Archive for Planning

Rome Random Facts

Rome, the Eternal City, is a city unlike any other in the world. Here are a few random facts about this amazing city!  Enjoy and Share!

Trevi Fountain Rome Italy

  • Decorated by 4,000 deceased monks The Capuchin Crypt in Rome consists of five chapels and a corridor 60 meters long. c
  • The abbreviation SPQR can be found on many Roman statues, buildings, and military standards. It stands for “senatus populusque romanus.” meaning “The senate and people of Rome.”
  • Togas were unique to Rome and were worn by free-born Roman men as a mark of distinction. Ironically, the only women who wore togas were prostitutes because they were not allowed to wear stolas, the traditional garment of Roman women. d
  • On the day the Colosseum officially opened, it remained open for 3 full days and 5,000 animals were killed. During its history, it has been estimated that over 500,000 people (men and women) and over a million animals from all over the world were killed. e
  • Because Romans were highly superstitious and feared anything to do with the left, they based their words for “left” and “left-handed” on the modern meaning of sinister. They words are  sinistra and sinister, respectively. a
  • The Pantheon, “Temple of the Gods,” was built by the emperor Hadrian (118-125). It is remarkable for a couple of reasons: 1) its massive dome has withstood the test of time and elements for almost 2000 years and I made solely of concret with no reinforcing steel and 2) The oculus in the center of the dome is open air. Until the nineteenth century The Pantheon was the largest concrete curved dome that existed. a
  • If you have ever seen the film Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, then you are familiar with the Mouth of Truth or “La bocca della Verita.” Legend says that if you tell a lie andyou’re your hand in the mouth it will cut off your hand. At one point priest in the Middle ages actually put scorpions in the mouth to perpetuate the myth. The Mouth of Truth is now thought to be an ancient Roman manhole cover or part of a first-century statuec
  • Blessing of the Throats – Every year in the middle of winter, February 3rd, after the mass at the church of the Madonna del Divino Amore in Campo Marzio, the priest gives a blessing to people’s throats to help get them through the winter. To bless the throats the priest holds two lit candles in the form of a cross and touches the people on the throat repeating the phrase: “Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.” b
  • Mass in Aramaic – Every Sunday at 10:30am in the church of Santa Maria in Campo Marzio you can be a part of a mass in Jesus’ language, Aramaic, as well as Arabic and Italian. b
  • The Most Holy Crucifix – One night in 1519 the church of San Marcello al Corso burnt to the ground in a fire. Everything was destroyed except a wooden crucifix from the main alter. This crucifix later put an end to a plague and became known as the Most Holy Crucifix. There is a legend that the sculptor of this particular crucifix actually killed a man in his sleep so that he could create a more realistic representation of Christ on the Cross.b
  • The Trevi Fountain took 30 years to build. It was originally started because of a competition that Pope Clement XII organized. In 1732 the work began and was designed of Niccolo Salvi, which was influenced by Bernini. It remained unfinished until after Niccolo died in 1751, and was finally finished in 1762 by Giuseppe Panini.b
  • Invito a Palazzo – “Invitation to the Palace.” One day each year there are several banks open to the public for tours. The reason is because many of the palaces in Rome are now occupied by banks. These palaces have amazing frescoes and sculptures you can see on the first Saturday in October for free.b
  • The giant and famous obelisk in St. Peter’s Square is also a meridian (one of the largest in the world).b
  • Of all the many many basilicas in the world, there are only 4 in all of Christendom that possess a holy door and they are located in Rome. The four churches are: Saint Peter in the Vatican, Saint Mary Major, Saint John Lateran, and Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Why is a holy door a holy door? Because they are only opened every 25 years during Jubilees. b
  • Blessings in Rome – There are many different things in Rome you can get blessed on specific dates. Some include, blessing of the throats, blessings of expectant mothers, blessing of the animals, blessing of motorists and many more.b



a Burgan, Michael. 2005. Empire of Ancient Rome. New York, NY: Facts on File Books.

bLovatelli, Ginevra. 2012. Secret Rome. France: Jonglez

c The Sydney Morning Herald. “Rome—Places to See.” November 28, 2008.

d Wolf, Greg, ed. 2003. Cambridge Illustrated History: Roman World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

e Kerrigan, Michael. 2001. Ancient Rome and the Roman Empire. London, UK: BBC WorldWide Ltd.

Ristorante Pizzaria Zi’Ntonio, Sorrento, Italy

 The Amazing Zi’Ntonio Restaurant Pizzeria
Located in the heart of Sorrento, close to Piazza Tasso, the Restaurant Pizzeria Zi’Ntonio is the ideal destination for those in search of good food.
Marian and Michael will be happy to welcome you into their room where you can dine by candlelight and enjoy a warm family atmosphere, enhanced by a collection of hand-painted ceramics.
The restaurant offers a ‘wide range of dishes of traditional cuisine with particular attention paid to the selection of the raw materials used.
Inside the restaurant there is also a wide selection of regional and national wines in order to enhance the blend of traditional Mediterranean cuisine and wines of the region.


Ristorante Pizzeria Zi’Ntonio
Via Luigi De Maio, 11 – 80067 – Sorrento (NA) – Italy
Tel. +39 0818781623 – P.IVA 01407021219

Picture of the Week: Santa Croce Church at night

Santa Croce church at night

Santa Croce Church in Florence, Italy is a 14th Century Franciscan Church. It was built by Arnolfo di Cambio and frescoed by Giotto. It is decorated with amazing and precious arts as well as holding the tombs of great Florentines like Michelangelo and Galileo.

This amazing Church is mere steps from the Bed and Breakfast we stay in on our Tours.

Florence Hotels: De Benci B and B

De Benci B&B Rocks!

In my travels of Italy, one of my favorite places to stay in Florence is De Benci Bed and Breakfast! The owners are kind and thoughtful, always going the extra mile… Carlo was exceptional leading up to the trip and while we were all there! The accommodations are gorgeous, comfortable and cozy. The location is superb within easy walking distance of all major sites in Florence. It is located a stones throw away from Santa Croce Church!
Photos of De' Benci Bed and Breakfast in Firenze, Florence
This photo of De’ Benci Bed and Breakfast in Firenze is courtesy of TripAdvisor


In the heart of the old city of Florence, just between Piazza Santa Croce and Piazza della Signoria, there is De Benci b&b, bed and breakfast in Florence, ideal base for visiting one of the most beautiful cities on earth and its art.

The bed and breakfast is located in a very strategic position right in the old town of the city. Whether for businessor vacation, our rooms can be the right place.

The visit, the discovery of the capital of the Renaissance already begins within the walls of De Benci b&b.

The atmosphere is very charming, stylish and romantic: you will be welcomed into elegantly furnished rooms with every modern comfort (air conditioning/heating, private bathroom in room, digital lcd

The bed and breakfast is on the fourth floor of an ancient building (dating back to 1300) with the recent installation of modern lift.

The thick and textured interior walls are painted rose. The doors are as light as ivory. Very wide windows let the light go in. The typical Tuscan floor and the ancient wooden-beam ceiling enrich the entire structure. In all over the place you can find small details in characteristic stone (i.e. pietra serena), in ancient brick or in dark wrought iron and brass that decorate the environment, but soft colour and scent of wood reign over all. Every detail has been chosen with great care, taste and passion.


De Benci b&b, bed and breakfast in Florence
di Carlo De Toffol, via de’ Benci 19 – 50122 Florence – Italy

Mobile:   (0039) 3393466022   (business hours only)
Reception:   (0039) 0552345227   (business hours only)
Email:   (usually we reply within 24 hours)

Underground Rome

A couple very interesting articles about the miles and miles of underground Rome!!!

Next time you are in Rome you should check out a few of these amazing places.

National Geographic Underground Rome

Go Europe’s Underground Rome tour ideas

Our Rome 7 Day Hardcore Sightseeing Tour includes some amazing underground tours like San Clamente and the Catacombs!

4 Can’t Miss Sights In Rome No One Tells You About

Rome, an amazing city filled with culture, cuisine, art, architecture and sights not to be missed. On most people’s list of places to see is the Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Galleria Borghese, Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and the list goes on. What most people don’t always hear about are some more of the strange yet wonderful places that often go unnoticed. These 4 sights should be on anyone’s list of to-see places when they travel to Rome.

1) Cappuchin Crypt

The Cappuchin Crypt is an amazing tiny space decorated with the clean skeletal remains of 4,000 monks. The room, which is located beneath Santa Maria della Immacolata Concezione church, is very artfully decorated with these skulls and bones because they ran out of room to bury people in this once extremely sought after burial ground (due to the soil being from Jerusalem). To fix this problem they exhumed the clean bones and used them as decoration. There is no fee to enter, but a donation is requested. Also, no photographs may be taken in the crypt.

2) Museum of Purgatory

Also known as the Souls of Purgatory Museum, this can’t miss sight is located in Church of the Sacred Heart. In this one small room you will see pictures and actual items that are said to be evidence of contact from those stuck between Heaven and Hell: Purgatory. There is no fee to enter this museum.

3) Rome Crime Museum

Housed in an old prison, the Crime Museum has three different sections to it and is run by the Ministry of Justice. The most commonly visited section is called Punishment and Crimes and happens to be the more gruesome and gory area. It illustrates what criminals had to deal with after they were sentenced. Life size models including the Iron Maiden can be seen here. Entrance to this Museum is 2 Euros.

4) Museum of The Sanitary Arts

Although this museum may not seem to be much when judged by the name, it happens to have some very fascinating things. For example, it has a set of Siamese twins, a large collection of wax models once used for teaching purposes, a basketball sized liver stone straight out of a camel, and several bottles filled with different floating things. Admission is free to this museum.

As you can see there are some strange places to visit in Rome that you have probably never heard about. Do some digging and see what other wonderful and off the beaten path places you can find. Double check the prices and hours of operation on their websites as these can vary dramatically from place to place. Now head out and enjoy the unique side of Rome.



Would You Spend More Money To Have More Time When Traveling?

Traveling; something almost every person in the world wants to do or does do. Planning a vacation or any other kind of travel arrangement comes with many decisions and almost every one of them comes back to how much does it cost. Things like, where to stay, what to eat, what to see, what to do, where to go and even some strange questions like, do I pay to use a public restroom, will cross your mind when planning. Every one of these questions most people answer by first deciding if they want to do it, then second asking how much will it cost and does it fit in our budget.

Generally, a smaller budget means you have less time to see and do the things you want because you are usually on a shorter vacation. You don’t have a month to travel around one small European country. You probably have only a week and usually at least 2 of those are travel days and if you go anywhere else during the trip, it’s even more travel time on a train or bus.

I bring this all up because even on a small budget you can maximize your time at each stop of your trip. From booking flights to traveling by train you can make sure you are in the seated and upright position as little as possible. Yes, it does cost more to take a faster train or a train that makes less stops and a flight with a shorter flight plan, but just how much more does it cost? In researching flights and travel plans for years now I know that it is well worth the money to save the time. Don’t just look at the price of train or plane ticket. Look also at how long it takes to get from where you are to where you want to be. For example it may be cheaper to fly round trip to and from the same place, but only by a couple hundred dollars at most. If you choose the cheaper round trip flight, you then have to get on a train or bus to get to or from the destination you aren’t at yet, this can cost still less than if you took the plane straight there, but by only a few dollars at the end of the day. And here’s the kicker, you just got off your 20 hour flight to Rome and now you have to hop on your 8 hour train ride to Venice, when for just $50 you could already be where you want to be relaxing and getting ready to start your vacation.

Travel can be very tiring, and it’s really not much more expensive to take a shorter flight or faster train. The time you gain makes for a more relaxed and enjoyable vacation for barely more than you would have spent originally. The money you spend on the attractions and site-seeing will be much better spent when you can take your time and explore thoroughly each of them fully, not rushed and exhausted.