Off to Rome

I’m off to Rome for a few days in a couple weeks.  Just a long weekend — boy are those hotels expensive! — but nice all the same.

I’m travelling independently with a friend who hasn’t been to Rome before.  I’d rather like to spend some time in museums; my friend, however, is not an ancient history buff.

What should we go and look at, do you think?

12 thoughts on “Off to Rome

  1. Well a quick passage through the National Archeology museum is always a must do, also if the weather is nice take a forum/palatine/colosseum ticket, your friend will enjoy a nice walk in a nice park and you’ll be able to fill your passion for the ancient world (you can even leave your friend in the park while you do the palatine museum or the house of Augustus…).
    For the rest, do the classics : Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi fountain, …
    Then if your friend is of similar faith you may do one or the other of the main churches (and you may use your time in one to do a quick check on a certain sanctuary of Mithra…), eventually go to St Peter if you’re ready to loose the time in transport while not even doing the Vatican museum… Eventually book a trip down into the Vatican’s catacomb too, to give him an underground experience while not having to go all the way to the main catacombs.

  2. Book a trip to the preconstantine necropolis, that’s indeed a good advise.

    Check whether you really, really want to go to the Vatican Musea, because they are way too crowded.

    Your friend will benefit from a visit to the Museo Nazionale della Civiltà Romana: it helps him to better understand the ancient history of the city. A visit to the portrait gallery in the Capitoline Museum serves the same purpose: making sure he understands the city’s ancient history. Besides, the new wing is beautiful.

  3. My favorite is the Doria Pamphili palace: eight centuries of artistic riches in a magnificent domestic array of rooms — and NOBODY goes . . . .

  4. Run down to Naples and force your way into the Villa of the Papyri and dig until you find the Latin room or the Polezia haul you off, which ever comes first!

  5. Hi Roger. I hope you have a good time in Rome. My colleague Michael Hanel has been trying to contact you regarding his use of your Tertullian files to create free BibleWorks resource. We don’t like to make these kinds of resources available without the expressed permission of whomever made the texts available online. Could we do so? (I can send you more information if you contact me by email.)

  6. I have just come back from a long weekend in Rome and these are the things I specially enjoyed –

    · The Ara Pacis of Augustus, set in a lovely modern building. I think that might make a history buff of anyone!
    · A trip to the Pantheon, of course, preferably early in the morning before the crowds start. If your friend prefers to opt out, there is Marcus Agrippa’s Restaurant opposite that does an excellent and rather expensive hot chocolate!
    · The Castel S Angelo has beautiful views of the Vatican and the Rome skyline. Also has a surprisingly peaceful little restaurant where you can have quite inexpensive refreshments. It is worthwhile just sitting there and enjoying the sun.
    · The Capitoline Museum, to see the statue of Marcus Aurelius. There is an exhibition on at present on the subject of the Emperors from Trajan to Marcus Aurelius. It might be a bit heavily historical for your friend, with lots of heads of these emperors. There is a beautiful head of Marcus Aurelius when he was young which was my favourite.
    · Walking along the Tiber, with the lovely signs of spring at last! In some parts (near the Castel) there are lots of little outdoor shops selling things you did not know you needed like camera stands and second hand books – always worth a browse.
    · Visit to San Clemente – it’s both a wonderful church and, of course, has the mithraeum downstairs.
    · Visit to a mithraeum called Mitreo dell’Ara Massima di Ercole. We found out about this by chance, in a leaflet called “Roma Segreta” . A company called Archimede do a guided tour on some Saturdays for 13 euros. You have to book in advance on 00393392201463 (if using a UK mobile). I think they plan to do the tour on 4th, 11 and 18th May but do phone. The times vary. The down side is that our tour was totally in Italian but a kind Canadian translated bits for us; but we did get the chance to see a new-to-us mithraeum and two tauroctonies, one of which is especially fine. The entrance is next to the church of S Maria in Cosmedin, of Mouth of Truth fame.

    Sorry this is a bit long but hope some of these ideas help. Hope you both have a good time.

  7. Very useful and evocative! Thank you! Interesting on that Mithraeum! Particularly also on places to eat and gaze. Any other suggestions on places for lunch and dinner? Anywhere one might get normal food rather than Italian only?

  8. I am no expert on places to eat – my friend and I lived off pasta and pizza with a salad as a change! We liked a place called Locanda del Tempio which was not far from the Pantheon. But that was basic and cheap Italian food and very good value.

    Trastavere is good for places to eat and I understand has more varied food but it is not that close to the centre. Piazza Navona has lots of restaurants but again is likely to be Italian too.

    One option might be to try the food in your hotel as it is likely to be more international but probably pricey too.

    The last resort might be to Google places to eat in the area of your hotel.

    One thing my friend reminded me: beware of the beer prices in the more central restaurants. Local wine is a much better option price wise.

    Good luck in your search for the perfect place to eat!

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