From Rome Off the Beaten Path to Home and the Flu

January 30, 2018

After a month of holidays in Minnesota I returned to Italy via Rome on 14 January. When I boarded the plane in Minneapolis it was -11F.  When I arrived in Rome, it was 55 degrees. It was so very good to set foot on Italian ground and to be warm again. But, as usual, I had not slept.  I had severe jet lag. Usually, I take the train from Fiumicino Airport to Roma Termini Station. But this time, with extra items for my apartment in my GIANT suitcase plus my carry-on, I chose to contact my friend, Mary at Rome Cab Transfer for a ride.

This was a first for me. And it felt GOOD. For only 45 Euros I got door to door service and the driver even helped me lift my suitcase up the stairs at my old standby hotel, Hotel Virgilio in the Monti District.

Rome Cab Transfer played a very big roll in my visit to Rome this time. I wanted to see a couple places off the standard tourist locations. And I was just too tired to walk or take the metro. But first, I had a day with Mary Roma, the manager of Rome Cab Transfer.

The lovely Mary met me on day 2 of my time in Rome. Day 1 was a check-in day and a short walk around Monti.

Ristorante Viminale was practically just around the corner from my hotel. Mary had been told it was a great, authentic place for lunch. The Italian Homeland Security Soldiers tends to frequent the Viminale and have their own menu. The owners allowed Mary and I to select from either one.

I had the Cacio e Pepe, my favorite Roman dish plus a carne secondo, a second dish of meat. It was too much, of course. This place is not fancy whatsoever. However, the food is served simply, tastes great and the choice of vino is exemplary. It has to be. Italians eat here.

Mary and I shared family stories, business stories and talked of how we could work together to help others experience Rome. I told her that on this trip I had wanted to visit the seat of the Bishop of Rome, St. John Lateran Basilica and the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls of Rome in Ostiense. But, with severe jet lag, I was not sure I would make it that far. Mary said, No Problem. And we reserved one of her cars and a driver for the next day. What a great idea.

After breakfast the next morning,

And 10 hours of sleep/rest, I was off to explore, Driving Ms. Daisy Style.

St. John Lateran

Leonardo arrived in a black luxury car and we drove the short way, inside the walls to visit one of the most revered churches in Rome, and the oldest, St. John Lateran.  Constantine is the one who instigated the takeover of the Laterani family’s palace to convert it into a Church. It has remained such since 311A.D. I am sure that in the beginning it was a small locale. Now it is quite majestic.

The portico outside the church itself has several doors, including a huge set of ancient bronze doors,

And a very intricate door with an amazing crucifix.

The church itself is dedicated to both St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist.

You can feel the reverence that has been expressed over the centuries as you discover artwork after artwork, including in the altar area,

Front and back.

And side altars. The one below holds the throne of the Bishop of Rome.

Art from the Romanesque, Medieval, and through the 18th century and the Romantic era can be found here.


St. Paul Outside the Walls

Leonardo drove through side streets and wall gates to take me to see the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls of Rome. We saw the Pyramid, parks, illustrious palaces and then, as we approached the Ostiense area, we saw street art.

I had no idea that this area was famous or infamous for this modern art. I will return to explore more. Above photo is from

As we approached the church, I felt a strong connection to the construction of the huge pillared entry and garden.

And inside, the sculpture of St. Paul.

For me, there is something mystical about porticos and pillars and this church has them all.

And more while we are still outdoors.

Another ancient door is at the entrance to the Basilica to be used only during the Holy Years

While another door boasts another crucifix against the dark background.

And what’s this?

More pillars indoors. And the ceilings, the marble floors and so much more.

These mosaic and gold leaf art pieces hang over an altarpiece just as ornate. And down another hallway stands a very unique pillar fully carved and unattached to the ceiling.

I payed the extra cost to visit the remains discovered just a few years ago of Paul’s resting place

and the back garden

with its double pillars, alternating single, unique pillars,  

and ancient remains.

There is such a sense of peace in this area. For me, the visit to the interior of the Basilica is overshadowed by the cloister here at the back.

How could I top the visits to these two exquisite churches? Leonardo, my driver, was open to anything. I asked him which locale for overlooking Rome did he think was best. He suggested La Passagiata del Gianicolo, near the Children’s Hospital. It was raining off and on. But that did not stop us.

With umbrella and camera in hand, I walked along the promenade overlooking the seven hills of Rome. With my Nikkon, I captured photos I hadn’t before.

Winter at a villa,

A touch of green,

Which dome is that? Which hill is that?


Complete with her Wedding Cake.

Thank you to Leonardo and Rome Cab Transfer for a wonderful day in and around Rome. I would use Rome Cab Transfer again for airport transfers, travel in and around Rome and whatever you need. You can reach Mary at: or +39 34 2180 9175.

The next day, it was time for me to head home to Liguria. I was still feeling exhausted, coughing a bit and achy all over. By the time I reached home, I was under the weather for certain. Yet I took out that Nikkon one more time for a sunset by the sea. I had a feeling I would not be visiting the promenade for a while. The Flu has me now, but I have photos of the sea

At Sunset again.

Have a wonderful week. Stay healthy. Let me know how I can assist you in your Italian travel dreams.

Ciao for now!

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