The Eternal City and the capital city of Italy, Rome can be described as the most unique city of the world. There is no other place in the world that lives up to its affectionate and well-deserving name. For centuries Rome was the centre of the world, with all roads leading to it. It only takes one visit to become addicted to city, from the ancient monuments to the religious relics and the hustle and bustle of one of the stylish locations. This is a Rome city guide dedicated to provide most comprehensive tourism and travel information about this ancient city with tips, vacation ideas and advice by travelers.
Nowhere in the world will you see every type of people coming together. Priests walk side by side with beautiful models and students and backpackers of all ages and cultures talk eagerly about their experiences. Not only people, but architectural styles too. The ancient Roman monuments stand side by side with buildings from the Renaissance and modern periods, making Rome a truly unique travel destination.
Historical and cultural attractions can be found on every corner of every street. Rome is a gigantic museum in itself. Daily tours can be booked from numerous agencies designed to allow the traveller to see everything they want to in the limited time they have available.
But for those who have all the time in the world, where do you start? Think of ancient Rome and the first image that comes to mind is the Coliseum. Located on the Piazza del Colosseo, the Coliseum is the most invoking Roman monuments ever to be built and one of Italy’s most popular attractions.
The Coliseum was built by the Emperor Vespasian who reigned from 69 to 79 CE. However, he died before it was completed and was finished under the rule of his son, Titus, a year later. To mark its completion, celebrations were held for 100 nights. Animal and gladiator fights were staged here for hundreds of years before being abandoned when the mighty Roman Empire fell in the 6th century.
Another key ancient tourist attraction is the Pantheon. It was originally a temple built by Marcus Agrippa but Emperor Hadrian had it transformed into a striking temple to honour the classical gods. In the medieval period it was changed to a church to which it remains today. It is also the final resting place of the kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I as well as Raphael. But what makes the Pantheon so incredible is its scale. Until the 15th century, the gigantic dome was the largest in the world and still holds the title of the world’s largest unreinforced dome.
An unforgettable sight is the famous Trevi Fountain. This captivating fountain was made famous in Anita Ekberg’s dip in La Dolce Vita. It was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and features the Roman god Triton leading Neptune’s chariot drawn by two seahorses that represent the gentle and violent nature of the sea. The tradition is if you throw a coin into the fountain you will return. An estimated 3,000 Euros are collected daily and given to charity.
Rome is the home to the Catholic Church and millions of devotees flock to the Vatican Museums each year to pay respect to their faith. Although the lines can be a little long and the security checks rigorous, the atmosphere of the museum is truly something out of this world. The Vatican museum was built in the 16th century by Pope Julius II and consists of two buildings connected by a long gallery. Some of the highlights here include the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms, the Pinacoteca, the Museo Pio-Clementino and the Galleria delle Carte Geografich. It will take at least a day to see the whole complex so visitors can either opt for an escorted tour or a return trip.
The Spanish Steps are an iconic part of Rome’s legacy. Known originally in Italian as the ‘er ghetto de l’inglesi dei Monti’ (the English ghetto), the area became a tourist hotspot as early as the 1700s for British travellers. The piazza was constructed to honour the Spanish Embassy but the staircase was designed with French influence. The staircase leads to the Chiesa della Trinità dei Monti and the Barcaccia, the renowned sinking ship. Today not one visitor leaves without first experiencing the atmosphere here.
St Peter’s Square is another location of Italy’s top ten attractions and it is hard not to understand why. Bernini, its designer, described it as ‘the motherly arms of the church’. For centuries Christian pilgrims were awed when first seeing it when emerging from the narrow confines of the medieval streets, and this is still the case for modern visitors today.
At St Peter’s Basilica on Wednesdays at 11am tourists can actually have an audience with the Pope. He visits here (In July and August at the Castel Gandofolo) to see his flock and bless them. Tourists can acquire free tickets by writing or phoning the Prefettura della Casa Pontificia in advance.
After receiving your blessing from the Pope, you can explore St Peter’s Basilica. It is Rome’s most spectacular church, one no other in the world can be compared to. Up to 20,000 people per day will visit the place where St Peter was said to be buried. It was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century but like other churches, soon fell into disrepair. In the 15th century the church underwent a complete restoration which took over 150 years. The old basilica was destroyed, along with many ancient frescoes and artworks, but a new one was constructed along with a magnificent dome. The basilica was then embellished by works from Raphael, Antonio da Sangallo, Giacomo della Porta and Carlo Maderno, but Michelangelo is the artist that is mostly recognised here.
Whether it is a quick snack in a comfortable outside cafe or a posh five course meal in a modern stylish restaurant, there is no end to your choice, or budget, in eateries. Rome has some of the very best restaurants and dishes from all over the world can be sampled. However, it is the regions traditional dishes that should not be missed out on. Bon appetite!
After a long day touring the city you will soon need to lay down your weary head for the next day’s itinerary. Just like her cultural attractions, there is no end to a traveller’s choice in accommodations. Top of the range hotels will cost a pretty penny or two but there are less expensive alternatives available which still have all the character and comfort travellers’ desire in Rome.
Rome is one of the world’s most popular destinations; it draws visitors to its bosom like a moth to a flame. Lively and stylish, its character is of hip sophistication making visitors feel cool just by sitting in an outdoor cafe sipping espresso. There is nowhere else in the world where ancient and modern blend so well, making her a city that just cannot be beaten.