Roma, Italia

This was my third trip to the eternal city, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to visit. While the attitude of the people can be trying to Americans I find that if I drink, relax and take in the atmosphere,  it is a very special place indeed. Where else can you go just to eat!!

The food is delicious. I can honestly say that I have never had a bad meal in Italy. I chose to eat simply this time and discovered some of the best spaghetti and lasagna I have ever tasted. That combined with wonderful wine, fresh bread, hot cappuccinos, yummy pastries, and gelato made us jump out of bed each day to savor the delights.

Two new attractions for this trip included Palatine Hill and The Cat Sanctuary. A very likable tour guide led us through the rain to discover the lifestyle of ancient Roman emperors. It was raining and we walked uphill a lot but there is nothing like happening in the place where legend says Romulus set up his hut beginning three thousand years of everything life can throw at you. The panoramic views of the city make the tour worth it.

Being a lover of animals the cat sanctuary was a unique experience. A short walk from the Pantheon, sunken ruins is home to about 250 cats. Unpaid volunteers rely on the charity to neuter, vaccinate and provide food and plenty of love to felines that have been discarded by others. They take in sick and injured cats providing them with the care they need to flourish. The cats enjoy your attention and the volunteers love to share the history of the place and will take the time to show you around. All of this is free but just seeing their dedication makes you want to leave a donation.

The four days spent here went by much too fast but a few suggestions. I will never fly Alitalia again. The airline is much like the country – somewhat dirty, laid back, and noisy. After flight delays that resulted in connection problems, I will choose a more reliable airline in the future.

We stayed at Hotel Raffaello, a lovely boutique hotel between the Termini and the Colosseo. The room was European small but very clean. Breakfast is provided with many choices – cereals, eggs, meats, cheeses, yogurts, fresh fruit, pastries, cakes, and bread as well as coffee, tea, juice, and hot chocolate. There is Internet access (5 euros for 2 hours) in the lobby. The metro is two blocks from the hotel which is located by many restaurants, bars, and groceries.

I booked two tours through “Dark Rome” and “Through Eternity”. I thoroughly recommend “Through Eternity” but “Dark Rome” was led by a pompous guide who gave too many of his own opinions and went over the allotted time by two hours preventing us from doing something else that we had planned. Oh well… we just enjoyed another plate of delectable spaghetti and headed back for a nap. Such is the stuff for “la dolce vita.”

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