Sunday, August 6, 2017

LivItaly when you want to see more of Rome


Caesar did NOT die in the Coliseum in 44 BC, but he was stabbed in  Largo di Torre Argentinawhat is NOW better know as the cat Sanctuary  

Largo di Torre Argentina, now the home to homeless cats      

This is how my 3 hours with LivItaly Tours in Rome began and I knew it would be a great time..........

As my frequent trips Home to Italy now try to go deeper than the 'tourist must sees', the in-depth tour with this family run, local company offered me what I wanted, but I had NO idea how much I would enjoy this!   

Meeting our guide Rachel in central Rome, our group of only 3 travelers greeted each other and the day began!  Rachel is an expat from the USA who has made her home in Rome.  


Blue sky and HOT:  Rome was having a heat wave
Although I visit Rome often, I know very little about the two neighborhoods that border the Tiber River, the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere, therefore this tour  was perfect.

The 3 hours program covered a lot of ground and even more history starting at Teatro Argentina.  An apartment house nearby has ancient mosaics in the entry.



 

Rachel dazed and amazed with a blend of information on architecture, history, religion and daily life facts.  We were encouraged to ask questions and I don't think there was anything she could not answer!   I quickly realized I knew very little of the history of Rome and within the first few minutes my head was buzzing with new facts and debunked fiction that I had about Roman history!  

Since my focus is always on the local part of any city or town I visit, walking the back streets from the busy via ...... across the river and back to ............... was a wonderful look into daily life in Rome.
With so many photo opportunities I must admit I missed some of the important facts our guide shared with us..............all done without notes.






                     We started with a quick walk through Piazza dei Fiore, busy with the morning local                                                                 shoppers and some tourists.

Always time for a cafe

Our guide knew lovely hidden courtyards, passages and even
pasta created in a store front.


Behind the Palazzo Farnese where we were able to glimpse the formal garden through the fence, is Via Giulia, a wide avenue that will take you directly to St. Peters.   


                                     

        Skull carvings outside Santa Maria dell' Orazione e Morte, Holly Mary of Prayer and Death Church

The Farnesi Arch


Mascheroni Fountain where in ancient times, wine flowed once a year for the local populace to enjoy

Crossing the Tiber river to Trastevere you can see the dome of St Peters at the Vatican in the distance


As we crossed the bridge you have a wonderful view of St. Peters

      A temporary art mural lined the walls of the river banks created by the South African artist William Kentridge.  The process called reverse stenciling, created by removing years of dirt from the walls, will eventually fade as dirt/pollution returns.  See story here.

In late morning the street is quiet but the cafe is ready for guests

The narrow, cobbled streets of Trastevere meander through a true local neighborhood where apartments are above restaurants and stores and you can shop daily for fresh food.

                   
                      .    At the heart of Trastevere is the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere



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Entering the cool interior, it was a welcome relief from the heat, the church is dazzling with mosaics, pictorials around the dome and baptistery.  This will be a return visit for me and well worth finding a guide to explain everything.



Back across the river we are headed to the Jewish Ghetto.   The history of this area is ancient and sad.



                                One of the original synagogues in Rome.  Now a restaurant.


                                               We continued to a main area of the Ghetto.
                  Shops and cafes among the apartment buildings right next to ancient ruins.



I quickly noticed how much wider the streets were in the Jewish quarter.   You still find historic buildings being restored or preserved and treasures uncoverd while the city does street projects.




In with historic sites among the shops and residences, the locals enjoy daily life:  markets, cafes and a famous Boccione Pasticceria bakery that I was able to visit after the tour.   There is no web site but face book gives you some information.   This small corner shop is at Via Portico d'Ottavia, 1.   One well know travel writer said the clerks are rude, NO so.  They were tired after a long day but when I ordered something that looked good, the kind woman told me it was a 'hard' cake and suggested something else.



Near one of the apartments I found more stumble stones that memorialize families or individuals who were deported during WWII.   See my post in Germany off the beaten track for more details on these memorials found all over Europe.








LivItaly offers a wide range of experiences in Rome, Florence, Venice and other areas in Italy.  
If you are looking for  something longer than a 3 hour tour, consider their day trips.   

LivItaly offers many unique experiences and some with novel approaches to traditional site seeing: running tours, drawing tours, virtual reality  and even test driving a Ferrari!  

See how this family run company offers high service, quality guides and unique itineraries 
If you have been to Italy before, there are new new adventures to experience. 
If you also travel solo, I found the small number of guests (no more than 6) to be far more comfortable than the usual 25 or more participants following a guide, wearing a headset.

I would like to thank LivItaly for making my tour of Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto possible.   The photos in this post are the property of HomeToItaly.com and all opinions are my own.
And a special thank you to Rachal for a great tour.



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