Rome is beauty, romance, culinary, culture, splendor, architecture, colorfulness and much more. The center of Rome is spread among seven hills east of the Tiber River, on both banks of which lays the city. Between the hills, that constitute the heart of the city, you will find the Capitoline Hill and the Palatine Hill, on which, according to tradition, the brothers Ramus and Romulus established Rome.
The recommendation is to arrive in Rome for a visit of 3-4 days at least. This length of a visit will allow you to arrive at all the famous tourists’ sites but also find other interesting beauty spots, certainly simultaneous with excellent meals with lots of pizza, pasta, cheese, ice cream and wine.
Three-day tour of Rome
To arrive at the city center is best by private transportation from the airport at a cost of about 40 Euro.
Public transportation is not very convenient, for this reason, try to stay near the center of town and arrive by foot to the tourists’ sites.
Day one tour
You said “Rome”; you said fountains, splendid structures, impressive architecture, history, religion. On this day, you can familiarize yourself with most of the sites that fall into those definitions when you tour among the most impressive fountains in the city.
Start the tour in the colorful market Campo de’ Fiori. The market is active mainly during the morning and early noon hours, until 13:00. Here you will find vegetables stands, fruits, spices, pasta, flowers and juices, next to housewares and souvenirs. In the past, during the inquisition period, it is here where agnostics and witches were executed. Today, in the center of the square stands the sculpture of a philosopher from the 17th century who was considered an agnostic because he argued that the universe is endless and our galaxy is only one of many.
Continue from here by foot for about 10 minutes in the direction of the Jewish Ghetto. The neighborhood, which in the past was closed, is now pleasant for a stroll. Here you will find many restaurants next to delicatessen and coffee shops. In the heart of the Ghetto is Via Portico d’Ottavia, a romantic archeological structure that served as a fish market in the past.
Near the Ghetto, is located the Fontana del Tartarughe. In the fountain are four young men, each with a foot on a Dolphin made of Bronze. Bronze turtles are also around the piazza and they are a late addition to the construction. From the fountain, we will continue a short distance to Largo di Torre Argentina. This is a site of ruins of roman structures among them a theater and shrines. Animal lovers in general and cats in particular can expect a pleasant surprise. Here is a shelter for street cats that cares, treats and feeds hundreds of street cats. The place does a holly work and exists without the support of the Rome Municipality. If you happen to be in the area, do not miss a visit to the warm and pleasant shelter, and you may even leave a modest contribution for the continued existence of the important activity.
From here, we shall continue with a 5 minutes’ walk to the north, in the direction of the Pantheon. The Pantheon is considered one of the ancient sites that were conserved in the best way in the City, and may be in the world. The structure was built in the year 27 BC as a shrine for all gods, and was reconstructed at the beginning of the second century. The meaning of the word is in Greek: “pan” = all and “teon” – godly. In the year 1870, the Pantheon was turned into a shrine for the kings of Italy, and a number of Italian kings, as well as the painter Raphael, one of the important renaissance painters, are buried here. Entrance is free.
Do not miss looking up, in the direction of the special ceiling in which there is a hole allowing the sunrays to penetrate.
From the Pantheon, we continue to Piazza Navona. This is the central Piazza of Rome, located in the heart of the tourists’ center. The Piazza has an elliptic shape and ornamented by beautiful fountains. Around the Piazza are coffee shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants and shops in which the prices are, in accordance with the location – higher, in comparison to other areas. The central fountain in the piazza is the “Fountain of the Four Rivers”. The fountain represents four continents separated by the four known rivers; Ganges (Asia), the Nile (Africa) the Danube (Europe) and the Rio De La Plata (America), and those are represented by figures of gods carved in marble, seated on separate rocks, from which runs each river. In the center stand an impressive obelisk that was moved here from the Forum, it represents the victory of the church over the paganism. Additional fountains are the “Fontana del Moro” and the “Fontana del Nettuno”, where the God Neptune awakens to life.
From here we walk for about fifteen minutes in the direction of “Fontana Di Trevi” – the wish fountain. According to belief, whoever throws a coin into its water will win a return to Rome in the Future. There are those who add and say that a second coin will cause you to fall in love with an Italian whereas the third coin will bless with a marriage. In any event, it is interesting to know that each day, municipality workers collect from the bottom of the fountain about 3,000 Euro!!!
The fountain is impressive both during the day and in the evening when it is lit. During any day of the year, you will find in the fountain area hundreds of coin throwing tourists, but pay attention to the fountain and its design as well. The stars of the fountain are Neptune, the Sea God, and the seahorses leading his carriage.
Continue the walk in the direction of the Spanish stairs and The Piazza di Spagna, only 10 minutes away from the fountain.
Before arriving at the Piazza you will notice a large fountain located at the foot of the Spanish Steps, this is the “Barcaccia Fountain”, designed in the shape of a sinking ship.
The Spanish Steps are 138 steps leading from Piazza di Spagna to the Trinita dei Monti, a French church at the top of the steps. An enchanting view appears from the church of the fountain and the city. In the Church are two art creations by Daniele da Volterra, a pupil of Michelangelo. Additionally, near the church is a wide garden pleasant for a walk, which also offers a nice view of the city.
The Spanish Embassy, sometimes crowned as the first embassy in the world, is located near the steps, providing the reason for the steps being “Spanish”.
From the Spanish Steps we will continue by foot in the direction of Piazza del Popolo – the square of the people. It is located at the northern tip of Via del Corso Street. This square has a tight connection to the history of Rome, because, already during the Middle Ages, horse races started here, and executions took place here. Today, you will find in the center of the Piazza an Egyptian obelisk from the period of Ramses the Second, approximately the 13th century BC. The obelisk is ornamented by hieroglyphs describing the life and the period of the Egyptian King.
From this piazza continue walking for 20 minutes in a southeastern direction to the last point of the tour – Piazza Venetia. This piazza is located at the foot of the Capitoline, next to the Large Forum, the old city center. The piazza is noisy and very large, full with tourists, cars, street artists and shops, but at its center, and you cannot miss it, is the large marble monument, Vittoriano. This impressive structure was built in memory of the first king that ruled United Italy, King Vittorio Emmanuelle the Second. The structure which was inaugurated in the year 1911, gained the name “The Altar of the Homeland”, but also “gained” serious public criticism. There were some that said that its construction caused irreversible damage to antique structures, and totally changed the shape of one of the historical city hills, the Capitoline Hill.
The structure by itself is impressive, but it is most recommended to go up to the observation point from its roof overlooking the entire area. To the observation point – Roma dal Ceilo, you reach by a transparent elevator on the rear side of the building. Entry fee is required, but one can go to an observation point from a lower level in the building, which also supplies a breath taking view. Opening hours are 09:30 to 17:30, last entry at 17:00
Additionally, in the large piazza stands also the Venetian Palace, the first renaissance palace in the city, built already during the 15th century. Over the years, the palace served as the main headquarters for Mussolini and many of the dictator’s speeches to the Italian People took place on the balcony that faces the piazza.
Day two tour
As was already stated, the best way to know Rome is by foot, but an excellent and recommended way to “plow” the city without “killing” your legs is through a Segway Tour. The tour enables you to arrive – in a short time – to many places very difficult to succeed and visit all when walking by foot. Additionally, the tour guides know how to take you to beautiful spots less familiar to tourists, this way you will get to know wonderful additional places in Rome. A highly recommended Segway tours company is Rome By Segway.
If you chose a morning tour, continue with a tour by foot of the Colosseum and the Large Forum. Entrance by fee, the ticket includes the visits to both sites and the Palatine hill. Important! Make sure you order tickets in advance. Reservations on the internet and printing the tickets at home will save you dear time standing in lines. The queues are very long even during the winter and out of the tourism season, so order tickets in advance.
In any event, if you did not order tickets in advance start the visit at the Forum, there the queues are shorter. In any event, the tickets are valid for two days, so you can return to the site on the following day.
The visit to the Colosseum is a must for anyone arriving in Rome. Currently, when you wonder around in the ruins, it is hard to imagine that once this structure was a large stadium that seated about 45,000 spectators, seated in accordance with their status, on marble seats, wood or stone. The walls of the stadium were covered with marble and sculptures were spread between the niches on the second and third level. The upper floor supported the 240 masts that pulled the huge tent-cloth that covered the arena.
The construction of the Colosseum in ancient Rome began in the year 72 during the reign of the Caesar Vespasian and was completed eight years later during the reign of his son Titus. It was constructed on the ruins of the hated Caesar Nero, and was apparently named after a large (Colossus) sculpture of Nero that was located nearby.
The inauguration of the Colosseum was celebrated by one hundred consecutive days of fights in which more than five thousand animals were killed.
It is horrifying to imagine the situation, however, tens of thousands of spectators came to celebrate cruelty, the shows included gladiators compelled to fight each other, to of course. In fact, the gladiators were prisoners forced to fight, and it is assumed that hundreds of thousands of them were killed in fights inside the Colosseum.
Currently, after for many years the place was robbed and ruined under various circumstances, it is possible to see one section of it’s original height, only about a quarter of its circumference.
In 2007, the Colosseum was elected as one of the seven wonders of the New World.