Rome's 9 Most Underrated Experiences - United Hub
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Rome’s 9 most underrated experiences

By Nick Harper , September 12, 2017

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.

Overview of the city of Rome

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.

Now you know what to drink, but you still need to know where to drink it. Caffè Sant'Eustachio and Tazza d'Oro are Roman institutions and should be at the top your 'To Do' list.

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

United flies from 11 US cities direct to Rome's Fiumicino airport (FCO), a short cab or bus ride from the city center. For full details and to book, visit united.com or use the United app .

Reflecting on Veterans Day: a message from our CEO Oscar Munoz

By Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Airlines , November 11, 2019

Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.

When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.

They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.

I want them to look no further than United Airlines.

That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.

They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.

That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.

We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.

We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.

We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.

As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.

Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.

They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.

Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.

Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.

Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.

But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.

We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.

It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.

On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.

Humbly,

Oscar

United named a top workplace for veterans

By The Hub team , November 10, 2019

Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.

"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.

"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."

Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.

Mission Accomplished

By Matt Adams , November 06, 2019

The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.

Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.

Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.

Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.

"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."

When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.

For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.

Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.

That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.

"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."

The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.

About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.

"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."

When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.

"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."

On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.

"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."

For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.

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