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Posts from the ‘Rome’ Category

Vatican is Cash Only | Concerns about money laundering

long lines vatican money launderingOh, you heard me right.

The Italian government has grave concerns over the Vatican’s handling of money and its non-compliance with the European Union’s safeguards against money laundering.  As of December 31, 2012 the Bank of Italy is no longer allowed to operate inside the Vatican walls.  It is easy to forget that the Vatican is independent of Italy when the city of Rome has engulfed the area on all sides.  Many times this has proved to be an advantage for the Holy See, although this is not the case currently.

What does this mean for travelers?  Tourists will need to pay for cash for visits to the Vatican Museum, the cafeteria and for any purchases at the gift shops within Vatican City.  The change has brought about a great hassle as unknowing tourist wait in the long lines only to be turned away to find cash.   I suggest all travelers make sure to have enough cash to cover entrance fees and any intended purchases.  ATMs are located on just about every street corner in Rome.  Prices are currently 16 euro/adult and 8 euro/student.

What does this mean for the Vatican?  Obviously, these are huge sources of revenue and in the current economic situation any loss in income will have a greater impact.  I have a feeling that the order for compliance is about to be taken more seriously and once the EU standard safeguards are in place tourists can expect things to return to normal.

The original article can be found here.

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Rome Bans Eating Near Monuments

What’s next?  No drinking in Ireland?

Rome’s mayor, Gianni Alemanno has decided to toughen rules about behavior on, around and even near the national monuments.  Apparently after a stroll through his city, Alemanno was horrified to see tourists and locals alike disrespecting places of important.  He swiftly laid down the law, no eating near any treasure.

It’s enforcement is of course drawing criticism.  Confused tourist munching on gelato can no longer stop and linger at the Trevi Fountain (one of my favorite things to do).  Locals on lunch breaks are being shooed off the Spanish Steps.  Many Italians say there are better things for the police to be worrying about and feel that this is just another attempt of the current government to try to grasp control of the city that has been outside their control for some time.

I do think that there are cases, usually when alcohol is involved, that sites like the Spanish Steps are not respected and begin to look more like an international frat party.  I do believe these amazing places need to be preserved and cared for so that they will last for generations to come.  Is making a sweeping law like this the answer?  Part of the soul of Rome is the wandering with a slice of pizza or gelato in hand.  Enjoying everyday like in incredible historic settings.  I also know that laws are made to be broken when it comes to Italians.  I will be watching with great interest to see what will come with this decision.

Rome ban on eating near monuments

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

My Love Affair with Rome | Sunset at Castel Sant’Angelo

Several weeks ago I began a journey to explain why I am so in love with the city of Rome.  I began with an article defending it against common criticism that can be found here.  Now I would like to begin my series that breaks down my infatuation piece by piece, hoping that in the end all that have followed along with at least give some grace to the city that holds my heart prisoner.

rome italy vatican sunsetOn a trip to Rome several years ago, I ended up spending more time than I expected touring Castel Sant’Angelo.  As the sun started to fade I made a split decision and found a little table at the overpriced cafe with a picture perfect view of the Vatican.

I normally avoid touristy restaurants like the plague, but this moment made everything worth it.  As I sipped my wine and watched the sun melt behind St Peter’s iconic dome, I wondered how many other people could say they have shared this experience.

Travelers Note:  Castel Sant’Angelo was originally built as a tomb for the emperor and has been used as a prison, castle and place of refuge for popes under attack throughout the centuries.  This is one of my favorite sites that is sadly missing from many travelers itineraries.  If for nothing else, the views of the city are worth the trip.  Closed Mondays.  Open 9.00-18.30 Tue-Sun

castel sant angelo

rome italy

rome italy

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

My Love Affair with Rome | Campo de’Fiori

Several weeks ago I began a journey to explain why I am so in love with the city of Rome.  I began with an article defending it against common criticism that can be found here.  Now I would like to begin my series that breaks down my infatuation piece by piece, hoping that in the end all that have followed along with at least give some grace to the city that holds my heart prisoner.

italy morning market rome

The best way to start your morning in Rome is with a stroll through the Campo de’Fiori market.  I always make sure to spend my first day here when jet lag usually has me up earlier than normal.

The smells from the spice and cheese vendors have me drooling.  I am visually captivated by stall after stall of the season’s fresh produce.  Everything can be found here; from flowers to coffee pots and necklaces to salami.

The market is found everyday filling up the entire Campo de’Fiori square.  This is a fun way to gather up all the ingredients needed for a mid-day feast.

italy

rome italy market

rome italy market flowers

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Jovanotti Coming to New York

new york

Courtesy of the NYTimes

I love Jovanotti, a rapper from Rome, but in American I’m in the minority.  He wants to change that by living surrounded in an environment that will help him grow and change as an artist.  I will be anxious to hear his next project.  Here is the link to the article found in the New York Times.

Here is an introduction for those who have never heard him.  The first is my favorite, more of a ballad called Fango.

The second is the song that got me hooked about Rome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZY3bm93Wk4

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

My Love Affair with Rome | Catholic Essence

Several weeks ago I began a journey to explain why I am so in love with the city of Rome.  I began with an article defending it against common criticism that can be found here.  Now I would like to begin my series that breaks down my infatuation piece by piece, hoping that in the end all that have followed along with at least give some grace to the city that holds my heart prisoner.

One of the most handsome men I have ever laid eyes on was a Roman priest.

I could hear the authoritative clicking of his dress shoes on the cobblestone path behind me.  I turned and could not help but stare as he gracefully, yet somehow seductively, passed by me on that narrow street.

I felt guilty and I’m not even Catholic.

Holy Hotness

Thus began my introduction to the Catholic essence in Italy.  While today 90% of Italians report being of the Catholic faith, less than 1/3 of those actually prove it by attending mass.  Even with such a low overall attendance and participation rate, the faith is visible on almost every corner of Rome.  From the nuns on the street to the ‘pope shop’ by the Pantheon.  I even once purchased a calendar featuring 12 of the finest men in cloth.  A priest pin-up of all things.

Over the years I have attended masses and I never miss a visit to St. Peters.  I can be found on any given day obsessively stalking nuns with my camera.

The Catholic faith, while still much a mystery to me, is a subtle element that draws me into Rome.

The Pope Shoppe

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

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