A Travellerspoint blog

February 2012

The City is Eternal, but the Snow is Just Temporary

A cold and snowy visit to Rome.

snow 3 °C
View Roma for Superbowl 2012 on GregW's travel map.

Usually if a flight pulls away from a gate at anything other than the appointed time, its because you are running late. My flight down to Rome was one of those rare occasions where a plane pulled away early. The pilot and crew had gotten everyone on ahead of schedule so we could get away early. "Hopefully to miss the snow," explained the captain.

Snow? In Rome? That doesn't seem like travel as usual.

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It wasn't. In fact, the snow that fell on Rome was the first snow since 1986. The radio was telling folks to stay off the road, and I saw more than my fair share of cars rattling down the cobblestone streets of central Rome with chains on their tires. It was a unique way to see Rome for the first time.

The snow had finished falling by the time we landed, so the pilots rush to get us off the ground was for nought and the snow didn't impact the flight at all. We were 20 minutes early, though, which would give me an extra 20 minutes of site seeing in Rome. All I had to do was get into town. That's where the snow hit me.

I was already in a poor mood from the wait in line for customs (we arrived just after a couple jumbos from China and India) when I arrived at the train station. The train into central Rome was delayed by 30 minutes, and once it finally got going dropped us only halfway towards central Rome, at Roma Ostiense station instead of at Roma Termini. I had to transfer to the metro, and then try and drag my roller suitcase 20 minutes through the snow covered pavement and cobbled streets of Rome.

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Once settled into my hotel (right by the Trevi fountain), my mood improved. Despite the cold, snow and ice, the site seeing was good when bundled up against the cold. It did provide a few hitchs - for example, the Colosseum was closed due to the snow, there were a few streets shut down due to falling ice and I did slip on the ice, fall and jam my thumb. However, it did provide a unique view of many of the famous Roman sites I had seen many times in photos and on travel TV shows.

Snow in the Coliseum

Snow in the Coliseum


Columns at the Foro Di Caesar

Columns at the Foro Di Caesar


The Forum from Via dei Fori Imperiali

The Forum from Via dei Fori Imperiali


Columns at Largo di Torre Argentina in the snow

Columns at Largo di Torre Argentina in the snow


Largo di Torre Argentina in the snow

Largo di Torre Argentina in the snow


Lights along Via del Corso

Lights along Via del Corso


Spit it out!  Piazza Novona

Spit it out! Piazza Novona


Trident wielder, Fountains at Piazza Novona

Trident wielder, Fountains at Piazza Novona


Quirinale steps

Quirinale steps


Arch and fork in the road showing the snow in Rome

Arch and fork in the road showing the snow in Rome


Spanish Steps, icy and treacherous

Spanish Steps, icy and treacherous


Statues along Via Del Fori Imperiali

Statues along Via Del Fori Imperiali


Tiber River at Night

Tiber River at Night


Trevi Fountain at night

Trevi Fountain at night


Villa Medici, atop the Spanish Steps

Villa Medici, atop the Spanish Steps


Santissimo Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano

Santissimo Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano

Santa Francesca Romana o Santa Maria Nuova

Santa Francesca Romana o Santa Maria Nuova

By the end of my four days, much of the snow had melted, however the cold was still there. The snow and cold provided a unique view of Rome, but I would like to see it in a more traditional setting - perhaps with some sun and warmth next time. Definitely will want to come back.

So on my last night, walked around the corner from my hotel to the Trevi fountain. I took off my gloves, shivered a touch from the cold air on my skin, and then dug into my pocket. I pulled out a Euro coin, turned my back to the fountain, and tossed it over my shoulder.

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Rome, I'll be back.

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Posted by GregW 12:58 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

Rome and Ruin: Superbowl XLVI in Rome, Italy

SPQR: Superbowl Party Quakes Rome!

snow -3 °C
View Roma for Superbowl 2012 on GregW's travel map.

"I don't think I have heard this much English since I arrived in Rome!"

I overheard that as two people squeezed passed me through the pre-game throng. The place was packed with Americans, mostly students. Despite the fact that it was getting close to midnight on a Sunday night, the crowd continued to grow and showed no signs of easing up.

The reason they were there, and that late on a Sunday, was for Superbowl XLVI, and the place they were gathering was the Scholar's Lounge on the Via del Plebiscito in Rome, Italy.

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The Scholar's Lounge is a multi-room Irish pub with a fine selection of beers on tap and an international menu. It is as one imagines an Irish pub should be - wooden paneling, pictures of Irish poets, books lining book shelves and lots of whiskeys lined up behind the bar along mirrored shelves. It also, in the manner of many pubs nowadays, had multiple TVs to show all the latest sports, including American football.

Superbowl XLVI featured the New York Giants against the New England Patriots, playing in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Patriots were heavily favoured, however the New York Giants had beaten a heavily favoured and previously unbeaten Patriots squad in the Superbowl in 2008.

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As we got closer to midnight, the cramped quarters became even more packed, and I had to fight to find a space just to stand. Soon every inch of floor space was filled with people watching the Superbowl.

Getting to the bar became a chore, having to try and push through the crowds. At half-time, I switched from pints to bottles of Peroni, and ordered three large bottles so I could try and make it through Madonna's half-time show and through the end of the game without having to try and fight my way back to the bar. Luckily I was able to find a small space, which even included a small shelf to put my extra bottles on and provided a decent view of on of the big screens.

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Despite the crowds, the Scholar's Lounge was a great place to watch the game. It had an excellent atmosphere, lots of fans and a beautiful setting. A few less people might have made getting to the bar a bit easier, but one can't complain too much.

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The game came towards the end with the Giants having the ball. Afraid that New York would run down the clock and kick a game-winning field goal, the Patriots allowed the Giants to score a touchdown run, giving the Patriots 57 seconds to try and win the game. However, the Patriots were unable to move down the field, and the Giants ended up winning the game 21 points to 17.

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My own game plan worked out well as well. I was able to run through the entire second half without having to go back to the bar, and as the game ended still had half a bottle of Peroni left.

The crowd thinned out as the lights came on and I finished off the last of my beer. I walked out into the cold Roman night, wandered past the nearby Palazzo Venezia, up the street past the Trevi Fountain and back to my hotel. Another exotic location to watch the most American of events in an Irish pub.

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- - -

For more of my experience of watching Superbowl in international locations, check out my Superbowls Around the World Table of Contents.

Posted by GregW 12:30 Archived in Italy Tagged sports superbowl superbowls_around_the_world Comments (0)

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