aside Gronda and Friend’s May 2016 Roman Adventures, Part I

italy map detailed-political-and-administrative-map-of-italy-with-cities-roads-and-airports

Last year 2015, I and two other friends, all in our upper 60s, toured Italy for the entire month of May. We toured mostly the northern part which included Bellagio in Lake Como, Milan, Florence, Tuscany, Venice, Cinque Terre and Rome. We did take time to spend a few days on the Amalfi Coast. Two of us became so hypnotized by the beautiful scenery of this terrain with its hills, mountains, lush vegetation, towns with winding cobbled streets, stunningly blue clear seas, many examples of ancient architecture and ruins that we vowed to return soon. For information on our 2015 Roman adventure, click on this link, THREE LADIES 2015 TRIP TO ITALY WITH TIPS TO SHARE. For easy access to other related blogs, just key in, August 2015/ Gronda Morin.

River Palace Hotel
River Palace Hotel

In May 2016, we decided travel to southern Italy by touring Sicily while spending some time in Rome and on the Amalfi Coast. We started our trip by flying on United Airlines from Florida to Rome, Italy. We decided to stay for a few days at our favorite hotel near the Piazza del Popolo, the River Palace Hotel-Via Flaminia, 33, 00196 Rome +39 06 830011/ +39 06 83001234

The hotel location is within easy walking distance of the metro subway system, the Tevere (Tiber) River, the Villa Borghese Park which dwarfs NYC’s Central Park, the Borghese Art Gallery, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain as well numerous nearby stores, attractively displaying merchandise, designed to appeal to the budgets of all window shoppers. At the River Palace, we were graciously welcomed by our English speaking hostess, Valentina Fanizzi who was so gracious and helpful to us throughout our stay with practical assistance as well as with numerous suggestions to enhance our stay.

The hotel rooms are elegantly decorated, Italian style with high ceilings, crown moldings, painted ceilings, Italian antique furniture. The rooms are luxurious but smaller than what would be typically found in American hotels. There is free WIFI, Sky TV and then there is the delicious breakfast with a wide variety of choices which is included in the rate.


As we exited the hotel, we would turn right (south) on Via Flaminia to head towards the Piazza del Popolo which splits at the southern section into three streets. Facing south, the center road is Via del Corso; the Via del Babuino is to the left and the Via di Ripetta is to the right. The twin churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli  (1681) and Santa Maria in Montesanto (1679), begun by Carlo Rainaldi  and completed by Bernini and Carlo Fontana, define the junctions of the roads.

Sites off of Via del Corso

One of the twin churches on the right as you face south on the Piazza del Popolo is undergoing remodeling but the public can still enter it to view the two  important works painted by Caravaggio -Crucifixion of St. Peter and Conversion on the Way to Damascus. Note: The church is closed in the early afternoons. The doors are open from 7am-12noon & 4pm-7pm Mon-Sat, and 8.00am -7.30pm Sun.


For most of the major sites, we would stroll down the center street of Via del Corso to reach the nearby attractions like the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. This year, we passed by the Trevi Fountain on several occasions to view this magnificent monument in all its glory. The 5 year reconstruction project has finally been completed. Afterwards, we would rest at a nearby pizzeria while we treated ourselves to a couple of slices with an ice cold drink.

Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain with me in the forground without the chic new haircut

Because we were planning to be away from Florida for a month, we had to resolve some practical details. For example, we had the issue of where to go to pamper ourselves with a manicure and a pedicure. Valentina of the River Palace Hotel recommended the nearby full service spa, Rocco Forte at Hotel De Russie, Via del Babuino 9, Rome , 00187;+39 06 32 88 88 20. This spa is situated right off the Piazza del Popolo on the south to the left, Via del Babuino. The service here was exceptional and the spa prices were comparable to U.S. rates. We were seriously wishing that we had more time in Rome to take advantage of this luxurious spa.

Then my hair roots started showing. I needed to find a skilled, talented hair stylist close to our hotel. I found a press release on the salon’s website link: Noi | Color Cut Style

NOI (Piazza del Popolo 3, Rome; Tel. +39 06 3600 6284)

NOI Salon

“From international Fashion Magazines to Travel Guides, the word is out about Noi. Listed by WWD Salon as “The best salon for color in Italy,” Noi has won international acclaim for its color, cut, style and service. Come see why L’Oreal Paris calls Noi, “The most chic salon in Rome,” and LUXE says Noi is, “…the hands-down FAV for color, cut and party hair.” Whether a ‘jetsetter or a young aristocrat’ (W magazine), or simply on holiday to experience the couture and glamour of Italy, Noi is your salon…”

The NOI Salon was difficult to find. It is off the Piazza del Popolo on the southern street to the right, Via di Ripetta. There is a huge door located on the right side of the street between the first two restaurants with no sign except the name in small letters. The door leads to a courtyard with the salon being the furthest right door.

Frederico of NOI
Photo of Frederico on the NOI website. He is with a pleased client.

I did make an appointment with Frederico of the NOI Salon.

I couldn’t have been more pleased with my new hair color and haircut. I was looking so chic that I almost didn’t recognize myself. Frederico couldn’t have been more solicitous despite his hectic schedule. To be transformed by a top notch hair stylist, the   rates were  comparable to U.S. prices.

Finally, can you imagine accumulating a months worth of dirty laundry? If you do not want to pay hotel rates, there are Laundromats throughout Rome. Those working in these facilities are usually willing to do your laundry for a few extra euros. See the link below for locations.

Related Article:

Rome Laundromats –


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