Tag Archives: Rome

Italy: Priverno-Fossanova, Rome and Villa Borghese

FOCACCIA AND ESPRESSO

We love focaccia. It is an italian bread, usually baked with olive oil, herbs and different spices. Some also use sun dried tomatoes in their focaccia. I love all kinds of focaccia. Especially the ones with olive oil and rosemary.

You can enjoy an excellent breakfast or lunch with focaccia, tomatoes, olive oil and a little bit of prosciutto. If you are really hungry, add mozzarella to this dish. Then, enjoy an espresso, or a double espresso. What a great start to a new day!

Focaccia


THURSDAY MARKET IN SABAUDIA

We spent one vacation in Sabaudia, which is found 90 kilometers south from Rome, by the sea. What a great place! On Thursdays the people of Sabaudia organized a market. And what a market it was. Near the corner of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, one could find almost 100 different vendors selling fresh fish, vegetables, fruit, bread, cheese, pants, shirts, skirts, hats, shoes and almost anything one can think of.

As we do not have such markets in Finland, it was quite a neat experience to stroll through the market and make some small purchases.

torikala

italian high heels


PRIVERNO-FOSSANOVA

We wanted to visit Rome. So we bought train tickets from the Sabaudia tourist office. I was surprised how little the tickets cost. Just around 10€ per person. They included a 1 hour train ride to Rome and back, as well as bus and metro tickets.

We made a test drive to Priverno-Fossanova train station, so we would know how early to drive there the next morning. We had no idea if there was a rush hour at 7 AM or not. The town of Priverno situates about 20 kilometers from Sabaudia. It was fun to drive inland as we had only so far seen the town of Sabaudia and the beautiful beach and the Mediterranean sea.

Sabaudia beach from the mountain

We found the train station easily.

Priverno F junaasema
I checked the timetables to be sure of which trains actually stop at this small train station. We decided to try the 8 AM train. Then we strolled around the area and took some photos of the scenery. In the east we saw green hills and beautiful mountains.

Priverno F junaasema_2
The sky was blue and the sun warmed our skin. A great day was starting. We drove back to the house, got our swimsuits and towels and headed for the great Sabaudia beach (which is more than 20 kilometers long).

The next morning was my husband’s birthday. I had promised to take him to Rome. It was a fun train ride. The scenery changed during the 1 hour trip from green hills to mountains, and from small cities to historical sites and the beautiful city of Rome.

Italian juna


A FABULOUS TAXI DRIVER

We had decided to make some trips by taxi, as the day was unusually hot and it was my husband’s birthday. The taxis do not cost much. I was surprised it cost only 8€ to Colosseum and the same to Villa Borghese. Recommend this if you like air conditioning. You still have plenty of possibilities to walk and view the scenery.

THE COLOSSEUM

Colosseum_1
Our taxi driver was fabulous. He drove very well and he told us about Rome the whole way to the Colosseum, which was our first stop.

JH Rooma Colosseum

Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (Altare della Patria) is an amazing monument which was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885.

Vittorio Emanuele II

After checking out the Colosseum we decided to have an espresso. We chose a cafeteria right next to the Colosseum. It was fun to sit on the terrace and experience the hectic life of Rome and the thousands of tourists from all over the world. The cafeteria was on a great place and therefore the prices were high. We paid almost 5€ for the same espresso that cost 1€ in Sabaudia and 60 cents in Sicily. When in Rome… 😉

Piazza Venezia Rooma
We took a taxi from the cafeteria to Villa Borghese. We drove through Piazza Venezia towards the north.

This taxi driver was friendly too and told us a little bit about the things we saw during our short drive to Via Veneto.


VILLA BORGHESE

map of villa borghese
We strolled in the park. It was a hot day. But the huge trees gave us shadow when we needed it. I wanted to see the Borghese Gallery and Museum. What a fantastic building with some fabulous art.

Villa Borghese in Rome

Villa B_1

Villa B_3

More about the Borghese Gallery and Museum can be found here. The collection was started by cardinal Scipione Borghese (nephew to Pope Paul V, whose original name was Camillo Borghese) in the 17th century. 

Walking around the park made us hungry, so we looked around for a cafeteria. With a prosciutto-mozzarella-tomato sandwich and a large cold orange juice we sat outside enjoying the sunny weather. After an espresso it was time to walk down Via Veneto and check out the expensive boutiques and restaurants. We walked all the way to the train station. The streets around it are very hectic and full of small shops, cafeterias and pizzerias.

Rooman junaaseman vieressä

We said farewell to Rome and took the train back to Priverno-Fossanova. After a great day in Rome it was nice to open a bottle of white wine, cook a delicious dinner at the house and sit in the backyard relaxing and talking about everything we had seen in Rome.

valkoviini

Our friend, a blackbird, was not shy. It searched for something good to eat and found this and that from our backyard.

mustarastas

Italy: Etna, Catania and Syracuse

HELSINKI – ROME – CATANIA

In 2004 my husband and I decided to enjoy an adventure. We wanted to see something interesting in Europe, not too far from Finland and where it would be around 20 C (68 F) during the day. We chose to make a trip to Sicily, Italy.

We decided to visit the area around Syracuse and the small towns further south. Most people visit Palermo and the beaches north of Catania (Taormina and Naxos) – later in the summer time.

Unfortunately there were no direct flights to Sicily, so we had to fly to Rome, then take a connecting flight to Catania.

What an experience it is to see the Rome International Airport for the first time!

We had only 1 hour between our flights. I give you a hint – reserve at least 2 hours between connecting flights. Your day will be less stressful.

fiumicino airport

MOUNT ETNA

The flight from Rome to Catania, an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, was short. The view from the plane was awesome. The Mediterranean Sea is for sure one of the most beautiful seas, especially when the sun makes the water glitter.

When I saw Mount Etna, the active stratovolcano of Sicily, I found my disposable camera (back then that was normal…) and took some pictures. It was an amazing moment.

Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity.

Etna lentokoneesta katsottuna

CATANIA

We did not visit Catania this time. It is the second largest city in Sicily. If you like a hectic lifestyle and chaotic traffic, visit Catania. The nightlife is well known and you will find plenty of bars to choose from.

The city is known for its seismic history, having been destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake in 1169, another in 1693, and several volcanic eruptions from the neighbouring Mount Etna volcano.

Catania city and Etna
SYRACUSE

It is about 70 kilometers from Catania to Syracuse. We had chosen Hotel Helios. Helios was OK but not as great as advertised. Back in 2004 our budget was small, otherwise I would have chosen another hotel.

Hotel H and me

If you visit Syracuse you might want to stay at Mercure Siracusa Prometeo or at Jolly Hotel Aretusa. These are in the center of the city. Best choice might though be to book a room at Grand Hotel Ortigia, which is in the old town (called Isola Ortigia). Also Hotel Roma is a great choice.

In Syracuse, population 125.000, the cultural history is mixed with Italian city life. But just a short drive away you can enjoy the small and beautiful beaches, rocky shores and the fabulous countryside.

Pachino Sicily_2

PIAZZA ARCHIMEDE

An evening in the old town of Syracuse (called Ortigia) will fill you with great memories. Just before sunset we took a taxi to the old town and searched for Trattoria Archimede, which our hotel clerk had recommended. We had asked where do the Italians eat dinner. Sicilia in Tavola is another great restaurant offering great traditional food.

We arrived a bit early. Italians eat later, after 8 pm. We are hungry before 7 pm. We decided to hang out at Piazza Archimede for an hour. Great decision. The piazza is beautiful. And quite old. It was opened in 1878.

Piazza Archimede Syracuse

While sipping a cold drink at the terrace of a nice bar,  Banco di Sicilia and the other old buidings around you whisper stories of ancient Sicilian times and lifestyle.

I can warmly recommend to visit Sicily. There is so much to see as well as to taste!