I always tell people that I go to Italy to go to the movies and I’m kidding – a little. I love Italy and would live there if I could. I have my eye on a little apartment in the Parioli section of Rome.
When I’m in Rome I pretend that I live there. I rent an apartment instead of staying in a hotel. I speak Italian. I shop for fresh produce in the markets and I do a lot of cooking. And I go to the movies just about every day. It’s so great.
I know that not everyone would call this much of a vacation, but if you are like me and would like to try it, I have some ideas for you.
First of all, study Italian in Rome. When I have a couple of weeks I attend the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci, an Italian language school not far from the Vatican. The students there are from all over the world and so, of course, you learn with the immersion method. Most of the students are there for longer periods of time; I met an opera singer who was there for a year to learn the language from scratch. I just go once in a while to brush up on it.
Save money and have a more authentic experience by renting an apartment instead of staying in a hotel. I found a wonderful agency, the Bed and Breakfast Association of Rome, with listings for simple but affordable apartments all around the city. I’ve rented many for 100 euro or less.
If you prefer a hotel check out Venere.com. I have a 100% success rate using it to find cheap places to stay all over Europe. The user reviews are priceless.
The first thing to do when you arrive in the city is to go to a newstand and pick up a little weekly magazine called Roma C’è - it’s got all the movie listings plus information about everything else to do in Rome; plays, art, museums, and music.
Pronti? Ready? Let me know if any of you give it a try!