Welcome back to part 2 of my blog series on Rome! Rome was the centre of the great Roman Empire and continues to stand as one of the oldest cities in the world. The ancient city is steeped in history and legend and has so much to offer visitors from art to architecture and amazing attractions and monuments.
Things to do and see: Of course let start with the most iconic site in Rome – the Colosseum. This mighty structure is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world and a trip to Rome would not be complete without visiting the Colosseum. The Colosseum was constructed between 70-80 AD. It was used to entertain up to 80,000 spectators with gladiator tournaments. These tournaments would regularly be attended by the Roman Emperors.
The Colesseum is one of the most popular attractions in Rome. I would recommend booking before hand as queues can be very long. There are a range of ticket and tour options to choose from. I personally found it a bit tricky to book the Colosseum with lots of different companies offering different tickets. We bought our tickets from the official site – https://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm. Tickets cost about £12 each. Citizens under 18 years old from the European Union are free to enter. The Colosseum is easy to travel to with a metro station in close proximity.
Our Colosseum tickets also included the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, which is a few minutes walk opposite the Colosseum. The Roman Forum are the ruins of several important ancient government buildings in the centre of Ancient Rome. Palatine Hill is one of the hills that over looks the Roman Forum. A visit to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum takes a few hours.
Another iconic site in Rome is the beautiful Trevi Fountain. The famous fountain was designed by architect Nicola Salvi and completed on 1762 on the sight of an ancient water source, which is actually one of the oldest water sources in Rome. The fountain stands at over 26 metres high and is one the largest Baroque style fountain in the world. The fountain truly is beautiful and free to visit. The fountain has a total different vibe during the day and in the evening and is worth visiting at both times.
Another beautiful part of the city are the Spanish Steps, which are a short walk from the Trevi Fountain. The Spanish Steps climb up a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. It was completed in 1725 and has 136 steps to the top, offering beautiful views of the city below.
A short walk from the Spanish Steps is the former Roman temple , the Pantheon. The Pantheon was completed in 125 AD and is one of the best preserved ancient buildings. The Pantheon is now a church and is free to visit.
Throughout the city you find all kinds of ancient ruins. Largo di Torre Argentina, is an ancient ruin which is now a cat sanctuary. It is large, excavated square located just a couple of blocks from the Pantheon. The ruins were first discovered in 1927 and it gradually became home to some of Rome’s vast population of feral cats. Historically the cats were cared for by ‘cat ladies’. In 1994, volunteers took over and set up the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. Nowadays, there are an estimated 150 cats residing at Torre Argentina and the dedicated volunteers also feed, provide care for and vaccinate the cat population.
Rome is located alongside the River Tiber, offering amazing riverside views throughout the city. You can take a walk along the river or take a cruise on a boat. On the southern bend of the Tiber River is the small Tiber Island, connected to the river with bridges on both sides.
Sitting on the edge of the river is Castel Sant’Angelo, a towering cylindrical building built during the rule of the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum. The building is now a Museum with tickets to enter costing around £15.00.
Whilst exploring the city you come across lots of great piazzas or plazas, for example the Piazza Navona, with an array of fountains, street artists and places to eat.
There are also a range of different shopping options from high street stores to designer brands. There are also some great food markets all around the city, where you can discover fresh, locally sourced food.
There are also some lovely parks in Rome. Villa Borghese is one of the largest public parks. Housed within Villa Borghese is the Borghese Gallery and Museum.
As mentioned in the previous post the best way to see Rome is on foot. There are a range of different walking tours you can join to see Rome including history and food tours. You can also find a range of activities including segway, cycling, cooking classes or art classes.
Within the city of Rome is the independent city state of the Vatican. Vatican City is the smallest city in the world by both area (44 hectares) and by a population (1,000 people). Vatican City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most sacred places within Christianity. Within the Vatican City are religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, which are home to a range of famous paintings and sculptures. We visited Vatican City during the Easter period when it was very busy. Due to the number of crowds we decided to only visit St. Peter’s Basilica, which is free to visit. The Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums require tickets to enter.
Final Thoughts: Rome is such a beautiful, iconic city that has so much to offer. You can spend a few days or a few weeks in Rome. In this post I just focused on some of the main sites in Rome but there is so much more to see in Rome depending on how long you are visiting for. You can easily combine a trip to Rome to another near by locations including Naples or Capri.