The eternal city lives up to its name also because it leaves a lingering impression that feels like it will last forever. It is amazing to walk around what is basically the cradle of most of Western Europe’s civilizations. With two and a half thousand years worth of history, Rome definitely has a lot to offer. Statistics about the European Union will tell you various things. But one thing is for sure: travelling there is not complete without visiting this enchanting city.
It might be everything and nothing like what you expected it to be. To say that Rome is beautiful is to say nothing, because the same word can be used to describe many cities in the world. And Rome is just special.
If you are flying, Fuimicino as a destination airport is a good pick. From there you can take the Leonardo Express, which in turn takes you directly to the Central Train Station. Get out here and you can reach most places in Rome on foot, including hotels and hostels. Depending on where you are, you can also take a train to the Central Station. It’s very large and reachable from most European cities. Rome can get very full in the summer or around New Year’s. But a surprisingly good time to visit may turn out to be the week before Christmas. Apparently most people are either on vacation then or preparing to celebrate in their own homes. But come year’s end, and tourists flock to Rome. Although it’s definitely a fun way to ring in the new year, because the atmosphere is fantastic!
Where to Stay
First rule: book well in advance! Rome is a city that is constantly visited by tourists. Arriving and then walking around with luggage trying to find a room is NOT a good idea. Accommodation anywhere around Via Cavour or the Trastevere district is a good idea. Though if you arrive at the train station, you might have to take a bus to Trastevere.
According to a survey by Wealth Bulletin, one of the ten most expensive hotel suites in the world is located in Rome. So if you’re feeling like it and have $31,000 to spare, this is where you can stay: in the Villa la Cupola Suite in the Westin Excelsior.
After a good night’s rest, get your camera and get ready for some serious action with it! Buildings in Rome are an endless source of amazement and inspiration. They make up the city’s architectural landscape and provide a great example of the rich history Rome is embedded in. Rome had its fair share of famous architects who left their mark during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, for example Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Raphael.
The great thing about Rome is that so much of the city’s ancient history is right at your doorstep, without you having to go somewhere to the outskirts to experience it. One of the best examples of ancient Roman architecture, and of course one of Rome’s most famous attractions, is the Colosseum – the ancient amphitheatre, scene of the famous gladiator fights and various spectacular shows. You might have to wait a bit in line to come in, but it’s completely worth it. There are many souvenir stands around the Colosseum – most of them offer kitsch that you can find anywhere in the city. But a good keepsake is a small book called “Rome: Past and Present”. It’s available in various languages and you can see how all the famous landmarks changed over the years.
Of course the routes you take depend on the place you’re staying in. But if it’s anywhere in central Rome or along the Tiber river, it is entirely possible to get around Rome completely on foot.
The only time you might have to take a bus is to the Vatican. But even there you can walk, it might just take a little longer.
A trip to Rome is not complete without visiting the Vatican City, the residence of the Pope and a popular destination for catholics from all over the world. It is also deep in history and in itself a fascinating place to visit. Officially it’s a sovereign state landlocked by Rome. So basically, while in Rome, you get to visit another country. Saint Peter’s cathedral is immediately visible with its dome. The cathedral is a local landmark and also houses one of Michelangelo’s most famous creations, the Pieta sculpture. With its immense marble decorations, it’s an impressive architectural structure. One can also go up to the very top of the dome and enjoy a terrific view of the Vatican from above. You have the option of climbing all 551 steps, or taking the elevator and then climbing 320 steps. It’s intense either way, but definitely a memorable experience.
Image Note: Stephanie Kopf