Touring Rome is unlike visiting any other major city in Europe. This place, with a history of more than 2500 years, presents to visitors the opportunity to experience an open air museum where angels and demons once ruled. One has to really like and appreciate heritage as this is a place where treasures and masterpieces of Roman art and architecture are preserved and presented proudly by the Italians. EZ has selected 10 things you should pen down when planning your tour in this ancient city.
01 Hop On Hop Off
Rome is unlike many modern European cities where the trains or subways are designed to directly reach important tourist attractions. This city has so many ancient architectural sites above and below ground level that the rail transportation system was built around these important sites, making sure that no heritage was damaged. As such, it is highly recommended that one should pack along a pair of good sport shoes. Furthermore if you are not travelling with a tour group, it is advisable to buy tickets and take a round trip with the Hop On Hop Off bus so that you will have a good idea and perspective of the city of Rome.
02 Colosseo (Colosseum)
The Colosseo (Colosseum in Italian) is one of the world’s most recognised buildings. One would be hard pressed to find a larger and more glorious setting that could seat over 50,000 people to view the mass slaughters which were a form of entertainment millennia ago. This was a brutal stage on which gladiators, slaves, criminals and animals had to fight to death for the sole purpose of surviving another day. It is highly recommended to purchase a combo ticket that covers the entrance for Forum and the Palatine Hill. Moreover, it allows you to bypass the super long queue. The ticket also comes with an English speaking guide that will take you to places that are restricted if one only buys the normal ticket. Before leaving, remember to take some memory shots with the Arch of Constantine, the triumphal arch in Rome.
03 Piazza Navona
Built on the site of the 1st century AD Stadium of Domitian, this city square is the venue that was once used by ancient Romans for festivals and sporting events. Today Piazza Navona is a pedestrian’s paradise where restaurants line the perimeter and the magnificent Fountain of the Four Rivers structure grace this elongated oval. One cannot miss the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, a 17th century baroque church that commands such fine craftsmanship, such splendour and such dedication to faith that is almost impossible to find in today’s modern world. For those who would like to bring home paintings as souvenirs, there are plenty of artists’ works on sale here.
04 The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II
The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele IIis located just within walking distance from the Colosseum. This magnificent yet controversial white marble monument that dominates Piazza Venezia was built to pay tribute to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a united Italy. Within the monument, the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento is housed. This is a museum dedicated to the history of how Italy was unified. The top of the monument provides a fantastic 360º panoramic view of Rome.
05 Trevi Fountain
If you like to meet The God of the Sea and do not mind squeezing with other admirers, then the Trevi Fountain would be the place to be. As tradition has it, you will supposedly return to Rome if you throw a coin over your opposite shoulder with your back facing the fountain. While this makes for a fun little activity, there is an annoying side to it – there are just too many people snapping, videoing and repeating the same ritual of tossing over and over again! However, the atmosphere of the jostling crowd and the magnificent presentation of the majestic Neptune riding a shell-shaped chariot with two seahorses are simply breath-taking. If things get a little overwhelming, an Italian Gelato might just do the trick.
Stay tune for the next issue of EZ to find out more exciting things to do in Rome.