Cleopatra, history’s most famous (and possibly fascinating) queen, is the insipiration for a new exhibit in Rome: “Cleopatra: Rome and the Magic of Egypt.”
On at the Chiostro del Bramante until February, the show’s aim is to contextualize Cleopatra’s life and times. It brings together more than 180 pieces from the ancient world, including frescoes, mosaics, jewelry, coins, and, yes, portraits of the major players, including several never-before-publicly-shown portraits of Cleopatra herself.
Ah, autumn in Italy: The weather is crisp, the produce beautiful (don’t you love it when apples and eggplant and truffles are in season?), and the tourist crowds have started to dissipate. It’s also the only time when somehow, inexplicably, I sometimes get a whiff of that countryside woodsmoke-smell—the kind that makes me want to bundle up and go for a hayride—in the center of Rome.
Of course, it’s been an up-and-downrelationship. And will it be “till death do us part”? Too early to say. But, like any epic romance, Rome has changed my life—and changed me—in ways that, just a short time ago, seemed highly unlikely.
And so I’m incredibly thankful that, four years ago, a younger version of myself faced up to some serious questions. Am I happy doing what I’m doing? What might make me happier? And, most crucially, What might I regret not doing?
They are the same questions that, at some point, we all have to face. And the answers I got back were, as they are for so many people, incredibly intimidating. If not downright scary.
I’ve been getting around the Bay of Naples lately. In May, I wrote a story on Ischia, Capri’s larger but lesser-known neighbor, for Canada’s Globe and Mail. When I visited the tiny, nearby island of Procida in August, I didn’t expect it to compare: After all, Ischia has stunning views… and lovely towns… and a medieval castle!
Convinced? Luckily, Procida makes a great weekend trip (or even day trip) from Rome. Take the fast train from Rome to Naples (1 hour 10 minutes), then grab a ferry with Medmar (www.medmarnavi.it), Caremar (www.caremar.it), Alilauro (alilauro.it), or Snav (snav.it) to Procida, which takes about a half hour.
"The ancient Greek theatre of Taormina, Sicily, was designed with serious drama in mind – and not just the costumed kind. Perched 250 metres above the Ionian Sea, the amphitheatre’s 360-degree view encompasses the still-active Mount Etna, the sparkling Mediterranean, the medieval village of Castelmola and, of course, Taormina itself.
From here, the town’s pastel palazzi and pretty cathedrals spread across the lush hillside like icing on a cassata siciliana, a traditional Sicilian cake.
It’s hard to look away—or say goodbye. Which is why I’ve come back to the town for a second time."
Read the rest of my story on the ancient seaside town—out in today's issue of the Globe and Mail newspaper—online here.
Looking for food near the Vatican… that’s quick, cheap, and delicious? Although eating in the Vatican food desert neighborhood can be tough, it just got a lot easier, thanks to Mangia!—a stylish new sandwich shop that uses organic and Slow Food ingredients.
Remember back… um… a while ago, when I said I'd be doing a series to answer those burning Italy- or travel-related questions in video form? Well, first (September) episode is above.
This is something I'll be doing every month, so before the next video launches on Oct. 15, make sure to send me your questions! Either email them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), tweet them @revealedrome (hashtag #revealrome), or post them below here.
Thanks, and I look forward to receiving—and answering—your questions!
Need to get from Ciampino airport to Rome? Yeah, you could take a taxi. But unless some serious stress and/or getting ripped off immediately on landing in Italy is your thing, you probably won’t want to. Luckily, there are lots of other ways to get from Ciampino to Rome.
Better yet, these options are easy, fast… and much cheaper than taking a taxi or transfer. All of these options get you into the Termini train station; from there, you can jump on Rome’s metro (either the A or B lines), take a bus, or grab a cab (from Termini, it shouldn’t be more than €15 at the most to get to another part of the city center).
(Wondering about Uber? Don’t worry — that’s at the end too).
(Note: This information has been updated as of December 2018).
One of my favorite local secrets in Rome is… a keyhole. No, really. Located on up on the Aventine hill, a peek through gives you a view of not one, not two, but three sovereign states—plus, there’s a special surprise (and photo op!)
that you can see through it.
Come with me to explore the coolest keyhole in Rome in my latest video!
And don’t forget, for more great tips and tricks, check out The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon, below, or through my site here! (And, yes, the keyhole is where I grabbed the shot for the cover).