Rome Travel Summary

Eternal Rome and its mesmerising cityscape!

Eternal Rome is circa 3000 years old and has the most magnificent cityscape.   With its awe-inspiring sights, art and buzzing street life, Rome is one of the world’s most beautiful capitals.   Dubbed the Eternal City by poets and artists, Rome is one of the world’s most exhilarating and romantic travel destinations. It is a city that inspires the mind, appeals to the senses and captures the heart.   Few cities can rival Rome’s artistic heritage which includes sculptures by Michelangelo, canvases by Caravaggio, frescoes by Raphael and fountains by Bernini.   Rome is awash with priceless treasures and ancient statues adorn world-class museums and Baroque facades flank medieval piazzas.

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The Rome Travel Summary is segmented into 4 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Rome:

  1. An introduction to this wonderful city;
  2. Some Facts & Figures;
  3. Itineraries;
  4. What to See

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

In writing this post I hope to inspire you to explore this wonderful CityCarpe Diem!

1. Introducing the eternal city:

Rome is the centre of Italy’s ancient empire and the centre of Catholicism.  The first time I visited Rome (and every subsequent visit for that matter) I have been blown away by the history and where else on this planet can you see sights such as the Colosseum and Vatican City in close quarters.   You can only be amazed by the historical significance and elegance of this city.  Every corner you turn you have a stunning centrepiece on a fantastic backdrop – it is almost as if every statue, building and square is in competition with one another for the accolade of the most beautiful building in Italy.  You do wonder how they were able to build such beautiful and sophisticated buildings without the modern building techniques we have nowadays.  Whether it is art history, religion, cuisine or wine or if you are me – all of the above – Rome is sure to deliver it to you in bang!

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For thousands of years, Rome has been the capital to some of the most important empires and nations in history.   Through history Romans have built some world’s most breathtaking architecture – Rome houses 12 of Italy’s 45 UNESCO heritage sites including the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, St. Peter’s Square and Piazza Navona.    It was from Rome that the rise of the Roman Empire that the western civilization truly began.

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Rome is one of the most popular destinations in the world for art connoisseurs.  Works of famous artists like Michelangelo, Salvi, Sangallo, Maderno, Bernini call Rome their home.  There are numerous museums and galleries around the city displaying brilliant artworks, the most popular amongst them being the Villa Borghese Gallery and Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Rome houses Vatican City, the world’s smallest nation and the political and religious centre of the Roman Catholic Church.  Millions of people flock Rome every year with the primary purpose of visiting this site which is believed to be situated on Apostle Peter’s burial place.

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2. Some Facts & Figures

Rome has some amazing facts & figures – well it would have based on being founded 753 BC!

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Rome in numbers:

  • 280 Fountains;
  • 900 Churches;
  • 1 million Euros are tossed into the Trevi Fountain each year;
  • Rome became the capital city in 1870, taking the title from Florence;
  • Rome was founded in 753 BC by its first king, Romulus;
  • Rome’s first shopping mall was built between 107 and 110 AD by Emperor Trajan;
  • St Peter’s Basilica is the largest church ever constructed in the world;
  • The Colosseum was completed in AD 30 and seated 80,000;
  • The Arch of Constantine was completed in AD 315 at a height 21m;
  • The Pantheon was completed AD 126 and the diameter of oculus 8.2m;
  • The Roman Forum was founded in founded in 7th century; and
  • Rome was the first modern city to reach a population of 1 million by 50 BC!
  • The 2000-year-old amphitheatre is one of Rome’s extraordinary ancient sights
  • The Colosseum hosted the gladiators – where they met in mortal combat and condemned prisoners fought off wild animals in front of thousands of Romans
  • It was built between AD 69–79 and was inaugurated in AD 80
  • To mark the occasion Colosseum staged a games which lasted 100 days and nights during which 5000 animals were slaughtered
  • This was later topped by 117-day event which involved 10,000 Gladiators and animals – how the Romans’ rolled back then

3. Itineraries

Rome is one of the world’s most exhilarating and romantic travel destinations. It is a city that inspires the mind, appeals to the senses and captures the heart.   Few cities can rival Rome’s artistic heritage which includes sculptures by Michelangelo, canvases by Caravaggio, frescoes by Raphael and fountains by Bernini.   Rome is awash with priceless treasures and ancient statues adorn world-class museums and Baroque facades flank medieval piazzas.  You can walk around both Ancient Rome and the Centro Storico very easily and there is something for everyone in this fabulous city.  I have outlined some of my favourite itineraries – enjoy!

Suggested Day 1 Itinerary:

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6am – Sunrise at the Colosseum: 

Start your tour at the phenomenal Colosseum, Rome’s colossal gladiatorial arena. Arriving early will enable you have this fantastic arena to yourself. Imagine yourself being part of the games to mark the opening of the games in AD 80 (which lasted 100 days and nights) and the accompanying fun and frolics.

Then it is time to check out the Palatino and take in the majestic ruins and fabulous views. You are then a stone’s throw from the Roman Forum grandiose crumbling temples and imagine what this part of Rome was like in its heyday.

 

10am – Art O’Clock

Climb to the top of the Piazza del Campidogli and the Capitoline Museums. The museum house one of Italy’s finest collections of classical sculpture as well as ancient frescoes and paintings by artists such as Carvaggio and Titian, frame two sides of Michelangelo’s trapezoidal Piazza del Campidoglio which is also the address of Rome’s city hall.  Don’t miss getting a lift to the top of Il Vittoriano for Rome’s best 360-degree views.

 

AfternoonRamble around Centro Storico: 

Enjoy taking the sights and sounds of the Centro Storico – this are is particularly magical during the Opera season – when you see fantastic pop-up Opera in the area.

Piazza Navona is Rome’s sensational showcase square with its ornate fountains, baroque architecture, restaurants, cafes and magnificent hotels.  An absolute is the Pantheon which is Rome at its best. Built 200-years ago, this beautiful domed temple served as the model for Michelangelo’s dome of St Peter’s and many other domes worldwide.  Art lovers can admire paintings by Caravaggio in the Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesci. For lovers of Italian fashion (who isn’t) then bag yourself some fashionable clothes from the one of boutiques on Via del Governo Vecchio.

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EveningAperitif o’clock: 

Time for dolce vita bar life – Etabi near Piazza Navona is a great area for people watch.  During the summer there are some fabulous pop-up bars along the River Tiber.

 

Suggested Day 2 Itinerary:

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6am – Sunrise at the Vatican:  

Explore the world’s smallest sovereign state. The Vatican holds some of the world’s most revered artworks, many of which are housed in the Vatican Museums.  You will need at least a morning to do justice to the Vatican Museums. The highlight is Michelangelo’s decorated Sistine Chapel, but there’s enough art on display to keep you busy for days.  Gaze heavenwards at Michelangelo’s masterpieces in the Sistine chapel. On the ceiling is his cinematic old Testament frescoes and on the western wall is his vision of the Last Judgement.

10am – Subliminal views over the Vatican: 

Then climb the Michelangelo-designed dome for fantastic views over the piazza. Have your camera at the ready.  Then pick up lunch in one of the sides streets just outside the Vatican City perimeter. There are some great pizzerias in the area.

Afternoon – Explore the Spanish Steps: 

The area around Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) is perfect for people watching. For lovers of Italian fashion then feast at the designer shops down Via Dei Condotti.  Camera at the ready as you make your way down to the Trevi Fountain where tradition dictates you throw a coin to ensure you return to Rome. The Trevi Fountain is the ultimate show-case for Rome’s love affair with water. Architect Nicoli Salvi conceived Baroque fountain in 1762, cleverly incorporating the place behind the fountain as a theatrical backdrop.

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Afternoon – Fantastic nibbles and drinks: 

On the other side of the River Tiber lies charmingly beautiful Trastevere. This neighbourhood bursts with life in the evening as locals and tourists flock to its many eateries and bars.  There are some fantastic trattoria serving delightful Italian food in this area – you will be able to settle in until late as there are a number of bars that keep open until late.

 

4. What to See

Colosseum

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AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The 2000-year-old amphitheatre is one of Rome’s extraordinary ancient sights
  • The Colosseum hosted the gladiators – where they met in mortal combat and condemned prisoners fought off wild animals in front of thousands of Romans
  • It was built between AD 69–79 and was inaugurated in AD 80
  • To mark the occasion Colosseum staged a games which lasted 100 days and nights during which 5000 animals were slaughtered
  • This was later topped by 117-day event which involved 10,000 Gladiators and animals – how the Roman’s rolled back then

Palatine Hill

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Palatino (Palatine Hill) is an area of towering pine trees, majestic ruins and memorable views
  • According to legend, this is where Romulus and Remus were saved by a wolf and where Romulus founded Rome in 753 BC
  • As the most central of Rome’s seven hills and because it was close to the Roman Forum, the Palatino was ancient Rome’s most exclusive neighbourhood
  • The emperor Augustus lived here all of his life and successive emperors built increasing opulent palaces. But after Rome’s fall, it fell into disrepair and in the Middles Ages churches and castles were built over the ruins. Later, wealthy Renaissance families established their gardens on the hill

Roman Forum

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AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Filled with grandiose temples, bustling marketplaces and imposing civic buildings, the Forum was the beating heart of ancient Rome. Few sites are so filled with a sense of history as the, where, for many centuries, the fate of Europe was decided
  • Although the surviving remains give only a hint of the grandeur and splendour of the Forum in ancient times, this area, with its columns still standing tall or lying tumbled on the ground, its triumphal arches, and its remains of once-important buildings give a real sense of the importance of ancient Rome
  • Today, it is a collection of impressive ruins – you can walk on the footsteps of Julius Caesar and other legendary Roman figures
  • Founded in the 7th century BC the forum was originally an Etruscan burial ground, however, was later expanded to become the social, political and commercial hub of the Roman Empire
  • Excavation started in the 18th century and work continues today

Capitoline Museums

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AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Capitoline Museums originate from 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated several ancient bronze statues to the city, forming the nucleus of what is now one of Italy’s finest collections of classical art
  • Over the centuries the collection grew considerably and in 1734, Pope Clement XII opened the museums to the public
  • The museums, which house one of Italy’s finest collections of classical sculpture as well as ancient frescoes and paintings by artists such as Carvaggio and Titian, frame two sides of Michelangelo’s trapezoidal Piazza del Campidoglio which is also the address of Rome’s city hall

Pantheon

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AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • This striking monument is Rome at its best. Built 2000 years ago, this beautiful domed temple served as the model for Michelangelo’s dome of St Peter’s and many other domes worldwide
  • Hadrian’s temple is dedicated to the classical gods – hence the name Pantheon, a derivation of the Greek words pan (all) and theos (god)
  • The monumental entrance portico consists of 16 Corinthian columns, each 13m high and each made of Egyptian granite, support a triangular pediment. Two 20-tonne bronze doors guard the entrance and the interior is truly impressive
  • Light streams through the oculus (8.7m-diameter hole in the centre of the dome) The dome is considered the Roman’s most important architectural achievement

Piazza Navona

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AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Piazza Navona is Rome’s sensational showcase square with its ornate fountains, baroque architecture, restaurants, cafes and magnificent hotels
  • The piazza’s grand centrepiece is Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Flumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers). The fountain dates from 1651 features four muscular personifications of the rivers Nile, Ganges, Danube and Plate, representing the four continents of the then-known world
  • The Fontana del Moro at the southern end of the square was designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1576. Bernini added the Moor in the mid-17th century
  • At the northern end of the piazza, the 19th-century Fontana del Nettuno depicts Neptune fighting with a sea monster, surrounded by sea nymphs

 

Basilica Di Santa Maria

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The only Gothic church in Rome, the Basilica Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Basilica of St. Mary over Minerva) is so named because it was built directly on the foundations of a temple to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom
  • The basilica that stands today was started in 1280. Architectural changes and redecorations in the 1500s and 1900s stripped it of some of its magnificence, but it still includes an awe-inspiring collection of medieval and Renaissance tombs

 

Larga Di Torre Argentina

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Largo di Torre Argentina is a square in Rome with four Roman Republican temples and the remains of Pompey’s Theatre within the ancient Campus Martius
  • After Italian unification, it was decided to reconstruct part of Rome (1909), demolishing the zone of Torre Argentina. However, during the demolition work in 1927, the colossal head and arms of a marble statue were discovered. The archaeological investigation brought to light the presence of a holy area, dating to the Republican era, with four temples and part of Pompey’s Theatre
  • Julius Caesar was killed in the Curia of the Theatre of Pompey, and the spot where he is believed to have been assassinated is in the square
  • These ruins are out of bounds to visitors but home to a thriving population of hundreds of stray cats and volunteer-run cat sanctuary

 

Via Dei Coronari

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • An elegant Renaissance street which is famous for its antique shops
  • The street follows what was an Ancient Roman road connecting Piazza Colonna with the Tiber
  • Rosary bead sellers used to sell their goods to pilgrims as they passed enroute to St Peter’s Basilica

Via del Governo Vecchio

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • This street is an atmospheric cobbled stoned street full of fashion boutiques, popular eateries and vintage clothes shops
  • The street, once part of the papal processional route between the Basilica di San Giovanni in Leterano and St Peter’s acquired its name (Old Government St) in 1755

Chiesa Nuova:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • This church has a distinguished 17th century façade and a rich baroque interior
  • It has excellent frescoes by Pietro da Cortina and several paintings by Rubens

 

Museo di Roma:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Baroque Palazzo Braschi houses the Museo di Roma’s eclectic collection of paintings, photographs, etchings, clothes and furniture, charting the history of Rome from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century
  • But as striking the collection is, the 17th century palazzo itself, with its courtyard, monumental baroque staircase and frescoed halls makes for a great visit

 

Chiesa Di Sant’Ivo Alla Sapienza:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • This tiny church is a masterpiece in baroque architecture. It was built between 1642 and 1660
  • It is located in Palazzo della Sapienza which was the seat of Rome’s university until 1935 and is now home of the Italian state archive

 

Palazzo Madama:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Seat of the Italian Senate since 1871, the Palazzo Madama was originally the 16th century residence of Giovanni de Medici, the future Pope Leo X

 

Chiesa Di Sant’Agostino:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Houses some of Rome’s most impressive art. The most famous work is Caravaggio’s Madonna dei Pellegrini (Madonna of the Pilgrims) but you will also find a fresco by Raphael and much venerated sculpture by Jacopo Sansovino
  • The Madonna also stars in Caravaggio’s Madonna dei Pellegrini, which caused uproar when it was unveiled in 1604 ,due to its depiction of Mary’s two devoted pilgrims as filthy, badly dressed beggars

 

Chiesa Di San Luigi Dei Francesi:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Church to Rome’s French community since 1589, this opulent baroque chiesa is home to a celebrated trio of Caravaggio paintings: the Vocanzione di San Matteo (Calling of St Matthew), the Martirio di San Matteo (Martirio di San Matteo (Martyrdom of St Matthew) and San Matteo e L’Angelo (St Matthew and the Angel), known collectively as the St Matthew cycle
  • Enjoy Domenichino’s faded 17th century frescoes of St Cecilia contained within the second chapel

5. Photo Gallery 

 

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