Marcus Travel Journal

2023 - Rome

Rome - Piazza Mattei

Fontana delle Tartarugh, Piazza Mattei


Returning to Rome


Rome is a city that stays with you. A city of endless history, beautiful architecture and people who live their passion for their country. We keep returning to Rome to not only see the many sights, to be part of life in the city. Some ask, why go to Rome again? As regular visitors to the city our visits are more relaxed than for someone who visits the city for the first time. First visits can be hectic. Trying to see many sights within a limited time frame.

Because of our many visits to Rome, our days have a relaxed feel. There is no oppresive schedule to maintain. We see what we want to see on a particular day and enjoy being there.

A number of years ago we changed from staying in hotels to staying for a weeek each time and renting an apartment. With an apartment, while still tourists, we live less like a tourist. We shop for food, cook our meals and enjoy time in our homes in addition to having outings to see desired sites.



Rome is crowded with tourists. When you want to get away from the crowds, take a walk along the various Lungoteveres (italian for waterfront). These are streets that run along the Tiber River. Massive retaining walls (muraglioni) were built to protect the city from flooding of the river. It was a major construction endeavour. Parts of communities were unfortunately destroying in the process. The river flows well below street level, but there are numerous stairs down to the walkways along the river. Great for walks in the daytime. Use caution in the evenings.



Apartment Piazza Mattei

Rome - Loft Apartment

For 2023, we are renting an apartment with a roof-terrace located near the the old Jewish Ghetto. This is a very good location for us as we typically rent an apartment not far from here. We will be located near the Piazza Mattei, as small piazza with a noted fountain, the Fountain of Turtles - Fontana delle Tartarugh. The piazza is named after Duke Giacomo Mattei and the building he owned is No. 19. has walled up windows over the request for marriage. The fountain (1581, 1583) has four bronze youths, markble seashells and bronze dolphines. The turtles were added in 1685 by Bernini, at the rquest of Pope Alexander VII. The Bernini turltes now are housed in the Musei Capitolini and copies are found on the fountain.

This penthouse apartment shows lots of character. We are looking forward to the ample comfortable furniture in the living area.


Borghetto Flaminio

Borghetto Flaminio Rome


Borghetto Flaminio, located at the Piazza della Marina, is open on Sundays from 10 am to 7 pm. This is a flea market with a wide range of offerings. Every thing from designer clothing to old cast-offs. There is a small entrance fee.

Places to Eat - We May Try

  • Emma, via del Monte della Farina, 28/29 - Open everyday 12:30 - 15:30 and 18:30 to 23:30. Known for its thin and crunchy crust (scrocchiarella), Emma is said to be a landmark for Rome-sytle piazza in the city. Close to Largo Argentina and the Jewish Quarter. It is a large and elegant restaurant.

Best Gelato in Rome?

Based on recent articles for best gelato, the list below seems to hit the highlights. Some of them are also our favorites.

  • GROM - this company if found in many locations. the one in Rome have experienced is the location at the Piazza Navona. Yes, very good gelato.
  • Fassi - Palazzo del Freddo Giovanni Fassi (Frozen palace of Giovanni Fassi) - we have not tried this place, yet. It has a long history, opening in 1880 and this particular location has been going since 1928. It is said they produce t a thousand kilos of gelato a day. Located on via Principe Eugenio, just south of the Palazza Vittorio Emanuele II, it is east of the Termini Station (between via Cairolio and Via Bixio). Not the most popular tourist area, but the Palazza Vittorio Emanuele II is classic old Rome and has a great feel.
  • Giolitti - we know very well. It was founded in 1890, one of the oldest in Rome. Located at Via Uffici degli Vicario, 40, in the Colonna area, it is not to far off the busy via del Corso. There is also another location near Termini Station on via Marsala, 29. Their gelato is very good.
  • Otaleg - in the Trastevere area, via di San Cosimato, 14a, is highly rated.
  • Il Gelato di San Crispino, via della Panetteria, 42 - long time establishment. Became popular as Julia Roberts goes here in the movie, Eat, Pray, Love. Although she had her gelato in a cone, in actual fact they only serve gelato in a cup. They do not want the taste of a cone to impact the taste of the gelato. It is located in the Trevi area.
  • Gunther Gelato Italiano, Piazza di Sant'Eustachio, 47 - it is called the new kid on the block, but Gunther takes gelato very seriously. He even does gelato pairing!
  • Frigidarium, via del Governo Vecchio, 112 - not that far from the Piazza Navona. Oh we probably know this location a little too well. We had daily visits of this place on our 2021 stay in Rome. They have great take-out containers and if you have an apartment, choose your selection and run that contain home to your freezer. As I write this there is a closed notice. When it opens again, it is a great place to go.
  • Gelateria del Teatro, located at Via dei Coronari 65/66. This is one of the great streets to walk, and we can not walk by this place and try their incredible selection of flavours.

Churches to Revisit

San Clemente Basilica

San Clemente Basilica, via Labicana, 95, Roma - It is located just past the Colosseo along via LabricanaHours are 9:45 am to 12:30 pm Monday to Saturday, 12 - 5:30 pm on Sunday. A three tired church built in 1100 and sites over a 4th Century Basilica that was previously a home of a Roman nobelman. That home was built on the foundations of a republican eras villa and wharehouse that was destroyed in the Great Fire of AS 64. Stunning mosaics in the top level basilica. The San Clemente Basilicae is an entrance fee.

Basilica di Santa Stefano Rotondo al Celio

Santa Stefano Rotando

Via Santo Stefano Rotondo, 7, 00184 Roma. Located on the Celio, one of the highest among the seven legendary hills of Rome. One of the few circular churches in Rome. Old, founded by Pop Simplicio between 468 and 483. There were three concentric circles, the first 22 meters in diameter, second 42 and the third 66 (now there are only two). The columns were taken from Roman Temples. Much of the richness was lost in 1094 when Rome was sacked. The beautiful Byzantine mosaic isd still visible. Hours: Tuesdays to Sunday, 10:00 to 13:00 and 15:30 to 18:30

Villa Medici

Located along the Viale della a Trintà dei Monti (above the Spanish Steps), on the Pincian Hill, the villa is known for its architectfure. I have read it is recommended to purchase tickets in advance, on-line.

Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli

San Pietro in Vincoli

Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli, 4/a, 00184 Roma RM, Italy - about a 22 minute walk from our apartment (I don't think so Google!) but head over and walk down via Cavour and, belore you get to the Cavour Metro Station, turn right onto Piazza di San Pietro in Vinocli - take the stairs - staircase of via San Francesco di Paola. Then continue onto via Eudossiana.

Inside the church is the impressive status of Moses by Michaelangelo.

Palazzo Doria Pamphilj

Palazzo Doria Pamphilj

So many times in Rome and yet this is still to be visited! The Palazzo was built between 1644 and 1650. The Palazzo Pamphilij faces the Piazza Navona. The Palazzo Doria Pamphij that houses the Galleria Doria Pamphilj is located on via del Corso 305.

Villa Celimontana

Villa Celimontana

This old villa is a secluded place in Rome. Close to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Villa Celimontana was the family home o f the powerful Mattei Family. The house is private and can not be entered but the gardens are free to enter and walk about. The Fontan del Giume is one of the few ornate fountains that have survived on the grounds. The Basilica Hilariana ruins are also in the grounds. Open from 7 am to 7 pm. The main entrance to the Villa Celimontana is located on Piazza della Navicella, which is around a 10 minute walk from the Colosseum. The second entrance is on Clivo Scauro, a short walk from the Circus Maximus.


Rome's Eternal Look



I took this picture on a visit to Rome over ten years ago. The look of Rome is eternal.