Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008

5. Ponte Sisto Stroll

The best way to soak up the city — and to find some of the quainter (and more affordable) shops — is to zig-zag from vicolo to vicolo (alley), piazza to piazza. For a good two-hour stroll, start at the bustling Piazza Navona, then head south through Campo dei Fiori, where you'll find cafés and daily food and flower markets, to the beguiling Piazza Farnese, with its pair of fountains and Renaissance palace. From there, continue toward Ponte Sisto. The ponte (bridge) offers a great perspective on the beauty of Rome, with the Gianicolo hill rising to the west and St. Peter's Basilica to the north. Cross the Tiber to arrive in the utterly charming Trastevere neighborhood, where laundry swings overhead and flowers burst from window boxes; your stroll can continue, and the enchantment (and shops) will keep coming.