Dusk in Rome, where ancient streets conjure the ghosts of history. (Image via Wikipedia.)

ROME, March 25, 2015 — Be it never so humble, there’s no place like Rome, especially in the spring. When it is time for March to “go out like a lamb,” April looms in Rome like spring training for travelers.

In Rome in spring, the air is warm, the sun is bright, gardens blossom and one of the great walking cities in the world beckons to be explored. But that occurs every spring. This year something is different, thanks to a great exchange rate and some hotel bargains that are tough to beat.

The Victor Emmanuel Monument. (Taylor)

The Bettoja Hotel group features three properties that are among the oldest family owned hotel groups in Italy. Nestled on top of the ” Monti” on Esquilino Hill, the highest of Rome’s seven hills (yes, there are seven), the Bettoja Hotels are just a block and a half from the main railway station and a brief walk to all the major sites of the ancient city.

Hotel Mediterraneo, Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio and Hotel Atlantico have grown through five generations of family ownership, adding some exciting renovations for 2017 that make family and group travel even more affordable.

Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo. (Wikipedia)

Veteran travelers to Europe know all too well that room sizes are often designed for Lilliputians rather than American visitors with their highly developed fast food personas. Consequently, Bettoja Hotels have adapted to a “large room” which will accommodate up to four people or up to six with a connecting configuration. With a 10% discount for any three night stay or up 25% for a non-refundable or early booking (30 days in advance), it is not difficult to see that a room for about $300 a night is a bargain when divided by several couples.

Piazz della republicca is just around the corner from the Bettoja Hotels. (Wikipedia)

In addition, each Bettoja Hotel property is offering a free pass to guests to visit either the Scuderie del Quirinale or the Palazzo delle Esposizioni.

The very term alfresco or “outdoor dining” was invented in Italy, and why not? For there is no better place in the world to sit at a cafe or restaurant on the street and simply watch the pageant that passes by. It is a cyclorama of humanity, and you can be part of it or be totally anonymous. It’s your choice.

As with most major European cities, Rome is for walking. The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia, Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and Piazza Della Repubblica are all with easy walking distance of a Bettoja hotel.

For adventurous types, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Via Condotti and Piazza Navona are not much further, but taxis are readily available for less active visitors.

Piazza Navona is Rome’s drawing room. (Wikipedia)

Shoppers are always beguiled by Via Condiotti which is the Rodeo Drive of Rome. Still there is plenty for shopaholics to purchase on Via dei Boschetto, Via dei Serpentini, Via Leonina and Vis Panisperna and their connecting side streets near the hotels.

The Monti District of Rome is the largest district in the city. Romans living in the are are justifiably proud of their heritage and often claim to be “more genuinely Roman” than the citizens of other areas of the city.

Michelangelo’s Pietà may bring you to tears (Image via Wikipedia entry on Michaelangelo’s Pietà, CC 4.0 international license)

Travelers desiring a stunning view, particularly at night, can have a drink or enjoy dinner on the rooftop patio atop Hotel Mediterraneo. Built by Mussolini, who ignored all the codes of construction, Mediterraneo is the tallest building on the highest hill in Rome, thus creating magnificent views of the Victor Emmanuel Monument and the dome of St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

As natives of Rome, the Bettoja family created walking tours (Roma a Piedi) years ago in order to share their knowledge and love of the place they call home. Maps for the walking tours can be obtained at the front desk of each hotel, and they will guide you through the Byzantine, Christian and Jewish sections of the city.

The Baths of Caracalla were vast and a Roman gathering spot. (Taylor)

Two tips: First, be sure to cross the Tiber River to Trastevere to explore the quaint, quiet streets of that part of Rome. It is an area that often goes unnoticed and unvisited by travelers.

Second, do not miss the museum at Villa Borghese. If you skip it, you will miss some of Bernini’s finest work as a sculptor.

St. Peter’s Basilica from Vatican City looking toward Rome. (Wikipedia))

Rome has been a work in progress for thousands of years, and there is no better time to visit the Eternal City than spring. You see, as long as spring remains eternal, so, too, will the city of Rome.

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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.

He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)

Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)

Read more of Bob’s journeys with ALS and his journeys around the world

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