May Flowers Bloom in Rome

Spring is here, and in full effect with a beautiful array of colorful flowers blooming all throughout the city.  Even in the heart of the busy city, pops of color stand out and delicate, sweet aromas drift by.  It’s lovely here!

If you would like to enjoy Rome in all its flower glory, below are a few places where you can do just that.  Ancient city + historical ruins + lots of lovely flowers = recipe for swooning!  
At least in my book it does. 😉

Rome’s Rose Garden

Rome’s Rose Garden, Il Roseto Comunale di Roma, is located on the Aventine Hill across from 
Circus Maximus, and has been open to the public since 1931.  It is truly a beautiful place, and a quiet oasis in the heart of the city. 

The garden contains more than 1,200 different varieties of roses.  It features two sections … upper and lower.  The upper section contains the permanent collection with classic specimens, and is currently open to the public.  The lower section showcases the competition entries from the international floral competition of ‘Premio Roma’, an annual competition among international floriculturists.  The 70th edition of the Premio Roma competition will be held on May 19th.  After the prize ceremony, the lower garden will be open to the public for viewing until June 24th.

Entrance to the garden is free.  It is open from May throughout the summer months from 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM, although the best time to visit the garden is during the May/June flowering season.  The garden is located at Via di Valle Murcia, 6.  For additional information, or to schedule a free guided tour of the garden, email, or call +39 06 574 6810.
Flowers on the Spanish Steps

Each day thousands of people pass by the Spanish Steps in the heart of the city.  The grand staircase is the perfect place to stop and rest, visit with friends, relax, people watch and watch the world go by.  Now throughout the month of May, you can do all that amongst flowers.  Each year the city decorates the steps with an abundance of pink azaleas.  Below is a short video on the yearly blooming event.
Flowers on the Palatine Hill 

When visiting the Palatine Hill from now until October 14th, you will be able to step back in time and visit the ancient area in all its glory.  New flower gardens have been added in an attempt to recreate the vibrant gardens the area held 2,000 years ago.  The exhibit features a variety of vegetation such as, flowers, plants, trees and fresh produce.  The chosen vegetation derives from years of study by Italian archaeologists.  You will be able to walk in the path of emperors, and experience the Palatine Hill almost as they did 2,000 years ago.

Tickets to the Palatine Hill are €12.  Tickets also include admission to the Coliseum and Roman Forum.



A Birthday Weekend Filled With Strikes

Buon Compleanno, bella Roma!

This Saturday, April 21st, Rome will celebrate its 2,765th birthday.  (Can you imagine being around that many years?!)  This is based on the legendary founding of Rome by Romulus in 753 BC.

In case you’re not familiar with the legend, here is a brief overview.  Romulus and Remus were twins.  Their mother, Rhea, was a Vestal Virgin, and their father was a god (Mars, the god of war).  Before they were born, male descendants in the family were killed by their Grandfather’s brother.  When the twins were born, they were left to die.  However, a she-wolf came along and nursed them.  The boys grew up to become natural leaders.  They decided to found a new city, but couldn’t agree on the exact location.  The two quarrelled, and Remus was killed in the end.  Romulus then founded the new city on the Palatine Hill, and named it after himself … Rome.To celebrate Rome’s birthday, the city will have plenty of events taking place throughout the weekend … music, dancing, theatre performances and ceremonies.  For further information on the events taking place, you can check here (in English) or here (in Italian).Rome’s birthday will be celebrated with an extra bang this year.  The bang will come to the people of Rome in the form of strikes!  Strikes for buses, trains and flights. The scheduled sciopero (strike) details for each day are below.

Friday, April 20th – ATAC, Rome’s public transportation company, is scheduled to strike from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, then from 8:00 PM to end of service.  This will include all buses, metro lines and light rail trains.  
Saturday, April 21st & Sunday, April 22nd – Trenitalia is scheduled to have a 24-hour train strike from 9:00 PM Saturday to 9:00 PM Sunday.Monday, April 23rd – The personnel of Alitalia, Italy’s largest airline, will be on strike for four hours … from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.  If you have a flight to/from Italy on Monday, it would be a good idea to check with the airline to make sure your flight plans will not be affected.  Click here to access their website.Here’s to hoping the scheduled strikes don’t impact your travel plans or birthday celebrations too much.

Tanti Auguri e Buon Compleanno, Roma!  Just in case you’re wondering, that translates to Happy birthday and many good wishes. 🙂

© copyright 2013 – All rights reserved

Why Rome?

Water Fountains in Rome

Rome’s water supply has been piped into the city from the countryside for centuries via ancient aqueducts.  The water is crisp, clean and fresh.  The city of Rome makes this great water free and available to everyone with the many public fountains located throughout the city.  In a time where it is the norm to pay upwards of €1 (in many cases more … much more) for a regular size bottle of water, it is refreshing (no pun intended 🙂 to find the sought after product for the low, low price of free.  It is so nice to be able to stop and fill up my water bottle with cool, fresh water when out and about in the city.  This is something I am thankful for on a regular basis, especially on warm, sunny days.  

Not to mention, the fountains are beautiful.  They are all so different and unique, and it’s always fun to stumble across a new fountain.  I have included photos of several different fountains I’ve come across throughout the city.  Keep in mind, it’s just a small sampling of the many fountains Bella Roma has to offer.  

Fountain in Villa Borghese Park

Fountain in Piazza Venezia

Fountain in Largo Argentina

Fountain near Piazza Campodolgio

Neighborhood fountain in Montesacro


Cheap Wine in Italy

Italy is known for producing great wines.  I bet a plate of pasta and a full glass of wine are two of the first things to enter into your mind when Italy is mentioned.  (At least they are for me :-).

I love a good red wine.  I completely and utterly adore it to be exact.  Even before moving to Italy, my palette was always drawn to Italian reds.  Montepulciano, Chianti, Barolo, Amarone, Lambrusco, Brunello … oh Brunello!  Enough of my obsession.  On to the cheap wine.   
There are several supermarkets (I use the term supermarket loosely) here in Italy that offer very reasonable prices.  Two of them are In’s and Eurospin.  The first time I visited In’s and saw their prices for bottles of wine, my jaw dropped.  Literally, I stood there speechless with my mouth open, just staring at the wine.  My mind could not fathom the price tags staring back at me.  I honestly turned and asked if it was some sort of a joke.  Once confirmed it was not, I then asked how the store could charge so little.  
What were the prices you ask?  Are you sitting down?  €1.79, €0.99, €2.29, €1.19.  Yep, that is for a bottle!  In the States, I was used to paying a minimum of $10 for a bottle of wine.  Mind you, $10 was the minimum, and then it was usually for a bottle I picked up from the supermarket out of convenience and it was something basic like Merlot, Cabernet or sometimes a Malbec (juicy red wine produced in Argentina).  My mind started computing that I could now by 9 or 10 bottles for what I used to pay minimum for 1 bottle.  JACKPOT!  I even saw a bottle of Brunello (one of Italy’s top wines, and my favorite wine) for around €12.  The same bottle will run you around $90 (or more) in the States.  DOUBLE JACKPOT!
I am assuming the reason for the low cost is because the wines are produced locally.  Many of them come from small, local producers, not big industry leading wineries.  I know the wines I find here are not necessarily the ‘cream of the crop’ or the top of the line, but they are great for a girl on a budget who enjoys a regular glass of wine with dinner at home.  Cin cin!

The New FREE Audio App by Rick Steves

Love Rick Steves?  Yeah, we do too!  He recently released a new Europe travel app.  The app includes Rick Steves’ self-guided tours for many museums, sights and historical walks throughout Europe.  That’s right … throughout Europe, not just Italy.  

You can download the FREE app to your Android device, iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.  Don’t have one of these devices?  Don’t worry, you can also listen to the content directly from your computer.  

*For the FREE iPhone app, click here.  

*For the FREE Android app, click here.

*To listen FREE directly from your computer, click here.

*You can also find many travel books by Rick Steves in our online store here.  

© copyright 2013 – All rights reserved

Why Rome?