Erica Firpo

Correspondent

  • Rome, Italy, Europe

Erica Firpo writes about art, culture and travel for online and print publications such as The Huffington Post, New York Times, Globespotters, The Guardian, BBC Travel and Cathay Pacific’s Discovery Magazine. She is Luxe Guide’s Rome editor. With Rome as home base, she loves to travel the Mediterranean in search of contemporary art and culture as well as traces of the Ancient Roman Empire.

  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo is now following the question:
  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the Rome Metro like?

    Photo by Erica Firpo The Rome Metro is quite easy to navigate as there are only two lines- Metro A (red) and Metro B - which run primarily on the eastern side of the city center (though crossing NW/SE).  As part of the ATAC team (Rome's transit authority), metro, buses, trams and local trains link the entire area of Rome and its outer suburbs together. The metro connects the Vatican neighborhood through the city center to the Colosseum and San Paolo/Ostiense neighborhoods, with the ever chaotic Termini Station as Metro hub and transfer point.  In addition, the metro has stops at secondary train stations Tiburtina and Ostiense.

    Basic Metro Facts:
    • The Metro runs underground for most of its travels, though does surface out of the city center.  
    • Metro stops can be distinguished by the large red M as its signage.
    • Travelers must always purchase and validate their tickets. Tickets can be purchased at the local tabaccaio (tobacco/stamp shop), news stands, ticket booths and ticket machines.  Validation must occur prior to passing through the Metro turnstyles.
    • Metros are often crowded and can be hot in the summer months, though some of the newer metros have light airconditioning.  Personal space is rare on the metro so pay attention because pickpocketing is rampant.
    • Metro hours are 5:30 am to 11:30 pm. 
    • For those traveling with bags, small children and strollers or prams, entry and exit to the metro is not always accomodating. There are few elevators and often times escalators are not functioning.

  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the Rome Metro like?

    Photo by Erica Firpo The Rome Metro is quite easy to navigate as there are only two lines- Metro A (red) and Metro B - which run primarily on the eastern side of the city center (though crossing NW/SE).  As part of the ATAC team (Rome's transit authority), metro, buses, trams and local trains link the entire area of Rome and its outer suburbs together. The metro connects the Vatican neighborhood through the city center to the Colosseum and San Paolo/Ostiense neighborhoods, with the ever chaotic Termini Station as Metro hub and transfer point.  In addition, the metro has stops at secondary train stations Tiburtina and Ostiense.

    Basic Metro Facts:
    • The Metro runs underground for most of its travels, though does surface out of the city center.  
    • Metro stops can be distinguished by the large red M as its signage.
    • Travelers must always purchase and validate their tickets. Tickets can be purchased at the local tabaccaio (tobacco/stamp shop), news stands, ticket booths and ticket machines.  Validation must occur prior to passing through the Metro turnstyles.
    • Metros are often crowded and can be hot in the summer months, though some of the newer metros have light airconditioning.  Personal space is rare on the metro so pay attention because pickpocketing is rampant.
    • Metro hours are 5:30 am to 11:30 pm. 
    • For those traveling with bags, small children and strollers or prams, entry and exit to the metro is not always accomodating. There are few elevators and often times escalators are not functioning.

  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the Rome Metro like?

    Photo by Erica Firpo The Rome Metro is quite easy to navigate as there are only two lines- Metro A (red) and Metro B - which run primarily on the eastern side of the city center (though crossing NW/SE).  As part of the ATAC team (Rome's transit authority), metro, buses, trams and local trains link the entire area of Rome and its outer suburbs together. The metro connects the Vatican neighborhood through the city center to the Colosseum and San Paolo/Ostiense neighborhoods, with the ever chaotic Termini Station as Metro hub and transfer point.  In addition, the metro has stops at secondary train stations Tiburtina and Ostiense.

    Basic Metro Facts:
    • The Metro runs underground for most of its travels, though does surface out of the city center.  
    • Metro stops can be distinguished by the large red M as its signage.
    • Travelers must always purchase and validate their tickets. Tickets can be purchased at the local tabaccaio (tobacco/stamp shop), news stands, ticket booths and ticket machines.  Validation must occur prior to passing through the Metro turnstyles.
    • Metros are often crowded and can be hot in the summer months, though some of the newer metros have light airconditioning.  Personal space is rare on the metro so pay attention because pickpocketing is rampant.
    • Metro hours are 5:30 am to 11:30 pm. 
    • For those traveling with bags, small children and strollers or prams, entry and exit to the metro is not always accomodating. There are few elevators and often times escalators are not functioning.

  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best summer activities in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo Since Rome is infernally hot from the end of June through mid-August, the best summer activity is probably grabbing a grattachecca (flavored, shaved ice) while hanging in the shade.  Most Romans will tell you to head to the beach for great summer activities. Day or evening beaches like Santa Marinella, Fregene and Maccarese are filled with people kite surfing, sun bathing, swimming and dancing.

    But Rome won't be daunted by the heat.  The city has a varied menu of events including music and dance performances in its parks such as Villa Doria Pamphilj I concerti nel parco and Villa Ada's international music festival Roma Incontra il Mondo, which occur weekly through out the summer. For less classic and more rock, there is the summertime Rock in Roma concert series featuring performers like The Killers, Green Day, Iggy and the Stooges and many more at the Ippodromo delle Cappanelle.  

    Cultural events run rampant through out the city, especially in the evening. Villa Borghese has summer film and theatre programs at its Casa del Cinema and Globe Theatre (Shakespeare in Italian, anyone?). (Shakespeare in Italian, anyone).The banks of the Tiber river and Isola Tiberina become afternoon and evening hangouts with out open-air cinemas, restaurants, bars and clubs in the annual city-sponsored Estate Romanawhich is also a great resource for daytime and children's programming, detailing events all around the city.


  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best summer activities in Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo Since Rome is infernally hot from the end of June through mid-August, the best summer activity is probably grabbing a grattachecca (flavored, shaved ice) while hanging out on the banks of the Tiber.  But Rome is never repressed by its heat.  The city has a varied menu of events including music and dance performances in its parks such as Villa Doria Pamphilj I concerti nel parco and Villa Ada's international music festival Roma Incontra il Mondo, which occur weekly through out the summer. For less classic and more rock, there is the summertime Rock in Roma concert series featuring performers like The Killers, Green Day, Iggy and the Stooges and many more at the Ippodromo delle Cappanelle.  

    Cultural events run rampant through out the city, especially in the evening. Villa Borghese has summer film and theatre programs at its Casa del Cinema and Globe Theatre (Shakespeare in Italian, anyone?). (Shakespeare in Italian, anyone).The banks of the Tiber river and Isola Tiberina become afternoon and evening hangouts with out open-air cinemas, restaurants, bars and clubs in the annual city-sponsored Estate Romanawhich is also a great resource for daytime and children's programming.

    Most Romans will tell you to head to the beach for great summer activities. Day or evening beaches like Santa Marinella, Fregene and Maccarese are filled with people kite surfing, sun bathing, swimming and dancing.
  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the best way to experience Ancient Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo Rome is always described as a palimpsest of history from antiquity to yesterday.  The Eternal City is is layer upon layer of history so it is important to remember that no matter what is in front of you, there is always something else under your feet.  

    The best way to experience Ancient Rome is to start from the beginning by heading to the Roman Forum, walking your way through what is left of the original capital of the Roman Empire.   A stroll through the Forum and Imperiali Fora will give you a great visual idea of what Rome once looked like, but that is only a tiny fraction of what once was Rome.  Walk out of the forum and into the city and you will stumble across ancient history on every corner in places as obvious as Largo Argentina and Mausoleum of Augustus, or slightly more subtle.

    One of the best ways to truly experience Ancient Rome is to explore the subterranean levels under churches such as the Basilica of San Clemente and Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere, which rest atop ancient insulae and temples, Citta dell'Aqua, an imperial age house under a modern cinema), and Cripta Balbi, a former Renaissance palazzo and now museum/archaeological archaeological site.

    Finding and understanding Ancient Rome is not difficult, but can be enhanced with a little help.  Guide books like Georgina Masson's The Companion Guide to Rome and souvenir stand favorite Rome Then & Now (charmingly kitch book with overlays) provide great history, stories and help to envision the ancient city.  In addition, a tour guide can help Ancient Rome come alive- some of Rome's most erudite are Context and Roma Sotterranea.
  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the best way to experience Ancient Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo Rome is always described as a palimpsest of history from antiquity to yesterday.  The Eternal City is is layer upon layer of history so it is important to remember that no matter what is in front of you, there is always something else under your feet.  

    The best way to experience Ancient Rome is to start from the beginning by heading to the Roman Forum, walking your way through what is left of the original capital of the Roman Empire.   A stroll through the Forum and Imperiali Fora will give you a great visual idea of what Rome once looked like, but that is only a tiny fraction of what once was Rome.  Walk out of the forum and into the city and you will stumble across ancient history on every corner in places as obvious as Largo Argentina and Mausoleum of Augustus, or slightly more subtle.

    One of the best ways to truly experience Ancient Rome is to explore the subterranean levels under churches such as the Basilica of San Clemente and Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere, which rest atop ancient insulae and temples, Citta dell'Aqua, an imperial age house under a modern cinema), and Cripta Balbi, a former Renaissance palazzo and now museum/archaeological archaeological site.

    Finding and understanding Ancient Rome is not difficult, but can be enhanced with a little help.  Guide books like Georgina Masson's The Companion Guide to Rome and souvenir stand favorite Roma Then & Now (charmingly kitch book with overlays) provide great history, stories and help to envision the ancient city.  In addition, a tour guide can help Ancient Rome come alive- some of Rome's most erudite are Context and Roma Sotterranea.
  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the best way to experience Ancient Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo Rome is always described as a palimpsest of history from antiquity to yesterday.  The Eternal City is is layer upon layer of history so it is important to remember that no matter what is in front of you, there is always something else under your feet.  

    The best way to experience Ancient Rome is to start from the beginning by heading to the Roman Forum, walking your way through what is left of the original capital of the Roman Empire.   A stroll through the Forum and Imperiali Fora will give you a great visual idea of what Rome once looked like, but that is only a tiny fraction of what once was Rome.  Walk out of the forum and into the city and you will stumble across ancient history on every corner in places as obvious as Largo Argentina and Mausoleum of Augustus, or slightly more subtle.

    One of the best ways to truly experience Ancient Rome is to explore the subterranean levels under churches such as the Basilica of San Clemente and Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere, which rest atop ancient insulae and temples, Citta dell'Aqua, an imperial age house under a modern cinema), and Cripta Balbi, a former Renaissance palazzo and now museum/archaeological archaeological site.

    Finding and understanding Ancient Rome is not difficult, but can be enhanced with a little help.  Guide books like Georgina Masson's The Companion Guide to Rome and souvenir stand favorite Roma Then & Now (charmingly kitch book with overlays) provide great history, stories and help to envision the ancient city.  In addition, a tour guide can help Ancient Rome come alive- some of Rome's most erudite are Context and Roma Sotterranea.
  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the best way to experience Ancient Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo Rome is always described as a palimpsest of history from antiquity to yesterday.  The Eternal City is is layer upon layer of history so it is important to remember that no matter what is in front of you, there is always something else under your feet.  

    The best way to experience Ancient Rome is to start from the beginning by heading to the Roman Forum, walking your way through what is left of the original capital of the Roman Empire.   A stroll through the Forum and Imperiali Fora will give you a great visual idea of what Rome once looked like, but that is only a tiny fraction of what once was Rome.  Walk out of the forum and into the city and you will stumble across ancient history on every corner in places as obvious as Largo Argentina and Mausoleum of Augustus, or slightly more subtle.

    One of the best ways to truly experience Ancient Rome is to explore the subterranean levels under churches such as the Basilica of San Clemente and Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere, which rest atop ancient insulae and temples, Citta dell'Aqua, an imperial age house under a modern cinema), and Cripta Balbi, a former Renaissance palazzo and now museum/archaeological archaeological site.

    Finding and understanding Ancient Rome is not difficult, but can be enhanced with a little help.  Guide books like Georgina Masson's The Companion Guide to Rome and souvenir stand favorite Roma Then & Now (charmingly kitch book with overlays) provide great history, stories and help to envision the ancient city.  In addition, a tour guide can help Ancient Rome come alive- some of Rome's most erudite are Context and Roma Sotterranea.
  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What is the best way to experience Ancient Rome?

    Photo by Erica Firpo Rome is always described as a palimpsest of history from antiquity to yesterday.  The Eternal City is is layer upon layer of history so it is important to remember that no matter what is in front of you, there is always something else under your feet.  

    The best way to experience Ancient Rome is to start from the beginning by heading to the Roman Forum, walking your way through what is left of the original capital of the Roman Empire.   A stroll through the Forum and Imperiali Fora will give you a great visual idea of what Rome once looked like, but that is only a tiny fraction of what once was Rome.  Walk out of the forum and into the city and you will stumble across ancient history on every corner- whether right in front of you like Largo Argentina or Mausoleum of Augustus, or beneath your feet. 

    One of the best ways to truly experience Ancient Rome is to explore the subterranean levels under churches such as the Basilica of San Clemente and Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere, which rest atop ancient insulae and temples, Citta dell'Aqua, an imperial age house under a modern cinema), and Cripta Balbi, a former Renaissance palazzo and now museum/archaeological archaeological site.

    Finding and understanding Ancient Rome is not difficult, but can be enhanced with a little help.  Guide books like Georgina Masson's The Companion Guide to Rome and souvenir stand favorite Roma Then & Now (charmingly kitch book with overlays) provide great history, stories and help to envision the ancient city.  In addition, a tour guide can help Ancient Rome come alive- some of Rome's most erudite are Context and Roma Sotterranea.
  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best plazas or piazzas to see in Rome?

    photo by Erica Firpo There is no definitive list to Rome’s best piazzas as Rome has so many and each piazza has something special.  My suggestions on best piazzas depend on time of day and mood.  When I want grandiose, I love standing in the centers of Piazza del Popolo (center) and Piazza San Pietro (Vatican). These gorgeous piazzas are the center of their respective worlds- Rome and the Vatican.  Their fountains, statues and curves never fail to make me smile. 

    For historic, postcard perfect beauty, I walk through Piazza Navona and Piazza della Rotonda (Pantheon), two not-to-be-missed piazzas for both daytime and evening visits. Campo de' Fiori is always the spot for market shopping, chaos and evening adventures. I also find irresistible Piazza di Pietra for the massive columns of Temple of Hadrian that decorate its south side.  In a few months or more, the restorations to Piazza Agusto Imperatore will hopefully be completed and its palimpsest of architectural history from its central 1st century mausoleum to Augustus Caesar, Fascist  building facades, and Richard Meier-designed museum will be open for all.

    When I want to get away from the chaos of Rome, I enjoy a quiet coffee in Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, an oasis of charm just off the busy via del Corso.  For the sunset, I sit at any of the caffes lining Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere as I love to watching the gold glow on the Basilica Santa Maria in Trastevere while sipping prosecco.  There is nothing quite like stumbling across the quiet Piazza Mattei and its beautiful fountain. But if anyone asks me, the tiny Piazza Santa Barbara dei Librari near Campo de' Fiori is the very best piazza in Rome. You'll have to go there to find out why.
  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best plazas or piazzas to see in Rome?

    photo by Erica Firpo There is no definitive list to Rome’s best piazzas as Rome has so many and each piazza has something special.  My suggestions on best piazzas depend on time of day and mood.  When I want grandiose, I love standing in the centers of Piazza del Popolo (center) and Piazza San Pietro (Vatican). These gorgeous piazzas are the center of their respective worlds- Rome and the Vatican.  Their fountains, statues and curves never fail to make me smile. 

    For historic, postcard perfect beauty, I walk through Piazza Navona and Piazza della Rotonda (Pantheon), two not-to-be-missed piazzas for both daytime and evening visits. Campo de' Fiori is always the spot for market shopping, chaos and evening adventures. I also find irresistible Piazza di Pietra for the massive columns of Temple of Hadrian that decorate its south side.  In a few months or more, the restorations to Piazza Agusto Imperatore will hopefully be completed and its palimpsest of architectural history from its central 1st century mausoleum to Augustus Caesar, Fascist  building facades, and Richard Meier-designed museum will be open for all.

    When I want to get away from the chaos of Rome, I enjoy a quiet coffee in Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, an oasis of charm just off the busy via del Corso.  For the sunset, I sit at any of the caffes lining Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere as I love to watching the gold glow on the Basilica Santa Maria in Trastevere while sipping prosecco.  There is nothing quite like stumbling across the quiet Piazza Mattee and its beautiful fountain. But if anyone asks me, the tiny Piazza Santa Barbara dei Librari near Campo de' Fiori is the very best piazza in Rome. You'll have to go there to find out why.
  • On June 1, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    What are the best bars in Rome?

    Photo: Grand Hotel della Minerve Choosing the best bars in Rome is simply question of want.  As in “Do I want cocktails or wine? Charm or scene? Local or international?” Rome has a kaleidoscope of choices, so I’ve found the best and perhaps only way to narrow them down is by theme.   

    For a beautiful view, you can find me at Roof Garden at Grand Hotel della Minerve. Bar Le Cupole practically peeks into the Pantheon and nothing beats a sunset toast to architecture’s very best dome. If I’m feeling more down to earth, I head to Piazza Navona’s historic Caffè della Pace for its turn-of-the century charm and excellent people watching, or else Il Goccetto, some say one of the oldest wine bars in Rome, near Campo de’ Fiori. Campo, itself, can be an excellent place to hold court when in need of open space, but avoid the piazza during the college crowd, usually from dinner onwards.
     
    The luxurious Hotel de Russie’s Stravinskij Bar never fails to impress me with the quality of their cocktails. The award-winning bartenders are also clever with improvisation. Barnum, near Campo de' Fiori, has a slick set of bartenders with bespoke Prohibition-era cocktails.  Open Baladin, the self-proclaimed “sancta sanctorum” of beer, is an obvious inclusion in the very best of Rome. The bar stocks over 100 artisanal Italian beers and makes quite delicious burgers. When national pride is not enough, I go regional at Palatium, a wine bar focusing on Lazio region vintages, or even more Rome-centric at Enoteca Provincia Romana, which has Rome-focused menu of wines and other notable products from the region.

    In the summer months, its best to enjoy an outdoor bar. Keep an eye on the Barnum bartenders who will be opening an outdoor temporary venue, and also Nights at Castel Santangelo, Hadrian's mausoleum whose terraces often serve light drinks to accompany their amazing view during the hot summer months.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Erica Firpo answered the question: Erica Firpo

    Should visitors rent a car in Rome?

    undefined Visitors to Rome should have no need or desire to rent a car in Rome. The city is well-connected by public transport, ATAC, hired car/driver and taxi, and most areas and sites are easy to reach by walking and/or bicycle.  For those wishing to drive around the city, it is important to know that Rome is governed by traffic regulations and travel within the center is for ZTL (limited traffic zone) permit holders, available to only to residents and businesses- most rental car usually ​do not offer ZTL permits to its clients. If still wishing to drive through Rome, parking and traffic regulations must be well researched. My suggestion? Rent a bicycle from Collalti or try a roaming holiday with Scooteroma.