Rome’s 9 most underrated experiences
The Pantheon and the Colosseum. St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican City. The Trevi Fountain and Roman Forum… And on and on and on. Rome's landmarks are celebrated around the world, and with good reason. As a result, they also need no introduction to anyone considering a vacation in the Eternal City.
What are more useful to the first-time visitor are the hidden gems; the places to go and the experiences to be had that often go unnoticed. To give you a better understanding of the city and its people, factor in these seven essential experiences during your next visit to Rome.
Climb high for the best view
Get your bearings in the city by seeking out its most impressive aerial view. It's not to be found on one of the city's historic seven hills, but on the Janiculum Terrace, west of the Tiber and just outside of the ancient city. Still within easy reach, perched high above the Trastevere neighborhood, the views looking down are as spectacular as they are peaceful, except at noon when a single canon shot breaks the silence and carries on a tradition dating back to the 19th century. But even if you get the terrace to yourself, you'll never be completely alone: a giant statue of the Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi on horseback stands proud on the Janiculum Terrace.
Drink coffee like an Italian
Rome takes its coffee consumption very seriously, and no amount of knowledge picked up at Starbucks will prepare you for the Eternal City. Here are some very basic rules:
Romans drink a lot of espresso, but espresso is not the term used—ask instead for “un caffè"—or a shot of espresso with a steamed milk—“un caffè macchiato". Ask for a “latte" and you'll get just the steamed milk and a side order of contempt. Order a double espresso—“un caffè doppio"—and you'll impress no-one: Italians drink plenty of coffee but in single shots.
To fit in with the locals in Rome (and Italy), remember the milk in the morning rule. Cappuccino, caffé latte, latte macchiato or any other milky coffee is reserved strictly for the mornings and should never be drunk after a meal and on a full stomach. After breakfast, your coffee should be kept simple — asking for a hazelnut top with chocolate swirls will be frowned upon.
Expect to stand not sit: coffee is to be drunk fast, downed in one by the bar—but coffee to-go is unusual outside of train stations. And if it's hot, ask for" un caffè freddo" or “cappuccino freddo", an iced espresso or cappuccino, both of which usually come pre-sugared.
Get some glorious gelato
When not drinking coffee, you probably should be thinking about sampling the city's glorious gelato. Where to find the finest example depends on who you ask, but Gelateria del Teatro, Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè and Giolitti are three of the very best. Expect unique flavors such as champagne, garden sage and raspberry, and blueberries and cream.
It's still easy to discover bad gelato in Rome, however, so here are some quick guidelines. Avoid luridly colored ice creams: they've achieved the color through chemicals. Avoid the displays of fluffed-up gelato in high mounds: they've created the effect using thickeners. And always look for long line of customers: they're standing in line for a reason.
Eat your way round Testaccio Market
Rome is a gastronome's paradise with food markets taking pride of place in many central districts and reflecting the emphasis the city puts on fresh produce. The storied Campo de' Fiori Market dates back to 1869 and operates every Sunday in Centro Storico in the square of the same name—making it very popular with hungry tourists.
Another excellent option, as popular with Romans as with visitors, is Testaccio Market—or Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio, reflecting its move into a bright new building in San Giovanni & Testaccio. Head here and peruse some of Rome's finest fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses. While you're there, grab an espresso and cannolo from one of the many street food kiosks. Keep your energy levels high; you could be there for quite some time.
Cook up a roman feast
While it's great to return home from Rome with a phone full of photographs, wouldn't it be more impressive to have picked up some new life skills along the way? Join one of many Italian cooking schools and you can do just that, mastering the art of cooking pasta, pizza and all points in-between. Lessons can range from intimate (Les Chefs Blancs) to the more raucous (Eataly). Opt for one that runs in the evening and you'll not only have the day for sightseeing, you'll also be cooking up your own dinner.
Head into Trastevere
Rome's most characterful neighborhood lies just across the Tiber river accessed via the beautiful stone footbridge, Ponte Sisto. Head for Trastevere—translation from the Latin phrase “trans tiberim": “beyond the Tiber"—and you'll notice the difference. Well away from the tourist filled crowds, you're surrounded by ancient, ivy-draped buildings, narrow cobbled streets and charming, tiny piazzas. Once a medieval working-class district, it's now a gentrified neighborhood filled with excellent trattorias and bars. Head in for an afternoon and stay deep into the night.
Explore Villa Borghese
To escape the crowds and noise of the city, head for Villa Borghese—up the Spanish Steps and a short walk on. The largest public park in the city stretches out over 226 acres and is literally a breath of fresh air to all who stop by. An Italian version of Central Park, it's home to museums, galleries, theaters, lakes, zoological gardens and a recreation of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, not to mention fountains, monuments and so, so much more. Hiring a bike is your best way of seeing it, but even then you won't be able to experience it all in a single visit. You will need to return—and you won't be sorry.
If you go
By working together and strengthening partnerships during these unprecedented times, our global community has overcome challenges and created solutions to keep the global supply chain moving. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the shipping landscape, United and our industry partners have increasingly demonstrated our commitment to the mission of delivering critical medical supplies across the world.
United Cargo has partnered with DSV Air and Sea, a leading global logistics company, to transport important pharmaceutical materials to places all over the world. One of the items most critical during the current crisis is blood plasma.
Plasma is a fragile product that requires very careful handling. Frozen blood plasma must be kept at a very low, stable temperature of negative 20 degrees Celsius or less – no easy task considering it must be transported between trucks, warehouses and airplanes, all while moving through the climates of different countries. Fortunately, along with our well-developed operational procedures and oversight, temperature-controlled shipping containers from partners like va-Q-tec can help protect these sensitive blood plasma shipments from temperature changes.
A single TWINx shipping container from va-Q-tec can accommodate over 1,750 pounds of temperature-sensitive cargo. Every week, DSV delivers 20 TWINx containers, each one filled to capacity with human blood plasma, for loading onto a Boeing 787-9 for transport. The joint effort to move thousands of pounds of blood plasma demonstrates that despite the distance, challenges in moving temperature-sensitive cargo and COVID-19 obstacles, we continue to find creative solutions with the help of our strong partnerships.
United Cargo is proud to keep the commercial air bridges open between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Since March 19, we have operated over 3,200 cargo-only flights between six U.S. hubs and over 20 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, India, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
A message from UNITE, United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group
Fellow United team members –
Hello from the UNITE leadership team. While we communicate frequently with our 3,500 UNITE members, our platform doesn't typically extend to the entire United family, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with all of you.
Tomorrow is June 19. On this day in 1865, shortened long ago to "Juneteenth," Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved individuals were free. For many in the African-American community, particularly in the South, it is recognized as the official date slavery ended in the United States.
Still, despite the end of slavery, the Constitutional promise that "All men are created equal" would overlook the nation's Black citizens for decades to come. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the Civil Rights Act (1964) ended legal segregation and the Voting Rights Act (1965) protected voting rights for Black Americans. But while the nation has made progress, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve racial parity and inclusion.
Two weeks ago, Scott and Brett hosted a virtual town hall and set an important example by taking a minute, as Brett said, "to lower my guard, take off my armor, and just talk to you. And talk to you straight from the heart."
Difficult conversations about race and equity are easy to avoid. But everyone needs to have these conversations – speaking honestly, listening patiently and understanding that others' experiences may be different from your own while still a valid reflection of some part of the American experience.
To support you as you consider these conversations, we wanted to share some resources from one of United's partners, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will host an all-day Virtual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize Juneteenth through presentations, stories, photographs and recipes. The museum also has a portal that United employees can access called Talking About Race, which provides tools and guidance for everyone to navigate conversations about race.
Our mission at UNITE is to foster an inclusive working environment for all of our employees. While we are hopeful and even encouraged by the widespread and diverse show of support for African Americans around the country – and at United - we encourage everyone to spend some time on Juneteenth reflecting on racial disparities that remain in our society and dedicating ourselves to the work that still must be done to fight systemic racism. By honoring how far we've come and honestly acknowledging how far we still must go, we believe United – and the incredible people who are the heart and soul of this airline - can play an important role in building a more fair and just world.
UNITE (United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group)
At the airport
1Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub airports
2Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums
3Encouraging use of the United app for contactless travel assistance and more
4Promoting social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand 6 feet apart
5Rolling out touchless check-in for customers with bags
At the gate:
6Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers
7Providing hand sanitizer and
8Allowing customers to self-scan boarding passes
9Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front to promote social distancing
10Rolling out Clorox Total 360 Electrostatic Sprayers to disinfect in the airport
On our aircraft
1Providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers
2Requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering and providing disposable face coverings for customers who need them
3Providing onboard items like pillows and blankets upon request
4Disinfecting high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding
5Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service
6Ensuring aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines
7Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft
8Using state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters to circulate air and remove 99.97% of airborne particles
- The cabin recirculated air is exchanged every 2-3 minutes
We're working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols for the safety of our employees and customers. Visit Cleveland Clinic's website to learn more about COVID-19.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, video conferencing tools that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
To use on Zoom:
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
- Start by downloading your favorite United image to your computer. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- C:\[insert your device user name here]\AppData\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
- If you're using a Mac copy the images to this folder on your computer:
- /users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- Once you start a Teams meeting, click the "…" in the menu bar and select "Show background effects" and your image should be there
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This is why we fly.
20 UCSF Health workers, who voluntarily set aside their own lives to help save lives, are on their way to New York City.
We are humbled by your selfless sacrifice.
In celebration and appreciation of all first responders and essential workers. 👏🏻👏🏼👏🏽👏🏾👏🏿
This is the story of Jason and Shantel. You see, Jason and Shantel love each other very much. They also love traveling and they love the classic Adam Sandler film, The Wedding Singer.
It all began when Jason reached out to United's social media team, hoping for assistance with his upcoming plan to propose. Some phone calls and one borrowed guitar later, the stage was set for Jason. Put all that together, mix in some helpful United employees and, voila, you have a truly memorable marriage proposal. Congratulations to this fun-loving and happy couple, and here's to many more years of making beautiful music together.
A big thank you to Chicago-based flight attendants Donna W., Marie M., Karen J. and Mark K. for making this proposal come to life.