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Act like you're in Gladiator in the Colosseum, but don't forget your passport
Rome wasn't built
How much of Italy's capital can you cover in 48 hours? The List went to find out. Words: Judith Ho
When in Rome. to do as the Romans do may be standard procedure. but l‘ve only got two and a half days and I‘m devoting them to tourism. Anyway. speeding round (albeit on bloodthirsty Vespas) seems a pretty authentic pursuit. so I'm doing my bit by legging it through the city's cobbled corsos. taking in the sights. and trying to bring back the shoestring budget in one piece.
TH U RSDAY
1.30pm Arrive at Leonardo Da Vinci airport and take the express to Termini.
2.15pm (Unlimited all day Irai‘elt'arrl 1.6.000, A line to Metro Spagna.) The cobbled Piazza di Spagna slants diagonally into the flat stretches
of orangey buildings. It‘s been so cinematically
scrutinised that I feel like I‘m walking through a film set. a suspicion furthered by the artiﬁcial flower stalls. Beneath the clutter of tourist bottoms l can just make out the ethereal shimmer of the Spanish Steps.
3pm l’ontana (li 'l'rei'i. Thanks to La l)olee Vita. Anita Ekberg's moonlit dip has overshadowed its Papal credentials. as have the boards of hotdog vans and overpriced cafes. How impressive can a fountain actually be'.’ In this case. staggerineg so: water. waves and the winged feet of huge white horses charge forth from the side of this improbably tiny square. 4.15pm As one of Rome‘s greatest basilica churches. not only does Santa Maria Maggiore (Piazza D‘lisquilino) provide visual splendour. but also confession in the language of your
124 THE lIST 2—l6 Nov 2000
choice (including Mandarin. German and Serbo-Croat). Nearby Santa Pudenziana (Via Urbana). is humble in comparison. but boasts a mosaic dating from the fourth century and an adjoining Philippino community church.
10am Vatican Museum (Metro ()nat'iano). Consisting of several huge museums. it‘s not exactly conducive to speed sightseeing. but this can be compromised for a look at the most famous of Raphael and Michelangelo‘s frescoes. For optimum efficiency it‘s possible to take the fast track to the Sistine Chapel. but this takes half an hour anyway. and misses everything else out. The Raphael Rooms. not to mention the Gallery of Maps and the Borgia Suite. are well worth slowing down for. 1.30pm The Vatican. Walking around Piazza San Pietro‘s massive arc of pillars. the enormity is amazing. as is the glaring whiteness (an effect achieved in the l5th Century by pillaging marble from the nearby Roman sites). St Peter’s Basilica is equally impressive. with the golden glow of Bernini's huge baldacchino and a dome designed by Michelangelo. liven after the lift there are over 300 steps to the domes top. so any pretensions to dignified athleticism must be speedily disposed of. Still. a sweaty emergence comes complete with a stunning view of the city.
3.30pm Via (‘onclotti and Via I’t‘attina (ll/left?) Spagna) (Shops (“love between 7—8pm). Enjoy
Serena Freeland, 24, has lived in Rome on and off for six years.
ll Pulcino Ballerino
Via de/I’Equi 68
Reasonable prices for delicious food and wine. Very trendy and busy, so expect to queue.
Via del Commercio
Depending on the night, you’ll find a good range of music from drum & bass to rock.
// Branca/eone, Via Levanna
Recognised as one of the most innovative clubs in Rome (Fridays).
DRI N K
Poveri Ma Belli
Watering-hole with real 19505 ltalian cinematic ambience, transforming into a club later on.
Porta Portese (flea market)
Via Trastevere 5am—2pm Sunday.
A photographer's dream, there are some real characters hanging out, but also a notorious rip-off spot.
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele (food market)
Every morning except Sundays.
A must see 4 very typical — women and men screaming to sell a melon and so forth.