Eternal sunshine in the Eternal City
Having gone without a good holiday for over 2 years, Rome was one of my top must visit destinations for my long overdue summer break. It’s a city I absolutely adore and my main ambition was to FINALLY visit the Sistine Chapel on my third attempt. But given that it was my third visit to the eternal city, I didn’t feel like the typical tourist, I wanted a different experience. Enter 9flats…..
My host for the weekend, Davide, was the perfect on-site tour guide and had lots of tips for off the beaten tourist track places to go and things to see. But ssshhhh! Don’t tell anyone, he may act as a host and tour guide but he’s actually a very famous Italian TV star and once shot a commercial with Naomi Campbell!!!
My previous two visits to Rome had both been the traditional hotel stay, so staying in my own private apartment, with my very own roof terrace (!!) in an area of Rome that is fiercely ‘local’, you couldn’t help but feel anything other than a local yourself.
Trastevere is an area located on the west bank of the Tiber River and according to my Lonely Planet guide the streets near the Piazza Santa Maria have the most photographed washing in the world. How’s that for an unconventional tourist attraction? With its confusing cobbled streets you could almost mistake Trastevere for Dublin…. except for the searing 37 degree temperatures and the abundance of natural tans.
Summer is when the banks of the Tiber come alive with the Lungo il Tevere Roma (Along the Tiber Rome). This year marks the 10th anniversary of the festival that sees a host of bars, clubs and restaurants setting up along the banks of the river. From the Isola Tiberina (Tiberina Island) as far down as the Castello Sant’ Angelo, it’s the perfect way to spend a summer evening…. or several summer evenings in this case.
For another obscure, off the beaten track type landmark, head to the Aventine area. Wander the narrow streets until you come to gates of ‘The Knights of Malta’ (I Cavalieri di Malta). Peeking through the keyhole of the great bronze gate and you will be rewarded with a perfectly framed picture of the dome of St. Peter’s.
Although looking through the keyhole only takes a few seconds, on a quiet day you can end up spending an agonising amount of time trying to figure out how to get the perfect picture. I never managed…Oh well, I guess that means I’ll have to go back!
By Selene Alford