Subject: Rome
Hi Ziners!

Shellie, Charlie and I recently returned from four wonderful days in Rome. What a beautiful city! And so historic it makes your head swim. Everywhere you turn there are Roman ruins. You can almost transport yourself back to the days of the Caesars.

With only three full days to see the sights, we obviously just skimmed the surface. We stuck mainly to the best known -- the Forum, Coliseum, the Vatican Museum (including Sistine Chapel) and St. Peter's. We also checked out some lesser-known sights, including St. Clemente, which is is a church built over the ruins of an earlier church and a Roman temple.

The food was of course a main attraction, and we couldn't have been happier with our choices. Two I can recommend are Tullio (near Barberini Metro station -- Shellie wasn't as enthused) and the Taverna de Ghetto. The latter is a Kosher restaurant in the heart of the old Jewish ghetto along the Tiber River, across from Trastevere (Rome has Europe's oldest Jewish community, dating back 2,000 years). (Sorry I don't have exact addresses at hand.)

We found that it was all too easy to stuff ourselves. Don't go to Rome if you're on a diet!

Both restos are mentioned in the Lonely Planet condensed guide. For such a short trip, the condensed guide was more than adequate. Its maps are particularly well done (including bus routes, as well as the Metro lines), and its recommendations turned out to be spot on. Shellie also carried with her a book, Rome Is Love Spelled Backwards (referring to the Italian renditions: Roma and Amor). The book offers wonderful insights into the many historic sites.

We (wife Shellie, 21-month-old Charlie and Regan, a former babysitter who we brought along to give us parents a break) stayed at an apartment we found through a house exchange Web site. It was a terrific place: two bedrooms, bath and kitchen, well kept up, TV, stereo, VCR, right next to a Metro station, and steps away from shopping. It cost us $90 a night, quite reasonable, I think. For a family with a small child an apartment makes sense. Sure, we didn't have room service or other hotel services, but we had a kitchen where we made Charlie's meals and room for him to run around! So, a self-catering apartment gets our vote.

I have only one complaint about our trip: it was too short! But aren't all great trips like that.

Bons voyages!

Evan in Paris