Rome is the city to travel to for romantics, history lovers and those thirsty for coffee. Here, freshly roasted coffee beans often smell when you stroll around the beautiful piazzas. The Romans themselves believe that they invented La Dolce Vita, The Good Life, which is about letting the calm and pleasant rhythm of the Mediterranean get a foothold in the daily chores.
The capital of Italy, with its approximately 3 million inhabitants, is the largest city in the country. Within the city limits is the Vatican City, like a tiny country in the city. Rome’s history goes back more than 2,500 years. The sites of pilgrimage are largely dominated by remnants of the Roman Empire, as well as pilgrimages to the Vatican. In summer it can be quite hot and dry, while otherwise in the year the temperature is mostly comfortable and cool. According to DigoPaul, the city of Rome is mostly safe to go on a city break to, but as in most metropolises you can come across scammers, pickpockets and a bit shabby handling of restaurant bills.
Among thousands of sights in Rome, these 10 are not to be missed:
The Colosseum was inaugurated 80 years AD. and accommodated as many as 50,000 spectators. At that time, it was not AS Roma who played against Lazio, the city’s two biggest football teams, but rather the occasional poor man who was thrown to the lions, or gladiator fights for life and death. Some of the Roman emperors outdid each other in an attempt to entertain the population (bread and circus). Titus arranged toys over 100 days, which cost the lives of more than 5,000 wild animals. Emperor Trajan should not be worse, and clinked with a 117-day orgy of violence, which included 9,000 gladiators and over 10,000 animals. The Colosseum has been relatively recently renovated, for the first time in almost 2000 years, and is for many the sight most strongly associated with Rome.
The Pantheon Temple is around 2000 years old and is considered one of the most influential monuments in the western world. The building itself is a marvel. The dome you stand under has no reinforcement, a technology that was not yet invented at that time, and is the largest in the world of its kind. Until recently, the Pantheon was also the largest cement building ever erected. People get married here, famous artists are buried in the Pantheon, and fairs are held regularly. Apart from such events, the temple is open to tourists, every day except Sunday. The Pantheon is located in the middle of ancient Rome, and in the square in front you will find lots of nice bars, restaurants and cafes.
You will experience even more of ancient Rome at the Roman Forum, a rectangular square surrounded by the remains of the city’s heyday, more than 1,500 years ago. Many of the ruins are of various administration buildings, while others are from temples and religious monuments. At the Roman Forum, gladiatorial battles were fought, trials and political meetings were held, interspersed with the occasional execution of criminals, in addition to the space being used for market trade. The place was originally a cemetery, 700 years BC. It is worth getting a guided tour, as the history and number of ruins are very extensive. Among other things, you will find Tempio di Giulio Cesare here, where Julius Caesar himself was cremated, as well as the old senate.
If you are on a city break in Rome, it is a must to drink a lot of coffee in a nice sidewalk cafe. You will find many of them in Piazza Navona, the name of what is probably the most beautiful piazza in the city. 2000 years ago, the arena of Domitian was located in the same place (also known as the Circus Agonalis). Today’s Piazza Navona is dominated by three fabulous fountains in the middle of the square. The figures on the middle and largest depict the rivers Ganges, Rio de la Plata, Nile and Danube. It is not only the baroque buildings and the decorations of the square that attract people, but also the entertainment in the form of street artists, outdoor theater, concerts and other fun.
The Palatino (Collis Palatinus) is the middle of the seven heights of Rome. You need to breathe and pant to get to the top, even though the number of altitude meters is a staggering 40 tross Despite low hills, from here you get a pretty nice view of the city, and has, among other things, the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus lying just below on each its sides of the height. Excavations suggest that Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, was born and raised on the Palatine Hill. According to myths, Rome was also founded on Palatino, by Romulus, right after he took the life of his own twin brother, Remus.
The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps are located at the end of Via Condotti, with Piazza di Spagna in front. Those who know their film history know that Scalinata di Spagna counts 136 steps in total, on the way up to the church at the top. The month of May is perhaps the best time to take the trip to the Spanish Steps in Rome. Then it is decorated with beautiful flowers, and people’s lives are at their best. Although many do, you should avoid sitting on the stairs to take a meal break. Then you usually get fined. That in itself is not pleasant, but comfort yourself with the fact that in the old days you could have been forcibly recruited into the Spanish army (the Spanish embassy was located here), if you stayed in the area. Instead, grab your coffee or lunch at one of the pleasant sidewalk restaurants on the piazza.
Villa Borghese is Rome’s largest public park, and with it a nice excursion for tired people on a city break. The park is located in the north-eastern corner of the city, and houses several very decent museums, well-groomed lawns, villas (also a Villa Borghese of course), a replica of Shakespeare’s theater, sculptures and much more that is great to look at. One of the best experiences you might get at Cinema Dei Piccoli, a tiny cinema with only 63 seats. It mainly shows children’s films, but this is definitely something for adults as well. The same goes for Bioparco zoo, which is one of Europe’s oldest zoos. The animals in the park are usually there to get used to a return to their natural habitat, or they are rehabilitated after injury. You can rent bicycles in several places in Villa Borghese Park, and there are many stalls selling snacks and drinks.
Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica
In Rome, most visitors visit the world’s smallest state, both in terms of size and population. The residents of the Vatican City probably know most of their around 550 compatriots. The largest building in the state is St. Peter’s Basilica, designed primarily by Michelangelo (and three other gentlemen) in the 16th century. Apparently St. Peter himself is buried in the same place. Until recently, St. Peter’s Basilica was the largest ever built. The Vatican City State naturally contains a number of museums, of which the Sistine Chapel is considered a part. Here, new popes are elected when it is conclave, surrounded by Michelangelo’s famous paintings. The queues are often terribly long to get to the Vatican City Museums, and it can pay to order so-called fast-track tickets.
Although there can be a lot of history when you are on a city break in Rome, you should also stop by Circus Maximus. The arena was mostly used for races with horse-drawn tanks, and had a capacity of about 250,000 spectators at most. The first known version of the arena is from 329 BC, and it was in use until the last race in 529 AD, ie almost 900 years later. You may have seen a portrayal of Circus Maximus in movies like The Gladiator or Ben Hur.
Campo de ‘Fiori
Il Campo is Rome’s best known market (during the day). Then fruit, vegetables, fish and other foods are sold directly from the countryside. You can buy flowers too, but that’s not where the name comes from. Before the square was laid out as a square, there was a flower meadow right here. For those who want a lunch, cup of coffee or a small glass in the sunlight, this is a favorite place to relax. In the evening, the space for an outdoor pub is raining, and it can go a bit wild at times (many stay away from Campo de ‘Fiori when football matches are played in Rome).