Cheats guide to Rome

Jean and I have been to Rome many times over the last few years. We have got to know the major sights as nodding acquaintances. Sitting in Piazza Navona having lunch or ambling past the Trevi Fountain after an evening meal was our forte and while we had a general idea of the history of these places it was in no way a detailed knowledge.

On our recent trip to Rome with Mike, Charmaine and James it became clear that our “and there’s the Trevi Fountain…” approach to tour guidance was not going to be sufficient. When was it built? Why is it here? Who was the sculpture? Quite rightly, all these questions came up and clearly we needed to know more.

Thankfully with the help of our iPhones and local data roaming we could instantaneously turn into Rome tour experts. As it takes a few minutes to walk between sights, we had time to secretly search Wikipedia about upcoming attractions, learn the key facts and then be able to dazzle with our knowledge when we arrived.

“The Pantheon – built in 31BC by Marcus Agrippa and rennovated in 126AD by Emperor Hadrian. The dome is 142 feet high and the diameter is also 142 feet. The largest unsupported concrete dome in the world. Originally had bronze sheeting under the portico but this was removed by Pope Urban VIII …..”.

It worked a treat.

So next time you’re in Rome and would like a guided tour by expert english speaking guides, give us a call.

Roman Holiday

After the departure of Gill, Andre, Josh and Jordan to Venice and Slovenia, the remaining team headed south along the A1 to Rome.  We arrived on Saturday and drove around Rome (scary) dropping Mike and Charmaine at their apartment, their rental car at the Hertz depot and then finding our hotel.  We had discovered a place to stay – Hotel Barocco – online.  It is located on Piazza Barberini and, importantly for us, it welcomed dogs (unlike the hotel we usually stay at in Rome – Barberini).

The temperature over the weekend was around 29 degrees so the girls could come along on our walks.  They got to see the sights and, more importantly, for them sample the smells of Rome.

The first night we left the girls in our hotel room when we went out for dinner, thinking they would sleep after the drive south.  We arrived back at about 11pm and were informed by a slightly disturbed front desk clerk that the girls had barked and kept other guests awake all evening.  We were in danger of being evicted.

Barking struck us as unusual as the girls are normally quiet unless disturbed.  It turned out that a poor housemaid had gone into our room to turn down the bed and was met by a barrage of barking, growling and general dogginess.  She left the room in double quick time but the damage had been done and girls kept on barking.

Suffice it to say from that point on we made extensive use of the “do not disturb” sign when they were in the room and in the evenings the girls came along with us to experience dinner in some of Romes most popular restaurants.