There’s an expression that goes “See Venice and Die” meaning “it’s so beautiful, you’ll never top it”. I’ve never been to Venice, but I’m sure this comment is right on the mark. However, I’d like to suggest a variation: “See Rome and Die”. This Italian city may not be as over-the-top as Venice, but it’s still a fabulous place to visit. The following are my observations about the Eternal City – called that because the ancient Romans believed it would go on forever. And it has.
Interior shot of the Coliseum in Rome, Italy
WHEN TO GO
We went in mid-May and the weather was just perfect – not too hot, not too cold. Light or unlined jackets did the trick. However, when we chatted with the Roman locals all we heard was, “It’s great now, but you don’t want to be here in the summer. It’s dreadfully hot.”
Rome in August often exceeds 95 degrees, which is why many businesses close so everyone can head for cooler climes. Of course, the summer months are the only time many folks can travel and take an extended vacation. Our city seems to have the same “heat” problem in August. But since New York is ranked in the top 10 tourist spots in the world I think we’re doing okay.
WHERE TO STAY
It’s a good idea to stay where the action is. We chose the Hotel International De La Ville because of its location at the top of the Spanish Steps and it worked out fine. We were in the middle of everything plus the hotel had an excellent restaurant where we ate breakfast every day. This was quite an interesting experience. The elegant waiters all appeared smartly dressed in beautifully tailored white jackets. We felt rather out of it in our crumpled jeans, T-shirts and sandals.
Outdoor dining at the Hotel International De La Ville near the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy
WHAT TO SEE
The American Express office is very close to the Spanish Steps so we took several tours. I’m not a fan of this way of sightseeing. However, if you want to see a number of sites, e.g., the Vatican, the Coliseum (Colosseum) or Michelangelo’s 17 ft. statue of David in Florence, Amex is a good choice.
Copy of Michelangelo's original statue of David outside Palazzo della Signoria in Florence
Our day trip through Tuscany to Florence was fun because we joined up with a couple from Perth, Australia, a city we were interested in. When we stopped for lunch we all joked about the tasteless meatballs and spaghetti we were eating – in Italy of all places.
View from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence
WHAT TO WATCH
Rome is the only city we ever visited where we stood on a street corner and watched the traffic. Yes, Paris has a wild traffic scene and so does New York. But nothing beats watching a red light turn green and seeing cars and scooters barrel ahead as if competing at the Indy 500. It’s unsettling and scary.
Street art - Italian style
WHAT TO ENJOY
Our favorite spot in Rome was the Piazza Navona with its spectacular open space and fabulous fountains. Another must-see is the Trevi Fountain where one throws a coin in the water to ensure a return visit to the City of the Seven Hills. (Go up high at the Eden Hotel to see the hills in all their splendor.)
The Fountain of Four Rivers in Piazza Navona, Rome
Finally, at the end of a busy day with lots of walking (Rome is like New York in that regard) we often went to the lovely cocktail lounge in our hotel to wind down and relax. It was a very pleasant way to finish.
A gentleman takes in the sights at the Piazza Navona in Rome
MAY WE SUGGEST…
Think of Adea for yourself and for gifts. If you’re not sure of a loved one’s size, our gift cards of $25, $50 or $100 are the perfect answer.
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I just read an article that sounded – to me at least – like “a canary in a coal mine” or an early warning of danger. This piece, written by Joe Pompeo, appeared in the May 2020 issue of Vanity Fair magazine with the title “The British Tabloid Invasion” and a subtitle that read, “How the Daily Mail is conquering American gossip.”
The paparazzi horde, La Dolce Vita, 1960 – photo courtesy of Vanity Fair
Apparently the good old U.S. is a nation of “not great” sleepers. Really? And I thought I was the only one! According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it was revealed that one out of three Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. Yikes!
I think we’re all taken by the incredible mystique of the famous French fashion house, Hermès that has been with us for two centuries and is still owned and operated by the same family. From its beginnings in fine equestrian leather goods, they are – in the tumultuous year 2020 – best known for their handbags and many other items.
My image of Hermès has always been rarified products at equally rarified prices so imagine my surprise when I recently received a very stylish publication of theirs in the mail.
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