Thursday, June 23, 2011

Secret Roads in Rome

If you've traveled to Rome before, you probably noticed that it's difficult to take in much at first pass. The streets are bustling, ruins are hidden (and yet in plain sight when you're not looking for them), and there's so much to do. Travel expert Abigail Hole took to the streets in Rome to highlight four separate streets in the city, all with distinct attractions.

Via Margutta, an Artists' Street
This area feels like a village, but it's actually in the center of Rome. Artists still work on handcrafted accessories, sculptures, and art right off the thoroughfare, and there are plenty of art galleries in the area, too.

“The street’s creative life extended beyond the visual arts,” author Abigail Hole notes. “As Rome became an essential stop on every 19th-century Grand Tour, thanks to its wealth of ancient wonders, musicians and composers came too. Debussy, Liszt and Wagner all worked in studios in the Via Margutta.”

Via Appia Antica, The Gateway
Hulking Roman structures (including tombs) line this road, which is as straight as can be and was previously intended for military use. In fact, the road leading to Rome is so straight that it's almost a wonder to behold: Engineers toiled to create Via Appia Antica.

Via del Pigneto, Bohemian Central
Graffiti and small boutiques form the background of Via del Pigneto, a real bohemian enclave. The environment smacks of another offbeat paradise, London's Shoreditch area, and you'll find the funky offerings too tempting if you like independent shops, bakeries, and intellectual hangouts.

“In a neighborhood pizzeria, hard-as-nails pizza makers banter with the late-night crowd,” Hole described. “Students talk earnestly at spindly tables, groups of friends share beers on doorsteps. Everyone’s wearing black. They’re artists, intellectuals, communists and poseurs, and sometimes all the above.”

Via Di San Giovanni in Laterano, Street of Secrets
This street is known for harboring “extraordinary treasure,” writes Hole, and that's enough to get us planning. One of Rome's most notable Catholic sites is near the Via Di San Giovanni, the Scala Santa, which is where Jesus is thought to have climbed before meeting Pontius Pilate.

Hotel Bernini Bristol
Don't have time to go to the museums? No matter, you'll have one outside your window if you pick Hotel Bernini Bristol. The hotel sits right beside the Triton fountain and the Spanish steps, and 18th-century furnishings inside your guestroom only make the experience more delightful. Some of the 127 rooms and suites have balconies for an even better view.

Hotel de Russie
The luxury five-star Hotel de Russie is found within easy walking distance to the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo. A unique luxury hotel, the Hotel de Russie features a hidden secret garden for dining and strolling. A top-ranked health club on premises gives you a chance to really unwind.

Hotel Eden
Overlooking the Seven Hills of Rome, Hotel Eden is positioned in a bustling area that will never leave you wondering what it is you should do next. In the heart of the business district, Hotel Eden has a great rooftop dining spot and plenty of cultural charm in décor and service. Don't forget to contact your concierge to learn more about memorable and entertaining diversions in one of the most culture-filled cities in the world.

Hotel Majestic Roma
Built in 1889, the Hotel Majestic Roma is an elegant jewel of a hotel positioned just steps from the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. The hotel, with its 85 guestrooms and gorgeous 13 suites, are ready for the lazy traveler who might need to be pried from her art deco-inspired room and its amenities. With Carrara marble baths and luxurious Italian furnishings, it's understandable.

Rome Cavalieri
Rome's Cavaliere hotel overlooks Rome and is situated very close to the lush Mediterranean parklands. A retreat in the city, the hotel was the first to achieve the distinction of a Waldorf-Astoria level property. This-five star destination is a stunning example of the fine accommodations waiting for you in Rome.

With all these options in Rome, you could probably plan four separate trips to this magnificent city. Why not start with the first of four this year?

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