For a while, we wanted to visit Italy together, and we found the opportunity: a quick getaway, a bit over 48 hours to see the eternal city. But, what to see in Rome? Just Rome! And, although the answer seems absurd, the reality is that almost in every street of the city you can enjoy history, art, and beauty; a church over here, a small trattoria over there, a flowered frontage… It is absolutely worth it. But we also liked the fact that you can walk the city, it has plenty to see and some are far apart from each other; but along the way you can contemplate much more, so it was also worth to wear off the soles of our shoes.
But now, what must you see in Rome? We share with you, our experience and let’s catch a glimpse of it together. We stayed in a small B&B in Trastevere, one of the trendiest neighborhoods that maintains an aura of not having changed at all but at the same time is surrounded by the most it places and people, especially at night.
We walked to Piazza Navona passing Sant Andrea della Valle church. The square is a rectangular shape and has three fountains: Fontana del Moro, Fontana dei Fuimi and Fontana del Nettuno; behind them is Sant Agnese in Agone. The fountains of del Moro and Neptune are at the far ends of the square and the Fuimi, made by Bernini, is the most spectacular of the three. In the fountain are represented the four, in the form of marble giants, most important rivers of each continent known at that time: Nile (Africa), Ganges (Asia), Danube (Europe) and la Plata river (America). Walk around it and discover all the details designed by the sculptor. Around the square, there are many restaurants and ice cream shops (look for the artigianali).
Only a few streets away it is the Pantheon of Agrippa, built by Adriano around 120 AD on top of the remains of another temple from 27 BD. It is a circular temple with an open ceiling allowing natural light in, and providing a very characteristic dome that can be spotted from any rooftop of the city. Its interior is impressive due to its dimensions and details.
On our way to the monument of Vittorio Emanuele II, we didn’t miss the opportunity of visiting San Ignacio de Loyola church. The church is between some small streets and might be out of many routes, however, its interior is magnificent. The dome was made by Andrea Pozzo and it is in perspective so, depending on your position in the church the ceiling will look differently. If you stand in the center of the church and look up, you will see that the temple has no ceiling, it just continues a few more floors up with columns and an open sky, full of angels and other biblical figures. It also has a second image in perspective, it would be in the dome over the shrine.
At the end of the Via del Corso, or at the beginning depends on where you stand, the monument of Vittorio Emanuele II appears, it has several fountains and it is one of the places to enjoy the panoramic view of the city. From the top, you will be able to see Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, the dome of the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and other monuments. The view is spectacular and the 7 euros to go to the top of the monument are woth to be paid. You have to climb all the stairs and go to the back of the building where the ticket office and the elevators are.
We go back or steps and get to Piazza Colonna with the column of Marco Aurelio as its main attractive, look at the details on the column. And lastly, go towards Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Square). We hope you have better luck than we did, it was being renovated and it wasn’t at its best. But we did sit down and enjoyed a gelato in the square.
On our way back we decided to stop at Isola Tiberina, the island in the Tiber river. Leaving the island aside, the riverside is full of small huts where you can dine or have a drink, it gives the river a different vibe and it maximizes its beauty.
We finished our first hours in Rome, but we needed to feast: Il Ciak in Trastevere, specializes in meat (it is a bit more expensive than the rest) and we had our first tiramisu.
A face to face with history
We had been told that to visit the Colosseum we would have to queue and that the best way to enter was to buy the ticket and to visit first the Palatino and the Imperial Forums. We walked from Trastevere passing the Circo Massimo and from Via di San Gregorio we had a glimpse of the Colosseum.
Palatino is the hill where the legend says Romulo and Remo were born, but it also encounters the houses of the governors from ancient Rome, with an amazing view of the area and the Imperial Forums at your feet. It the forum is where the public life of Rome took place and you will find from churches to the senate, paved streets and old villages. Here you can stay for hours wandering around and looking for information, not only about the buildings but also of how they lived.
And we arrive at the most photographed monument, the most striking, the one that, if you think of Rome comes to mind: the Colosseum. With a capacity to host between 40 and 70 thousand spectators and five floors, its construction and its history is unmatched in this city.
Close from there, you can visit Santa Maria della Neve (Santa Maria Maggiore) it is immense, overloaded with details in its ceilings and shrine but sober at the same time, full of mosaics that resume the three great art eras of the Christian Rome. And from there he headed to Fontana di Trevi, the most famous fountain in Rome that is shown in several movies (La dolce vita): and it is crowded day and night but you will have to go if you want to go back to Rome, or that is what they say. We took the chance to have another gelato at Antonietta Cecere delicious.
Another place from where to see the Imperial Forums is the back side of the Piazza del Campidoglio, where you can also see a replica of the she-wolf breastfeeding Romulo and Remo (the original is at the Capitoline Museum, in the same square). Finally, we headed to L’archetto specialized in spaghetti with more than 60 types of sauce to choose from and an incredible tiramisu.
Walking south and discovering postcards.
We started the day heading to the south to San Paolo Fuori le Mura Basilica where the tomb of Saint Paul is, it is the second largest papal basilica in Rome after Saint Peter at the Vatical (so you can imagine its dimensions), and as it is further away from the center you will find only a few more visitors. You will find in it the portraits of all the popes that have ruled and there is still room for a few more.
We got to Il buco di Roma, to which you can’t enter, but you can look through a peephole and… a forest frames Saint Peter’s dome. And walking back we headed to Trastevere, to wander around and to eat at Dar Poeta, a small pizza place where you will change tiramisu for a ricotta and Nutella calzone. We saw the sunset at Gianicolo park looking towards the Colosseum, you can also see the sunrise looking to Saint Peter. We said goodbye to Rome at Cantina e Cucina with a singular decoration and another tiramisu to end the trip.
Costs (August 2016):
Flight Istanbul-Rome 124€ per person
Accommodation: 59€ per night 2 persons
Transport Airport-Trastevere 8€ per person
Ticket Palatino-Imperial Forums-Colosseo + audioguide 12€ + 7’5€
Ticket panoramic from Piazza Venezia (Vittorio Emanuele II) 7€
Food 40-60€ two persons
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