We arrived in Rome at a time of great celebration and high spirits. It was the evening when the Italian team returned to the city, to hold up the shiny, coveted World Cup on an open top double decker, waving at streets lined with revelers. This joyful occasion set the tone for our visit to the Italian capital, as we enthusiastically joined in with the million spectators at the Ancient Circus Maximus.
Over the next six days, we aimed to see all the top tourist sites, and immerse ourselves in the culture and history of Rome. We found that most of these were accessible on foot, and within a fifteen – twenty minute walk of our Via Veneto based hotel. Later, when the July heat finally sapped up our early enthusiasm, we discovered the Metro, which is a very convenient method of travel. It only costs one euro for an hour’s travel, and is easy to navigate around. We used this for areas which were further afield, such as the Vatican.
Of all the amazing sights which we packed into our six day city break, some of my favourites included the Trevi fountain, the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel.
Wonderful, ornate fountains are dotted across the city, and the Trevi is to me the most magnificent of all. This monumental fountain was completed in 1762, and the area around it is now bustling with tourists, throwing in coins, or admiring the ’sea-horse’ sculptures ascending from the water. On the day we visited, we had to fight the temptation of jumping into the giant pool surrounding it, to cool off from the blistering thirty five degree, mid day sun heat!
When visiting the colosseum, it is advisable to take a tour with one of the many tour guides standing at the front of this ancient gladiator arena. It was worth paying to find out the history of such a building, and imagine the atmosphere that once infused the white marble interior, as Caesars and slaves cheered in unison, whilst wild animals were released from the cellars below. It is also worthwhile to view the colosseum in the evening, when it is lit up, and stands out in the backdrop of the Roman Forum.
The Sistine chapel can be found at the end of a long tour down the many corridors of the Vatican museum. The museum itself is decorated with mosaics, sculptures, tapestries and paintings in every corner. There are so many, that at times it is hard to take everything in. The Sistine chapel, which is the last part of the museum, is covered in paintings by Michaelangelo, which are worth studying in detail. We bought headphone sets from the reception at the Vatican museum, which will tell you detailed information about each exhibit, and are much cheaper than an actual tour guide. As we looked at each painting in the Sistine chapel, a vivid description of each painting, from the Last Judgement to the Old and New Testament scenes depicted on the ceiling, could be listened to on the headset. One detail to remember however, is that flash photography is not permitted due to the effects of fading the paintings.
These are just some of the main attractions we enjoyed when visiting this historic city. We hope you fall in love with Rome as much as we did.
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