Rome is one of the romantic classical destinations along with cities like Paris, Venice and New York in my opinion. Getting around the city was not that difficult. Rome has an organized Metro system and taking their metro is just as easy as metros in New York and Hong Kong.
Arriving late afternoon, we started a quick walking tour to Victor Emmanuel Monument going to the Forum. It was a perfect running weather to walk around when we got there. We had a bountiful early dinner at a local restaurant afterwards. The night began when we wandered around the ancient city. Rome has an amazing amount of fountains and one of the most popular is the Trevi fountain. If you’ve seen the crappy movie When in Rome, this is where Kristine Belle stole the coin. I think most people will understand why it is so famous when they get there because it’s huge and beautiful. The only problem of course that every tourist like us seems to be there and it was overly crowded. The legend has it that if you throw a coin into this fountain it guarantees your return to Rome.
It didn’t take us long to get on track of the Pantheon. As soon as we walk into this incredible monument I become overwhelmed with its history. The atmosphere is hushed and almost holy.There is just such a feeling of antiquity around the area. Raphael’s tomb and the ancient kings of Rome are buried here.
Piazza Navona. Walking into the piazza from one of the streets is like suddenly walking into a buzzing artistry foodie musical place. The piazza has lots of buskers and artists displaying paintings with their paintbrushes who would sketch absolutely anything beautiful, such as your portrait. One side of the piazza is lined with good quality cafes and restaurants, while the other is magnificent church and palace facades. Not only you will see a lot of local artists selling their arts here but also some street vendors trying to sell you everything from blinking flying saucers to fake designer hand bags.
I bought a small watermark painting of the Colosseum at the piazza and I find it very affordable. On the other hand, Roel must be really amazed in one of the spray paint artists and he immediately paid the canvas after it was done. Olga and I were teasing him for buying it as like we were teasing him for buying a bag on sunflower seeds on our road trip to New Mexico. Peace bro! Hahaha!
In the middle of Piazza you will find the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (fountain of the 4 rivers) designed by Bernini. According to the ever reliable Google, the 4 giants represent the great rivers of the time (Ganges, Danube, Nile and River Plate).
The next morning we had a busy schedule. We did the Vatican tour (on my next post) and had free time to explore the city more.
Piazza di Spagna or the Spanish Steps was crowded. I think it was called Spanish Steps because it was right next to the Spanish Embassy. After walking through some streets of Rome it was just nice to sit down on the steps (even if the cement was blazing hot) and look at all the people. I’m not sure if I would call the Spanish Steps a disappointment but if you’re only in Rome for a short period of time then it shouldn’t be at the top of the list. If you want to get some shopping done, you can try around the area but I guess you have to be prepared to cough up a bit of money because shops here were tad expensive.
I think most of you have heard about the most popular tourist spot in Rome, the Colosseum (also known as Colosseo). The real ancient name is actually Flavian Amphitheather (due to the Flavian emperors at the time) but it was later named Colosseo due to colossal statue of Nero which was located at the amphitheater in Roman time. Well, the rest is history I guess.
The Colosseum became the home of ancient gladiator fights like in that Russell Crowe movie. But over the decade, this amazing architecture declined due to earthquakes. It was actually pretty cool just standing inside where they used to fight back in Ancient Roman times. Remember to find the stairs and get to the higher level to enjoy the circular view of the ruins.
We started to walk around the Arch of Constantine which is located right next to the Colosseum then walked again to the Forum which is the heart of Ancient Rome. I will not go into details about the ruin that you will find in the Forum because I know you’ll get bored.
I’ve read some horror stories from others that have gone to Rome that pick-pockets, credit card fraud, etc. were rampant in the city. So I was of course a bit skeptical before walking in the streets. Actually, I always put my wallet in my front pocket. Like elsewhere, keep an eye on your valuables in crowded places and you should be fine.
Obviously Rome has some of the world most famous attractions. I had a wonderful stay in the Eternal City. After you visited all the popular monuments, piazzas, churches and fountains, there’s still a lot more to experience. And if you get tired along the way, there are plenty of places where you can enjoy some Italian cuisine or just drink a warm coffee.