour guide is a “sieve”, someone screening for you everything which might be interesting  in town, from the main attractions to the temporary exhibits, from ice cream shops to the good music festivals: commercials always show the best side of everything, but we have tried everything for you and we can tell what is worth its reputation and why.

Trust us… a local nice tour guide can add a lot to your travel experience!

Shopping streets in Rome

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 in Foodies & Shopaholics, On your own | No Comments

Le artigiane little mall

The best souvenir you can take back home with you is a good “made in Italy” article: a dress for your parties, an elegant bag or pair of shoes, a silk tie, a little piece of art (a waterpainting for instance), a design furniture for your house…

Good shops selling nice manifactured products are quite everywhere and we would not know where to start in listing some of them, we just give you a short list of streets where you can find good shops:

  • the elegant Via Condotti for deluxe brands and stylist ateliers (but also the nearby Via delle Carrozze, Via Borgognona, Via Bocca di Leone, Via del Babbuino…)
  • Via del Corso for those who cannot spend 500 euros for a pair of shoes! (but also Via Frattina and Via della Croce)
  • Via dei Giubbonari near Campo dei Fiori where the atmosphere is cooler (and in little side streets you can still find handicraftsmen working in front of your eyes), or the Via del Governo Vecchio for emerging designers and vintage shops
  • Via Cola di Rienzo if you are staying in the Vatican area
  • Via Giulia, Via dei Coronari, Via dei Banchi Nuovi (all around Navona area) if you are looking for antiques
  • a nice venue to check is Le Artigiane  near the Pantheon: it is a store where you can find several temporary shops, they always change and you can find there from organic food to a new unique jewel produced just in 10 copies by a (still!) unknown Tuscan artisan girl