I’ve got a folder on my Chrome Toolbar just for Rome, where I’ve saved potentially useful sites, from art-filled villas and archeological sites to Vespa tours and food halls. These bookmarks are my gateway to inspiring, up to date information – they have replaced the guidebooks of my youth. A few of my favorite Rome-centric blogs; An American in Rome, Revealed Rome, and Katie Parla, three adventurous women who love pasta and exploration.Spent a chunk of the weekend sorting through my desktop folders of Rome research, creating three documents that listed museums, churches, and monuments with their addresses, open days and times, websites, and one or two salient facts about each venue. I alphabetized each list and combined it into one massive document. It’s my Theory of Everything Alla Romana, and I’ll use it to create my own Google map of the city, and plan a day-by-day itinerary. At some point, I’ll make a separate list of restaurants, food halls, coffee bars, and pastry shops and put them on my Google Map too.
I’ll paste it into an email and send it to myself. It’s useful to find what’s nearby when a museum or restaurant is unexpectedly closed (I’m looking at you, Nabokov House Museum) or a post-it note on the ticket kiosk says ‘tour groups only’. Yeah, that’s happened too. I’ll paste the addresses in Google maps to guide me on foot, or when Uber needs me to plug in the destination. Having that list always on hand via my iPhone is by far the most helpful thing I’ve done for the last two trips.
I pulled up the St Petersburg calendar and saw that I color-coded it (museums, churches monuments and places to eat) and that was a help. I have the everyday total trip calendar and the week-by-week in depth ones set up, but all I had plugged in were the flights, and the three accommodations; two apartment rentals and a hotel.
Back to planning for Rome, I’ve plugged in the first ten days and started on reservations. Last week I tried to purchase the mandatory tickets to enter the Borghese Gallery Tuesday, March 7 (weekends and Fridays will be slammed, Mondays it’s closed.) The online calendar didn’t go past February 27. Odd, I thought. Expecting nothing, I sent an email to customer service. They responded with this;
We open reservation for march at the and of february
Somehow I doubted it. Sure enough, I checked back today and was able to book two tickets to the Borghese today through http://www.tosc.it. I had to sneak in through the Italian language site, as the English translated one blocked the calendar. Then I had to create a username and password, and it took more than one try. Persistence paid off and I’ve got my two tickets for March 7 at 9 am.
My only other visit to the Borghese was in 2004, and what I remember most vividly is Bernini’s sculpture of Apollo and Daphne. A docent told me that when they cleaned the statue, they discovered that the leaves growing from Daphne’s fingers made a pure, bell-like sound when tapped, like a crystal glass. It’s a miracle made of marble. Two hours, which is all you are allowed per visit, won’t be nearly enough.