Centuries of sporadic growth transformed Rome from a fledgling city-state to the capital of the Western world. At its zenith, the glory of Rome transcended human imagination and touched upon the divine; from its legendary founding in the shadows of pre-history, to the demi-god emperors who reveled in human form, to the modern papacy’s global political influence, earthly ideas have proved insufficient to capture the Eternal City. Looking at Rome today, the phrase decline and fall seems preposterous though Rome no longer dictates the course of Western history, its claim upon the modes of culture remains firmly intact. Style. Art. Food. Passion. These form Rome’s new empire, tying the city to the living moment, rather than relegating it to stagnate in a museum case.
Today, while the Colosseum crumbles from industrial pollution, Romans celebrate their city: Concerts animate the ancient monuments, children play soccer around the Pantheon, and august piazze serve as movie houses for the latest Hollywood costume dramas. In a city that has stood for nearly three thousand years, Rome’s glory is not dimmed, merely altered.
Flights: da Vinci International Airport (FCO; TO06 659 51), known as Fiumicino, handles most flights. The Termini line runs nonstop to Rome’s main station, Termini Station (30min. 2 per hr. ‚20). After hours, take the blue COTRAL bus to Tiburtina from the ground floor outside the main exit doors after customs (‚4.50). From Tiburtina, take bus #40N to Termini. Most charter flights arrive at Ciampino (CIA; 06 79 49 41). To get to Rome, take the C0.TRA.L bus (every 30min. ‚1) to Anagnina station.
Trains: From Termini Station to: Bologna (234-4y4hr. ‚33); Florence (2-3hr. ‚25); Milan (4l2-8hrž ‚47); Naples (2-24hr. ‚18); Venice (5hrž ‚43). Trains arriving in Rome between midnight and 5am arrive at Stazione Tiburtina or Stazione Ostiense, which are connected to Termini by the #40N and 20N-21N buses.
Located two blocks north of the Termini train station, Via Nazionale is the central artery connecting Piazza della Repubblica with Piazza Venezia, home to the immense wedding-cake-like Vittorio Emanuele II monument. A few blocks west of P. Venezia, Largo Argentina marks the start of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which leads to Centro
Storico, the medieval and Renaissance tangle of sights around the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori, and Piazza Farnese. From P. Venezia, V. dei Fori Imperiale leads southeast to the Forum and Colosseum, south of which are the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla and the Appian Way, and the neighborhoods of southern Rome: The Aventine, Testaccio, Ostiense, and EUR. Via del Corso stretches from P. Venezia north to Piazza del Popolo. To the east, fashionable streets border the Piazza di Spagna and, to the northeast, the Villa Borghese. South and east are the Fontana di Trevi, Piazza Barberini, and the Quirinal Hill. Across the Tiber to the northwest is the Vatican City, and, to the southwest, Trastevere, the best neighborhood for wandering. It’s impossible to navigate Rome without a map. Pick up a free map from a tourist office. The invaluable Roma Metro-Bus map (‚4.20) is available at newsstands.
Public Transportation: The 2 Metropolitana subway lines (A and B) meet at Termini and run 5:30am-ll:30pm. Buses run 6am-midnight (with limited late-night routes); validate your ticket in the machine when you board. Buy tickets (‚0.80) at tabacchi, newsstands, and station machines; they’re valid for 1 Metro ride or unlimited bus travel within 75min. of validation. BIG daily tickets (‚4) and CIS weekly tickets (‚16) allow for unlimited public transport, including Ostia but not Fiumicino. For a short stay, buy the ‚11 3-day tourist pass. Be careful; pickpocketing is rampant on buses and trains. Taxis: Easily located at stands, or flag them down in the street. Ride only in yellow or white taxis, and make sure your taxi has a meter (if not, settle the price before you get in the car). Surcharges apply at night (‚2.60), on Su (‚1), and when heading to or from Fiumicino (‚7.25) or Ciampino (‚5.50). Fares run about ‚7.75 from Termini to the Vatican City; between city center and Fiumicino around ‚35.
Bike and Moped Rental: Bikes generally cost ‚3 per hr. or ‚8 per day, but the length of a day varies according to the shop’s closing time. In summer, try the stands on V. del C. at P. di San Lorenzo and V. di Pontifici. (Open daily 10am-7pm.)
TOURIST, FINANCIAL, AND LOCAL SERVICES
IS Tourist office: Enjoy Rome, V. Marghera 8a (06 445 18 43; www.enjoyrome.com). From the middle concourse of Termini, exit right, with the trains behind you; cross V. Marsala and follow V. Marghera 3 blocks. Full-service travel agency, booking transportation, tours, and lodgings throughout Italy. Open Apr.-Oct. M-F 8:30am-7pm, Sa 8:30am- 2pm; Nov.-Mar. M-F 9:30am-6:30pm, Sa 9am-2pm.
Foreign Consulates: Australia, V. Alessandria 215 (06 85 27 21; emergency 800 877 790). Senices around the corner at C. Trieste 25. Open M-F 8:30am-12:30pm and l:30-5:30pm. Canada, V. Zara 30 (06 44 59 81; www.canada.it). Open M-F 8:30am- 4:30pm. Ireland, P. Campitelli 3 (06 697 91 21; fax 06 69 79 12). Open M-F 10am- 12:30pm and 3-4:30pm. New Zealand, V. Zara 28 (06 441 71 71; fax 06 440 29 84). Open M-F 8:30am-12:45pm and l:45-5pm. South Africa, V. Tanaro 14 (06 85 25 41; fax 06 85 25 43). Open M-F 8:30am-4:30pm. UK, V. XX Settembre 80A (06 482 54 41; www.grbr.it). Open M-F 8:30am-4:30pm. US, V. Veneto 119A (06 467 41; www.usembassy.itmission). Open M-F 8:30am-5:30pm.
American Express: P. di Spagna 38 (06 676 41; lost cards06 722 82). Open Aug. M-F 9am-6pm, Sa 9am-12:30pm; Sept.-July M-F 9am-7:30pm, Sa 9am-3pm.
ROME ROMA Photo Gallery
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