Travel Trend 2016 – exploring Rome with a local hostWritten byRenata Jirasova25 Feb. 2016
Visit Rome, the capital of Italy, is like travel across the history of mankind. It is never enough time to see and do everything what would you wish – as it is not possible for the Italians to maintain well an incredible amount of monuments. Some dilapidation simply belongs to this wonderful city and helps to create its atmosphere.
How to move in Rome?
Don´t expect too much from the subway because wherever you dig in Rome, an archaeological find is here! For many years there were just two routes available – orange line A and blue line B. Since autumn 2014, also part of the third route – green line C is opened. Price of the ticket is reasonable, just 1,50 Euro for 100 minutes, but the subway is permanently overcrowded and air-conditioning is working only in some coaches.
Buses are even worse. Timetables are missing at bus stops (you can check the timetable on Internet but buses are often late and sometimes even don´t appear at all :-)). So in the city centre is simply the best to walk!
What is the best way to explore Rome?
If you are a solo traveler or you travel just with a small group of friends, family members or business colleagues, the most interesting and fun way how to explore the city and discover hidden gems is to book for a few hours a passionate, educated local host. The private tour is perfect because the guide (your host) will modify the tour according to your desires and wishes and you will escape the tourist traps. This style is the new travel trend of 2015-16 and its popularity is increasing.
Where to find and book the local host?
Withlocals.com is a helpful portal, where you can find skilled, passionate and well-educated local hosts offering varied, unique programs for small groups or solo travelers. Prices are very reasonable.
Recently I had a personal experience with this kind of service. Since me and my partner love history and we wanted to know something more about Rome we booked at the portal Withlocals the professional archaeologist Adriano who prepared a tour “tailored to our needs”. Adriano is the tireless enthusiastic man, the great historian, speaking English well (also Spanish and Italian), who looked after us for the full 4 hours.
Our about 8 km long Walking Tour with Adriano included these places:
Start at Colosseum – around Forum Romanum across via Sacra (Sacred road) – visit of the Basilica S. Cosma e Damiano – Forum of Augustus – Forum of Trajan – „talking statue“ Madama Lucrezia - ancient open-air Teatro di Marcello - Campo di Fiori with a statue of Giordano Bruno – historic Jewish Ghetto - lunch in Trastevere
Via Sacra (Sacred Road) is the oldest, most famous and the best preserved street in Rome. Indeed, it is a street which is used without a break since ancient times until today. It is the actual path paved with smooth stones that connects the Colosseum to the peak of the hill Capitol. Additionally Via Sacra is crossing remains of the ancient city center – Forum Romanum. During Roman time there were held sacred ceremonies, spectacular celebrations of victory, and every day thousands of people were going through this street to temples, to work or to the Colosseum.
Me and our private local guide-archeaologist Adriano in front of the church on the top of Via Sacra, RomeArco di Constantino and Colosseum. The triumphal Arch (Arco di Constantino) was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine´s victory over Maxentius at the battle at Milvian Bridge in 312.
The small but beautiful Basilica San Cosma e Damiano is located in Forum Romanum in Rome and is devoted to the two Greek brothers, doctors, martyrs and saints Cosmas and Damian. The impressive altar mosaics are art masterpieces of the 6-7th century.
The lovely atrium with remarkable fountain in the Basilica San Cosma e Damiano, Forum Romanum, Rome The sculpture of Augustus Caesar (63BC-14AD) - the founder of the Roman Empire and its the 1st emperor in front of Forum on Augustus, Piazza del Grillo 1, Rome
Trajan's Forum, Rome. Traianus (98-117 AD) was one of the greatest Roman emperors. The Roman Empire reached its greatest territorial extent under Trajan. The most famous part of Trajan's Forum is the Trajan's Column, which commemorates Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars. its greatest territorial extent under Trajan. "Talking statue" Madama Lucrezia", piazza di San Marco, Rome
Madama Lucrezia is one of the five "talking statues" of Rome. Why „talking“? Since the beginning of the 16th century, the so-called "talking statues" were served as a bulletin board for a public opinion. At night, people were sticking satirical and critical messages intended for current rulers, politicians and popes. Madama Lucrezia is located in the corner of a piazza di San Marco between the Palazzetto Venezia and the basilica of St. Marco.
The ancient open-air theatro di Marcello is one of the oldest examples of an entertainment venue that was very popular among ancient Romans. It is located in the Campus Martius area, between the Tiber and the Campidoglio.
The statue of Italian philosopher and astrologist Giordano Bruno in Campo di Fiori ("Field of Flowers") - the rectangular square south of Piazza Navona with daily market where you can buy e.g. fresh vegetable, fruits, fish, cheese or flowers. The statue is remarkable for its decorative reliefs, on which is depicted eight other heretics, including John Wycliffe and Jan Hus.
Historic Jewish Ghetto, Rome
The southern part of Campo di Fiori merges into the old Jewish Ghetto, established by a Papal Bull in 1555, which required all the Jews in Rome to live in one area. Walled in, overcrowded, prone to floods and epidemics, and on some of the worst land in the city, life here was extremely grim. Today the Via Portico d’Ottavia lies at the heart of a flourishing Jewish Quarter where Romans and tourists can feel the special atmosphere and sample the Roman-Jewish and Middle Eastern cuisine.
How best to finish the Walking Tour? Of course by a good lunch!
Good and inexpensive food you can always have in the quarter Trastevere or Testaccio.
Without our local guide Adriano we would never found the popular family trattoria Mario´s A Trastevere in Via del Moro 53/55. The entrance door is very inconspicuous so if you decide to go there you have to very careful. The food (traditional Italian cuisine) was honest and value for money.Mario´s family ristorante in Trastevere, via del Moro 53/55, Rome
Trastevere ("beyond the Tiber") is a former working-class district, located just across the River Tiber. It used to be a home of poor and low-income people. Today the district with its old apartment buildings and narrow streets cobbled with small cafes, restaurants and bars is very popular place for tourists. Residents of Trastevere to see themselves as the original citizens and keep the ancient traditions and customs. You can have tasteful and, inexpensive lunch or dinner in one of the hundreds of family restaurants located here.
One of the street in Trastevere, Rome
The route of our Walking Tour: