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CAMPO DE FIORI
This is a lively square in central Rome that starts each morning as a market place and ends as a popular drinking spot. During the mornings from Monday through Saturday, there is a fruit and vegetable market which, while expensive, sells the best-tasting, sun-ripened fruit around!
By early afternoon, the stalls are pulled down and from then on, it's a fantastic place to get a drink and sit in the sun. The cheapest drinks are sold as "takeaway" where you can enjoy your glass of wine while standing in the square - very popular with Italians. However it's not too expensive to get a wonderful seat at Vinearia and enjoy the people-watching and the stree performers from a comfortable spot. This place is very crowded on weekend evenings, and a lot of foreigners gather there, above all young people. Be careful because somebody can have a bit too much alcohol and glasses (now only plastic) may fly! Wind through a maze of streets to the north to reach Piazza Navona, a wide open space that used to hold chariot races in ancient Roman times. Presently, it is a Baroque masterpiece, with fountains designed by Bernini and several restaurants. Here you will find a slew of caricature artists that will draw a very accurate sketch of your face for 40 Euros.
Renovation work on the spectacular Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in the centre has now been completed. The powers that be only periodically enforce the plastic glass rule, usually only during the summer in the evenings and weekends.
A really lovely part of Rome, which is across the river from Campo di Fiori. The centre is Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere and there are narrow cobbled streets and plenty of bars and restaurants going from there. There are a few beautiful churches, including Santa Maria in Trastevere and Santa Cecilia. It is very crowded on the weekends, so don't try to reach it by car! It will save your feet a lot of trouble to take the #8 tram if you are staying across the river in central Rome. Trastevere is easily accessible from Fiumicino airport with trains every 30 minutes.
The area around the main train station is not particularly nice and has mainly tourist hotels and bad tourist food - avoid eating there if possible! It is inevitable that you will be approached by guides selling various tourist bus services; do not be intimidated into choosing the first offer. Some of the bus tours only go to a few of the key sites, while others are quite comprehensive and give you a good introduction to Rome's layout and how to get around it. Even if you can't take in all the sights during the bus tour, you can walk around without getting lost!
Form the Termini train station it is easy to reach the centre of Rome where most of the sightseeing locations are. Just jump on the subway (metro) and get off at stop "Spagna" (Spanish Steps) and you will find yourself in the heart of ancient Rome in minutes.
EUR is a suburban residential area and a business district. The heart of EUR was bulit in 1935 by Mussolini for the Esposizione Universale Roma. The neighborhood is very different from what one sees in the center of Rome. There are no ancient Roman ruins in this area and the streets are wide and modern. Its a well-balanced area with concrete surrounded by wide green areas and trees. You will find both buildings and villa-type constructions in separate areas.
There is an artificial lake in EUR that the Romans call laghetto (pronounced lageto) meaning "little lake." The lake is surrounded by a Japanese garden / park that can be pleasant to walk through. There are some places to eat and have ice cream around the lake. Avoid the lake on weekends if you are lookng for peace and quiet; the place will be packed with families and kids. EUR is also where Rome's theme park is based. The theme park called "LUNEUR" is nothing compared to most theme parks like Disney due to its small size and limited type and number of attractions. EUR is connected to the city by both subway (subway is referred to as "metro" in Rome) and bus transportation. Metro is the fastest and easiest way to get to and from EUR. There is presently a lot of construction going on in this location during the week, with huge bulldozers, so that might spoil your peace and quiet!
If you are a tourist who wants to be as close as possible to the sight-seeing areas this would not be the best location to stay while visiting Rome. Rome is not only about seeing places, it's about living them and strolling around like a Roman. Better to spend a couple dollars more but be as near to the center as possible. While staying in the city center you will save on transportation since you will be able to move among most of the sight-seeing locations by foot as they are all close to each other.
Testaccio and Ostiense
Night clubs and discos are still popular but less than in the 70's-80's. The neighborhoods to go to for this kind of entertainment are Testaccio and Ostiense. Testaccio is a good place for traditional food, too. Shhh, don't tell everybody, it won't last long.
Safety in Neighborhoods
Safety is not a big issue when talking of violent crime, but in all neighborhoods, beware of pickpockets and scammers. Use your common sense as you would in any other big touristy town, paying attention to your surroundings on public transport and in crowded areas.
Prati (Vatican Area)