Main information

Area

577 square miles (within this area is Vatican City, the worldís smallest independent sovereign state, comprising 100 acres and 200 residents)

Time Zone

Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour: Time in Rome is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York.(7 hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.)

International Dialing Code

Romeís city code is 06. The country code is 39. Calling cards can be purchased at tobacco stores, post offices and some bars in Rome to use in placing calls from public or private phones. To call the operator: dial 10.

Emergency

police: 113(local) 112 (national); fire: 115; ambulance: 113 Emergency calls are free from phone booths.

Currency

Currency is the Euro (EUR). The notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The denominations of coins are 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent.

The easiest method of securing cash at the best exchange rate is to make withdrawals using a US credit card from the ATM machines found at the major banks and stores.

Customs Regulations

Telephone (in Rome): 06 49711 for information.

Average Temperatures

Month High Low
January 52F 40F
February 55F 42F
March 59F 45F
April 66F 50F
May 74F 56F
June 82F 63F
July 87F 67F
August 86F 67F
September 79F 62F
October 71F 55F
November 61F 49F
December 55F 44F

Rome is at its best weather wise in April and May and again from September ñ mid October. The heat can be intense in July and August. Winters are rainy and cool, rather than cold. Many businesses close in August.

National Holidays

Jan. 1 New Yearís Day

Jan. 6 Epiphany

Good Friday and Easter Monday (dates vary each year – Mar. or April)

1st Mon. of May Labor Day

June 29 SS. Peter and Paulís Day

August 15 Feast of the Assumption

November 1 All Saintsí Day

December 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Dec. 26 St. Stephenís Day (Boxing Day)

Public rest rooms

In short supply except in museums, restaurants and large department stores

Smoking

Smoking is not allowed in museums, churches, and art galleries. It is discouraged, but allowed, in restaurants. Trains have separate non- smoking compartments.

Electricity

220volt A/C). Most hotels have 110V shaver outlets. Plugs have 2 round pins or sometimes 3 pins in a vertical row. American appliances will need a plug adapter and will require a transformer if they do not have a dual voltage capability.

Visitors with disabilities

The Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peterís are wheelchair accessible. Many of the ancient historic sites require climbing of innumerable steps and are unsuitable for anyone not in prime physical condition. There are toilets for the disabled at the two Rome airports, at Stazione Termini and at St. Peterís Square.

Children

Children under 4 not occupying a seat travel free on Italian railways. Traveling with children requires a different, more relaxed itinerary, but there are many possibilities for family enjoyment available (see Attractions for Children section).

Churches

There are four Irish Catholic churches in Rome and two others for English speakers. There are also Anglican, Scottish Presbyterian, Methodist, Jewish and Muslim worship centers.

How to get around

Buses are the main form of public transportation. Orange buses run by ATAC have low cost, frequent service around the city. Blue COTRAL buses cover the region and the suburbs of Rome. Driving and walking in Rome are both hazardous. As a result, the buses are crowded and traffic is slow. Bus operates Mon-Sat 5:30 AM ñ 11:30 PM Night buses on key routes run less frequently from midnight ñ 5:30AM. Late night buses have a conductor who sells tickets. During the regular daytime and evening hours tickets must be purchased in advance from automatic machines, shops and news stands.

Information: 167 431784.

Metro

is a subway system with two main lines: A and Bit is primarily a commuter service and does not travel close to the city center attractions.

Taxis

Licensed taxis are yellow and white with a ìtaxiî sign on the roof. Be sure to use only these. When hailing a cab, be sure the meter is set at zero. Drivers are not supposed to stop on the street to pick up fares. They are supposed to wait at taxi stands. Stands can be found at Termini, Piazza Venezia, Largo Argentina, Piazza S. Sonnino, Pantheon, Piazza di Spagna and Piazza San Silvestro.

Air Travel

Flights arrive at Leonardo da Vinci Airport, also known as Fiumicino. Shuttle trains link the airport with Stazione Termini in the city center. Taxis are expensive from the airport. A prepaid ìcar with driverî is available at the SOCAT desk in the International arrivals hall.

Rail Service

Most trains arrive and depart from Stazione Terminal, which is conveniently located for most of the central city. Train information: 147 88 8088 (toll free)

Annual  Events

Carnavale:  Street celebrations Sunday to Tuesday each year before Lent   (Feb. or March).

Festa di Santa Francesca Romana (March 9) Roman drivers bring their cars to the church of Santa Francesca Romana to have them blessed by the patron saint of motorists.

Domenica delle Palme:  Palm Sunday is traditionally celebrated by the Pope who says Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

Holy (Easter) Week. Catholics from around the world make pilgrimages to Rome’s various basilicas or to hear the Pope give his address at the Vatican.

Good Friday there is a procession of the Cross from the Colosseum to Capitoline Hill.

Easter Sunday:  Papal blessing at St. Peter’s.

Festa della Primavera (late April) Azaleas in terra cotta pots adorn the Spanish steps.

International Horse Show (early May) at Piazza di Siena in the Villa Borghese.

Rose Show at the Via di Valle Murcia (May)

Antiques Fair (May) in Via dei Coronari (lit by candles at nighth).

Festa della Repubblica (first Sunday in June)  Military parade.

Festa di San Giovanni (24 June)  Meals of snails and suckling pigs.

Festa di SS Pietro e Paolo Rome’s patron Saints. (June 29)

Infiorata (last weekend in June)  Flower festival.

RomEuropa Festival of Film, dance, theater and concerts held at the Villa Medici. (Late June-Late July)

Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) is an international festival of music, opera, ballet, cinema and art that runs for 20 days from the end of  June – mid-July.  It is located 117km from Rome, but well worth the trip.  (For information:  Piazza del Duomo tel. 0743-49890).

Festa dei Noiantri (last two weeks in July)  An open air party to usher in the outdoor summer concerts.

Tevere Expo (Last two weeks of July)  Stalls along the Tiber near Ponte Sant’Angelo display Italian arts, crafts, food, wine, and folk music.

Festa delle Catene (August 1) At San Pietro in Vincoli, the chains of St. Peter are shown to the faithful during prayer.

Festa della Madonna delle Neve. (August 5) At Santa Maria Maggiore, at the Gloria portion of the Mass, flower petals fall on the congregation in reinactment of a local 4th century legend.

Ferragosto (Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary) August 15:  Main midsummer holiday.  Shops and restaurants are closed.

Late September -Early October :  Torchlit street and craft fair in Via dell’Orso.

Castelli wine festivals ( first Sunday of October )

Festa di Santa Cecilia (Nov.22)

Festa dell’Immacolata Concezione (Dec.8)  Religious services in Piazza di Spagna often attended by the Pope.

Children’s Fair (Dec.12-Jan.6) In Piazza Navona.  Culminates with the “witch”(Befana) festival on the eve of Epiphany.

Midnight Masses Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Maria in Aracoeli and the Papal Mass at St. Peter’s (December 24)

Mid-morning Mass at St. Peter’s (December 25)

Te Deum outside the Gesu in thanks for the passing year. (Dec.31)

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