Me in ROME
At The PIAZZA del POLPOLO
“The PIAZZA of The PEOPLE”
I landed at Fiumicino Airport Rome, Italy on May 27, 2018 .. I would be in Rome about 24 hours, and I’d make the most of it, before heading down to Campania and the Amalfi Coast of Italy the next day. I was going on a trip with my cousin Tony, to Sorrento, Salerno to see our cousins Mimo and Marta, and of course the Amalfi Coast. I was going to Minori to stay at the lemon farm of Villa Maria for two days before meeting up with my cousin Anthony in Salerno in three days.
The plane arrived safely at Fiumicino Airport after a 7 1/2 hour flight on an American Airlines plane from JFK Airport in New York. I got to the airport, went through Customs and Immigration, and got my Passport stamped. Pick up my luggage and I was off to catch my Shuttle Van that took me from the airport, directly to the front door of my hotel, hassle free. You can take the Leonardo Express Train from downstairs in the airport to the main Train Station (Stazione Centrale) for about 5 Euros less, but then you have to get from the train station to your hotel. If you’re staying within 3 blocks of the station, this option may be good for you, but to me, it was great taking the Van for just a few dollars more, and getting dropped off right in front of my hotel. I went inside,checked in, then went directly to the bathroom to take a nice hot shower and refresh myself, before going out and making a little foray into the Iternal City Roma.
I went out, walked around a bit, had an Espresso and Corneto at a nice little caffe, then I went back to my hotel to take a 3 hour nap, before going out to see and hang at The Piazza d’ Spagna once again, before walking over to the Piazza del Popolo to have an Apertivo at Rosati, hang and admire the two beautiful little Twin Churches in the Piazza, and so did.
I took a nice 3 1/2 hour nap, got up, threw some water on my face, got dressed, and it was back out onto the street of Rome, Italy. I decided the best thing to do was to take the Metro at Stazione Central to Piazza d’ Spagna, get out there, walk up the Spanish Steps, taking pictures for Instagram, hang out and savor it all, before walking over to the Piazza del Pololo.
I spent about 20 minutes hanging out at the Spanish Steps, before taking off for my next little adventure. Going to the Piazza del Popolo always hearkens back to memories of my first trip to the Eternal City, way back in the Summer of 1985. It was in New York on 2nd Avenue in The East Village when I ran into my friend Alma and Rene Ricard. I didn’t know Rene (famed Poet/ Art Critic), so Alma introduced us. Rene got quite excited when I mentioned I was leaving for Rome on Saturday and would be going to Venice, Barcelona, Naples, and Positano. Rene wanted to give me tips, which he did for Venice and Positano, and he told me that I should stay at the Hotel Locarno in Rome and that I had to go to the Piazza del Popolo and go into the twin churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria Montesanto, and also that absolutely had to go to Rosati’s in the piazza, hang-out and have an aperitivo of any sort of Campari, of either; a Campari & Soda, Spritz, or the famed Negroni Cocktail. Of course I followed Rene’s great advice. I went into the churches and I went to Rosati, sat at a table outside, ordered my 1st ever Campari, a Campari Soda. I sat back, sipping my Campari and enjoying the marbelous scene laid out before me, the Twin Churches, The Piazza, the people drinking their aperitivo and having a good time. Yes, it was all so marvelous, and I shall never forget. And I think my good old pal, who sadly passed away a few years ago, he would be quite happy to know, because of that little conversation we had on 2nd Avenue, way back in 85, that I’d often remember him and the advice on Venice, Rome, and Positano, getting a Campari, and that I had to get the World’s Best Spaghetti Vongole at Da Vincenzo in Positano. Yes I’m sure that it would make Rene Ricard happy to know that I remembered him and all the advice he gave me on Italy that day in 1985, New York City.
Now, back to present day Rome, 2018 .. It was great being back at the Piazza d’ Spagna once again. I just took it all in. After I walked up to the top of the steps, all the way where the church of Santissima Trinita dei Monti stands majestically overlooking the whole Piazza de Spagna and Rome beyond. Technically the church is not part of the Piazza de Spagna, but I believe that it is to just about everyone who lays eyes on it. It something ever happened to it, and it was know longer there, the Spanish Steps just wouldn’t look the same. In fact, it would look as though it lost its “Head.” Anyway, it’s there, and millions are glad it is. If it weren’t, their pictures would just not look the same.
So I had quite a nice time taking pictures, enjoying the setting, people watching, and just contemplating Rome. I was there about 20 minutes before leaving, and heading to my next stop, the Piazza d’ Popolo.
So I made my way over to and up the Via del Corso, and made it to the Piazza in about 12 minutes. I went into both of the Twin Churches one at a time, spending about 7 minutes in each (been there before) before going over to Rosatis’s and grabbing a nice table outside. I was excited and all set for my Roman Apertivo Time, and so I did. The waitress came over and greeted me with a “Buona Serra” and I replied back in the same. She gave me a menu, which I looked over, before ordering a Campari & Soda from the waitress. A few minutes later she cam back with my drink and a nice assortment tidbits of food that is part of the apertivo hour, and included for free with you drink. She gave me little bowl of Olives, Potato Chips, and assorted canapes, little sandwiches and PigsIn-a-Blanket (Cocktail Hotdogs in Pastry). I sat back and enjoyed my treats, and wrote down what I had done so far that day in my travel journal, which are the notes for this piece here.
After spending about 35 minutes at Rosati, I took off and it was time to look for a nice little Trattoria for a nice meal. I could have gone to a place that I knew, but decided instead to just walk around and look for a new place. After walking around for about 20 minutes, I came across a little Osteria near the Trevi Fountain that was absolutely jumping. I looked at the menu, it looked good, and from the looks of how busy the place was and other little factors, I decided that the place would be good, so I asked one of the waiters if he had a nice table inside. “Certainly Sir. Follow me,” he replied, so I was on my way. I sat down, and looked over the menu and thought about what I’d like to eat, and which wine to have. I settled on Carciofi alla Romana (Roman Artichokes) and Veal Saltimboca, with a glass of Frascati, the local Roman white wine. The meal was wonderful, and I had quite an adventure which I’ll get into at another time.
Yes, I had a great time at dinner, and finally left the restaurant, and I wanted to walk around Rome for an hour or so, before heading back to my hotel, for a nice sleep to be fresh and ready for my journey down to the Amalfi Coast the next day.
Now the next day, and getting from Rome to Positano. I packed my suitcase, then went down to the hotel dining room for breakfast. The breakfast was very nice. I was able to get a Cappuccino, and there was a good assortment of; pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt, juice, Salami, Cheese, and sweets. I ate as much as I could, and as usual, made sure to take a good amount of Salami & Cheese and a couple rolls to make a couple small sandwiches to bring with me on the train (lunch). I went back to my room, got my bags, went to the front desk, and checked out of the hotel. I grabbed my bags, and walked over to the train station. I bought a one-way ticket on the Fast Train to Napoli (about 16 Euro). For those of you who have the cash, if you’d like, you can take a Private Car door to door, from your hotel in Rome, direct to your hotel in Positano, Sorrento, or anywhere on the Amalfi Coast.
As for me, I took the Fast Train from Rome to Stazione Centrale Napoli (Naples) which took about an hour and 15 minutes. I walked downstairs and jumped on the Circumvesuviano, the local train that goes from Naples to Sorrento and stops at many points in-between, including; Pompeii (Roman Ruins), Vico Equense, and other points, before the final stop of Sorrento, where I caught the Blue Sita Bus to Amalfi. Once in AMalfi, I had to catch another bus to Minori, which dropped me off near Caffe Gambaradella where I go for a Gelato and the nice lady at the cash register makes a phone call for me to Villa Maria, letting the family know that I have arrived in Minori, and I’m waiting down at the caffe. Twenty minutes later Mr. Vincenzo Manzo arrives in his Fiat Station-Wagon to pick me up an bring me up to the agriturismo of Villa Maria (Lemon Farm), and I’m there. All this being said, I now know there’s an easier way. It would have been much better for me to take the train from Rome to Salerno ( 1 hour & 1/2 ), then walk two blocks to the ferry terminal and catch a ferry boat from Salerno to Minori, and all points on the Amalfi Coast.
I was used to the old way, that I read about in my Frommers Guide Book to Italy. There was no Internet when I first started to go to Positano, nor for a long time afterward and I ws used to taking the Circumvesuviano and then the bus on the AMalfi Drive from Sorrento to positano and Amalfi, which is the most interesting and way to go, with the World’s most beautiful Bus Ride ever. The scenery driving along the AMalfi Coast is absolutely spectacular, and is “Not to be Missed.” You have to do this at least once in your life, and then if at other times you want a faster / easier way to get to your destination, do as I’ve just said, take the train from Rome to Salerno, and then take a Ferry Boat in Salerno to any town you want to go to on the Amalfi Coast.
If you’re going to Sichia or Capri, take the train to Naples, then take a taxi from the train station to the Ferry Terminal and catch a boat to either Procida, Ischia, or the Isle of Capri.
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