Thursday, May 10, 2007

WiFi in the Wild!

It was recently brought to my attention that in the heart of ancient Rome one can access wireless internet in the Piazza Navona. Incredible! Next time I head down to the Eternal City I’ll be toting along my laptop and connecting online while sipping a cappuccino overlooking one the city’s liveliest piazzas, just because I can! There is also a hotspot in the Piazza di Spagna and I hear they will soon be adding one in the Piazza del Rotondo, home to the famous Pantheon, which will be an inspiring site.

There is something appealing about soaking in some sun while surfing the web rather than sitting in a confined coffee house. Connecting with people and nature while connecting online seems like a good idea, and anytime I can get hold of some high speed, I’m there! I’m on a cell phone dial-up. You can imagine how slow that is. Cell phone. Dial-up. Yeah.

If the idea appeals to you but you’re not planning a trip to Rome, don’t fret. I’ve done some digging and have unearthed some great locales in the US where you can surf alfresco.

TOP FIVE OPEN-AIR HOTSPOTS (U.S.)

Washington, DC. This may be the best city in the country for logging on while getting out. The Open Park program has turned on wireless outside the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and the Capital Visitors’ Center, as well as on the Mall near the Hirshhorn Museum, behind the Smithsonian Castle, and next to the Museum of the American Indian. If that’s not enough, there’s a hotspot in funky DuPont Circle, and one on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown.

New York. The city parks are important in an urban jungle, and now you can take a breather from the traffic and crowds to plan your next business meeting or check email. Head over to Central Park and cop a squat (or snag a bench) to enjoy the atmosphere of the best-known park in the country. The city has the signal blazing over other parks throughout the metro area, as well.

Annapolis, MD. Downtown Annapolis has always had a bit of stateliness, and now they’re gone uptown and rigged up the place with wireless. All of downtown – not that it’s huge, but big enough – is accessible, which means you can have a view of the Chesapeake, watch the Naval cadets, or just hang out with a cup of joe and surf outdoors.

St. Louis, MO. Always a gateway, St. Louis has provided a portal to the wild web for one and all in the St. Louis Hot Zone, a 42-block section of downtown squared off by Broadway, Market Street, Tucker Boulevard and Washington Avenue. That’s a lot of accessibility!

Taos, NM. You knew there would be a New Mexico connection, didn’t you? The Pinon Tree is proud that in the city of Taos there is open wireless on the Plaza, right in the heart of the artsy-smartsy town, where you can sit on a park bench surrounded by adobe buildings and gaze at the majestic Sangre de Cristo mountains. Sponsored by Made in New Mexico.

Now get out there and go wild!

**This post is a proud participant in the Top Five - Group Writing Project. Thanks to Sognatrice over at Bleeding Espresso for pointing this out!**

For more Top Five lists (done up in living color, even!) hop over to At Home Rome and Ms. Adventures in Italy.

7 comments:

Mary Hitt in Pittsburgh said...

Add downtown Pittsburgh, PA to your list! The entire downtown area of Pittsburgh PA offers
two free hours of wireless Internet access to anyone who visits, works, or lives Downtown. For more information, see this web page: http://pittsburgh.about.com/od/downtown/a/free_wifi.htm

J.Doe said...

Piazza Navona is beautiful. wish I could be there surfing the net, but I'd probably be just looking at the fountains.

Sharon said...

I have been to Ohio as my daughter lives there and is desparate to move back to RI.

Enjoyed your blog....

Valerie said...

Mary - Thanks! That's great to know. Pittsburgh is an under-rated city! I like it.

J. - I know, but I think that's part of the appeal...beautiful setting to gaze up at while getting a little bit of work done. Bernini's Quattro Fontane was covered in scaffolding when we were in Rome last month.

Sharon - What part of Ohio? Unfortunately, that seems to be the general reaction of those who move there from someplace else. My sister, however, recently returned to Cleveland after an 11 year absence and, though the winter nearly did her in, is happy with the cultural offerings and goings-on there.

If you all (or is that y'all?) have other open-air wi-fi spots to share, lay 'em on me!

Mary Hitt said...

Hi, again, Valerie. Glad to hear you like Pittsburgh. That's so civilized of you, being from near Cleveland, and all! :) After all, I think the whole world has heard about the rivalry between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Since my family is from Dayton, and I'm a Miami U. grad, I have a soft spot for the other cities in Ohio. But I've grown to love Pittsburgh too. Did you know that last week it was named the "Most Livable City" in the US by the Places Rated Almanac? It won this titled once before, too, about 1983 or so.

I've also been to your new town, too, several times. My husband, Leo, and I have a friend here in Pittsburgh, Pino, who is originally from Colonnello. He takes his family back there every summer, and for the past 5 years or so we've been vacationing in San Benedetto del Tronto,
so we usually meet up and take some day trips. Leo and Pino have even talked seriously about buying an apartment in Ascoli Piceno. Unfortunately we're not going to Italy this year, but we expect to be back in 2008.

Anonymous said...

Fun to read! Just happened to read this blog while on a sailboat in the harbor in Back Creek, just away from the busy hub of downtown Annapolis. Great way to connect -- wagtching the racing sailors scurry by; the cruisers anchored in the harbor w/wind generators going 'round -- while we work at getting ready for sailing season.

Valerie said...

Mary - I'm an equal opportunity city observer! I'll give Pittsburgh fair credit even though I'm a Browns fan ;) My in-laws both came from Pitt so you can imagine that the Browns-Steelers games are *interesting* within the family, with the parents solely rooting for Pitt. Colonello is just down the road. The stretch of beach at SamBa is nice.

Anon. - sounds like a nice wi-fi spot.