One month in… ROME

2004-2014: 10 years, 10 cities, 10 language schools!

10 one-month stays, sometimes longer…

Small tribute to each of the ten cities, from A to Z.

First city: Rome.

A

A like… AS Roma, one of the two iconic football clubs in the capital.

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B

B like… Botanical Garden. Well worth a visit, even if only for the view of the city from the Janiculum hill.

C

C like… the Coliseum. Classic among classics, the amphitheatre of Rome still fascinates. It is therefore difficult to escape a visit of it! No shows performed inside, just guided tours. It does sometimes serve as background to free concerts in the city.

D

D like… Dan Brown. His novel “Angels and Demons” is mainly featuring Rome and the Vatican, including some of the many interesting churches of the area.

E

E like… Eternal. The “Eternal City”, one of the nicknames of Rome, the third most visited in Europe after London and Paris.

F

F like… Fountains. Trevi’s one may be the best known, but Rome is full of other attractive fountains. Examples: Via delle Quattro Fontane.

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G

G like… Giordano Bruno. Giordano is the first name. Bruno the last name. Burned in Rome in 1600 because he had different ideas than the ones of the Catholic Church. A statue in his memory is located at Campo de’ Fiori.

H

H like… inHabitants. The Romans and the Romans are nearly 3’000’000.

I

I like… Italy. (Yes, I like Italy!) Rome is the capital of Italy since 1871.

J

J like Julius Caesar. Born and died in Rome. Officially known after his death (-44) as Imperator Caius Julius Caesar Divus.

K

K like… square Kilometres. There are 1285 square kilometres in Rome, making it the 3rd largest city in Europe, after Moscow and London.

L

L like… Lazio, the other iconic club of the capital.

M

M like… Morricone. Ennio Morricone, born in Rome (1928). He is a composer, famous mostly for having composed music for many, many films.

N

N like… Nero. Roman Emperor from 54 to 68. His responsibility for the burning of Rome is still unclear.

O

O like… Ostia Antica, the harbour of ancient Rome. Warning, these well-preserved ruins are no exception to the rule of “lunedi chiuso” – better to go there between Tuesday and Sunday!

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P

P like… Passeggiata. Tradition rooted in Roman life, the passeggiata is an evening walk, a ritual that takes you through historic sites (Forum, etc.) and/or pedestrian streets of the capital, and might end in a bar accidentally discovered on your way.

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Q

Q like in… “SPQR”. You will see this sign everywhere in Rome. It symbolizes the Roman Empire and simply means “Senatus Populus Que Romanus.” For those who did not learn Latin, it means: “The Senate and People of Rome”.

R

R like… Rugby. If Roma and Lazio regularly fill the Stadio Olimpico, the Six Nations rugby tournament does the same in February / March when Italy plays at home.

S

S like… Spaghetti. You are extremely hungry? Run to spaghetteria l’Archetto and its more than 100 sauces!

T

T like… Totti, Francesco Totti, AS Roma captain, almost as famous as Julius Caesar. Temples and statues may be risen as soon as he will quit playing.

U

U like… Umbria. The region lies just north of Rome’s Latium. Perugia and Assisi are located there. Two cities that are worth the short 2-hours train journey from Rome.

V

V like… Vatican. Vatican City State is enclosed in Rome. A visit to the museums is a must.

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W

W like… Wow, all these birds! If you are close to the central train station of Rome (Stazione Termini) at sunset time, pay attention to countless noisy birds flying through the Roman sky before gently landing on trees.

X

X like… 10. Yes, 10 is written “X” in Roman numerals.

Y

Y like… Year. You may need a year to fully explore the city and its secrets.

Z

Z like… Zero. Zero reason not to visit Rome once in his life!


Next month: Perth (Australia).

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Holy Rail!

Who said train travel was expensive?

Example: Luxembourg – Paris – Nice – Milano – Rimini – Parma – Milano – Sion (Switzerland).

This multi-country trip did cost me less than 125 €!

Gare de Luxembourg

Luxembourg Train Station

In detail:

Luxembourg – Paris: 25 € (TGV, direct)

Paris – Nice: 25 € (TGV, direct)

Nice – Ventimiglia: 7,50 € (regional)

Ventimiglia – Milano: 9 € (direct)

Milano – Rimini: 18 € (Frecciabianca, direct)

Rimini – Parma: 9 € (Frecciabianca, direct)

Parma – Milano: 9 € (Frecciabianca, direct)

Milano – Sion (Switzerland): 22 € (EuroCity, direct)

TOTAL: 124,50 €

And without any reduction. Just by ordering tickets on Internet  (SNCF + Trenitalia) about a month and a half in advance. Printable at home, except for the “Milano – Sion” ticket, to be printed in any Italian train station.

Of course, at that price, tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. It’s the same principle as for flight tickets, the first price is very economical, but available for a limited number of places.

The heavy snow made me miss my connecting train in Milano for Sion. Nevertheless, I could use the same ticket for the next train at no additional cost.

Best of all, it is not much slower than flying, taking into account the transfers to airports and waiting time in the airports, and much faster than by car (TGV, Frecciabianca).

Paris - Nice

Paris – Nice

And this is the most environmentally friendly alternative by far, unless you make the journey by foot or by bike, but it will take you more time then…

So, have a nice trip, by train!