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Conquering it in a day . . . or three

From the March 26, 2001 Issue of New York

The jubilee is over, and the crowds of pilgrims have subsided, but the cleanups and restorations that swept through Rome in preparation for the holy year are still freshly in place. And the euro is still a bargain. (It's as if Gucci, Valentino, and Armani were all throwing 20 percent-off sales.) So book a room at Sole al Pantheon -- the city's oldest hotel -- and request a view of the Pantheon. In the morning, conquer jet lag with the ethereal cappuccino at the nearby Cafe Sant Eustache. Then go to Biciroma in the Piazza San Lorenzo and rent a moped -- the best way to squeeze the maximum amount of art, archaeology, and shopping into a short stay. Spend part of Saturday on the steps of the ancient Capitoline hill watching the never-ending parade of bridal parties (who ever said bridesmaids are supposed to be dowdy?), lunch alfresco in Trastevere, and get to the top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in time for a sunset view of the skyline. For dinner, make reservations at Bucatino or Checchino dal 1887 in Testaccio. Or, if you're still shopping, walk to Beltramme Fiaschetteria on the Via della Croce near the Spanish Steps. Later, if you returned your motorino without a scratch, reward yourself with a gelato from Giolitti.

Sole al Pantheon, 39-06-678-0441 (doubles start at $289); Sant Eustachio, 39-06-686-1309; Biciroma, 39-06-686-4604; Bucatino, 39-06-574-6886; Checchino dal 1887, 39-06-574-3816; Giolitti, 06-69-91-243.

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