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After browsing the forum archives, I saw that the last travel report on Rome was written nearly 4 years ago. Needless to say, a lot can happen in that time and since I just visited for a week to celebrate my birthday, a revised edition might be a good idea.
I’m going to break it into 3 categories – traveling to and from, the city proper and personal notes. This was the first international trip I’ve taken by myself so if there’s anything I've been misinformed about feel free to correct. And if you’d like some more information about anything specific I’ve noted, feel free to PM.
Without further ado, let’s dive in balls deep.

Gatwick/Rome
I’ll start with the positive notes. When I was a kid it used to take about an hour to fly to the Channel Islands ~235 miles away. Rome is nearly 4 times that distance at ~1100 miles and the flight took 2.5 hours so I’ve got to give points on flight time.
Also the staff, at least the ones whose souls hadn’t yet been crushed, were polite and helpful. Multi-lingual too. But that’s where my sympathy ends.
Travelling commercially, I’m expected to bend over and take it in the ass from airport security. Checking in I've no qualms with but the situation’s completely dissolved with no room left for personal consideration or discretion – shoes, belts, watches, security scanners, metal detectors, the separation of >100ml liquids into separate clear plastic bags.
South Park was absolutely right. It beats dealing with the airlines.

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For those of you who haven’t seen this gem, George Carlin is right on the money here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQdC-e82gmk

And of course punctuality is just pot luck.
Security legislation notwithstanding, if someone were to start up a new airline with minimal fuss that lets you board your plane within 30 minutes of arriving at the airport I firmly believe they would make a killing. Security for freedom.
Moving on.

The City Proper
Being a member state of the EU and a member of the currency, Italy’s fallen on hard economic times. This is apparent from the moment you leave the airport. There’s graffiti everywhere. Banksy would be out of a job in weeks if he moved there.
The journey from Fiumicino into Rome shows how bad things are – public transport’s nowhere near as prompt as it was in the past (though you could attribute that to Mussolini’s guarantee to shoot any driver who was ever late in their routine) and there’s a general sense of hopelessness in the faces of the people. Walls crumbling, overgrowing foliage, general disrepair and grim sights.
When I arrived, my first thought was “Oh, I have made a serious error in judgement here.”

Checked in my bags at the B&B on Monday and wondered out towards the river Tibur to see what I’d run into. I didn’t have any plans until the next day so I figured I’d just go exploring.
The first noteworthy place I came across was the Basilica of St. Pancras. I’d soon discover that by comparison to others, this one was distinctly minimalist. No ornate decorations, marble pillars, bright lights or commemorative monuments. Just some faded murals on the walls and a couple of carvings. I liked it. Very peaceful.
The next place I came across was a museum built into an archway commemorating the Gibraldi family and their involvement in the battle to defend the newly formed Roman Republic in 1849 from autocratic European authorities. Informative, if a little dry. There was a mausoleum with names engraved a few streets away but it wasn’t open while I was there.

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There was also a large fountain overlooking part of the city on a hilltop descending towards the river. There wasn’t any information on it, but making an educated guess from the markings I’d guess it was to honour one of the Popes.

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The next day I headed to St. Peter’s Square. I consulted with someone who visited the city before me and I was told to head there early in the week during the morning to avoid any kind of rush. Also, that it wasn’t yet peak tourist season would be a point in my favour.
There was definitely a build-up as the approach to the square was market by a street lined with lights, almost like a runway illuminating the path. Insert religious parallel here.
(On that note, let’s get this out of the way. This isn’t intended to advocate Christianity or to provoke religious debate. This is an overview with lacings of historical fact. Leave your theological interpretations at the door. )

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While I was there, I heard a hell of a lot of languages from different tourist groups – French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it really does draw peoples from all over the world. Makes communicating with anyone mighty difficult. During my stay I picked up some basics of Italian and got to practice some of my other languages but I’m pretty rusty from not having anyone to converse with for nearly 7 years. I’ll come back to this point later.
The large obelisk in the centre of the square was brought by the Emperor Caligula in AD40 to mark the end of his racetrack. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Roman Emperors, he was the slightly mental one who declared war on Neptune and sent his army to the shores to stab the water.
After going through the security scanners (déjà vu) I entered the Basilica of St. Peter.
Any description that I give can’t do justice to the impression I got when I walked through the doors. I uttered the words “Fuck me” if that’s helps to convey just how grandiose it was. No picture can replicate just how magnificent it is, but here’s one I took anyway.

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The only thing that I can say with definitive certainty is that I’m glad I’m not in any kind of artistic field because if I was a sculptor or painter, I was have been seriously demoralized at knowing that I’d never be able to approach such levels of artisan mastery. Hell, Michelangelo made ‘La Pieta’ when he was just 24.
Moving on, I picked up a few choice lines from the audio guide while I was there. For example, Pious XII was famously quoted as saying “Nothing is lost in peace. All might be lost in war.” Alexander VII was depicted as being personified by Charity, Truth, Justice and Prudence. But I have to say that a lot of the symbolism was above my level.
I popped into the Vatican Museum while I was there too. It contains a series of donations made by Catholic believers from all over the world to the Vatican. Exquisite would be an understatement.
Next up was the Sistine Chapel. No photography was allowed, but even if it was I still wouldn’t have taken a photo. I must have sat there for at least half an hour trying to burn the image into my memory. It really is beautiful. I depicts the story of creation the life of Jesus. Muralistic and awe-inspiring. I fully recommend a visit - you have to see it first-hand to believe it.
You can also climb to the top of the dome. Great view.

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The next day I made for the Colosseum.
To get there I had to cross the Tibur. Once I made it to the other side I was struck by how different this part of the city was. Everything was…..less shabby. Impressive, actually. Even the government housing was decorated nicely – no horrible greys in sight. I guess you could say the river served as a kind of economic divider with everything on the west side being worse off. The shopping district was located on the east side as well as more tourist destinations and some or the pricier restaurants.
Anyway, I got there for about noon and headed to the entrance. I was approached by a tour guide and decided to take up the offer since this was one of the major sticking points of my visit (I’d always wanted to see it) and didn’t want to miss a thing.

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It was built in just 8 years with 50,000 slaves (2 more for the extra levels) The Emperor’s seat was located on the south side to avoid being in the sun and the entire structure had a canopy roof operated by sailors to control the ventilation and smell of the arena.
It has 80 numbered archways and an underground level where animals would be housed.

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Continued
Parts of the Colosseum were removed over the years and used in the construction of St. Peters. At the time there was a myth of Christian persecution in the Colosseum being stoked as justification for using the materials. You can see it in the different brickwork and in the holes from where iron rods were removed.
One of the more interesting facts I learned was about the marketing. The innermost circles of the arena had carved the names of various patrons and donors to the Colosseum so that people who were gifted tickets to see the games would know to attribute their entertainment to and thank in coming elections. We’re still doing it to this day.
9,000 slaves were killed within the first 100 days of opening, and 1,000,000 during its operation. Games weren’t always to the death though. They’d sometimes re-enact famous battles or hold ceremonies in the Emperor’s honour. Vicious animals from all over the empire would square off and they’d even hold comedy fights between women and midgets.
It originally held a 55,000 capacity before the earthquake damaged it. It fell into disuse after the collapse of the Western Empire and Rome’s population drop from 1.5 million to twenty thousand.
Gladiators usually fell into 1 of 3 categories - slaves who fought for their freedom, prisoners and volunteers. Volunteers did so to avoid the 25 years of military conscription in the Empire and to earn the fortune, fame and women. They fought only a few times a year.

Next I headed over to the Roman Forum.
This was especially insightful as certain areas were still in the process of being excavated.

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On the left side is the Senate built by Caesar for the Senators of Rome. His assassination on the steps was what sparked the Imperial Age, ironically what the Senators had been trying to prevent after he declared himself ruler for life.
In the centre is the Temple of Romulus (the son, not the founder) and on the right is a basilica used for court meetings and trading of goods.
After waging successful military campaigns, returning armies would pass through the Arch of Titus and along the sacred path, stopping at the Treasury in the Temple of Saturn to drop off the plundered goods before giving thanks at the Temple of Jupiter.
Atop Palatine Hill are the remains of The Imperial Palace. Built entirely from brick in 11 years, the walls were entirely covered in marble. There was even a private theatre used for entertaining guests and influential people in the Empire.

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These are the supposed huts where Romulus founded Rome in 754BC.

On Thursday I headed to the Pantheon.
Unfortunately the tourist trade was now in full swing so I had to navigate crowds of photographers and map readers.
It was built between 27 and 25BC as a Pagan temple and features an oculus in the roof. This makes the building a natural sundial and one of the most impressive feats of construction in the ancient world considering that there was little technology at the time to create such an architectural marvel. It has 22 holes built into the concave marble floor to allow rain to drain. It was rebuilt by Hadrian from 118-125 and became a Christian temple when donated by Emperor Foca to Pope Boniface IV.
Friday was my birthday.
Saturday I visited the Castle of Sant’Angelo.

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Originally built by Hadrian as a mausoleum for him and his family, it lost the original entrance when the Tibur was re-banked. The Sant’Angelo bridge was, therefore, at one point the only way to access the castle. It was converted into a fortress during the Renaissance and has the Borghetto Passage – an underground walkway used by the Pope to seek refuge and was in use for 7 months during the sacking of Rome.
It’s interesting to note the historical parallel to the passage in the White House or any other such Government building.

Sunday I went to the Basilica’s of St. John Lateran and Santa Maria Maggiore as well as the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.
The first had 12 ornately carved statues of the 12 disciples and another Egyptian obelisk in the courtyard. The second had a similar layout to St. Peter’s and contained a statue of Pious IX. If seeing the beauty of these places is something that appeals to you then I say go for it, but there’s little to actually do there.
I was disappointed by the Trevi fountain as it was half covered on scaffolding and had been completely drained. I suppose because it was off-season but it was still a let-down.

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The Spanish steps weren’t particularly riveting. They were just kind of…..there. Something to go and see but not especially noteworthy. Lots of lazy tourists.

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And that about wraps it up for the city.
Here’s my cultural observation and personal notes.
I always thought it was a cliché stereotype, but the Italians really are fanatics for Pizza. Every other restaurant has it. And their toppings are far more eclectic than our own – black olives, broccoli and suede were some of the more interesting ones I saw. You’ll need a discerning palate to find the quality stuff. Some restaurants ask you to pay up front and some after eating – it varies from place to place.
On a larger note, most restaurants have waiters outside who actively encourage you to come in and sample their cuisine. In fact, not just restaurants but theatres and shop vendors too. Walking down the street you’ll be approached numerous times.
One I visited was La Base Restaurant – it was 80’s themed and had figures for everyone from the Blues Brothers to Bruce Springsteen with music by Huey Lewis and the News, Survivor, Scorpion and so on. The food was so-so but the atmosphere was brilliant. It had kind of a Back to the Future feel to it. Definitely worth a look-see if you’re into retro diners.
The cuisine itself is good, but not particularly exotic. I was expecting a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes but the most exotic things I sampled during my stay were Veal and Sea Bass. (You know how some people say that it turns you off your food if you can see it still alive before you eat it? Turns I’m absolutely ok with it.)

I’m not a fan of cappuccino. More specifically, I wasn’t until last week. See, with most coffee houses there’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll scold your tongue on the first sip. And the taste doesn’t always match up.
Not so in Rome. Every place I went to, it was always at perfect drinking temperature when it was served, there wasn’t a ridiculous amount of froth and the taste was just right. You could even get flavoured toppings if you preferred. My only worry is that I won’t be able to drink the stuff anywhere else now.

Lots more dog walkers. And a few strays too.

One thing that successfully riled me during my stay was the street vendors. For every place that I went to visit, there were people flogging selfie sticks. And I don’t just mean 1 or 2 with a handful. There were dozens all over the place.
As someone who despises the narcissism of the selfie it really pissed me off to see so many people using them, even when they were eating dinner. I made it a point to always ask someone to take a photo if I wanted one, just to try and offset the damage.
Moving on, the language barrier. As I said, there wasn’t a shortage to choose from. I’m pretty competent in French and Spanish with a smattering of Japanese but even I had trouble communicating. The advantage is that it teaches you to acclimate really damn fast if you need to ask for something.
There were very few English speaking people there to converse with. The few I did find weren’t locals. There was an Irish pub near the Piazza Venetia but of course it charged an arm and a leg.

I had a doozy of a time figuring out the public transport. My plan was to not use it while I was there and instead see everything on foot. Unfortunately because my B&B was so far out of town I was doing more miles than I could keep track of and wound up injuring my foot. I must have looked like Keyser Soze.
The roads don’t have nearly as many markings as here in the UK so arguments between drivers were more common. Taxis are still extortion. Half the buses are in good condition, half have the windows scratched up to hell.
Tickets are bought in shops and have to be validated in a reader either on the bus or on the train platform. If they’re not, then you’re fined regardless of whether you have a ticket.

The beggars are much more pious. They’re either in diminutive statures with arms outreached or on their knees, though that’s probably not do good for them.

I didn’t watch much television out there but they seem to have both dubbed and native shows.

Buses had adverts for 50 Shades on the back. Go figure.
Speaking of which, I think some of you’ve made your mark on the city already.

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Which brings us to the game topic, which I imagine a lot of you want to know about.
I’m sorry to say the adage is true – if your game is poor at home, then your game will be poor abroad. And as someone who hasn’t managed to overcome his AA yet, I can’t give you an in-depth analysis. But here’s what I can tell you from my observations.
Needless to say, you need good language skills if you want to go after any of the foreign girls, otherwise you’ll be muddling through with very slow speech and hand gestures. Not exactly productive.
Isolation is hard. I didn’t see a single woman travelling alone and tourists are invariably wary of being in an unfamiliar city with a person they’ve just met so I suspect that same-day dates will prove challenging unless you’re good at building initial attraction.
The map is a good prop. Asking for directions and help with xyz is a good ice-breaker. Don’t expect any revelatory information though.
I couldn’t find many clubs during my stay so I can’t say if large numbers congregate there or not. But following established models, it’s reasonable to assume they’re sausage fests, especially during summer months.
Unless you’re staying in a hotel close to the city centre, logistics will be difficult. They can be simplified but at a price. Established game tenets apply here.
The women themselves aren’t too different from other western European varieties - constantly taking pictures, dressing provocatively for attention and validation et cetera.

And I think that about covers it. Hope you find this thread useful.
(03-11-2015 09:07 AM)Hardy Daytona Wrote: [ -> ]there’s a general sense of hopelessness in the faces of the people. Walls crumbling, overgrowing foliage, general disrepair and grim sights.

I'm Italian and this pretty much sums up the state of my country right now. I live and breathe that "general sense of hopelessness" every day. The people are tired and worn out, there's no energy, whenever I go out all I get is bad vibes.

Paraphrasing that book and movie, Italy is "no country for young men". I'm fairly young myself and I can't wait to get the hell out of here. All of my friends have left the country or plan to do so in the near future. In a decade or so there won't be anybody left here... well, except old people and African immigrants. The median age is already 44 and it's poised to increase esponentially, the birth rate being below replecement levels.

We are going down Japan's path... an ageing population and two consecutive decades of economic stagnation. Except that Japan is still the third-largest economy and the country is kept clean and tidy, while Italy is in shambles and looks more and more like a third world country each passing day. I live in the South and boy, is it depressing here! It's turning into an absolute shithole, graffiti everywhere, roads full of holes, homeless people around every corner.

Don't come to Italy, there's nothing here. Well... there's still the food and 3000 years of art and architecture, but that means you should treat the country like an open air museum and nothing more. There's no fun to be had around here, all one can do is gaze at the ruins, dream of the past and get depressed at the present.

(03-11-2015 09:16 AM)Hardy Daytona Wrote: [ -> ]The women themselves aren’t too different from other western European varieties - constantly taking pictures, dressing provocatively for attention and validation et cetera.

Again, spot on. Feminism has damaged Italian women too, and beyond repair. They are like all other Western women. Don't even bother with them, go to Eastern Europe or Asia instead.

I recently came back from a 3-months trip to Southeast Asia (best 3 months of my life). Before that, I had spent 7 months living and working in Romania. I can't even look at Italian women anymore, they make me want to throw up with their ugly noses and square jaws, and their entitled attitude is an instant boner killer.
About the Rome : The capital today is among the most important tourist destinations in the earth, as a result of incalculable immensity associated with their archaeological along with art items, in addition to for the appeal associated with their exclusive traditions, the wonder associated with their beautiful sights, and the majesty associated with their wonderful "villas" (parks). Extremely major resources: plenty of museums - (Capitoline Museums, the actual Vatican Museums, Galleria Borghese, along with many others)—aqueducts, fountains, churches, palaces, fantastic buildings, the actual ancient monuments along with ruins in the Roman Discussion board, and the Catacombs.
What's up in the Piper Club and 747?



Nice travelogue...Went to Rome in 2006 and loved the history and the monuments. Its a very nice city
Spent a few days in Rome in February. It's funny because I went to bars/clubs and I don't even recall seeing any Italian girls except in Salotto 42. The amount of American girls running around that city is quite depressing. But like everyone else said the food is amazing and so are the monuments.
(04-28-2015 11:56 PM)DMario Wrote: [ -> ]Spent a few days in Rome in February. It's funny because I went to bars/clubs and I don't even recall seeing any Italian girls except in Salotto 42. The amount of American girls running around that city is quite depressing. But like everyone else said the food is amazing and so are the monuments.

Love Rome so much history, but that makes me not want to go back!

It's so ironic how all the "romantic" / scenic getaways in Europe are generally bad places to game and usually very expensive towns to live in i.e. great places to be a woman not always so good for a man.
I'm from Rome myself and, even though the city is not the best place for gaming girls (catholic mentality, complicated layout/logistic of the city, expensive ecc.), I can give you anyway some tips on how moving there.

First, keep in mind that there are TONS of young tourist girls. These chicks are usually pretty open to some adventure with locals or fellow travellers. This is due to the romantic and charming vibe Rome has, which instills in a girl mind the idea that if they are there they MUST experience something "romantic" (e.g. raw sex). Go in the popular places in the centre, best area is Piazza Navona/Campo dei Fiori. Here you can game day and night, 'cause this area has both touristic historical sites and nightlife. So you may find, at day, some solo travellers girls, and at night several groups of drunk foreign chicks. I have reports of american guys getting threesome with swedish girls, blowjobs gotten on the bank of the river ecc. Competition from local guys is robust but not insurmountable, even because most of these blocks speak bad english.

Local girls. They are hard, no doubts about it. BUT: many girls roll solo during daytime, mostly on springtime. You find them usually in parks (Villa Ada, Villa Borghese). Usually are out-of-towner students who might be keen to have an adventure with a foreigner due to the bad current economical situation in italy and the consequent desire of these chicks to travel/live abroad. They do eye contact. They might thave boyfriend (all italian girls have one) so don't bring up the subject: cheating is common in Italy. I'd say if you are a charming American, british, french, or spanish too, you may do very well.
As for the rich/elegant girls that you may find in some particular area (e.g. Ponte Milvio), these chicks are usually smoking hot, most of them have lot of beta orbiters around but they usually end up fucking the alpha guy (usually rich himself too). These girls can be open minded and well travelled, so as long as you are at "their level" there isn't any minus for being a foreigner.

A good spot where you can find lot of girls of different types (from the famous movie actress to the suburb girl) is Circolo Degli Artisti, a huge venue with several dance floors, terrace ecc. On spring/summer is usually busy every night of the week, so simply go there and approach. Italian girls are not supposed to act rude with foreigners, as long as they are polite too, so you'll be able to count on a window of a fistfull of minutes in which you should spit your game and trying to figure out what's the best strategy, if they are receptive, open to ONS ecc. Don't throw too many jokes or display too much energy/enthusiasm, and don't use lines, 'cause italian guys do that often, so the girl may call you out on that right away. Just try to be interesting and show some value. Don't act drunk, italian girls don't find it funny. But if they accept a drink from you, it's a good IOI.

Last advice: try to avoid crowded and low-end places like Testaccio on peak days/hours. Too many uneducated and loud guys, often on drugs, create a bad enviroment for approaching, and rise the defences of the (few) girls who are there without male friends.
(04-29-2015 05:25 AM)Garzero Wrote: [ -> ]First, keep in mind that there are TONS of young tourist girls. These chicks are usually pretty open to some adventure with locals or fellow travellers.

I was literally raped when I was blackout drunk by some dweeby college chick from Ohio. Eh just another story to add to the books
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