Your home in Rome will be the lovely Hotel Adriano, at Via di Pallacorda 2, in downtown Rome’s Campo Marzio neighborhood, which is located between the Tiber river and the central Via del Corso. Your room is available to you starting 2:00pm on Monday, May 21st through the morning of Tuesday, May 29th, departure day. Below are directions taken from the hotel’s website to the hotel from Fiumicino airport, from Termini train station, and by car.
By plane, from Fiumicino airport (Leonardo da Vinci) there are three options:
- train to Termini Station – 30 minutes (14.00 euro, trains every 30 min.); then take taxi or bus
- taxi- 45 minutes (approx. 40.00 euro, plus 1.00 euro for each piece of luggage after the first, which is free)
- hotel pick-up service.
By train, from Termini Station:
- metro line in Battistini direction to the metro station Spagna.
- taxi – 15 minutes (approx. 15.00 euro; see above for luggage fees)
- bus #175 or #492 to the bus stop on via di S. Claudio.
from Florence to the Roma Nord (North Rome) exit or from Naples to the Roma Sud (South Rome) exit, take the Grande Raccordo Anulare to the Aeroporto Fiumicino Civitavecchia. Then take the second exit: #6 Flaminio Roma Centro in the direction of the Centro (city center), Stadio Olimpico (olympic stadium), S. Pietro (St. Peter’s) and continue to the Lungotevere (avenue running alongside the Tiber River). Once on the Lungotevere, after the second underpass, take the road on left hand side and at the intersection turn to right in order to cross the Ponte Cavour (Cavour Bridge). After the next intersection and at the end of ViaTomacelli, turn to the right onto Via del Corso. At the first lights, turn right and go through Piazza del Parlamento, arriving at the Hotel Adriano, at Via di Pallacorda 2, shortly thereafter.
WHAT TO BRING
Here’s a list of things to bring. These are just the basics:
– comfortable shoes. By far the most important thing you’ll need on this trip!! Tennis shoes and/or padded, walking-friendly sandals… and I would recommend breaking them in well before our seminar.
– a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a light-weight, folding umbrella. It can get very hot and sunny in Rome in June so we’ll want to be prepared. Conversely, we could get rain.
– mosquito repellent. Unfortunately, the mozzies can be counted as locals, too, so be prepared.
– a camera if you’re a happy snapper and, if you have them, maybe a very light pair of binoculars for better fresco viewing
– a comfortable bag in which to carry your things around town – backback or shoulder bag or purse, whichever you prefer.
– T-shirts and long, light (cotton/linen) trousers, a light sweater or jacket and, if desired, skirts below the knee for women. As many of Rome’s churches have a no-shorts-no-tanktops policy, we’ll want to be dressed appropriately but also comfortably. Cotton and linen clothes are the best choice. I also find that carrying a light cotton shawl in my purse means I can throw it over my shoulders and still wear tanktops without any problems.
– a ‘nice’ change for dinners out. Romans like to look good and, after all, “when in Rome…”
– lastly, a photocopy of your passport (see ‘Safety and Smart Travel Practices,’ below)
Here’s my favorite site for the latest currency exchange rates: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
How to have access to money while in Rome:
Now, what to do about bringing money, having access to it when you need it, etc.? The best system is to use the ATMs in Rome. You’ll want to make sure, therefore, that your credit card can be used in Europe and has a PIN number (the code you punch in once you’ve inserted your card into the machine) that is valid abroad. This is very important as, in my experience, the U.S. PINs and European PINs are of different lengths (I can’t remember which of the two has more numbers). Also, ideally, your card will feature one of those embedded security chips that have been in use for a few years now in Europe and are recently becoming widespread in the U.S.,too. Bottom line is, if you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to make sure your card can be used in Europe and you’ll want an international PIN (specify that it’s going to be used in Italy, just in case) that’s connected to the credit card. Also, you might want to see which credit card companies offer the most competitive rates since some charge higher conversion commission rates than others and there are several that don’t charge foreign transaction fees. It may be worthwhile to switch companies.
DO NOT bring traveler’s checks or assume you’ll do your currency exchanging at a bank in Rome. Dealing with Roman banks is notoriously time-consuming and can result in serious headaches that will spoil your trip. Not worth it.
Tipping in Italy is NOT REQUIRED. There is no percentage for tipping in Italy as all servers are on salary. At a cafe, I usually leave the change that I get from the bill I’ve paid (50 cents to a euro or two if there were several people) and at a restaurant I usually leave a euro a head. As for taxis, again, a euro or two on top of the fare does the trick. Simple. No calculating necessary and definitely no 10%-20%.
SAFETY AND SMART TRAVEL PRACTICES
Take a photograph of your suitcase prior to handing it over at check-in. Bags do get lost and, while in my experience they are usually delivered quite quickly, it can be a real drag if you don’t know what your bag looks like. On the same note, carry basics (glasses, contact lens solution, etc.) with you on the plane so that, if your bag should get lost, you can get by for a few days. And definitely bring any valuables (laptops, electronics, jewelry) with you on the plane. There have been reports of thefts at the hands of baggage handlers.
Please bring a photocopy of your passport with you to Rome – the front pages suffice (where your photograph, passport number, and the date of issue, etc. are recorded). I will collect these so that if anything should happen to your passport, we can easily get a replacement.
As my mother has often said about Rome, “the great thing is that your body is always safe, though your belongings may not be.” I cannot sufficiently stress the importance of being vigilant about pickpockets in Rome. Be they young ‘gypsy’ children or women in the streets or adult Italian men or women on the bus, it is an unfortunate reality that pickpocketing is a regular occurrence in Rome. So, to avoid any unpleasant experiences…
– carry large amounts of cash on your person. It’s much safer to leave it in the safe at the Hotel Adriano.
– carry your passport with you. Again, leave it at the hotel.
– put anything valuable in back pockets.
– keep your hands on your valuables when walking the streets through a crowd, visiting a site (Colosseum, Forum, yes, even the Sistine Chapel!), or on the bus.
– turn backpacks and purses around (carrying them on your front) when on buses or the metro and put your hands across the pockets where you are keeping your valuables (money, camera, etc.).
– be aware of your surroundings! If anyone should try to grab something, shout, “Via!!” (Go away!) and “Aiuto!!” ([ah-YOU-toe] Help!) as loudly as you can.
PHONES, COMPUTERS, & GADGETS, OH MY!
– WIFI matters: Hotel Adriano has WIFI access throughout the building, including your rooms. You’re therefore welcome to bring your laptop or iPad or whatever you like to use for e-mailing and reading online material. Just make sure that you have a US-Europe plug adaptor that will attach to your power source. This can be bought at most electronics stores.
- Phones: if you want to be able to place calls during your stay in Italy, there are two ways to do so. 1) Get an international data plan for your already existing phone, specifying that you’re going to be using it in Europe, OR 2) Get a European enabled cell-phone that you can then put an Italian SIM card into that you would buy in Rome. Just keep in mind that the second option will require finding and working with a Roman phone store and may take a lot of time.
PHOTOGRAPHING IN ROME
Policies regarding photography vary from place to place. Some sites do not allow photography at all (Sistine Chapel, Galleria Borghese, Palazzo Barberini, for example), others allow photography sans flash (Vatican Museums, most of the churches)… It really depends on the place. I will find out in advance and will be sure to let you know on a day-to-day basis whether or not it is alright to take photographs.
I hope all this helps!