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NEED TO KNOW

Eat your gelato elsewhere

On my way to Italian class one recent morning, I saw a young couple wrapped together on a bench in a park along Via dei Fori Imperiali. They’d obviously been there for some time, spooning in the shadow of the Colosseum -- an interlude, I suspect, they will always remember. But that was before Rome instituted a crackdown on indecorous behavior around its major monuments.

As of July 10, people visiting such places as the Roman Forum and Spanish Steps (above) may be fined up to $80 if they misbehave, which includes snacking, littering, drinking, sleeping and making too much noise.

It’s part of an effort to sanitize tourist Rome, which started last spring with the closure of the Forum to passersby. Now people must buy a $16.50 ticket to walk through the center of Imperial Rome.

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-- Susan Spano

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Lodges, Part 2

“Great Lodges of the National Parks, Volume Two,” a companion guide to the eponymous PBS TV series, may be the ultimate coffee-table tome for park enthusiasts.

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Pairing contemporary with archival photos, Christine Barnes’ sequel to her 2002 book explores the history and rustic charm of 10 lodges in the West, Alaska and Hawaii.

They include the 1927 Furnace Creek Inn in California’s Death Valley National Park and the 1909 Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., which inspired Stephen King’s horror tale “The Shining.” Cost: $35, hardcover; Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co. Photos by Fred Pflughoft and David Morris.

-- Jane Engle

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Prize pit stop

On a recent trip to Washington state, I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled into a rest stop on Interstate 90 near the town of Sprague, just southwest of Spokane.

Not only did this rest stop have free Wi-Fi but a volunteer group was also offering free coffee and snacks to drivers.

The rest stop also had a bird’s-eye view of the shimmering blue waters of Sprague Lake.

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Have a nominee for best freeway rest stop? Send us a location and description, including a photo, if you have one, to travel@latimes.com.

-- Hugo Martin

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Viva le train

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A new pre-paid electronic ticket service offers to make train travel across France more flexible, while saving you a few euros.

Rail Europe’s “Anywhere Anytime France” program allows you to set your itinerary, choose your seats and adjust your trip as you progress. Users set up an online account and pay a $199 fare for the first trip. Subsequent trips cost $50.

Tickets can be purchased up to three months in advance or one hour before train departure.

Info: (888) 382-7245, www.raileurope.com.

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-- Chris Erskine

For more travel news and deals, go to latimes.com/travelblog.


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